Dear friends near and far,
As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy, as the Western new year begins today. Throughout my Guru Rinpoche day messages this year, I will share with you all a series of teachings on the ground, path, and fruition, or the view, meditation, and conduct.
Lord Gampopa summarized the ground, path, and fruition in these words:
The cause is Buddha nature; The support is the precious human body; The condition is the spiritual guide; The method is their oral instructions; The fruition is the perfect buddha body. The activity is non-conceptual benefit to beings.
Thus, the first thing we need to understand when practicing the Dharma is that all beings have buddha nature, which means their mindstreams are of the same nature as the buddha, and the heart of the buddha resides within all of us. Nevertheless, we need the conditions to actualize this essence of buddhahood present within us, or it will remain dormant.
The first condition we need is the support of the precious human body. This isn’t merely a human body. A precious human body is one that has met with the Dharma, feels the wish to practice, has met a spiritual teacher, and has the opportunity to practice the Dharma. These are all necessary conditions.
The path then is the method taught in the oral instructions, such as the Four Dharmas of Gampopa. My kindest root guru Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche explained that the first Dharma, “may my mind turn towards the Dharma,” corresponds to the practice of the four mind changings. The second, “may the Dharma become the path,” corresponds to that of the four foundations. The third, “may the path dispel confusion,” corresponds to the generation and completion stages. The fourth, “may confusion arise as wisdom,” corresponds to Mahamudra and the Great Perfection, or the nature of mind practice. All methods of the path are complete within these four.
The fruition is the perfect buddha body, because this is the path that leads to supreme buddhahood. This is an essential point.
Finally, the activity is non-conceptual benefit to beings. When we train on the path, we develop bodhicitta, and come to recognize non-conceptual primordial wisdom. Through the force of these two, method and wisdom, as well as our aspirations, we develop equipoise within primordial wisdom. With the blessings of the Buddha, we eventually come to be able to effortlessly remain within the equipoise of indivisible method (great compassion) and primordial wisdom through day and night, with no difference between the meditation session and the post meditation. When one can remain within this state continuously, this is the fruition of buddhahood: spontaneously present, non-conceptual benefit to beings.
In short, the ground is the buddha nature present within our mindstream. The path is the precious human body and the methods taught by the spiritual guide. The fruition is perfect buddhahood, which means realizing the nature of mind, and never parting from indivisible method and wisdom.
As for the activity, it is the very essence of the Buddha’s teachings. If you understand this well, you cannot go astray on the path. You see, there is no need to rush, or to try and get experience and realization as fast as possible. What matters is that you practice correctly, and genuinely.
When my dear father Chokling Rinpoche taught in Hong Kong in the past, the students had asked him to teach on the Great Perfection. On that occasion, he told them: “When an authentic student receives authentic teachings from an authentic teacher within an authentic lineage, then with authentic practice comes authentic result.” Please remember that all of these elements are necessary.
With all my love and prayers for a happy new year,