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chapter 1 Introduction

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$he %inea&e 'upplication


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I)m deli&hted to see that all o* +ou ha,e come here to practice meditation and to practice dharma out o* +our enthusiasm and de,otion- and I .ould li/e to than/ each and e,er+ one o* +ou *or doin& so0 I1d li/e to 2e&in 2+ recitin& the linea&e supplication0 $he particular linea&e supplication .e use is recited in all o* the ma3or seats o* the #arma #a&+u linea&e- includin& $surphu and (alpun& 0 !ll #a&+u teachers and all practitioners recite it0 $he reason .e use this particular supplication is that it has a special 2lessin& that is distinct *rom other similar supplications0 It .as composed 2+ (en/ar 4ampal 5an&po .ho composed it a*ter spendin& ei&hteen +ears in meditation on mahamudra on an island in the middle o* '/+ %a/e in the north o* $i2et0 $his supplication 2ears the 2lessin& o* his reali6ation o* mahamudra durin& his ei&hteen +ears o* practice and is considered ,er+ pro*ound0 7hen +ou chant the linea&e supplication- ima&ine that Va3radhara- $ilopa- aropa- and the rest o* the linea&e are actuall+ present in the s/+ in *ront o* +ou- and .ith that con*idence- supplicate them *or the 2esto.al o* their 2lessin&s0
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Mahamudra Meditation
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In &eneral- mahamudra is an approach to meditation and attainment that does not re8uire a &reat deal o* ela2oration- either in practice or in the preparation *or practice0 In the practice o* mahamudra- .e do not need an ela2orate en,ironment- such as utter dar/ness- nor do .e need ela2orate practices- such as ph+sical postures0 $here*ore- I thin/ this practice is especiall+ appropriate and 2ene*icial in this modern a&e0 $he teachin&s o* the 9uddha ha,e 2een classi*ied as sutra and tantra teachin&s: mahamudra is primaril+ deri,ed *rom the tantra or Va3ra+ana teachin&0 In particular- the mahamudra teachin&s deri,e *rom such tantras as the Mahamudra tilaka tantra and the Glorious Stainless Tantra. $his teachin& spread throu&hout India and .as initiall+ propa&ated 2+ the mahasiddha 'araha- *rom .hom it has descended in se,eral linea&es0 E,entuall+- ei&ht+ *our mahasiddhas arose in India .ho attained reali6ation throu&h the maha mudra practice0 $he si&ni*icance o* the ei&ht+ *our mahasiddhas is not so much that there .ere onl+ ei&ht+ *our indi,iduals .ho .ere a2le to attain enli&htenment- as that these

ei&ht+ *our indi,iduals .ere examples o* ,arious li*est+les .ithin .hich .e can practice mahamudra success*ull+0 9ecause the ei&ht+ *our mahasiddhas had ,er+ di**erent li*est+les- the common *actor 2et.een them .as that the+ all practiced mahamudra meditation- throu&h .hich practice the+ all attained actual reali6ation0 $he point is that one1s particular li*est+le is not that important0 ;or example- one mahasiddha .as #in& Indra2huti- .ho- as a /in&- .as ,er+ rich and ,er+ 2us+ and appeared to 2e attached to pleasure0 <et- ha,in& recei,ed the mahamudra instructions- #in& Indra2huti practiced accordin& to the instructions .hile still /in&- still rich and 2us+- still ha,in& a &ood time- and he attained the supreme siddhi =enli&htenment> throu&h mahamudra practice and there2+ 2ecame a mahasiddha0 $he lesson .e can dra. *rom this is that e,en a person .ho is ,er+ rich and ,er+ 2us+ can still practice mahamudra properl+0 !nother example o* the mahasiddhas is a&ar3una- .ho .as a &reat scholar0 ?e .as so 2rilliant- in *act- that no one could e,er success*ull+ ar&ue .ith him0 ?e composed a lar&e num2er o* commentaries on the 9uddha1s teachin&s- and he had an enormous num2er o* students he had to ta/e care o*0 7hile 2us+ .ith all o* these acti,ities- he practiced mahamudra- and throu&h doin& so he too attained the supreme siddhi0 ! *urther example is $ilopa- .hose occupation .as principall+ poundin& sesame seeds to produce sesame oil0 ?e .as neither rich nor particularl+ scholarl+0 7hile en&a&ed in this manual occupation and the e,en more menial occupation o* 2ein& a ser,ant- li,in& in a simple 2ut some.hat austere mannerhe practiced mahamudra- and he too attained the supreme siddhi0 $he lesson .e dra. *rom his li*e is that .e can practice mahamudra success*ull+ and attain the supreme siddhi e,en .hile ha,in& to do menial .or/0 In the same .a+- some o* the mahasiddhas .ere street cleaners- some smithssome .ea,ers- some shoema/ers- some tailors- and some .ere /in&s0 $he+ had a ,ariet+ o* li*est+les and a ,ariet+ o* occupations0 $he onl+ thin& the+ all had in common .as that the+ all practiced mahamudra meditation and there2+ all attained the supreme siddhi0 $he lesson .e can dra. *rom all these examples is that .hether or not .e ha,e &reat responsi2ilities to *ul*ill- .hether or not .e are ,er+ 2us+- .hether or not .e are rich- .hether or not .e are scholars.hether or not .e do menial la2or- .hether .e are *emale or male@ none o* these thin&s has an+ 2earin& on the practice o* mahamudra0 Under an+ circumstance- .e can al.a+s practice mahamudra- and .e can attain the supreme siddhi0 7hen the mahamudra teachin&s .ere *irst 2rou&ht to $i2et- the+ .ere propa&ated initiall+ 2+ three indi,iduals .hom .e re&ard as the three &reat pro&enitors o* the #a&+u tradition@ "arpa- "ilarepa- and Aampopa0 "arpa .as a householder .ith a .i*e- a num2er o* sons- a &reat deal o* propert+- and man+ disciples he had to teach and ta/e care o*0 <et- in the midst o* all these entan&lements and responsi2ilities- he .as a2le to &o to India under conditions o* the utmost hardship- meet man+ o* the &reat mahasiddhas- and recei,e instruction *rom them- particularl+ the mahamudra- .hich he practiced and there2+ attained the supreme siddhi0 'o he .as a2le to practice success*ull+ and attain the result .hile 2ein& .ealth+ and surrounded 2+ his *amil+ and responsi2ilities0 $he second o* these three &reat teachers .as "ilarepa- .hose li*est+le .as utterl+ di**erent *rom that o* his teacher- "arpa0 ?is entire li*e .as de,oted to practice under conditions o* the utmost pri,ation and simplicit+0 ?e li,ed in ca,es 2ecause the+ pro,ided shelter .ithout ha,in& to 2e 2uilt- and he practiced meditation continuall+- .hether he had *ood or not0 ?is li*est+le o* complete renunciation led to his attainment o* the supreme siddhi- 3ust as "arpa1s li*est+le had led to his attainment0 ;or some people- "ilarepa1s li*est+le is an

appropriate one in .hich to practice mahamudra and attain the supreme siddhi0 $he third teacher .as "ilarepa1s student Aampopa- .hose li*est+le .as di**erent *rom either o* his predecessors0 Aampopa too/ the monastic ordiB nation- met his teacher "ilarepa- *rom .hom he recei,ed the instructions o* mahamudra- and practiced these instructions .hile li,in& as a mon/0 %ater- in accordance .ith "ilarepa1s instructions- he esta2lished a monaster+- .hich he loo/ed a*ter as a22ot *or the rest o* his li*e0 ?e tau&ht and too/ care o* man+ disciples- and .hile meditatin& under these circumstances- he too *ull+ reali6ed mahamudra and attained the supreme siddhi0 ?a,in& done so- he tau&ht a ,ast num2er o* students0 ;rom Aampopa1s li*est+le- .e can o2ser,e that one can also practice mahamudra as a monastic0 %i/e li*est+le- it ma/es no di**erence .hether +ou are *emale or male0 !s the 9uddha said in the Heart Sutra: C! son or dau&hter o* no2le *amil+ .ho .ishes to meditate upon the (ra3naparamita 000D $hat statement o* the 9uddha has the si&ni*icance o* pointin& out that it ma/es no di**erence .hether a practitioner is male or *emale0 7hat ma/es a di**erence in reachin& enli&htB enment is the de&ree to .hich one is moti,ated- the de&ree to .hich one .ishes to reali6e mahamudra- the intensit+ o* one1s *aith and dili&ence0 In &eneral- the practice o* mahamudra is essential *or an+ practitioner o* dharma- 2ut in m+ experience and m+ 3ud&ment- mahamudra is especiall+ appropriate *or 7esterners and other persons li,in& in modern societ+0 o.aB da+s man+ people .ish to practice- and their enthusiasm is &enuine0 $he+ .ant to meditate- and +et the li*est+le o* a simple renunciant- .hich used to seem li/e the most sensi2le li*est+le *or a practitioner- simpl+ does not *it in .ith contemporar+ societ+0 ;or example- in earlier times- it .as possi2le *or a practitioner to sur,i,e 2+ 2e&&in& *or *ood0 o.ada+s 2e&&in& *or *ood is di**icult: people ha,e to .or/ to ta/e care o* their li*e needs0 Dharma pracB titioners *re8uentl+ thin/ that- 2+ ta/in& care o* the needs o* this li*e- the+ are .astin& their li*e and- there*ore- *ailin& as a practitioner0 In *act- this sense o* *ailure is unnecessar+0 <ou need to ta/e care o* +oursel* in this li*e- 2ut .hile *ul*illin& +our responsi2ilities- +ou can still ta/e care o* +our mind- and +ou can still practice meditation0 $his does not re8uire an+ dramatic chan&e in li*est+lesuch as extreme external renunciation0 o.- i* +ou choose &reat austerit+- +ou can de,ote +ears o* +our li*e to retreat.hich is excellent0 9ut e,en i* +ou can1t do that- +ou can still practice mahamudra ,er+ e**ecti,el+ 2+ de,otin& .hat time +ou can to it in the midst o* a li*e *illed .ith occupation and responsi2ilit+0 'o this is a path that is extremel+ simple- meanin& that it does not re8uire a lot o* preparation or de,ices- and so can 2e practiced at an+ time or in an+ situation- pro,ided one possesses mind*ulness and alertness0 'o it is exactl+ this that needs to 2e practiced 2+ monastics: the+ can practice 3ust this mahamudra .ithout ha,in& to add an+thin& to it or search *or an+thin& more pro*ound- and the+ .ill accomplish li2eration0 !nd it is 3ust this that can 2e practiced 2+ male and *emale householders: the+ need not add an+thin& else to this or loo/ *or an+thin& more pro*ound- in order to accomplish li2eration0 $he root o* mahamudra practice is the maintenance o* mind*ulness and alertness in +our mind- .hich needs to 2e culti,ated- 2oth in *ormal meditation practice and in post meditation0 $he post meditation discipline o* maintainin& mind*ulness and alertness in the midst o* one1s acti,ities- such as .al/in&sittin&- tal/in&- eatin&- and so on- is rather di**icult *or 2e&inners0 9ut i* +ou /eep on practicin& this discipline .ithout 2ecomin& discoura&ed- it 2ecomes not too di**icult- and +ou can actuall+ accomplish li2eration o* +our mind- .hich is .h+ mahamudra is called the path o* li2eration- .hich is simple or *ree o* ela2oration0

In addition to the path o* li2eration- there is .ithin the #a&+u tradition another path or instruction *or practice- called the path o* method or upa+a- .hich re*ers to the Six Dharmas of Naropa. I* +ou practice the mahamudra path o* li2eration dili&entl+- then throu&h that +ou can accomplish the ultimate result0 I* +ou practice the path o* upa+a- the 'ix Dharmas o* aropa- .ith dili&encethrou&h that as .ell +ou can accomplish the ultimate result0 ?o.e,er- 2et.een these t.o aspects o* our tradition- that on .hich .e place primar+ emphasis is mahamudra- the path o* li2eration0 Essentiall+- there*ore- this path is su**icient in and o* itsel*0 On the other hand- it is appropriate to enhance one1s trainin& o* the ,ie. and meditation o* mahamudra .ith such supplementar+ practices as the creation sta&e o* +idam practice- the practice o* &uru +o&a- the practices o* the path o* upa+a- such as the 'ix Dharmas o* aropa- and other practices that in,ol,e conceptual e**ort0 !ll o* these practices are help*ul to mahamudra and not harm*ul to it0 $here*ore- it is the custom- .hen .e ha,e the time and opportunit+- to en&a&e in these ela2orate practices- e,en up to the preparation o* mandalas- the ma/in& and o**erin& o* tormas- and so on0 I* these practices are done .ith a proper meditation- or samadhi- and clear ,isuali6ation- and so *orththen the+ can 2esto. &reat 2ene*it or enhancement upon one1s *undamental mahamudra practice0 'ometimes the supplementar+ practices +ou do need not 2e too ela2orate0 $he+ could 2e simpler practices- such as the meditations on Chenre6i&- !mita2ha"edicine 9uddha- and so *orth0 !ll o* these practices can 2e used as contexts *or the practice o* mahamudra and all o* them are help*ul0 <ou should not thin/ that in order to supplement +our mahamudra practice +ou need necessaril+ to do ,er+ complicated and ela2orate practices0 7hate,er t+pe o* practice +ou do- i* +ou mix it .ith the mahamudra practice- it .ill *acilitate that practice0
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Mahamudra and Dzogchen


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$.o di**erent linea&es o* the meditation o* loo/in& directl+ at mind arose in the Va3ra+ana in $i2et0 One .as the mahamudra and the other .as the d6o&chen linea&e0 Di**erent teachers ha,e made some.hat di**erent statements a2out the relationship 2et.een these t.o st+les o* practice and teachin&0 'ome ha,e said that d6o&chen is more pro*ound than mahamudra: others ha,e said that mahamudra is more pro*ound than d6o&chen: 2ut most ha,e said that the+ are the same thin&0 $he instructions in 2oth o* these traditions is simpl+ called C&uidance on the mindD 2ecause in 2oth s+stems e,er+thin& hin&es on the student1s reco&nition o* the nature o* mind0 9+ loo/in& at texts *rom 2oth s+stems- one *inds that the+ point to the same thin&0 In *act- in man+ cases the+ use the same .ords0 In his Aspiration ra!er for Mahamudra" the $hird #armapa- Ran&3un& Dor3e- sa+s@
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$his *reedom *rom mental directedness is mahamudra:

$his *reedom *rom extremes is the &reat middle .a+: !s it includes e,er+thin&- this is the &reat per*ection =d6o&chen>0 "a+ I ha,e the con*idence that reali6in& one is understandin& them all0

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;urther in the text- he sa+s@


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It does not exist and has not 2een seen 2+ an+ o* the ,ictorious ones0 It does not not exist: it is the 2asis o* samsara and nir,ana0 It is not a contradiction: it is the middle .a+ o* unit+0 "a+ I reco&ni6e this dharmata o* the mind0 <set xml=true><VOICE REQUIRED=" !"E=(aul">

;rom the d6o&chen tradition- a text *rom 4i&me %in&pa reads@


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It does not exist and has not 2een seen 2+ an+ o* the ,ictorious ones0 It does not not exist: it is the 2asis o* samsara and nir,ana0 It is not a contradiction 2ut is 2e+ond expression0 "a+ I reali6e d6o&chen- the &round o* all thin&s0
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Next point"
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#angchuk Dor$e%s Text


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In the times o* $ilopa- aropa- "arpa- and "ilarepa- the *ormat o* mahamudra instructions .as primaril+ 2rie* spiritual son&s o* instruction called dohas that .ere 8uite spontaneous0 $hese .ere &i,en to a disciple .ho .ould meditate upon the instruction and then return to the teacher and descri2e his or her

experience0 On the 2asis o* the student1s experiences- the teacher .ould &i,e *urther instruction as needed0 $hrou&h this process o* exchan&e and experiential oral instruction- the disciple or student .ould attain reali6ation and then .ould train his o.n students in the same .a+0 In that .a+- the mahamudra linea&e .as initiall+ one o* oral instruction- called an oral linea&e or heard linea&e0 $his t+pe o* instruction is ,er+ pro*ound and e**ecti,e0 ?o.e,er- as time .ent onthere .ere more and more practitioners- more disciples- re8uirin& a more s+stemati6ed *ormat o* instruction0 !lso- as time .ent on- disciples 2ecame less dili&ent in en&a&in& in this process- so it 2ecame necessar+ to .rite do.n these instructions that had 2een transmitted0 In the #a&+u tradition- the .ritin& do.n o* the oral instructions happened primaril+ durin& the time o* the inth #armapa- 7an&chu/ Dor3e- .ho li,ed in the *i*teenth centur+0 ?e .rote three main expositions o* mahamudra practice@ the lon&est o* these is called The &cean of Definiti'e Meaning" the medium len&th text is called Dispelling the Darkness of (gnorance" and the 2rie*est one- this text- is ointing &ut the Dharmaka!a. 7hile it is true that the lon&est o* the three texts- The &cean of Definiti'e Meaning" is 8uite ,ast and that ointing &ut the Dharmaka!a is the shortest o* the three- this =latter> text still &i,es a *ull treatment o* mahamudra practice0 $his 2oo/ has se,eral sections0 $he *irst part o* the text is de,oted to the *our preliminaries o* mahamudra practice- and the 2ul/ o* the text descri2es the actual practice- di,ided into the practice o* tran8uilit+ meditation and the practice o* insi&ht meditation 0 In the section on tran8uilit+ meditation- a ,ariet+ o* methods are outlined0 In the section on insi&ht- a ,ariet+ o* methods *or practicin& the insi&ht aspect o* mahamudra are also &i,en0 $he st+le o* the text is indicated 2+ its nameointing &ut the Dharmaka!a- descri2in& the .a+ the text is to 2e used0 9ecause o* its 2re,it+the text is a con,enient practical manual *or mahamudra practitioners0 It is eas+ to use- and it is eas+ to /eep the instructions in mind0 $he instructions ena2le the practitioner to &et directl+ at the nature o* his or her mind0
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The (mportance of De'otion


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$hrou&hout ointing &ut the Dharmaka!a" the point is made a&ain and a&ain- and this is the same point that is made in one o* the stan6as o* the #a&+u linea&e supplication0 In the linea&e supplication- .e recite- CDe,otion is the head o* meditation-D the point 2ein& that the most important element in the practice o* mahamudra is +our *aith and commitment0 !s I said 2e*ore- the linea&e supplication 2+ (en/ar 4ampal 5an&po is an expression o* his reali6ation a*ter +ears o* mahamudra practice- and there*ore- e,er+thin& he .rote in that supplication has &reat meanin&0 CDe,otion is the head o* meditationD is a metaphor on man+ le,els0 Aenerall+ spea/in&- +our head is a ,er+ important part o* +our 2od+ 2ecause i* +ou ha,e a head- +ou can see- +ou can hear- +ou can tal/- +ou can eat0 It is the location o* most o* the senses0 E,en thou&h the head is not lar&e compared to the rest o* the 2od+- i* +ou don1t ha,e a head- +our *unctions are useless0 $he relationship o* de,otion to the rest o* meditation is ,er+ much li/e the relationship 2et.een +our head and the rest o* +our 2od+0 $he most important

thin& that ma/es meditation .or/ and *ruit*ul is +our de,otion and commitment0 7hat .e must direct our de,otion and commitment to.ard is the dharma0 In this context- .hen .e sa+ Cdharma-D .e mean mahamudra0 De,otion and commitment mean ha,in& the *eelin&@ CI must meditate on this0 I* I meditate on this- there .ill 2e 2ene*it0 $hese are the actual methods- and the+ .ill lead to the &oal I .ish to achie,e0D In short- it is con*idence in the ,alidit+ and e**icac+ o* the mahamudra teachin&s and practices0 It is a trust that- throu&h correctl+ implementin& the instructions .e ha,e recei,ed *rom the root &uru throu&h the linea&e &urus- the attainment o* our &oal .ill actuall+ come a2out0 $he reason this is so important is that- i* .e ha,e this commitment 2ased on con*idence- then .e .ill naturall+ 2e dili&ent- and i* .e are dili&ent- then .e .ill &et results0
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Moti'ation for

ractice

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7hether one is practicin& dharma in the *orm o* meditation or one is listenin& to dharma- it is important that one1s moti,ation *or doin& so 2e unlimited0 7hile practicin& and stud+in& mahamudra- one is concerned .ith the practice o* meditation0 I* in this stud+ and practice one1s concern is *or one1s o.n 2ene*it alone- the result .ill not 2e complete or per*ect- 2ecause the moti,ation is insu**icient0 In order to stud+ and practice properl+ +ou need to ha,e as +our moti,ation the thou&ht that +ou are .or/in& to attain 9uddhahood in order to 2e a2le to li2erate all 2ein&s0 C!ll 2ein&sD means all 2ein&s- .ithout exception.ho *ill space0 In order to attain 9uddhahood +ou must practice the path o* meditation0 I* .ith that moti,ation o* 2odhichitta +ou meditate or listen to the dharma- then &reat 2ene*it .ill ensue0 On the other hand- i* +ou practice or stud+ .ithout the altruistic moti,ation o* 2odhichitta- then 2ecause o* the limited 8ualit+ or pettiness o* +our moti,ation- the practice .ill not *unction properl+0 $here*ore- .hen +ou set a2out practicin& or stud+in& an+ aspect o* Va3ra+ana- such as mahamudra- or d6o&chen- it is necessar+ that +ou &enerate in +our mind the moti,ation o* 2odhichitta0 7hile .e &enerall+ thin/ o* 2odhichitta as 2ein& an attitude o* lo,e or compassion- in *act- to 2e authentic 2odhichitta- it must ha,e t.o aspects or characteristics0 $he *irst is the aspect o* compassion- .hich is altruism0 $his altruism- .hich is a deep concern *or the 2ene*it o* others- must 2e unlimited- in that it must 2e directed to all 2ein&s e8uall+0 !*ter all- one has had intimate *amil+ connections as mother- *ather- and children throu&hout innumera2le pre,ious li,es .ith all 2ein&s0 $he 2asic attitude o* the compassion aspect o* 2odhichitta is that- reco&ni6in& that all 2ein&s .ish to 2e *ree *rom the su**erin&s o* samsara 2ut do not /no. ho. to *ree themsel,es *rom these su**erin&s- +ou must protect and *ree them +oursel*0 $he second aspect or characteristic o* 2odhichitta is pra3na or /no.led&e that is *ocused on per*ect a.a/enin&0 $his means that +our intention to *ree all 2ein&s is not limited to the idea o* *reein& them merel+ *rom their present su**erin&s 2ut *rom all o* the su**erin&s o* samsara0 $here*ore- throu&h pra3na- +our .ish

to 2ene*it 2ein&s is *ocused on 2rin&in& all 2ein&s to the completel+ a.a/ened state o* 9uddhahood0 'o- .hene,er +ou practice or stud+ mahamudra- and .hen +ou recei,e teachin&s on it- please do so .ith this special intention0 (lease thin/- CI am stud+in& and practicin& this in order to 2rin& all 2ein&s to a state o* complete *reedom *rom samsara0D (lease tr+ to remem2er this Et.o*old moti,ation o* 2odhichittaF in e,er+ session as .ell as .hen +ou practice2ecause it .ill cause +our practice and stud+ to 2e o* much &reater 2ene*it0