Ringu Tulku here teaches on Understanding Interdependent Origination and Emptiness
Part 1: The Four Noble Truths leading onto the Eightfold Path (particularly Right View of Interdependence) are explained. All practices focus on how to work with our causes of suffering: kleishas and karma. There is no accumulated “positive karma”: “positive karma” is only getting rid of accumulated negative karma; our nature is fundamentally pure; merely obscured. A process of purification is needed. In essence, the purification of negative karma is the same as the accumulation of merit. The way we are now is our karma; the end result of whatever happened in the past. How to get rid of delusion, wrong perception and habitual tendencies is the Path of Cessation of Suffering. Interdependent origination is explained in the Tibetan term tendrel, or, more fully, ten ching drelwar jungwa: dependent and relatively arising; where everything is dependent and nothing independent/truly real on its own. The opposite of all kleishas are compassion and wisdom.
Part 2: Rinpoche discusses the next level of dependent origination: the 12 Links depicted in the Wheel of Life (Tripiṭaka.) where the causes of ignorance and mental formations lead onto processes and then results. We have to learn how not to grasp, crave, and be ignorant ie to break this chain. The more we understand how not to get caught up in this cycle, the more we will be free. Rinpoche discusses the sutras, vinaya and abidharma making up the three baskets or
Part 3. Impermanence, when understood, leads to an understanding of composite phenomena as being relative and dependent; not existing exclusively on its own. Rinpoche details the 8 examples of how Shakyamuni Buddha taught how things are; all dependent and temporary. Dependently arising and originating; and dependently designated. The essence of the Prajñāpāramitā / “the Perfection of Wisdom” Heart Sutra is explained. Everything we experience is through our mind. That awareness is discussed. How to look is explained: Do not meditate; Do not get distracted; Do not elaborate. Merely observe, recognise and rest in awareness.
Part 4. Rinpoche discusses the Essence of Interdependence/Tendrel Nyingpo/Dharani of Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpādahṛdaya; Tib. རྟེན་འབྲེལ་སྙིང་པོ་, rten ‘brel snying po) and its history (the statement which Shariputra heard from the monk Ashvajit, when asking for a summary of the teachings of the Buddha)and meaning:
ye dharmā hetu prabhavā hetun teṣāṃ tathāgato hy avadat teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha evaṃ vādī mahāśramaṇaḥ
All dharmas originate from causes.
The Tathagata has taught these causes,
And also that which puts a stop to these causes—
This too has been taught by the Great Shramana.
Interdependence and emptiness should be understood as the same thing. The Path is one of Interdependence.
The session ends with Rinpoche inviting Jokes; including a particularly excellent one by Charlie Murray (at 01:10:00) concerning a Glaswegian trying to get into heaven…
Photos courtesy of Conrad Harvey.
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