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A message from Patrul Rinpoche
All the beings in the universe want to find happiness. No one likes to suffer. But how can we find happiness and how can we get rid of suffering? If we do not understand how, we are like the beings that the bodhisattva Shantideva described in the Bodhicaryavatara:
Beings long to be free of suffering but
They run headlong into suffering itself.
They long for happiness but they are stupid
And destroy it as they would an enemy.
If we do not understand what to adopt and what to abandon, it could be that we adopt the causes of suffering and abandon the causes of happiness. So we desperately need to understand what we should adopt and what we should abandon, and to do this we should put effort into hearing, reflecting and meditating.
The Buddha Sakyamuni addressed his followers saying: 'First of all you must recognise the illness you have. Then you must get rid of whatever is causing it. After that you must use the correct remedy to cure it. And then you will attain the happiness that comes from being cured.'.
How can we find temporal and ultimate happiness during this and future lives? How can we get rid of suffering during this and future lives? We can find out how in an unmistaken way during the Six-Year Dzogchen Practitioners' Course. The course will not only benefit students but will also benefit all sentient beings.
During the six years we will learn to distinguish between that which is true and that which is false, between that which we should adopt and that which we should abandon. Then we will be able to eliminate the causes of suffering and accomplish the causes of happiness. Once we know how to distinguish truth from falsehood and to distinguish that which we should adopt from that which we should abandon, we will be able to realise the truth of true nature.
If we realise the truth of true nature, we will experience both temporal and ultimate happiness. Ultimate happiness is great unchanging happiness. We need it and all other sentient beings need it too. Ultimate happiness, great unchanging happiness, is also the great happiness of self-liberation.
If we do not attain the great happiness of self-liberation ourselves, the fact that others attain it will not bring about our own liberation. However, if we do attain the great happiness of self-liberation ourselves, once we are liberated, we can give advice to others about how we did it, and in this way we can lead them to their own self-liberation.
For example, the Buddha Sakyamuni attained the great happiness of self-liberation, and once liberated he showed the path of liberation to others. He gave us advice about how he had done it, and showed us how we could do it ourselves. Thanks to his advice we are able to set out on the same path that he travelled and attain the same state that he attained.
Taking the Buddha's path of the great happiness of self-liberation as the basis, and combining it with the advice we receive from our peerless teacher, as well as our own experience, we will be able to train ourselves on the perfect path of self-liberation and attain the great happiness of that state.
If someone attains the great happiness of self-liberation he can show others how to apply themselves to the path so as to become liberated themselves. When we apply ourselves to the path of liberation we must be attentive to what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in relation to our training. If we do this we will attain the fruit of the path, and my hope is that not only will my own students attain the great happiness of self-liberation, but also that through them all other sentient beings may attain that state too.