Class 18 Interactive Transcript: A Gift of Liberation 35: Insights Into The Wheel of Life (2020, Arizona)

Class 18: One Wheel, Two Lives


Hi, welcome back to our at-home retreat. And again, thank you Xiaoping for translating.

This is session number eighteen, and we have called it “One Wheel, Two Lives.” And the picture I chose was a human being sort of becoming like a superhero. Now, sometimes I use superhero pictures to represent a person who’s very good and inspires other people, but in this drawing we are talking about a human being who would like to be reborn in the deva realm where people look like superheroes, but then they have terrible deaths there.

So we’ve been talking about sections of the Wheel of Life, and we kind of felt—it kind of feels to you doesn’t it—that one Wheel of Life from one o’clock to twelve o’clock should be one lifetime. But then we learn it’s more complicated than that. And we saw that link number eleven, which is rebirth, and link number twelve, which is aging and death, just two links can be a whole lifetime.

So a very famous question comes up in the ancient books: how many lifetimes does it take to get through the whole wheel one time? And it’s not a just a philosophical question. We have to go through these next two classes … we have to talk about how many lifetimes can be in one wheel, because we’re going to find out something amazing about that wheel. And that’s that if you look at a Wheel of Life, it’s going like this, then that will trigger another set of links, and then this one will trigger another set of links, and then there will be some links … three there, three there, three there, three there. A few weeks in your wheel of life weeks can be triggering many lifetimes, and many lifetimes can go into one life.

I like to think of it like the inside of a fine watch—a mechanical watch. So we’re going there—we’ll talk about that watch later. But first let’s just see: how can just two lifetimes fit in one wheel? So let’s go to the text and it says de na hlar kyewa tabu la tsun na (DES NA LHAR SKYE BA LTA BU LA MTSON NA,)—let’s take the case of a human being who wants to be born as a deva, like a pleasure being. Well, first we have and then de ko na (DE KHO NA) la mongpay ma rikpa (LA RMONGS PA’I MA RIG PA)—first you have … de ko na la mongpay ma rikpa means tattva; you don’t understand tattva.


tattva means “the way the world is.” Again, let’s go back to the kitchen, to the first moment after the wife walks in the kitchen. She doesn’t say anything; she just wants a hug. And then suddenly her husband blurts out, “You’re so stupid!” Then what does she say? [I’m not stupid, you are stupid!] No, that’s later. That’s link number two. What’s number one? [I didn’t do anything!] Yeah, “I didn’t do anything, and he’s yelling at me!” Yeah, “I didn’t do anything; he yelled at me!” That’s link number one. It’s called “misunderstanding.”

She doesn’t realize his explosion is coming because she yelled at her kids last week. So, one act of misunderstanding in the kitchen, it can throw—project—a whole other lifetime, and in the example here, marikpay wang gi (MA RIG PA’I DBANG GIS)—that misunderstanding in the kitchen, hlay kyewa pen che kyi kye ne (LHA’I SKYE BA ‘PHEN BYED KYI SKYES NAS) nyong gyur gyi le (MYONG ‘GYUR GYI LAS)—it throws … it triggers a special kind of karma.


Now, karma can be divided countless ways. In fact our Mixed Nuts translator group is translating several books called all the many ways you can divide karma. But, there’s a very famous division into three kinds of karma. (1) tong gyur kyi le (MTHONG ‘GYUR GYI LAS)—means karma which is so powerful that you will see the result in this life before you die.

(2) kye ne nyong gyur gyi le (SKYES NAS MYONG ‘GYUR GYI LAS)—karma which will create your very next life. Then what’s called (3) shen la nyong gyur gyi le (GZHAN LA MYONG ‘GYUR GYI LAS) means karma which will create all or many lives after the next life.

So in this case, the lam rim (LAM RIM) book is talking about kye ne nyong gyur gyi le—you’re creating karma which will throw your very next life. And the example here is a life as a deva or a pleasure being. Now I have to change my story, okay? Because you cannot be born as a pleasure being from yelling at your husband. So she must have come in the kitchen and said, “Honey, you’re the most special person in my life,” because he gave her a big hug. But actually, she should say, “I didn’t do anything and he gave me a hug?”

So she doesn’t understand. The hug she got from her husband is coming from hugging her kids last week. So she’s saying something nice, “Oh, I love you! Thank you for the hug, honey!” But still she’s saying it because of link number one: she doesn’t really understand. So without understanding the hug came from a seed in her mind from giving her kids a hug last week, she reacts in a positive way and says, “I love you, honey. Thank you!”

And she plants a new seed. Where? Fifty dollars. More exact. Where? Where does she plant the seed? Tim? No. She plants the seed on the first half of link number three. Okay? That’s where she plants her seed. Then der kye na chi marung nyam du mon lam (DER SKYES NA CI MA RUNG SNYAM DU SMON LAM) sok kyi dunpa chepa ni (SOGS KYIS ‘DUN PA BYED PA NI)—and then later she says, “Wow! I made some good karma—I was nice to my husband. I pray that good karma will make me a deva in my next life.”


And in this example, that’s arming the karma at link number eight. It’s like the water on the seed. dunpa de nyi che ru (‘DUN PA DE NYID CHE RU) tsunpa ni (BRTZON PA NI)—and then if she feels that wish more and more, it becomes almost like obsession with her, “Oh, that good karma should make me a pleasure being in my next life.” Then she’s putting fertilizer—link number nine—on that karma, also. And because of those two (water and fertilizer) the karma that she planted in the kitchen at link number two, it becomes a very very powerful fat seed ready to break open.

And we call it … here it says chi kar (‘CHI KHAR)—in the moment of her death, right, in the last moment of her awareness of this world, those wishes to go to a certain future, they make the good karma seed fat. de nyi pen nge su chepay le (DE NYID ‘PHEN NGES SU BYAS PA’I LAS)—and that seed becomes definite: it will open into a pleasure being’s rebirth. So, our author summarizes: if you think about it, we’ve had like two and a half thrower … throwers? Archers. Two and a half. (1) She misunderstood her husband. (2) But she gave him a very beautiful hug. (3) In that moment she imprinted a seed on her mind.

Now, so that’s kind of three links, and then three more links are like the factory. She misunderstands … well let’s say she has a feelings about the seed, really. She wants them … she’s doing like coffee meditation where that seed should open. First coffee meditation, stronger meditation—and then the seed is fat and ready to open. Those six links—three archer links, three links which make the seed ready to explode—those six of the twelve links are happening in the first life.


de ne chi mar hlar kye (DE NAS PHYI MAR LHAR SKYE)—and then that seed breaks open and she goes into a new life, and she becomes that pleasure being—deva. We call it deva or temporary pleasure life. It can last for a million years, and it’s very very pleasant and you look like Iron Man or Superwoman, or something. But when you die, you always go to hell. “Oh, why?” You burned up all your good karma. So we think it’s something you should avoid—that kind of deva rebirth. They are just having fun, they don’t try to improve themselves, they don’t learn more, they kill their old good karma.

It’s like very wealthy children in this world. Oftentimes, they spend their whole life using money without working. chi mar (PHYI MAR) hlar kyewa na (LHAR SKYE BA NA)—so let’s say she’s reborn like she wished. So what links are going to happen in the second life? ming suk (MING GZUGS)—to the body and mind entering the mom’s womb. Number four—link number four—the body and mind entering the mother’s womb. Then link number five, her ears, eyes, nose—they are forming. Link number six, because of those sense organs, she will make contact with the outside world.

Then automatically, link number seven—she will start to have pleasant experiences and she will start to have unpleasant experiences. And four, five, six, seven—those four links, and you can kind of throw in half of her link number three too (conscousness)—they are going to turn into kyewa (SKYE BA) and ga shi (RGA SHI)—they’re going to turn into link eleven and link twelve. They are a whole life—those four, or maybe five. Yeah, and the whole life is the two links: birth, and aging and death.


Okay, so we have six resulting links. chi ma hlay ten de la dzokpa te (PHYI MA LHA’I RTEN DE LA RDZOGS PA STE,). Those six links are finished in the deva birth. So, we had six links in the first life as a human, and six links in the second life as a deva. And this is the way in which two lifetimes can be finished in one wheel. But I ask you to think about something, and this is a little deeper. Is it possible that the karma she plants in one life is not watered for a few more lives—like the seed is just sitting there. Is it possible you could plant a seed today and it will take three lifetimes before that seed gets watered?

Is it possible to plant a seed today or have a seed … there’s a seed in Siberia, in Russia—it’s a special flower. They found one in the ice, which has been there for thirty-one thousand years. And they planted it, and they put water on it, and it grew a flower after thirty-one thousand years. So is it possible that it might take more wheels before it opens? We have to think about it. But in today’s example, six links in the first life, six links in the second life—twelve links in two lives.

Now there’s a special expression in Tibetan that you should know, if you want to go deeper. By the way, if you don’t want to go deeper, go get a pam she (SPAM BSHAD), pam she. It’s a special Tibetan word called pam she. pam she means “go find a teacher who didn’t have much training”, and they’ll say, “You know, be nice!” “You know, ddo your manis—om mani padme hung—and everything will be okay.” If that’s enough for you, then you don’t need this lam rim, okay?

But, I’m trying to get you to understand the inside of the clock. How does each piece work? Because to change that clock … marmahatha … for $50. [killing point] Yeah! You have to know the strike point. If you want to—it’s a terrible example, but it’s in the scripture—if you want to kill a human in two seconds, like those kung fu masters, cut this vein right here and the person has to die. You cannot fix it. They have to die in two minutes. I have a friend, he was building a house, he fell down, then a nail scratched him here. And he was standing next to his wife, and he died in two minutes. And she couldn’t do anything.


Okay, so we want to kill the wheel, so you have to understand the anatomy of samsara. And where’s the exact place you have to cut … cut your suffering? So that’s why we’re doing all this detail, okay? So anyway, that word I wanted to say tendrel tsar chik (RTEN ‘BREL TSAR GCIG)—it means one time through the twelve. One time through the twelve. I didn’t say “wheel.” I said one time through the twelve—we don’t know which twelve, and we’ll talk more about it. We’ll talk about it later.

Okay, last thing today. ngen dro tabur tsun na (NGAN ‘GRO LTA BUR MTSON NA,)—Okay that was with taking a good rebirth. So let’s talk about a bad rebirth. We call… ngen dro (NGAN ‘GRO) means “lower realms”—three kinds: animal, hungry ghost, and hell. okay tabur. Now he says, “Let’s talk about a bad rebirth.” lendre la mongpa marikpa (LAS ‘BRAS LA RMONGS PA’I MA RIG PA)—again it starts with misunderstanding how karma works. But in a deeper misunderstanding where you just say, “I don’t believe it at all.” Then you don’t feel like you have to do good things to other people; you can just do bad things.

So if your misunderstanding is that bad, you will kill people, you will lie to people, and you will collect sok (GSOG) means you will “collect” bad karma. Then that has its own water, its own fertilizer, in your mind. gong gi rik dre (GONG GIS RIGS ‘GRE) means “Hey, and the rest is the same as I told you before with the good karma.” And that completes session eighteen. Tomorrow we’re going on to: can you have three lifetimes in twelve links? Can you finish a set of twelve in three different wheels, almost three different lifetimes? And we’ll talk about that one tomorrow.

Don’t turn your mind off, you know. Don’t say, “This is too complicated!” okay? You went through twelve years or sixteen years of school. At the end, you could do very complicated mathematics, and very complicated science, and maybe you could write complicated things from your language classes. But nobody taught you how to die. Now you may not be a mathematician in your life, you may not write books or be a scientist—and that happens to a lot of us—and that means you didn’t need those twelve years. But to spend a few days learning how to die, which you have to do, I think it makes sense, okay?

So see you at class nineteen.

Thank you, and thanks Xiaoping for translating.