«Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation. By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 - 28th of April 1985 Why ...»
The general idea of the process that we follow in the sutra is that we want to see reality and that's within the context of our hearts expanding out to others and to reaching enlightenment and likewise that we want to expand our hearts out within the context of seeing reality. That is what it means when it is said that you have the method held by wisdom and wisdom held by method. That means that your wisdom or awareness of reality is within the context of an expanding heart and that is within the context of seeing reality. If you can see reality with the force of this very strong feeling of heart then it becomes much more strong and can cut through all the limitations that we have. (Chew this over in your mind so that you can digest it).
So the basic idea here is what we're going to do is have both method and wisdom, both should be joined together and the way that they are joined together is that one is in the context of the other. So that we want to see reality, but you can see reality in many different ways. If you see reality within the context of your heart expanding out to others and with your heart expanding out to reaching your fullest potential, then that's what is called wisdom being held by method. So you see reality within the context of your heart expanding out. Likewise you could have your heart expanding out to others and to enlightenment without any idea of what reality is. But if you really want to be able to help others you have to see reality also. In the context of seeing reality then you expand your heart out to others: method held by wisdom. So you really want to have both, both your heart expanding out and seeing reality and each one is within the context of each other. When we are doing this it's going to take quite a long time, to be able to cut through all our limitations and in fact it's described in terms of taking 3 countless eons; countless is a word that means 10 raised to the 60th power, so there are 60 zeros after it, a very big number. There’s an English word that comes close to that which is called "zillion"; 3 zillion eons is a very large number. We really can't count it up. It's going to take 3 zillion eons to reach enlightenment by following this type of method.
Why is that so? First of all, it is quite difficult to see through to reality, and see the actual way in which things exist. But when we're able to see it non-conceptually and straight-forwardly, in other words not just relying on some image that we might have of reality, but actually see it straight-forwardly, without relying on any logic and line of reasoning, but see it, when you're able to do that, then that cuts off the intellectual disturbing attitude, the disturbing attitudes based on some ideology. OK. What does that mean?
10 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation Let's say that we have this idea that, we have this in America very strongly, the idea of "me first". This "me first" attitude comes up all the time in terms of "I have to get the best job", "I have to get the best type of partner", "wear the best clothes" etc. This is something which is supported by a whole ideology and propaganda of the television, radio, all the bill-boards etc. which always are saying, "you have to get out there and be first". This is the whole philosophy behind this type of western way of being. If you see the actual reality of this thing, the actual reality is that we're all equal and everybody has the same right to be happy, everybody has the same right to get rid of their problems. Likewise everybody has the same right to be first in the line, to have the best seat and everybody has the same right to the type of livelihood. If we can see that reality straight-forwardly that will convince us that the whole ideology behind "me first" is something which really is not true, that it's based on some fantasized way in which we could imagine that we exist that we're better then everybody else and so we have to get out there first. That's not easy to do. It takes zillions of eons to see that straight-forwardly that this idea of "me first" that comes up, supported by the propaganda and the media is no longer going to effect you. There are a lot of different examples, but I think this "me first" is something that we can relate to easily here in the west. Think how much the TV tells you "me first". Not only the TV but our whole society tells us that I have to be first. That really isn't based on what reality is, because why am I different from everybody else; the TV is talking after all to many millions of people, it is not talking just to me. So the message "me first" must be true for everybody. It makes sense that "I" is one person that should be first and that everybody else that's listening to the TV Is not going to be first. So in fact the whole thing is based on a fantasy, just to convince me to buy more soap. Isn't that quite silly? So if I really could keep my mind firm on this reality then I wouldn't always go out there and try to be first. This is very difficult, the propaganda is very subtle. It plays on my emotions, it says that I'm not going to get a girlfriend if I don't use the right deodorant. That touches me very hard. So it's going to take a long time to get over my insecurity that this TV plays on, in order to get me realize that it is not necessary for me to be first on line in the super market to buy my deodorant each morning. So, that's our first zillion eons, to get rid of that.
Now even though we might intellectually know that there is no reason for me to be first as opposed to everybody else because everybody has an equal right to whatever, still there is this automatically arising attitudes that come up.
Automatically when you enter a room with seats, you go to the first one. Automatically I push and get in the train first.
There maybe could be 500 seats on the train and there are 30 people outside, yet everybody pushes to get into the train first.
If you come to that crowd and see everybody pushing then it's very hard not to also have the fear arising in you that you're not going to get a seat. So again you go into the crowd and push. Intellectually you might realize that and think "That's silly, there are 500 seats, there are only 30 people pushing onto the train; obviously there is going to be a seat left for me", but automatically we're drawn to go in there and push also. To overcome this automatically arising will take another zillion eons. This disturbing attitude instinctively comes up, even though we know that it doesn't make any sense.
Even though we get rid of that we still are going to have a certain tendency in our minds to make things appear in a way that doesn't accord with reality. This is called "dual appearances". Dual isn't terribly a good word either, because the connotation of it is "discordant", it doesn't accord with what actually is reality. Our minds make things appear like that, from the various propensities and tendencies we have. This is the 3rd zillions of eons to get rid of that, this tendency of our mind to make things appear in a way in which it's not actually existing.
The process of seeing reality and getting rid of our limitations is something that's going to take quite a long time. It's going to take a long time, because not only do we have to see reality, but it has to really sink in deep, then we first see reality straight-forwardly it's going to get rid of the disturbing attitudes that come up based on propaganda, ideology and all these things like TV. But still, we're automatically going to have certain disturbing attitudes that come up. So it will take another long period of time to get rid of that. But still our mind is going to make things appear in a way that isn't actually real. In other words we see a group of people and we think: "I am not able to get on the train". Even though it actually doesn't disturb us, still it looks like that when we walk in. We're not actually seeing the reality. If we could see the reality of it, we would see instantly, "Here's a train, here's 30 people trying to get on. There's lots of seats, there's no problem".
Three zillion eons is an awfully long time and if our children are going to need our help, to see reality and help them with that, because if you think about all the different types of fears that our children might have, and now it is really important to be able to comfort them from their fears and to explain to them that it is really not based on anything. We can't just say when our child is crying, "Well, wait three zillion eons, and I'll help you". "I'm frightened as well". That's not going to do.
So we need something, which is much faster. There are three things which are said to be very powerful in this world:
C Mantras – hidden measures to protect our mind.
Medicine, it is quite obvious how powerful that is, that a small pill can cure us of a big sickness. Machines are very 11 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation powerful, they can take us to the moon. But these hidden measures that we can apply to protect our minds and help us, these are something which are much more powerful. Serkong Rinpoche used to tell a very amusing story about the power of "OM MANI PADME HUNG". He used to say that there was once a monk who had a mother and the mother was very negative about doing any type of practice or saying anything like "OM MANI PADME HUNG". The monk told his mother to practice this mantra and the mother would never do it and really resent it what her son was telling her. The son said well I am going to tie a little bell into your dress and every time that you hear the bell ring, you have to say "OM MANI PADME HUNG". The mother was very upset about that, but her son forced her to promise that she would do that and so the mother agreed. Whenever she would walk around the house, she would walk very gently, so that she wouldn't make the bell ring and she wouldn't have to say "OM MANI PADME HUNG". If she would bump into anything or forget and the bell would ring then she would usually say something: "God damn it, OM MANI PADME HUNG". This mother eventually died and she was born in one of the lower realms. You know one of these typical things that you hear about, being in a big caldron and being boiled. Somebody with a big stick mixing the caldron that the mother was in. Once this person was mixing this big caldron and the stick banged against the side of the caldron and made a ringing sound and you could hear from inside the pot: "God damn it, OM MANI PADME HUNG" when the bell rang and as a result of this she was able to get out of this hellish situation. It just illustrates how these hidden measures is something that can be very powerful, even if we are in a hellish type of situation.
So, that gets us into the whole subject of what is tantra? What's going on with these hidden measures that we want to use to protect our mind?
The word "Tantra" means an everlasting stream, the stream of continuity. There are different levels of what this is referring to, this everlasting stream. We have the everlasting stream of the basis that we are working with, which is the everlasting stream of our mind stream, of our subtlest consciousness and awareness. Then there is the everlasting stream of the path, of all these different deity practices that we can do. Likewise there is the everlasting stream of the result that we want to attain, which is the everlasting stream of the different bodies of a Buddha.
Question: Could you please repeat this?
There is the everlasting stream of the basis, which is our mind-stream. There is the everlasting stream of the path that we want to follow, which would be the path of the various deity practices, that forms an everlasting stream of practice. There is an everlasting stream of the result of what we want to attain and that's the everlasting stream of having the different bodies of a Buddha. So the word "Tantra" refers to these 3 different levels and also refers to the different texts and books that talk about them.
What we want to do in tantra is basically follow an everlasting stream of practice, which is going to purify or work with the everlasting stream of our mind-stream, the basis that we have to work with, in order to actually achieve the everlasting stream of the result. So we have an everlasting stream of practice that we use to work with our everlasting stream of the basis we are dealing with, in order to achieve the everlasting stream of the result. That is basically what tantra is talking about and why it's called tantra and everlasting stream. The main feature of tantra is that's going to be much faster, for achieving our fullest potentials.
We have 4 different classes of tantra, of different types of practices that we can do in tantra:
1 The first level is called KRYA or ritual practice. In terms of what the emphasis is here, the emphasis is mostly on our external behaviour. We have the external rituals and things that we can do. There are also internal methods and although we have both of them, the main emphasis here is on ritual practices. For example there is a lot of ritual in terms of your diet – a great emphasis on being vegetarian and on ritual cleanliness; all sorts of practices of washing ourselves and setting up things in a very clean manner and this is a little bit similar to what you find in some of the Hindu practices of the Brahmins, of a great emphasis on cleanliness. Because if you want to have your mind be cleaned of all its different disturbing attitudes then it helps very much to have things around you also clean and orderly. There are a lot of practices involved with that, like the practice of the four armed Chenrezig, Manjushri and a lot of these deities that are the most familiar to us.
2 The second class of tantra is called CARYA or behavioural deity practice. "Behavioural" is dealing with an equal emphasis on both external behaviour and also internal methods. Examples of practices are Vairocana and Vajrapani.
So the first puts the main emphasis on the external and the second puts an equal emphasis on the external and the internal.
3 The third class is called "YOGA TANTRA". "Yoga" is a word that actually means: to integrate the real thing. So it is integrated deity practice and here your main emphasis is on the internal methods. Examples of practice: samvid (tib: kun. rig) used for practices to help people in the bardo.
4 Then the fourth class of tantra is called ANUTTARAYOGA", which means peerlessly integrated practices;