What is Buddhism in a nutshell

Buddha's teaching in a nutshell

Transcript

1 public lecture by Lama Lhündrub Freiburg, Historisches Kaufhaus, (literal copy) Buddha's teaching in a nutshell My first task is to climb up there (on the table)! I prefer to teach seated not that I want to sit higher than you, but I feel a lot more comfortable teaching seated. Before I start the lecture, I would like to take refuge myself. These are prayers to connect myself internally to the blessing line. I do it in Tibetan, you can just meditate, you can also connect inwardly with what is most important to you, what has brought you here today, and those who know the prayers are welcome to recite .... The title for tonight is yes: Buddha's teaching in a nutshell, and I don't want you to get it wrong, that it would be presumptuous that someone would bring the Buddha's teaching to the point. Fortunately, the Buddha himself has already done this, and I'll explain the various summaries of how one can understand the Buddha's teaching if one wants to do it in relatively few words. You probably know that two and a half thousand years ago Buddha Shakyamuni presented his teaching in four truths called the four noble truths. This is the most common condensed version of the teaching of what we call the Dharma. The first truth is simply a description of what is, the description of what each of us can see, perceive, in the first place. This is called the truth of suffering, the truth of the unsatisfactory nature of our being, normal being, unenlightened being. The second truth for him was the truth of the cause of suffering. He completed the diagnosis with an analysis of the causes: What actually causes the suffering? The third truth is that of deliverance from suffering. And the fourth truth is the truth of the path that leads to liberation from all suffering. Now, of course, there is a great deal that can be said about each of these points. Above all, it is important that he draws an arc between what is now, the truth of how we are now - and what he calls suffering. This is not just the obvious suffering, but that we are trapped in duality, in the separation of me and you. In order to get out of this separation, he draws the bow to the state where we can live out of nonduality. The way describes how we can get there. This getting there is actually a coming back to the essence of what is already our situation. That is the true nature of what we experience. So this is not a path that leads somewhere else, out of us, but to what we really are. 1

2 Now a word has been memorized that sums up all of this, and that is the term Dharma for us. When we speak Buddhists among ourselves - we don't call ourselves Buddhists at all, we call ourselves Dharma practitioners. This is completely different from attaching an -ism to the Buddha and then turning it into a teaching, and then you are a follower of this teaching. I meet a lot of Dharma practitioners who are not Buddhists at all. It is not strictly necessary to be a Buddhist with an emphasis on -ist or -ism. What is important is to have a very deep impulse to get to the truth. One of the meanings of Dharma is truth. I will give you others as well. And that is not just any truth: it is the truth that frees us from suffering. The practice of what actually liberates, that is what we call a Dharma practitioner, someone who is on the way to doing what sets himself free, opens the mind, opens the heart, and whatever helps everyone around us, that Heart to open the mind. This is what we call Dharma practitioners. You will immediately notice that if we describe it that way, we can no longer draw any boundaries between one religion and another, a belief system, a philosophy. It then becomes important to know what actually is the truth that liberates? That is the real question that then arises. This is what connects people who are on this path, who feel this search within themselves, and who then implement what they discover as truths. The path is carried out by always living what we have recognized to be true, what we have recognized to be deeply helpful. And only then can the next step come. We first have to implement what we have already recognized. For me, these are Dharma practitioners, people who implement what their wisdom, their understanding, understanding born of the heart tells them, what they have understood, and then do it. This results in situations, opportunities and new insights. Again it goes a step further. The Buddha was such a dharma practitioner. Buddha wasn't a Buddhist at all, he was a Hindu. That, too, was actually more in the sense of a seeker. If we look at and read the life story of the Buddha, then we have the description of a seeker who then found something he describes and teaches for 45 years and guides everyone else on how to find this treasure as well as this To be able to make discovery. According to scientists, the title Buddhist came about a few centuries later. That was not the original term for Dharma practitioners at all. In Tibet I am from the Tibetan tradition, from the Kagyu tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, the Buddhist practitioners were called - and are still called today - nangpas. Nang means inwardly, going inward, and pa is simply the syllable for a person. This is actually someone who walks the inner path, in contrast to those who walk the path outside, in the material, who live without being concerned with what takes place in the spirit. Nangpas were and are those who keep looking to see what is really liberating. This is a dharma practitioner. Talking about it is very important to me because it creates bridges, understanding. Buddha's teaching is not a teaching that would have taken place in exclusion from Hinduism, but rather he used many elements that were familiar to people in India to teach. You know or have perhaps heard that the fourth noble truth that I spoke of earlier, the truth of the way, was explained by the Buddha as the eightfold way. There was just such an eightfold path that was already known in yoga. Because the Indians were very familiar with being described a way in eight steps. So he has many 2

3 other concepts too - he took up the concept of karma, i.e. cause and effect, and described it anew. He did not want to create a new grouping to differentiate it from others, but to deepen the already existing understanding. To do this is what we call dharma practice. First, if we want to get to a point, maybe we could memorize Dharma. If we had the right understanding of the word Dharma, then we would know what the Buddha's teaching is. But Dharma means much more than just truth. Dharma also means teaching. Dharma also means the life's work. When I practice Dharma, my highest priority is to walk this path of truth, the path of the wisdom of the heart. It becomes my life's work. It's not just an appendage in my life, it's the center of my life. This is what distinguishes a Dharma practitioner from someone who is just toying with the Dharma. We'd say: yes, well, he's interested in the Dharma, but that's not really someone who puts that at the center of his life. Dharma also means law or right. The reason why the Buddha chose this term is because it describes laws. It does not describe inventions, but rather describes comprehensible, observable laws of the mind for everyone. The Buddha has often referred to himself as a doctor in the parable, someone who tells you: If you take this medicine and do it one way or another, then you will get well. But you have to take it, the therapy has to take place. We have to take the steps ourselves. The doctor cannot make the sick person well. The sick person has to do his part and has to go the way. This is how he described the four noble truths: first inventory, anamnesis, the truth of suffering. Then: diagnosis of the cause. Cause of suffering: self-centeredness. Cure possible or not? Yes, healing is possible! Third truth, the truth of liberation. Healing is possible. The patient can still be saved. Fourth truth: therapy. The noble eightfold way that we can represent in many ways - but that is what must then be used to arrive at liberation. This means our own effort. Therefore, Dharma also has the meaning of practice, what is most essential to us in life, what we put into practice in order to give our life a real meaning. For me this is a word in which we can summarize the Buddha's teaching. If I wanted to get to the point in a different way, then I remember teachings that condense the Buddha's teaching more and more. First we speak of the six liberating qualities, the six paramitas, which can also be found in the noble eightfold way. That is generosity, discipline, patience, joyful perseverance, deep meditation or mental stability, and wisdom. All of these are born of deep compassion. If you summarize them, you can say: the first five are a direct expression of compassion, wisdom itself stands for wisdom. That would be Buddha's teaching expressed in two words: compassion and wisdom. In Vajrayana, the Tibetan teaching of the great vehicle, this is even condensed into two syllables. You say eh for wisdom and wang for compassion. Everything is already there in eh wang. If you understand correctly what eh and wang means, then the entire teaching of the Buddha is contained in two syllables. If one condenses this even deeper, even more, then there are Dharma texts in which it is said that the syllable AH contains everything. This may surprise you now, this is not a magic formula. You can't if you say AH nothing will change. 3rd

4 The Ah here stands for the original openness of the spirit, for that which symbolizes the complete liberation of the heart. This is the most open sound that we humans know, and this most open sound is the summary of what the Dharma is about: to find your way into complete openness. Heart opening! That might sound like a German buzzword now, but the Buddha actually used a word that is very similar. He used a word called bodhicitta in Sanskrit. Citta means heart, but was used in the sense of the spirit, that is, the spirit of the heart. And bodhi means awakening. The awakened heart, or mind of awakening, enlightenment, is another word that we can keep as a summary of what the Buddha's teaching is. Bodhicitta. Bodhi means when someone falls asleep and wakes up. This waking up to what is. Before that there was a dream, we were caught in a dream, and then we realize: oh, that was just a dream. This awakening means Bodhi in Sanskrit. Why the Buddha is called a Buddha is the same word syllable: he is an awakened one. He has awakened from the sleep of ignorance, from the dream of ignorance, to the penetrating knowledge of this dream, to the liberating knowledge of this dream. That is why he is called Buddha. Citta means heart and also means the heart center. For Asians, the mind is in the heart. It is only recently, since neurological research, that we point the Asians to the head when they speak of the spirit. In the past it was always in the heart, the feeling of spirit was in the heart. That is why there is this double meaning of heart and mind in many Asian languages. The Buddha placed bodhicitta at the center especially in the teachings of the great vehicle as a term that encompasses all of his teaching. I will also bring this term closer to you, explain it a little more. Bodhicitta was originally used to describe a Buddha's mindset. When we describe the mind of an awakened one, it is an awakened mind. Then the Buddha taught a lot. For 45 years there was much, much, much talked about what he considers to be most essential on the path of practice. He spoke a lot about the qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity. These are called the four immeasurable, the four immeasurable qualities. He spoke of it as the gateway to practice and as the most important means of deepening practice. These teachings on love, compassion, joy, and equanimity have been deepened and become essentially what we call relative bodhicitta. The spirit of awakening associated with the relative world because love, compassion, etc., relates to concrete people and beings and to concrete situations. Joy and equanimity also arise initially from situations. And then, the further we go in love and compassion, the more our mind detaches itself from self-centeredness. Spaces open up, thanks to the strong power of love, the strong power of compassion, where moments arise where the mind is no longer caught in duality. We call these moments the ultimate spirit of enlightenment, the ultimate bodhicitta. That is the very spirit of the awakened. That is the mind not caught in duality, not separated in projections from I and you. If I sit in front of you now, I am a being trapped in duality, but it would be nice if the experience of a Buddha could come about that our minds are not separated from one another. And that we are still fully reactive in everyday life! The Buddha's liberating discovery was that in the dissolution of self-centeredness, in the dissolution of this duality, suffering also comes to an end, because identification has an end. 4th

5 Where we think we could not function without the ego, the spontaneous power of wisdom of the spirit comes into action and takes over this function that we normally ascribe to the ego. In western psychology, the structuring and integrating function is ascribed to the ego. We do not call this I in Buddhist teaching, in Dharma, but we call it the wisdom function. It can work without constant internal contact with Central Headquarters and without producing additional thoughts as to whether everything is correct. There is a spontaneous wisdom that can act directly in the tiniest fractions of a second in situations without providing this feedback to an ego construct. It's a very simple, a very natural state of mind. The Buddha called this simplicity the actual Dharma. Today we also call it the dimension of Dharma, a term coined by the Buddha: Dharmadhatu, the space of truth or the space of the nature of all phenomena. That is what Buddha's teaching is actually about. If you want to summarize it again: The way as we describe it in the Big Vehicle is the way of bodhicitta. We practice love and compassion as essential engines of the practice in order to come to this opening of the heart, which expands the mind more and more, until the ultimate bodhicitta, the ultimate enlightenment spirit, sets in. Bodhicitta would be another word that you can take home with you, in which everything is actually summarized, if we understand the word correctly. Have you been able to follow me this far or are there any questions before I continue? Is there someone there who is moved by something? Unless. Then I will read you a quote from Buddha's disciples, which is recited daily in our prayers in the Tibetan tradition as a reminder of the summary of Buddha's teaching. I just translated that from Tibetan into German. I'll read you the German translation. There are two quotes that are put together in this prayer. But first I want to tell you the story. The Buddha had two disciples who are now considered to be his main disciples: Shariputra and Mahamogilana. They had made an appointment - they were close friends - that the first person to meet a master who had the strength to lead them even further beyond their previous spiritual horizon, that one should definitely notify the other. Now, unfortunately, I have forgotten who was the first to meet a disciple of the Buddha. I think it was Mahamogilana who saw a student of the Buddha begging and waited for him to finish his round, and then he went up to the student and asked: Who is your teacher? You look very inspiring. What does your teacher teach? Then the student said, yes, my teacher is Buddha Shakyamuni. Mahamogilana said: Can you tell me a sentence from his teachings? And then he said this sentence: All things have arisen from causes. The Thathagata, the so-gone, taught its cause, as well as everything that puts an end to that cause.This mysterious verse, which is completely cryptic for us and with which we can't do much, I guess - at least I couldn't do much with it at the beginning - was the moment for Mahamogilana when he immersed himself in nonduality for the first time. He understood the meaning of this sentence at the moment, although no further explanation was given. And he ran to seek Shariputra 5

6 and told him about the meeting, and Shariputta asked: Yes, what is this master teaching? And Mahamogilana repeated that very sentence to him. Shariputra also experiences this first moment of nonduality, the first moment of complete freedom from self-centeredness. The two then join the Buddha and achieve arahantship, full realization, within a week. Now, of course, I owe you the explanation of what that sentence means. I will read it to you again: All things arise from causes. The Thathagata taught its cause as well as everything that puts an end to that cause. Basically there are the four truths in there. By all things, all phenomena, it is meant, all appearances in our mind and all appearances of samsara, all appearances of the normal world of projections, as long as we live in duality. Did causes arise from what causes? The impression of a dual world arises again and again from self-centeredness and self-centered actions. All suffering, all emotions are nourished from it. The Thathagatha taught its cause just like that. There are many cause-and-effect relationships that lead to our human situation now emerging, for example. But he also taught what puts an end to this cause, namely the way of letting go of self-centeredness, of dissolving self-centeredness with everything that goes with it. That is an immense topic. We won't be able to deal with that tonight. Since Mahamoghilana and Shariputra were already so fine in their practice, so advanced yogis, all they needed was this summary with the blessing of understanding that came through the disciple and it opened up. For later students there is another summary that we recite immediately afterwards, which the Dalai Lama often uses, for example, when he is asked what the Buddha's teaching actually is; the Karmapa also referred to it in his first western interview Question: What is the Buddha's teaching? Answers with this quatrain: Do nothing that harms, act in the best way wholesome, tame your mind, this is the Buddha's teaching. That is very briefly summarized. Now, of course, one asks what is the difference to Christianity? Don't do anything that does harm. Act wholesome in the best way. Tame your mind. At first there is no difference to be seen, it could be a Christian formulation or from another religion, but I assume that most of us have Christian roots. Now I owe you an explanation on that too. Do not do anything that is harmful: in the Dharma doing refers to body, speech and mind. That means that acting is both spiritual acting, i.e. what we think, what we say, and what we do with the body. So do nothing with body, speech and mind, do not take any harmful actions. What is actually harmful now? Anything that leads to a narrower mind, that narrows the heart, that leads us out of the original freedom into a much more limited world is harmful. All of these are classified as basically harmful in addition to, 6

7 which is obviously harmful, where we hurt someone else, behave unfairly, etc., where we all agree on what is easy to see. But we also take damage to all the views and behaviors, ways of thinking that constrict our hearts, burden us and alienate us from what actually is our true nature. Act healingly in the best way it is not only: act wholesome, so act with body, speech and mind in such a way that it leads to liberation, but always in the best way. For a Dharma practitioner, this always means with a view to everyone else, the greatest possible number of beings who are affected by our actions, and by our words, our thoughts as well. The best way is only that which takes into account all human beings and all beings. There is this comprehensive view in there. It is said that the best action is that which brings everyone to enlightenment, that leads everyone to the awakening of the heart, of the mind. That is why it is not simply a question of: Act healing. The wholesome is already very profound, because it is about dissolving duality, it is about dissolving self-centeredness, practicing love, compassion, joy, equanimity and the many other qualities that are part of the path of enlightenment. And then not just for us, but in such a way that everyone benefits from it. By all of them, the Buddha explicitly meant not only people, but also animals and all the beings that we cannot see with our own eyes. It is difficult for us to imagine, but all of them are all-encompassing. Wherever there are beings in the universe, and if this universe is not the only one, then in all universes that there may be: to think, speak and act for the benefit of all beings, that is what is meant here with action that is healing and on the best way. The third sentence is: Tame your mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha. Tame your mind is a phrase that is often misunderstood. Tame is like taming a wild animal, which is a very powerful term. The Buddha compared us to seriously ill, very wild animals. He never said that we were animals, but he considered us to be very wild. With tamers it is already meant that one turns barbarians into civilized people. It is also meant in that sense. But he also meant himself. What needs to be tamed is this immensely strong tendency to believe your own emotions, to believe your own projections. We have to be very strong there. But this is not a way in which we do violence to ourselves with power, with the will, and then tame ourselves, but rather taming goes through a process of ever greater opening, ever greater relaxation, deeper relaxation. Take a closer look, develop a deeper understanding of what's going on, in order to be able to become even more open. When we speak of taming the mind in meditation practice, there is a very awake, wide open being. There is nothing of confinement and of taming and of screw clamps, the complete omission of all screw clamps, because they are no longer necessary, because complete wisdom is arriving. That is what is meant by taming in the Dharma when we use this ancient word. When we say that the emotions have to be tamed or overcome, these are just plastic expressions for a subtle process of accepting, relaxing into it, letting go, opening again and again, looking to take steps into ever greater openness. These were two summaries that come from the Buddhist tradition. The last one was: 7

8 Do nothing that harms, act wholesome in the best way, tame your mind, this is the teaching of the Buddha. That was actually the short description. If we want to bring things to a point, we mustn't talk too long! But I would be very happy if you had any questions and would then be able to comment on your questions. Question: ... what happens to duality when there are no people? What does it look like then? Of course, that is far beyond my ability to answer that from my own experience. Duality - It needs spirit as a foundation, needs awareness. When we speak of duality, we also speak of an awareness in which these projections of subject and object arise. I would understand your question to mean that if there are no humans, is there awareness elsewhere? I can answer that with yes. There is also dualistic awareness in areas that are not visible to us, in spirit beings, it also exists in animals. Dualistic awareness is not tied to being human. Apparently, too, but I really don't have to quote the planet earth. The Buddhist masters firmly believe that awareness does not only exist on planet earth. But as I said: I still have to practice a little ... Does that answer your question? Not quite. Animals, for example, how do they experience ... what kind of position do they have? Animals also experience in the form of me and you. It sure is like that. I don't know now that the Buddhist masters have given very precise descriptions of these processes. They say that the smallest animals, the insects, have the normal mental faculties that we normally have at our disposal, are not fully available to them. You have a rudimentary awareness, but where these dualistic processes - I want / I don't want - take place. What Dharma practitioners, Buddhists, define as a living being is a stream of awareness that can make decisions. Example: an ant runs towards a puddle, comes to the edge of the puddle, pauses, identifies water, i.e. danger, and walks elsewhere. These simple decision-making processes, combined with the ability to change location, are called living beings in Buddhist teaching. There I and you - processes take place: I and the external, I and the other. This very rudimentary duality takes place there, but perhaps you were referring to a much more subtle form of dualistic process. In general, ask the difference between humans and animals ... Yes, humans have much greater abilities. Man can reflect on his being what is not accepted by an animal. That an animal could reflect on its being and then e.g. could find enlightenment in his animal body, in his animal existence, this possibility does not exist for an animal. The discovery of one's own short circuits in the perception of the environment, that is something that is really specifically human, that clearly differentiates us. Other abilities do not distinguish us completely, but they do to a great extent: the ability to love and compassion is already noticeable in highly developed mammals. We know that when we have dogs or cats, but this ability diminishes immensely when we look into lower animal forms. There are many qualities that are much more developed in the human area and are much more available than in the 8th

9 Animal area - above all the ability to think. The Buddha described this as the ability to distinguish healthy from harmful. To extend the idea of ​​the wholesome and the harmful to the other - not only what is good for me, is wholesome and harmful for me, but also to extend that to the other there are great differences between humans and animals. Question: How does a person's level of development affect death, in the experience of the afterlife? Yes, that makes a big difference. Someone who has found his way into this nonduality during his lifetime seems to have easy access to this nonduality in the process of death, as the masters describe it, and can be absorbed in it. Then there are different possibilities, depending on what kind of wishes were made beforehand, whether you want to return as a person, whether you want to go into pure realms of being, or want to immerse yourself completely in this nonduality, there are different ways. The intensity or depth of realization also makes a big difference. There are detailed instructions about it, which then exactly prove this. Question: Why is there this duality at all? It would all be a lot easier if it didn't exist! Yes, I think so too. I've often asked myself why not just be so easy? And whoever discovers this simplicity actually does not have the desire to nourish this complexity of duality any further. This is called the first moment of liberation, when this has been deeply experienced and duality is no longer experienced as something completely normal or even worth striving for, but actually: duality is then experienced as a prison, as a painful duality, not just a simple given of the Life. When did that start? The Buddha was silent on this question. He said: it doesn't help you at all if I go into it, it is not important for the path of enlightenment to know that. There are attempts at explanation. There is no satisfactory attempt at an explanation. It seems to have been like this since beginningless time, and when we then begin to find our way into this openness, the concept of time collapses. That is, the explanation that has been around for a beginningless time, even that collapses, because in the real nondual openness the past, present and future are no longer present as such. Here we are in a timeless or eternal dimension, depending on how you prefer to express it. Because of this, most Buddhist masters have refused to speculate about when this might have started in chronological order, because such explanations may ultimately not stand up to the experience of enlightenment. These explanations are only superficial. I heard a teacher, Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche, explain. He said it started with a moment of inattention. That was his answer. A famous text in Tibetan Buddhism, the title translates as Deep Inner Sense, describes this as a process that the playful mind, the playful awareness, became involved in its own game and found a taste for the game and finally believed that it was Game is reality. These are explanations that might help us a little. It is not explained why this awareness gets caught up in its own game. But there seems to be a fascination at play here. This is exactly what Dilgo Kyentse meant by the moment of inattention. Inattention means: there is a moment of attachment, there is a moment of being grasped, of being fascinated in the sense of wanting to have. That is the moment of duality. 9

10 Question: Plants actually have that too, they also turn towards light or away from a heat source, that actually belongs to living things. Yes, plants clearly belong to living things. The Buddhist teachers deny that the plant can do this of its own accord. They say that the plant does this automatically and that it is not a free choice. This means that the night plants open automatically at night, the day plants cannot help but open their flowers when the sun comes up. This is not a choice. In order to define it as a living being capable of enlightenment, this decision-making ability is required. Now, however, I am not sensitive enough to know whether such decision-making plants do not exist among plants today. But what we observe so generally is that they respond in a completely predictable way. This is not acting, it is an automatic reaction. But they are living beings, just not living beings capable of enlightenment. They are alive, but a plant cannot say: I don't want to grow here, I want to grow elsewhere. Or: today I don't feel like it. I sleep today, I let the sun go by. This is not. That is the difference. This is not a difference that is intended to offend the planter in any way, or to reset it, but rather an observation of what apparently distinguishes plants from animals and from humans. Whereby there are phenomena where plants we know these phenomena, these are feelings, reactions, where people come into the room, etc. This is extremely interesting because Buddha also makes statements in individual sutras where he attributes a high level of sensitivity to plants. But then there is a mixed phenomenon where there are apparently invisible beings who identify with plants and the reaction of the plants is not the reaction of the plant, but of the invisible being that is connected to this plant. This is where some of these phenomena arise - there are many stories about trees that seem to have extraordinary powers, that seems to have more to do with the spirits who identify with the tree. I'll pour you pure wine there. I couldn't even mention these beings, but that is so important in Buddha's teaching that we don't just think of the human realm, of the animal realm, but that there are also others with whom we live together. I hope this doesn't shock anyone too much. That really is part of Buddha's teaching. Question: Is a non-human rebirth possible for humans, i.e. as an animal or as a plant? Yes, as a plant, yes, yes, there are also parables ... but Buddhist teaching usually says that this is not possible as a plant. But as an animal, definitely. This is the big difference between Buddhist teaching and all the masters who have mastered this process of birth and rebirth, who come back consciously, all talking about the fact that people who do not use their life well can actually slide into an animal birth. Which is also the reason why Buddha and an der Master talk so intensely about using this life well so that one does not fall into such suffering or even worse suffering than that, but simply uses this life really well.What can you do with it? Question: In your experience, how does the Christian Dharma practitioner differ from the Buddhist one? Or do they have similar paths? Well, I have to think about it first. Or empathize for a moment. I come from a very Christian family. Take a look. I want to answer honestly. I don't know if I can just say that for all Christians. There are so many different Christians. There are Christians who clearly have experiences of nonduality. There are Christians who undogmatically follow a real path of the 10th

11 Going in search of the truth. And then there is what we know as Christianity, what is taught and what has also been established as dogmas, as beliefs. Then I notice an essential deficiency in the beliefs - I am not talking about the Christians now, but about the beliefs! a lack of this ultimate wisdom, this knowledge of the nondual. There where God could actually be the nondual dimension, this creative awareness from which everything arises, there is concretized and an I-and-you relationship is built up to a God who is our Savior. But actually our savior is entering into nonduality from my eyes. That would be God in a Buddhist sense. For me this is a lack of ultimate wisdom. I think that's the main difference for me. Otherwise I can find a lot of bridges. I have read very little esoteric Christian literature, but you all know Meister Eckehart. When I read that, I was very touched by the authenticity of the experiences that are addressed there and would consider that to be authentic, really for experiences of nonduality that have a liberating effect, that have had a liberating effect on him. I would then say: what is still missing is: How does it go from then on to Buddhahood? There are very detailed descriptions and aids in Buddhist teaching on how the path continues from the first convincing entry into nonduality to complete absorption in this awakened dimension. This is what we call the ten bodhisattva stages. This path is described out of experience, it is still alive. There are still Masters who know this way from experience. There are also many many texts that describe the individual stages on this path. I would see the big differences there. And the other: I would not overemphasize with love and compassion that the Buddhists apparently have even more love and compassion because they honestly think of all beings, even the invisible ones, which of us has this compassion and this love So we'd rather make small rolls, that's not the main difference. I hope I didn't step on your tie or get too close because it's a long way. For me, too, it is a long way to find out what connects us, what actually divides us, nothing at all. The only thing that divides us is when we cling to a concept of God that is divisive. It would be very easy. When I open the Bible today, I have the feeling that I understand a lot more explanations than I have ever heard, simply because I replace the concept of God internally with Dharmakaya, the body of Dharma, i.e. the dimension of truth. And then things get very simple. It becomes very obvious. My brother is a pastor, and so is my father. We have already had very interesting exchanges there. Question: As far as the experience of nonduality is concerned, would you say that there are qualitative differences? Can you initially only experience nonduality in the immediate vicinity? and later that spatially expands more and more In what respect of the surroundings? For example, in relation to a specific person or an object, and all that surrounds it is still dual ... Yes, you are now addressing an area of ​​experience in meditation that we do not yet call the ultimate nonduality. For example, one can meditate on an object and have an experience that there are different experiences. One would be, for example, the feeling of unity with the object. Then there is another experience that the object disappears, that it is no longer perceptible as a sense object. Then there is an experience of total non-being-apart, none of which are experiences of ultimate nonduality. 11

12 We would never describe ultimate nonduality in terms of an object or a person. It is something where normal functioning in our mind is how should I say this now - there is a clear open awareness. In that awareness is not even the idea that there is an experience taking place. There isn't even a control function that looks at what actually happens now. That is actually the nondual experience. Anything can happen in this awareness. There can be a lot of manifestation, but it is always this non-self-centeredness that defines this experience. That cannot be restricted. It cannot only be related to a person or an object. That's impossible. Then it's not the actual nonduality, but just a meditation experience that tastes a bit similar. A big trap for practitioners, by the way. I also tapped into it several times. One is convinced that this is it, one is really convinced that that would now be nonduality. Question: I have a question about the wholesome actions. Sometimes you just don't know. It then seems as if it is healing for some, but perhaps an injury for others. How do you know it's a wholesome act? There is a cognition where you refer to your current quality of awareness, and there is a cognition that arises only from observing the long-term effects. One is that wholesome actions are shaped by opening our minds, opening our hearts. A wholesome act is not performed with a closed heart. When we have a healing thought, we notice that something opens, it relaxes us, it opens us, it releases joy. These are inner signs that there is something wholesome, that it contributes to recovery, to inner opening. These are not entirely reliable signs unless you know your own mind very well. For example, when I meet a very pleasant experience, a sensory experience, a loved one, these moments of openness also arise. That doesn't mean that it then necessarily means that it is wholesome. But when it comes to a conscious action when, for example, I have to weigh up what kind of action do I take? I can take it into the test, imagine that I am performing this action, what do I experience when I imagine that I am performing this action? What does that do? I can look into my mind exactly what is causing all of this. In this way I can test various alternative courses of action. But then that doesn't spare us a careful observation of the effects of our actions. And we don't stop to continue this observation: Five years ago I behaved like this with the person. That and that happened. Today that person has that relationship with me. Then keep looking, it hasn't stopped yet. What is the late effect of all the actions that have taken place or the one major action that has taken place? The more we observe cause and effect in our everyday life, in our lives, the wiser we become. Wise, that is, knowledge, experience, experience arises. And we know with increasing certainty: the kind of action leads to the kind of consequences, consequences, effects. We're getting safer and safer. Nobody can do this learning process for us. That is what actually creates wisdom: the careful observation of all the cause-effect chains. Question: A theoretical question: Can you delimit the concept of awareness from that of consciousness? To separate the concept of awareness from the concept of consciousness is actually a theoretical question. To answer them exactly, I would have to go to Tibetan or 12

13 Referring to Sanskrit Terms. As a translator, I have made a choice that I reserve and use awareness, because it has the syllable true in it, for the type of awareness that actually recognizes the truth. While the term consciousness describes the mere knowledge of the emergence of mental contents. Question: Is it theoretically possible for you as a meditator and experienced meditator to help a less experienced meditator? Unfortunately I have to do this all day! I mean in the sense of concentrating on that person and ... Oh, right, meditate on someone? Yes! Yes, if it were that easy! I didn't say it was easy! Yes, I don't want to describe it from my experience with my students, but rather from myself as a student with my teacher. I feel better when I describe it from perspective. When I came to Gendun Rinpoche's room, he was sitting, like me now, and was on his meditation place, where he also ate and where he received people to come in and sit down alone for me, it was as if everything were suddenly very much easier, letting go in my own mind was just so much easier, the openness came so much more naturally, it was just there. It was as if his presence and I am not only speaking from my experience, I know a great many who have experienced it would make it easier for us to have access to wide open states of mind. One might assume, if I take your question now, that he helped us find our way into it. But he doesn't. He was just enlightened for who he is. He didn't even have the idea to help us. He was there to help, of course, but he wasn't specifically meditating on anything to make that happen. He didn't make any effort out of his mind to create a special force field that would then open our minds even further. He was simply in this openness, and this openness has something contagious about it, something inviting. Maybe you can put it that way. It invites, and it seems so much easier to let go of the remaining barriers. Everyone lets go of their barriers a little and experiences a little more openness. The teacher doesn't sit down and says: Student, sit in front of me, and then, now close your eyes, and then I'll meditate on your chakras ... Never! He never did! It is not impossible to do, but it is only of very short-term benefit. Question: What was your career path like after school? Your personal path in life? Oh, my way of life. Luckily I have something to show. I finished my medical studies here in Freiburg and am now enrolled as a doctor in France, was also a homeopath, taught a little homeopathy here in Freiburg, had studied with Dr. Köhler learned, that was our common teacher. There are still a few fellow students at the time who are active here. I meditated during the whole course and at the end of the course I wanted to meditate more intensely with my wife. As a homeopath, I gave treatment during my studies, free of charge, and noticed that people kept coming to me with questions, with problems that had to do with their mind. And I wanted to get to know my mind better. I then meditated with my wife for three and a half years in a forest under the direction of Gendün Rinpoche. Then we both took monk and nun vows 13

14 and did a traditional three-year group retreat in France. We are both lamas teaching today, and Gendün Rinpoche asked me to run this retreat center now together with others, two men and three women, we are currently looking after 85 people, half of whom are in the first three-year retreat and half in second three-year retreat. So my path in life is very easy to describe. There were these stages of high school graduation, university studies, then personal exams. I have been taking care of meditators for 11 years now, I am a meditation teacher and also the doctor of our monastery and our retreat center. But that has really become a secondary task. I am also a translator of texts from Tibetan into German. Question: ... No, as I said, our teacher came to us. He said I didn't even need to learn to speak Tibetan, it would be enough if I could translate the texts like that. Others of us have learned to speak, and I've never got further than India. Now I am responsible for these centers, so I cannot go away without further ado, and it is also not good to take great risks that would prevent me from coming back. Question; I still have the question, how is it that people have increased in number so much if people are being born again and again, how can it accelerate so much? Yes, because they are also being reborn from other dimensions. Sometimes some animals manage to find access to the human world, sometimes invisible beings who find access to it are slight shifts within the universal population statistics. Small shifts! What looks immense to us is a minimal shift in the overall perspective of all the beings that exist. It only takes a minimal percentage of animals to gain more access to the human world, and our human world is jam-packed! But I understand your question. I also faced them. The answer that was given to me, and which is also conclusive, is precisely this. Question: Would that mean, conversely, if we were to expand birth control and continue to publish contraception, that we would then deny beings access to the incarnation? Good question. Good question. - - I can't answer that from my own knowledge. I have never found a Buddhist teacher who would be against contraception. I haven't heard that yet. What I heard is that those who really have the karma to come as people, they are born again as people. We don't need to worry about that. I am not aware of any further discussions on this. The Dharma practitioners, whom we call Buddhists, have not come together to form a large Buddhist church, where there would be someone, such as a council, who would give advice. Every teacher, every master stands himself in the tradition and has to give answers from his knowledge, also from his knowledge of the text, which correspond to the respective situation. When we asked our Tibetan teachers such questions - these are by no means unusual questions - then they answered us as I have tried to do now. That we don't need to worry: those who really have the karma to come back as human beings will come. Despite contraception! 14th