How To Transform Felicity Into The Spiritual Path By Means Of Ultimate Truth

The practice by means of ultimate truth is to be understood from the previous explanation.

If you cannot practice dharma when you are sad, due to what this does to your mind, and you cannot practice dharma when you are happy, because you become attached to that, then there will be no time at all when you can practice dharma. So, if you are to practice dharma, there is nothing more useful than this. If you do have this practice, wherever you dwell, in solitude or in a city, whether you accompany good or bad companions, whether you are rich or poor, happy or sad, whether you hear praise or blame, or pleasant or unpleasant speech, since you are free from fear that any of this can bring you down, you respond in the manner of a lion-like yogi. Whatever you do, your mind will be cheerful and spacious, and your character will be pure and benevolent. Even if your body dwells in an impure land, your mind will frolic in the splendor of unimaginable joy, like a bodhisat-tva of a pure realm. This corresponds to the saying of the precious Kadampas:

With happiness brought under control

And sadness brought to an end,

When you are lonely, this will be your companion;

When you are ill, this will be your nurse.

For example, a goldsmith purifies gold by melting it in fire and makes it malleable by rinsing it again and again in water. Likewise, by bringing felicity onto the path your mind will be subdued, and by bringing adversity onto the path, it will become pristine. When this happens, you will easily achieve extraordinary states of samadhi in which your body and mind will be perfectly fit for the tasks you set them. I feel that this is the most profound of instructions for perfecting moral discipline, which is the root of all that is good. By not being attached to felicity, you establish the basis for the special moral discipline of a renunciant;

and, by not being afraid of adversity, you fully purify that moral discipline. This is implied by the saying that generosity is the basis of moral discipline, and forbearance is the purifier of moral discipline.

By practicing in this way right now, when you ascend to high spiritual paths, your experience will be like the verse,

One realizes (with wisdom) that all phenomena are like illusions,

And (with compassion) realizes that birth is like strolling into a park.

In times of prosperity and even in poverty,

One has no fear due to afflictions or adversity.

To relate this to the life of the Buddha, before he attained Awakening, he rejected the throne of a world ruler as if it were straw, and he lived by the Nairanjana River, unconcernedly applying himself to harsh austerities. This demonstrates that to experience the ambrosial meaning of your own existence, you must regard adversity and felicity as being of one taste.

Following his attainment of Awakening, the rulers of humans and gods up to the Akanishta heaven placed his feet upon their heads and honored him with all good things. The Brahmin Bharadhvaja abused him a hundred times; a haughty Brahmin's daughter accused him of sexual misconduct; and in the land of King Agnidatta he lived for three months on rotten horse fodder. On all such occasions he remained with an unfluctuating mind, like Mount Meru remaining unmoved by the wind. This demonstrates that to serve the needs of sentient beings, you must regard

Transformation 27 adversity and felicity as being of one taste.


This teaching should be given by those with the life-style of the Kadampa masters, which is characterized by the saying, "When distressed, they do not complain. When happy, they are disillusioned." When it is taught by someone like myself, I feel as if my own tongue is embarrassed. Nevertheless, in order to accustom myself to regarding the eight mundane concerns (namely adversity and felicity, gain and loss, praise and blame, and good and bad reputation) as being of one taste, I, the old beggar Tenpe Nyima, have composed this in the Forest of Many Birds.

At the crest of the flourishing tree of publication, May the flowers and fruits of this good counsel Adorn the grove of the teachings of the Omniscient One,

And may it bring delight to flocks of fortunate beings.

Subham astu sarvajagatam!

(May all the world be well!)

Part 2 The Commentary by Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche

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