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Dec. 24, 2011 Dharma Talk - Cultivate with Selflessness to Reach Perfection and Accomplishment

2011-12-24 Taiwan Lei Tsang Temple
Translated by TBTTs (Sections relevant to Nairatmya only)
Translator: Ball Li
Translation Accuracy Editor: Angela Yeh
English Proficiency Editor: Henry Wolf

Today's homa is for Nairatmya. This deity is quite new and very few people do this homa. A discussion of Nairatmya's background leads to a discussion of the Kagyu lineage. The Kagyu lineage began with Tilopa and was passed on to Naropa. Both Tilopa and Naropa were Indian. Subsequently Marpa studied Buddhism with Drokmi Lotsawa. When Marpa requested a practice manual from Drokmi Lotsawa, Drokmi Lotsawa told him, ''I can accept your request for the dharma practice manual. However, as this dharma is really, truly great you must present me nine cows, forty nine sheep and your villa.'' When Marpa heard that all of these had to be contributed to Drokmi Lotsawa, he felt the price was too high for a practice manual and an empowerment. Instead he decided to sell a few things for gold. He then travelled from Tibet through Nepal to India to find Master Naropa. Master Naropa taught him the Shri Hevajra Tantra and Six Yogas of Naropa. The Six Yogas of Naropa is the same thing as the Six Yogas of Tilopa and the Six Yogas of Niguma. They are are all part of the same lineage which has been passed down orally. The Kagyu lineage is from Tilopa to Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa and then to all Kagyu Karmapas. The Kagyu lineage has been passed down in this way. Hevajra's consort is Nairatmya, who actually represents a very significant spirit in Vajrayana. In the Prajna System, the Middle Way System and the Consciousness-only System
the buddha mother ''Nairatmya'' is the buddha manifested to symbolize the ''selflessness'' of the synthesis of the ''Prajna,'' ''Middle Way,'' and ''Consciousness'' of these three systems respectively. Later on, people called Marpa's wife ''Nairatmya.'' There isn't just one ''Nairatmya.'' Anyone who practices the Hevajra Consort Practice is called ''Nairatmya.'' Nairatmya is a symbol.

The Sandhinirmocana Sutra mentions that ''What is perfectly enlightened absolute reality'' or what is the absolute reality of perfect achievement? It is the ''non-existence of the self-nature,'' that is, ''without self-nature.'' Actually, the ultimate truth of ''non-existent self-nature'' is ''no-self.'' It is because there is no ''self'' that there is no ''self-nature,'' and being of ''no self-nature'' is called the nature of non-existent self-nature, and the ''absolute reality of perfect accomplishment.'' It's quite difficult to explain. Selflessness is also called ''Bodhisattva.'' In the prajna wisdom, ''Bodhisattva'' is to learn how to be selfless. ''Mother'' is giving life to everything. It is from ''no-self'' that all life is produced. For example, the aspiration to bodhicitta is inspired by the spirit of selflessness. It is out of the spirit of selflessness that we seek to deliver sentient beings. We cultivate with selflessness to reach perfection and accomplishment. This point is extremely important.

Speaking of lineage, the Kagyu lineage started from Tilopa and then went to Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, and then to Gampopa, who were all lay Buddhists. From Gampopa on the Kagyu sect began an ordination lineage as they all became monastics. Patriarch Gampopa was originally ordained in the Kadam sect. As a monk of the Kadam sect Gampopa sought out Milarepa to learn Dharma. He ended up as the successor of the Kagyu lineage. After Gampopa came Karma Pakshi, a black-crowned Great Living Buddha, namely a Karmapa. The black-crowned living buddhas have passed on through sixteen generations. It is now the 17th generation. There are two 17th Karmapas. One is named Ogyen Trinley Dorje and the other, Trinley Thaye Dorje. There are these two Karmapas. I met the 16th Karmapa in upstate New York and received his empowerment and blessing. Therefore I have the lineage from the 16th Karmapa. I just introduced to everyone how I received the Kagyu lineage. [audience applause]

''Selflessness'' is a great spirit. ''Mother,'' is giving birth to everything. ''Nairatmya'' is the spiritual symbol of all things engendered from no-self. Therefore, ''Nairatmya'' is not just one single deity. Anyone can be considered Nairatmya who gives birth to all dharma methods and produces the all-encompassing bodhicitta by practicing and having learned selflessness from Nairatmya. Let's see her mudras. Her right hand is holding a kartika skyward and her left hand is holding a kapala, which is a vessel made from a human skull. Dharma brother Chi Zhong, the one chanting Mahamudra prayer at meal time, gets out his kapala, fills it with food and eats with great pleasure. We Han Chinese are taken aback by the way he eats. We ask him, ''How can you eat from a human skull?'' Is Chi Zhong so poor he can't afford a bowl? In fact, it's not like that. His kapala is lined with metal and that is how he is able to eat out of it. Nairatmya's mudras are one hand holding a kartika skyward and the other hand holding a kapala. She also carries a khatvanga, which symbolizes Padmasambhava's staff that eradicates greed, anger, and ignorance.

In Tibet, when carving buddha statues, generally speaking if it is a dharma protector one of his legs is straight and the other one is bent like the pose in a tango. When you think of the tango pose you will think of a dharma protector's pose. What about Nairatmya? She's holding a dancing pose with one leg bending upward and the other one standing on the floor. That's her body mudra. Her mantra is Om-Ah-Hum, Fa-zha, So-ha. The pronunciation in Tibetan is Om-Ah-Hum, Pei, So-ha. With Nairatmya's mantra, her body mudra and her hand mudra, we can then practice her dharma. Nairatmya's praise verse, however, is different. Nairatmya is mainly for subjugation. So is Hevajra.

Speaking of Nairatmya, actually, the spirit of selflessness is quite difficult. Selflessness is one of the three dharma seals of the Hinayana. The three dharma seals are impermanence, selflessness and nirvana. These are taught by the Buddha. Of these three the ''no-self in all phenomena'' means there is no self-nature in any phenomenon. That is, there is no self-nature, no original self-nature, in any phenomena. If you can realize the non-existence of self-nature in any manifested phenomena, that is the realization of ''no-self.''

Bodhicitta is derived from the spirit of selflessness. If you can achieve selflessness, there won't be any wars in this world; families will not fight among themselves and one will not come into conflict with others. Buddhism is essentially a religion ''without criticizing.'' This so-called ''non-criticizing religion'' is derived from selflessness. If you have no concern for yourself you won't argue with others. If you are concerned about yourself, you will fight with others. There are wars between countries because people think of ''I.'' If there is no ''self'' there is only peace in the world. Families are at peace with love and respect. People are not fighting among themselves. All this quarrelling and fighting arises from attachment to ''self.''

Let me tell you a joke. A woman and her husband are drinking in their backyard. The wife says, ''I really love you. I don't know what to do without you.'' Her husband hears her and starts to cry because he's never heard her say anything like this. He wipes his tears with his handkerchief and is very touched. His wife sees him crying and says, ''What are you doing? I am talking to the wine. I really love you - wine. I can't do without you - wine.'' A misunderstanding! A misunderstanding! This is really a misunderstanding. When two people are together, they won't get along if each still has ''self attachment.'' If you treat others with ''selflessness'' others will also treat you in the spirit of ''selflessness.'' If you treat others with absolute total love of bodhicitta, you'll have a perfect family. Conflicts in the mundane world all have their cause in human selfishness. Therefore, as a practitioner, remember this very important thing: learn the spirit of selflessness. Going deeper into the spirit of selflessness, you will come to non-arising and enlightenment is a step further. (audience applause)
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