By: Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
A teaching may be given in various ways. A fully enlightened Buddha expounds the Dharma in one way; an exalted being, abiding on one of the bodhisattva levels, in another; someone who has attained the realization of an arhant, in a third; and a learned pandita in yet another. A simple meditator in a mountain retreat teaches with few elaboration; while a high lama, a great master sitting on a throne, teaches the important points of the Dharma in a concise and impressive way. Finally, there is a manner of giving meditation instruction in a direct, simple fashion.
A fully enlightened buddha expounds the Dharma through the threefold miraculous actions of his body, speech, and mind. A fully enlightened buddha has purified not only the obscuration of disturbing emotions, but also the obscuration of the most subtle tendencies. Like a fully blossomed flower, he has completely developed all the qualities of abandonment and realization.
When a buddha teaches, he emanates boundless rays of light from his body, forehead and tongue, which automatically summon all who are qualified to hear teaching. Not only human beings, but also non humans, spiritual and celestial beings naturally gather in an assembly before him. He has the power to automatically ripen those who have not yet matures, and to free those who have not yet been liberated. Regarding a buddha’s speech, his voice is unlike that of an ordinary being. Usually, those who sit close to a teacher can easily hear him, but those far in the back have difficulty hearing what is being said. However, when a buddha teaches, one can sit anywhere and still hear the words very clearly and precisely. When a fully enlightened buddha teaches, we needn’t even understand the language of the teaching; each person will perceive the words in his own native language.
A fully enlightened buddha does not speak like an ordinary person- coughing, making mistakes, or filing in gaps with superfluous words. Even an arahant still speaks this way, confusing the head and tall of a sentence or using unclear words, but a Buddha has perfect command of his faculty of speech. A Buddha mind, which possesses the wisdom that clearly sees past, present, and future perfectly the different capacities and potentials of each person present, not only for that particular life but for countless past lifetimes. Therefore, he can give teachings, which are perfectly appropriate for each individual’s propensities. An arhant, on the other hand, is not yet able to do this.
An old story is told about a certain householder. An arhant at first considered teaching him, but concluded that the teachings would not benefit him. And so decided to remain silent. Because he could not see far enough back into the householder’s past, the arhant made a poor decision. The Buddha, who was aware of the situation, objected, saying: ” That man was potential for enlightenment, and he should be given the teachings after which he will be swiftly liberated”. Thus, a Buddha is said to teach through the threefold miraculous actions. A bodhisattva teaches by means of the six paramitas or transcendental actions. A bodhisattva is able to actualize these actions, whereas we, as beginners, can enact only a semblance. To give or to attend a lecture is the paramita of giving. True generosity is free from any hope of reward or gratitude. The paramita of discipline is to proceed in the proper and correct manner. The paramita of patience is to endure whatever difficulties or hardship we encounter. The paramita of diligence is to be tireless or to exert oneself continuously. The paramita of concentration is to remain undistracted and the paramita of knowledge is to embrace the teaching with awareness. The speaker and the listener both should possess these qualities.
An arhant teaches by means of three purities: the purity of the person who is being taught; the purity of the teacher being free from desire for honor and gain; and the purity of the teaching itself being a true remedy for disturbing emotions. How are these three purities actualized?
Just as we check to see if a cup is too small or too large when pouring liquid into it, not overfilling a small cup or pouring too little into a large cup, an arhant, possessing the power of clairvoyance, knows the minds of others, and will therefore know whether or not a teaching is suitable for another person at that particular time. Secondly, because he has totally extinguished all his distributing emotions, arhant himself is pure. Thirdly, the teachings should also be pure. Causing no negative emotions to arise, they should be methods for discarding the distributing emotion.
Five qualities must be present when a learned pandita expounds the Dharma. First the teachings should be based upon the words of a fully enlightened Buddha or of a completely qualified master from the past. This must be the basis for his teaching. Secondly, he should elaborated by explaining it with his own commentary and should identify very clearly who authored the teaching. Thirdly, he should state to whom the teachings was given. Was it given to bodhisattvas, Sravakas, or ordinary beings? Next, he should describe the kind of teaching that it is. Is it philosophy, such as the Middle way? He should be able to identify exactly the different quotations appearing in the text. Finally, he should explain the category of Dharma to which the teaching belongs: Vinaya, Abhidharma or Sutra.
There are several other styles of teachings as well. A great master might have a particular style of giving concise but impressive teachings on the key points of the Dharma, while a meditator in the mountain will teach in a very simple and unelaborated way. Finally, a realize meditation master teaches by giving direst instruction for practice. This excerpt from the Union of mahamudra and Dzogchen was reproduced with permission of Rangjung Yeshe Publications.
The introduction of NIEM Bulletin marks a definite step in the activities of this Institute to promote Nepalese-Tibetan Buddhist studies especially the Bodhisattva tradition within the Nepalese society. In previous years activities have not been significant enough. Since the study of the Sutra tradition is not available in our Buddhist Viharas here a negative situation is arising. In order to offset that imbalance the Nagarjuna Institute has initiated extensive Buddhist studies programs offering instructions in texts, lectures and ceremonies for individual practice.
At the same time we feel that there is still a gigantic task ahead to actualize our goals. Without our audience’s co-operation and valuable suggestions we will not be able to attain stability. Buddhists around the world t appeal to you to support our Buddhist studies program for the benefit of the Nepalese people. It is my sincere hope that this bulletin will serve not only as an academic and culture exercise but create an effective forum for dialogue among the Buddhists around the world.
Min Bahadur Shakya
Nagarjuna Institute initiated a weekly Saturday discourse programme at the premise of Buddha Santi Niketan, Kamaladi, Kathmandu between 8:00 to 10:00 A.M. Many thanks to the effort of the late Bekharatna Dhakhwa who built the monastery and provided a well equipped environment which includes rooms for meditation, classes, office and library, as well as a prayer hall for group sitting. Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche, spiritual director of this institute blesses the monastery by offering a teaching programme on the “Thirty seven practices of all the Buddha’s sons” by Ngulchu Thogme from Aug. 5th to Aug. 12th 1989, for Nepalese Buddhist devotees. About 500 people both men and women disciples attended the programme.
The students of Buddhist Studies Programme, Summer session especially took great interest in Rinpoche’s teachings and raised many interesting questions in order to dispel their doubts. Thanks to the donors who offered tea and breakfast for all the participants. Prior to the actual teachings by Rinpoche the participants recited the verses on Auspiciousnes (Tashi), the meditation on Avalokiteshvara as well as the recitation of Om Mani Padme Hung 108 times.
Nagarjuna Institute conducted a ceremony for taking Refuge Vows. It was held by the eminent Buddhist master, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche on the premise of Buddha Santi Niketan Kamaladi, Kathmandu. The ceremony was especially organized for the students who participated in THE SUMMER SESSION, BUDDHIST STUDIES PROGRAMME, 1989. About 300 Nepalese devotees took Refuge Vows. This rare occasion was attended by both men and women in equal proportion. During the ceremony Rinpoche briefly spoken upon the importance of keeping Refuge vows. The haircutting ritual was performed by Rinpoche. For each participant Rinpoche gave a certificate of Buddhist Membership published by Nagarjuna Institute. The participants were overjoyed to received a new Dharma Name.
Nagarjuna Institute organized a Certificate Distribution Ceremony in the gracious presence of the respected Guru Venerable Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the Institute’s spiritual director. Also in attendance as s guest of honor was Karl G. Springer, the vice president of Vajradhatu International, Colorado, U.S.A. Along with Karl G. Springer were his collogues Mr. Scott M. McBride, Director of Karma Dzong, Buddhist Church of Halifax, Canada, Mr. J. Patrick Sweeney and Josheph D. Mccolskey Jr. and Mr. Mark E. Power from Vajradhatu International.
During the ceremony Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche blessed the audience by reciting a brief prayer to Lord Buddha. Dr. Bajra R. Shakya, chairman of the Board of Director of NIEM welcomed the guests by briefing the recent activities of Nagarjuna Institute and by expounding the importance of the Buddhist Studies Programme for Nepalese youths. Karl G. Springer distributed the certificates to the participants of THE SUMMER SESSION, Buddhist Studies Programme 1989. He admired the contents of the Buddhist Studies Programme and the interest shown by young college students. He also gave a talk on the importance of Buddhist teachings in the contemporary world. Mr. Maniharsa Jyoti Kansakar, Patron of the Institute chaired the meeting and spoke on the importance of Buddhist Studies among youths. Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha, co-patron of the institute thanked all the participants. The ceremony was held in the premise of Buddha Shanti Niketan, Kamaladi, Kathmandu.
As announced in the last issue of our Bulletin the Institute’s Winter session, Buddhist Studies Programme, began on Oct. 1st, 1989 in the premise of Aksheshvara Mahavihara, Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Kathmandu on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.30- 7.30 P.M.
For the beginner the institute offered a three month ‘O’ level course in which students study the following subjects
1. The History of Buddhism in India
2. The History of Buddhism in Tibet.
3. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation of Gampopa
For those who completed the Summer session, an ‘A’ level programme is offered in which 35 students study following subjects:
1. History of Prajnaparamita literature
2. Arya Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra
3. Life and works of Atisha
5. Life and works of Acarya Santi Deva
1. Ven. Geshe Padma Wangchen, a Lharampa Gheshe from Sera Monastery kindly gave a series of discourse on the following subjects:
1. Seven Instructions on cause and effect for the generation of Bodhicitta (delivered on Sept. 16th, 1989)
2. Twenty two aspects of Bodhisattva (delivered on Sept. 23rd. 1989)
3. Triple Refuge (delivered on Oct, 14th, 1989)
4. Karma and its effect (delivered on Oct. 21st, 1989)
2. Ven. Geshe Thupten Tsering gave a discourse on Atisha’s BODHISATTVA MANIAVALI on Nov. 11, 18 and 25, 1989.
3. Ven. Khenpo Nge dun from Namobuddha gave a discourse on LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF NAGARJUNA on Nov. 4th 1989.
4. The Great Atiyoga Master Ven. TulkuRinpoche gave a 3 hour discourse on Four Themes of Gampopa on Oct. 28, 1989
Thanks to Ven. Lhundrup Rigsel, the abbot of Kopan Monastery who kindly made arrangements with Ven. Geshes Padma Wangchen and Ven. Thupten Tsering.
2. Our Institute’s quarterly Bulletin Nos. 2,3 1989 currently available.
1. A Nepalese translation of the biography of Atisha Dipamkara Sri-Jnana & Bodhipathpradeepa, is being published by the Institute, the book will be out by the beginning of the February 1990. As an objective of our Institute this book will be the second in a series.
2. A Nepali translation of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra is in process and will be ready for publication. The 200 page text will cost about Rs. 30000 to Rs. 35000 for 1000 copies. Interested prospective sponsors are requested to contact the Institute by mail or phone at Tel #525886.The text will contain an English preface summarizing the contents.
Ven. Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche and Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche visited Kualalumpur and IPO in Malaysia as well as Singapore. They stayed for a period of one month in order to further enhance Buddhism in that area. The visit began on Thursday June 15th, 1989 when the Rinpoches landed in Kuala- Lumpur. The Rinpoches taught on topics such as Bardo, tantric teachings, Bodhisattva vows, views on Mahamudra, Madhyamika and Dzogchen. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche also gave empowerment on Bardo, Jambhala, Vajrasattva, Arya Tara and Vajrakila.
In course of Rinpoche’s tour many different kinds of Pujas were performed on the request of many Malaysian and Singaporean Buddhist devotees. The Abbot of the largest Mahayana Chinese Buddhist temple in the world called Bright Hill Temple, invited Ven. Urgyen Rinpoche and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche to perform pujas and Lama dance. Ven. Urgyen Rinpoche is a great practitioner and teacher in the Ati yoga system of Nyingmapa doctrine. His son Ven. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the Abbot of Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Mouastery is very famous for elucidating clearly the complex teachings of Sutra and Tantra. Both the Rinpoches gave Refuge Vows to thousands of Malaysian and Singaporeans and also performed many ceremonies for the welfare of all sentent beings.
In order to further Buddhist teachings, the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche is making a three month visit to North America and Europe. The visit began on Sept. 22nd in New York via Rome and Munich. From New York Rinpoche flew to Boston and then to Halifax. In Nova Scotia, Gampo Abbey Dharma Center Rinpoche is offering a teaching on “The songs of Lodro Thaye” from Oct. 7th to 18th. In New York too, he gave a teachings on “Four Dharmas of Gampopa” from Sept, 23-24, 30, Oct. 1, 1989. At the premise of Karma Triyana Dharmacakra Center, New York. From Edmonton Rinpoche visited Salt lake, Denver and to Los Angeles for the Namo Buddha Retreat to be held on Nov. 17-26, 1989 at San Bernadino Mountains, Southern California.
This retreat in the San Bernadino Mountains of Southern California will focus on Mahamudra. The teachings will be based on two texts.
a) Aspirations for Mahamudra by Rangjung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa and
b) Mahamudra, the quintessence of Mind and meditation by Tashi Namgyal
Ven. Dr. Sheng Yen Chang, Ph. D, a famous Zen master from Taipei, Taiwan visited Kathmandu and Patan. The director of this Institute had a fruitful discussion with Ven. Shen Yen Chang who was also the Director of THE CHUNG HWA INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST STUDIES and the President of THE CHUNG HWA INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST CULTURE (NEW YORK) as well as Master in Ch’an Meditation Center (New York). The Master visited Kathmandu with his 83 lay disciples as well as some monks and nuns. After the Master visited Swayambhu Temple he left for Patna and pilgrimage to Rajgir, Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Kusinagar and Lumbini in Nepal. As a token of friendship and cooperation both of these institute in Taipei and New York became Institutional members of our Nagarjuna Institute.
Jan. 1-28th, 1990
The Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche will offering the Fourth Namo Buddha Seminar in January of 1990. This Seminar will offer daily teachings, individual interviews, and explanations and empowerment of Buddhist practices. The first two weeks of teaching will be Kamalashila’s second book on The Stages of Meditation. The second two weeks of teachings will be on Rangjung Dorje, the third Karmapa’s “What is consciousness, What is wisdom? This text examines the eight consciousness and their relation to wisdom.
1 Mr. Maniharsha Jyoti Kansakar, Kathmandu, Nepal
2 Mrs. Shur Wang, Berkeley, USA
3 Mr. Puskar M. Shakya, Man Bhawan, Lalitpur, Nepal
1 Mr. Lopsang Nyima, Jawalakhel Handicrafts Center Lalitpur,
2 Mr. Karma Tsewang Gyurmey, Tarshi Palkhiel, Pokhara
3 Mr. Dharma Bdr. Dhakhwa, Pulchok, Lalitpur
4 Mr. Bhakti Das Shrestha, Lazimpat, Kathmandu
5 Carpet Trading Company Pvt. Ltd, Jawalakhel
6 Snow Lion Foundation, Jawalakhel
1 Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche, Thrangu Tashi Choeling, Bodhnath
2 Mr. Lok Darshan, Kamaladi, Kathamndu
3 Mr. Dhruva Thapa, Jawalakhel
4 Mr. Suchitra Man Shakya, New Baneshvar
5 Mr. Gyanu Raja Shakya, Hakha Tole, Lalitpur
6 Mr. Chandra Bahadur Shakya, New Baneshvar
7 Mr. Toya Bdr. Dhakhwa, Pulchowk
8 Prof. Tseng I-shi, Taipei, Taiwan
1 Ven. Gungru Tulku, Karnataka, India
2 Susri N. Santa, Lake Vista; Kodaikkanal, Tamilnadu
3 Mr. Shukha Shakya, Everest Express, Kathmandu
4 Mr. Padma Dhakhwa, Nagbahal, Lalitpur
5 Mr. Sunil Dhakhwa, Nagbahal, Lalitpur
6 Mr. Kaji R. Shakya, Nakabahil Tole, Lalitpur
7 Mr. Jaya Prakash Shakya, Akibahal, Lalitpur
1 Tibet House, Cultural Center of H.H. Dalai Lama, New Delhi
2 Central Institute of Tibetan Higher Studies, Sarnath
3 Sumati Maitri Sasana Mahavihara, Swayambhu, Kathmandu
4 The Chung Hwa Institute Of Buddhist Studies, Taipei, Taiwan
5 The Chung Hwa Institute Of Culture, New York
6 The Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN), Kathmandu