at Grand Puja of Liberating the Death Through Triple Mandalas
By H.E Lopon Tenzin Jigme Rinpoche III
Karma Kagyu Monastery, Tainan, Taiwan (2004)
Gods and devils arise
out of the attachment projected from the mind according to the
fundamental view of Buddhism ”Egolessness
or lack of self-entity”. When inner perception arises, the
so-called gods and devils appear accordingly; once inner perception
is eliminated, gods and devils will also be annihilated.
We need to understand that those who obstruct us from achieving
liberation are the objects of performing liberating activity. You
disciples, faithful lay people, and numberless intermediate beings,
spirits, ghosts etc. have come here for this teaching this evening.
So I would like to share with you some explanations of Machik Ladron
to her disciples.
Explanation on the 4 Devils
Not all demons are materially existing with frightening forms.
A demon means anything that impedes our achievement of liberation.
Particularly the greatest demon is our fixation to the ego. As
long as this ego-fixation is not severed and purified, the enemy-like
devils will create various kinds of images and problems to obstruct
devil of ego-fixation is also called “the devil of arrogance”;
besides that, there are “the devil of the material”, “the
devil of the immaterial” and “the devil of exaltation”.
Enlightened Machi Ladron classified devils into the four categories,
but these are the ones on earth, that is “the devil of ego-fixation”.
First one : the Material Devil
Since beginningless cycles of existence, those with sight undoubtedly
perceive form with eyes and develop likes or dislikes; the same
applies to ears, nose, tongue and even consciousness. When using
the sense organ of sight we cling to what we think is especially
nice, and they become the sense objects of eyes.
Some objects are with
form, while some are not. Liking develops toward a pleasant form,
in this way these images will be imprinted
in our mind deeply. These images will be conducive to the memories
of our mind. Once we can’t see it anymore, we develop longing;
once we discover that irretrievable loss is imminent, aversion
and hatred will arise. Therefore, likes and dislikes are intrinsically
the same essence with extreme reactions. Clinging to the two reactions
of like and dislike is said to be a manifestation of a devil. However,
to achieve liberation one must give up or transcend the reactions
of like and dislike.
Once clinging to objects
as genuine existence develops, no matter good or bad, it will
obstruct our sense organs and produce attachment,
which is the so-called “Devil of the Material”.
Teaching for non-human beings
You disciples who are possessed of form bodies as well as intermediate
beings who possess subtle bodies, today you shall understand that
no matter you are gods, ghosts, or spirits, in current circumstance,
whether you are happy, sad, depressed, angry, or your mind is tortured
with aversion and hatred, these emotions will only cause the extension
of your endless suffering in the Bardo or world of the living.
Especially, those who
are without human forms, since you are not confined to the bondage
of body, naturally you are possessed of
six psychic powers, you can freely achieve wherever you want to
go. Today your relatives, friends, and descendants come here to
place your names on the liberating lotus tablet, definitely they’re
expressing piety and gratitude to you, indebted to your nurturing
love and kindness. But you shall realize that everything is just
like dreams and illusions, you must give up the attachment to the
present, and generate strong aspiration from the core of your heart
to Avalokiteshvara, Amitabha, gurus, and the three jewels. As long
as you understand that the present circumstance and phenomenon
are not ultimately real and they are just illusory, you will be
liberated soon on the completion day of the liberation activity.
All of you shall realize that any attachment to good or bad, true
or false, virtue or evil, right or wrong is a devil. Therefore
you should forsake all attachment and clinging to this mundane
After all, death is
just illusory, not absolute reality. Only through Dharma practice
can one perceive a glimpse of “emptiness”,
generate devotion and recognize that worldly suffering is not substantial,
though we still perceive it vividly through our sense organs. In
short, we shall abandon any attachment to like and dislike incurred
through the sense organs.
Liberating through Triple Mandalas under the Law of Dependent-Arising
During this program we will perform Amitabha puja together with
its liberating activity for the deceased, chant the Treasury of
Prayers and recite countless Amitabha mantras every day to dedicate
merits for the deceased. The point of performing liberating activity
for the deceased is to express immense gratitude for our late parents
and ancestors. If they are already born in Amitabha Pureland, the
virtue we accumulate for them in the living world will facilitate
the receiving of teachings from Amitabha as well as attaining enlightenment.
If they are reborn as human beings, they will achieve more good
luck and happiness.
The merits of liberating
the departed can be transformed into accumulations on our own
path. If one’s heart becomes more
and more tender and flexible to proceed on the path, less and less
straining because of it, one gets inconceivable benefits of Amitabha.
Besides, once you abandon attachment to the “I or self”,
you will be able to transcend attachment to forms, the same concept
applies to sense organs such as eyes, ears, noses, tongues, consciousnesses.
a scriptural Mahamudra. In this Sutra Buddha Shakyamuni taught “Samadhi
or meditative stabilization toward Forms”, which is not different
from what I have said “abandoning any attachment and clinging
to all forms”. If one is able to forsake such attachments
one will attain meditative stabilization toward Forms. The definition
of “Samadhi” is very broad, it usually means “concentration”.
In order to attain Samadhi toward form, one should be able to internally
actualize that every form is not substantial but just like perishable
bubbles. Knowing that this solemn outer Mandala arises from the
gathering factors of the dedication of disciples, the attentiveness
of the guru and the efforts of lamas etc, one will understand dependent-arising.
Soon on the day of completion, an unbound fire will be ignite and
everything will be burned down to the ground instantly, dissolved
in the air and finally return to its original nature of “emptiness”.
Bearing this in mind, the devil of the material will naturally
be annihilated, and it can be transformed into wisdom.
Second one : the Immaterial Devil
Although in emotions
such as dualistic ideas of good and bad there is no genuine obstruction
and no genuinely existing object, they
can bring real harm if you develop grasping toward them. So they
are dangerous. If we fail to use the antidote of correct view and
understanding for any arising thought, no matter it is good or
bad, eventually it will lead us into non-virtuous action, and thus
it is called a devil. Therefore, we shall believe that “ultimately
nothing is substantial ”, and reflect upon the supreme truth
which Buddha Shakyamuni taught “Every phenomenon is empty”. “Empty” here
does not mean nothingness. In essence every phenomenon is without
self-entity, and unobtainable, so it is unsubstantial. “Empty” can’t
be expressed through languages and words but it can be realized
through meditative efforts and by stabilizing your mind and focusing
on one place and engaging in the insight meditation. During insight
mediation, one reflects upon “What is the reality?” until
something is not just like that anymore….
Rest your mind and free
it from being disturbed by the stream of thoughts. Try to keep
aware, forsake slothfulness and lethargy.
Try to abide in the clarity of awareness without conceptualizing
any thought or clinging to any good and bad ideas. One who can
dwell upon such mental state will attain “Samadhi toward
god and devil”. Once an ill-will arises in the mind, try
to control it immediately by dispelling it instead of habouring
it, then it will disappear by itself.
Third one : the Devil of Exaltation
How to overcome and annihilate the devil of exaltation? Try to
contemplate that everything is just like a dream or an illusion.
Know that what you think you have possessed, will not accompany
you permanently. Only the effect of virtuous and non-virtuous actions
you have done will accompany you like your own shadow following
wherever you go.
Those who are exulted in exaltation will be greatly benefited
if they think it through. Once you have slightly realized that
everything is not actually existing, the devil of exaltation will
be destroyed immediately. Moreover, whatever you have done for
the welfare of sentient beings is also just like dreams or illusions.
Realizing such point of view will enable one to subdue the devil
of exaltation. We shall practice the six Paramitas without clinging
to any virtue we have made, or how much we have offered to the
monastery, or expect for any return. Therefore, whatever qualities
or virtues occur, no matter when and how they may appear in our
mind, in the nature of the non-duality of appearance and mind these
virtues or qualities are not genuine ones.
Forth one : the Devil of Arrogance
The devil of Arrogance
is the root of those three devils that I mentioned earlier. It
is also a way of saying ego-clinging. Although
it is very difficult to sever arrogance, it is extremely important
to do so. Why is it so difficult? It is because our current society
is over- emphasizing self-awareness, human right and freedom so
that values of “As long as I enjoy it, I can do whatever
I like to do” rampantly. ; Overemphasis on self-identity
and self-development, and even seeking potential consciousness
through hypnotism will only develop stronger and stronger arrogance
Why call self-exaltation
a devil? It is because self-exaltation would not allow the attainment
of liberation. Clinging to a non-genuine
existent self will cause both body and mind afflicted with emotions.
In each and every moment we are not willing or ready to remain
in nature, to be free of clinging to any thought, but always staying
with a mindset, recalling memories, aspiring for the future and
seizing all good and bad appearing in the mind. Ordinary people
think that these will safeguard the notion of “I exist”,
and being in the state free of the habitual mindset is terrible.
It’s just like being sent to an isolated island in the vast
ocean where one becomes appalled to see no boat or ship at all.
Being in the state free
of mindset seems to cause great fear and anxiety in ordinary
people, and this results from the obstacle
of ego–fixation. So when there is ego, there are devils;
on the other hand, when there is no ego, there are no devils. Once
there is no ego, there is nothing to be severed or purified, nor
is there any fear or terror. One who is willing to contemplate
on finding out the root of fear, will find out the most profound
secret of life in the process of contemplation. As to what it is
like on earth, you shall explore yourself.
The four devils are
created from fixation to ego. Therefore the antidote to disturbing
emotions, evil obstacles and suffering is
to meditate on “egolessness or the lack of self-entity. ” Once
you can stay away from the four devils and annihilate them, you
will attain liberation. The virtues of this activity for liberating
the death will also be well completed.
I hope by citing the
explanation of the Four Devils from Machi Ladron, the founder
of Chö lineage, you will understand the
meaning of performing this liberating activity through triple Mandalas.
Concerning the object to be liberated, it is not only intermediate
beings, but also the living hearts of human beings as well.
Everything is created by our mind, and whatever is created will
eventually return to the mind and disappear. That very instant,
and state of returning to the original home is what we are seeking.
This home is neither out there, nor inside the body or in-between.
It is our primordial awareness. How can we return to the home of
primordial awareness? Once the four devils are severed to some
extent, genuine freedom and feeling at ease will be achieved.
I hope tonight this teaching for both the living and the dead
may make you rejoice and bring you the benefit you want.
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