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Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra

Generation Stage in Buddhist Tantra
Gyatrul Rinpoche
In stock, will ship in 2 – 3 business days
225 x 150
This book offers an exceptionally clear and accessible presentation of the generation stage practices of deity yoga.

To begin with, it is important to know that when you receive Dharma teachings, three types of motivation are possible. You might have a virtuous, positive intention, a negative intention, or a neutral intention that is neither positive nor negative, but merely dull and thoughtless.

You must eliminate negative and neutral intentions, which is done by recognizing them.

You cannot do away with negativity until you recognize it, can you? Any kind of worldly intention is negative. All worldly intentions, such as hearing the teachings to obtain non-spiritual benefits, are considered negative. However negativities are expressed-through body, speech or mind-they should be eliminated.

All negativities are supported by the ten non-virtues. Of these ten non-virtues three relate to the body, four to speech, and three to the mind. The three that relate to the body are killing, stealing and adultery. The four corresponding to speech are lying, harsh speech, slander and gossip (idle words). The three of the mind are craving, ill will and incorrect view. If you don't know how these non-virtues are accrued, you should study the teachings on cause and result.

A neutral intention is a state of dullness or lack of awareness which is devoid of positive intention. This is not necessarily a negative state, however. You just attend the teachings in a stupid state, following the way a dog follows its master, or perhaps the way that a small child follows its mother. With this attitude, you don't really get anything out of what you are pursuing because you have no real intention or motivating force to begin with. Cultivating a positive motivation is a basic requirement to receive the teachings purely.

According to the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, which is known as the greater spiritual pursuit, a positive motivation is the twofold intention to benefit oneself and others. This can also be expressed as having a single intention to cultivate the ten virtues, to perform all other virtuous deeds, and to achieve enlightenment, the level of ultimate realization, for the sake of benefiting oneself and others.

We call ourselves Mahayanists or practitioners of Mahayana Buddhism. Beyond that, we call ourselves dzogchen practitioners, or practitioners of atiyoga. Whatever we claim to be, whether Hinayanist, Mahayanist or dzogchen atiyoga practitioners, the main thing to remember is to develop and maintain the intention to hear and practice the teachings for the sake of oneself and all other beings.

Ngondro, the preliminary practices that many of you perform on a daily basis, should not be thought of as mere "preliminaries." These practices begin with the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind towards the spiritual path. These contemplations embody the essence of the Hinayana tradition of Buddhism, which is known as the lesser spiritual pursuit. The practices of refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, and mandala relate to Mahayana Buddhism, the greater pursuit, and the guruyoga practice relates to Vajrayana. All nine vehicles of Buddhism can be reduced to these three yanas, which are all practiced within the ngondro. The ngondro is a very profound practice that activates all three vehicles simultaneously. Because the three vehicles are all related, perhaps you can see the importance of contemplating the Four Thoughts and of cultivating compassion before you engage in Vajrayana techniques.

When Shakyamuni Buddha first gave teachings in this world of samsara, the very first thing he explained was that cyclic existence is a place of natural suffering. The realm of cyclic existence is by nature a place of suffering, turmoil and delusion. It is therefore essential that, before hearing the teachings and beginning any practice, you contemplate the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind. Just as the Buddha chose to present these teachings before any others, similarly this is the first step in your own study of Dharma.

After considering the truth of suffering, proceed to cultivate an awareness that all other living creatures in the realms of samsara are in a state of delusion, just like yourself. All living creatures have, over the course of countless past lifetimes, been your own kind and loving parents, changing roles like players in a drama. All of these beings have brought you into the world at some time or another, and all of them, without exception, desire happiness and fulfillment. No one in this world of desire lacks the impulse toward happiness. They desire happiness; yet all the while, they create the causes for more suffering. What they desire and their actions of body, speech and mind are in direct opposition, but this irony remains unnoticed. In this way, like blind people, beings in samsara remain in bewilderment.

Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche was appointed as spiritual representative for H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche in America in 1976. With His Holiness, he founded the Pacific Region Yeshe Nyingpo centers on the West Coast. During his thirty years of teaching experience in the West, Rinpoche has traveled extensively, touching the hearts of thousands. He is the author of Meditation, Transformation, and Dream Yoga.