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Home > Advanced Meditation > Tantra Teachings > Practicing Tantra Effectively > Session Five: Lam-rim as the Foundation for Tantra Practice: The Intermediate and Advanced Scope

Practicing Tantra Effectively

Alexander Berzin
Moscow, Russia, September 2010

Session Five: Lam-rim as the Foundation for Tantra Practice: The Intermediate and Advanced Scope

Unedited Transcript
Listen to the audio version of this page (0:38 hours)

The lam-rim graded stages are referring to three levels of motivation that we develop, each one based on the next. 

So the first level, the initial level motivation, is to think to benefit our future lives: to avoid worse rebirths and to get one of the better rebirth states, and in particular to continue having a precious human rebirth so that we can continue the practice. And, with that motivation, we turn away from having our primary interest being just in this lifetime. Although, of course, we want to make progress in this lifetime, so we don’t just ignore what happens in this lifetime. 

And with the intermediate scope of motivation, what we’re aiming at is to get rid of uncontrollably recurring rebirth altogether, not just avoid worse rebirths. So we’re turning away from any type of rebirth, although while we are continuing rebirth, obviously we want to make progress. So we’re aiming for liberation with this intermediate level of motivation. 

And with the advanced level of motivation, we’re aiming to achieve the enlightened state of a Buddha so that we’re able to benefit everyone as much as is possible. So we’re turning away from having our primary interest just in terms of benefiting ourselves, although, obviously, on the path to reaching the point where we can benefit others the fullest, we have to improve ourselves. 

Now with that intermediate scope, the first thing that we need to think of – and then we’ll look at what is the benefit of this in our tantra practice, and what is the disadvantage of not thinking in terms of this – so the first thing that we look at is the difficulties and suffering of gaining rebirth in these better states, the upper realms, as a human or as any of the various classifications of the gods. Now the initial scope, we really wanted to get rid of the suffering of unhappiness, the gross suffering of terrible rebirths, pain, and so on. Here we want to view or learn to be able to view and to recognize our ordinary type of happiness as yet another form of suffering, because our ordinary happiness doesn’t last. It’s unreliable; we have no idea what we’re going to feel like next. It never satisfies; we always want more. And it changes into suffering and unhappiness. Like the example of our eating our favorite food: if it were true happiness, the more we ate at one time, the happier we would feel; but obviously, when we reach a limit, if we eat more, it just produces pain and unhappiness, discomfort. 

So we saw when we went through the structure of a sadhana that one of the aspects of it is making offerings. And when we make offerings, we imagine if we’re making offerings to others, that it brings them happiness. And if we’re making offerings to ourselves, in one of these Buddha-forms, we imagine that we experience these with happiness; we enjoy these offerings with happiness. So the question is: what kind of happiness? And what we want to accomplish with this thinking, here on the intermediate scope, is that we’re not thinking in terms of ordinary happiness. We recognize that ordinary happiness is a form of suffering: it changes, and doesn’t last; it’s not satisfying, and so on. So this is quite important – to have a correct understanding of what is the type of happiness that we’re aiming for here. It’s the happiness of being free from all disturbing emotions, being free from all the obscurations of the mind. That is quite a different type of happiness than our ordinary happiness. When the causes for unhappiness are eliminated forever, then the happiness that we experience also goes on forever. It doesn’t degenerate. Whereas if our happiness is based on just some condition that doesn’t last, like getting a certain type of food, then of course when we don’t have that food, we’re unhappy; and if we have too much of it, we are also unhappy. So it’s quite a different type of happiness, isn’t it? 

So if we’re just aiming for ordinary happiness with our tantra practice, then it’s going to be just a superficial escape from being unhappy. In others words, I’ll just sit here in this meditation and think of everything being nice, everything being perfect, and I’ll feel happy. But doing it too long – like eating too much of a favorite food becomes unhappy – we become bored with it and, when we finish our meditation, we’re unhappy again. 

And also in the highest class of tantra we are trying to focus on voidness with a blissful awareness. So what kind of blissful awareness are we talking about? We’re certainly not talking about ordinary happiness. So when we are trying to imagine this blissful awareness – which is what we would do in the early stages – it’s important not to think of it in terms of our ordinary type of happiness; that it is quite a different quality. It’s the happiness of being parted from all these obscurations, not just the happiness of getting some nice food or some nice physical sensation. And also we need to experience that blissful awareness with no attachment to it. Ordinary happiness, we tend to be very attached to. 

Also, remember these Buddha-figures. Another name for them was the extraordinary deities; they’re not our usual type of deities in these god realms. And when we talk about an extraordinary deity as a term for these Buddha-figures, we’re not talking about a super-god – that the other gods are less, and this is just a super-god. And so we understand that these Buddha-figures are manifestations of a Buddha, of an enlightened being. They can appear in any form. And so here’s a form that is useful for meditation practice. Because, you see, if we haven’t focused – in this intermediate level – on the suffering of the god realms, then we could easily make the mistake of viewing these Buddha-figures, especially when we’re focusing on them in front of us, as a type of god; and if not a god, at least a saint. So, then, we pray to this saint or this god, “Help me. Protect me. Do this, do that,” and we’re basically worshipping a god, which is not quite the Buddhist path. 

Now we might be a little bit confused because in a lot of these ritual practices, the long sadhanas, etc., there are a lot of praises that we make: praises to the various deities, praises to various masters of the lineage, and so on. So, again, are we just praising a god, like we might do in some other religions? “Oh Saint Tara. Oh God Avalokiteshvara. You’re so wonderful. Grant me everything that I wish.” Sometimes it sounds like that, doesn’t it? It’s not like that at all. What is the point of these praises? Does a Buddha really care whether you praise him or not? Absolutely not. One of the qualities of a Buddha is that if you’re ready and receptive for a Buddha’s help, a Buddha will help you regardless of whether you make offerings, whether you praise him or anything. A Buddha has perfect equanimity. When we offer praises, what we’re doing is remembering the good qualities of these various figures of Buddhahood, in order to be inspired by that to achieve that. And also to rejoice. Rejoicing is emphasized very much in Buddhism. We rejoice at how great it is that you have attained it, and have confidence that I can attain it too. So meditating on the suffering of the god realms, etc., is helpful for us to avoid the mistake of viewing these tantric deities, these figures, as just another form of gods. 

Then the next thing that we do is look at the disturbing emotions, basically, in terms of the second noble truth: the true cause of suffering. The full form, what we are looking at here in the intermediate scope are the four noble truths – true suffering; cause of suffering; stopping of it; and the mind that will act as a pathway, the understanding that will act as a pathway to bring about that true stopping and that results from that stopping. So we looked at the suffering of pain; suffering of suffering, it’s called. Suffering of change, that’s the suffering of our ordinary happiness. And we need to look at the third type of suffering, the all-pervasive suffering, which is the whole mechanism of rebirth which gives us, again and again, the type of body and mind that will be the basis for the first two types of suffering. 

So, after looking at the suffering of these upper realms, these better rebirth states, we look at the suffering of samsara in general. So the first noble truth. And then we look at the true cause for them. And first we look at all these disturbing emotions, because it’s the negative potentials built up from our destructive behavior that will bring about a worse rebirth. And it’s the positive potentials from constructive behavior – but done with not an understanding of reality – that brings about a better rebirth, but it’s still samsaric. 

So we act destructively because of disturbing emotions, and that’s based on unawareness of reality and unawareness of cause and effect. And, within the context of samsara, when we act constructively we still are based… behind that is unawareness of how we exist. So it could be mixed with a little bit of destructive emotion, disturbing emotions, but could also not be mixed with them. But still there is the unawareness, in terms of how I exist, how you exist, etc. You, whom I’m helping, whom I’m being nice to. And whether we have negative potentials or positive potentials on our mental continuum, either of them or both of them will be activated at the time of death by disturbing emotions and unawareness. And once they’re activated, then they will bring about this rebirth, samsaric rebirth.

So now, on this intermediate level, we need to think in terms of the disadvantages of these disturbing emotions and the various methods for overcoming them. This is the true cause of suffering: these disturbing emotions and, underlying them, our unawareness. 

Very, very important to have at least some level of quieting down and weakening the force of our disturbing emotions before we get involved with tantra. You don’t have to wait until you’re free from them completely. Then you’re a liberated being, when you’re free from them completely. But you really have to have worked on them quite hard before we can practice tantra effectively. Why? On the path of tantra – you might have heard of this – we use disturbing emotions as part of the path. Now you have to already have made a great deal of progress in overcoming these disturbing emotions before you could ever use them without the danger of getting carried away by them and really getting disturbed, and acting destructively and building up more negative karma. So we want to use desire, anger, naivety on the path. You could say pride as well. 

So, with desire, we have a lot of imagery in tantra which is sexual in nature. Often we’re imagining ourselves as a couple in union. Now, of course, the couple is mother and father representing: the mother is the understanding of voidness, the wisdom side; the father is the method side. There’s that level. I mean, we’re not talking about masculine and feminine here. And so the union of the mother and father gives birth to the child; so union of method and wisdom gives birth to Buddhahood. That’s the analogy. But there is this sexual component to it, and the sexual component helps us to generate a blissful state of mind. We get turned on. And then we can use that blissful state of mind to help get the consciousness – the mind – more and more subtle. We can use it to have a more stable and subtle understanding of voidness, but not if it’s a disturbing state of mind. If it’s a disturbing state of mind, there’s no way that it be used. 

So we use – as it says in the text – use the disturbing emotion, desire, to get rid of desire. So when there’s not so much danger that you’re going to get carried away by the desire, then you use it to generate this state of mind, this blissful state of mind which, with the understanding of voidness, will get rid of all desire completely. Very delicate process. And, of course, we have to not be attached to that blissful awareness; otherwise, again, we’re making a solid thing out of it. And how can you use that for gaining the understanding of voidness – as the mind that understands voidness? 

Anger. Anger is very, very forceful. Get rid of something. Very strong rejection type of energy. Now, in many of these tantric practices, we are visualizing ourselves as a forceful figure, forceful deity; sometimes translated as “wrathful deity.” “Wrathful” – you have to be careful of the connotation of that, so I use “forceful” instead. Wrathful in English has a little bit of the connotation of punishing somebody, and we’re certainly not punishing here. But when we are imagining ourselves as one of these forceful figures, with all the flames and the fangs, and “Grrrrr!” – you know, really strong – what is being rejected here? What is the focus of this are disturbing emotions: our selfishness, all these things. Our attitude is: “Stop treating yourself as a baby! Stop acting like this! Just stop it! Cut it out!” So, very, very strong. And we need that. You can’t treat yourself like a baby when you’re trying to reach enlightenment. It doesn’t mean that you push yourself too hard, or that, you know, “I’m no good and I have to beat myself,” but this really strong energy. 

So, if we haven’t made great progress already in overcoming anger, then of course we really get angry and we could get into mentally beating ourselves – “I’m no good” – like this, which is certainly not helpful at all. “I’m not practicing hard enough,” and this whole sort of – what we’ve discussed – negative attitude toward ourselves, self-hatred. And, of course, the desire which can become lust. And the anger can extend beyond our meditation. So we have even more desire for others because “Ooh, it turns me on.” Or anger with others because we don’t have patience with their disturbing emotions. 

And if we’re doing tantra practice in the style of mahamudra – in which we’re trying to focus on the nature of the mind, in terms of all of this, to get down to the subtlest level – then if we have this way that we’re using disturbing emotions on the tantra path, if we have this desire or this force, this anger, the mind becomes more intense. The more intense the mental activity or the mind is, the easier it is to recognize its nature, the nature of the mind. But if that disturbing emotion really is disturbing, if we haven’t overcome it – in the sense of getting carried away by it – then, of course, you’re never going to recognize the nature of the mind. In that state, you’re just going to be disturbed. 

And as for using naivety on the path – naivety, remember, is not knowing, or knowing in an incorrect way. Actually, when we talk about unawareness and we talk about naivety we’re talking about the same disturbing state of mind, except naivety is that unawareness when it accompanies a destructive state of mind. Accompanying a constructive state of mind or neutral state of mind, we don’t call it naivety. That’s the only difference here. 

But, in any case – if we speak in general here – we want to, as I said, stop all our ordinary appearances or samsaric appearances and get to a subtle state of mind, a subtle state of mind that generates these appearances. And then, from that subtle state, generate pure appearances. So, in a sense, we are shutting out ordinary appearances. So, at that time, I don’t want to know about these ordinary appearances; we’re focusing on a pure appearance. And when I get down to, or imagine I get down to, the subtlest level of mind – again, I don’t want to know about these grosser levels of mind where it’s all disturbing and conceptual. I don’t want to know about it. So, again, it’s like naivety; it’s using that type of naivety to, in a sense, block the ordinary level. But it’s not complete not knowing, because we understand the nature of it, how it exists. We understand the voidness of this ordinary level. It’s not just that we are putting up a wall and not dealing with it, by not understanding it, or anything like that. So if we haven’t made progress in overcoming the actual disturbing attitude of naivety, then using naivety on the path is just “I don’t want to deal with it.” So we’re not dealing with it, and we don’t even understand it. We’re just escaping. We’re trying to escape. 

And, remember, we spoke about having this so called pride of the deity, in which we label the “me” on this pure appearance. It’s the same word as “pride” or “arrogance.” But if we haven’t overcome, to a certain level, our usual arrogance, then we’re very proud. “Oh, I’m so wonderful.” And we hold onto ourselves as this deity as being solidly real, and this is really “me,” and I’m better than everybody else. So you have to be very careful to overcome pride, in order to be able to use pride. 

Then the next thing in the intermediate level is when we understand all of this – suffering, causes of suffering, we have to understand of course that it’s possible to achieve a true stopping of all this suffering and its causes – and then we have renunciation. Renunciation is “I’m determined to be free of this,” based on full confidence that it’s possible to get free of it; otherwise it’s just wishful thinking. 

So what are we determined to be free of? It’s not just uncontrollably recurring rebirth. That’s difficult enough to really, sincerely want to be free of that. It absolutely is necessary here, if we’re going to get rid of death, bardo, and rebirth. But we have to be determined to get rid of ordinary appearances. This is what we’re determined to be free of and what we are renouncing. Ordinary appearances, that our mind makes things appear in the ordinary way that everything appears to us, as if everything is encapsulated in plastic, just existing there on its own, in a form that just – we’re confused about it, so we’re attracted to some and we’re repelled from others, and others we ignore, etc. – That we’re determined to be free of. And our grasping for all of this to exist in a way that it appears. 

It’s very, very difficult to really want to be free from that. We’re going to have to deal with it, because other people view things that way. So it’s not as though we’re denying that it’s happening, but we want to stop our own mind from producing this garbage. Without that renunciation, you’re not going to sincerely want to give up the way that our minds ordinarily make things appear. 

Without that renunciation, then we want to still have our minds produce these deceptive appearances. We’re still grasping onto it, as if it were real; and we’re just projecting onto it these pure appearances, which we’re also grasping at as real. So the whole thing becomes, really, just a thing for deepening our samsara; just a practice for deepening samsara. We’re just doing it on two levels now – ordinary appearance and pure appearance – grasping at both. Or, in my meditation, I’ll have a nice rest in everything being pure and lovely; but, when we get out, I want to be back into my ordinary life because that’s what really I believe is true. Our ordinary life with the appearances of “this one is so attractive” and “this one is so repulsive,” and they just exist on their own – that this is true reality, and the other thing is just sort of a nice thing that we do in meditation. 

Of course we can go to the other extreme, which is to think that the ordinary way in which things appear, and so on – because it doesn’t correspond to anything real, that none of this exists. And we take that really literally, and so we ignore everybody else who has the suffering of generating this garbage, even if we get rid of it. So it could really jeopardize our compassion in working to help others. 

Then with this renunciation as our motivation, we practice the three higher trainings, it’s called: training in higher ethical discipline, concentration, and discriminating awareness. Without discipline, we certainly can’t do the practice. And if we haven’t first disciplined the way that we speak and the way we act, how can we discipline our minds? And for concentration, we absolutely need concentration to be able to work with all these very complex visualizations, and especially if we’re working with the subtle energy systems. 

Now certainly through tantra practice we can develop complete concentration. But to start with no practice of that whatsoever, it’s going to be very difficult. And the level of concentration that we need is extraordinary in order to practice really effectively. Not only do we need to have no mental wandering, and no flightiness of mind, and no mental dullness, and an exhilarating state of mind – I mean, that’s shamatha – – and be able to do that for four hours without any interruption or degeneration of our state of mind. But the generation stage, where we’re working with imagination – the gross level of that is that we’re able to do this focused on all the details of all the figures in the entire mandala. And that can be a lot of figures and a tremendous amount of detail. And when we do the subtle level of the generation stage, we are able to visualize all of this, with all the tremendous detail, in a tiny drop at the tip of our nose. So, microscopically, for four hours, perfectly. And we have visualizations which are enormous, the size of the universe. And we have incredibly microscopic visualizations in different parts of our body: Inside your body there’s this other little figure at your heart, and inside its heart is another little figure, and inside its heart is another little figure, and inside its heart is a complete mandala with all the syllables and all the deities. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable how microscopic it could get. 

And when we have mastered that, then we’re ready for the complete stage – to work with the subtle energy system. Because if you’re not able to visualize all the chakras and the channels with all the different letters on them, so that you can really get precisely each little channel – if you can’t do that and hold your concentration on that, it’s hopeless to be able to actually manipulate the winds and energies in these channels. We need a laser-like mind to be able to move these energies. So if we don’t have that concentration, if we don’t have that level of visualization – particularly a microscopic level – then either it’s just a joke, what we’re doing with chakras and channels; or you have no control over it and so you really, really upset the energies in your body and do a tremendous amount of damage to your nervous system and your whole state of mind, because the winds are completely upset in your body. So we need to have proper respect for what it means to actually work with the subtle energy system and not think that this is something easy or a beginner thing that we can do. 

And we need discriminating awareness to be able to discriminate reality from fantasy. Without that – the understanding of voidness, etc. – then big danger of just being completely schizophrenic and actually think that I’m this deity and identifying a really solid “me” with a solidly existing deity. If we imagine it to be like that – as it says in the text – that’s just a cause for being reborn as a ghost in the form of this figure. 

So we have these three higher trainings in the intermediate level. The main emphasis is on higher discipline, because concentration and discriminating awareness is described more fully on the advanced level. 

Advanced level. We first of all have to develop equanimity toward everybody. And that’s very important because when we are imagining in tantra practice that the lights go out and they benefit all beings, and so on – well, it needs to benefit absolutely everybody. We’re like a sun with rays of benefit going out to absolutely everybody. So we have to overcome, already, this idea of favoritisms: “I only want to help this one and not that one.” 

And love, the wish for everybody to be happy and have the causes for happiness. Compassion, the wish for everybody to be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. Well, that’s what we’re trying to do with these visualizations of the lights going out and removing everybody’s suffering and giving them happiness. So, if we don’t have love and compassion as the emotional component of that, what are we doing? Without an emotional component – we’re talking about nondisturbing emotional component – and love and compassion, we’re just running an internal movie of lights going out and coming back in. Nothing terribly profound about that, is there? And, of course, lights going out represents our energy going out and benefiting others. Lights coming back in represents bringing all the energy-winds and things into the central channel, dissolving it. I mean, there are many levels of what these practices are intended for. But you certainly need love and compassion. 

And bodhichitta. Bodhichitta: I’m aimed at my own individual enlightened state which has not yet happened but which can happen on the basis of Buddha-nature and a lot of hard work. And I’m going to benefit everybody as much as possible when I attain this. And we’re intent on attaining it. So, in tantra practice, we are representing that not-yet-happened enlightened state of mine with this visualization of ourselves as a Buddha-figure. Otherwise, what are we aiming at? I mean, what is the point of visualizing ourselves in this form and generating ourselves in this form from our subtle energy system. We will generate, on the basis of imagining ourselves in this form – we will eventually have our subtle energy system give rise to this form, and eventually we’ll be able to have our subtlest mind give rise to this form as a Buddha. Step by step. 

Question: So first the subtle energy systems, they… 

Alex: First, imagination. Then, with practices like illusory body, we’re making the subtle energy arise in this form. Like when we arise in a dream body in a dream. That’s still within the sphere of samsara, or at least – I mean, it depends because there are different stages of it. It’s certainly not the enlightened state because we’re working with subtle energy not the subtlest energy. But when we can get the subtlest energy to arise in this form, instead of leading to a whole samsaric existence, then we become a Buddha in this form. So if we’re not aiming to arise in this form as a way in which to attain our not-yet-happening enlightenment – representing that – then, as it says in the texts as well, if you do this type of practice without bodhichitta – in other words, it’s not representing enlightenment, our future enlightenment for us – again, it’s just a cause for rebirth as a ghost in a samsaric existence in this form. 

And, the basis of bodhichitta, we have the practice of the six far-reaching attitudes; the so-called perfections: 

So [1] generosity. We need that to make the offerings. We need to be generous. We’re not just going to offer a little, and not just offer it to some. Be generous. Offer it to everybody. Help everybody. Make everybody happy. 

And [2] discipline. We’ve already discussed that necessity. 

We need [3] patience. This practice is going to take a long time. We have to not get angry with it, not get angry with ourselves, but be patient, endure the hardships that are involved. 

And [4] perseverance. Not to get lazy; to just continue. The practice is definitely going to go up and down. That’s the nature of samsara. So perseverance: I don’t care it’s going up and down. I’m just going to – I mean, “I don’t care” in the sense that I’m not going to let that discourage me. I’m just going to do it anyway. 

And [5] mental stability, sometimes referred to just as concentration. Well, we’ve discussed that. 

And [6] discriminating awareness, the understanding of voidness. We spoke about that as well. Without that understanding, the whole process doesn’t get rid of our samsaric existence and it doesn’t get rid of the limitations of the mind that prevent us from being an omniscient Buddha and being able to understand how to help everyone. 

Without the understanding of voidness, we won’t be able to really properly dissolve our ordinary appearance based on our unawareness – our mental continuum generates that – and generate a pure appearance. Instead, we will just be substituting an impure appearance – by “impure” here I’m meaning something that appears to be truly existent, that we believe is truly existent – we’ll just be substituting one that looks like our ordinary body with another one that looks like these multi-armed and multi-legged figures. So what we’re doing is substituting one samsaric thing for another. 

So we’ve seen with this survey that all the various points of lam-rim are really essential for being able to make our practice of tantra effective. And when they are missing, many problems come up. So, even if we are already involved with doing some sort of tantra practice, it’s very important to work really hard on all these lam-rim points in order to improve our practice and make it more effective. 

So we have ten minutes left. Perhaps you might have some questions. 

Question: In our past, we’ve committed different destructive actions, maybe even killing of some beings, and now we sometimes feel regret about it, or confession because of that. And it can bring us sorrow and distraction because it appears in our daily life: we think about these actions. From a Buddhist point of view, do we regard this state of regret as destructive, as a negative? Disturbing? 

Alex: Well, regret itself is not disturbing. It can be very positive. I mean, of course we have to differentiate regretting positive things we’ve done and regretting negative things. 

So when we talk about regretting negative things, then there are two variations here. One is with grasping for a solid “me,” and one is without that. If we grasp for a solid “me,” in terms of this regret, then we identify with the destructive thing that we did – “I’m so bad. I’m a bad person. What I did was so terrible!” – and we feel guilt. We don’t let go. That’s very disturbing. If we understand voidness – we don’t grasp for a solid “me” – then we understand that I can purify myself of these, of the negative potential from this. So regret then becomes something which is a very necessary constructive step. But with no guilt; no feeling of guilt. So all of this is very important in tantra practice when we do purification practices as part of tantra. 

Any other question? 

Question: I think the most difficult problem, if we’re speaking about us Western practitioners, is not believing in rebirth. What can we do in order to achieve this belief or to be convinced in rebirth?

Alex: Well, with only five minutes left of our meeting, and having to vacate the room, I can’t really answer that in any sort of detail. 

And so there are many logical arguments in terms of rebirth. It has to do with understanding the nature of mental activity which constitutes the mental continuum. And understanding how one moment leads to another moment, in terms of a process of cause and effect. And understanding then the voidness of cause and effect. Which then helps us to understand that you can’t have [1] a first cause – a beginning – that when we’re born, the mental continuum comes from nothing, or comes from something which is different, like some material substance. And that [2] the process of cause and effect could just end; and the final moment doesn’t produce another effect when we die. 

And so, through logical thinking, it just doesn’t make sense that there can be an absolute beginning and an absolute end to the type of continuum that mental activity is. I mean, there can be a beginning and an end of this body, but that’s a different type of continuum. We have to understand mental activity. And, of course, it takes a very long time to become convinced. It’s not a matter of “Hallelujah! Now I believe.” 

And it helps, of course, if we have the experience of knowing somebody in two lifetimes. I mean, I’ve had that experience with my teacher. A very, very high lama, Rinpoche – a tulku, a reincarnate – very, very close to him in his last lifetime, very close to him in the present lifetime. And so, in terms of an actual interaction with somebody, that adds even more conviction. But most of us don’t have that opportunity. Because, with that experience of somebody in two lifetimes, you have a much more realistic attitude, a realistic understanding of what rebirth means – that it’s not an exact clone going from one lifetime to another, staying the same. Absolutely not. 

But, as I said, this is not the opportunity or occasion. We don’t have the time to go into a detailed discussion of the voidness of cause and effect. That’s a very big topic. 

So let’s end here with the dedication. We think whatever understanding, whatever positive force has come from all of this, may it go deeper and deeper and act as a cause to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all. 

Thank you.