The Three Stages of the Path
Teachings by Lama Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
September 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Q: Rinpoche, there's always in the teachings mention of the mother, you should love all human beings like your mother. What if you don't love your mother? Like, if you don't have that experience. I keep hearing this over and over again. There must be a reason why. It's because she gave you birth, I understand, and gave unconditional love, but why do we need to love everybody as our mother?

Rinpoche: As our mother? Well, see, we as human beings, we all have mothers. And without our mother and father, you wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't be here. So our life, our body, is given to us by our mother and father. They actually created us. They are the creator. And we are part of them, whether you want or not. And you are part of them, whether you like or not.

And if you don't know your mother, or if you don't like your mother, if you don't get on with your mother, but deep inside you want mother. You need mother. You need mother's love, mother's care, you have to. You need that. And you're looking for mother all the time. And we need a mother, we need a father. Everybody need mother and father. And also, not only that, our mother and father, as I said, they created us. So they are very important to us.

Also, deep inside, in our hearts, we have deep in our hearts, we do have love to our mother. Even though someone says, "I don't like my mother, the way treat me," or so on and so forth, all kinds of problems they talk about, we talk about. "I don't like the way she brought me up," and so on and so forth. But deep inside, you have love. Mother and child always have natural love, clinging, need. And you do also have, deep inside, you have kind of like a gratitude towards your mothers. You have a warm feeling to your mother.

And we are confused, at the same time we are confused. But we do have love. And when you talk about mother, somehow you feel closer to that person. You feel close to them. So that's why we use this word. That's why if we think others are like mother, or they're our mother, then it makes us closer, become closer to others. It brings closer, closer and closer, so then there's a base for compassion and love.

Many people, most people have a wonderful relationship with their mothers. Some people don't have a good relationship, but at the same time they do have love. Even if some people never met their mother, I mean don't remember. They're adopted, or mother passed away when they were little, but they still always have love towards the mother. Like they feel, "O.k. I don't know where my mother is, where she is. Maybe she's in the god realm, or maybe in the Buddha realm. Maybe next block. Who knows? Maybe she's reincarnated as my child, my son. Or who knows?" But you always have this love.

Comment: Rinpoche, for those of us who are uncomfortable with it, at one point I thought that the greatest thing that my parents, or my mother, did was that they brought me here to learn what you're teaching. And so for that reason we can love them.

Rinpoche: Yes, and you have the precious human rebirth. So we are very thankful.

Q: I was hoping that sometime during these four nights you could talk about how we engage in dialogue for the course. How we actually study. How we can talk about, debate and dialogue, how we can make that more meaningful. That would be very helpful, I think, for those of us taking the course, for all of us really.

Rinpoche: Thank you. I thank you for asking that question. Yes, I think perhaps tomorrow night we could discuss that. We discussed before. It's important for us to have a dialogue and discussion, and some kind of debate during this year, Lam Rim study program. But we need to talk about how are we going to debate, what kind of style of debating -- eastern style or western style? Or maybe we could find something somewhere between, not so traditional eastern style, because it may be difficult. Maybe some certain style is not maybe so important.

But I think, at the same time, it's very important to debate, because debating is exciting and is challenging. And it helps to increase your understanding, and also helps to have quicker thoughts and sharp mind. So I think we will discuss this tomorrow night.

Q: Rinpoche, what does it mean, "The Union of Sutra and Tantra?"

Rinpoche: Well, "Union of Sutra and Tantra," the Tibetan word for that is "??" "??" is Sutra, "??" is Tantra, "??" means union. Which means, the Sutra is teaching of the Buddha. Tantra is also teaching of the Buddha. And both are equally very important. And therefore, the Sutra and Tantra are the cause and effect. So when you're studying Sutra, you should also think about studying Tantra in the future, you aim it. And also, if you're studying Tantra, if you're practicing Tantra or Vajrayana, it is important to have the foundation, and the basic Buddhadharma knowledge. So you have to, it is important to combine them, and also learn both.

So during this seven-year program, we like to introduce the Tantra, we like to study Tantra. Not only the sadhanna, the visualization and mantras and so on, but actually the Tantric path. Lama Tsong Khapa wrote a great text called "Lam Rim Chenmo." "Lam Rim" is the Tantric gradual path. He explains about the purpose of Tantra practice, and what is Tantra, different levels of Tantric practice, and the essence of Tantra and so forth.

So, I'd like to say thank you. 


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