Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Creation and Completion - Selections

Essential Points of Tantric Meditation, with a Commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

SELECTIONS

Selection from The Essential Points of Creation and Completion That Will Benefit the Beginner Who Has Entered the Path

I bow to Pema Nyinje Wangpo
inseparable from the Lake-born Vajra, who manifests
the infallible absorption of bliss-emptiness, steady and everlasting,
emanating and resolving in a hundred ways.

In the face of these disturbing times,
an ordinary stupid person like myself becomes exhausted
trying to explain the deep and vast meaning!
Nevertheless, my vajra friend has implored me,
and maybe it would help a few fools like me.
So I rely only on the blessings of the glorious guru
and speak freely without reservation.

You now have the precious opportunity of human life, so difficult to find;
not just as an ordinary person, but one who has encountered the Dharma
and been accepted by a teacher, the personal appearance of the Buddha,
you can seek the most profound quintessence of Dharma
and choose the finest from among the gurus.
While you have this chance, and all conditions conducive to Dharma
have accrued, even if you do not achieve others’ welfare,
at least practice for your own sake.
Otherwise, at the time of death, and that time is uncertain,
there is nothing whatsoever that can help other than Dharma.
Even the wealth of a universal monarch just gets left behind on the death bed.
Positive and negative actions adhere to the consciousness,
and not knowing what to do, even regret won’t help.
From this very moment on, without delay,
you must strive to practice virtue with body, speech, and mind.

The only foundation stone of practice is renunciation.
The only gateway of practice is faith.
The only approach to practice is compassion.
The life-tree of practice is single-minded application.
Constant practice is conscientious mindfulness.
The removal of obstacles to practice is to rely on the Three Jewels.
The enhancement of practice is devotion to the guru.
Unmistakable practice is the guru’s instruction.
The one essential point of practice is that the Three Roots combined
and all of the peaceful and wrathful mandalas
arise as the guru’s display—this one thing is sufficient.

The most gifted individuals are those who have developed in previous lives,
have already reached the full capacity of devotion, and are born as great, superior beings.
For them, even without following the stages of practice,
it is still possible to perceive the truth of reality.
For all others, it is as the noble Nagarjuna said:
Listening to Dharma engenders contemplation,
and contemplation gives rise to the meditation experience—this is the sequence.
So if you abandon distraction and continuously apply effort,
first the intelligence that comes from listening
will result in comprehension of the general characteristics of the phenomena of cyclic existence and its transcendence.
Then, contemplation will pacify blatant grasping to the reality of illusory appearances,
meditation develops the definitive direct experience of mind, and so on.
Thus the previous stages act as causes for the arising of the latter.
When this is not the case, it is like desiring results without any cause.
You may claim that your accumulation, purification, and practice are most excellent,
bemoaning the hardships of a practice that is merely conjectural.
This kind of experience will not lead to conviction.
Without conviction, you are stranded in doubt, and doubt is the only supreme obstacle.
When conviction arises through listening, contemplating, and meditating,
even if someone says “this meditation will send you to hell,”
rather than being frightened, you will be supremely confident.

The essential point of all the modes of Dharma taught by the Buddha
can be epitomized as a method to subdue one’s mind.
The entryway into the initial mind practice
is surely renunciation, without which there is no way.
If authentic renunciation arises, compulsive activities will be few;
if activities are few, the significance of non-action will be near.
When non-action is realized, it is the true nature.
There is no other buddha outside of that.

There are many categories of view, meditation, and action,
but when applied to one’s own mind,
the view is absolute conviction in the true nature;
meditation is assimilating that meaning in one’s being;
and action is recognizing anything that happens as that view and meditation.
It follows that the fruition will be the actualization of things as they are.

The root of delusion is one’s own mind grasping
external appearances as being truly existent.
Whatever creation or completion stage meditations are employed,
all are intended as methods to reverse this attachment to the reality of deluded appearance.
If stubborn habits of attachment and aversion are not reversed,
then meditation is as meaningless as a gopher hibernating in a hole.
Creation stage is the vast imaginary nature of contrivance
and completion stage is the profound perfectly existent nature of genuine condition.
These are the names and definitions that have been taught.
They are also described as with and without elaboration, respectively.
Since they are both exclusively the infallible intention of the victorious ones
who recognize the different capacities of individuals,
there is no question of division into good and bad.
The point is to do practice appropriate to one’s own intellect.
In the mantra approach, with its many methods and few austerities,
a person of sharp faculties and high intelligence
may gather the two accumulations during all activities
and never do even a trace of anything meaningless.
This is not, however, the sphere of activity for a fool with mistaken views.
With little attachment to the reality of whatever arises,
deeply rooted devotion and belief in the path of methods,
and tenacity in pursuing the significance of the goal,
ordinary and supreme mastery will come quicker than a summoned guest!

All phenomena are subsumed under the two truths:
the relative truth is true with respect to delusion,
and the absolute truth is true with respect to true nature.
The definition of “truth” is that it is without deception.
If you know that the two truths are inseparable, like the moon in water,
then the extinction of deluded appearance is close at hand.

There is no doubt that both the provisional and definitive paths lead to buddhahood,
but there are shorter and longer paths.
For instance, the destination may be a single place, such as Lhasa,
but you could either go on foot or by flying through the air.
Even on the short path, a person with meager intelligence
will not discover the distinctive wisdom, but will be left among the ordinary.
Disdaining the lower and unable to grasp the higher,
talking of emptiness, such a person will neglect cause and effect,
mouthing on about the view while in a state of self-deception.
It would be better to concentrate on the gradual path.
In entering the path, there is both the sutra approach and the mantra approach,
and there are a vast number of methods for following them.
The omniscient one taught that to do no unvirtuous deeds whatsoever,
to practice virtue, and to control one’s own mind summarizes sutra practice,
and meditation on the two stages of creation and completion
summarizes mantra practice.
Since the mind is the root of all phenomena,
it is crucial to control it right from the start.
Doing recitation and visualization practices without mental control
could go on for lifetimes without resulting in enlightenment.
What is called “mental control” means controlling afflictive emotions.
Methods of controlling afflictive emotions can be subsumed into three:
rejection, transformation, and recognition.
Rejecting these emotions is the ordinary approach of the sutras.
Desire is renounced through contemplation on repulsiveness, hatred
through contemplation on love,
and stupidity through meditation on interdependent relationship.

The uncommon approach of mantra is to transform afflictive emotions.
When desire arises, you meditate on Amitabha
or a deity such as Heruka in union.
The desirous thought is transformed into the deity.
The other deluded emotions are treated in the same way.

The exceptional approach is to recognize the true nature of afflictive emotions.
When desirous thoughts arise vividly,
looking directly at their essence, they subside in themselves.
This is the dawning of mahamudra, bliss and emptiness inseparable.
It is also called the pristine wisdom of discernment.
There has never been anything to reject, nor to accept,
nor to transform; everything is contained within mind.
Know that there is no other intention of a buddha than simply the uncontrived mind itself.

 

Commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Introduction

In this essay, I will discuss the creation (or generation) and completion stages according to the text The Essence of Creation and Completion, which was composed by Jamgön Kongtrul the Great. In particular, between the two topics, the creation stage and the completion stage, we will be concerned primarily with the creation stage. Although in a sense our main practice is the completion stage, the practice of the completion stage depends entirely upon the stability and blessing of the creation stage, just as for example the practice of vipashyana, or insight, depends upon the attainment of stable shamata, or concentration.

This is a very appropriate topic for study. It is easy to talk about shamata and vipashyana and to listen to explanations of mahamudra or explanations concerned only with the completion stage. However, it is important not to choose the topic that sounds good, but instead to choose the one that will be of the most practical benefit, that will actually enable students to progress in their practice of meditation. Therefore, it is appropriate to address subjects that are more difficult to understand, because it is these, especially, that need the most complete explanation.

When you examine your mind, some impurities you might discover in your motivation for study and practice are competitiveness, arrogance, and selfishness. In a sense, an impure motivation is not a serious problem, but at the same time, it is necessary to let go of it and replace it with a pure motivation. A pure motivation is the motivation of wishing to study and practice in order to be able to benefit both yourself and others. Given that normally we are mostly concerned with benefiting only ourselves, it is especially important to emphasize the wish to benefit others. Even when we wish to benefit others, we tend to restrict that wish to a few others, such as our family and friends. The wish to benefit a few others is not an impure motivation—it is pure—but among pure motivations it is a fairly minimal one. Here we are trying to develop the motivation of practicing and studying in order to benefit all beings who fill space, since all beings, without exception, equally wish to be happy and free from suffering, and yet lack the knowledge necessary to enable them to achieve these goals. So if you have the motivation for both study and practice in that you are doing it in order to establish all beings without exception in a state of happiness, this motivation is not only pure but also vast in scope.

Essential Points for Approaching the Path

Our text begins by explaining eight essential points for approaching the path: gaining certainty in the Dharma; renunciation; understanding what Dharma is (view, meditation, conduct, and fruition); defining creation and completion; faith and devotion; pure vision; the two truths; and understanding the qualities of the path.

Gaining Certainty

The first point is that, in order to practice Dharma, you need to be certain about its validity. Cultivating that certainty has to be done in three steps: cultivating the wisdom or knowledge of hearing, cultivating the wisdom of thinking about what has been heard, and then finally cultivating the wisdom that comes from meditation. It is pointed out that people of the highest faculties, which means extremely rare and highly gifted individuals, do not necessarily need to go through the preliminary stages of hearing and thinking about the Dharma. An example of this type of person is King Indrabhuti of Uddiyana, who received instruction from the Buddha and was liberated on the spot. Most of us, however, need first to hear instruction, then to think about it very carefully, and only thereafter to implement it in meditation practice.

Why do we have to begin by hearing the Dharma? Because Dharma practice is not primarily concerned with or limited to the experiences of this life. Therefore, it is sufficiently different from what we are used to that before we have heard it explained, we really have no idea what it is, let alone how to go about practicing it. We therefore require instruction. What do we take as the sources of our instruction? What Dharma do we try to hear? Generally speaking, there are two classes of scripture or texts used in Buddhadharma. One is called “the dictates of the Buddha,” which means the teachings that the Buddha gave when he taught in India. The others are called the “commentaries,” or shastras, which are commentaries on these teachings composed by the great masters of India and other countries.

The custom in the Vajrayana tradition is to emphasize the study of the commentaries rather than the study of the Buddha’s original teachings. Casually considering this, you might expect that we would emphasize the Buddha’s teachings themselves in our study because, after all, is not the Buddha the most important teacher in the Buddhist tradition? Historically some scholars also have objected, saying, “Why study the commentaries rather than the Buddha’s original statements?” The reason is that the Buddha’s original statements are vast in extent and number. Furthermore, they are not necessarily organized for easy study or reference; they are organized on the basis of the occasions on which they were delivered. In addition, because these teachings given by the Buddha were made at the request of and for the needs of specific individuals in specific contexts, they represent different styles of teaching.

The Buddha’s teachings are principally classed as either provisional or definitive in meaning. Simply by studying these original texts themselves, it is impossible for a beginner to determine which statements are provisional and which are definitive. On the other hand, the commentaries distinguish clearly between provisional and definitive statements of the Buddha; for easy reference, they assemble similar teachings or those that need to be used together; they explain the hidden meanings or subtleties the Buddha’s teachings; and they summarize especially long treatments of topics that can be understood with a briefer explanation. In short, it is really through the commentaries that we approach the Buddha’s teachings themselves.

Within the commentaries on the Buddha’s teachings there are two main types. Some are elaborate explanations employing a great deal of logical reasoning that are intended as guides for acquiring tremendous knowledge of the teachings. The other commentaries do not have elaborate presentations of logical reasoning but are fairly straightforward guides on how to practice the Buddha’s teachings. These tend to include references to the Buddha’s statements and also refer a great deal to the actual experiences discussed in those texts with practical instructions. It is principally these that we emphasize in our study.

Within the general class of texts that give practical instructions, again there are two varieties. Some of these texts are elaborate explanations of the methods of practice, and some are very brief, very pithy statements on the essence of practice. The latter tend to be in the form of songs and are referred to in Sanskrit as doha. They are the most important type of texts to emphasize in your study, because, given their form, they are easy to remember. Being easy to keep in mind, they are easy to use in actual practice. They combine the two virtues of profundity and brevity. Among the Indian dohas, we study those of the Indian mahasiddhas such as Tilopa and Naropa. Among the Tibetan songs, we study those of the masters of the Kagyu lineage, especially those of Jetsun Milarepa. Whether you read them or hear them, they are the most important basis for study.

Through hearing the Dharma, you come to a very basic idea or understanding of what it means. You come to think, “Things are like this, this is how things are.” This understanding is the first level of prajna, or knowledge—knowledge that comes from hearing. But it is only the first level. In general there are two kinds of practitioners. One kind is called a “follower of faith,” which means someone who basically believes what they are told simply because they have been told it. The other kind is a “follower of Dharma,” or someone who does not take anything on authority, no matter who was supposed to have said it, but tries to discern why they said it, what it really means. Taking this second approach—looking for the real meaning of a statement—you go beyond the knowledge of hearing. Whether you study the Buddha’s teachings or the commentaries upon them, the texts of instruction or the dohas, you are concerned with the question, “What does this really mean? What is this really trying to say to me? Why did the person who wrote or sang this express it in this way?” Through that type of analysis, you generate much greater certainty and understanding than you would by simply taking the statement at face value. This greater certainty is called the “knowledge (prajna) of thinking.” If you meditate after having generated this knowledge of thinking, then your practice will go much better, because you will actually know how to meditate. You will also understand why you are meditating, why it is beneficial, and why it will work, which will give you much more confidence to go on with the practice. It is principally for this reason that the practice of meditation needs to be preceded by the practice of hearing and thinking.

Renunciation
The next topic our text deals with is the importance of renunciation. There are two vital things that you need at the very inception of your practice. One is trust in Dharma, in its validity. The other is renunciation—revulsion for samsara. In order to create these, in order to generate true certainty about Dharma and revulsion for samsara, it is necessary to begin by contemplating what are called “the four thoughts that turn the mind,” or the four reminders. They are the difficulty of acquiring the freedom and resources of a precious human life; death and impermanence; the results of actions; and the defects of samsara. The generation of this type of renunciation and certainty in the Dharma is what is called “your mind going to the Dharma.”

Understanding What Dharma Is
The next step in your practice is to come to an understanding of what Dharma is, an understanding of the topics of view, meditation, conduct, and fruition that make up Buddhadharma. The root of all of these, as the Buddha himself said, is taming the mind. The Buddha’s 84,000 teachings are concerned with taming the 84,000 types of mental afflictions, or kleshas. Taming the mind means taming the kleshas, because your mind is sometimes very rough, very wild, full of selfishness, afflicted by all kinds of coarse and negative thoughts. Whether or not we succeed in taming our minds, this taming is the topic with which all Dharma is concerned.

Everything depends upon your mind. Any qualities that you attain through the path, you attain through your mind. Any defects that you remove through the path are removed from your mind. Therefore, what is called “the recognition or realization of the view” is taming your mind. What is called “the cultivation of meditative absorption” or “meditation” is taming your mind. You engage in certain modes of behavior of body and speech—conduct—in order to tame your mind. Taming is the fruition, or result, of your practice. If you understand this, then you understand that view, meditation, conduct, and fruition are all founded upon the mind.

According to Buddhadharma, a person consists of the three faculties of body, speech, and mind. How do we think about these? The body is composed of physical substances such as flesh and blood. What we regard as our body, from the top of the head to the tip of the toes, seems very powerful, very real. Speech seems much less substantial. Speech consists of all of the positive and negative things that we say. But the root of all of the deeds of body and speech is our mind. Now, if you were asked to say which of these three—body, speech, or mind—is primary, you might say the body because the body seems the strongest, the most active or effective. Then you might say that speech is second because speech, after all, can communicate. Nevertheless, it is not as strong or as stable as the body. And mind seems the weakest because it doesn’t achieve anything except to think. However, in fact mind is in charge of body and speech. Body and speech don’t do anything at all without mind telling them to do it. So mind is the root. It is therefore said by the siddhas of our tradition that your body and speech are like servants who perform the virtue and wrongdoing that the mind, like a boss, instigates. So, of these three, mind is in fact the most powerful. Therefore, it is of the greatest importance that we take hold of our mind, that we fix our mind. Hence all Buddhist practices, including view, meditation, and conduct, are concerned with fixing or taming the mind.

Taming or fixing the mind means abandoning the kleshas, the mental afflictions. Everyone’s mind has two aspects, one pure and the other impure, and the impure aspect is called klesha. If you abandon kleshas, then all of your actions of body and speech will automatically become Dharmic or pure. As long as you have not abandoned them, then no matter how good your actions of body and speech may appear, you will still never be happy. Abandoning kleshas is the aim of Dharma, but for this to succeed, it is necessary that the remedy, the practice, actually encounter the kleshas. In order for this to occur, you need to take an honest look at your own mind. You need to see which klesha is your biggest problem. For some people, it is anger; for others it is jealousy, or attachment, or bewilderment, or pride. It can be any one of the five main kleshas, which are usually called the five poisons. (In fact, it is in order to tame these that wisdom deities manifest as the buddhas of the five families.)

When you have discovered which klesha is the strongest, you dedicate your practice to its amelioration. For example, if you are meditating on the four reminders, such as the difficulty of acquiring a precious human existence, you think, “I am doing the meditation in order to abandon such and such klesha.” Or if you are practicing the uncommon preliminaries, such as the refuge and bodhichitta practice, the Vajrasattva practice, mandala practice, or guru yoga, then you think, “I am doing this in order to tame this klesha that afflicts my mind.” This is especially effective in the Vajrasattva practice, wherein you can visualize the ambrosia coming from his heart and entering the top of your head to purify you and think: “Such and such klesha is being purified.” Thus, by specifically directing the intention of your practice to your biggest problem, the Dharma becomes an effective remedy for your kleshas, and your kleshas will weaken over time.

Some people do not have any particularly dominant klesha and are not particularly involved with anything overtly unvirtuous. They are more afflicted by a basic fundamental fixation on their own existence. Or they might be afflicted by doubt and hesitation. They might always wonder whether “such and such is like this, or like that.” Or they might be afflicted by meaningless regret, constantly questioning their own actions. Or they might be mostly afflicted by a state of neutral sleepiness, or simply by the presence of a great many thoughts that aren’t particularly kleshas or negative in themselves. If any of these is your principal problem, then direct your practice to that. Dedicate all of your practice, whether it is the visualization of deities, the recitation of mantras, or the practice of meditation, to the eradication of that problem. Directing your practice in this focused way will weaken and eventually eradicate the problem.

Defining Creation and Completion
The next topic addressed in the text is a definition of the creation stage and the completion stage, which, in effect, distinguishes between them. The term “creation” or “creation stage” refers to the creation of something, the generation or origination of something. “Completion” refers in general to carrying that which has been generated to its completion, or to its perfection. In practice, creation stage refers to the visualization of the deities, including radiating and gathering light rays, the visualization and recitation of mantras, and so forth. Completion stage refers to the dissolution of such visualizations into emptiness.

However, in another sense, the meaning of the term creation is “something that is fabricated.” In creation-stage practice you think that things are such and such, that “things are like this.” The completion stage, by contrast, refers to something that is natural or unfabricated, because in the completion stage, rather than thinking that things are like such and such, you discover them as they are. However, the statement that the creation stage is the cultivation of some kind of fabrication, as true as it is, is really only true of the beginning of creation-stage practice. Nevertheless, as artificial as the creation stage may appear to a beginning practitioner, it is still necessary.

In practicing we are trying to ameliorate the traces of our previous wrongdoing, especially our obscurations, which consist of the cognitive obscuration and the afflictive (or emotional) obscuration. Because of the presence of these obscurations, we experience the world in an incorrect and deluded way; our experience of what we call samsara consists of deluded projections. What we are trying to do in our practice is to transcend these deluded projections and experience the pure reality, or pure appearances, that lie behind them. It is not sufficient simply to tell ourselves, “I know that what I am experiencing is adulterated by delusion,” and then to stay with these deluded projections. As long as you continue to invest energy in them they will continue, even though you recognize them, at least theoretically, to be invalid. We have to reject, to cast aside, our involvement with delusion and actually consciously attend to and cultivate attention to pure appearance. By doing so you can gradually transcend and abandon delusion.

It is for this purpose that we make use of iconography, or, in other words, deities. In the Vajrayana the deity is something very different from what we normally mean by that term. Normally when we say “deity,” we imagine some kind of external protector or higher power, something superior to us, outside of us, that can somehow lift us up out of where we are and bring us to where we want to be. Therefore, concurrent with our conventional idea of deity is the assumption of our own inferiority to deities. In comparison to the deity, we consider ourselves as an inferior, benighted being that has to be held up by something outside ourselves. But the Vajrayana notion of deity is not like that, for in the Vajrayana, practitioners visualize themselves as the deities with which they are working.

This body that you now consider to be so impure and afflicted is an extension of the nature of your mind. Therefore, in practice you consider this apparently impure body to be the body of your yidam, the deity upon whom you are meditating. Since buddha nature is the most fundamental essence of your mind, and since your body is the projection of that mind, your body is pure in nature. You acknowledge that fact in practice by imagining your body to be pure, not only in essence, but in appearance. Through cultivating this method, eventually the actual appearance or experience of your body comes to arise in purity. The creation stage is necessary in order to work with the deluded projections in this way.

Devotion and Pure Vision
In order to practice the creation and completion stages, it is essential to have devotion, to have faith, and to have pure vision or sacred outlook. Devotion has two aspects: one is enthusiasm, the other is respect. This means being interested in and enthusiastic about the Dharma, and having the respect that comes from understanding its validity and significance. One extends this same attitude toward one’s root guru and the gurus of the lineage, being interested in them, and having respect.

Another important disposition is the attitude of pure or sacred vision. Pure vision is one of two ways that we can look at the world. You can look at anything in a way that sees what is good about it, that sees the purity of it; and you can look at anything in a way that sees what is wrong with it, that sees it as impure. Any action can be conducted either with an attitude of purity or of impurity.

For example, a simple act of generosity, giving something to someone, could be done mindlessly, simply to get rid of something you don’t need, or done without checking to see whether it actually is appropriate for that person. That attitude is not one of pure vision but of carelessness—an impure outlook. Or you can give consciously. You can carefully evaluate the situation and determine that the gift you are giving is actually what the person needs. The same is true of any action or situation. For instance, you could be very patient with a situation simply through thinking, “This person who is abusing me is pathetic anyway, and I can’t do much about it, so I might as well be patient.” But this is not a pure vision. Instead you could have an attitude of courage, thinking, “Even if there were some way I could get back at this person, I would never do it.” That would be a pure or sacred attitude. The point of a pure vision is to emphasize positive qualities rather than defects; especially, to be free from the type of projection that causes you to see others’ qualities as defects. If you have this kind of pure vision, then through it and from it devotion will arise. If you possess devotion, then devotion itself will bring you the results of practice.

Devotion is necessary because fundamentally we need to practice Dharma, and if you have one-hundred-percent confidence in Dharma, then your practice will be one hundred percent. If you have less confidence, then your practice will be less intense. The less intense your practice, the less complete the result. Therefore, it is essential to have confidence in, and devotion for, Dharma itself. For that to occur there has to be trust in the individuals who teach you Dharma. There has to be trust in the guru. If you trust the guru, then you will trust the Dharma, and if you trust the Dharma, then you will practice it.

However, faith in one’s guru does not mean blind faith. It does not mean believing “My guru is perfect,” even though your guru is not perfect. It is not pretending that your guru’s defects are qualities. It is not rationalizing every foible of the guru into a superhuman virtue. After all, most gurus will have defects. You need to recognize them for what they are. You don’t have to pretend that your guru’s defects are qualities, because the object of your devotion is not the foibles, quirks, or defects of your guru, but the Dharma that your guru teaches you. You are not practicing the guru’s foibles. As long as the Dharma you receive is authentic and pure, then that guru is a fit object for your devotion. The result that you get, you get from the Dharma that you practice. You need to recognize the defects of your guru as defects—you don’t need to pretend that they are otherwise. The guru’s defects cannot hurt you, because it is not they that you create and cultivate. You follow the teaching of the guru, and “trust,” meaning trust principally in the validity of the teachings themselves.

The Two Truths
The next topic the text addresses is that of the two truths: relative truth and absolute truth. Basically, understanding the two truths is seeing that, in their nature, all things are empty and like magical illusions. This should not be misunderstood to mean that therefore nothing has any moral value, that nothing has any meaning. Relative appearances, because of their consistencies within their own context, do have a moral value, but ultimately their nature is emptiness.

Understanding the Qualities of the Path
Finally, the last of the eight topics a beginner needs to know is understanding of the qualities of the gradual path itself. This means that you will know how to practice based upon an honest assessment of your own spiritual state. You may be a beginner, or you may be an advanced practitioner, someone who has grasped a very exalted view. If you look at yourself and you feel like a beginner, then you are a beginner. If you look at yourself and you discover that you have a very high view, then you have to accept that you should do the practices appropriate for someone with a very high view. To force yourself to do the practices appropriate for a beginner would be inappropriate.

This completes the eight topics one needs to know about in the beginning in order to approach this path.

 

How to cite this document:
© Sarah Harding and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Creation and Completion (Wisdom Publications, 2002)

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