Message from HH Phakchok Rinpoche

Even though he cancelled his Bangkok visit in May this year, many of you will remember His Holiness Phakchok Rinpoche. He has been to Bangkok several times. Below is a message he sent to his world wide followers:

Dear Dharma Friends,

First off, my deepest apologies for my very long silence. I hope you’ve all
been happy and healthy. I’m at the moment traveling between cities and today
being Guru Rinpoche’s Day and also by accident my birthday, I would like to
share with you a teaching that is very dear to my heart. A teaching given by
my grandfather many years ago.

It is to my hope that the teaching will have some positive impact on you on
this very special day.

Heart Advice from my grandfather, Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

This Precious Human Body:

The body we have right now is called the precious human body.  In this world
there are countless sentient beings and among all of them, the best one is
this precious human body, which is very hard to obtain again and again. It
is impossible to obtain a precious human body through demerit. It is only
through the accumulation of merits in your past lives and the residual of
incredible great positive karma that we can arrive in a body like this.
Having being born as a human is like arriving on an island of jewels. But if
we don’t take any of them and just keep our hands crossed and go home empty
handed, then what really is the point? So how do we make this precious human
birth meaningful? It is only through practicing the spiritual path that one
can make this precious human body significant. Without which you are just an
ordinary human trapped in an ordinary human body.
And why is this human body called precious? It is because of this body, that
we can listen to precious teachings when they are explained and subsequently
put them into practice. But if we waste such a precious thing like this,
there is truly no greater loss than that. If we don’t practice the dharma
then we are no different than an animal. So truly and honestly we should
really persevere to practice the dharma.

Practicing the Dharma:

To practice the dharma means having trust, diligence and being
wise/intelligent. Trust means having complete trust and confidence in the
Dharma, the teachings and in the one who taught the teachings, the Buddha.
Therefore having complete trust in the Buddha and the Dharma. Complete trust
in the Sangha, the ones who upholds the teachings and therefore a feeling of
gratitude towards the Sangha.  We need to trust in these three
(Buddha/Dharma/Sangha).
Diligence means, in any kind of job you do, if you begin and do not finish
then it is never completed. Therefore what carries you to complete that job
is called diligence.
And being wise/intelligent is first of all what we gain from listening to
teachings, from thinking about them and than later applying them. So when
you hear something and you gain some trust and confidence then you have some
insight that is called the knowledge through learning. And then when you
think it over, the knowledge through reflection and finally the knowledge
through meditation practice and having full confidence and trust in it. It
is for that reason invincible to have trust. If one mistrusts then that is a
great defect.
If one has no compassion and trust it is very hard to penetrate the very
heart of the dharma. It is like someone who when seeing Buddhas and
bodhisattvas flying in the sky think they are just showing off and when
seeing a creature lying on the floor with it’s intestines flowing out and
saying oh it’s his karma, everyone dies.

Devotion and Compassion:

Compassion and devotion shouldn’t just be a show. And shouldn’t only be of
lip service. It should be from the depths of our heart. Trust towards the
teachings of the Buddha should be with pure appreciation. We need to have
the kind of trust which is penetrating so that tears comes out of our eyes
and the hairs on our body naturally stand, a kind of feeling difficult to
remain in. Simply by uttering some empty words wont’ suffice.  When thinking
of other beings you should have the kind of compassion thinking that they
are all my parents and yet they don’t know what to do, they create immense
pain and suffering for themselves, yet they are not aware of it. They have
no idea about the ultimate truth, the true state of Samadhi. So they wonder
from one life to the next in the endless chain of samsara. Therefore, the
ones who are filled with overwhelming compassion for sentient beings and
with unwavering devotion for the enlighten ones; they will without any doubt
receive the blessings of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Just to pay lip service and superficially act as if one pities sentient
beings and respects the enlighten ones is not enough to receive the
blessings. It has to be with hundred percent sincerity. So here are some
signs of receiving the blessings, and they are when you no longer have to
try to feel kind and compassionate, as it will come spontaneously and you no
longer have to try to be deliberately respectful, as it will come
spontaneously as well. Those are the signs. With a natural trust in the
teaching and the consequences of karma, that is the real accomplishment of
dharma practice. That is the real siddhi.

Receiving the Blessings:

You may not be having a lot of knowledge and information of the dharma but
if you have real trust in the three jewels and you have kindness towards
other beings and acutely understand that in this life, nothing last forever,
then you have already received the blessings of the three jewels. Otherwise
just to know a lot of teachings can sometimes really resolve in nothing but
conceit. Or thinking I have practiced so much and so many years of Shamatha
and Samadhi. People who have a lot of practice behind them usually become
more miserly and stingy. This is proof that the teachings have not taken
affect. So what is the main mission at stake? It is after all about
buddha-nature, which is the very identity within which the bodies, speech,
mind, qualities and enlighten activities of all the Buddhas are complete.
Actually the body, speech, and mind of any sentient being have its source or
origin only in the body, speech, and mind of all the awakened ones. This
unchanging quality is called the vajra body, the unceasing quality the vajra
speech and the unmistaken quality, the vajra mind. The indivisible unity of
these three is exactly what buddha-nature means.

Buddha-nature:

If we don’t recognize or acknowledge in our own experience what is the
unchanging quality of this buddha-nature, then it is more or less like
entering into the entrapment of the physical body of flesh and blood, our
speech being entrapped within the movement of breath to become voice and
voice that appears and disappears. Our consciousness becomes fixated upon a
perceiver or the perceived. In other words, fixation on duality that arises
and ceases for each moment, in other words, thoughts that come and go, one
after the other in an endless string of thoughts continued from beginning
less time and just goes on and on. That is how our normal state of mind is.
If we don’t recognize our own nature in this very lifetime, we are then
incapable of capturing our natural seat of unchanging self-existent
wakefulness. Instead, we chase after one perishable thought after the other
so that samsara becomes endless. Being overpowered by this involvement in
thought day and night, life after life. Unless you become free of conceptual
thinking, there is absolutely no way to truly awaken to enlightenment.

The Supreme Method:

Great peace is when the conceptual thinking subsides or calms down. And
there is such a way for that to happen. The thoughts which are an
expression, while thinking if you truly recognize that you are in natural
phase, which is buddha-nature, at that same moment, any thought vanishes by
itself leaving no trace. That brings an end to samsara. So the basic way for
that is the supreme method, once you know that one method is there anything
superior to that you need to know? And this way is something, which is
already attained in your self, it is not something that we need to get from
someone else, by bribe, search for and finally find. It is not necessary at
all. Just recognize your own natural phase and you have already transcended
the six realms of samsara. That way is what one asks for when asking a
master to please give instruction on mind essence. This is the most precious
which one doesn’t need to search for outside, it is in your self. This is
called the Buddha being placed in the palm of your own hand. That is an
analogy which means, at that moment, you don’t need to seek for the awakened
state somewhere else. If you line up all the money and wealth of the whole
world in a big heap on one side and on the other side the recognition of
buddha-nature, the nature of our own mind then what is more valuable if you
were to choose between the two? Obviously, you should without a doubt choose
recognizing mind essence as being much more valuable. This is called the
amazing Buddha within.

If you have a wish-fulfilling jewel and yet don’t use it, then the endless
samsara lies before you. Isn’t there more trouble? This is something we
really need to think about. This is the real crucial point. If we didn’t
have this innate buddha-nature, who can actually blame you. This
buddha-nature, it is the identity of the three kayas of all Buddhas.

And in closing:

Although my mind is the Buddha, I failed to acknowledge it Though the
essence of thought is Dharmakaya, I failed to recognize it Though the innate
natural state is uncontrived, I failed to sustain it Though this naturalness
is the true state, I failed to trust it So Guru, please look upon me with
compassion and grant your blessings That I may quickly turn my mind towards
the dharma And have no obstacles on the path and quickly have diligence to
practice
Sarva Mangalam,
Phakchok Rinpoche
FYI:
Pilgrimage in the Year of the Iron Tiger: Following the footsteps of the
Buddha, The Awakened One
Tentative date: December 15th-25th, 2010
Visit www.cglf.org for more information
* The above teaching was given at Nagi Gonpa by Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
with Erik Pema Kunsang as his translator.

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