22 May

Wake Up!

The retreat I had was very short, at least I feel that way. I came back to the world right away. It was a little dramatic for me and I am still trying to get used to the world. One side of the coin is nirvana and the other side is samsara, but it is one coin no doubt. Life is really a union of samsara and nirvana. It is sometimes known as “union” in some of the teachings. It is “one taste” of unity. Sounds simple, but many people seem to make a big fuss about going in and out of retreat and not getting anywhere. I wish to dedicate all the positive energies and virtues accumulated from this short retreat to those people who aspire to attain some level of realisations in their present lives.

I always feel that whatever realisation I have is due to the kindness of my gurus, not due to my own creation. Without their enormously kind guidance and their instructions, it wouldn’t be possible to find the correct skills easily. Who would be there to remind us, who would be there to correct our motivation and who would be there to guide us completely with selfless motivation? Only enlightened masters who are still with us these days are able to do these amazing things. I always thank my karma to be able to find all these great masters with excellent qualities, not only that, I am so happy to be able to put their teaching into practice, at least I try. I really don’t want to waste their time and my time. We always have to live as though we are going to die the next moment, because it will make us realise how precious our time is and how important it is for us to make sure that we are not wasting it by doing nonsense, thinking nonsense and speaking nonsense. Then our lives would be wasted and when impermanence really comes, we are not ready. Sometimes, I always tell my friends and students that it’s better to do something that will help you after you die. The moment we were born, we have been going step by step towards death. Life and death, again, is like 2 sides of a coin, it’s a part of samsara that we have to understand, accept and deal with.

With the help of a few of my friends, we managed to install a huge drum at Druk Amitabha Mountain a few weeks ago. Drum is a symbol of waking us up from ignorance, from our dreams and our illusions. This is why sometimes Dharma is also being described as having the qualities of a drum.

Druk Amitabha Mountain is a place to inspire us to awaken our inner realisation. It is my wish and also wishes of all our great masters and practitioners that whoever comes to visit Druk Amitabha Mountain, or any of our monasteries, nunneries and our centres, will be encouraged to have the wish to be awakened. Sometimes, it can be very sad and disappointing to see people more trapped in all the habitual illusions and ignorance after coming into the scene of Dharma. Instead of becoming clearer in their visions, they become more trapped. Dharma did not help to reduce their ego, but it becomes another excuse to increase their ego. That means that either you have not been practising Dharma correctly or you have not been understanding Dharma correctly.

Dharma is not just the Buddhist way of Truth we are always talking about. It is the Universal Truth, that means it is true regardless of your religions, your beliefs, your backgrounds, your everything. Truth is truth! We are so blinded by our own conditions and illusions, we cannot understand basic things like this, therefore we need a big drum to wake us up.

When illusion is gone, suffering disappears. When misunderstanding is gone, we are awakened. So we should have a drum all the time to wake us up, because we are constantly sleepy and ignorant. The time that we spend to be awake is so short and difficult to sustain, and the time that we keep ourselves busy, stressed and worried and desired about useless things is almost 90% of our life. Even if there is someone beating the drum for you, you don’t even pay attention. Our life is gone like this. Life after life, we come back and keep missing many chances, doing the same illusive activities. Then, lives are like endless dreams or sometimes nightmares, even if we live a hundred lives, we will not be awakened.

Nowadays one of the excitements for many of us, or if you like, you can call it headache, it’s the Vajra Wheel project. With the help of Drukpa Asia and all the Drukpa centres and individuals, all the effort seems to be going quite nicely. The project is going to start soon. Most of you know that bureaucracy to get different approvals can be outrageous, but I believe that the people’s wish has its strong effect to get everything done smoothly. Sometimes we call this kind of wish fulfilling activities “blessings of 3 gems”, or “God’s bless”. I would simply call it human-made effort. We have to make an effort. I know that many people were not able to join because the target was already met very quickly, but whoever interested can always continue to help the spiritual community such as our nuns at the Druk Amitabha Mountain who will be working very hard in the mundane and spiritual sense. Unconditional help will fulfill your wishes unconditionally. Having conditions means that there is a limit. Anyway, I am very happy to see and know that many of my friends and students have been very supportive of this project. The most important thing is that all of us must keep reminding ourselves that we are contributing towards the Vajra Wheel purification project for the sake of all the beings who are suffering and are in need of great pufication. We are included in all the sentient beings, we are not higher nor lower than “sentient beings”. We are sentient beings. By sharing the virtues that we are earning through supporting the Vajra Wheel project, not only wishing for your own purification which should be secondary, but also making aspirations for others’ purification, I can tell you that this kind of purification is even more effective.

For example, most of us are always concerned about making ourselves happy, doing all sorts of silly and selfish things, without realising that actually by making others happy, we become genuinely happy. You can check by yourself whether this is true or not. What I am trying to say is that if you have a big heart that is willing to share your virtues by the skill of dedicating, then what you are getting are many, many times more, sharing and dedication of virtues will not reduce your own merit, in fact it multiplies. The more open your heart is, the more you are able to receive. The best is we give and help without any expectation and any condition, that itself is a great practice and a great joy that cannot be measured by any mundane means. In fact, if you want to be calculative like a good businessman, I can even say that when you help, give or do anything that is beneficial unconditionally, whatever you get in return is also unconditional. It’s a pretty fair deal, isn’t it?

We will talk about the purification practice next time. Today, the topic got diverted and since I have been struggling with my English, and you must be struggling by trying to understand my English, it’s better to stop here for the time being.