Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer and my guest today is Ken Rinpoche Satan, who is abbot of the Tashi lhunpo monastery and bilock coupe in southern India. And I have managed to connect with, it’s gonna be so hot in addressing you. Do I refer to you as Ken or is Rinpoche, or what? Single word can I use? Yeah. Butchie Rinpoche, okay. I can manage to connect with Rinpoche through my friend Dana Sawyer, whom I interviewed about a month ago. And Dana is actually sitting in the room on this interview, in case there’s any need for a little bit of help with translation. And then also Dana is very much involved with emphasize activities, which I’m about to read in, in a little bio that Dana sent to me. So let me read this first. Ken, Rinpoche say catch on Lobsang Satan is abbot of the Tashi lhunpo monastery and Biola Coupee in southern India. He’s a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Ladakh, India, who has lived and taught in the United States for more than 15 years. He began his monastic life at age seven and stalk his family village. At age 13, he joined the stock monastery to study and memorize Buddhist scriptures. In 1952, when he was 16 years old, he walked with his father from Ladakh, to Shugart, say Tibet to enter the famous Tashi lhunpo monastery. The 800 mile track took them over two months to complete. can remember shade Satan received his novice monk vows there and studied Buddhist philosophy at the monasteries, Shere Khan college with many prominent Tibetan scholars. His dream was to receive the gaze shade degree in Buddhist philosophy, similar in level to that of the Western PhD. The stream was deferred for him when the Chinese government intensified their policy of cultural genocide on occupied Tibet in 1959. The daily public humiliation and torture of monks by Chinese officials and the mass destruction of the monasteries and colleges made it impossible to continue the pursuit of this degree in Tibet, he was forced to return to his homeland of Ladakh in 1960. Once back in the village of his birth, he studied tantric practices and joined the school of Buddhist philosophy and chug along SAR, where he studied for seven years. Due to the fact that the Buddhist tradition in Ladakh is dependent on the Tibetan lineage of teachers to transmit and bestow higher Buddhist degrees. It was necessary for him to leave the dock again in 1970. In pursuit of the cache training. This time he went to Varanasi, India, where many high Lama was in exile, had we settled and built new monastic colleges. There he received his Shastri degree the equivalent of a bachelor’s. Afterwards, he felt the responsibility to return to stock and contribute to his community through teaching. From 1974 to 1978. He taught high school in Ladakh, then he met with a special invitation to come to the United States to teach at the first Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in America, lob some shade drop Ling in Washington, New Jersey. He went in hopes of learning English and completed and completing his geshay degrees studies. He accomplished both and in 1984, he returned to the de Drepung monastery for commencement. Since that time, Ken Rinpoche, Satan has been living in teaching in the US from October to June and then returning to Ladakh during the summer months to oversee activities at the Siddartha school. Chuck’s Cha score stock school he founded in 1996. Well in the States, he has divided his time between Maine and New York City with additional teaching trips to Amherst, Massachusetts and other areas of the US. In 1996, shortly after founding the Siddartha school in stock, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed ven Geshe, eight Satan to the to be the abbot of the new Tashi lhunpo monastery in India. This was a great honor for him and one that he was that he that was humbly set aside so that he could devote himself completely to Siddhartha school. The Dalai Lama gave his blessings and support. However, in 2005 His Holiness the Dalai Lama, again asked geshay Satan to accept the abbot position, and in July 2005, he was installed as Ken chan or head abbot of the Tashi lhunpo monastery and byla coupe in southern India. His title became Ken Rinpoche geshay Touching Lobsang setien, and he has resumed his assume new responsibilities, overseeing the tashilhunpo monastery in exile. Since summer 2005 has worked ceaselessly to ceaselessly to fulfill the charge of increasing the number of monks at Tashi lhunpo, the poorest of the Tibetan monasteries in exile, and raising funds for their support. So, now, myself, first question is not going to be as long as what I just read, but it’ll be a little bit long. And then after that, I won’t ask such long ones. But um, here’s my first question. The other night, I interviewed a guy who, whose main emphasis or focus was that the world is an illusion, and that we’re all just dreamers in the dream, and that there really are no people or human beings, there’s, they’re just dreaming characters. And what we really are is, is something other than that. And all suffering is due to our mistaking ourselves as being real sort of entities as opposed to just dream characters. And he, he got this idea, this philosophy, from reading extensively from the books of Wei Wei, who was a British philosopher who, who studied Buddhism extensively and apparently distilled the whole Buddhist teaching down into what he considered to be its essence, and wrote these books. And there was something troubling me throughout the whole interview, and I didn’t quite put my finger on it until towards the end. And that was that, you know, if someone has read some books 50 times over, as this guy had with a ways book, one can become very indoctrinated with certain ideas. But there’s a distinction between ideas and experience. And towards the end of this interview, I began to ask the guy, you know, what is your actual experience? I mean, you know, you have a clear understanding of this concept that maybe the world is illusory, and we’re all dreamers. But is that your, you know, day to day, momentary, genuine experience? If you’re, if you’re going through the supermarket or driving your car? Is that your experience? Or is it just the concept. So, you know, in the, in the Christian tradition, we have, you know, great people who rise the heights of, of administrative authorities, let’s say, but then we also have the mystics, and ultimately, Buddha’s Buddha was not an administrator, you know, he was a mystic he was he was someone who was primarily interested in experience, not in mere ideas, he wanted to really get to the heart of what life was about and live that in an experiential way. So in your own life, I just spent five minutes reading a list of all the things you’ve done, the places you’ve gone, and the schools you’ve administered and so on. But what I’m really interested in is what has been the the fruit of all of this study. In in your heart of hearts in your innermost experience in the way you perceive and live life from moment to moment.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Grip question.
Rick Archer: I told you it was gonna be long.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Remember or not? Are you saying? Is it mandatory talking about illusion? This, you know, suffering is illusion, and life is division? There, I want to add a little word, another word, one word. Now live in suffering. Everything’s a lag. Lag is an illusion.
Rick Archer: It’s what illusion? Like a like an illusion. Like a lock key. Like okay, yeah. In other words, it’s not an illusion, but it’s like an illusion is that what you’re saying?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: illusion? Illusion is nothing a lagging illusion, then everything. Now you can have some essence some exist. Yes, illusion illusion, then you cannot get a not not cause and effect. illusion. Illusion lucky likely illusion but have something isn’t that you and me talking in both of us like it. Now illusion you cannot talk him both have a laggy illusion. But then in kind of a knot in inherent existence, I mean, not having spotted identity me in the you Yeah, it’s gonna be like an illusion.
Rick Archer: Dana, would you just clarify what he just said? Like I didn’t, I’m not used to his accent yet. And maybe my listeners could use just a little bit of clarification.
Dana Sawyer: Yeah, sure. What where he’s going with that is, is if we say that everything is an illusion in an absolute sense, then there’s no sense of doing anything or getting up in the morning. But what he’s saying is from, from his perspective, that everything exists, but it doesn’t when he says it doesn’t have inherent existence. A swab. Baba is the Sanskrit term for that, that it doesn’t have. All things in the relative world are relative things. So they’re made up of causes and conditions. So they exist, but they merely exist. They don’t exist in an absolute sense. We’ll, you know, become composts at some point. And all relative things are relative. And so that’s what he’s saying is that sometimes people project an absolute essence onto themselves. You know, there’s little little Rick Archer in the brain of Rick Archer that’s running the show. And so what he’s saying is that part of things is an illusion. The idea that things have an absolute or inherent existence, on the level of the relative that’s that’s what Buddhists see is an illusion that we create a lot of pain for ourselves by projecting characteristics on the relative world that the relative world actually doesn’t have.
Rick Archer: Okay, so another way of saying it might be that, you know, it’s not that the world is an illusion, but it’s that our perception of it or our perspective on it is illusory or mistaken.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, yeah. On mine cancer. Korea, just those things, right. Now, you added that the qualities then good or bad will give you the editor qualities then not able to see the children through the nature of the phenomena?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, so we overlay all sorts of perspectives on or qualities on things that and then we therefore obscure or cover over their true nature? Yeah. That you’ve got
Dana Sawyer: it there. It’s that it’s not that things don’t exist, it’s that they don’t exist in the way that we think they do.
Rick Archer: Right right. So then, in that sense, enlightenment would be what stripping away all of the false perceptions and coming to the point where we see the world as it truly is
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: that that yeah, the Enlightenment which moves all this get out from all this on us curation. of curation obstacles, come the but election memory acuity is recall the seat of the mind seed of mine is an enlightened man, a man he said his initial demand is pure killer, ruminants are the illusions covered this nama the poor man is through patches you can remove, those are then eventually man become pure Illumina data. That’s the main key to collective teachings.
Rick Archer: Yes. Sort of like a movie screen where there’s a movie showing on it and it covers up the screen, so you can’t see the screen anymore. So you, you know, yeah, enlightenment might be in that analogy, being able to sort of appreciate the non changing screen, even though there’s there’s movies playing or whatever. Yeah, now, um, so, you know, this thing that I read, described you as having undergone a lot of study in different places, was that study, primarily intellectual where you’re reading a lot of scriptures and discussing them and trying to understand their meaning? Or was there a lot of spiritual practice such as meditation, which didn’t so much involve the intellect,
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: you have to take that on board and we call the two ways to study one we call the analytical way, another with a stimulation meditation, analytical way you learn all this sources. Now good, bad and partisan, what is the anger, but it was an anger, I can remove the anger this kind of analytical anger. Yeah. Another article we tried to find the anger, anger. Once you get this that the sources the source of the end, initial or the end and then you contemplated not yes, the end that is Jessica by my mind, and God doesn’t hit you on or not independent, independent nature. So then you hold that’s the end of the changeable. So again, how can that change it? And then you applied law? You don’t let what right? How do you get angry, you get end up trollee your enemy. Also your you don’t like like, even the things you don’t like and get angry and write it in our own mind. If there’s, let’s say your kick your a pool table, you get the end at the table doesn’t have there’s holding the anger. You’re mistaken a UK getting heaven, then you get angry because your own paws. F. Chairman, yeah.
Rick Archer: Reminds me of something I did when I was a little kid one time my mother was trying to open a mayonnaise jar and she hurt her wrist. And I was and I got angry at the mayonnaise jar and I picked it up and smashed it on the floor. So we had glass and mayonnaise.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yes, this man is just throwing.
Rick Archer: So she had her hurt wrist and a mess on the floor. So for instance, when you are a student, and you know you would take a particular point like this, for instance, anger, yeah. So there would be some intellectual study about what what is the cause of anger? What is the source of anger, how to end anger, and so on and so forth. But I but as I understand it, you weren’t just thinking intellectually, you were doing practices of meditation and perhaps other practices to really root out the tendency to even become angry in the first place. Is that correct?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah. Yeah. In that and that, you just said, let’s say, ignoring the anger, anger, not going to go away.
Rick Archer: Right? You’re sweeping it under the rug, so to speak.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: So learn the word the root is coming from. Right. And then you have to pick up then later, you don’t have to suffer among the controller. Right? What do you can do? How can stop it? Would you call me? Maybe anger coming from ignorance? You’re not able to see they’re not there. Jill? Problem. You hit the hit there. You put the table. You get angry? Because you’re not under the control of ignorance. Yeah, when you get angry with Kevin, Kevin, nothing doesn’t have any intention to harm you. Sure. So the our anger is timing. So then how you react? Yeah, that’s my own thoughts. I’m not really careful. Then first of all, nah, I’m not hurt my food. They’re not picky kicking. The second I get angry the anger again, mental out suffer. Okay, ignorant caused me to suffer not only physically, mentally, yeah, but what is the best then you apply a lot? Right? Yeah. You’re not then you don’t have any enemy.
Rick Archer: And so that’s sometimes easier said than done for people. Yeah, you know, I mean, it’s especially it’s harder with people than it is with tables. Because, you know, which people are much more challenging to deal with. So, in your, in the case of your own spiritual practice, what sort of practices would you have done as a as a student as a monk to cultivate love as opposed to anger in a particular circumstance or any any circumstances?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Well, as the lead said, or I get angry with you, then I use my tool to knock down your nose.
Rick Archer: right. You need a big tool for that. Uh huh.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: You’re doing good. Okay, true.
Rick Archer: Right.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Why? It’s cool, because you are the one controlling this tool. Oh, how can pictures not you know, the tool doesn’t have any, any control to direct my nose, right person. Then same lead the person and the tool don’t have any not. Same the person isn’t. The person does not have any choice. No, he or she is under the control of anger or jealousy or attachment. or depression or not. So real cause not the person not the truth here called his or her ego or the anger or ignorance that we have run, then you learn, oh, this person really become larger and foolish to get angry with the person the person my best friend, he’ll see giving me an opportunity to help my patients. He’s giving daily pointing here I have a problem or a problem target he or she gave me my opportunity to remove give you don’t want to suffer not bother them, you will learn how to route move away the target what you holding that message receiving, when you become more peaceful, calm, understand? Yes, not his or her fault based on ego Pragna my energy.
Rick Archer: So what specifically did you learn or practice that enabled you to do that? In other words, you know, what teaching did we taught? Or what practice Did you practice to, you know, to be able to kind of internalize things like that and not put the blame on external people or circumstances? Oh, one meditation practice, for instance.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, meditation practice and study parenting now one of the Indian master course Shantideva. He said something, something is changeable. You don’t have to worry about it. Something is not changeable. The use of worrying about it? Yeah, you can change it. You don’t have to worry about right. Change. Worrying is not getting anger, not going to start the program.
Rick Archer: It’s like the alcoholics pledge. If you’ve ever heard that, give me give me the what is it? The I want to do justice to it. But it’s being able to determine to tell the difference between the things you can change and the things you can’t and you know, learning to sort of change the things you can accept the things you can’t have the wisdom to know the difference
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: that you can find rich, not changing, you can change. Everything is changeable. A logger will call the environment and phenomenas are changeable. And changeable. Right? It’s an intangible, kizi thing, the tangible. But what do you need, you have to learn how to know how to apply the integral.
Dana Sawyer: Level Rick, he’s really saying that practice is every minute of every day, right? Because the meditation on one level is okay, I’m out in the world. And there are things that challenged me and there are things that want to solicit my anger or greed or desire or whichever they’re called clashes these afflictive emotions. And so the the you have the most to learn from your enemies, what he’s trying to say because the enemy is the person that’s causing your anger to rise, but it’s your own mind that’s making the anger and causing you to see that life situation as a problem. Rather than an opportunity to do practice, and find that peaceful center So on one level, it’s a continuous practice every day, but they also do a kind of equity mini cube it may boil the chicken
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, you could you couldn’t admit it that you called like bit we have like a thin intimate strangers those are doesn’t exist. Other side. Our man created the enemy hidden ignorance. No. Stranger
Dana Sawyer: strangers, strangers or people we just have no feeling about one way or the other. In this particular way of looking at things
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: how you did that been those who had food for yourself and for your family, your country people, reliable them like a friend. And those who are not affected you? What do you dream? I’m not gonna say this. It just has you. There’s there’s called you then. Today for them new level like an enemy. Right? Bothering me and me and Bowser, not by them not asking we just ignore them now, you know, called standard for the stranger. intimate or not there our mind created? Right? And not, let’s say here. Yeah. Then everyone sees the my enemy. Everyone sees the enemy, but his or her other friend. See? That’s the best friend
Rick Archer: Yeah, I seem to recall the Dalai Lama having referred to the Chinese says, My friends the enemy.
Dana Sawyer: There why this will make clear why he said that,
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: yeah, that that Bella Lama note that LA Lama doesn’t look doesn’t look like the Chinese is intimate, but doesn’t treat them like an enemy.
Rick Archer: Right. And from based on what you said a little while ago, he probably sees them as being a evolutionary practice in a way being being able to sort of deal with them and yet retain patience and compassion and his retain his, you know, not lose his humanity, even if they are losing theirs.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: That yeah, that’s hard to do. You couldn’t do that, you have to give up something everything’s when you become ever to look equally good toward your PIN, we’ll call that you have to give up their attachment, that attachment crossing between our fan and ourselves, right? Not kids are very closely, ready, not long term attachment, some attending designer you desire gun, and you don’t have to add it in, loosen up up, give up the attachment, then you have the pin become very close and best fit. You’re doing everybody had to give up the pin ended tomorrow cause more touchable, then other side
Dana Sawyer: with this one second. So what he’s saying there, there’s that old saying if you love someone, let them go. That he’s saying that we don’t really go friend, but we let go of the kind of attachment to them and dependence on them. That would cause us to hate them if they left us that we have to let go of that. Right? Yeah.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Then then you name him any mail? We don’t mean you don’t have any mail. We all I have. In other words, you have to give up for the new man in the mail, you have to give out the anger. Right? I’m gonna give up the anger may cause some problem, not the person causing problem, then this tender thinking challenger, you’re not standard rollers in Australia can be become a trend can be become an enemy, that what do you have to give up here? Keep up the ignorance. Right is actually the causal ignore non attachment anger get cause us problems that cause real world problem. Everything program costing, the main source of the problem is the ignorance there are seven economics.
Rick Archer: Someone said the best way to kill an enemy is to make him your friend. Then he’s no longer an enemy.
Dana Sawyer: So they actually, Rick do a kind of visualization meditation practice, where they’re learning to see these three categories of beings, colored by anger colored by attachment, colored by ignorance, to see them all as equal and equal in the sense that they’re all human beings on a journey towards awakening. And that we can see them all with love that when the mind is clear and luminous, then it has compassion for all beings. So that is an actual complex meditation practice to take you to cultivate the mind to purify those places so that it doesn’t see things incorrectly, which is how he would define illusion is that seeing things within the eyes of ignorance,
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: right, one way you can keep up this now hidden and then got it and not by thinking you one thing I want to hit in is not not different than our enemy, one happiness, one happiness, Stranger one happiness. They are not dependent for me and you and our friend, our inner stranger. They similarly are don’t want to suffer you don’t want to suffer. Other than then he doesn’t want to suffer. That kid in the Learn. Ruin don’t want to stop and therefore I have to give up is the cause of suffering. Then another way in which these two were all in you may not necessarily become always your enemy enemy can become your best friend, right? They’re not necessarily all the deeming your standard can be invested in. Not necessarily our being as a as a pen and paper can make an enemy. But as you learn is changeable. Yeah, I have to work in the world. With this good luck. Just learn how to love all others sentient beings.
Rick Archer: Would you say that this is? We’re talking a lot about this, would you say that this is kind of a central predominant aspect of your practice and your teaching? Or have we just kind of stumbled onto one particular aspect and there are many others we could be talking about as well.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: It’s getting the book. You can do both other things come in, but actually, it’s going to cover everything you really are ever to look for all sentient beings. laggy your mother like is your best friend. Right? And you don’t have any problem about anger, our attachment and ignorance. You love it. But then then then what is good for you?
Rick Archer: And you find that this has been actually the outcome for most of the people that you are associated with, have they successfully done this? Or is it sort of an ideal that people are all striving to and achieving to one degree or another?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Not not ideal? Is it Julian Are you follow this step? You can get achieved there? Okay, good. I did not they’re not not not we’re not doing like your other city would call it God.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s really a living experience.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, you can explain yourself think yourself put into a new state spending a lot of anger. No, your go to bed? You are not that does not stop. No. Pull up angle you get the not order the best foot a judicial foot is not tested. Right. You’re full of air now you go to visit your friend. Their conversation. Not? Not. Not pleasant. Not quite the end that. Yeah, go a bit the law. Not peaceful mind. Go to bed. I know you’re a Soviet bed. You’re not soft. You feel comfortable. You can go sleep very peacefully, carefully. If you ordered food for the not too delicious, but you can kill the chairs. You delicious? Yeah, you got to love the people. The conversation. That chair could not be pleasant, but it’s a wonderful seeing is needing to make me really happy. Yeah, just keep holding out on our own set our set accordingly. Kids make it good or bad. It’s dependent our own motivation. How are you looking? Yeah.
Rick Archer: So it’s very important point. I mean, because so many people think that they need to change the outer world in order to be happy. But what you’re saying is that what you really need to change is your inner world, you know that the way you see things? And then and then whatever the circumstances things will be better.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah. In this case, we didn’t have to change the world. No, no, he changed himself. Instead, what he did, he did under the Buddha, Chile purchase their love. By purchasing love. Rich in Latin, if you don’t, perhaps is the love who taught the chimp the word here dragon had no opportunity to become Buddha. Right. So now we have that and see if it had to change the world. One cannot change with time, with only ability to change ourselves is very easy. Therefore, one in the Indian master Shantideva seldom is the illustration said his hands don’t have to cover the world with leather. If you don’t want to bother just having a nice shoe. Right, right. Just you put your
Rick Archer: cover in the world. Good analogy. Yeah. You know, you brought up the Buddha. Speaking of Buddha, I meant to ask you at the beginning of the show, you know, I don’t know if you caught it. But the name of the show that I do is Buddha at the Gas Pump. And the implication of that term is that you know, there are many people in the world today who are waking up to sort of spiritual realizations that were once considered to be rare and kind of the exclusive province of those are very special beings who you know, would only come once in 1000 years or something. And I meant to say I hope I hope you don’t take offence at this term of being a Buddhist I actually had one Buddhist, email me and say, you know, Buddha was a god, how dare you say Buddha at the Gas Pump, you should stop using that name. But the whole idea behind the name is just that, you know, Buddha was, as I understand it a man, and that many men and women today are actually beginning to have spiritual awakenings. That Buddha would have appreciated that he would have considered, you know, significant. And, you know, and I think some of these awakenings, I think there are degrees of awakening, but many people are experiencing really what Buddha would have called nirvana. And, and it seems to be permanent and stable for these people. It doesn’t it’s not just sort of a momentary thing that they lose. It’s, it’s perpetual. So I just wanted to say that in case you were wondering about why I called this Buddha at the Gas Pump, that’s
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: independent up to your and other motivation. You have pure motivation. You say gas pump? Yeah. Was that man job? Is the same 10 meetings, is saying, another guy’s calm, somewhat meaningful, people like to heavy pleasure as good, then you’re fulfilling without their wishes? Yeah. You will say, Buddha is stupid. They might get MD my boss is not with us today. Well, I wouldn’t say that. Yeah, yes, I’m fun. There’s an upper right. It depends on a person who really thinking I can make the people to understand the message, forget that. I thought, That’s good fun.
Dana Sawyer: And one thing it really conveys Rick is that in the Buddhist world, in all forms of Buddhism, there’s the idea that ultimately, we don’t want to worship Buddha’s, ultimately, we want to become a become the Buddha that we are inherently. Yeah, that idea is that, you know, not not so much to be constantly bowing down, bowing down, belly down, but to ultimately raise ourselves to the level of a Buddha of a living Buddha. Actually tell you one quick, funny joke. We were doing a teaching recently, and I told this story, about maybe four years ago, five years ago, just before Christmas, Ken Rinpoche, and I were up in northern Maine and a very small little town and we stopped at a gas pump. And it was just before Christmas time, and very snowy because it’s northern Maine and very rural. So the gas pump swipe card thing didn’t work, and I had to go in to pay. And I looked down, and Rinpoche had gotten out of the car and was washing my windshields for me, and a crowd of people grew there. Eight or 10 people stopped what they were doing. You see this very unusual looking person? Yeah. Ken Rinpoche kind of made a little show out of it. They seem to be enjoying themselves. So he got playing around the bush and the windows. After we voted in the car, and we’re leaving, he said, Why are they looking? And as never seen anybody that looks like you all dressed in red? And he said, No, maybe they think it’s Santa Claus. Santa Claus has long hair and a big, you know, beard and easily well, maybe global warming Santa.
Rick Archer: Santa causes fat to Yeah. That’s funny. So that’s, I should have taken a picture, Dan, I could have used it for my logo thing. In fact, I had a little trouble finding a Buddha that I could fit with a gas pump in order to use the thing. So in light of what you just said, though, Dana. You know, it seems to me from what little I know of Buddhism, that Buddha’s primary motivation or ultimate motivation was to enable people to attain nirvana, you know, to attain liberation. I don’t again, I don’t know much about Buddhism. So I don’t know how much he spoke about, you know, being able to love everyone and becoming a better person and, you know, culturing moral values and so on behavioral refinement, but I do know that, you know, Nirvana was central to his teaching that people should attain liberation. But I haven’t heard you talk about that very much yet. I don’t think so. You know, what is your own experience with regard to that point and also, you know, your experience with regard to your fellow monks and students? Do you find that many people are actually attaining Nirvana?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: I cannot sell but there we can. No we are not many people achieve nirvana deckchairs I have to be massive above but I can tell you that yes yeah many people but practicing attend many Nirvana that run in Iran because the Latin men become whether or not that many na almost like Buddha scholar not many many inshallah we have the history who reached in one lifetime in Latin and then also an F person meeting is the Mandela Rama not the GL are not living without color that then many other scholars we have not get it and tishanna goes all yes but I can’t eat it any cake it asked me Do you know them really nothing then I do not know but the back there Yeah, we believe now. Because we all we can tell each beans have different level mine are mentally some very works with them. Their knowledge about some niche or some critical resource so get Jatin physical in the activities in that practice you can tell this person get a little higher on a job but in in a cheerleading team with this I’m not important to someone get international or not number two important outsell changes our step yet hire or not. That’s the challenge. So men, our main goal there are three variables want to call the omniscient, become good i second recall the liberation not to get out from the Samsara. That third, we call that freedom and a high status mean, go skip with the suffering of Rotterdam’s
Rick Archer: the suffering a lot of them lower realms below around to escape the suffering of lower realms. I thought Yeah, I
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: get your name out of 100 goals helping desk or not that smaller one, then you get better, then you can skip the suffering of samsara.
Rick Archer: Okay, so the three goals, again, were to omniscience liberation and escaping the suffering.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: It’s called the high status,
Rick Archer: high status.
Dana Sawyer: Yeah, that goes. He’s what he’s saying here is that when people are first practicing, that their motivation can mostly be that they want to live in the realm of rebirth in a more comfortable way.
Rick Archer: Yeah,
Dana Sawyer: a motivated to reach liberation, they just want a more cushy existence,
Rick Archer: they want to make more money and lower their blood pressure.
Dana Sawyer: From the unseemly parts of life, but they get a clearer vision of what the project is, then they start thinking, Okay, I don’t want to take rebirth at all, whether it’s nice or not nice, I would like to reach liberation, you know, enlightenment will bring the liberation. And so that’s what I want. Then at the highest level, from a Mahayana Buddhist perspective, is the practitioner who’s trying to reach enlightenment, but not just so they can end their own suffering or transcend rebirth, but for the benefit of all sentient beings that they’re trying to out of love and compassion. And that that’s for them, the highest status of enlightenment is to not simply know the ultimate truth of being but to put oneself in a position to help others make that same realization of Well, yeah,
Rick Archer: it seems to me it would stand to reason that that that sequence would take place because as you move from the sort of individual to the universal, then the the so called an individual begins to be come a veteran better reflector of the Universal Intelligence and to serve its purposes more, you know, and, and ultimately, its purposes are much broader than just the individual, you become more of a tool of God, so to speak, or a tool of the Divine rather than just a sort of all about me, me, me
Dana Sawyer: and others that are right, that’s exactly how he says.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So in your experience, then you mentioned ancient people throughout history who had attained this. In your experience, though, today, the how many do you know many living people who have, you know, gone through these stages that they that you and Dana just talked about? And who who could be said to be, you know, living in a state of liberation and, you know, freedom from samsara.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah. Yeah, that’s
Rick Archer: fairly common in your experience.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: I cannot say my experience, I can say, yeah, that a common destiny, we call the disabled look at, if you really learn how to live in the world, the world become Polio is as a paradise
Rick Archer: as a paradise, right? That
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: doesn’t know how to live in a in a simple way in, in a Latin, Latin where then even the center the plaza parada has become workstyle problems.
Rick Archer: Do you feel that I’m living like this and having this realization is possible for people who have children and have jobs and are living very much involved in the world? Or is it more something for monks?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: No, no, no, it could it could everyone men, women, monks, nuns, everyone. One of the exactly, I cannot cancel it didn’t say one, one. Versus if you know how to print is the spiritual part. You can do an election even you become a householder. If you doesn’t know how to not practice, then even you spend your entire life in the in the in a cab. You become luggage. Oh, the word shocker. Although you know you have shattered and it’s you know, the jazz then you don’t want to see that saying, but you’re letting your mind wander all over the world, then useless. Seeming can put into into your mind then you like then he gives you an example. For this in our household are lucky in dividing. The marpac shamarpa rasa translator is considered richer than powder. Why? But he’s become the great teacher in Tibet luggage. He also teaching Latin cataloging Martin Marpat, no, Lana Mumukshutva and the Indian King and others, a Yogi’s who are not monk but get at Latin.
Dana Sawyer: Yeah. about his experience in say, well, not in my experience, what he means there is that if he’s going to judge the enlightenment of other people, their level of attainment, he would have to be higher than them to, you know, to judge it on the basis of personally. And so that’s what he’s interpreting what you mean by personal experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And, and you’re not making any claims to be higher or to be in any particular state, obviously. And in fact, I think I would have a hard time getting you to admit to whatever state you are in luck. So, you know, I mean, in in a monastery, for instance, when you have students who are doing a lot of meditation and a lot of practice, and some of those students begin to become more advanced, and begin to have spiritual awakenings, you know, significant shifts in their awareness, or in their experience, do you typically have people in a position of authority, perhaps yourself? Who was able to that student is able to come to them and say, Hey, I’m experiencing this, you know, what does it mean? Am I enlightened? And then you can sort of say, Well, nice, nice start, but you’ve got more to go give some kind of evaluation of their condition. That
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: yeah, this is kind of not a not student and teacher, Listen, you better close their best teacher there for the student in have he or she’ll have some experience, share the experience with the teacher, then the teacher had the qualities then he or she can not tell this the right or wrong, it’s something wrong they can he can he or she can tell if they’re wrong, then we’re good. And you’re getting closer now baby, better improvement needed this and then give more instruction. Right? Yeah.
Rick Archer: In I don’t know about in the Buddhist tradition, but I know in the Indian tradition. There has been there’s been a lot of trouble in the sense that you know, gurus, you know, who become who apparently become very highly enlightened. Then either in India or when they come to the west. They you know, they Start Meeting beautiful young women and they start and there’s a lot of money around. And you know, very often they begin getting caught up in scandals and problems and so on. And I don’t know what this means, perhaps it means that, you know, their, their enlightenment was lopsided it was, you know, there was one in one dimension very much developed, but they had neglected to look at other areas and develop other areas of maturity and of their personality and of their behavioral ethics, and so on. Would you care to comment on that whole? That whole phenomena? Yeah.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: clearly shows in that even said in Latin, but it robbing after the beautiful young woman and running object, the money that shows that not GL in Latin means
Rick Archer: Yeah, or, you know, I mean, I imagine you acknowledge that there could be stages of enlightenment, and that perhaps one could achieve a certain level of development and maybe even think that that was the final level. And yet, it wasn’t that
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: this world is not in that to show this level, even when you reach a level, we cannot show you it doesn’t work in the world. You have to be become like a ordinary person. Stay in Santa show outside. Right? Yeah. So you said let’s say I am, I’m an extended GT this one. You can reach out in Latin, you don’t have to go there are Latin and come to me, and that’s gone. But it doesn’t have for me, if I don’t believe you, you read the Latin? I don’t believe you. You’re not going to work for didn’t mean that because I don’t have the the work the day that they fit that follow you. With that?
Rick Archer: Dana, would you clarify that? Yeah,
Dana Sawyer: one of the things that he’s saying here is that, you know, the true Master doesn’t see you saw, or she saw that the person who’s going out and beating the drum and saying, Look how great I am, you know, but you know, brilliant, my insight is you really want to come and study with me. That’s not the real teacher, that the real teacher, their own inner being is so well developed, that the stages of development are inside the person. And so people will be drawn to them simply because of that insight. So the person who’s trying to call a lot of attention to themselves isn’t that that itself is inherently a mark of lack of ultimate development.
Rick Archer: Right? That In other words, people are just going to start to flock around if the person actually has genuine attainment, they’re going to start attracting people like moths to a flame or something if they’ve got that genuine realization,
Dana Sawyer: to discern that on the part of the student is good. I don’t know if it would be a giant crowd. Because a lot of times, access to gurus are actually weaknesses of theirs instead of strengths. We get enamored of their physical beauty and we think oh my teachers so handsome, or you don’t say what I’m saying is that the real practitioner starts to gain a level of clarity of mind. And so they realize, oh, wow, you know, some people might be overlooking this person, who is the Buddha, the gas pump, read it
Rick Archer: rhetoric, but it could be a crowd. I mean, the Buddha attracted a fairly large crowd for his day and without any television or radio that he became quite renowned and attracted a lot of students just because of his I’m sure he wasn’t putting up posters, but just because of his status, you know, people recognize that and began to flock around him
Dana Sawyer: in fact he didn’t even want to teach at first he didn’t want to teach and but you know, yes, they’re not mutually exclusive a great teacher could could draw a crowd I guess
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: the king this example maybe if the teacher Jia drew a Latin man, you don’t have to advertise right? Let’s say the roses. Okay. The roses grow in the mud. And on the on the top of top of on there, they’re blooming they’re not affected the mud are not affected their phone, but blooming in their rows. It doesn’t have to go off politically through pond the bees can play. Yeah, these have noticed that they are grown they are not the beautiful roses. So all direction in this country get P sock He says roses smell similar roses also in the teacher who’s living in the samsara is not dead, we are not in the in the Samsara login, the Rosa born in the in the mud, right, then there the corner like the teacher, you can see some kind of top rub, but not mine is like the, the flowers, roses that they have to learn.
Rick Archer: And that kind of comes back to what we were saying a minute ago, which is if a teacher is truly enlightened in the full sense of the word, then they’re not going to get caught up in scandalous behavior. I mean, even if they’re in the midst of all kinds of people and all kinds of temptations, those things will be seen with an even eye and they won’t feel drawn to indulge in them.
Dana Sawyer: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So so you know, it can be some experience of Samadhi. Or there can be some level of emotional development. But is it from the Buddhist perspective, there’s the perfection of what are called, well, paramitas means perfection. So when a person who has perfected wisdom, Krushna perfected, karuna, compassion, and on and on through these six, then that would be their ultimate measure of awakening, full awakening Buddhahood.
Rick Archer: I really like that, that idea. Because in the west today, there’s a tendency to kind of apply McDonald’s marketing tactics to the idea of enlightenment. In other words, a person has, you know, people want things fast, and they want things easy, and they want things, you know, simple. And so people will have some sort of awakening. And they’re very quick to assume that that’s it. You know, that’s what all this fuss about. Enlightenment has been. I’ve got it. My search is over. I have nothing yet. I have nothing further to develop. practices are irrelevant for me. And even for others, nobody needs to follow teachers or gurus this is all there is to it. I mean, there’s a lot of talk like this these days. And to me, to my understanding that the person is shortchanging themselves, and they’re misleading others, because there’s a huge range of potential development in so many different facets of life. I mean, take one thing alone, compassion, I mean, how compassionate can a person become, and it’s really It does, doesn’t do justice to the term enlightenment to just refer to just attach it to some sort of, you know, Inner Awakening, which could be completely devoid of, of a fuller development of one’s, you know, qualities as a human being. That was much too long of a statement. I’m starting to do the teaching, and I wanted, I wanted to hear it from you. But I mean, perhaps he could comment on what what I just said, better? Well, I speak English is my native language.
Dana Sawyer: The way he sees it? Yeah. Continues graduation from elementary school for PhD. Yeah, I miss this lots of directions that growth could could go in. I mean, what, what was your major in college? You know? Even inside the Buddhist world, there can be people who are experts on philosophy, and people who are experts on art and human growth has a wide spectrum of areas for development. So sort of camp out on, you know, to confuse the base camp for the summit would be a mistake. Yeah, we’ve got maybe about a half cast upstairs. That’s mini cube. So maybe 10 more minutes. Sure. Something you really would like to ask and Rinpoche or Well,
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: I would add it add it up, not only faults of this call teacher, we have our own responsibility to judge the teacher. The teacher who you follow him had the color is what you need or not. And the quality you see that the problem is the teacher problem that you have for us.
Rick Archer: Sorry, are you saying that that it’s really the student has responsibility to choose the teacher wisely? Yeah. To use discrimination
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, just judging the quality they have or not. If you just said or some of the oh, she’s she’s good teacher, right. Not good. And Emily, listen, then think. Then you go to listen his or her speed, then you can slowly you can judge then you become Students would just go there, then three days you become enlightened then after four Yeah, that’s a group call, you know, and that people could hairy renunciation.
Dana Sawyer: They call it what?
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Eddie and Eddie, Eddie
Dana Sawyer: Harry,
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: did you now see us in
Rick Archer: a Why do you call it that? Why click on otherwise because they haven’t shaved their head. So
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: you call cool up and then after the bed? Okay, good.
Rick Archer: Dana, would you clarify that?
Dana Sawyer: What do you say that makes your hair stand behind and that you get so excited, you know, what was called listening is,
Rick Archer: I see, I see.
Dana Sawyer: that’s somebody it’s hairy renunciation is very excited and you feel like you’re awakened, you’re, you know, pretty mature. Right? Premature emmaculation.
Rick Archer: You just make that phrase up.
Dana Sawyer: I don’t think
Rick Archer: that’s a good one. Premature empculation, excellent. I don’t know, I don’t know if Rinpoche understands the joke, but
Dana Sawyer: he’s enjoying the laughter.
Rick Archer: So actually, on this note, I think it’s an important one, it would be well worth spending our remaining minutes talking about this, this whole notion of discrimination on the spiritual path. How important it has that been on your path and in your, in your school and in your tradition, to really learn to think critically, and, you know, to not merely take things on faith, but to judge teachers and teachings and so on with with a clear mind and an impartial vision? That’s the question.
Dana Sawyer: Right, that, you know, the individual as they grow, has to learn how to discriminate what is best for their growth and make clear to judgments about their teacher and the teachings to the point where they’ll often debate points of Buddhist philosophy to test each other’s understanding. Are you really understanding this? Or are you mood making, and so they will have public debates with each other. And Rinpoche, the gay degree is just Gasquet degrees in philosophy. So very good understanding of the teachings themselves. On the intellectual level also.
Rick Archer: And our key our teachers themselves, humble in the sense that they are open to scrutiny and criticism. And, you know, if you have a doubt about the teacher, you can tell the teacher, I have this doubt about you without getting in trouble and so on.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Sure, that’s the computer open. The teacher very happy, we got a lot of criticism.
Rick Archer: So people aren’t so in all the teacher that they’re afraid to say, wait a minute, you did this, and I don’t understand it is not wrong, and so on and so forth.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: As just a challenge that she said EPI, of the lab will challenge him, and he’s happy now they have an opportunity to bring out his real knowledge to share with the student. Yeah. You know, here, you can see that if you question second question, you’re in the country here are not being being rude. No. But our kids having the more you culture income, the more you get a deeper understanding, give an answer. Yeah, it’s good, then I suggest men sit in Africa to help the student to get the right knowledge. Without mistaken, good.
Rick Archer: Now the Westerners actually study with you, when you come to United States you have a circle of students that you know, you train and you study with and you teach things to or do you mainly just give lectures when you’re over here and your real body of students is back in the monastery in India.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: I have some here true. Outer lecture is not just only not luxury, purely giving, not spiritual, also message are to live in the world with peace, love, condition. Change beings are just on that side don’t have to consider this in my particular Sunday mind. It’s a guest. He leaves it up to them.
Rick Archer: Right. So Dana, would you clarify?
Dana Sawyer: Yeah, so he is. There’s a small Sangha here in Maine, for instance, then people take refuge vows, you know, when you become a Buddhist In his culture, it is in the you know, what I call borders Buddhism, where you go to the bookstore, you read three books by Alan Watts. And now you call yourself a Buddhist, that in his tradition, you have to take Titiksha initiation. And so people formally take refuge vows and Bodhisattva vows with him. And he teaches them how to meditate, and it has interviews with them about how it’s going. And yeah, and so there, he doesn’t teach in the United States on both coasts. And then, of course, at least once, usually, twice a year, he’s back at his monastery where there are hundreds of monks that are have seen him this, you know, the primary teacher in his particular lineage, which is the same lineage as the Dalai Lama, right?
Rick Archer: So if someone listening to this want to actually come and study with him, they could do that they could come to Maine, or they could go to the west coast and actually sit in a Sangha and get some instruction like that. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Good. So I’m sorry, go ahead.
Dana Sawyer: Tashi lhunpo has a website. And people could go to that, or they could go to the website of a school he started visit heart to school. And those two websites always have information about his teaching schedule. And when he’s in the United States, he’s lecturing and
Rick Archer: yeah, and I’ll put a link to those you Why don’t you send me links to whatever you want me to, you know, link to, and I’ll put those on that gap calm and people can go there and check it out. And, you know, if they want to, and also of course, you know, you are you have this school in the Siddartha School, which is in India, or Ladakh, in India, in the darkest part of India, right. Yeah. And, you know, that school needs support. So people want to familiarize themselves with that. And if they feel inspired to donate, they could they could do that. And there’ll be information on your website on how to do that also.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Yeah, that we have bought girls and boys. Not just in Hmong, yes, only boys, girls, men’s.
Dana Sawyer: It’s a the school is quite wonderful in the sense that it is training students in the things that we think of in the West, you know, reading and writing and languages and chemistry and mathematics. But it has a real focus on creating a strong sense of respect for their traditional culture and the value of their traditional culture. And in a sense, as a way of buttressing their confidence to resist the temptations of westernization that they can feel proud of their Himalayan culture, and they live sustainably. And we’re not close to that, and really a fantastic place, you know, kind of a little shame for a while Ladakh. They call it little Tibet, but you really get to see in the people’s lives, what the quality of these teachings can do for an entire community.
Rick Archer: Hmm. That’s great. All right. Well, thank you. This has really been an honor and a pleasure and good connecting with you to again, Dana’s, if somewhat vicariously. So, this has been Buddha at the Gas Pump, the website to find it all this is that gap.com. And then there are links to, you know, the videos on Facebook and YouTube. And it’s also can also be listened to as a podcast. And we’ve done nearly 50 of these interviews now and we’ll continue to do them. So please come check out batgap.com You can listen to as many of them as you like. So I’ve been speaking with Ken Rinpoche guest Shea catch on love sang Satan. And I really appreciate having had the honor. It’s really been enjoyable. Thank you very much, sir.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan: Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m very honored to meet you too.
Rick Archer: Well, the honor is mine.