This short teaching was written by Garchen Rinpoche at Gar Gon in August 1995 for
Jimmy (James) Pittard, one of the first two American disciples who ever set foot
in the remote and isolated Gar village in Nangchen, Tibet. Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen
Rinpoche subsequently translated it at Jangchub Ling, Dehra Dun, India in September
1995, and this translation was first published in the newsletter ‘Dharma Wheel’ of
the Tibetan Meditation Center in the Spring of 1996 under the name ‘A River That
Cannot Be Frozen.’ Garchen Rinpoche has kept the passport photo that Jimmy gave
him all these years, and showed it to the author during one of the very first interview
sessions in 2003. Later, Jimmy told the author that he wrote down his name and address
in America on the back of the photo in the hope of keeping in touch with the Tibetan
master. The Tibetan script (Jig-me’) written by Jimmy Pittard at the bottom of
the photo is actually the name “Jimmy. “
Click here to read Jimmy Pittard’s correspondence
with the author about Garchen Rinpoche and his experience at Gar Gon.(coming soon)
If the heat of devotion and compassion melts the frozen mind, one will realize there
is no difference between oneself and Buddha. Therefore, the single most important
source of blessing is devotion. It's like a hundred rivers going under one bridge.
When you look at your mind just after strong devotion, that awareness is the cause
of attaining enlightenment. Within that, look again at the very face of the awareness.
It dissolves into emptiness -- both subject and object. A beginner does not believe
it, but this dissolution is Buddhahood.
Therefore, Tilopa said, "Seeing nothing is
the supreme insight.”
It will not last long, so meditate for a short time, again and again each session.
This will dispel obstacles and enhance your meditation.
Devotion is the single essential point. When you practice devotion, visualize the
Lama in front of you in space as actually residing there. The lama's mind is Buddha,
so when you supplicate, the blessing will be definite, and the Lama will keep you
in his or her own mind.
Pal-Chu River passing through the lower Gar Gon area
“A few years ago when I was in my monastery in Tibet, an American visited me and
asked for teaching. I had a difficult time talking to him because I knew no English
and the American didn't understand Tibetan. So I composed this [letter] in Tibetan
and gave it to him. He spent a week with me in the monastery. He didn't know how
to eat Tibetan food like tsampa and I had to show him. I had a nice time with him.
The [letter] I gave him was later translated [into English by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen].”
You are so fortunate to have met the Dharma with devotion. The essence of Dharma
is the two Bodhicittas: Relative Bodhicitta is the noble mind focusing on others;
Ultimate Bodhicitta is emptiness – looking at your own mind.
If you find it difficult to see your own mind, it is due to the obscurations that
come from afflictive emotions. Transcendent wisdom dispels afflictive emotions. That
wisdom is the blessing of the Lama.
To receive the Lama’s blessings, you need the
sun of devotion, which in turn gives rise to compassion. A drop of tear by the force
of devotion purifies or dispels a mountain of obscurations.
Generally speaking, Buddha and sentient beings are like one river. Buddha, however,
realizes the nature of the self and, free of doubt, sees that all the activities
of samsara are like a dream or illusion. Buddha's mind abides like the nature of
space -- like a river that cannot be frozen. Sentient beings, on the other hand,
have not realized their own nature, and their minds are influenced by conditions
which cause afflictive emotions. This is like meeting very cold water and freezing,
the ice then becoming like a rock that cannot be broken.