Monday, April 20, 2009

The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training (修心八颂)

The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is crucial. The most fundamental practice in Vajrayana is actually The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training. If you cannot perfect the practice of the The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training, you will not succeed in the highest practices like the Great Perfection (Dzogchen), Kalacakra etc. The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is the core of spiritual practice.

The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is a common practice in all the Vajrayana schools. To me, the 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd level, 4th level and Dzogchen empowerments, and all other Zen parables can be put aside. Zen parables only talk about emptiness, which cannot lead one to the ultimate enlightenment. Only when one has perfected his mind-training can he achieve the ultimate enlightenment. So, I feel that The Eight Stanzas of Mind-Training is the basis for all spiritual practices.

The Eight Stanzas of

By Langri Thangpa

1st Stanza
I shall view all sentient beings as more superior than the Wish-fulfilling Gems. I shall help them and cherish them always.

2nd Stanza
Regardless of my companionship, I shall always consider myself being lower than others. I shall aspire to benefit others from the depth of my heart, and forever revere others as being more superior than me.

3rd Stanza
I shall be mindful of my own mental activities and actions, and nip my negative thought in the bud at the very moment it appears in my mind, to avoid harming others and myself.

4th Stanza
Sentient beings who are ill-natured are, in fact, suffering in great pains. I shall view them as the Precious Gems, and cherish them always.

5th Stanza
When one scolds and humiliates me out of his jealousy, I will accept all the failures and losses, and let him have the victory.

6th Stanza
Although I helped someone in the past and wished him the best, he hurt me in return. Nevertheless, I shall still view him as a good spiritual guide.

7th Stanza
I wish to benefit all mother-like sentient beings directly or in-directly, and I wish to quietly take over their sufferings.

8th Stanza
I wish that all my actions will not be tainted by the Eight Worldly Concerns. I shall discern the illusory nature of all phenomena through great wisdom, and be liberated from all attachments.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let Go of Ego Grasping (放下我执)

Dharma Sister Hua remembered the fine details of her dream. Her dream is a reflection of her strong ego grasping, and her clinging to her husband. So, as she was so concerned about her husband, she kept searching for him in her dreams. Let me tell you this, I had never thought about my wife and son in my dreams. We will have to cultivate till we break free from our sense of ego, even in our dreams, that there is nothing related to “me”, there is no wife of “mine”, child of “mine”, parents of "mine" and relatives of "mine" etc. When you have reached that level of attainment, you will stand a chance to succeed in your cultivation. If you continue to search for your spouses in your dreams, I think you are still very weak in your cultivation. You have to let go of all these relationships, otherwise they will continue to appear in your dreams frequently.

If your ego grasping is still very strong, you will still be very concerned about your name, your existence, your feelings and how others treat you. If you still insist that others must treat you in a certain way or you will feel offended, and end up harboring all the ill thoughts and succumbing to your negative emotions, then I think it will be very difficult for you to reach enlightenment in this lifetime.

Letting go of ego grasping is very crucial. The first lesson of cultivation is to let go of our ego grasping. I hope that you will learn to let go of your ego grasping, letting go of all things related to “I” and “mine”, only then you will stand a chance of setting yourself free from the cyclic existence. Let go of all things that are related to “I” and “mine”, including my body, my feelings, my possessions – let them go! Only then the seed of bodhicitta will grow in you.

I feel that we should, after so many years of cultivation, let go of our ego grasping. Otherwise, we will not be able to culminate the seed of bodhicitta in us. If bodhicitta does not grow within you, you will continue to be perturbed by all things related to “I” and “mine”; your cultivation will be fruitless. Despite your diligence in practicing the recitations, chanting, meditations, they are just useless activities. I hope all of you will take this seriously and learn to let go of ego grasping. First, let go of ego grasping, let go of the so-called pride, let go of all things related to “I” and “mine”, then you will get closer to enlightenment.