Kalacakra Practice with Lama Yeshe Jinpa
February 24, 2013
Lama Jinpa: This is a good day to be here. Tonight is a full moon, and it’s still somewhat Losar.
Losar was on the eleventh of this month, not long ago at all, so really we’re still in Losar world – a New Year, a full moon. It’s very good to do practice on the full moon, it’s said it multiplies our practice and we accumulate tremendous merit, so it’s very auspicious we’re here together today.
But before we get started, I have an announcement; I was asked to be a part of the International Kalachakra Network advisory board. It’s a website run by very close students of Jhado Rinpoche, run out of England and the Netherlands.
Has everyone at least checked it out? It really is an invaluable resource, it’s important to use it, there’s so much information available on it, all in one place.
(Most everyone had logged on)
Also, it’s important for everyone here to be registered with the website. Registering gives you access to additional content that’s not public, so please create an account.
When you register, you have to give your teacher’s name, for all of you that would be Jhado Rinpoche and me, and also where and when you received the initiation. Resources like this are very important, so again, please sign up.
Some people here have received a jenang from Jhado Rinpoche, a blessing, not the full empowerment. I’m telling you, you have to go all the way. You have to get the full empowerment. You need to do it.
Lama Jinpa: Well, we might have to bring His Holiness here! (laughter)
Otherwise, we have to go wherever he is giving it, right? We may have to travel. The International Kalacakra Network has listings of various masters who will give the empowerment, where and when. So it’s important to try and put aside money and time if you can so that when the opportunity comes, you’re ready.
You have to do it – that was a promise, a real commitment you made to take the full initiation. If you break samaya, a vow, that isn’t just naughty – it’s very serious.
It is a big deal. You have to do it.
Student: I haven’t seen any schedule for the empowerment in the United States.
Lama Jinpa: That’s why it’s important to go on the Kalacakra network site – you can find that information.
This is a big deal – I’m very serious.
You probably didn’t think that I’d talk about this today – you probably thought that we’d just get our ritual instruments out and read the meditation and Lama la would lay off everyone and then we’d go home. But this is important.
Question: Is it good to do the Kalacakra initiation again if you’ve already done it?
Lama Jinpa: I don’t expect you to do it ten times, but you can’t just have the jenang.
It was understood with Jhado Rinpoche when he led the retreat and bestowed the jenang here in 2011 that people would then seek the full empowerment.
Of course we have to be able find out where and when an empowerment is being given – which is why you should register with IKN.
Question: Can you explain the difference between a jenang and an empowerment?
Lama Jinpa: A jenang is a like blessing – it can energize our practice and inspire us to keep going. Lots of times people take an empowerment and then take a jenang later on, like a booster.
A full empowerment can take as long as three to four days.
Typically, His Holiness gives teachings for several days before bestowing the actual empowerment. You don’t have to do the preparation, but it’s nice if you’re able to.
So I want you all to look at the International Kalachakra Network site – and look for empowerments.
Taking the full empowerment usually means travel of some sort, but it’s doable if you’re prepared.
I went out on a limb with Jhado Rinpoche when he agreed to lead the retreat last year; I told him we’ll do Kalacakra practice together every month. We did skip Christmas, but we have to do it, we have to keep that commitment, and we are. Of course it’s a given that we do the practice on our own.
Basically, you make the decision, “I want to get enlightened in this life or it will all just be BS.” But we have to do the Kalacakra empowerment to receive Kalacakra enlightenment.
So really, yes. Really. You have to do it.
It’s difficult to pay taxes. It’s difficult to get and keep a job, and to get and stay married. Taking the Kalacakra empowerment is serious like that, on that level, it’s a serious commitment.
Sometimes, with dharma, we don’t really believe it, that it’s all possible, that we can get enlightened – we’re just kind of hoping it’s real, and there’s some doubt floating around. But at some point that just isn’t enough, you have to say, this is it – I’m doing it. You develop a strong determination to do it. There’s no room for doubt.
We are not playing at this – this is for real. It is actually happening.
We believe in things, experiences like buying a house. People talk about taking vacations and shopping at REI. We believe that vacations and shopping are more real than dharma!
Dharma has to be like that –real to us – but even more real. We won’t get enlightenment on vacation.
Sometimes Western Buddhists are put off by this, by belief, by faith in the Dharma. But you really have to believe at some point, believe that it’s all possible, enlightenment is possible, Shambhala is possible.
We have to know that like we know the sky is blue. That knowing should be completely unshakeable.
With Kalacakra, with the power of the empowerment, I’m not just testing the water. I am really doing it. It happens because you say, “I’m doing it.”
You have to be committed to it.
Tonight, with Kalacakra practice, we should actually have no doubt that this is real, that we’re really doing it. We shouldn’t think, “This is nice, its a nice experience, but what’s real is I have to go to the store afterward for kitty litter and x/y/z.”
We’re not saying we don’t need to buy kitty litter and pay taxes – just that they aren’t more real than Kalacakra world.
Question: How do we develop certainty, faith?
Lama Jinpa: That’s the right question!
In Vajrayana, the Lama is going to hammer at you, because you had the very good karma to have found a teacher in this lifetime, and he isn’t going to let you waste it. He’s going to keep nudging us, and we need that.
This is real. We have to do it.
The Lama is essentially a spiritual dictator; he’s just like a parent. If you’re a good parent, you need to teach the child the basics developmentally, like potty training and how to eat properly.
And the Lama doesn’t just say, “Go get it, or you’re going to sit there until you do get it.” We need training, and guidance. We need someone who is going to teach us to ride the bicycle, how it all works together, what to do if we lose our balance.
We’re going to get it – eventually – but it’s a struggle.
Some people here have thick shells like ostrich eggs and some have thinner shells like robin eggs, but there’s always barriers. The Lama has to have the energy, the patience and many, many other excellent qualities in order to break through all that and meet us where we’re at.
So to make the dharma more real, more vivid, we need empowerment.
It’s like the parachute you put on before jumping out of an airplane. We build up energy from our side, we train, we get ready, and we need a good teacher who has compassion but also knows how to really do it – i.e. how to make the jump.
We don’t have to get on the airplane, but if we do get on…
Student: Lama will push us out?
Lama Jinpa: Yes! And there’s another push from behind, that’s the sangha.
We have to make it real, make it alive, make it vivid. To make that commitment unshakeable, we need empowerment.
It’s interesting, people will ask, “Why do I have to take the empowerment?” But we don’t ask, “Why do I have to pay taxes?” – We do it because we know we have to.
Well, taking the Kalacakra empowerment is exactly like that. We have to do this. In Kalacakra, we learn how to make it happen. Does that make sense?
Question: It doesn’t work if we just do practice once a month, here?
Lama Jinpa: One time per month publicly, with the group, but we all should do it on our own daily – it’s important.
Every day, we look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we think of as our self, so we need constant practice at understanding those appearances so the correct thing is reinforced.
Instead of what we see in the mirror, we need to reinforce the ultimate self – that’s why we must do this practice every day.
And also I want everyone to get on the website.
Lama Jinpa: (laughing) You thought that I would let it slide? Not a chance!
We must constantly come back to, “We are doing it.”
We’re really doing it, we’re making it real, manifesting an actual experience right now, and not “I’ll do Kalacakra practice someday.” No! We’re not in the ‘someday’ world! ‘Someday’ never comes. We’re in Kalacakra world – we’re doing it right now!
Some people who are on the bus get told to leave because they can’t stand being held accountable. But that is samaya; I hate it too sometimes. I know it can be hard.
And I need to be held accountable too. Samaya means that you need to be held accountable, and you will be – you said that you would do it, so you need to keep that commitment. So I do hold people accountable, but it goes both ways.
We’re actually disappointed when no one holds us accountable, because that’s when we learn that no one actually cares for us enough to guide us, both when we’re kids and as adults. We internalize this message – nobody cares enough to show us what to do.
But here you’ll be held accountable.