(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
There are probably millions of “recipes” for happiness. Based on a dream I had and His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s explanation, I personally find the following recipe the most accurate. And certainly the easiest because it has only two ingredients!
Part One: The Dream
Wrote down the following dream I had on September 15’07:
We were driving in a small car. We felt safe in this small car. You [a friend called Pat] were in the passenger seat.
Young girl in back seat behind you. She was hovering over a cut-up, bloody chicken. Protecting it.
Then everything fades, except you.
You turn to me – your eyes very clear. You say “I now am beginning to understand transformation.”
My Notes on the Dream:
• chicken in this dream thought to be a delicacy, thus young girl protecting it.
• chicken = ego; we prize it
o therefore, cut-up, bloody chicken is very good news!
• Blood = life blood of ego cut off
• Chicken in back seat = ego now relegated to back seat
• Small (car) = hinayana path; 1 ½ fold egolessness = egolessness of self
• Small car was safe = no life-threatening accidents on the hinayana path
• Young girl = the “youthful” student in us still wants to protect ego but as “adult” student it is no longer possible
• Transformation = metaphor: turning water into wine (to serve with the cut-up chicken!): two “ingredients” in transformation, viz.
(1) wisdom: we realize that we all share the same basic nature, i.e. basic nature is universal – that universal nature is the vast, unbiased essence of mind; out of wisdom comes the second “ingredient” of transformation, compassion;
(2) compassion: just as sugar helps to transform water into wine, compassion [or bodhicitta, awakened heart] is the active agent of transformation and enables us to go beyond ego and “translate” ultimate, universal, basic nature into helping others
The Dalai Lama says it much better than I.
Part Two: HHDL’s explanation
On October 14, 2007, I sent the following e-mail message to Pat (the other person, besides me, in the dream):
Please reference my notes on the two ingredients of “transformation” in e-mail to you dated October 08’07 [above]. Essentially, compassion [“ingredient" #2] is a natural outgrowth of wisdom (i.e. through study, we gain clarity around the true nature of reality — emptiness, insubstantiality, ) [“ingredient" #1].
The Dalai Lama, with Victor Chan, says it much better than I in his book The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys, Riverhead Books, New York, 2004; pages 133-134. Highlighting and notes in brackets [ ] are mine.:
“After the conclusion of the sojong [confession] ritual, the Dalai Lama got up and walked into the bodhi tree enclosure, a sacred precinct surrounded by thick stones fences……..An overhead brass canopy, strung with strands of twinkling Christmas lights, protected a large stone table called the Diamond Seat. The Dalai Lama knelt and touched his head to the ancient slab in homage.
The Diamond Seat was where the Buddha sat and meditated on emptiness 2,500 years ago. He attained enlightenment when he internalized a profound truth – that phenomena are essentially empty; they do not exist independently of their causes and conditions.
In many of his lectures and interviews, the Dalai Lama invariably brings up the subject of emptiness. He says over and over that everything that the Buddha taught can be reduced to the essential idea of fusing emptiness with compassion. This is the formula for happiness: Emptiness + Compassion = Happiness.
According to the Dalai Lama, we need to first achieve wisdom [prajna] by seeing the world as it is….without preconception….To do this, we have to develop real insight into emptiness. And what is emptiness? Emptiness is just another way of saying that things are devoid of individual, inherent existence. It says that, in the final analysis, nothing – people, thoughts, cars – can exist independently on its own……[Because of this truth about the way things are] The world is a vast web of intertwined events, people, and things…..Coinciding with developing wisdom [prajna] we need method [upaya, skillful means]. And what is this method? Just cultivate compassion.“
If you found this post helpful, please tell a friend. Then consider subscribing to the weblog. Just click on the Subscribe button in the navigation bar and follow one of the three sets of simple, step-by-step instructions. Thank you.