Monday, July 30, 2007

rten 'brel - Dependent Origination

To continue on the steps of going through the second truth of suffering, another classical way to present this is using the twelve steps of dependent origination, which are also shown in the Wheel of Life Image.

To start with, dependent origination is rten 'brel. rten is a very good word to memorize, it's used here and there, it means basis. 'brel here is link or relation.

So another way to interpret this word is the basis for all, or the basis of interdependence.

You could also look at this as the other aspect of emptiness, the positive side of connections within connections, within connections, and so on. Every cause has a reason, and the reason before has a cause, and there are even many kinds of dependencies one could establish. There's absolutely no magic, everything that happens has an original cause -- it's just that sometime it's hard to figure out why. Going through the ten non-virtues is one way to learn more about the subtle causes that triggers various experiences we have just now.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

log lta - Wrong Views

The third of the mind related non-virtues, and the tenth, and also the worst, is log lta - wrong views.

log is here here wrong, lta is short for lta ba, philosophical view, or in common words, anything that someone considers to be the way of following one's life, political, ethical, business direction, and so on.

The problem here is to stick to views that will lead to future suffering, such as considering killing be OK, or taking things from others, or any of the other non-virtues mentioned so far. That's why this is the worst. Constantly holding the wrong view will of course make it easier in future to do the same, too.

The benefits to following a right view is of course to avoid suffering in future. Other benefits are not to experience environments where non-virtue is considered wonderful, pain as pleasant, and no valid teachings are available.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

gnod sems - Ill Will

The second of the three non-virtues related to mind is gnod sems - ill will.

sems is mind. gnod is harm. So it's a state of mind that wants harm to others.

The practice is of course to avoid thinking bad about others, or get angry at anyone. The opposite is to rejoice in others and their happiness and fortune. They say that anger will trigger the karma to look ugly in future, so maybe that's one way to get interested in avoiding this non-virtue.

To practice the opposite will lead to situations in future where you don't experience ill will, and you experience an environment that is not full of anger and ill will, such as places full of danger, diseases, evil beings, criminals and so on.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

brnab sems - Craving

This is the first of the three non-virtues related to mind, brnab sems, craving.

sems is mind. brnab is future tense of rnab pa, the desire to have others possessions. So it's the mind that is craving others' belongings, house, car, spouse, position, iPods, fame and so on.

The practice is of course to avoid such cravings, and desire in general, and be happy with what you have and be happy with what others have. There's nothing wrong to have a desire to be free from suffering, but it's illogical to have desire for things that do not have any self-existence, whatsoever.

By doing this, in future you will have less and less crazy desires and cravings happening in your mind, causing even more crazy craving storms to appear. We do stupid things when we are craving for something... Also you will experience an environment that does not degenerate over time, let's say a city block turning into a slum, or a village where people move away or die, and the houses fall apart.

ngag 'chal - Idle Talk

The fourth and the last of the four non-virtues related to speech is ngag 'chal - idle speech.

ngag is speech or talk. 'chal is meaningless, nonsense. Here the expression idle talk is used, but meaningless talk, or talking nonsense is also fine. Note that speech also implies verbally written material, such as writing a lot of things that are not meaningful.

The practice is to avoid useless, idle chatter or writing, including emails and chat sessions, anything that will not benefit someone, or help someone. Time is of essence, and wasting it for meaningless activities will of course lead to experiencing results that are neither meaningful or useful. One should do the opposite, use one's verbal skills for positive and constructive talk and writings.

The results from such actions lead to experiences where people do indeed pay attention to you, and when you speak or write, people take interest in what you say or write. You will also experience plenty of fruitful environments, situations where meaningful things happen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

tshig rtsub - Harsh Words

The third of the four speech related non-virtues is tshig rtsub - harsh words.

tshig is here word, and rtsub is harsh. This is a good example of never assuming too much about the word order when translating.

The practice is of course to avoid using harsh words, even those that might be interpreted as harsh, and do the opposite, use speech for constructive and positive communication.

This practice leads in future to states where you don't experience hostile verbal communication, rather positive words are heard and experienced.

Monday, July 23, 2007

phra ma - Divisive Speech

The second of the four non-virtues related to speech is phra ma - divisive talk. Such talk is anything that will separate one person from another.

The practice is to of course avoid such talk, and do the opposite, get people together, either those who have separated in the past, or make sure that people, groups, organizations, whole countries, and so on, will not become divided. Quite a job here in USA just now, or what...

The results from this are that you will not be separated from friends and people, and belong to harmonious groups.

Just to be clear about results, there are three kinds of results from any non-virtue or bad karma. One is the level, leading to lower realm experiences, the other is the similar view experienced in future, and the third is the curse of bag chags, i.e. the tendency to continue doing the same non-virtue in future leading to more miserable experiences.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

rdzun smra ba - Telling Lies

The first of the four speech related non-virtues, mi dge ba bcu, is rdzun smra ba, telling lies.

rdzun is lie, falsehood. smra ba is one of those common words good to learn in the beginning, shows up everywhere, is to speak. smra is also an abbreviation of this verb.

The practice is all the way from totally avoiding to lie about one's spiritual accomplishments, to all kinds of levels where all said is truthful.

By doing this, then you will experience a truthful environment with no lies, people are not deceptive, people believe you and so on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

mi tshangs spyod - Sexual Misconduct

The third of the body related mi dge ba bcu is mi tshangs spyod - sexual misconduct.

spyod here is conduct, activity. tshangs pa is purity, so mi tshangs means not purity. mi tshangs pa is also the term for having sex.

This expression is somewhat compacted; it means not that one should not have sex at all, rather to avoid sexual misconduct. With such it means having sex with underage humans, with someone who does not want it, or with someone who is already in a relationship with someone else, or the person doing it is already in a relationship with someone.

You could practice this from the obvious point of avoiding sexual misconduct to the point of avoiding even flirts, and pointing out the benefits of long relationships, and helping others have such relationships.

The benefits from this practice is to have very steady and long relationships, long family relations with no schisms, and anything related to having humans (and house pets too) together for a long time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

ma byin len - Stealing

The second of three body related mi dge ba bcu is ma byin len - stealing.

len is to take in this case. byin here it to give, and ma is a negation, not give. So the more complex translation is to take something that was not given.

The practice to avoid this is from of course not stealing up to levels of protecting others' belongings, cultivate the attitude of not stealing (such as ripping MP3 files from Internet), and of course doing the opposite, give things to others.

The benefits from avoiding this non-virtue is that in future you will not run out of resources and things you need -- as you cultivate the view in your mind where you avoid causing harm related to taking things others need or have ownership of.

PS: So someone might wonder, how could someone get a big pile of MP3 files by downloading them illegally from Internet just now? The answer is that they spent a long time avoiding this non-virtue in the past. While in the future they will lack access to music...

Monday, July 16, 2007

srog gcod - Killing

The first of the mi dge ba bcu is this one: srog gcod, killing. This is the first of the three related to body actions.

srog is life or actually life force, this is not the soul, rather all the things that keeps a sentient being alive.

gcod is literally cutting, and many know this better by the practice called Chö. So the more closer translation of this term would be cutting of the life force, but killing as a translation is just fine.

There are many levels of doing the opposite, from the basic level of avoiding any killing to cases to actually preserving life such as helping humans and animals in need, being a vegetarian, avoiding pollution by using a bike, and so on.

The benefits from this is creating causes for a long and healthy life especially in future; as you respect life, so you get the same happening for you, as well. The reason I put in 'in future' is that the karma triggered could happen in this lifetime depending on the strong motivation, but it's more common it triggers later. Anyway, it depends on the internal motivation and actions!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

sku gsung thugs - Body, Speech, Mind

One way to classify mi dge ba bcu, the ten non-virtues, is by the classification of sku gsung thugs, body, speech, mind. This category system is used quite a lot in Buddhist literature and practice, and mentioned a lot in texts, so it's good to know.

sku is body, gsung is speech, and thugs is mind. All these three are honorific words compared with common words. The honorific words are reserved for parents, teachers, and spiritual/enlightened beings.

In the case of mi dge ba bcu, the first three non-virtues are related to body and body actions, the next four to speech, and the last three to mind. The levels of actions are also different, it's easier to control the body, harder the mind, and the most hard case is controlling the mind.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

mi dge ba bcu - The Ten Non-virtues

mi dge ba bcu are the ten non-virtues. To avoid doing these will immediately minimize suffering in the samsaric realm, and make it possible to create harmonious environments for meditation and create causes to totally eliminate samsara. However, to really remove samsara requires stronger medicine, such as experiencing emptiness directly and work with this experience. But to get the mind calm to experience this requires calming the mental storms -- hence avoiding these non-virtues is of utmost importance.

Let's go through this expression backwards! bcu is number ten. dge ba is virtue. The mi is a negation particle, so virtue becomes non-virtue.

We will go through each of the mi dge ba bcu, and hi-light the positive results of avoiding them, as I'm an optimist, and like to look at things from the positive side.

Friday, July 13, 2007

gzugs med khams - Formless Realm

The third realm in the khams gsum is gzugs med khams - formless realm, arupyadhatu in Sanskrit.

As before, gzugs is form, and med here is a negation, form-not. Note the a in front of rupya which is the negation in Sanskrit. khams is as before realm.

This realm could be further divided to four parts. The very, very few beings who experience this realm have no grasping to form, but instead to mind, and in the most extreme case, grasping to nothingness. Due to such strong meditations they experience what they think is the peak of existence. Some always wonder where this realm is, but as it's formless, the beings who dwell here have as the starting point where their strong meditation is forcing them into this experience, so there's no location at all! Thus, any meditation still grasping to mind, or grasping to nothingness could lead to this state. Hence many Buddhist meditations, especially in Tantra, have sections where grasping is purified by proper focus on emptiness.

But, as with any any causes and results, the causes for this experience will end at some point, and meanwhile the beings in gzugs med khams have not generated any virtue for a long time, so they end up usually at the worst possible experience level.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

gzugs khams - Form Realm

The second of the khams gsum is gzugs khams, form realm, or rupadhatu in Sanskrit. gzugs is form, rupa, and as before khams is realm, dhatu.

This realm could be further divided to 17 parts. Some of the lha and other beings reside here, or more explicitly, experience such a realm. As it's related to form, the very few beings experiencing this reality are focused on refining the form, and as part of this activity, meditation, they have eliminated 'dod pa, desire.

One could also think of this as the culmination of meditating on pure form, and still grasping to form as something self-existent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

'dod pa'i khams - Desire Realm

The first of the khams gsum is 'dod pa'i khams - desire realm. 'dod pa is desire and khams is realm. The 'i between is a genitive particle that binds from right to left.

This is the biggest realm: dmyal ba, yi dvags, dud 'gro, mi, lha ma yin and parts of lha reside in this realm.

The main reason beings experience 'dod pa'i khams is that their main interest is in 'dod pa. Hence this is how they experience the world, full of desire, lack of desire, painful desire and so on.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

khams gsum - three realms

Yes, even if we have gone through six realms of experience, the realms could also be divided into three realms - khams gsum.

As mentioned earlier, khams is realm, but now the realms are classified into three parts, or gsum. Realm in Sanskrit is dhatu, by the way, that should sound familiar.