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This document was originally distributed on Internet as a part of the Electronic Buddhist Archives, available via anonymous FTP and/or COOMBSQUEST gopher on the node COOMBS.ANU.EDU.AU The document's ftp filename and the full directory path are given in the coombspapers top level INDEX file. This version of the document is being distributed, with permission, via the DharmaNet Buddhist File Distribution Network. [This version: 8 November 1993] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- SAKYA LOSAL CHOE DZONG CLEAR MIND QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER No 16 CLEAR MIND THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER OF SAKYA LOSAL CHOE DZONG TIBETAN BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF CANBERRA INC. P. O. BOX 3430, MANUKA, ACT 2603 (3 McInnes St. Weston) No. 16, Nov. 93 - Jan. 94 NEWS Housekeeping Dalai Lama to Help Find Panchen Lama New Head of Nyingma Tradition Electronic Clear Mind Newsletter Pilgrims on the Road PROGRAM 10am Sun. 7 Nov. Prayer for the Dead 10am Sun. 14 Nov. Refuge Ceremony & Shared Lunch 7pm. Sat. 20 Nov. Medicine Buddha Initiation 28 - 30 January 5th Annual White Tara Retreat, Yerrinbool 16 Jan. - 18 Feb. Intensive Tibetan Language Course ARTICLES Buddhism In Practice H. H. Dalai Lama Buddhist Attitude to Life Lama Choedak Grading Intelligence Part II John Chen Management Committee President: Mark Thomann Ph. 281 3264 (h) 289 5618 (w) Secretary: Pauline Westwood Ph. 248 6763 (h) 276 9395 (w) Treasurer: Ron Foster Ph. 248 9158 (h) 216 4312 (w) C'tee Members: Sigrun Mielke Ph. 281 1026 (h) Luiz Ribiero 247 5898 (h) 246 5205(w) John Chen 297 8521 (h) 250 5733 (w) Housekeeping Most members would now know that the Society has a new management committee. The purpose of this short article is to introduce ourselves, to outline what I feel our role is and to flag some of the issues we face in the short and long term. Firstly, I would like to thank the previous committee - especially Jenni, Alan and Chris - for all the time and effort they put into the organisational side of the Society. It is their invisible efforts which have kept the centre running over the last year. Thank you. There are six people on the new committee consisting of Mark Thomann (President), Pauline Westwood (Secretary), Ron Foster (Treasurer), Luiz Ribeiro, Sigrun Meilke and John Chen. I am very pleased with the commitment and mix of skills on the committee. Pauline, Ron and myself are relative newcomers to the Centre. The other members of the commtittee are 'veterans' and I assume need no introduction as they have been involved in Buddhist organisations for some time. Pauline has put a lot of energy into transcribing Lama's talks which we hope to publish in the near future. She is also going on pilgrimage with Lama Choedak in November. Ron is the ideal person to be treasurer as he works as an accountant, and is not scared of money. He is a quiet family person (like many of us!) and brings those skills of balancing time and money to the position. I work part-time and the rest of my time I am at home looking after the family which has prepared me well for this job of president - in that there is a lot of housekeeping to be done! Which brings me to our first objective - keeping the house. I have had a positive response to my recent letter to members in and around Canberra seeking people interested in either being a resident or pledging a regular weekly donation towards the Centre's rent. Thank you for your generosity and support. If you are still thinking about how you can support the Centre, please feel free to give me a call. We have found a new resident to take over the lease when Rod leaves in November. The committee has accepted Philip Cooper’s offer to live at the centre. However Phil currently lives in a fully furnished flat and needs some furtniture. If you have spare sofa, table, chairs (not to mention a spare washing machine!) you might like to lend to the centre, please ring me. Besides being a place for spiritual practice, the Centre also offers a place where we can socialise in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere with others who are also interested in Buddhism. I feel the importance of this aspect should not be underestimated. We will endeavour to organise some social events in addition to morning tea after Sunday meditation sessions. For example, the Ven. Thubten Ngodrup, the Nechung State Oracle of Tibet arrived in Australia on a private visit. In association with his visit to the Office of Tibet in Canberra, Nechung Kuten came to the centre and gave a Dharma talk on October 11th. A pot-luck dinner was quickly organized at the centre to welcome him and members of the society and their family had the opportunity to meet him informally. Many thanks to all those who helped make this evening a most enjoyable one. In the longer term, we will begin the process of establishing a permanent home for the Centre. This will take a lot of energy and commitment from all members, as well as testing the perseverance of committee members over several committee "life times" I expect. I am interested in forming a working group to focus on this issue. Please call me if you are interested. Another major objective is to support teaching of the Dharma through courses, retreats, visiting teachers and Lama's regular teachings. A tape library has been established and there is the planned publishing program. This is a great opportunity for members to benefit themselves and others through assisting with the work. If you are interested please contact Pauline or Lama. To conclude, I believe the role of the committee should be to: . plan and focus our efforts to achieve the Society's objectives; and . provide a co-ordination point to enable all members to make a contribution to and feel a strong part of the Centre. In this way, all members can have the benefits of giving of themselves as opportunities and motivation arise. The committee will try to be generous in providing many such opportunities! Your involvement and ideas are important in the running of the Society. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening, 10 November, after practice at the Centre. All members are most welcome to attend the meeting. I will also report back on our progress in each newsletter. I look forward to meeting you all over the coming year. Mark Thomann Clear Mind Newsletter Clear Mind is the quarterly newsletter of Sakya Losal Choe Dzong, Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra. Besides news, practice sessions and the teaching program of the Society and affiliated Buddhist activities, the newsletter contains articles of special interest on various aspects of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices. Contributions to the newsletter are welcome. Annual membership fee of $50 gives you a discount on course fees, free admission to the weekly sessions and it also includes subscription to the newsletter. Annual subscription to the newsletter is $16. "My Life and Buddhism" Series of Talks While Lama Choedak is away on pilgrimage in India and Nepal, senior student members of the centre will take turns to lead the Sunday meditation sessions, and will each give a talk on "My Life and Buddhism" and lead a discussion and Samatha meditation session. All the speakers will share how Buddhism came into their lives and explain the way in which they have tried to apply various aspects of the teaching of the precious Dharma in their everyday life. This exercise will help to establish one's own sense of belonging to the community of Dharma students and consolidate a bond and friendship through the medium of Dharma. An individual's level of understanding of the Dharma and speaking of its relevance to others could intensify one's regard of the Dharma and appreciate its applicability. Date Speaker 21 Nov. Ken Gardiner 28 Nov. Mark Thomann 5 Dec. Jenny Chen 12 Dec. Ron Foster 19 Dec. Merril Cook 26 Dec. No session 2 Jan. C. Hall & V. Hinton 9 Jan. K. Chozin & L. Ribeiro Wednesday Night sessions will be led by Chris Sinkora. White Tara practice days Nov. 7, Dec. 5 and Jan. 2 will be led by Jenny Chen. If you have any queries regarding the program, contact Mark Thomann. Dalai Lama to Help find Panchen Lama China has requested the Dalai Lama to help find the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama who died in 1989. This message was conveyed to the two-member delegation from the Tibetan government in exile who visited Peking in July. According to unofficial sources the Dalai Lama has agreed to assist, but no details have been released yet. New Head of Nyingma Tradition Penor Rinpoche of the Nyingma monastery in Bylakuppe has been appointed as the new Head of Nyingma tradition after the passing away of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche who was the succesor to His Holiness Dujom Rinpoche. Clear Mind In Clear Electronic The Clear Mind Newsletter is now available world-wide in the electronic form. All issues from November 1991 (no 6) onwards can be found in the clear-mind-nwsltr subdirectory of the Electronic Buddhist Archives which are a part of the Coombspapers Social Sciences Research Data Bank established at the Australian National University, Canberra. To read the files (and copy them, if you wish) please access the Coombspapers collection via the anonymous FTP to or via the gopher software pointed at the Coombsquest Social Sciences and Humanities Information Facility gopher at the ANU on the, port 70 and, port 70 machines. If you have any Buddhist friends overseas who wish to have access to read our newsletter electronically, please give them the above details. Pilgrims on the Road A group of eight students and I will be hitting the road for India and Nepal on the proposed pilgrimage tour. We will visit six ancient Buddhist sites associated with the life of Buddha in India and Nepal. We will also visit Rajpur, the Seat of the Sakyapa tradition where we will receive Hevajra Cause initiation from His Holiness Sakya Trizin and visit some six important Sakya monasteries in that region. The next important place we will visit is Dharamsala, the Seat of the Tibetan government in exile and an audience with the Dalia Lama has also been requested. Sikkim and Darjeeling are also included in the itinerary where we are hoping to meet His Holiness Drukchen and perhaps the 17th Karmapa in Rumtek. We will then visit Tashi Palkhiel, the Tibetan village in Pokhara where I studied as a novice and played marble with the present abbot of the monastery there. I will be able to pay my respects to my old parents and my fellow pilgrims can experience the situation of Tibetan refugee settlement in Nepal. We will then move on to Kathmandu to attend the Grand Opening Ceremony of Gha Tharlam Monastery and teachings by His Holiness Sakya Trizin. I will try to invite my precious teacher His Eminence Chogay Trichen Rinpoche to come to Australia. Please do pray that he will accept our invitation. If we don't stay there becoming monks and nuns, we are all expected to return in January. Till then, keep up your practice and I will remember you all throughout the pilgrimage. Please do not miss your regular Sunday and Wednesday sessions while I am away as we have many interesting speakers lined up to lead the sessions and help to maintain the centre's activities. - Lama Choedak P R O G R A M Prayer Day For the Dead After the guided Samatha meditation on Sunday 7th November there will be a special prayer ceremony for the dead instead of a talk. If you have a close friend, relative or family member who passed away and you wish to dedicate a prayer and express your love, then you can participate in this prayer ceremony. Soor dedication is performed for 49 days when someone dies in Tibetan Buddhist tradition to help the dead to have an easy passage in the Bardo and quick rebirth. Send in the name of the deceased with the form provided as soon as possible. Refuge Ceremony & Pot Luck Lunch On the forthcoming New-Moon Day on Sunday 14 November, Lama Choedak will be conducting a refuge ceremony at the request of some new members who wish to formally become Buddhists and consecrate their bond with the Buddhadharma. All are welcome, but anybody who wishes to take refuge for the first time are asked to inform Lama in advance. There will also be a send off at the end of the ceremony for the pilgrims going to India and Nepal. If you wish to send an offering to be made at the shrines, temples and monasteries through the pilgrims this would be an opportunity for you to do so. We will also have a pot-luck lunch after the ceremony to wish them a fruitful pilgrimage. Please bring a plate and family and friends as this will be the last chance we can socially get together for the year. See you there! Gyalsay Rinpoche to Give Medicine Buddha Initiation Ven. Gyalsay Tulku Rinpoche will be giving the Medicine Buddha Initiation on Saturday 20th November at 7pm at the centre. Medicine Buddha is the Buddha of Healing and is the main practice of Tibetan doctors and the like. It is an extremely powerful practice - good for doctors, psychiatrist, nurses, counsellors, social-workers, healers and others. By doing its practice, people under medication may experience quick recovery or may gain strength to cope better with the pain. Everybody is welcome to attend. Donation will be collected to make an offering to Rinpoche. Can you help? We are trying to compile a complete set of Clear Mind for the Centre's Library. So, far, we have managed to locate back issues, except Vol. 1, no. 3 & 4 (1990) and Vol. 2, no. 4 (1991). If you have copies of these back issues which you are prepared to donate to the Centre (or make available for us to photyocopy), contact Mark. Wedding Greetings to Alan & Tina On behalf of the centre and its members, the committe members extend their Best Wishes to Alan Mogridge, our ex-president and Tina who are getting married on 6th November. May they have a Happy, Prosperous and Ever-lasting Friendship! 5th Annual White Tara Retreat 28-30 January 1994 Venue: Baha'i School, Yerrinbool, Time: 8pm on Fri. 28 - 4pm on Sun. 30 Cost: $120 Concs. & members $100 Five years have passed since Her Eminence Jetsun-ma Chimey Luding gave the White Tara initiation and teachings in Canberra. Have you managed to keep up your practices as you have intended? Do you wish to revitalize your energy and renew your commitment? The centre undertook a commitment to Her Eminence to hold annual retreats as a way of maintaining the precious practices, to remember Her kindness and especially to recharge our own commitment. As a female Bodhisattva, White Tara has a beautiful practice which helps to improve one's physical health, creative energy and spiritual vitality. It is suitable for anyone who wishes to implant and improve these qualities. The fifth annual White Retreat will be conducted by Lama Choedak who will give the transmission of the practice for the benefit of those who have not received the initiation but wish to attend the retreat for the first time. You will also be eligible to attend the monthly White Tara practice sessions at the centre after attending this retreat. For the first time some subsidiary teachings on the White Tara practice that were not given previously such as sleeping Yoga, dream Yoga, arising Yoga and breathing exercise (Pranayama) will also be taught at this retreat. Bring some water colour paints and brushes or coloured pensils as there will be a session on colouring White Tara line drawings to help our creative visualization. Also kindly indicate with your booking whether or not you have transport so that we can organise to help each other. The retreat will be held at the Baha'i School in Yerrinbool outside Mittagong. It has all the basic facilities and is a beautiful setting in the bush where you can go for a walk during the afternoon breaks. We will also observe noble silence in the monings and the eight Mahayana precepts on Saturday. One must attend the whole retreat except in emergency situations. For further enquiries, please contact Vivien on 249 6984. COURSE AND MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM To: Treasurer, Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra, P. O. Box 3430, Manuka, ACT 2603 Australia Name: ................................................ Ph. (w) .................. (h) ................... Address ..................................................................................................... 1. I enclose a cheque $......... for ($50) membership / ($16) subscription of the Clear Mind Newsletter. 2. I enclose a cheque $ ........ as a deposit for the 5th Annual White Tara Retreat 28-30 Jan. 94. Do you need transport? Yes / No. Can you give a lift to other member (s)? Yes / No 3. I wish to contribute $ ..... per week /month for the centre's rent. 4. I enclose a cheque $ ........ as a donation towards the Prayer for the Dead. Name of the Deceased ................................ Relation ..................... Buddhism in Practice by His Holiness the Dalai Lama Perhaps most of you already know the importance of compassion and love. The practice of compassion is what gives me greatest satisfaction. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what kind of tragedy I am facing, I practice compassion. This gives me inner strength and happiness. This gives me the feeling that my life is useful. So you see - up to now - I am 57 years of age, going on 58 - I have tried my best to practice these things, and will continue to do so until my last breath, my last day. I myself, you see, am the devoted servant of compassion. That is the way I really feel. We need public support, the active expression of your goodwill towards us. Please keep this in mind, and whenever the occasion arises express your deep sympathy towards the Tibetan cause. As Buddhist practitioners, you should understand the necessity of preserving Tibetan Buddhism. For this, the land, the physical country of Tibet, is crucial. We have tried our best to preserve the Tibetan traditions outside Tibet for almost thirty years, and we have been comparatively successful. But eventually, after our time, there is real danger that they will change, that they will not survive as a cultural and spiritual entity if it's physical reality is smothered under Chinese occupation. So we cannot avoid taking responsibility in trying to improve its political situation. Clearly, in this light, active support for the Tibetan cause is not just a matter of politics. It is the work of Dharma. We are not against the Chinese; we, in fact, have a deep admiration for the Chinese civilisation. We are only trying to gain our rights, to save our people, and to preserve our Buddha Dharma. I dream of a new Tibet - a free land, a zone of peace - where my six million people can restore our spiritual way of life while becoming attuned to the best aspects of the modern world. I see it as a place where all people - not excluding our eastern neighbour - can visit and enjoy the fresh air and brilliant mountain light, can find inspiration in a peaceful, spiritual way of life, and perhaps can learn to understand their own worlds better by getting away for a little while to meditate at our high altitude. With your help we can return there. Now is the time when your action is practice. Buddhist Attitude to Life* by Lama Choedak I am extermely happy to be given the opportunity to come and share with you the contribution Buddhism could make to better the well being of human society. Tonight we have come together to discuss the benefits of sincere sharing of good things we value in our society in general and particularly religion. Those of us who believe in one or another religion have seen the benefits of religious practices if and when we practise them properly ourselves. We have also seen the danger and suffering which come out of direct misuse of religious beliefs, power and religious fanaticism. The benefit or harm caused by religion in everyday life is not in the merit or demerit of the religions. It is entirely dependent on the behaviours of the people who profess themselves to be religious. Since the problems of the world are created by human beings they can only be corrected by human beings, by properly following the fundamental principles of human values, taught and practised by wise men and women of the world. Let us not be in the illusion that there were only one or few such wise people who came as saviours of the world. We must credit ourselves and thank others for the good things we enjoy in life and be responsible for the bad things we experience. According to Buddhism, Religion or "the Dharma" is no more than a raft or a path for people who wish to journey on it. If we have an accident on the road it is not the road's fault and if we travel well, we do not thank the road. However if we stand in the middle of the road and tell other people that they do not know how to walk, that is not just an accident, it is sheer arrogance and ignorance. I have come here to share with you the Buddhist perspective and how its fundamental ideas and practices can benefit individuals and our society at large. Buddhism and its teachings respects all other religions and in fact, in Buddhism, it is a transgression to speak ill of anybody or a group of people or their philosophical or religious ideas. Condemning other people or their religion is considered non-religious conduct and is an idle-talk which is one of the ten non-virtues deeds one must abandone. There is no devil outside other than one's own inability to accept and respect other religions. There is no external god other than the kindness and compassion that can flow through us to other living beings. A mother dog who shows her kindness to her puppy is a much better example of compassion foe one to emulate than propagating teachings which discriminate against colour, race, religion or gender. If one religion cannot tolerate another how can it teach to tolerate anything in this world? Religious intolerance and narrow-mindedness among Church and religious leaders have let down many of their adherents who call themselves "free thinkers". These are not the benefits of religious practice but the failure to understand and practise religion. Over the years I have met many people who wish to be identified as "free thinkers" rather than belonging to any religious denomination. Many regard religion as that which narrows their thinking and limits their freedom to reason. Many modern thinkers, who have otherwise distanced themselves from strict religious dogma have become attracted to the Buddhist way of life and its powerful ideas, have regarded Buddhism as a way of life rather than a religion. Many Australians I have known, who consider themselves as Buddhists have become interested in Buddhism and have adopted its non-pressured approach to life, mainly because they do not have to believe in things they have not examined and experienced themselves. They are taught to think for themselves rather than have a blind faith in something and are not even allowed to think of it logically. They are encouraged to find a safe way for themselves rather than accept the one and only ready-made highway. There is no one highway to enlightenment, but there are different footsteps of past masters we can follow if we wish. Learn from everbody and every circumstance and take what it means most to you, but let us not be over-ambitious and try to make a highway to lead everyone. This is how the seeds of religious fanaticism are planted. Several years ago there was a big inter-religious conference in London which was represented by all major religions. Buddhism was represented by a Sri Lankan monk. The conference was held in a beautiful Church and most of those attending were Christians. All the speakers sat on the stage and the Sri Lankan monk who was the smallest in physical size was asked to speak first. The first remark he made was nothing but a few minutes of total silence and the people in the audience thought he was not going to say anything and the Master of the Ceremony acted rather anxiously. Then the monk smiled towards the Master of the ceremony and nodded as if he was going to say something after all and then he said: "I am sorry, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no God". Well, I am not going to repeat it here but such comments do raise questions as to what Buddhism is all about and the role of Buddha for Buddhists. To be frank Buddha was a great critic of the idea of creation of the world by some supreme God-Head and the idea of the original sin and eternal heaven and hell. To the Buddha, most important thing was "now", the present moment and how we go from here rather than what happened in the past and what might or will happen in the future. Past is gone and future is not yet due except what we are creating now. He did this not out of believing in some theory but examining it for himself through analysis and rationality. Buddha came up with four fundamental principles which he thought was univeral to all human problems. Even to his most faithful disciples, the Buddha after his enlightenment, warned of the danger of "blind faith" and asked them not to believe everything what he said just because he taught them. He emphasised the importance of individuals to test and examine the authenticity of his teaching through personal experience, not through mere belief. These four principles are called the four Noble Tuths. The first is called the Truth of Suffering (Dukkha Satya). When people face suffering in their lives, the first thing they do is deny it, reject it and worst of all they try to avoid it. This he said was the obvious reason why we suffer in life, because we fail to see the truth, the meaning and its purpose of suffering. Although nobody desires suffering, they always get it, not because of the suffering itself, but because they fail to apply the correct antidote to the problem. He explained that people fail to apply the antidotes to their suffering, not because they do not want to but because they do not know the causes of the suffering. We think that the cause of our problem is something or someone outside us and this, he says "is barking up the wrong tree" as the saying goes. We must remember that suffering is a mental phenomenon and it can only be changed or eliminated by correct perception and transformation of our mental attitude. For instance if a person called John loves his friend Barry, and Barry has become very fond of Chris, who John dislikes, John will be upset. This experience of upset, John believes is due to the behaviour of his friend Barry who has become fond of Chris. But if we examine it carefully, the cause of upset is largely due to John's own dislike, resentment and hatred towards Chris, rather than the relationship of Barry and Chris. If friendship is to be admired and desired, then one must be able to rejoice in other's friendship. That which is causing John to be upset is because of his feeling of insecurity and jealousy provoked by his own anger which he had not dealt with effectively in the past. Let me elaborate this from the point of view of the importance of solving a problem at hand rather than of the distant past. If a man is shot by an arrow into his eyes, what should he do? Most people fail to remove the arrow struck in their eyes but instead waste time trying to apprehend and convict the accused. They are more interested to find out what happened before the arrow struck in the eye than to remove the arrow from the eyes. If the hurt is caused by the arrow in the eye, then obviously the arrow must be removed first. But we don't. We want to find out the beginning of the problem how it all started from scratch, i.e. "the creation". The spillover of this way of dealing with suffering is so epidemic and extremely hard to overcome. We deny and disapprove the hurt that we have already experienced but attempt to bring similar if not heavier hurt upon someone else, whether proven guilty or innocent. Blaming the past and the way we were treated in our childhood, by our parents does not address the problem at hand but makes the individual feel more resentful towards their past to the extent of developing self-hatred. This takes us to the second Truth, the truth of the origin of the suffering. In Buddhism, the basic ignorance, greed and hatred in our minds are called "the three poisons". The benefits of religious practice can only be appreciated if individuals take full responsibility for their own poisons of the mind. The events of the past are not happening now, except by oneself playing it back in one's own mind. We can see how our mental problems are created from small factors. To reduce or eliminate suffering caused by one's own poisons of the mind, one must not see them as bad or eternally evil. People who do not know anything about poison become its victims. There are also large numbers of people who know the danger of the poisons of the mind but they suppress them without becoming able to detoxify them. Familiarity and undertsanding of this second truth is crucial to be able to do something about the upset which I referred to earlier. When we become aware that all human beings are victims of their own poisons of the mind, we have no time to become angry at the other person, but instead we feel empathy for the other person. This feeling of empathy brings ourselves to the same level as the other person and become more connected. By doing this we will not dwell in our own misery to deepen and enlarge it, but it sharpens one's focus on the other person's needs. If the cause of the hurt is the event of the past, it has already gone and is not happening now except oneself playing it back in one's own mind as if it was unforgettable. The moment we express our feelings and care for the other person, we will discover that he is in a similar if not worse mental state than we were. There will be an instant cure of the hurt that one has been experiencing out of misunderstanding. This changes the mental climate of anger into compassion and one will feel powerful to bring this change in one's mind without feeling powerless and hopeless. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that anger does not help us to solve the problem at hand, but robs us of our sleep, appetite and make us unable to appreciate the good things we have in life. Compassion is taught in all religions but compassion without wisdom is likened in Buddhism to a bird with only one wing. While we all believe in compassion and its virtues, we mustn't use anything to impose upon others in the name of compassion. If someone does not want our compassion, we must have the wisdom to accept the rejection of our compassion but at the same time not to be discouraged by such experiences. This raises the importance and need of balance and moderation in whatever we do in our lives, be it religious, compassionate or otherwise. If we go into extremes, religion can bring more suffering than it can benefit the world, as we all know. There are certain things we should not be too certain about. So let the law of cause and effect take its own course of reality. Some things we just have to accept. They will change in their own time for nothing is permanent in the world. No matter how hurtful it may have been, it will pass or it mustn't have happened at all. So do not dwell on the past whether good or bad for it may obscure the good things which surrounds you now. The ability to maintain the mind in a free and accepting state is an art of happiness, joy and love. This is called the truth of the path, the third noble truth. It is also the path known as "The Middle Way (Madyam marga). This comprises of eight fold paths: 1. Right View: All things are in a state of dissatisfaction, whether you are young or old, have a partner or do not have a partner, or you have a job or do not have a job and so forth. Even if you obtain something you desire, it will never remain the same as all things are impermanent. If we wish things were permanent instead, you are asking for more trouble. If you are enjoying this meeting, that is because it was not here before and it will soon be over. If we sit here longer than it is comfortable, we will be in heaps of trouble, so we must move on. Reflection on the law of impermanence can resuscitate you when you are short of breath in certain problems of life and help to cultivate right view. 2. Right Thought: Through the correct attitude that things are not as real, satisfactory and durable as it appears or we want them to be, it will enable us to let go of things so we can become more flexible and less rigid and thus experience less stress. This helps us to sort out the thoughts and to get rid of certain thoughts which are harmful to dwell on. Certain thoughts such as kindness, impermanence and compassion towards other living beings can become a very powerful way of directing one's energy. Lots of the sufferings come from one's selfishness and the unability to think of positive things. Therefore it is important to choose the right things to think about. We see and hear what is in our mind. 3. Right Concentration: This way we will sort out the priorities in our lives and we will not waste time on trivial matters. There will be a sense of focus and discipline in life which will inject much needed motivation to live and help others rather than cherish for one's own welfare. This requires the adoption of a practice of meditation which one should learn from qualified teachers; not from books or people who have not invested devotion and faith in teachers, and lineage in which such teachings are kept, but teach from books without any experience and authority. Like a camera, one's mind has to be carefully focussed through attentive concentrated meditation to see the clear picture of reality as it is. If the camera of mind is out of focus, then our mental lens will project the incompetence of the cameraman who may in turn blame the object for being too close or far. His picture will be unclear if any. 4. Right Action: One will have the ability to restrain one's senses (particularly when things are going into extremes) and refrain from inflicting lots of unnecessary suffering by sheer carelessness and indulgence. By conserving all the physical energy one will carefully utilise them to benefit others but not to cause any injury to their life, health, property and relationship. A person practising right action, who is able to give so much to others enjoy good health and will be full of energy. He will not feel worn out or exhausted. 5. Right Speech: Excercising restaint over one's physical energy will enable one to conserve one's energy. So much suffering in our lives are created by our mouth's Karma. So if we understand the meaning of right speech we should watch out for our mouth. Go for a short retreat and see how much peace there is in silence and see how much garbage we talk every day. Gain some power over your speech so that no hurtful words will slip out of your mouth. Say what is good for the many and that which is only truthful and helpful. When you do this, you will hear both praise and blame as the echo of voidness and oneself will be unaffected by other's verbal abuse. Rather they will become objects of compassion. 6. Right Livelihood: This world is for all creatures not just for human beings and the powerful ones. We must give a fair go and act decently towards other living beings. It is not considered clever to take advantage of others who are weaker than ourselves. Cultivate the ability to treat others with respect as an individual just as oneself desires to be happy. Think of animals and their welfare if you cannot deal too many unruly human beings. Focus on what you can do without causing direct harm on others and share things you have with others who need them most. Give to the needy and do not hoard wealth for it will only become one's own prison and create many enemies. You can not take anything with you when you die anyway. 7. Right Mindfulness: We know we should be fair to others but without deliberate mindfulness we are often very forgetful to do the very things we want to do ourselves. We may become angry with ourselves just because we were not mindful enough to bring the key left on the table before closing the door. You may become very cranky and may have a very hard day at work. This will create a very bad working environment for your colleagues who will blame it on your temper and so forth. Mindfulness practice requires consistent daily meditation practice on how to integrate it into every day life. In one Sutra it says: "One with mindfulness is happy and one without is unhappy". 8. Right Effort: One must be diligent to change one's habitual patterns. Just as weight conscious people get up early in the morning to jog and do excerice, likewise one who is concious of the actual health of mind, one must employ right effort to break the negative habitual pattern of one's attitude to life and its problems. The effort to come here tonight can be regarded as right effort but we must implement what we have learnt from this meeting tonight. You do not learn these things in school, college, univeristy, on the soccer field or in the pub. One should create an environment in the house to change one's habits, in the bed room, in the kitchen and wherever you are by yourself. Develop strong will inside you and this undying will and courage to do good for the benefit of many will be of great benefit whether you regard yourself as religious or not. If we have individuals who adopt this theory of the eight noble paths they will experience the fourth noble truth, the truth of the cessation of suffering. Whether you believe in god or you are an aethiest, or believe in reincarnation or in an eternal heaven and hell, it does not matter. You will only experience what you deserve. You will be a kind and sincere person, that is the purpose of religion. Who cares what we believe in? It largely depends on how we conduct our everyday lives. That is the essence of religious practice, the eight noble paths I have spoken about tonight are one of the many ways to practise it. In brief, do not be too happy when everything is fine with you for there are many less fortunate beings who are suffering at this very moment. Do not forget the poor, sick, abandoned children, the lonely and aged people. Share your happiness by thinking of their welfare. Think of those caught in the war in former Yugoslavia and places like Cambodia and do something useful with compassion instead of indulging in your own fortune. Also do not be too sad when things are not going well with you. You are one of the many fortunate people in the world. Appreciate and be grateful for the things you have, this will reduce your sufferings. In order to experience the cessation of suffering, the fourth noble Truth, learn to be durable like the earth, fluid like the water, creative and light like the air and free and vast like the sky. Learn these qualities you yearn to cultivate from the mother nature, if one fails to find any human being devoid of fault. Finally may the ills of humanity not defile the ever shining truth of the enlightened ones, like the lotus flower untainted by the soil in which it grows. Accept what you can now, for this cannot be repeated again. What you can not accept now, do not reject it straight away, for you might find it useful later on. Let there be awareness, compassion and tolerance among all living beings. *This was delivered at the Australian Parliament of World Religions, Pilgrim House, Canberra 26 June, 1993 and was subsequently published in Bhakti magazine. Part II Grading Our Intelligence by John Chen Now, briefly in a relative sense, I will explain the nine grades of intelligence and karmic maturity using some of the characteristics described in the previous issue: Inferior-Inferior: The person has little or no desire to cultivate the Way and does not know how to create good virtuous actions (or seeds) to ripen in the future because of experiencing the ripening of much bad karmic actions accumulated in the past. Bad karma can be how a person uses this lifetime as a human being, or take the form of physical, mental, emotional, material and environmental deprivation in degrees of intensity and complexity. A person having a ignorant and deluded mind. Inferior-Medium: The person has little or no desire to cultivate the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good humane actions accumulated, but it is tainted by experiencing the ripening of some bad karmic actions also accumulated in the past. A person having a confused and doubtful mind. Inferior-Superior: The person has little or no desire to cultivate the Way due to experiencing the ripening of very good karmic actions accumulated in the past. The good karmic actions can take the form of physical, mental, emotional, material and environmental richness in degrees of quality and quantity. And the misfortune of bad karmic action of not knowing that when all his good actions accumulated in the past is used up, he will once again have to start from scratch. A person having a devotional and faithful mind. Medium-Inferior: The person has the desire to cultivate and has an understanding of the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past, but he has not enough meritorious and virtuous blessings to know of a good knowing adviser. A person having an intellectually sincere mind. Medium-Medium: The person has the desire to cultivate and has an understanding of the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past but not enough good meritorious and virtuous blessings to be in the right place or time (conditions and situations) to be taught by a good knowing adviser. A person having an intellectually patient mind. Medium-Superior: The person has the desire to cultivate and has an understanding of the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past and enough meritorious and virtuous blessings to be present but not taught by a good knowing adviser. A person having a intellectually inquiring mind. Superior-Inferior: The person has the desire to cultivate and has intellectually understood the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past, but not enough good meritorious and virtuous blessings to be directly or indirectly taught by a good knowing adviser in wisdom, practice and action and have some karmic maturity to receive a response. A person having a superior intelligent mind. Superior-Medium: The person has the desire to cultivate and has intellectually understood the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past, but with enough meritorious and virtuous blessings to be indirectly taught by a good knowing adviser in wisdom, practice and action, and have the karmic maturity to experience something from within. A person having a well attuned and aware mind. Superior-Superior: The person has the desire to cultivate and has intellectually understood the Way due to experiencing the ripening of good karmic actions accumulated in the past, and plenty of good meritorious and virtuous blessings and karmic maturity to be directly and indirectly taught by good knowing advisers in wisdom, practice and action and to also have direct inner experiences as a result of these teachings. A person having a ‘mind-to-mind’ seal mind.This is simply an interpretation of what these nine grades of intelligence may mean. INTENSIVE TIBETAN LANGUAGE COURSE LEARN TIBETAN THIS SUMMER IN CANBERRA JAN. 16 - FEB. 18 1994 Following the success of the previous Intensive Tibetan Language Course which attracted students from Adelaide, New Zealand, Sydney and Canberra, this course will be offered again this summer. This course is designed so that by the end of the course participants would have learnt how to read, write and will become able to converse in modern Tibetan. Emphasis will be given on the practical conversation, U-chen calligraphy, basic grammatical rules and learning how to read and understand classical Tibetan. A specially tailored book on the course will be provided. It should be particular interest to linguists, anthropologists, students interested in Buddhism and to the people interested in the history, culture and religion of the Tibetan people. This is an excellent opportunity to learn both modern and classical Tibetan within four weeks and gain a greater understanding of the unique culture of the Tibetan people and its valued Buddhist teachings. As Tibetan is one of the few languages which has preserved the most comprehensive and accurate translations of the Buddhist canon, it is taught in most leading universities around the world. Teacher The course will be conducted by Lama Choedak, a Tibetan teacher and translator who is the resident teacher of the Tibetan Buddhist centre in Canberra. Graduated from the Australian National University, Lama Choedak has worked with linguists and has taught Tibetan at ANU. As a doctorate candidate at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, he is currently working on his Ph.D thesis. He has translated number of Tibetan texts and has recently completed the translation of Drukpa Kagyu Ngondro at the request of His Holiness Gyalwang Drukchen. He has compiled the course manual on Tibetan. Fees and Commitment The course fee is $500 that is less than 40% of course fees charges by similar language courses. Those who have genuine financial difficulties will be given discounts. As an intensive language course, it will be extremely demanding and challenging for students. Students attend at least 100 hours of class and are expected to undertake few hours of homework each day. Time: Mon - Fri. 10 am - 5pm except public holiday (s). Accomodation The classes will be held at the Australian National University. As accomodation is available in the ANU campus with single student rooms with shared facilities, overseas and interstate students will find convenience of accessibility to the class, library, coffee shops and beautiful surroundings. The Menzies library has the biggest collection of Tibetan books in the southern hemisphere. To book your accomodation at Burton and Garran Hall at the ANU campus phone: Maria (06) 267 4700. As class size is limited, please register early with a deposit of $50 to hold a place in the course and the balance must be paid by 31 December 1993. Cheques payable to: Lama Choedak ENROLMENT FORM Tibetan Translation Fund, 2 Sage Close, Chisholm, ACT 2905 Enq: (06) 292 8150 Full Name ................................................................ Address ..................................................................... Tel. (w) ................................ (h) .............................. I enclose a cheque/Money Order $ .............. as a deposit for the Tibetan Language Course. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- end of file


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