Lama’s Blessings and Karma
There was one very important, very precious question there, the answer to which will benefit everyone. So the question was that if one has accumulated negative karma but then one receives the blessings of the guru, can these blessings transform the negative karma?
Garchen Rinpoche: That’s really an excellent question. We first need to understand what the blessings of the guru actually are. Of the guru’s body, speech and mind, we first approach this physical body. We attend to the guru on a physical level. Then there is the speech of the guru, which helps us to understand the Dharma. When we hear the teachings, we can understand that karma is infallible.
But ultimately and most importantly, what we really need to obtain is the guru’s mind and not his body and speech. The guru’s mind is one with the mind of all the Buddhas of the three times. It is a mind of Bodhicitta, the Four Immeasurables. It is a mind of great love for all sentient beings without bias. It is a mind that wishes for the happiness and freedom from suffering of all sentient beings. In particular, in the Drikung Kagyu lineage, in the beginning of our prayers, when we pray for the happiness of all sentient beings, we place our enemies, obstructors and those who hate us before everyone else.
With such a state of mind, you can transform karma. How does that happen? Actually, where is the karma in the first place? All karma is stored within the self-grasping mind. Therefore, if there is no self-grasping, then there is also no karma. This is why it is said that ultimately, karma is empty. Only on the relative level karma is infallible. For as long as there is self-grasping, karma is infallible. Gampopa said that until all grasping at thoughts comes to an end, there is karma. So when the grasping to the thought of a self comes to an end, this is also end of all karma because all karma abides within the self. The deepest idea we have is the idea of a self. This is transformed when we give rise to Bodhicitta.
Therefore, if we cultivate Bodhicitta, we can transform karma. Bodhicitta is like a powerful fire; not an ordinary fire but a fire that can consume the entire universe and turn it into ash. So this is a really important question.
Only clinging to the physical form of the guru is of not much benefit. It is of some benefit as the physical form of the guru is a support to cultivate devotion, and on this level, the guru is like a friend. Through the speech of the guru we can gain an understanding. Once we have understood, we must also gain experience.
Understanding alone is not sufficient. For example, there are many great scholars of the scriptures such as the Madhyamika, the Middle Way. They understand the meaning of emptiness and the nature of mind. However, if it remains a mere understanding, then it is of little benefit.
It is necessary to put this understanding into experiential practice. Only this will lead to realization. And only when we realize non-dual wisdom will we become free of all doubts. Then all karma dissolves. Then there is no more self and no more dualistic perception. Then there is no “one” who creates karma and no karma to be created. When one realizes that the nature of mind is like space, one understands that within space there is no duality; no “two.”
Coming back to jealousy. Of the five or six afflictions, jealousy is the worst. The essence of jealousy is to find joy in the sufferings and misfortune of others. Jealousy is the most powerful destroyer of merit. Jealousy is also a very subtle emotion; it is always somehow there. First, therefore, we have to recognize that it is there.
The question is answered during the teaching in Colorado host by Drikung Jamtse Choling. 2015.05.29
Translator: Ina Dhargye