A Commentary on Right Effort
by Geshe Lama Konchog

Suffering in this Life

Lama Tsongkhapa has said the superior thought, or bodhicitta, is like a sail to a ship. If the sail is not blown by the wind, the boat cannot move or travel anywhere. So, although we may have this superior thought or bodhicitta, if it is not blown by the wind of effort, the ship of hearing and contemplation cannot move. Therefore, without right effort, sentient beings cannot cross the ocean of cyclic existence and reach the city of liberation or enlightenment.

Effort is the best amongst all the friends and listlessness is the worst of all the enemies. If the force of effort is applied, even the tiniest insects and animals can attain the state of full enlightenment. We are human beings, so we have the power of wisdom to be able to discriminate between what is to be abandoned and what is to be practiced. We know the benefits of virtuous actions and the faults of non-virtuous actions.

We have discussed this kind of power, this potential, so we should never become discouraged by thinking, “I won’t be able to reach enlightenment.” Instead we should think, “I can definitely attain enlightenment. I have the power, I have that potential.” By thinking this way, we can generate the courage to be able to work in a better way towards the attainment of enlightenment.

Even the smallest insect can attain enlightenment if it generates the force of effort. While we are human beings, we should not think that we can’t gain enlightenment or generate that force. We should always think, “I can gain enlightenment and I can generate the force of effort. I can then have a mind that delights in the performance of virtuous deeds.”

We may think that this is just too difficult, but it is possible to reach enlightenment. However, there are many hardships to overcome along the way. This could mean that we have to make sacrifices, even of our body. If we are afraid to do this, it will be most difficult to attain enlightenment, because we are unable to discriminate between heavy and light sufferings.

From beginningless lifetimes we have taken many types of form. We have taken a life where we were tortured daily, or where our limbs were cut and injured or maybe even sliced into many pieces. However, compared to the sufferings that we have experienced in the hell realms, the sufferings or problems we are encountering now on the way to the state of enlightenment are nothing, or perhaps they are only very small.

All the sufferings that we have experienced in the past have been completely wasted. If those sufferings had been a cause for enlightenment for ourselves and others, then they would have been meaningful, but they did not help us to attain enlightenment, or even to awaken our minds, so they were completely wasted.

The sufferings that we experienced in the lower realms, such as the hells, were very intense and had to be experienced for a very long time compared to the sufferings that we are experiencing now.

By abandoning the purpose of working only for this life and instead, working for the attainment of enlightenment, the hardships and difficulties that we encounter along the way to enlightenment are nothing compared to the sufferings of the hell realms.

The sufferings that we experience now are very small and they can be endured. In fact, they are very easy to endure. An example of this is a doctor who treats his patients for serious illnesses. In order to remove the illness he might have to take blood from the body and test it. Some doctors might use a fire to burn a part of the body, or they may give injections. All of these kinds of treatments bring some form of harm or suffering, yet they will result in the relief of the severe illness in the long run. So, even though we know we are suffering now, we can endure it by thinking that we will benefit from it.

The sufferings that we encounter on the way to enlightenment are the sufferings of hardship, but they are comparatively small compared to the sufferings of the hell realms. In order to remove the sufferings of cyclic existence, we have to bear them.

If we can endure the suffering we are experiencing now — the suffering of travelling on the path to enlightenment — then we will eventually be able to eradicate the immeasurable suffering, not only of ourselves, but also of others.

Some very skillful doctors are able to treat their patients without causing them any pain. The Buddha also gives many different methods for us to be freed from suffering and from encountering many difficulties. Sometimes we encounter so many difficulties that we cannot bear another minute. Now, if you are unable to endure such hardships, I want you to stop for one minute.


If we are not familiar with the practice of giving, we should not do it right away. We should not give away things that will cause us to endure suffering. First of all, we should give away small things until we have become familiar with giving and then gradually start giving bigger and bigger things. Later, when we become comfortable with giving, we can give even of ourselves — our limbs and flesh. This will be just like giving somebody a portion of food.

In order to attain the state of enlightenment, we must apply the right methods. The Buddha said that these are not the methods used by ordinary doctors who cause pain to relieve diseases, but rather he showed us methods that free us from the sufferings of cyclic existence. These are the methods of abandoning the two extremes and abandoning the delusions, both of which cause us to wander in cyclic existence.

There are not too many hardships that we will encounter while we travel on the path to enlightenment, so there is no need to be frightened or to feel fear while travelling along that path.

In the beginning, it is a very difficult path to travel along. To engage in the deeds of the bodhisattvas we may be asked to sacrifice our limbs, our heads or our hands. To have fear of these hardships would make it very difficult for us to ever attain enlightenment.

Shantideva says that we do not have to undergo such hardships. If we are not familiar with suffering and are unable to bear it, then we should not have to do so. We can stop until we become completely familiar with a practice, then we will be able to do it easily. In this way there will be no hardships at all.

Initially, if we are unable to make big sacrifices, such as giving away big and valuable things, we should start with small things, such as a small portion of food, or things that are not held so importantly. Then very gradually we can progress to where we are totally familiarised with giving and then we can offer anything easily — even our own flesh.

Fasting Retreat

When the Buddha gave teachings on using effort, he said that when we apply right effort there is no hardship. By applying right effort, the mind is then able to do things very gently and with great delight. For example, if we apply right effort when doing the sessions in the fasting retreat, we will experience no hardship.

However, if we apply no effort and we do not have the mind that delights in performing virtuous deeds, then just doing one session will be the cause for much hardship. If there is no effort, there will be hardship, but if there is right effort, it will be very easy. For example, if while doing the session we think, “Oh, my visualisation is not very good. I cannot sit straight and I feel very sleepy,” and so on, there will be many hardships during that session. If we apply right effort and try to do everything with delight, then it will not feel like a hardship.

When we do the fasting retreat, we are told we will incur the karma to be reborn in the pure realm of Amitabha. Just thinking this way should be enough to stop any difficulties from arising, for example, by remembering this, how can we feel upset about not eating any food for one day?

However, this all depends on our state of mind. It is only from our mind that we experience suffering or happiness. For instance, during the fast in the retreat we should not stretch out our legs or arms, nor should we sleep with outstretched legs or arms.

If we go back and sleep after finishing a session, we will feel hunger later on and will have difficulty sleeping that night. This can bring other problems such as headaches, fever or it can even be a cause for hepatitis. Sleeping in between sessions can bring many problems. If we really are very tired, we can lie down for awhile, but then we should stand up and walk around. If we think that we will sleep only for a very short time, then that is OK. However, if we just lie down and go to sleep after every session, then that is no good at all.

If we go to sleep during the daytime, we will feel very bad when we finish the fasting retreat and will never want to do it again. However, if we do not sleep in the daytime, at night we will have a very nice sleep and in the morning we will feel very refreshed and then we will feel quite happy about continuing on.

Hungry Ghost Realm

As I said before, the Buddha was very skillful when he taught us how to practice generosity. He taught how to give away the small things that we do not hold so much attachment to. We should do this because if we give with miserliness we can’t give delightfully and then there is no right effort, as well as no generosity .

Miserly people can be taught to practice giving, for example, even if we cannot give to others, we can give to ourselves. For instance, if we have a thing in our right hand, we can give it to our left hand and then the left hand can give it to the right hand, and so on. This creates no problems because we are not really losing that thing. Even though we are giving, we are still receiving. However, doing this causes us to feel the delight and happiness of giving and receiving; the practice of generosity.

We may very well think that it is not too difficult to give to ourselves, but for some people this is very difficult. Some people just cannot give anything at all. Some people cannot even give away the things that they cannot use themselves, they keep them at all times. There are some types of beings who find it very difficult to give even a cup of water to others.

These kinds of people will take rebirth in the hungry ghost realm. The hungry ghosts have three kinds of knots in their throats and it is very difficult for them to swallow food or water. They have been born as hungry ghosts because they could not give anything to other people and they could not even use those things for themselves either.

Some people cause trouble by telling others who are trying to give something: “Oh, you should not give so much. That is far too much!” Or even: “You should not give anything at all!” By saying these things to others, we will take rebirth in the hungry ghost realm with the three knots in our throat.

Only one drop of water can go down the throat of a hungry ghost, because of the three knots. When lamas make torma offerings to hungry ghosts, they say: “…and I give you one drop of water,” because they can only swallow one drop of water, and if they take more it will cause many problems in their stomachs.

These hungry ghosts always say: “Don’t give a lot; give a little.” They recite this every day, just as we recite mantras.

If we are not skillful in practicing the Dharma or in actualising the path, things will become very difficult and we will have to endure many problems. However, if we practice with right effort, we will have no difficulties at all. When we know how to do the fasting retreat, we will have no problems and we will do it very happily. Therefore it is most important to know how to do it in the right way.

Bodhisattvas in Cyclic Existence

Bodhisattvas actually reside in cyclic existence, but this does not upset them. They do not feel any suffering, because they know how to live very gently. There is no rebirth for them while they reside in cyclic existence. They are not born into cyclic existence by the force of karma and delusions; they are here by the force of compassion.

Their birth is very different from ours and they do not have any regrets about being in cyclic existence, so it is for this reason that the bodhisattvas of the Mahayana path are superior to the hearers of the Hinayana path, as the hearers do not have this compassion.

Whenever the hearers take birth in cyclic existence, they do so out of karma and delusion. They have fear of undergoing the suffering of cyclic existence, so they cannot be encouraged to travel on the path of the bodhisattvas.

When bodhisattvas sacrifice their bodies out of compassion, they do not feel any form of suffering. They have abandoned all unwholesome actions of the three doors, so they have no suffering in their mind.

Bodhisattvas are those beings who have reached the higher level — they have reached the third ground of the third bhumi. They experience no suffering, even when their bodies are cut into pieces. This is true also for the high tantric practitioners. Even if somebody beats them with a stick, they do not experience any pain. This all depends on the mind.

Here I am explaining the application of right effort. Bodhisattvas make this kind of sacrifice and experience no suffering, because they do it all very happily and joyfully. The reason they experience no pain is because they do not hold the misconception of grasping at the self and they have not incurred any negative actions such as killing, etc. They do not have the concept of “my” body.

Once there was a bodhisattva called “The Always Crying Bodhisattva.” He wanted to go and receive teachings from another bodhisattva, who was his teacher. This bodhisattva was teaching on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.

The Always Crying Bodhisattva did not have any offerings to make to his teacher, so finally he decided to sell his body to collect the offerings. He shouted out in the middle of town: “Is there anybody who wants to buy my limbs or my body?” Nobody came to buy, but finally, an incarnation of Brahma came in the form of a human being and said: “I would like to buy your flesh and bones.”

When he heard that, the Always Crying Bodhisattva felt so happy and went down to the corner to start smashing his bones, for the sale. However, while he was doing this, some girls saw him and asked him why he was doing such a thing. They said: “It is very stupid to do that. Why are you torturing yourself?”

He said to them: “I am doing this so that I can sell this body and collect enough money to bring offerings to my teacher, so I can receive the teachings on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.” Then the girls asked him: “What are you going to do with this teaching?” He said: “By receiving this teaching, I can attain the thirty-two major marks and the eighty minor marks of a buddha.”

While he was doing this, he did it with such joy and also with great compassion, by thinking it would help him attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Therefore, he did not feel any suffering or any regret because he possessed the realisation of bodhicitta and great compassion.

The Always Crying Bodhisattva always seemed to be very poor, because he did not have any material things. Actually, he was not poor; he was very rich with the realisation of emptiness and bodhicitta. The reason he was always crying was because of not being able to see his teacher, not because he did not have any material things.

Milarepa also used to stay in a very poor condition. When people looked at him, they would feel most upset for him, thinking that he had a very ugly form. His condition was caused by eating too many nettles; his body had become green like the nettles. People thought that he was very skinny and very ugly and they thought he did not own anything, so they felt very sorry and upset for him. But Milarepa felt very sorry and upset for them, because they thought he was very poor and skinny.

Milarepa felt most upset for sentient beings, because he thought that sentient beings incur so much negative action just for the clothing and food of this life, and for that amount of negative action, they have to wander endlessly in cyclic existence.

Due to the power of bodhicitta, bodhisattvas can expel the non-virtues that they have incurred in the past and they can store the accumulation of merit and wisdom easily. This is why the bodhisattva path excels over the path of the hero.


— 法傑法師




















A deterioration in discipline is allowable, but never the view; discipline leads to higher realms, the view leads to the supreme stage.

— Aryadeva

Wishing all Hindu Brothers & Sisters a Happy Diwali!

Without Center or Limit
by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Mind is not a thing that has physical form, sound, smell, taste or texture. Mind is empty. Space is also empty. No matter where you go in space, there is no limit, no boundary, no edge. If you were to travel in a space ship in a single direction for a hundred billion years, you would not reach the end of space. It’s the same with the other directions — you can travel forever, and you’ll still never reach a place where space ends.

Now, how can something without limits have a center? It can’t, can it? That is why it is taught that space has no center and no edge. The Buddha used space to point at how mind is. He said that mind is empty like space: that just as space has no limits in any direction, mind has no center or edge. As a matter of fact, wherever there is space, mind is present. And Buddha taught that throughout space, wherever space reaches, there are sentient beings. And wherever there are sentient beings there are disturbing emotions and the creation of karma. And wherever there is the creation of disturbing emotion and karma, there is also buddha nature. The awakened mind of the buddhas is all-pervasive.

As sentient beings, we think, we remember, we plan — and the attention thus exerted moves towards an object and sticks to it. This mental movement is called thinking or conceptual mind. We have many different expressions in Tibetan to describe the functioning of this basic attitude of mind, of this extroverted consciousness unaware of its own nature. This ignorant mind grabs hold of objects, forms concepts about them, and gets involved and caught up in the concepts it has created. This is the nature of samsara, and it has been continuing through beginningless lifetimes up to the present moment.

All these involvements are merely fabricated creations; they are not the natural state. They are based on the concepts of subject and object, perceiver and perceived. This dualistic structure, together with the disturbing emotions and the karma that is produced through them, are the forces that drive us from one samsaric experience to another. Yet all the while, there is still the basic nature, which is not made out of anything whatsoever. It is totally unconstructed and empty, and at the same time it is aware: it has the quality of being able to cognise. This indivisible unity of being empty and cognisant is our original ground that is never lost.

What we are missing is the recognition that our natural state is the indivisible unity of emptiness and cognisance. We miss that recognition because our mind is always searching somewhere else. We do not acknowledge our actual cognisant presence, and instead are always preoccupied by looking elsewhere, outside of ourselves. And we perpetuate this process continuously. Shantideva said, “Unless you know the secret key point, whatever you do will miss the mark.” The secret key point of mind is that its nature is a self-existing, original wakefulness. To identify the key point we need to receive the pointing-out instruction, in which the master tells and shows us that: “The nature of your mind is the buddha mind itself.” Right now we are like the dim-witted person who lost himself in downtown Kathmandu, who runs around wailing, “I’ve lost myself. Where am I?” The pointing-out instruction is just like telling him, “You are you!” Through beginningless samsara, sentient beings have never found themselves until somebody says, “You are right here.” This is a metaphor for introducing the secret key point of mind.

If it weren’t for the buddhas’ teachings, all sentient beings would be totally lost, because they need to be pointed towards that basic ground which is always present, but never acknowledged. That is the purpose of the pointing-out instruction, literally, the “instruction bringing you face-to-face with your own essence.” This instruction is given impressive great names like Mahamudra, the Great Middle Way (Madhyamika), or the Great Perfection (Dzogchen). All of these teachings point towards the same basic nature. They are the exact opposite of the conceptual thinking that holds a subject and object — the dualistic frame of mind that is unaware of its own nature.

Our mind is spacious, wide-open and empty, yet it still feels pleasure and pain.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can know our own nature. We can realise it by applying the pith instructions of Mahamudra, the Great Middle Way, and the Great Perfection. Even though our nature is primordially enlightened, we are oblivious to that fact. Therefore we need to become reenlightened. First we need to recognise; next, train in that recognition; and finally, attain stability. Once we are reenlightened, we no longer need to wander in samsara.

The buddha nature is the very identity within which the body, speech, mind, qualities and activities of all buddhas are complete. The unchanging quality is called the vajra body, the unceasing quality is called the vajra speech, and the undeluded quality is called vajra mind. The indivisible unity of the three is exactly what is meant by buddha nature. It is out of the expression of these that the body, speech and mind of all beings appear. In fact, the body, speech and mind of any sentient being have the same origin as the body, speech and mind of the awakened ones. Body, speech and mind cannot come from earth, or stone, or matter.

Not recognising in our own experience the unchanging quality of this buddha nature, we entered into the encasement of a physical body of flesh and blood. Our speech became wrapped within the movement of breath to become voice and words. It appears and disappears. Consciousness began to hold a perceiver as separate from the perceived. In other words, it became a fixation on duality, a stop-and-start process that arises and ceases in each moment. Thoughts come continuously, one after the other, like an endless string. This endless string of thought has continued from beginningless time and just goes on and on. That is how the normal state of mind is. If we don’t now recognise our own nature in this lifetime, we fail to capture our natural seat of unchanging, self-existing wakefulness. Instead, we chase after one perishing thought after the other, like chasing after each new bead on the string. This is how samsara becomes endless. While we are governed by this involvement in thought, we are truly helpless.

Who can stop samsara for us? There is nobody but ourselves. Even if all the sentient beings of the six realms were lined up and you cried, “Please, help me, so I can stop being overpowered by my own thinking!” — even then, not a single one of them could help. How sad that we are controlled by this involvement in thought, day and night, life after life! We could try to blow up a nuclear bomb to stop samsara, but it still wouldn’t help. Nuclear bombs can destroy cities, even countries, but they cannot stop the mind from thinking. Unless we become free of conceptual thinking, there is absolutely no way to end samsara and truly awaken to enlightenment.

Great peace is when the conceptual thinking subsides, calms down. There is a way for that to happen. Thoughts are actually an expression of the buddha nature. They are expressions of our natural face. If we truly recognise buddha nature, in that very same moment, any thought will vanish by itself, leaving no trace. This is what brings an end to samsara. There is a supreme method to do this. Once we know that method, there is nothing superior we need to know. This way is already at hand in ourselves. It is not something that we need to get from someone else — it is not something we need to buy, bribe, or search for and finally achieve. Such effort is not necessary at all. Once you recognise your own natural face, you have already transcended the six realms of samsara.

What is the method? It is what one asks for when requesting a master to give instructions on how to recognise mind essence and train in it. Our mind essence is incredibly precious. It is the natural inheritance we possess right now. Receiving teachings on how to recognise the essence of mind and correctly apply them is called “the Buddha being placed in the palm of your own hand.” That analogy means that at the moment of being introduced and recognising, you don’t have to seek for the awakened state somewhere else. Line up all the money, all the wealth in the whole world in one big heap and put it on one side. On the other side put the recognition of buddha nature, the nature of your own mind. What is most valuable? If you are going to somehow compare the two, I can promise you that recognising mind essence, the “amazing buddha within,” is more valuable, a billion times more valuable.

What is of true value? We need to think about this for ourselves. When we do business and make a profit, we rejoice. If we have a loss, we fall into despair. Let’s compare our business capital to our buddha nature, which is like a wish-fulfilling jewel. If we don’t use this wish-fulfilling jewel, endless samsara lies before us. Isn’t it just incredibly stupid to throw away our fortune — and troublesome as well? We need to think about this. I am not reciting this from memory. It is not a lie either. This is the real, crucial point. If we didn’t have a buddha nature, nobody could blame us.

But we do have buddha nature, a buddha nature that is the identity of the three kayas [bodies] of all buddhas. However, as Jamgon Kongtriil said:

Although my mind is the Buddha, I don’t recognise it.
Although my thinking is dharmakaya, I don’t realise it.
Although nonfabrication is the innate, I fail to sustain it.
Although naturalness is the basic state, I am not convinced.
Guru, think of me. Quickly, look upon me with compassion!
Bless me so that natural awareness is liberated into itself.

In this world, nothing is more essential than mind, except for one thing: the nature of this mind, buddha nature. All sentient beings have this nature, without a single exception. This buddha nature is present in everyone, from the primordial buddha Samantabhadra down to the tiniest insect, even the smallest entities you can only see through a microscope. In all of these, the buddha nature is identical. There is no difference in size or quality — not at all. Buddha nature never differs in terms of quality or quantity. It is not like Samantabhadra has a large buddha nature and a small insect has a small one, or that the Buddha has a superior buddha nature and a fly an inferior one; there is no difference at all.

We need to distinguish between mind and mind essence. The mind essence of sentient beings and the awakened mind of the buddhas is the same. Buddhahood means to be totally stable in the state before dualistic thought occurs. A sentient being like ourselves, not realising our essence, gets caught up in our own thinking and becomes bewildered. Still, the essence of our mind and the very essence of all awakened buddhas is primordially the same. Sentient beings and buddhas have an identical source, the buddha nature. Buddhas became awakened because of realising their essence. Sentient beings became confused because of not realising their essence. Thus there is one basis or ground, and two different paths.

Mind is that which thinks and remembers and plans all these different thoughts that we have. It is the thinking that perpetuates samsara. Samsara will go on endlessly unless the thinking stops. Thought in Tibetan is called namtok. “Nam” means the object, what is thought of. “Tok” means to make ideas and concepts about those objects. Namtok is something that mind churns out incessantly, day and night. A buddha is someone who recognises the essence itself, and is awakened through that. A sentient being is someone who doesn’t, and who is confused by his or her own thinking. Someone who has failed to recognise the essence of mind is called a sentient being. Realising the nature itself and becoming stable in that realisation is called a buddha.

True virtue, real goodness, is created through recognising our buddha nature, our natural state. Recognise your mind, and in the absence of any concrete thing, rest loosely.

In short, the nature of this mind is empty in essence; it is like space. Because it has no form, no smell, no taste, sound or texture, it is completely empty. It always was, primordially. In being empty, mind seems like space. But there is a difference: space is not conscious; it doesn’t feel pleasure or pain. Our mind is spacious, wide-open and empty, yet it still feels pleasure and pain. It is sometimes called the “ever-knowing, ever-conscious mind.” Whatever is present is known by mind.

When this mind is put to work, it can invent any possible thing, even nuclear bombs. Mind creates all these amazing gadgets — voice recorders, airplanes that can fly through the sky. These inventions don’t think, but they were created by the thinking mind. Sentient beings create the samsara that we have right now. The creation of samsara will not ultimately help us in any way.

Mind is invisible and intangible. That is why people don’t know it. That is why they wonder, “Have I really recognised this nature of mind?” If it were a concrete thing, scientists would have figured it out a long time ago. But it isn’t, so scientists don’t necessarily know what mind is. If they did, all scientists would be enlightened! But have you ever heard of scientists becoming enlightened through science? Sure, they know a lot of other things. They can make telephones that let you instantly talk to anybody anywhere in the world. And they can make machinery that flies hundreds of people together through the sky. They can drive trains directly through mountains. All this is possible. If mind is put to work, it is an inexhaustible treasure; but that still doesn’t mean enlightenment. When the mind is put to use for something and gets caught up in it, this does not lead to enlightenment. We need to know the essential nature of mind.

What is the way to dissolve thoughts, to totally clear them up and let them vanish? The Buddha had the technique on how to clear up thinking. That’s what the pointing-out instruction from a qualified master is for. When you go to school, you have to repeat the ABC’s back to the teacher so that he can be aware of whether you know the alphabet or not. Until one knows, one needs to be taught, to be shown. Until one fully knows mind essence, one needs a teacher. It’s as simple as that.

True virtue, real goodness, is created through recognising our buddha nature, our natural state. Recognise your mind, and in the absence of any concrete thing, rest loosely. After a while we again get caught up in thoughts. But, by recognising again and again, we grow more and more used to the natural state. It’s like learning something by heart — after a while, you don’t need to think about it. Through this process, our thought involvement grows weaker and weaker. The gap between thoughts begins to last longer and longer. At a certain point, for half an hour there will be a stretch of no conceptual thought whatsoever, without having to suppress the thinking.

The essence of mind that is primordially empty and rootless is unlike holding the idea of emptiness in mind, and it is not the same as the sustained attempt to feel empty. Neither of these helps much. By growing used to this natural, original emptiness again and again, we become accustomed to it. Then there will be a stretch throughout the whole day from morning to evening, which is only empty awareness untainted by notions of perceived objects or the perceiving mind. This corresponds to having attained the bodhisattva levels, the bhumis. When there is never a break throughout day and night, that is called buddhahood, true and complete enlightenment.

From the perspective of mind essence, the interruptions of thoughts are like clouds in the sky. The empty essence itself is like the space of the sky. Our cognisance is like sunshine. The sky itself never changes whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Similarly, when you realise the awakened state of the buddhas, all cloud-like thoughts have vanished. But the qualities of wisdom, meaning original wakefulness, are fully developed, fully present, even now when thoughts are present. We need to train in slowly growing more and more used to the recognition of mind essence. This will dissolve our negative karma and disturbing emotions. In this recognition it is impossible to be tainted by karma and emotions, just like you cannot paint mid-air.

When a strong wind blows, the clouds vanish and blue sky appears. Similarly, when the powerful wisdom that understand the nature of the mind arises, the dark clouds of ego disappear.

— Lama Thubten Yeshe







如果把我们一生的时间,比喻成一年,用植物的生长来比喻因果报应。那么今世造业今世就受报的,就好比春天播种秋天收获,在一年内就有收获,就有所见、有所感受。今世作善作恶要到后世才有报应的,就好比有的植物须要几年、几十年后才能收获果实,我们在第一年内当然就没有果实可收获。在一年之内对于收获之果见不到、感受不到,但是还是可以想像或推论,以后要过多少多少时间,一 定会有果实可以收获。造善恶业,在很短时间内就受到果报的,就好比种蔬菜在短短的十几天、几十天就可以收获到成果,这个收获的果报你很快就能看得到、感受得到,并且感觉得很真实。





过去生生世世中,善业积累的少,恶业累积得多,今生只要造稍许小恶业,也会招来苦果,而不见乐报。《中阿含-盐喻经》云:“犹如有人负他五钱,为主所缚,乃至一钱亦为主所缚。云何有人负他五钱,为主所缚?乃至一钱亦为主所缚? 谓负债人贫无力势,彼贫无力故,负他五钱,为主所缚,乃至一钱亦为主所缚。” 就是比喻,虽然我们作了一些善业,但是还抵不过以前所积累的恶业多,只要稍微有点过恶,我们也得受到恶报。因为,原先的恶报还未受尽,如今又恶上加恶,哪里还能得到善果呢!

过去生生世世中,善业累积的深厚,恶业累积的微薄,今生偶尔造了很大的业,暂时也不会受到恶报,因为他的善报还未享尽,恶报在今生又不能成熟,所以我们看到的是他在享受乐报,看不见他的 恶果。正如《中阿含-盐喻经》云:“犹如有人虽负百钱,不为主所缚,乃至千万亦不为主所缚。云何有人虽负百钱,不为主所缚?乃至千万亦不为主所缚?谓负债人产业无量。极有势力。彼以是故。虽负百钱。不为主所缚。乃至千万亦不为主所 缚。”

通常情况下,是先造的业先受报,后造的业后受报。比如你先造了恶业,那你就先受恶报;如果你先造了善业,那就先受善报。就好象同样的农作物先播种的先收获,后播种的后收获。再就是,业果成 熟的因缘先具足的先受报,后具足的后受报。如果我们所造的恶业,恶果成熟的因缘具足了,善果成熟的因缘还不具足,那我们就得先受恶报;我们所造的善业,善果成熟的因缘具足了,恶果成熟的因缘还不具足,那我们就得先受善报。



佛菩萨的智慧不是凡夫能够测度的,佛菩萨的慈悲是无量无边的,当一个恶业众生有稍许的善根,有回头的希望,佛菩萨也会给予保护,时时赐予福利,一次又一次地给众生创造机会,只不过是希望, 他们能够回头,能够改过向善,能够觉悟修行,能够减少痛苦!佛菩萨如此的慈悲照顾,在不可思议的情况下,他们可转变恶业而受福果(就看不到恶报了)。我们看《地藏菩萨本原经》在《分身集会品》中叙述到的,“尔时诸世界分身地藏菩萨,共复一形涕泪哀恋白其佛言,我从久远劫来蒙佛接引,使获不可思议神力具大智慧。我所分身遍满百千万亿恒河沙世界,每一世界化百千万亿身,每一身度百千万亿人,令归敬三宝,永离生死至涅槃乐,但于佛法中所为善事,一毛、一渧、一沙、一尘,或毫发许,我渐度脱使获大利。唯愿世尊不以后世恶业众生为虑。” 有这个不可思议的因缘之故,我们看不到某些造恶业众生的恶果,只看见他们的福报。




大家也许会说,谁不晓得什么是善什么是恶,善恶我们都知道呀!当然善与恶的表面现象谁都晓得,可是我们有的时候,对善恶业的内在意义容易忽略掉,对善恶业的前因后果分析得不够彻底,对善恶业的真实相状了解得不够完全。并不是说我们一点也不知道善与恶,不是说我们连基本的善恶都不清楚,而是说我们容易被表面现象所蒙蔽,见解就会有偏差,行动也就产生了错误。因为我们对于善恶业的意义不够明确,而使我们本来想做的善事,最后却成了恶事得到了恶果;同样是 因为不明确善恶业的真实意义,我们把别人做的恶事当成是善的,把别人做的善事当成是恶的,他们所得到的结果与我们的观点有出入,所以就误认为人世间没有什么善恶。




Even though they are not Āryas, offerings to one’s parents or the sick, to Dharma teachers or bodhisattvas in their final birth, are without measure.

— Vasubandhu

Do Not Entertain Violence
by Gelek Rimpoche

It is very common knowledge, no mystery, what violence and non-violence are. But there is much more to violence than the physical, such as verbal and emotional violence and abuse. All kinds of things are there which are equally hurtful and painful. Sometimes it is even part of the culture for people to do it. Intelligent and younger people, such as your selves, may not do it. But if you look at the older society, sometimes they look down on women or kids or different races. Racism, etc., are actually violence.

How sophisticated and detailed it is – as you all know. You always have to be aware of it and move through it. Particularly, when you are moving through with violence, sometimes some cultures will do something funny. Some abuses may not even be recognised as abuse by a certain culture. We see it all the time everywhere. But you, an intelligent, great human being, have to be aware of it. If we don’t have the awareness, it is our fault. Even if we have awareness and cannot manage and are overtaken by addiction, then it is the addiction’s fault – which is our fault. We let ourselves be controlled by our addictions. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It should never occur.

We have to convince ourselves and make sure we don’t leave the dirty activities of violence for future generations to clean up. That’s what we are doing today and it’s not right. It is our mess and we have to clean it up. We have to make it right. I have to make it right, it is my mess. Whatever it takes, I have to do it. Likewise, it is our mess, we have to take responsibility. Making it right is one of the important points of non-violence.

Within non-violence, sometimes there is violence too. If you go into detail, there is. Even though the Gandhi movement tried to be totally non-violent, there were self-sacrifices many times. Watch the movie “Gandhi” you will see how many self-sacrifices they made. That is also violence. Harming yourself and harming others, all of it is violence. During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese monks burned themselves for the sake of the poor people, for the sake for their religion, for the sake of themselves. And it is not that this is not happening today. It is happening.

Whatever the purpose may be, the means should not justify the end. This is very dangerous. Many of us would like to justify the means because of the expected end result. That is sometimes very abusive and sometimes becomes very violent. It is done in the name of non-violence, in the name of a good purpose, good reason. We all have to be very alert to that. One should not sacrifice other people for your own personal comfort as well as making people suffer for saving one’s own embarrassment. All of those are violence to me.

If you look at it that way, it is very difficult for us to be free of violence. Violence comes here and there and it is like the iron dust picked up by a magnet. All will go to the magnet. As long as we have ego functioning within us we pick up all of those, like a magnet picks up metal dust. This has been harmful, is harmful and will be harmful. One should be very aware of it, as much as possible. It can never be perfect straight away, but do as much as you can. Try to improve day by day, because this is the essence of spiritual practice. This is the essence of virtue. This is the foundation of all development, joy, happiness.

We always make mistakes here, because of our addictions. This is how addictions are harmful. They are really cutting the life tree of spirituality within the individual. The root of your spirituality, the life of spirituality is severed by violence. Although it looks like you are hitting somebody, like you are the winner; but in reality we are losing. Whoever is engaging in violence in any form is losing and severing the life of spiritual development.

So it is really important. Please remember, violence is not simply using weapons. It is not simply physical. There is mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, verbal violence. In every part of our life there is violence and abuse. Luckily today everybody at least knows that rape is not good. There are cultures in which people do rape so much and they think they are doing great. To them, it is a matter of laughing about it.

But all of them are violence. Violence comes in a variety of ways. We entertain them with a variety of excuses and finally, it severs the head of your spiritual tree. If it is like a banana tree and when you lose your head once it won’t grow again. So it is really important. You need awareness, alertness, and conscientiousness. We should bring them all together and keep our violence down.