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Friday, December 7, 2012

Khenchen’s Lecture On Buddhism - Part II

The Khenchen
In the first half of the lecture, the Kenchen talked about how taking refuge in the triple gem removes one from suffering and leads to the path of enlightenment.  He continued the second half of the lecture about how students should use their intelligence to bring about the best, the importance of making the body a servant of the mind to better the world and lastly, he ended the lecture by answering the students’ questions (I chose a few of my favorite responses). 

First, he said that every sentient being seeks happiness, but among all the sentient beings, the human race is equipped with skills, intelligence and ideas to practice dharma and become enlighten.  He supported his claim by saying, “Airplanes and computers were invented by humans, which shows humans have intelligence.  So humans should use their intelligence to practice dharma and gain enlightenment to make a world without suffering not just for ourselves, but all sentient beings.” 

Moreover, he used his brilliant humor to explain how students should make their bodies as the servant and their minds as the master.  He used Jetsun Mila, an enlighten yogi, as a prime example of how he made his body the servant and his mind the master by wearing plain, white robes and taking mostly air as food because he didn’t treat his body with luxury.  He talked about how some people don’t do this: “If our body says, ‘Oh no, my body is feeling cold’, then we look for warm clothes or ‘Oh I’m ugly, I need make up…’ He concluded that we should not treat our body with luxury because it is impermanent; it won’t be with us forever.  So make your bodies work like a servant and kept you minds as a master.”

Next, he caused the audience to laugh by joking with them about what they should do if they fail to keep their bodies as the servant and their minds as the master.  He said, “In the morning, if you say some bad things, then as a punishment don’t brush or give food to the mouth.  

Everyday you walk to school with the help of your legs, so if you don’t do good things, then whose fault is this?  It’s your legs fault because they brought you to school!  So as a punishment to your legs for taking you to school to say bad things, then don’t put shoes on your feet to come to school. And if you continue to not respect your teachers, friends or books, then hit the leg for treating your leg with luxury: buying shoes for your legs.  After all, an animal sacrificed his life to make leather shoes and you go and be disrespectful.”  Although he was joking and the students were hysterically laughing, he had a point: the body should be used to serve the mind in making the world a better place.

Finally, he concluded with one last analogy, “Treat your body like a car or servant and the mind as a driver or master.”  Hence, the driver navigates where the car goes and not the other way around.  Then he pushed his point one step forward by saying, “After you finish your studies, your motive should not just be to get a job and earn a living.  You should contribute your car (body) for the well being of others, your parents, community and society as a whole.  The car like the body should work for the well being of all and the mind is the master behind it. 

Lastly, he held a question and answer session for the audience:

Student Question:  There are two different Gods – Gods of Enlighten beings like Buddha and Gods of the Samsaric world like local deities and guardians.  So which should we pray to more?

Khenchen’s Answer:  If your practice dharma regularly and take serious refuge in the triple gem, then the local deities or guardian’s can’t harm us because our minds are the masters.

Student Question:  Why do some people say we have to hold the rosary in the left hand?

Khenchen’s Answer:  There is nothing wrong or right with holding the rosary in either hand.  Holding the rosary while saying Om Mani…, is just to help control our minds.  If you can control your mind on your own, then you don’t need to hold a rosary in either hand unless you want to.  If you can control your mind, you can hold the rosary in your foot (lots of laughter).  People are the ones who made up how to hold the rosary.  The rosary’s aim is just to help you control your mind. 

Student Question:  In one of the Buddhism prayers it only addresses the mother? Why not the father too?

Khenchen’s Answer:  Because Buddha only liked his mother (another wave of laughter).   I’m joking!  There isn’t a single mother who hasn’t been a father and there isn’t a single sentient being who hasn’t been a mother and so on.  The mother is known as the caregiver who loves us whether in good or bad, but the father is also there too.  Don’t get caught up in whether it addresses a mother or father because everyone has been a mother in the past.    

The Khenchen continued to answer numerous questions with more humor and he ended with a beautiful prayer.  When it was over we were sad to see him go.  We walked him to his car and he drove off alone without an entourage or a personal driver.  He left the students feeling humbled, inspired, reinvigorated... 

The Khenchen ending the lecture with a prayer


  1. Great questions from your students.Also great advice from the Khenchen.We should Practice the triple gem in our everyday lives just show more compassion and respect is not to much to ask for. Guilty here sometimes we pray only in time of need!love mom

  2. I think a lot of people are guilty, including ME lol. xoxo