法王新闻 | 2009年01月
時間：2009年01月13日 January 14th, 2009
第二堂課 Session two
There had been so many questions submitted by the audience that His Holiness chose to answer more questions in the afternoon session.
The first question he answered concerned explaining reincarnation to people who do not have a Buddhist background.
His Holiness began by suggesting that belief in something continuing to exist after a person dies is a common experience of humanity. It was also beyond proof either for or against, although it could be doubted. Further, people exist who remember past lives, not just in the countries where belief in reincarnation is widespread or part of the culture, so then this also cannot be satisfactorily explained away or dismissed. It too falls into the category of things open to doubt.
From the Buddhist point of view there was also a logical argument. When a new born baby takes its first breath there is definitely an awareness or consciousness operating, but this has to be the product of causes and conditions, and causes and conditions have these to be of a similar nature to the effect. Hence, the baby’s consciousness has to be produced by similar conditions, a previous moment of consciousness. Observation showed that awareness or consciousness cannot be created by matter, so the only possible cause is another consciousness. Matter has a continuum, if it could turn into consciousness, then all matter should produce consciousness but it doesn’t. The nature of consciousness is awareness and knowing. So, generally speaking, the main point is that the matter continuum and the consciousness continuum are separate.
These days people are more materialistic so it can be difficult to demonstrate the mind continuum though there might be methods – meditation is one. In meditation, gross consciousness becomes more subtle and then you can remember your past lives. You can experience certain memories of the past.
The next question concerned the meaning of “giving the victory to others” Gyalwang Karmapa suggested there were two aspects to this. The first was to actually implement it – to act it out. The second was training the mind so through meditation experience – such as tonglen, which involves taking on the negativities of others, and then exchanging them for our own merit.
His Holiness explained the visualization to use. Imagining our self-interest and selfishness as a fire or light burning in our hearts, we take in the suffering of others which is envisaged as darkness, so that the fire of self-cherishing is extinguished by the darkness. This powerful visualisation slowly changes our attitude. The second part involves giving our own merit away freely to others, because we really want to give it. In reality, we are neither taking on their suffering nor actually losing our merit, but training the mind.
There were instances when such generosity had a practical application too, such as offering a kidney for a kidney transplant, but we had to have a clear understanding, having examined the situation fully. If we were able to give the person a kidney and thereby save their life, such an act would make us very happy. Another example would be when two people were competing for the same job. Should you let the other person have it? Only if you could do so from your heart, rather than because you felt forced to do it or you were supposed to do it.
The next question concerned how to live in a city without feeling lonely.
Drawing on his experiences during his American tour, Gyalwang Karmapa discussed the feelings of dislocation and isolation that modern life brings. He wryly remarked that in New York there was no need to consult the calendar if you wanted to know whether it was the weekend or a weekday, because on Saturday and Sunday you could see people talking to each other on the street. The rest of the week they were too busy to interact.
It seemed that life was getting faster and faster. In America, it felt as if you’d only just started your journey and you’d arrived. His first day in America in New York at the Waldorf Astoria, he had looked out of the window and he couldn’t see the ground, it was so far below. That felt very strange.
His Holiness suggested that in the busy-ness of modern living, we had to find time to rest our minds. He himself was increasingly busy but he managed to maintain a relaxed and peaceful mind. We had to learn to pace ourselves. He gave the example of a horse. A horse can run faster than a man, but, if the man trots along at a steady pace, eventually the horse will tire and the man will catch up with it. If we were unable to stay mindfully aware we could be overwhelmed. For instance, if someone fell in the river and panicked, they could drown. If, on the other hand, they kept their heads and stayed calm, they could reach the river bank and survive. Maintaining mindfulness could reduce stress.
The next question was about the Chenresig Practice for new dharma practitioners. His Holiness said it was important to receive the empowerment ( Tib. wang) first before beginning any Vajrayana practice. Then it would be helpful to receive some instructions and clarification of the teachings behind the practice. He thought that if the person didn’t get either the empowerment or the instructions, to practice Chenresig might not be so useful.
Many of the questions focused on issues arising from everyday life in the West. His Holiness was asked for advice on how to deal with other people’s attachment and self-interest in the workplace.
He responded by describing how the presence of a Buddha pacifies the disturbing emotions of those around, because the Buddha has completely done away with negative emotions and is totally aware. Sravakas make an aspiration prayer that nobody gets disturbed by their presence, so people are not so affected by negative emotions around them
We take time on our appearance so that people find us attractive; it is just as important to present our positive mental qualities, our loving kindness and caring for others, so that our presence does not arouse their negative emotions. We can also set an example by our behaviour, which might have an influence on the people we work with.
Laughter echoed round the hall at the next question – why do people look the way they do?
His Holiness told how Tibetans say people with big ears had them pulled by their teacher when they were young. Chinese Buddha images have big ears, because they are meant to be very graceful. But whether you have big ears or little ears will depend on several things, your race, and the environment, and also karma, which affects the three aspects of body, speech and mind.
Generally, it is taught that the karma of body and speech create the conditions for a better looking body. That is why Chenresig is always smiling , because he has done so many virtuous actions of body and speech. His Holiness paused. “It is said that I don’t smile much, so I’m worried about what I will look like in future!” he joked.
The next question was about the meaning of Buddha claiming the earth as witness to his enlightenment. Gyalwang Karmapa explained that Buddha said that the earth is the basis of all beings. The earth is also totally neutral, like the mother of everybody. The Buddha attained enlightenment, touched the earth, and the earth shook six ways.
Finally, there was a question about one of the prayers which included the request to be born as a male! Did this not conflict with Tara’s aspiration to attain enlightenment in female form?
His Holiness first pointed out that the prayer in question reflected what people desired, and that wishing to be born male was a relic from the days when women had very low status and little control over their lives. Thus they desired to be reborn as a man. We could pray for whatever we wanted, and in the case in point it was important to distinguish between actual Buddhist thinking and people’s wishes. He suggested that, if we wanted to, we could pray for all men to be reborn as women, which provoked much laughter, so long as there was a good reason for the aspiration and it was based on the wish to benefit others.
Thus the second day concluded.