Monday, May 21, 2012

Class 17 - Analogies for Jewel, Common Yana, conclude General Meaning

Download PDF's of Class Handouts, Notes, and MP3 Tracks from the 17th class of Spring 2012 term held on Monday, May 21. [No class was held on Friday, 5/18, so that Geshe-la could serve as translator for Denma Locho Rinpoche’s Chenrezig initiation at Tushita.]

DOWNLOAD Handouts - text for Class 17:

Handout 14 - General Meaning's 5 Topics that explain Three Refuge Objects:  #3 -  Difference between a Conventional & Ultimate Refuge, cont.:  Debate re meaning of Conventional Refuge objects per Nagarjuna 's Fundamental Wisdom (Mulamadhyamikakarika) & Asanga's Great Commentary of the Uttaratantra."  4 Syllogisms (Maitreya's Sublime Continuum (Uttaratantra): reasons why a particular object of refuge is Conventional, not Ultimate.  #4 - Meaning of the word 'Jewel' - དཀོན་མཆོག་:  citing points of Gyaltsab Je's Commentary on the (Maitreya's) Uttaratantra verse re I. rarity, II. purity, III. power of Refuge Jewels.

Handout 15 - General Meaning's 5 Topics that explain Three Refuge Objects:  #4 - Meaning of the word 'Jewel' - དཀོན་མཆོག་: citing points of Gyaltsab Je's Commentary on the (Maitreya's) Uttaratantra verse of 6 qualities:, cont.: IV. ornaments of the world, V. foremost and VI . do not change by praise or criticism. #5 - How one should take refuge from viewpoint of common and uncommon vehicles & latter’s 4 superior qualities.  Seven Outstanding Benefits of Taking Refuge. Eight sets of Pratimoksha vows.  “If the merit of taking refuge had a form ...”  Concludes General Meaning’s presentation of Three Objects of Refuge.

ALL SPRING 2012 PDF Handouts are HERE.

Track 1 - Review Spring 2012 – REFUGE (Lam Rim Chen-mo material)

  • Three types of Faith (emotional states) based on Reasoning - Aspiring Faith, Faith of Conviction and Inspired Faith.   
  • Generating Faith by Understanding Good Qualities of Refuge Jewels.
Reflections on Guru Devotion.

Track 2 - Review, cont. - Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s General Meaning textbook on the Ornament for Clear Realizations:

I.  Causal Refuge and Resultant Refuge
  • 2 types of Refuge & 3 types of Faith. 
  • Resultant Refuge – Three Vehicles or One Final Vehicle.
II.  Two versions of Shakyamuni Buddha’s Life Story (Bodhisattva Vehicle & Fundamental Vehicle).
Per Bodhisattva (Sanskrit) Vehicle:                          Per Fundamental (Pali) Vehicle:

                                                       Became Enlightened:
Aeons ago                                                              2,500 years ago in Bodhgaya.

                                                        Was Born as a:
Supreme Nirmanakaya who manifested                   Bodhisattva sentient being whose
‘faults’ while enacting the Deeds of a Wheel          ignorance was genuine.
Turning Buddha.

III.  Eight Qualities of Each Jewel described by Maitreya

   Conventional Refuge & Ultimate Refuge vis-à-vis conventional [kun dzob - ཀུན་རྫོབ་] and ultimate

  Meaning of Tibetan term (དཀོན་མཆོག་) used for Three Jewels (Ratna)

IV.  Maitreya explains the meaning of “Jewel” by way of Six Analogies in Uttaratantra (Sublime Continuum).

First two analogies:  1) Rare, 2) Free of Defilement.

1.  “Just as the occurrence of wish-fulfilling gems in this world is rare, the occurrence of the Three Jewels is rare.”

  Few are interested in Buddha Dharma
[C]ountless sentient beings do not have the root virtue to encounter the Three Jewels. Therefore, having encountered the Three Jewels we should make a great effort to properly take refuge and practice the teachings. 
                    - Gyaltsab Je's Commentary on the Uttaratantra

2.    “Just as wish-fulfilling gems are free from defilements such as dust, the Three Jewels are free from faults.”  Therefore, Gyaltsab Je's Uttaratantra Commentary says:
The Three Jewels are the perfect refuge. Thus, we should not rely on other refuges such as worldly deities, etc.
This is not a prohibition against relationship with non-Buddhist religious practices, etc., only a caution that they are not methods for attaining enlightenment since they have other goals, e.g., the goal of Christianity is to attain higher rebirth.

Review concludes.

Track 3 - Maitreya’s Six Analogies for “Jewel”, cont. [HANDOUT 15]

3.  “Just as wish-fulfilling gems possess the power to alleviate poverty, the Three Jewels possess the power to eradicate disciple's suffering.”

4.  “Just as wish-fulfilling gems are ornaments of the world, the Three Jewels are ornaments for those striving for liberation.”

According to Gyaltsab Jey, the Three Jewels are “ornaments for the world” because they “are not only able to take us to higher rebirths, liberation, and Buddhahood, but also to assist us in accomplishing worldly activities.”

E.g., as a by-product by cherishing others and wishing for happiness in future lives, we gain more happiness in this life.

5.  “Just as wish-fulfilling gems are foremost among gems, the Three Jewels are foremost among objects of refuge.”

Per Gyaltsab Jey, #5 is similar to #2 above, suggesting that if our goals are not self-liberation or enlightenment other traditions may be effective.

6.  “Just as wish-fulfilling gems do not change through being praised or criticized, the Three Jewels do not change through being praised or criticized.”

Per Gyaltsab Jey, this teaches that “the Three Jewels benefit sentient beings indiscriminately”.

“Common Vehicle” practices of Refuge.
Discussion:  Are Tibetan Mahayanists chauvinists if they assert superiority of Mahayana Refuge?  Do Westerns who assert that being overly P.C. or lacking in cultural/historical sensitivity?

Mahayana Refuge distinguished from Common Vehicle Refuge by four qualities per Panchen Sonam Drakpa [based on Ornament of the Mahayana Sutra - Mahayana-sutralamkara – taught by Maitreya to Asanga]:
Since the Mahayana [refuge] is foremost
Due to the natural categorization of the four qualities of
Being all-inclusive, considering, realizing, and outshining
That which is well taken refuge in is called 'the foremost object of refuge.
Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s summation: “Therefore, it is important to understand that our refuge must be induced by an understanding of the numerous qualities of our objects of refuge.”

Track 4 - Conclusion of General Meaning’s presentation of Refuge:

Udbhata Saddhasvamin’s Praise of the Exalted One (Visesa-stava)
  • Seven Outstanding Benefits of taking Refuge in the Three Jewels.
  • Taking Refuge is the Root of the Eight [sets of] Self-Liberation Vows.
  • Eight sets of Pratimoksha [Self-Liberation] Vows.

NOTES of Class 17 (May 21) rough draft transcript of class offered for what it's worth.  

If any of the LINKS don't work, please leave a COMMENT or notify us by E-Mail.
This is the 17th class of the Spring 2012 term Perfection of Wisdom course
which addresses Refuge, the 3rd sub-topic of the 2nd Topic
(Mahayana Practice Instructions) of Chapter 1 of Maitreya's
Ornament for Clear Realizations - Abhisamayalamkara.

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