Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scary Cold-Blooded creature demontrates Loving Gratitude

We may wonder, 'Can the cold blooded reptiles amongst us feel love?' 

Check out this story & video here for a convincing demonstration that Crocodiles remember kindnesses shown to them and return loving, affectionate gratitude!

 For a Costa Rican fisherman named Chito, his best animal friend is a 17-foot long, 980-pound crocodile, named Pocho: 
Chito rescued Pocho the crocodile nearly 20 years ago in Costa Rica after finding him on the side of the road with a gunshot wound to the eye. Chito cared for the animal until it was healthy again, but when he tried to release Pocho back into the wild, the croc wouldn't have it. Apparently, Chito's affections won over the massive reptile, as it followed him back home, and has been with him in the two decades since.
Now the two are so comfortable that they play and swim together for tourists [see video] ... Although Chito confesses it took many years for him to feel safe fooling around with the dangerous creature, he is now able to roll around in the water with Pocho and have fun, as though the croc were a pet dog.
Huffinton Post (9-29-2010) from MSNBC Today Show

Clearly Pocho the crocodile loves Chito, but one certainly cannot label Chito as the 'Master', nor Pocho as an 'owned pet'.

The video seems to convey a message from another Realm.  The link is posted here to encourage Equanimity, Love and Compassion for all sentient beings.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Sept 22 - Ch. 1, Abhisamayalamkara - Class 3

In the Third class of our Fall 2010 study of Bodhicitta (the First of the Ten Dharma Topics) presented in Chapter 1 of the Ornament for Clear Realizations, Ven. Kelsang Wangmo introduces the 10 Sub-Topics of the Mahayana Practice Instructions (which is the Second Dharma Topic of Chapter 1).

You can download MP3's from the third class of the Fall semester course on Chapter One of the Abhisamayalamkara  (the 41st class of 2010), held on Wednesday, September 22, by right clicking the links below.

Track 1 - Topics raised by Verses from Chandragomin Letter to a Disciple
  • First Noble Truth – Three Kinds of Suffering / Dukkha 
    • Suffering of Change (of Contaminated Pleasure) 
    • All Pervasive Suffering (of Compulsory rebirth with Contaminated Aggregates)
  • Second Noble Truth – Why Samsara (i.e., our Contaminated Aggregates) is 'in the nature of Dukkha'
  • Generating Bodhicitta & the First Two Noble Truths
    Generating Bodhicitta & Renunciation
Track 2 - Introduction to Chapter One of the Ornament
  • Ancient Indian Treatises
  • Ornament for Clear Realizations, an ancient treatise
Track 3 -
  • What are the Ten Dharmas (Ten Topics) of Chapter One?
  • How these Ten Dharmas (Topics) are related to the Omniscient Mind
  • Presenting the Ten Dharmas Illustrates the Omniscient Minda.  
    • Only an Omniscient Mind can be the object possessor of the Ten Dharmas 
    • Ten Dharmas are the Causes and Conditions that produce the Omniscient Mind
  • First Dharma/Topic - Bodhicitta
  • Second Dharma/Topic – Mahayana Practice Instructions & their Ten Sub-Topics
  • Entity of Practice
  • Objects of practice:  Conventional Truth or Ultimate Truth
  • Analytical Meditation
Track 4- Ten Sub-Topics of the Mahayana Practice Instructions (Second Dharma Topic, Chapter 1
  • 1st SubTopic of Mahayana Practice Instructions - the TWO TRUTHS 
  • Meditating on Three Types of Bodhicitta – Not all Accord with Reality
  • Q & A

Track 5 -
  • 2nd  Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions - FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS 
    • Fundamental Vehicle Path 
    • Studying the Four Noble Truths
  • 3rd Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions - REFUGE

Track 6 -
  • 4th thru 6th Sub-Topics of Mahayana Practice Instructions - THREE TYPES OF DILIGENCE
  • 7th Sub-Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions  - FIVE KINDS OF VISIONS
  • 8th Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions - SIX CLEAR PERCEPTIONS
  • 9th and 10th  Topics of Mahayana Practice Instructions - Path of Seeing & Path of Meditation 
    • Path of Seeing - 9th Sub-Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions
    • Path of Meditation - 10th Sub-Topic of Mahayana Practice Instructions

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Sept 20 - Ch. 1, Abhisamayalamkara - Class 2

Introduction to Fall 2010 Advanced Buddhist Course (paraphrase of Ven. Kelsang Wangmo's opening remarks to this class):
The actual text we are studying this Fall 2010 is the First Chapter of the Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) by Maitreya.  Even if you haven’t attended the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy classes at IBD before, the Ornament  covers different subjects and each subject is a unit in itself.  Naturally, having knowledge of what we studied in April through June is helpful (and hopefully more of those classes will be posted here soon).  Nevertheless, there’s still a lot you can get out of each of the topics.

The first Topic we’ll discuss is Bodhicitta, and then we’ll study the Two Truths (Ultimate and Conventional), the Four Noble Truths (and the remaining Ten Topics of Chapter 1).

Class Structure:  At the beginning of each class, [Gen Kelsang Wangmo] will read some lines from texts by important Indian or Tibetan scholars-saints (on topics such as precious human rebirth, karma, death and impermanence) and share some commentary.  The purpose of beginning class with such homilies is to 'set our motivation, to get us into a dharmic mode' before we turn to the subjects of the Ornament.

You can download MP3's from the second class of the Fall semester course on Chapter One of the Abhisamayalamkara  (the 40th class of 2010), held on Monday, September 20, by right clicking the links below.

Track 1 - Introduction to Fall 2010 Advanced Buddhist Philosophy Course at IBD (see above).
  • Verses from the Jewel Ornaments of Liberation by the great Kagyu master Gampopa:
Just like an arrow shot by a skillful archer, as soon as the string is released, it does not stay but quickly reaches its target.  So also is the life of all humans.  
Causes of death are numerous.  Causes of life are few.  Even they may become causes of death.
  • Impermanence/Remembering Death. 
  • Three Types of Buddhist Practitioners. 
  • Suffering of Change (Contaminated Pleasure)
  • Purpose of this Buddhist study:
"The purpose of study in this course: To investigate causes, to determine why things occur, to understand how our own minds work and the situations we find ourselves in now. ... The Buddha said everything is in the nature of suffering — it’s to be investigated whether that’s true. [O]n a certain level is there always a sense of suffering (discomfort, dissatisfaction, dukkha)?

"The happiness we experience right now is just the temporary stopping of an un-pleasurable situation. That’s why we can’t sit for a long time. We may be really comfortable now, but that will last for just a short time. We will need to move after awhile because it gets uncomfortable. We have to be constantly moving; we can never stay still because we have to change the external situations. At some point we need to sleep, eat, walk, sit down again … we're constantly moving.

"We can’t just stay in one place physically. And mentally, my gosh! Just try, it is impossible. Our minds are racing form one pleasure to the next, which then get boring, and then to the next and next. Because all of these phenomena are in the nature of suffering. This isn't something to be terribly depressed about it, but that’s just the way it is. Check it out, you’ll come to see that this is the case.

"And there is a cause ... Otherwise, if there wasn’t a cause, better not to mention it; it’s so negative. The reason we talk about it, is that there is a cause that can be removed. We don’t have to suffer in such ways. ..."
  • Analytical Meditation and this course:
"When we study Buddha’s teachings, the point is to go through a guided analytical mediation. It is not supposed to be some sort of academic brain game. What I would ask you to do in class is to listen with a very critical mind, a very active analytical mind. Buddhist study is supposed to be analytical mediation. Who are the meditators? You are the meditators. So you listen, and then contemplate, investigate; and in this way, meditate. ... That which you’ve learned, i... you can actually change you behavior. Through familiarization you change your way of thinking and acting. That is mediation. ..."
  • Logical Valid Reasoning - Essential to stop suffering.
  • Format of Tibetan Monastic Studies & this Course.
  • Analytical Meditation Training

Track 2 - Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations - Abhisamayalamkara

The Ornament was composed around the 4th century, around 900 years after the Buddha’s passing away.  All of the Lam Rim texts, all of the Mahayana texts (not not solely devoted to explicitly teaching Emptiness) are based on this text.  If you read the scriptures, you will see they always contain references to the Ornament.

In the classes held from April through June, 2010, we covered topics from the Preface to the Ornament:  topics raised in the verses of Praise (Maitreya's homage to the three types of wisdom), Promise to Compose &:Purpose, summary of the Eight Clear Realizations and the Seventy Topics covered in the eight chapters of the Ornament.
  • Omniscient Mind is the Subject of the  Chapter 1 of the Ornament
    • Role of Faith in Buddhism.  
    • Subtle Clear Light Mind - basis for developing Omniscient mind.  
    • Imprints of Karma (actions of Body, Seech & Mind)
Track 3 - Ten Dharmas (Ten Topics) in Chapter 2 explain the Omniscient Mind
  • Topic 1 - Bodhicitta
    • Buddhism & Modern Science
  • Meaning of Path in Buddhism
    • Method Path & Wisdom Path
      • Definition of Love in context of Puddhist Path
      • What is a Wisdom?
        • Coarse & Subtle Impermanence
        • Impermanence - proof that Attachment is Delusion
Track 4 - Benefits of Generating Bodhicitta
  • Wish to 'Benefit All Sentient Beings'
  • Having Generated Bodhicitta
Track 5 - Q & A - Subtle Clear Light Mind

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 Sept 13 - Ch. 1, Abhisamayalamkara - Class 1

The subject matter of the first Chapter of the Ornament for Clear Realizations by Maitreya is taught in the Third Year of the Perfection of Wisdom course at IBD as part of its Five Great Canonical Texts (geshe) curriculum. In the 38 preceding classes held in 2010, Ven. Kelsang Wangmo has reviewed the topics raised in the First and Second Years of this course (extensively presented in 2007 and 2008 classes).

In this introductory class Ven. Kelsang Wangmo reviews subjects covered in the preface of the Ornament for Clear Realizations by Maitreya and introduces the First Chapter subjects:  the Clear Realization of the Omniscient Mind and its related Ten Topics.

You can download MP3's from the 39th class of 2010, held on Monday, September 12, by right clicking the links below.  The Tracks are divided to ease both downloading and listening.

Track 1 - Overview of the prefatory Ornament text: 
                What Buddha Taught.  Shastras - Qualified Indian commentaries.

Track 2 - Wisdom [not Emptiness] is the Main Topic of the Ornament:  

  • What is the difference between Wisdom and Emptiness?  What is 'Lack of Duality'.
  • Three Knowers - three types of Wisdom, the Three Mothers praised in the Homage:
  •   Eleven Mother and Six Daughter Perfection of Wisdom sutras were translated into Tibetan.
  •   The Ornament is based on three of the Mother Sutras [PDF download: Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in 8,000 Lines, translated by Edward Conze].

Track 3 - Categorizing 'Sutra' - Speech of the Buddha, Sutra & Tantra, Three Baskets.

   Subjects of the Preface to the Ornament:

  • Homage to the Three Types of Wisdom
  • Promise to Compose & Purpose of Composition
  • Summary of the Eight Clear Realizations addressed in Eight Chapters on the and their 70 Topics.
  • Relationship between the Eight Clear Realizations and the 70 Topics?
  • Clear Realization of Chapter 1:  Omniscient Mind (Knower of All Aspects): Difference between Buddha, Enlightenment & Omniscience?
  •  Buddha, a person, and the Omniscient Mind are impermanent.
  •  Enlightenment of Buddhahood (cessation of Innate Obstructions to Omniscience that remain after Liberation of Arhat (cessation of all Afflictive Obstructions & Intellectually Acquired Cognitive Obstructions), i.e., Enlightenment & Liberation are permanent phenomena.
Track 4 - Obstructions to Liberation & Enlightenment per Middle Way-Autonomy/Svatantrika & Middle Way-Consequentialist/Prasangika tenets.

   Afflictive Cognitive & Cognitive Obstructions - Innate & Acquired:
  •   Four Possibilities between Cognitive Obstruction & Innate Obstruction.
  •   Cognitive Obstructions:  Innate & Intellectually Acquired. 
  •   Afflictive Obstructions:  Per Middle Way-Autonomy tenets (can be both Innate & Intellectually Acquired)
Per Middle Way tenets, generally:  
  • Affictive Obstructions are obstructions to Self-Liberation; 
  • Cognitive Pbstructions are obstructions to Enlightenment.
Per Middle Way-Autonomy-Svatantrika tenets:  
  •      Afflictive Obstructions include 'grasping onto the Self as being Self-Sufficient (in the sense of being Substantially Existent'.
  •      Cognitive Obstructions include Innate & Intellectually 'grasping after True Existence'.
Per Middle Way-Consequentialist-Prasangika tenets:
  •    'Grasping after True Existence' is an Afflictive Obstruction, which must removed, along with the Intellectually Acquired Cognitive Obstructions, in order to attain the Liberation of an Arhat.
  •    Innate Cognitive Obstructions to Omniscience are 'Imprints' - explained.

Track 5 - Omniscient Mind, the Clear Realization explained in Chapter 1 along with Ten Topics that explain its Causes and Conditions of arisal .

  •   Bodhicitta - the First Topic of Chapter 1.  Questions course will address.  Why important.
  •   Buddha Nature:        
    • In Sutra (a subject of First Chapter):  Buddha Nature refers to the Emptiness of the Mental Consciousness.
    • In Tantra:  Buddha Nature refers to the subtle Clear Light Mind.
  •     Importance of personal Experience in motivating our dharma practice:
  •     Near Death Experience.
Track 6
  • Ven. Wangmo recounts personal experience flying from Germany to Delhi in September 2010:  the death of middle aged Indian man and his wife's tremendous grief . . .
  •     Tibetan meditators' practice of Post-death Clear Light meditation.
  •     Debates re Object of an ordinary Clear Light mind.

Prefatory verses referenced above from Root Text of Maitreya's Abhisamayalamkara / Ornament of Clear Realization:

Homage[To] that which through the Exalted Knower of All leads Hearers seeking pacification to peace; which through the Exalted Knower of Paths causes those [who] help migrating beings to achieve the aims of the world; and through the perfect possession of which the Subduers set forth these varieties having all aspects -- To the Mothers of the Buddhas, as well as [of] the host of Hearers and Bodhisattvas, I pay homage. 

Promise to Compose and Purpose of Composition:  The path of the exalted knower of all aspects itself, explained by the Teacher in these [mothers], is not experienced by others. In order for the intelligent to behold the meaning of the sutra which is the entity of the ten Dharma practices, through establishing mindfulness [on them], the so-called 'easy realization,’ is the purpose of [my] composing [the Ornament].

Summary of the Eight Clear Realizations explained in Chapters 1-8:  The Perfection of Wisdom is perfectly explained by the eight categories.  …The very exalted knower of all aspects, the very knower of paths itself, then the very knower of all (i.e., Knower of Basis), clear complete realization of all aspects, gone to the peak, serially, clear complete enlightenment in one moment, and the truth body: these are the eight.

Summary of First Chapter's 10 TopicsMind generation, precepts, four types of limbs of definite discrimination, the nature of the expanse of phenomena, which is the support of achieving, referents, intent, armor, activities of engaging, collections, and definite issuance: these together are the Subduer’s very exalted knower of all aspects.  

Above excerpts of the Ornament's Root Text  are extracted from the Commentary Clarifying the Meaning of The ‘Ornament For Clear Realizations, A Treatise Of Oral Instruction On The Perfection Of Wisdom’ by Haribhadra, published by the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy 1998-1999.  (Hereafter, FPMT Root Text 1998-99.)  

    NO CLASS WED (9/15) & FRI (9/17), resumes MONDAY 20 SEPT 2010

    Due to a five-day teaching scheduled by H.H. Karmapa Rinpoche at Gyuto Monastery, which begins September 15th, we will not have class on Wednesday or Friday, September 15 and 17.  The second class of this term will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, September 20, 2010.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Class Announcement - Year Three / Chapter One Topics - FALL 2010 classes

    Course Schedule:  On Monday, September 13, 2010, class will reconvene at the main IBD building in the Tibetan Temple complex, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, after our monsoon break [even though the monsoon has not broken].  This segment of the course will conclude in mid-November 2010.

    Course Topics:  We will begin studying the 10 Topics Maitreya addresses in Chapter 1 of the Ornament for Clear Realizations.  These '10 Topics' concern paths/minds/realizations that must be developed in order to achieve the Omniscient Mind of a Buddha.  The comprehensive exposition of the Perfection of Wisdom course enables students to gain a more profound understandings of subjects that that are frequently alluded to in Dharma teachings and is the basis of the Lam Rim/Stages of the Path genre.

    Additionally, by studying the commentaries on the Ornament, which are presented from the point of view of the Middle Way-Autonomy (Madhyamika-Svatantrika) tenet system, students are prepared to study of the more subtle views of the Middle-Way-Consequentialist (Madhyamika-Prasangika) system.