Turning the mind toward the Dharma
How do you think that the teachings of the Dharma can help the people here?
Karthar Rinpoche: Actually, it all depends on individual practitioners--on the
extent to which they can live their lives in accordance with the Dharma. If they
can apply the Dharma to their own experience one hundred per cent, then the Dharma
will help those individuals, not only by bringing about liberation from samsara
and eventually enlightenment, but also by producing benefits within this lifetime.
example, when our minds are strengthened through Dharma practice, we become more
capable of handling the vicissitudes of daily life experiences and the various
emotions that accompany them. Because we have this mental strength, we can remain
centered, instead of going crazy because of the different situations we have to
face. If, in terms of basic sanity, our minds are not strong, then the challenges
of the outside world can result in emotional disturbance, whereas if we have learned
to relate to the practice, our minds are strengthened by the vision of the Dharma.
worldly terms, the United States is the most prosperous country on earth, and
the average person here lives in relative luxury. Living in a society with such
a high standard of living, some individuals have difficulty dealing with the changing
conditions that they experience in daily life. Sometimes there is so much happiness
that they are unable to absorb it and become overwhelmed, and again, when faced
with loss they lose their balance, so to speak, plunging to the depths of despair
and suffering a complete loss of confidence. By applying Dharma practice, these
two emotional extremes can be brought into balance so that one is not overwhelmed
by peaks and valleys of happiness and sadness that are so great they can not be
assimilated. The minds of average people are conditionally weak, but when they
have applied themselves to the Dharma their minds become more balanced, making
them braver and stronger. In this way Dharma can be great benefit.
just the mundane level of benefit--to be able to cope better with everyday life.
The spiritual benefit, of course, goes without saying: By learning the Dharma,
we come to understand that our present life is not all there is. There is a succession
or string of lives, continuing from lifetime to lifetime, and each one is conditioned
by karma. Whether future lives will be full of happiness or suffering depends
on the actions that one cultivates during this lifetime, as well as on the actions
of previous lifetimes. Negativity results from karmic accumulations of previous
negative involvements. Once one comes to understand these things, that is the
Q: What exactly is the Dharma that we are supposed
to practice? Is it the teachings that we receive or is it something other than
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: Yes, properly speaking, the practice
of whatever teachings and instructions one has received is what is called the
practice of the Dharma. But at this particular point, we're talking in this teaching
about the preparations necessary for correct Dharma practice. Understanding and
meditating upon four common foundations is the first part of the practice. Once
we are able to relate to these, we will come to the four extraordinary practices,
the stage-by-stage practices. So, learning to understand the four common foundations
is like preparing to fight enemies you have never seen. You have to acknowledge
your strengths and weaknesses as a warrior in order to accentuate your advantages
and fortify your limitations. On the other hand, if you just rush out to fight
your enemies without any preparation, it would be quite difficult to achieve any
victory. For this reason these preliminary stages are crucial.
What are the benefits of learning to do meditation?
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche:
In coming to study and learn how to meditate, it is important first to recognize
the benefits of meditation itself. Prior to entering the path of meditation, we
have never been able to relate directly to the actual nature of our own minds.
Ordinary people's minds are busy with their concepts of daily life. As a result,
the mind cannot rest in the peace of its own original nature. Our experiences
of everyday life are not really the mind itself but conceptions. So one benefit
of learning meditation is to be able to recognize the very nature of the mind,
and then to rest the mind in its own natural state, something we are unable to
do in our present condition. Our minds are fixated on concepts, according to which
we experience feelings. But through meditation we attempt to relate to the mind's
basic nature and to rest the mind in its own nature--to put it where it is supposed
to be, in other words.
Of course, being able to realize the true nature of
the mind comes later, as the result of extensive meditation practice. We certainly
cannot expect to attain the absolute understanding of the nature of the mind in
one or two days, weeks, months, or even years. But we are trying to learn how
to take the first step.
Q: I have a question about the unintentional
unvirtuous actions as a result of karma. It seems to me that, for myself, a lot
of things I do are the result of not being aware of what the real forces are,
and which are making me act the way I do. Is that a result of ignorance? What
is the cause of that? How can we understand more about our actions as a result
of karma? How can we better understand and be more aware of what it is in us that
is making us behave that way?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: We ordinarily engage
in unvirtuous activity in four different ways. The first is through ignorance,
not knowing that we are doing something negative. Not being aware of what is negative
or harmful, we engage in unvirtuous actions based on that ignorance.
is the absence of mindfulness. If the mind is totally distracted, although we
know something is bad, we engage in unvirtuous action based on the absence of
Third, we also engage in unvirtuous actions through disrespect.
This means we know about something, but we have no respect, either for the subject
or for the person we have learned it from. Although we have been told that doing
a certain thing is negative, because of our disrespect we do not believe it, and
so continue to engage in the unvirtuous actions.
Fourth, we engage in unvirtuous
activity through the power of the mental afflictions. We know that something is
negative, but our patterns are so powerful that, without any control, we engage
in that negative activity. That is the power of mental afflictions.
remedies that you need to use to overcome these fourfold unvirtuous activities.
If unvirtuous activity is because of ignorance, try to study more about virtuous
actions, the qualities of virtuous actions, how the Dharma is based on virtuous
actions. The more you study, the more your knowledge develops, and that also develops
the quality of prajna. Prajna eliminates the obstacle of ignorance, so you are
free from engaging in unvirtuous actions through ignorance.
If you are engaging
in unvirtuous actions through disrespect, you need to study more, particularly
on cause and result, and fruition (Tib. GYUN DREL). The more you develop confidence
in the reality of cause and effect, the better you can eliminate engaging in unvirtuous
action out of disrespect.
If you lack mindfulness, you must remind yourself
over and over (whenever you are mindful!) to not become careless during any situation.
Instead, make a commitment to maintaining strong mindfulness. The more you remind
yourself this way, the better you will become at being mindful in all situations
and under all conditions.
Finally, the remedy for being overpowered by mental
afflictions is to first gain an understanding of the most powerful ones you have.
Once you determine which emotion (anger, hatred and so forth) is most powerful
for you, you must work through it by developing loving-kindness and an understanding
of emptiness, including the inherent lack of solid basis for all conflicting emotions.
are techniques or methods for overcoming the fourfold unvirtuous actions.
Q: Say that my actions are a result of my own karma. For me, it feels
as if the karma has more power than I can control, or that I'm going to be a victim
of my own karma. It almost seems too easy to say "Oh, I did this and it was
because of my karma and I had no control over it." How is it that we can
even have a sense of what our own karma is making us do?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche:
In Buddhism, we often teach the idea of cause and result, and also include the
teaching about suffering. To define suffering again, when we have any physical
or mental discomfort or pain, that is suffering. That suffering is really the
karma you are talking about, because it is the result, or fruition, of whatever
we have caused. The fruition is often negative, because we have engaged in more
negative or unvirtuous actions, and the result of any negative actions is pain
and suffering. How did we cultivate that cause? We experience that mental or physical
pain through the intensity of our conflicting emotions, which are hatred, attachment,
pride, jealousy, and so forth. The power of these conflicting emotions is the
"cause" of what is now ripening in our life as experiences of discomfort,
pain, and suffering. That is the real meaning of karma.
For example, say that
a person commits a negative action such as killing because of his or her mental
afflictions. From the act of killing there is a resultant karmic accumulation.
The person's kleshas are stirred up by the pain and suffering that resulted from
the act of killing, which builds habitual patterns of experiencing the kleshas.
Habitual patterns themselves are not karma. In order to undo the habitual patterns
of negativity, we simply have to apply strong habitual patterns of virtuous activities.
The only remedy for negative habitual patterns is to develop positive habitual
We have the option, however, to prevent ourselves from further cultivating
such a cause, so we can prevent the future experience of such suffering. What
cultivates the negative unvirtuous seeds of the experience of suffering is the
mental afflictions. In many ways, our mental afflictions seem to be very powerful,
almost uncontrollable. What makes them seem to be so powerful is very simple.
From beginningless time, we have "spoiled" the mental afflictions, providing
whatever they desire. Having given them such opportunity, we are quite used to
that habit. The mental afflictions have developed such habitual patterns that
they seem to us to be uncontrollable.
However, the mental afflictions can be
controlled. The Buddhadharma is filled with ideas and techniques for controlling
or eliminating the mental afflictions, so you can learn to control them by studying
the Buddhadharma. Only through learning the Buddhadharma are we able to pacify
and subdue the powerful mental afflictions so that we are not further cultivating
the cause that results in suffering and pain.
Q: Rinpoche, in the
West people are usually very busy with jobs and families and many other commitments,
and they often have difficulty finding time to practice. Do you have any suggestions
that might be helpful in this regard?
Bardor Tulku Rinpoche: Actually, there
is no difference between East and West--as soon as one is born into this life,
it's samsara. Everyone who begins the life of dualism has many things to do to
survive, many things to do to increase pleasure, and so forth. But you could actually
say that life in the West is busier because of the greater economic development,
in comparison to the Eastern side of the world. Nevertheless, we have to think
that everyone is equally involved in dualistic life. As long as one is born in
this world, on this planet, whether one is north, south, east, or west, everything
is impermanent. The ultimate truth is that as long as one is conditioned to the
life of a human being, physical as well as mental, nothing is experienced everlastingly.
Everything ends after a certain period of time. But very few people are able to
open their minds to the nature of impermanence. Someone who truly recognizes and
understands impermanence is very rare.
Once you recognize the problem of impermanence,
then time is what you make it. In other words, if you want to make time, you can
make time. If you don't really want to make the time available, then somehow there
is never enough time. That is because time is controlled by people. Time should
not be controlling people, people should be controlling time. As long as the desire
to make time is lacking, it is impossible to describe what kind of time should
be made. So I can't say exactly how to find more time to practice, other than
to say that if you are really interested in doing so, you should be able to. You
Q: On the basis of your experience of Western culture, what
do you think the problems are that we should be working on; and, also, what particular
gifts from Buddhism could and should we be receiving?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche:
Frankly, if I am not mistaken, what seems to be the biggest problem is that although
of course there is the element of lack of moderation in the lives of everyone
in the world, there seems to be an extreme case of lack of moderation and lack
of the sense of the importance of moderation in the West or in the States. Everyone
wants to get ahead of everybody else, and then when they are ahead they want to
get more and more ahead. Yes, definitely, there are a lot of admirable things
here. Almost all the people are very educated and intelligent and efficient and
so forth, and it is a very advanced country materially and technologically . But
in the midst of all these good things, there is this sense of competition and
lack of moderation. And people do not really seem to take into consideration what
exactly their abilities or their talents are, and how much of their talents can
be pursued--there seems to be very little consideration given to these matters.
Each one simply wants to get above someone else, credential-wise, material-wise,
or in any other way possible. So this element seems to be very strong.
then in terms of the contribution Buddhism could make, there isn't any one thing
in particular. Actually, Buddhist methods are simply a way of life, a very human
way of life, which is something necessary for everyone. Whoever applies them,
in whatever part of the world, is definitely going to experience the benefit toward
solving the main problem of all people: breaking through the confusion and cares
of the mind and becoming more tranquil and stable, which also brings along with
it the situation of greater moderation.
Q: Rinpoche, you spoke of
anger, aggression, jealousy and envy. Where does fear fit into this psychological
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: The experience of fear arises when we think
we are going to be harmed, or that damage is going to be inflicted upon our sense
of well-being, our possessions, or our bodies. Fear is produced by the egoistic
notion of self-importance. We believe that everything must be geared towards our
personal benefit, and are fearful that this will not happen. This comes from,
again, lack of true loving-kindness and compassion, because when one has genuinely
experienced these qualities, true patience is generated. Through patience we are
able to dispel such fears, since as long as you extend yourself for the well-being
of others, it doesn't matter what kind of harmful things might be directed at
Q: Could you please give an example of how we could transmute
or change anger or jealousy versus suppressing these feelings and therefore not
really getting rid of them?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: The transformation of
any sort of neurosis (you asked particularly about anger) has three forms:
abandoning the kleshas,
2. bringing the kleshas onto the path, and
transforming the kleshas into wisdom.
Again, these approaches are based on
the different vehicles.
According to the hinayana tradition, we talk about
abandoning the kleshas. It is just as if we were walking alone in a forest where
there are known to be many wild animals. We would be very cautious and always
alert so as not to suddenly encounter any of those animals. Similarly, according
to the hinayana tradition, we try to have alertness toward the kleshas. To develop
alertness, we first acknowledge how powerful and damaging the kleshas can be .
Once that is realized, we are always alert, just as we would be while walking
in a dangerous forest.
In the bodhisattvayana, in bringing the kleshas onto
the path we use our love and compassion toward living beings. Developing love
and compassion toward living beings by understanding our emotions works like this:
If something seems to bother or trouble us, if it churns up our emotions (for
example, anger), we try not to blame it on other people. We try to immediately
recognize that all those misfortunes or unfavorable conditions arise because we
have done something negative in our past lives. It is our own responsibility to
encounter such things, not the responsibility of the beings who are annoying us.
that knowledge, and not blaming others, we understand the condition of all sentient
beings with a sense of greater love and compassion. Earlier, I gave the example
of being the parent of a blind child, and how we would not abandon this child
in a dangerous place. Similarly, with compassion and love and, at the same time,
with an understanding of our own negative karma, we become tolerant.
there is the vajrayana or tantrayana tradition, which is very pleasant to hear
about but very difficult to practice. It is known as transforming the mental afflictions
(often referred to as poisons) into wisdom. This is a fine idea, but very difficult
Q: I have a question about the origin of the mind. It is said
in certain teachings that the mind is in its essence clear and limitless and blissful.
My question is, how did it come about that we have these defilements, all these
layers of ignorance? On the one hand, it is said that we have been in samsara
since beginningless time, we have been ignorant. But then on the other hand, the
whole cosmos or universe is based on this love or compassion. How did it come
to be that we have these layers?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: There is a reason
it is taught that we have been confused or deluded from beginningless time. We
say "beginningless time" because there never was a time when our minds
were pure, free from delusion or confusion. If there had been a time when our
minds were pure and then they became deluded, we could say that there was a starting
point when our minds became impure or deluded. Logically speaking, when we have
accumulated karma, we must either experience the result or purify it.
we experience the result of the karma we have cultivated, we are cultivating a
new seed of karma to mature in the future (either in this life or a future life).
Since experiencing karma does not mean we have overcome the mental afflictions,
when we experience the fruition of that karma we accumulate new karma in the process,
which requires us to experience another life. That is why samsara is called beginningless
and endless. The end of it would be only when we purify past karma and uproot
the mental afflictions that create new karma. Then we do not fall back into samsara.
the wisdom aspect of the mind has always been there, from beginningless time;
it is just that we have never met all the conditions to awaken or realize that
wisdom. Perhaps at some times we did meet all the conditions to realize the wisdom,
but we were not diligent enough to realize the wisdom. Generally we have been
more diligent and interested in conducting our lives in the more negative, unvirtuous
actions, which led us to experience more negative karma, which defiled our minds
Q: This is a question about blaming others and the idea
that you can use that blame to look at your own patterns--that the annoyance is
really coming from the karma of your past. I guess that I am thinking about is
that in Atisha's teachings, "Drive all blames into oneself...'' My interpretation
of that is that when somebody gets us angry or annoys us, if some sort of emotion
comes up, it is an opportunity to look at why we are becoming angry or emotional.
In the way it was just put, if we took the attitude that it was just the accumulation
of karma from the past that is making us feel this way, it seems like we would
not be taking the responsibility to really look at what is going on right there
at that moment, and what it is that is bothering us.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche:
Basically there is not much need to analyze or speculate on why we have the emotion
(anger, in this case). All the unfavorable conditions we experience, which churn
up our anger, jealousy, attachment, or passion, show that we must overcome those
emotions, and we that have a lot of faults. There is no particular reason to analyze
to find why and how and so forth. It is obvious that we have those kleshas, and
as long as we have them, anything that tends to instigate or incite those patterns
will be able to do so.
For example, I had surgery recently and I now have a
small incision which is still healing, and I am very sensitive at that location.
If somebody touched me roughly on that opening, I would become angry. I would
not have to think about why I am becoming angry, because that spot is very sensitive.
Likewise, when we are very sensitive, it just shows how our mental afflictions
are very powerful. Knowing why is really not necessary. What I am trying to say
here is that, in my case, when somebody touches my wound, I realize that there
is no point in getting angry, because it is my wound. The person who does the
touching really has nothing to do with the wound except that he or she has touched
it, so we try not to blame them, not to switch the anger to whoever caused it.
In this case, the reason it is painful is that the wound is there, which is analogous
to the kleshas. All the upheavals of anger and passion is because we have these
In the hinayana system, there are many techniques to subdue or overcome
the strength and power of the kleshas. For example, it is quite normal, when a
man sees an attractive woman, or when a woman sees a handsome man, attachment
and passion are churned up. We do not have to intellectualize about why this happens--we
know that people are passionate. Knowing that, a practitioner needs to do something
in order not to act in accordance with that passion, to not be under its influence.
In the case of the anger, we try not to be under the influence of anger and act
it out physically.
Going back to Atisha's teaching on mind training, whenever
anything stimulates anger or jealousy or whatever, do not think, "This person
has caused me to be angry," but "Because of my habitual pattern of aggressiveness
(anger), I still tend to lean toward that habitual pattern." Even if the
person who is causing your anger seems to be extremely aggressive toward you,
you then try to make yourself quite a sensible individual, thinking, "If
I react to the aggressive nature of my object, then I am becoming caught up in
it." We have to learn not to participate in that aggressive exchange.
Q: Where does the consciousness go after it leaves the body? Where does
the consciousness abide before it takes rebirth or becomes liberated? Does it
float around? I do not understand.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: Where is your consciousness
abiding right now?
[Q: Well, I suppose it is in the body--no?]
has no true concrete existence; there is no substance to it. Therefore, at present,
even when we have our physical bodies, we cannot locate the mind (consciousness).
At present, we have feeling. Wherever we touch any part of our bodies, we are
able to feel it. Who feels that? It is the mind that feels it. Wherever we touch,
that is where the feeling is, so it is not necessarily the case that the mind
is in the head or in the body. We cannot pinpoint the location of the consciousness,
even at the present moment. As long as there is the confusion or fixation, we
believe that mind exists actually. Other than that, we cannot locate the mind.
That is why we often say that the ultimate nature of mind is nonexistent or that
there is no concreteness to its existence.
Q: I have been wondering
why we chose to come here and take this form. I do not know if this is a correct
answer, but recently I have read that ignorance is one of the reasons. How did
we get this ignorance to make this choice?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: In fact,
we did not have a choice at all. It was brought about by our karma. Choosing implies
that we pick the human form and we have the capacity to choose which family (the
father and mother with whom we want to take birth). We do not have that choice.
Based on the strength of positive and negative karma, this had to happen, so there
is no choice involved. We could say that ignorance is implied there because we
had no choice. Because of not having a choice about our parents or where we will
take birth, it could be said that ignorance is involved. To give an example of
the force of karma, it is very similar to going up in an airplane and throwing
thousands of pieces of paper out of it. How far they would go and where they land
depends on how the wind blows them. Likewise, where we are born, what family we
are born in and what sort of form we have, are based on the power of the karma,
not on our choice.
For some spiritually advanced beings, it is quite different.
They have much fewer defilements. They do have a choice as to where they will
take birth, even in what form and in what family.
Q: Where does the
karma "hang out"?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: When you find the location
of the mind or the consciousness, you will also find where the karma "hangs
Q: Often I hear stories like the about a person hitting
someone with a stick, for which action they could suffer a thousand years in a
hell realm. They would suffer this incredible amount of time in the hell realms
for what seems like a rather minor action. Somehow it is hard not to think the
karma or the punishment should be more equal to the negative action. Could you
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: That could be answered very logically.
If we plant one seed of barley, when it matures we will have several grains of
barley. The result is always more than what we started with.
you elaborate on the importance of spiritual friends and how a person can develop
and maintain a relationship with a spiritual friend in contemporary society?
Karthar Rinpoche: A beginner on the spiritual path is very much like an infant.
The upbringing of the infant is based on what sort of environment and family he
or she is brought up with. We are very easily influenced, just as an infant is,
and we are very dependent on those who are spiritually well balanced, those we
call spiritual friends. With their example of devotion to the spiritual path,
we learn as we grow in that path.
For example, if you are living with a group
of smokers, you are influenced by the smokers and learn to smoke. If you are living
with a group of heavy drinkers, you become a drinker. If you are living with a
group of drug users, you learn to use drugs. We are not born with all those addictions;
we are influenced by those around us, based on the strength of the influence in
Spiritual growth is very similar. Right now, being like infants,
we have to depend on the spiritual friend. Although the Dharma is very new in
the United States, there are quite a few people who are devoted to spiritual practice.
It is helpful to be around such people so we can lead and inspire each other in
virtuous activities, becoming very strong minded in the goal. Once you have become
strong in the spiritual path yourself, (or balanced, you could say) then even
if you mix with nonvirtuous people, they cannot influence you. That is what it
means to become strong in that way. Until you become that strong, a spiritual
friend is necessary.
If you are around practitioners (preferably with masters,
but they are not always available) even ordinary practitioners can help inspire
each other not to engage in harmful activities of body, speech, and mind. Together,
many practitioners may be able to make a perfect environment for the practice.
It is like burning a branch of wood. It is very difficult to make a fire with
only one piece of wood, but with a collection of many branches together, you can
have a big fire. Likewise, even if you are not all realized, even a collection
of beginners in the Dharma can develop a good practice together. That would be
a positive thing to look for.
Q: I have a question with regard to
basically the first of the nonvirtuous activities and the tenth: killing and holding
wrong views. One of the things that was stated, and maybe you could give us an
example, is that when the tenth negative action (holding wrong views) is combined
with the first (killing), one goes through endless hell realms. Does that mean
that the hell realms otherwise are not endless, and that this one is?
Karthar Rinpoche: Compared to the hell realm called NAR ME, which really means
"ceaseless" or "uninterrupted" (not "eternal"),
the other hell realms have some sense of possibly experiencing a break from the
torture, so to speak. Ordinarily speaking, there are eighteen levels of hell realms,
based on the intensity of the negative karma. The one called NAR ME is the lowest
of the eighteen. For example, there is one hell realm where beings experience
birth and death ten thousand times in one day. When they are first born, when
they are dead, and before birth after the death, there is a little gap in the
torture. Compare to that, NAR ME has no gap at all, which is why we say it is
Q: Could you give us an example of what might produce
that result for us?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: The cause of such rebirth is the
intensity of believing in the wrong view. Based on a belief in the wrong view,
you spend your entire life believing the wrong view and engaging in the ten unvirtuous
actions we talked about, and you end your life in such a way. You do not believe
in virtue. Not having believed in virtue, you make no attempt to practice virtue
or to feel remorse for what you have done wrong. When you die in that manner,
doing all the negative things, enjoying them, and not believing, that would be
the cause of such rebirth in that hell realm.
Q: You said there is
no way out of this, once born in that realm?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: There
is a way out, but it is a very long way. It is based on kalpas--the life span
in this realm is a kalpa, which is an incredibly long span of time.
Throughout human history, it seems that human beings have created more negative
than positive karma, and that therefore human beings have gone into the other
realms, instead of the human realms or into enlightenment. How is it that, at
least right now, there are more and more human beings on this Earth? How is it
that we are increasing in numbers rather than decreasing?
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche:
Looking at the history of our own world--this planet--it is very true that more
beings are engaging in negative activities than positive ones. We need to understand
that the human birth has great advantages as well as great disadvantages. The
advantages are that if we are seriously devoted to the practice, enlightenment
is possible in one lifetime. However, if we are very involved with doing harm
to beings, human consciousness is so very creative and powerful that a person
can create tremendous negative karma.
Asking why we are experiencing an increasing
population in our world when the majority of beings engage in negative actions
shows that you are not fully accepting that there are other existences or realms.
According to Buddhism, there are billions of existences besides this human world.
Yes, the majority of people in our human world are accumulating negative karma
and falling into the lower realms, but there are other realms where beings are
acting positively and then taking birth here. We are not generally aware of that;
we just think of our immediate situation.
Q: Rinpoche, according
to what you have been saying about action, the way people who are non-Buddhist
(which is most of world) could accumulate merit was through positive actions to
help others or to help the earth. Is this some of what you are talking about on
a larger scale? I know there is a lot of anger and disappointment in the world.
Can whole communities do this? In other words, instead of fighting each other
or killing each other, or raping, or a husband beating his wife, or whatever....
Through this action that you are talking about, like thinking of good actions
to do, could this work on a larger scale? I'm just wondering what you have to
say about that.
H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche: Okay, I think I understood. Anyway,
I will try to reflect on it. I think maybe I'm being very presumptuous, but I'm
allowed to be here, you know [laughter]. You all expect me to be, so I needn't
be too careful.
I think in this world there is so much fighting, so many problems
that people create for other people. The natural problems are one thing, but a
person creating problems for another person is a totally different thing. All
these things come from disappointment and dissatisfaction. Whether they are total
misunderstandings or whether there is some ground for them, it is certainly an
outcome of disappointment and dissatisfaction. It comes from that. But if I understood
your question correctly, if people do something good and positive, then it doesn't
have to be exactly compatible with what they are disappointed about. They are
disappointed about some thing, so you don't have to find out exactly what they
are disappointed about and try to do something about that. If people really put
energy into doing good things, they don't have to have extra supernatural energy
to do a lot of good things as well as do a lot of bad things. If they are really
involved in social activities and the environment, there is no limit. The sky
is the limit, you see. There are ten million things that you can do. So when people
really get involved, I don't think they will have the time and energy to make
trouble for each other.
I definitely believe that it's people who first are
disappointed and dissatisfied. And secondly, they have a lot of time to do those
negative things. It is not so easy to make war. It is not so easy to make trouble
for other people. Initially yes, because the other person is not thinking about
somebody making trouble for them. But once you warn the other person--hey you,
I'm going to make trouble--then it wouldn't be easy, you see. So people put lots
of energy, time and effort--they invest a lot to do those things.
people think good things take time and energy but bad things don't take time and
energy. That is little bit naive, because doing negative things takes lots of
time and energy as well. I think this is quite important, that as a society at
large we have the awareness and the individual and group effort to do good things,
so that people's time and energy will be occupied by doing good things.
if you are a Buddhist, a serious Buddhist, practicing Dharma, doing meditation,
that is not doing nothing. That is total energy consumption. Meditating, praying,
learning--that takes all the energy. So in that way, one can accomplish a lot.
When I say not doing anything, I mean there is no hope, no aim, no motivation.
If there isn't anything that you believe in, then you are just floating around.
In that situation, the negative aspect is much easier, and then it is hard to
imagine, because we are not involved in it, just how much time and energy these
people invest in their activity when they are doing wrong things. I think we would
be surprised if we found out. So I think that can definitely be avoided.
then, of course, we are being a little bit too presumptuous to think that we can
just talk about it right here and then have it occur. It is not easy at all. Also,
human beings continue, and the maturity and positiveness of one generation does
not guarantee the maturity and positiveness of the next generation. It has to
be active all the time. You have to go on. You can't say, we have done it, that's
it. It will always need constant regeneration, constant effort, and constant activity