Relative and Ultimate Truth – Spontaneous Wisdom & Laughter

‘An idiot will do a lot of bad things and go to hell.
Another idiot will do a lot of good things and go to heaven.
The wise will transcend the good and bad and get liberated’

I heard this wisdom in the evening today from Dzongen Khyentse Rinpoche who was quoting a Buddhist master. Rinpoche is himself a great Buddhist master who, it seemed to me, was a Buddha, not a Buddhist. Also, an author and film maker.

And there were many other nuggets of wisdom, subtleties:

• Buddha said there are two downfalls:
1. Overly believing in things that are believable
2. Overly not believing in things that are not believable.

• Seeing Buddhism simplistically as just non-violence, meditation and eating vegetarian food greatly narrows the vastness of Buddhism.

• Both the relative and the ultimate truth are crucial. And the relative is as important and difficult to grasp as the ultimate. Deeply understanding the relative truth is the ultimate truth.

• He spoke of Nagarjuna who said, ‘I praise you, Buddha who never said there is Nirvana which requires abandoning the Samsara’ and in the same breath also said, ‘I praise you Gautama when you say Nirvana means seeing there is no Samsara’

• This quote of Nagarjuna summarises the 4 truths that he shared later:
1. All compounded things are impermanent
2. All emotions are pain
3. Nothing is inherently existing in nature (Shunyata)
4. Nirvana is beyond extremes

• Impermanence is not something negative but something that gives hope that we can change, evolve and thought can become richer. Renouncing what is carnal and material is not because it is evil, but because it doesn’t exist, in truth!

• Emotions create suffering. The word suffering doesn’t quite capture the depth and richness of the Sanskrit word, ‘dukha’ which has many elements- esp. the aspect of being ‘time-bound’ and anything that is time bound, is unpredictable, creates insecurity, something one cannot trust and hence painful. Have you noticed, he joked, how with your spouse one moment all is well and the next moment all hell breaks loose- Moods swing..

• Dharma, the Buddha said is required like a Placebo because we think we have a problem. The Dhamma is self –corrosive.. it is designed to ‘cancel’ itself. Which I guess prevents it from becoming actually corrosive and a dogma.

• Indians are so much receptive and understand unlike Americans and Europeans. From a young age they encounter things like Ganesha, an elephant riding a mouse. They are used to out-of-box, non-rational way of looking at things. Sadly, Indians did not have common sense because they had wisdom. Wisdom and ‘common sense’ are arch rivals. But sadly, Indians are now learning common sense. I was sad when I went to Delhi airport and saw it functioning so well. I like cows walking all around 😉

• Indians have forgotten their wisdom maters and are following the likes of Freud, Jung, Tolstoy, Kant. Common Sense is not good to understand Shunyata which Indians understand intuitively.

• ‘Logic is the most sophisticated way of making yourself an idiot’

• Naropa’s 6 Yogas is Tantric Buddhism brings the solution and the problem very close to each other. Unlike Anger (problem) vs Love & Compassion (Solution). In Tantra Body is equally important as the mind. You are the deity. Even putting on a lipstick is an offering to the Buddhas.

• To see that the deepest truth is that ‘I am dreaming you and You are dreaming me.’ In Dream Yoga you learn to be aware of the dram inside the dream.

• The Guru in Tantric Buddhism is not limited to a person. It is the nature of the mind which is reflected as someone who teaches you.

• Karma is not fixed, permanent, fatalistic. Thanks to Karma, everything is very flexible.

• Buddha was not a Buddhist.

3 thoughts on “Relative and Ultimate Truth – Spontaneous Wisdom & Laughter

  1. Beautiful Kiran. I feel that there is a lot of similarity between Budhism and Hinduism . May be the connection is also there with other doctrines. Their Dhamma to this simple mind looks like our Dharma. I have an interesting piece from my Guru Swami Niranjanji on Dharma and thought of sharing it here.

    Dharma is purely an understanding of the natural interaction and the natural law which governs the individual, society, the world and the cosmos. Dharma is knowing the potential which exists in each and every dimension of this creation, and not only cognition of that potential but also living according to the appropriate conditions. In one word, dharma is appropriateness.

    Some people say dharma is duty. Some say dharma is religion. Some say dharma is the natural law. But dharma, in spirit, represents three main functions: appropriate action, appropriate behaviour and appropriate thinking. As long as your thoughts, behaviour and actions are appropriate to the situations and circumstances, you are on the right track.

    Dharma entails understanding. Dharma is not a reactive response to circumstance, but the appropriate response, which develops after you have understood and are in control of that particular situation, whether it be personal, social or global. If there is proper understanding of the situation, then dharma is natural and spontaneous. If there is no understanding of the situation, then there is a headache trying to figure out what one’s dharma is. Asking, “Should I do this? Should I not do that?” is confusion; natural and spontaneous expression is dharma.

    Paramahamsa Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s