«Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation. By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 - 28th of April 1985 Why ...»
integrated practices that has nothing higher than that. Here it puts the emphasis on even more special internal 12 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation methods – Examples of practices are: Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Vajrayogini, Heruka.
So these are the 4 classes of tantra. Now, it's not necessary to actually go through and practice all 4 classes of tantra. It's not set up in that way, although the different classes become more and more sophisticated, still you would practice whichever level seems to be most appropriate for you.
It is said that tantra is faster then the sutra methods. How is it faster?
Well, the first 3 classes are faster in the sense that what they can do is give us a very long lifetime, and having a very long lifetime then, within that lifetime, we can achieve enlightenment through the practices. So it's faster then the sutra methods;
because it gives us practices to increase our lifespan so that within the context of that we can work to achieve enlightenment.
But the 4th class – ANUTTARAYOGA – is much faster than that because it has these special methods. It says that we can achieve enlightenment within this very lifetime, our usual type of lifetime, and we can even achieve it within a period of 3 years and 3 phases of the moon. A phase of the moon is 2 weeks for the moon to grow full. I mentioned earlier that Kalachakra is a clear tantra, because it explains things as to why you have all these various teachings in tantra. You know very often we hear about 3 year retreats and that you can be enlightened in 3 years, which is actually 3 years and 3 phases of the moon. Kalachakra explains why it's no magical number, these 3 years. Actually it has to do with the cycles of the breath. There is a specific number of breaths you're dealing with, and that add up to the period of 3 years and 3 phases of the moon.
So, how is it actually possible to achieve enlightenment more quickly and realize our fullest potential and see reality more quickly with these different types of tantra? This is something that is very important to have some feeling for when you go to the initiation, because the initiation is to get into tantric practice and even though you might want to achieve enlightenment quickly and even though you might want to be able to help everybody, if you don't have some understanding of the method that is being introduced in this initiation then there is no strong feeling for it and you won't have any strong desire to get involved in the practice. But if you have some idea of what tantra is about then it becomes much more relevant. So I want to discuss this in terms of 3 different levels.
First I’ll talk about tantra in general, and then I'll talk specifically about the highest class of tantra – Anuttarayoga – and what makes that even more special than the other classes of tantra and then I'll talk about Kalachakra itself and what makes that even more special than the other forms of Anuttarayoga. So in this way we will have more of an appreciation for what we are actually getting into.
There are different point I want to discuss and basically 4 points.
1 These practices are faster in terms of analogies. There are various analogies that are made and because of these analogies it's faster.
2 You have method and wisdom in sutra. Here we'll talk about how you get method and wisdom closer and closer together.
3 Voidness or reality. Voidness is something which we can talk about, the voidness or the absence of fantasized ways of existing in terms of lots of different objects; you can talk about how this room lacks some sort of fantasized way of existing, or how the people within it lack a fantasized way of existing etc. So the 3rd point I'll talk about is the difference in terms of the object, the basis of the voidness. We are going to deal with more and more special bases for voidness.
4 In terms of the consciousness with which we understand voidness. Here we are also going to get some special features.
It is because of these things that tantra is a much more quick path and a much more effective path for seeing reality, because we are dealing with methods that are going to have special analogies, we are going to deal with method and wisdom coming much closer, we are going to deal with a special consciousness for understanding the voidness. That's the basic structure we're going to follow.
We want to achieve both the body and the mind of a Buddha. It doesn't do any good to have the body of a Buddha and the mind of a dog or to have the mind of a Buddha and the body of a worm. We need to have the two together in order to be able to help all people, all beings. Usually the way to describe the causes for achieving the body and the mind of a Buddha in terms of the 2 collections: in other words we want to build up a lot of positive potentials and we also want to build up a lot of insight or deep awareness. We are going to need both these things: positive potential and deep awareness in order to achieve both the mind and the body of a Buddha. We need both for both. In order to achieve the body, the main thing is going to be the positive potential we built up and that's going to be helped by deep awareness.
13 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation In order to achieve the mind of a Buddha it's the same thing, just the other way around: the main thing that brings about the mind of a Buddha is building up more and more deep awareness, but it has to be helped by some positive potential that's going to actually bring it about. So the positive potential is the main cause for the body and is helped by deep awareness and the deep awareness is the main cause for the mind, helped by the positive potential.
The practices in terms of what builds up a positive potential and what builds up the deep awareness are going to be a little bit like the result, but not so close. So for example you know in the body of a Buddha they talk about how a Buddha has all these 32 signs and these signs are indications of what practices the Buddha did in order to become enlightened.
For example a Buddha has a very long tongue; the long tongue indicates that when this person who became a Buddha, was practicing and developing himself (herself) that he or she took care of everybody else, the way that a mother-animal takes care of her babies by always licking them and to show that he or she cared for everybody like a mother-animal licking her young, he has a very long tongue. So like that, every feature of the body of a Buddha indicates certain things and certain practices that he or she followed. You know, they talk about how they have the impression of a wheel on their hands and feet and this is to indicate how they always went out to meet their spiritual teacher, and escort them with wheels to show them respect. So you're practicing the causes to bring about a result and the causes are a little bit like the result, but not so close.
But what you're doing in tantra is dealing with causes that are going to be much much closer to the result that you want to achieve. That's why it's called the Resultant Vehicle, because you're dealing now with things which are much closer to what you want to achieve. It's like if you want to put on a show, let's say a drama, then you rehearse and by rehearsing and doing it over and over again beforehand then you're able actually to act in that way, without any problems.
What you're actually doing in tantra is like rehearsing and practicing now to do things like you'll be able to do when you actually become fully evolved and realize your fullest potential as a Buddha. That's an important point! What we want to do in order to achieve the body of a Buddha, we imagine now that we already have the body of a Buddha: we're starting to harness and work with the forces of our imagination; imagination is something which is a very very powerful thing that all of us have and one of the big things that tantra does is to start to use your imagination and harness all these powers.
So we imagine now that we actually have the body of an enlightened being and the body of an enlightened being comes from – we can generate it out of our energy system – when you become enlightened it's going to be moulded out of our energy system and so now we just imagine that we are like that and by imagining that we are like that then it acts as a strong cause, much closer to the result for actually being able to achieve the body of a Buddha.
The next thing that we imagine is that the environment and everything around us is likewise pure like the environment of a Buddha. In order for it to come about that everything is most conducive in the world then we imagine everything around us to be most conducive and helpful. That's something which is on a simple level. If you're riding on a crowded bus or a train you can look at it in two ways: it can appear to you as a big crowd, very noisy, terrible and you don't like it and you get very upset or you can view it as: "Look at all these people. They are human beings like me. Here is a good opportunity to think about the reality of other people". So you look at everybody in a very pure way rather then looking at them as just a threat or something which is there just to annoy you. What we try do in tantra is not only view our own bodies as the body of a Buddha, but also view everything around us, the environment, as something which is pure.
The 3rd thing that we rehearse now is in terms of being able to enjoy things the way that a Buddha enjoys things and the way a Buddha enjoy things is without any confusion involved. Whereas the way that we enjoy things or experience things is with a lot of confusion.
Now again we have a word in English that's used to translate this which is not the best choice of word, is the word "contaminated". That has a terrible connotation or feeling in English and it doesn't mean "contaminated" really; what it means is associated with confusion. In other words, let's say, there are some flowers and the way an ordinary person might enjoy them would be completely filled with confusion; the flowers are here and the person might think: "Oh those flowers, I am allergic to flowers, they are going to make me sneeze". Instead of being able to enjoy the flowers the person is very worried and upset that he is going to sneeze because of them. Or there is a glass of water here, again the way I experience it is very confused. I'm wondering: "Oh I wanted it to be hot and now it's cold and I wonder if this glass is clean". Different confusing things come up to spoil the way that we enjoy things. One of the best examples is our stereo record player or tape recorder. We can have the most beautiful music and quality coming across but all of a sudden our neighbour gets a better and more expensive machine and immediately we're upset about the quality of our own machine, and we can't really enjoy it anymore because our mind is completely filled with confusion that "Well maybe there is 1.2% distortion in this machine 14 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation and that won't do because my neighbour has 1.1% distortion on his machine" and everything becomes very upsetting. Now a Buddha doesn't experience things in this way of being confused. A Buddha is able to enjoy things without any confusion, because a Buddha can see the actual reality of all things, all the time.
So we imagine in tantra that we're able to enjoy things in a manner which is completely unconfused. That's why you have in tantra for example all these offerings that are made and you imagine that you're enjoying them without any confusion. In other words you have offerings of water, flowers, incense and you're not worried about the incense going to make you sneeze; you have light, butter lamps and you don't worry about it causing your eyes to squint or whatever, but you're able to enjoy things in a very pure way, the way a Buddha enjoys it - you practice and you rehearse, enjoying things in that way. So we think in terms of ourselves having a pure body; we think of our environment around us as being pure; our body isn't something that hurts while we sit or whatever, but a pure body. A pure environment, a pure way of enjoying things.
The 4th thing is a pure way of acting and influencing others. A Buddha is able to help others in a way that really doesn't require any effort. They always say that a Buddha spontaneously accomplishes everything. You shouldn't be misled by the word "spontaneous" which often has the connotation that you do anything that comes into your head. So spontaneously you feel like throwing off all your clothes and going and running outside and screaming. (That's not the way a Buddha acts spontaneously.) "Spontaneously" is that a Buddha doesn't really have to do anything conscious on his or her part in order to be able to be a very strong positive influence on everybody. We can see this in terms of the great lamas – in particular His Holiness the Dalai Lama, just their very presence and their way of being and acting itself acts as a very very strong positive influence on us.
So there are different ways that you can be a positive influence on others. One way is to be able to pacify and quiet things around you. I remember once in Bodhgaya, in India which is where the Buddha became enlightened – a place where you have many many beggars – and beggars can sometimes be very difficult to deal with, because there are so many of them and they are always pushing at you to give things to them, there are maybe a 100 of them like that all around you and there is that one lama called Ra Tu Rinpoche, who I saw once in Bodhgaya, who has the ability to quiet things around him; he is called the baby-lama, because very often people bring their babies to him, if their babies are always crying all the time and very upset, because he has this amazing influence over everything around him to just quiet and pacify things. So I remember, in Bodhgaya, there were all these beggars and he just walked very calmly to this crowd of beggars and he had them line up and he counted off 1-10 and gave the 10th person a rupee note and said: "You divide this with 10 people behind you. If anybody else should try to do this with these beggars, the beggars will just claw over him. But this lama has such calmness about him, such presence about him, that he was actually able to calm everything around him. So this is a way that the Buddha acts. He doesn't really have to do anything, but just his general presence is able to calm and quiet things down.