January 27, 2019

The Innermost Esoteric Teachings


Buddha Vajrasattva said that all things are intrinsically pure. If one fully realizes that, how would they decide what activities to do or not do?

The upadesha instructions proclaim that once you fully recognize that truth, then it doesn’t matter what activities you do. Since everything is divinity and holiness regardless of what you do, there is no karma created by activities either. This awakened buddha can do anything they want.

If a person attains understanding of the upadesha instructions, wouldn’t there still be effects of karma if they choose to feed their physical body as opposed to just letting it atrophy, for example?

According to the masters in the Nyingma school, if you attain the full transmission, which includes understanding of the upadesha, then you would be a fully enlightened being. You could manifest the body of light, dissolve your clunky body so you wouldn’t need to have a physical body. You could, however, choose to stay in a dense physical body and keep a karmic body and the karmic tendencies of your parents.

There may be beneficial reasons to keep a dense body. It can help a lot of people. It may not help the body’s owner, but he may do it for love of beings, like a bodhisattva. A master, a buddha, is also a bodhisattva: they have compassion for beings and can see that beings suffer, so they may stay in a body to help.

If a being is in the form of a cloud, clouds can’t really talk and interact, nor can they eat and have lunch with people. In a human body, however, they could have children, develop relationships and learn through those relationships.

You can be beyond karma, yet still go into karma and be involved with karma. You can do both. It means that you don’t become tainted. An example of that is Jesus of Nazareth. He became a physical person with a physical body, a karmic body, but didn’t become evil.

To go further, all of what seems to be karmic and impure doesn’t really exist as how you might think of it. The final meaning of emptiness is really going all the way through to the end of all things. Initially, you might learn from a materialist society that things you don’t like are emptiness. Eventually you can realize the things you like are emptiness, too. Now you are up to 80%, 90%, then you are up to 99%, but there are still many things to which you cling that you don’t really see as a magical display. The Mu koan and the no-blank exercise can be useful here.

You have the potential to create in such a way that you have full-on bliss, glory and wonder, a complete revelation of unbounded joy. The Buddha, when he became enlightened, hid his joy because he knew that people would be too attracted to him if he showed his glory right away. If he showed his magic, he would be spending all of his time trying to get away from dysfunctional people chasing after him, attempting to gain his power and magic. People are generally more interested in gaining power than they are in realizing meaning. Consequently, the Buddha hid his power, until he taught the Amitabha Sutra, at which time he went ahead and revealed that he was a magical being, and there are incredible, magical worlds. The Buddha taught everything else first to teach focus on discipline and clear-mindedness. Later, for example, when he taught about Amitabha and Amitayus, he didn’t teach it as utterly separate, but as still part of the Dharma.

An enlightened being, a buddha, then, seems to be able to go either way. They can stay in a regular karmic body, eat meals like a regular person, be a householder, have friends and even a family. Alternatively, they could ascend into heaven, like Yeshe Tsogyal and Padmasambhava, who dissolved into the sky and flew away. And then they could come back and be dense again should they wish.

How should you relate to magical beings? Don’t be naive about magic. Many people don’t believe in magical power. Some believe in magical power, but only regard materialistic power. They are devoid of the understanding of transcendence, ineffability, emptiness: sunyata. That element is missing, so they only believe in very dense magic, like trying to become a millionaire or a glamorous star through using magic.

If spiritual beings showed their magic to ordinary beings, it would just create all sorts of trouble. If a master such as Kuthumi showed his body to an ordinary person who lacked aspiration and the compassion element, that person would know that magic is definitely possible, and being ignorant, they would assume that the path is materialism. They would probably join psychic schools where they might learn how to develop astral bodies or selfish magical powers, which they might try to use to control people, which ends up causing a lot of problems.

According to the upadesha instructions, if someone attains the Dzogchen view, then whatever they do, they don’t create karma. If they choose to maintain a physical body, wouldn't that still be operating within cause and effect?

Yes, there is some cause and effect if they keep a karmic physical body. They, however, are not creating any new karma. It would be like having an old clock for thirty years which is starting to break and be off time. One day you just throw it out because it’s not keeping time anymore, and it’s not worth fixing. There is no significant karma created by throwing away the clock or by using it—no clinging to the clock, no karma!

You too can use this karma body. Let’s say you attain enlightenment, and you have a family and children. You may want to stay with that family and complete that life or help the many others you meet.

There are different opinions as to what can be done when a person dies: at the highest level a person attains the body of light. At the second highest level one attains the rainbow body. At the third highest, when one dies they are in a state of meditation for days. If their body is cremated quickly, basically they are awake while they are being cremated, but it probably doesn’t bother them, even though they might feel it.

Another opinion that makes sense, too, is that one has more dexterity to do whatever they want. If someone has been a human being for twenty, fifty, seventy years, they might decide to die like an ordinary human being. Shakyamuni Buddha pretended to be an ordinary human being when he didn’t have to. It was a choice. Masters sometimes do both regular body and body of light as great examples for advanced humanity: see Jesus or Padmasambhava.

The scriptures clearly state again and again that, out of compassion, bodhisattvas don’t do things only for themselves. They don’t go into heavenly states but remain in physical bodies so they can communicate with people.

If there is no new karma created, does that mean there is no new negative karma created?

Yes, there is no new negative karma created by keeping a physical body. Maybe your nose runs or you get a disease, but you are not creating negative karma anymore, which has to do with intention. Your intentions are all freed into pure creativity.

If a being has attained the Dzogchen view and would not create any new negative karma, what about new positive karma?

They might create some new positive karma. The Diamond Sutra says the karma of advanced beings is so good that it is beyond description. It is so huge that the whole universe isn’t large enough to contain the goodness that is created by understanding wisdom. In other words, the kind of karma that you are talking about is little karma. The Diamond Sutra is talking about mega-giant karma that is so vast it goes beyond all the mistakes you make. It is like the grace that Jesus talks about. It doesn’t matter if you’re the worst person who ever lived. The grace is much greater than that, so everything bad is corrected. All the negative karma is negated.

That is the true meaning of forgiveness. A person can’t forgive. One is forgiven through awakening to things as they actually are, which is embedded and clearly delineated in the utmost, secret, holy teachings. All you need to do is have faith in that. It doesn’t help to have a superficial faith, where you are trying to convince yourself. You actually have to get it. Even if you get it, there may be aspects of yourself, sub-personalities within your mind, that don’t quite get it, and they can move up through stages like mahaanusemde and longde until they can receive the upadesha instructions.

January 6, 2019

Can You Believe in Heavenly Worlds?

There are teachings called Pure Land teachings, as well as teachings about buddha fields. In the Bible are teachings about the kingdom of heaven and angels. In effect, they are all the same thing.

Most people can’t really see these buddha fields because they are obscured, but they could potentially. The beings who can see these fields are bodhisattvas, especially those in the upper parts of the bodhisattva levels. They are able to contact buddhas and interact with them without having a physical person there necessarily. They are telepathically connected to the buddhas, whereas most people on an earlier level need physical teachers to instruct them and be intermediaries between the buddhas and themselves.

The more beings see the masters, the more they can start to understand the pure realms where they live: heaven, Dewachen, Akanishta. There are countless names and countless realms. There is not just one realm; there are all sorts of creativities that occur out of pure potential, which is dharmata.

People have become used to samsara, so they think that samsara is what is. Consequently, they become engrossed in arenas such as politics and popular culture. They actually could awaken and be totally connected and enter the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven really is imposed and impacted here even within samsara, but beings don’t see it because of their marigpa, unenlightened state. Buddhas see heaven, but ordinary beings don’t because of their obscurations.

There are innumerable heavens, and some of them have purgatorial levels. In other words, certain beings like Amitabha set up systems. Another person who set up systems is Jesus Christ, so that some beings, who are disciples, could go into lower parts or certain sections of pure realms when they die. There they can work for a number of months, years, decades, even hundreds of years in an excellent environment where they can move through, attain enlightenment and rectify all the problems they have, instead of going into another samsaric lifetime like the last lifetime and the lifetime before that and the one prior to that. It’s not necessary to do that anymore. Beings can do two things: they can attain enlightenment and then they are done, or they can be in line to go into a pure land through their spiritual practice.

That is why it is so important that people have respect when they hear of the Pure Land teachings. Some people are very skeptical when they hear about heaven, buddha fields or pure lands. They doubt such positive worlds can exist. They think it is a fairy tale. But the pure heavenly lands are just as real as the sun, moon and stars. As beings aspire to join in Amitabha’s heaven, they also learn not to cling too much to a preconception of what that might be. But mainly, they lose the nihilism of believing only in the social construct of an earthly existence being the only possible one.

Most people aren’t going to do what it takes to attain enlightenment in this lifetime. But they could at least set themselves up so that they will attain enlightenment in a pure land. What an amazing deal that is, Lord Amitabha’s deal. They should buy into that system. If they can’t attain enlightenment in this life, this, then, is the deal of a lifetime! If they don’t quite have what it takes to attain absolute perfect enlightenment here and now, they still can aspire to bodhisattvahood and request to be reborn in a pure land where they will receive accelerated schooling right into enlightenment. Even if it takes a thousand years, they will be trained in a wonderful setting where things like food, drinks, smells, touch, water, gems, even locations may be used to gradually awaken them.

To go even further about buddha worlds, buddha lands and pure lands, the basis of everything as it exists is pure. The very beginning of the Bible discusses the mystery of the universe, that God created everything and it was good. It was all good, every bit of it. The mandala that was created is nothing but the bodies of buddhas and pure buddha activities, pure buddha materials and pure buddha elements, all absolutely intrinsically pure. That purity was never lost. Beings can return to that quite easily, but they have to overcome the faithlessness they have had for countless lifetimes.

People are rarely intelligent enough to be able to ascertain the meaning of profound teachings, even after hearing them ten times. They will need to keep listening to them again and again, a hundred times or even a thousand times, until they have that aha experience over and over, not just dozens of times, but thousands and thousands of times. It would be of great benefit to try to have a thousand awakening experiences every day. Just as there are a thousand awakening lights in Lovestream, if people have a thousand wakeup experiences every day, they will make some serious headway.

All lands are ultimately pure lands. All the different realms and everything that was created was absolutely and intrinsically pure originally. Everything that exists, even samsara, is a display of these buddha lands on some level. However, because beings became confused, marigpa, they still need to aspire to bodhisattvahood, the stage that brings them to buddhahood.

There are many different types of spiritual teachings, such as Pure Land Buddhism, which is very popular in China; Tibetan tantra; Zen of Japan; the Theravada of Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, to name only a few. Although there are many types of Buddhism, in the end they are all the same thing. They are all skillful means taught for people who have certain propensities to bring them upward.

At a certain point some people find out that there are pure worlds. Some people are doubtful, others intrigued. These teachings are for that latter person, who responds, “I’m interested. I want to go there. I want to experience these pure worlds.” There are worlds that are pure, and they are not a myth that somebody fabricated. They are of the original, pure wisdom of God; they are the pure localities as God created them. Buddha fields are the realized pure mandala of all localities, of worlds. The places in which beings live, should they be able to see them, are the buddha lands. The beings in them are buddhas.