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A natural and useful way (Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche)

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Mai 1997, Karma Gön, South Spain

In connection with the Empowerment of the 84 mahasiddhas - practitioners in ancient India who through the methods of the Diamond Way in one lifetime had reached the highest fruit - Lopön Tsechu spoke of forms of Dharma practise which would be suitable in our time and society: the lay- and the practitioner-way.

Lopön Tsechu has been the prime teacher of Lama Ole and Hannah since the 60's - even before they met the 16th Karmapa and furthered their personal development as well as the Kagyü Dharma in the West.

Almost all the 84 mahasiddhas reached Realisation already before their death. The reason that they were able to reach Enlightenment in just one lifetime was that they used the special methods of the mantra-vehicle - the VajraYana - and because they kept a strong connection with their teacher. This tie between a realised teacher and his completely open and dedicated students is a condition, which makes fast results on the way possible.

An example, which perhaps many of you know, is that of the mahasiddha Naropa. He was an important scholar at the Buddhist University Nalanda of those days and he was very well versed in all the teachings of the Buddha. In those days it was customary that non-Buddhists arrived at the four gates to the institute to challenge the gatekeepers with their viewpoints, and great debates were held. The winner of the discussion became the teacher of the adversary and the teacher of his students. Therefore it was necessary that these gatekeepers had an extensive, deep, and thorough knowledge of the Buddhist views and were able to present these logically and precisely. Naropa for many years was such a gatekeeper at the northern gate of Nalanda.

At a certain point [in time) Naropa left the University to search for Tilopa. In a vision he had realized that this one was his teacher, and that he had to meet him in order to complete his practice. The strong connection between Naropa and Tilopa is an example of the fast result, which is possible through this kind of connection. It was because of this connection between teacher and student that Naropa was able to remove the veils from his mind so effectively that one day, when Tilopa struck him with his shoe, this became the outer condition for the removal of the last conceptualizing veil from his mind; and Naropa could reach Enlightenment.

Generally it is the traditionally recommended way for a Buddhist practitioner to first take Refuge in the Three Jewels - Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha - and in this way start out on the Buddhist road. The next step is to take the outer vows of discipline and exhibit a pure behavior - namely not to harm any living beings and first and foremost concentrate on one's own Dharma-practise. Thereafter one takes the inner Bodhisattva vows and commits to reach Enlightenment in order to help free all beings from the sufferings of conditioned existence. Finally one reaches the level where one can practice the VajraYana practice. Today, we are living in the so-called "dark age" in which the living conditions are difficult all over the World. And the Buddhist teachings are unknown in many parts of the World, so that many people are not born into a Buddhist way of life. In the present day conditions of the Western societies the way of the "realisers" (Yogi) very suitable. This does not mean that there was something wrong with the traditional way of ordination, but only that this is not a necessity, and that for many people it is much more convenient to practise without the rules and regulations of the outer vows of ordination.

Almost all the 84 mahasiddhas followed the layman-way, only a few of them were monks and nuns. Nowadays the layman-way is a natural and beneficial way for many people. I am therefore of the opinion that Lama Ole with his way of approach is able to really benefit a great number of beings. This is the purpose of the teachings. They must touch us, change our state of mind, and let us understand that cause and effect do work, and thus change our lives in a positive way. Lama Ole's work does exactly that. Not only does he benefit many beings by teaching them the great VajraYana practise of the Phowa; he also constantly approaches many beings and benefits them by actually changing their lives in a positive way. I support and value his activity in every way.

Translation from Tibetan into English by Hannah Nydahl;

Translation into German by the editors.

From "Kagyü Life" Nr. 24, 9th year, (January 1998)