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Dharma Talk > Discourses on the Great Perfection Dharma

10. Shravakas Deem the World to Have More Suffering than Happiness

2013-07-13 Rainbow Temple
(Given at Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple, Redmond, Washington, USA on July 13, 2013 after group practice of Yellow Jambhala Sadhana. Translated and edited by Janny Chow, Proofread by Christine Chan)

With reverence, we first pay homage to lineage masters Reverend Liaoming, His Eminence Sakya Zhengkong Rinpoche, His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa, Vajra Acharya Thubten Dargye, the Three Jewels at the shrine, and Yellow Jambhala, the deity of today's sadhana.

Shimu, masters, dharma instructors, reverends, dharma lecturers, dharma assistants, directors of local chapters, fellow school members, students from across the internet, and our guests of honor today: Mrs. Ambassador Liao dharma sister Judy, True Buddha Foundation's accountant dharma sister Teresa, dharma sister Xu Yaqi, producer of the Taiwan CTI television program Light the Lamp in Your Heart, Dr. Zhuang Junyao. Greetings to everyone! Everyone here is an honored guest. How is everyone? Thank you for coming (in Cantonese).

Today we practiced the Yellow Jambhala Sadhana. Many wealth deities exist in Tantrayana and most of them also play the role of dharma protector. These wealth deities are emanations of the Four Deva Kings and other devas and will bestow fortune and eradicate karmic defilements in supporters of the Buddhadharma. If you receive a response from them, your prayers will be answered. Just now, during the sadhana, many wealth deities descended. They responded to our supplication to descend, so I hope everyone will attain great fortune. (Grand Master says in Japanese: You have to become a wealthy man.) But most importantly, no matter how much money you gain in the world, you cannot take it with you. So, what does one do with all their money? Aside from living in affluence, one can also use the money to propagate the dharma, donate to charities, and benefit the human world. This is the path of accumulation, and it is a requisite in spiritual practice. Once enough resources are accumulated, use the resources to benefit others. By doing so, you are also helping yourself build invisible merits which will enable you to attain liberation and a better rebirth to the Pure Land. This is very important.

We will continue with the Nine Stages of Great Perfection discourse. What are the Nine Stages of Great Perfection? Today's material is actually rather boring. If you ask another dharma teacher to talk about this subject, he would probably find it tiring, and the audience would also tire listening to it. The material in Nine Stages of Great Perfection is actually quite difficult to understand.

Let me first tell a joke. In the middle of the night, a child woke from sleep and began crying. His father decided to sing him a lullaby to help him fall back asleep. After singing a few phrases, someone in the next room protested loudly, ''Let the child cry! Just please stop singing!'' Today's material is not easy to listen to, but we still have to talk about it. We will start with the first three yanas. In the middle are the three tantra yanas, followed by the three inner-tantra yanas, altogether nine yanas.

The first three yanas were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. The middle three yanas were taught by Vajrasattva. The last three yanas were taught by the Adi-Buddha (Samantabhadra Tathagata). We will start with the yanas taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. These nine yanas are like nine ladders, one ladder following another until fruition is reached. This is very important. The nine yanas are like climbing stairs, starting with the first floor, and moving to the second floor, third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor, sixth floor, seventh floor, eighth floor, and finally the ninth floor. The ninth floor is the highest floor. Hence, this system is called nine stages or vehicles which carry one from one level to the next.

We should not act like blind men when we study Buddhism. A couple went shopping and were approached by a beggar wearing sunglasses. The beggar first approached the husband and said, ''Good-looking, can you help me? I am blind.'' The husband was ready to give the beggar some money when the wife stopped him and said, ''Come on! It is obvious he is not blind.'' After weighing the wife's words, the husband pointed her to the beggar, ''Is this woman beautiful?'' The blind man took a look at the man's wife and said, ''Oh! Very beautiful.'' The husband then said to the wife, ''No, he is indeed blind.'' We should not act like blind men when we study Buddhism. Look at each of the nine yanas very clearly. Some students of Buddhism are indeed blind. This is obviously Buddhadharma, yet they do not want to learn it. What do they learn instead? Fortune-telling. Fortune-telling is a mundane practice. It is true that everything is dharma, but we should learn the true Buddhadharma taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, Vajrasattva, and Adi-Buddha. Some people say, ''A side door is still a door.'' (In this temple) you can walk into the main hall through the door of the video room, through the door of the gift shop, or through the side door near the restroom. When you take those side doors, the walk is longer. The closest door is the front door. A side door is a door farther away. This is my explanation. Coming through the front door is the shortest way. If you take the side door, you will be making detours before getting here. Yet to finally make it in is still not bad! Actually, fortune-telling or geomancy are not bad things, they are just mundane dharma. Shakyamuni Buddha does not advocate the practice of mundane dharma. That was why he organized the sangha community for monks. Lay practitioners will take detours as they engage in many mundane affairs. Today a lay student told me that he needed to work every day to make money, and his practice suffered because he lacked time. The sangha group does not pursue mundane careers to earn a living and can focus on cultivation. Life is short. If you are busy with mundane affairs, you will have less time for practice. For members of the sangha, spiritual practice is their vocation. This is the difference between taking the front door versus the side door. Because life is short, cherish what needs to be cherished, and let go of what needs to be let go.

A student asked me, ''I make a lot of money! My family life is good too. But I feel like I am just leading a conventional life. Is this right?'' You all need a way to incorporate spiritual practice into your life. As a householder, you still must dedicate a little time toward spiritual practice. As a sangha member, your discipline is spiritual practice and walking the path towards liberation and enlightenment.

The ''shravaka yana'' taught by Shakyamuni is the first of the Nine Stages of Great Perfection. Shravakas (sound-hearers) put the Four Noble Truths of ''suffering, origin of suffering, cessation of suffering, path leading to the cessation of suffering'' into practice. They realized the egolessness of the self, yet they allow the existence of a continuous mind. This is quite hard to explain. Here is a joke. A car married a train, but they two soon divorced. The car explained sadly, ''He worried every day that I would get into a collision. And I? I worried all the time that he would have a derailment. I couldn't stand it. So, we got a divorce.'' (The Chinese term for derailment also can mean having an extramarital affair.) Actually, the Shravaka yana is a car that carries fewer people. Most shravakas practice on their own. They prefer to practice in remote mountains (or places far away from the crowds), and are usually renunciants. They deem life to be short, full of suffering, and not much fun.

Give this some thoughts. I have often said: ''When you are one year old, you make your debut in the world.'' Your parents take care of you, and there is neither much suffering nor happiness. However, when you start school, suffering begins. Perhaps others have had fun in school, but it was painful for me because I often failed exams and twice had to repeat a grade. For me, studying was painful. After an exam, I would lose weight. When there was an exam, I had trouble sleeping. I had to look at another's papers if I did not know the answer. It was very exhausting and painful. Why did one have to go to school? Who had set the rules? I was furious.

''At the age of ten, academia rules.'' Everyone fights for the ''number one'' spot. I had a classmate who was always at the top of the class until one time he dropped to ''number two'' and he committed suicide. How miserable! Not being number one was miserable. Those who fought for the top spot were miserable. Is school hard? It is hard! When Fo-ching was studying for her PhD in law, she exclaimed, ''Law school is so hard!'' Books! You study, study, study, until finally you pick up the book and toss it furiously across the room. Afterwards you still crawl over to pick it up and continue studying. Studying is inherently painful! And after studying and graduating, you work, and that is also painful! Is working blissful? Your boss may all of a sudden transfer you to a position requiring you to work very hard without much pay. To all of you in business, is it difficult? Making money is not easy! Making money can be considered one of the difficulties of this world.

What about family? Family is a fetter that shackles and locks you in a certain environment. A piece of paper binding two people together. So many divorces and very few couples are truly loving. In my observation, the majority of couples are miserable. After getting into fights, the two may not even talk to each other for half a year. What family does not have hardship? And tell me, even before marriage, isn't love hard too? Love is a bitter pill. As Yuxian (a student) has said, when you find love, you find an enemy. In the marriage between the car and the train, the train worried from morning until night about the car getting into a collision, and the car worried from morning until night about the train getting derailed. In modern society, if a man wants to pursue a woman, he asks whether she is married, has a boyfriend, or not; the same goes for a woman pursuing a man. There are love triangles everywhere, and some relationships have four, five, six, or seven people involved. Which relationship is real? It is confusing. Isn't it suffering? Love is indeed a bitter pill. And family is a shackle that puts you inside a frame. One piece of paper can lock you up without any expiration date in sight. That is suffering!

There are worse sufferings like the ones brought on by earth, water, fire, wind, and space. Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, sudden floods, and in a moment, all the possessions you worked hard to accumulate may vanish. Isn't it suffering? It is suffering!

Human relationships are difficult, as captured in the saying ''it is hard to make everybody happy.'' So, getting along with other people is challenging. Today one may be in a good mood, and tomorrow one may be in a bad mood; the day after tomorrow one may be in a good mood, and the following day in a bad mood again. It is the same with the weather. It was cold yesterday, hot today, and tomorrow will be even hotter. Isn't it a nuisance? Such extreme heat and cold in Seattle! It was never this hot in Seattle before. Perhaps you have brought the heat with you when you immigrated here. When I first moved to Seattle, there was a period of three years when I did not perspire at all. Recently I found myself perspiring. The weather has changed.

Do you think the human heart will not change? The human heart is fickle. Today I love you, tomorrow No! Let us break up! The changes happen so quickly. People flip faces like flipping pages. Everything may be still fine at dinner, but by morning, suddenly things may not be fine. Isn't it painful? Why be fettered by such relationships! We might as well go far away from the crowds to remote mountains to practice the shravakaship! The first (Noble Truth) is suffering. After realizing the causes of suffering, one leaves the crowds to work alone on one's practice.

Is illness a suffering? Illness is the worst suffering! Amituofo! After being admitted into a hospital, ghost soldiers of Yama King will pick up their knives and saw open your head or abdomen to find the source of illness. In the United States, doctors love performing procedures and operating on you. And isn't having a toothache a suffering? It is terrible suffering. Dentists know this. The pain is terrible. In the past, people would tie one end of a string around a tooth and the other end around a door knob. Then with a kick to the door, the tooth is pulled out. Isn't this suffering? It is suffering! Once you enter the hospital, you allow yourself to be sliced and partitioned by others. A little cold or a headache may cause you to be very uncomfortable. Just any ache, a back pain or frozen shoulder is suffering. I am seventy years old and have not had any endoscopy performed. The doctors asked me to get a colonoscopy and have my eyes examined. I said, ''Why do I need an eye exam?''

I have been practicing the eye exercise in the Golden Mother Eight Exercises, and I can read even very small words clearly. I never wear glasses when I drive. Some people have two pairs of glasses because they suffer from presbyopia and astigmatism. Some are short-sighted and some are far-sighted. Some even have three or four pairs of prescription glasses. It is hard! Some people have laser eye surgery. I have heard that some people suffer from relapses several years after laser surgery. Lianzhu, how are your eyes? Still good! You are quite lucky. He had laser eye surgery and fortunately everything is still good.

Indeed! Many people are ill and suffer terribly. Is getting old suffering? It is suffering! Take a look at residents of nursing homes. The ones in best shape are those who can walk with the help of walkers; the next best are those in wheelchairs; followed by the less fortunate ones who must be completely waited on by others. Those who can still mobilize themselves are good. For those who cannot, what good is it when you cannot clean up after going to the bathroom or wash yourself?

Life is suffering! Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, dying is suffering, and the pain you experience before you die is suffering. It does not matter if you are a king, royalty or an authoritative figure. Everyone ages and dies. When aging and sickness descend upon you, you will know misery. How long will you be young? Our prime years are our twenties to forties. Twenty years. After deducting ten years for the time you sleep, ten years remain. How much fun can you get out of that? Spiritual practice is still the best! Because of this recognition, practitioners of the shravaka yana retreat to remote mountains to practice to reach liberation. They want to free themselves of the fetters of the self! Only a continuing mind remains. Gather the sufferings and origins of suffering and transform them into egolessness and liberation. This is shravaka yana.

The second stage is pratyekabuddha yana. What is pratyekabuddha yana? Buddhadharma teaches that everything is a result of multiple causes and conditions. The twelve causal links (nidanas) are: ''ignorance, mental formations, consciousness, name and form, six-fold senses, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth, aging and dying.'' With one link as a condition, the next link arises. This series of links shows that ultimately nothing exists independently. The practitioners of pratyekabuddha yana ponder on the changes in the twelve causal links and come to the realization that the self does not exist. Not only is the self non-existent, the dharma is also non-existent. What is dharma? It does not mean Buddhadharma but refers to every phenomenon in the world that is also empty. Cars, houses, good friends, spouses, lovers - they are all empty. How can they not be empty? There will be a day when each will become non-existent! Because everything is the result of multiple causes and conditions, everything will one day return to emptiness. There is not one thing that you own. Your children are not yours, your wife is not yours, your most beloved is not yours, your most expensive car is not yours, your house is not yours. Nothing is yours. Everything, including you yourself, will one day disintegrate. Hence, pratyekabuddha yana practitioners recognize that the self and all phenomena in the world are empty. Meditating on the twelve causal links, deep in the mountains, they reach liberation.

The first two yanas in Buddhism are the first stage of shravaka yana and the second stage of pratyekabuddha yana. Shakyamuni Buddha taught that in our practice, we should contemplate the Four Noble Truths, then the twelve causal links, and next the bodhisattva yana. Bodhisattvas seek primarily to benefit others utilizing the methods of the ''six paramitas.'' I have taught often before that we should use ''generosity, proper conduct, diligence, endurance, wisdom, and meditation'' to help sentient beings. Bodhisattvas put the ''six paramitas'' into practice to benefit others. Bodhisattvas understand completely the emptiness of the self and the emptiness of all phenomena in the world. In the realm of bodhisattvas, a continual mind is almost non-existent. Grand Master also does not have a mind (heart), because his mind was stolen by others. This is bodhisattva yana. This is a very brief introduction to these three yanas. Do you think cultivation is easy? The three yanas taught by Shakyamuni Buddha are very difficult to practice and take a long time to carry out.

An owner of a farm had a chicken that ran very fast. Many tourists came to watch this chicken run. One day, a rich man came to see the chicken and wanted to buy it. He said to the farm owner, ''I will pay one hundred thousand dollars for your chicken.'' With a blank face, the owner of the farm shook his head. ''That is not enough? How about two hundred thousand? Five hundred thousand? One million dollars for your chicken?'' Each time the rich man made an offer, the farm owner just shook his head without any change in expression. Finally, the rich man could not stand it anymore, ''I am making you such a big offer, why won't you sell it to me?'' The farm owner replied, ''Because I will never be able to catch it.''

The shravaka yana, pratyekabuddha yana, and bodhisattva yana taught by Shakyamuni Buddha are very simple in theory. ''Contemplate on suffering, origin, cessation, and path, and you will attain liberation.'' ''Contemplate on the twelve causal links, and when you understand that everything is inherently empty, you will also reach liberation.'' ''When the mind including your own is empty, and you focus only on the six paramitas to help others, you will be a bodhisattva.'' This is the path of accumulation wherein you are accumulating merits to reach a higher realm. By becoming a bodhisattva, you are transcending the self. Actually, shravakas are also transcending the self!

Pratyekabuddhas are also transcending the self as well as phenomena of the world. Bodhisattvas are transcending the self and other phenomena, and furthermore engaging in the path of accumulation while benefiting others. Pratyekabuddhas and shravakas focus more on liberating themselves and less on benefiting others. Hence, they retreat deep into the mountains to practice. Bodhisattvas remain in society and use money and dharma to help others, working indefatigably on the path of accumulation. But the way of the bodhisattva is not easy. Just like the chicken that runs very fast, it will not be easy to purchase because you will never catch up. Cultivation is not easy! Just these three yanas of shravaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva are already very difficult to accomplish. It is very difficult to catch up with them.

Some people are very stingy. What are they going to do with all their money saved up? They of course plan to make good use of it. They are saving so they will have money to spend when they get old. But they will never spend it all; and the money left will be spent by people who are blessed. Sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters will spend your money for you. Even now, we are already spending money belonging to our children. We are spending as much of it as possible. Our money is their money, and our money is also sentient beings' money. In the future, who knows where this money will migrate to? You are thrifty and save so much, yet in the end your children and grandchildren will spend it all for you. My grandfather saved up a lot of money, and his six wives spent it all. At the time of his death, each wife carried away a trunk of treasures, like the pirate chests of Treasure Island, as well as money. My father became a pauper because all his family's money was taken away by his father's wives. I have heard that my grandmother, who was wife number three, had at the time of my grandfather's death carried a trunk to her boyfriend's home. My grandfather did not get to spend it, but after grandmother moved the money to her boyfriend's home, the boyfriend spent it all. Then she came back alone to find my father. ''You have to take care of me now!'' You see, whoever is blessed gets to spend the money. Do you think all the money you save up is yours? My grandfather thought he had six trunks of treasures, but who got to spend them? His six wives took them away, and they all remarried. My father did not get to keep any. When I got married, the one carat ring I bought was saved from my salary. Only a tiny little thing. Was it one carat? (Grand Master asks Shimu.) Only 0.2 carat! Was it that small? That was terrible! I really did not have money when I got married. I had saved up forty thousand Taiwanese dollars, and after the wedding, it was all gone. Is there anything that is yours? No. Many people think their wives or husbands are theirs. No! Do you think your lover is yours? No way! Everything is only temporarily yours to cherish.

It can be very hard to catch up with an object. Yet it is even harder to do cultivation! You can travel deep into the mountain to spend a lifetime in cultivation, and still not achieve much. The three yanas taught by Shakyamuni Buddha are like the chicken that runs very fast and is difficult to catch. You will not catch it because you cannot empty the self and phenomena of the world like houses, cars, money, treasures, and people you love. So how can you talk about cultivation?

I have finished lecturing about the shravaka yana, pratyekabuddha yana, and bodhisattva yana. It is alright just to hear about them, as you will not catch them anyway. Of course, you can catch them if you are a very serious practitioner and can become free of the self. Then you will come close. But, if you cannot empty the self or the outside world, then you cannot liberate yourself.

I will next discuss the three yanas of tantra. At the beginning of Tantrayana practice is the action (kriya) tantra. In action tantra, you regard your yidam as your master, and make prostrations and offerings to him reverentially as a servant. I will explain action tantra in simple terms: they are the various devotional methods used to serve your yidam. For example, if you wish to summon Maha Cundi Buddha Mother, first chant the sutra and mantra of Maha Cundi Buddha Mother for seven days and nights and make offerings of flowers, incense, lamp, tea, and fruits to her. The yidam will descend, empower, and bless you. Observe the precepts of the yidam, and practice devotion to the yidam. This is action tantra, the first foundation of Tantrayana. Every day, make offerings, prostrations, and penitence to your yidam. Whatever transgressions or violation of precepts you have committed, repent to your yidam. This kind of Tantrayana practice, action tantra, will purify your body. The most important thing is to abide in precepts pertaining to body, speech, and mind. Supplicate the yidam to bless you by first carrying out these various outer ritual actions humbly and with devotion.

The next step is performance (charya) tantra, which is the fifth yana. What is performance tantra? In this stage, the yidam is facing you. In the sadhanas we practice now, the yidam appears in a lotus above the ocean. The seed syllable inside the moon disc revolves to transform into the yidam. You do not have to chant his scripture very long for him to appear. You only need to chant his mantra, visualize him, or form his mudra, and he will manifest to bless and purify your body, speech, and mind. The yidam and you are separate, but in this practice, in an instant, the yidam appears opposite from you, and the two of you are like a pair of leaves attached at a node. Of course, you still should prostrate, make offerings, and ask him to purify your body, speech, and mind. This is performance tantra. At the stage of action tantra, the relationship between the yidam and you is that of a master and his servant. At the stage of performance tantra, the yidam is your spiritual friend. Invite him to come to your home, offer him tea, supplicate him to bless you and instruct you in the practice of Buddhadharma. This is performance tantra. The yidam appearing opposite also purifies your body, speech, and mind.

The sixth yana is the yoga tantra. To explain it simply, in the first tantra, the yidam is your master; in the second tantra, the yidam is your friend; and in the third tantra, yoga tantra, the yidam is you yourself. This is yoga. Yoga tantra is union. The yidam has immersed into your body, hence the words you speak are words of the yidam, the sound you hear is the sound of the yidam, and your body is that of the yidam. This is the sixth stage.

The three outer stages of Tantrayana: action tantra, performance tantra, and yoga tantra were taught by Vajrasattva, or it can be said by Vajrapani. This is quite clear then!

The highest stages of Tantrayana are mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga, and I have not discussed them yet, as the main focus of Dzogchen is atiyoga. So far, we have talked about the outer three tantras: in the first action tantra, the yidam is your master; in the second performance tantra, the yidam is your friend; in the third, yoga tantra, the yidam and you unite, and the yidam and you are one.

When I was in Taiwan, I had a very bad cough that would not stop. Yet, as soon as I sat upon the dharma seat to teach, I would not cough. It was strange! When I got up off the seat, I would start coughing again. Very few people were aware of my terrible cough. As long as I was teaching, I was able to suppress the itchiness in my throat. When one coughs, it can be very difficult to stop. I am an adept in yoga tantra, and I have already succeeded in union with my yidam. The yidam is me, and I am the yidam! Each time before giving mo-ding, I join my palms and the yidam descends upon my body. My hand then becomes the hand of Golden Mother. When I pat your head, it is Golden Mother's hand patting your head, which is also my yidam giving you mo-ding. That is yoga tantra. If your yidam enters into your body and merges with you, that is yoga tantra. So, when I had that bad cough, although I sought help from doctors, they could not cure it, and I was left wondering what to do about it. I suddenly thought of yoga tantra, and I said to Golden Mother, ''Oh Golden Mother! You are me, and I am you. Do you like coughing? Aren't you coughing while I am coughing so badly? If you do not like coughing, then you should make my cough go away!'' The next day the cough disappeared! I was cured after talking to her like that. There was another incident, also while in Taiwan, when I came down with a terrible atopic dermatitis. I spoke to Golden Mother again, ''Golden Mother, I have seen many doctors, applied all kinds of medicine, and taken all kinds of drugs already. You are me, and I am you. If you do not help me, who will you help? I have offered you a cup of water, and I am going to drink this water which is medicine, and I want to be healed tomorrow.'' Indeed, I was healed the next day. My translator Miss Hanifa was aware of this incident. She said to me, ''Hey? It really worked!'' Shimu is also aware of this incident. It was atopic dermatitis! I had taken all kinds of medicine, applied all kinds of creams and ointments, and even gotten injections, but none of them worked. However, after drinking a cup of Golden Mother water, the dermatitis was gone.

Zen Master Yaoshan had two students. One was named Dao Wu and the other was named Yun Yan. One day, while on the outskirts of town they saw two trees by the roadside. One tree was green and luxuriant, and the other had withered and died. Zen Master Yaoshan wanted to test the level of realization of these two students. He asked Dao Wu first, ''Which is better? The luxuriant or withered tree?'' Dao Wu replied, ''Luxuriant is better.'' This is an answer without realization. When Yun Yan was asked, he replied, ''Withered is better.'' This is also an answer without realization. At that moment, a novice monk walked towards them, and Zen Master Yaoshan asked him, ''Which is better? Luxuriant or withered?'' The novice monk answered, ''Luxuriant or withered, just let it be.'' This is the highest level of the mind, signifying ''immovability.'' Once your mind is moved, you are finished. ''Is it better to have money or no money?'' Everyone will say, ''Money.'' A true cultivator will say, ''Money is good, no money is also good. A lot of money is good, a little money is good, and no money is also good.''

Let me tell everyone, when you register for the annual lamps, annual Taisui, blessing or bardo deliverance ceremonies, the amount of registration fees paid are up to your discretion. What does this mean? Whether you pay a lot, a little, or nothing, your mind should be immovable and unperturbed! In this world, everyone's mind is easily influenced. If today someone scolds you, you may spend the next three days trying to come up with a retort. Or, for example, if a beautiful girl comes along and a male puts his hand on her shoulder, that beautiful girl may be unable to sleep for nights thinking the man has come on to her. The mind is easily agitated! Everyone's mind is pulsating! Overhearing a single offensive remark, you may think ''Aiya! I can't stand it'' and lose sleep at night. Grand Master has had insomnia too. Why? Because the mind is agitated! As you get older, the amount of melatonin secreted decreases. This is biological. When you close your eyes to sleep, the body secrets the hormone melatonin to help you fall asleep. When you age, hormone levels decrease, and if you do not have enough melatonin, you may have insomnia. In terms of the mind, if you have emotional afflictions and keep thinking about them, you also will not be able to sleep. If there is nothing on your mind, no worries, you will fall asleep in a short while. You do not even know when you fall asleep, because you just get into bed and fall asleep. You cannot describe it. It just happens. If you cannot fall asleep, if you cannot empty your mind, you toss and turn with worries! If you have mental afflictions, if your melatonin drops, you will have insomnia. So, there are biological as well as psychological factors affecting sleep. When you can truly arrive at a state of immovability, which reflects a realization of the ''emptiness of self'' as well as ''emptiness of all phenomena,'' you will have just about passed the first three yanas.

Although my explanations on the action tantra, performance tantra, and yoga tantra are brief, they are to the point and allow you to understand them clearly. I will discuss the mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga next time.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
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