Let's try all together to do like this, breathe in and go. [Ösel exhales completely] One more time, does it feel good? [Ösel speaks in French]
Translator: When you are stressed sometime, please do like this, or when you are annoyed or angry, please do like this. It is very good. Everything goes out. It's relaxing.
Ösel: Oh, we are switching jobs now! [Laughter]
So I wanted to thank everybody, thank you so much for coming here today. It’s really an honor for me to see so many beautiful, amazing, magical, special people. Really I am honored and humbled to be in your presence and you are all so special and so amazing. Please don't ever forget this. Never forget this. Never. Always keep very close to your heart how special you are. How amazing and magical, and don't ever get depressed or feel alone or like a victim, no, please, please. It is very important for your own spiritual growth and for everybody else's benefit to be very aware of this kind of mind or habit or pattern that we create unconsciously. Because otherwise you become small, you make yourself small, and then you forget about your potential.
It is important to have self-compassion. Of course, it is very important to have compassion toward other people all the time, to be aware of other people, to be empathic. Our security or our self-assurance, our self-worth, is often based on what we feel society thinks of us. Even sometimes for our self-worth we have to compare ourselves to other people and even in some occasions put people down. So it is very important to be aware of this pressure, society’s pressure, and not only give others kindness and compassion but also give it to yourself.
If you forget this kind of self-compassion, you empty yourself by caring too much for others then you expect some kind of reward. Then if you don't get that, then you feel betrayed or disappointed. If we are able to have self-compassion then we are more full of self-love. Then we can really give more without expecting anything in return and if people don't react like we expect them to react then we don't feel betrayed, depressed or alone, etc. So self-compassion, self-worth, is very important always. The same kind of kindness that you would give to someone that you love or care for, you have to also give to yourself. That is true warm-heartedness, like His Holiness Dalai Lama uses that term "warm heart." It is not only for the outside, it is also for the inside. It starts from the inside.
OK? You understand this? Please, please, it is very important. Don't let your mind misguide you. Don't get led by depressive thoughts or victimizing yourself or making yourself small and feeling alone. Don't do this. It is really not healthy and not beneficial at all because you are a big boss. You have a lot of responsibilities starting with your own mind, your own consciousness, and all the sentient beings and metabolisms and organisms in your body that are affected by your thoughts and by your feelings and emotions. They are affected by the vibration of your voice and what you say, so if you say, "Oh, I am sick. I am unhappy. I am not well," your body will believe it and react to that and give it back to you twice, so it is making it double. If you are going to use the holy speech that you have, at least use it in a beneficial way starting with being conscious about the body and the vibration that when we speak how it affects the body and this vibration will affect us. It is vice versa. You know, what we give we receive.
I wanted to talk about one very good example about how to really forget about this "poor me" thinking. Eckhart Tolle makes an example of saying the body pain or what is it called? [Ösel says the name in Spanish] Eckhart Tolle, what does he call it?
Student: [Says the name in French]
Ösel: Yes, so it’s very important. One of the things to do or to think about in order to avoid this is to think about the hardships that other people are facing at this very moment. For example, I watched a documentary the other day it's called Human. I actually posted it on my public Facebook page. I have a Facebook public page, you can press “like” if you want. [Laughter] I am always sharing new things that I find, that are really helpful and interesting. It is interesting also to use the internet as a way of communication today.
Anyway, in the documentary there is one part where they asked somebody what love is for them. So this man starts speaking and he says, “Right now I am in prison serving a life sentence.” He explained how his father, when he was young, used to beat him. He used all kinds of instruments to hit him and after beating him his father would always say, “It was harder for me than for you. I did it because I love you.” So this gave him a wrong message. He measured love by looking at how much pain someone could take. That is how he was expressing his love, by seeing the extent of pain the person would accept from him. That was the way that he measured love, because that is the way he understood, unconsciously let's say.
He was explaining now that he was in prison he understood what love was and it was very ironic because he said prison was a place devoid of love. And the person that showed him love was the person who actually came to see him and she was the grandmother and mother of the woman and child that he killed. We don't know the story, but he was talking about this. He killed a woman and her son and for that he was paying a life sentence and the only person who came to visit him was the mother and grandmother of those two people.
So for example, for this person, how did he understand love? In this extreme situation, that is how he discovered love, the real, true meaning of love. This is a clear example to really start to see that maybe our suffering is not so big.
There are many other stories about people. For example, there was one Chinese woman talking about her job. The most important thing she did every day was to look at plastic bottles for twelve hours a day to see if they were clean or not inside for recycling, or whatever it was, I am not sure, but she said that this was the most important thing she did in her life.
In China, in many places in factories and manufacturing, they really push the limit of the people and they don't even have any time for themselves. In China many companies, many factories, have anti-suicide nets around the building, because people despair so much that they actually jump off the building while they are working. They can't take it anymore. They are working for a company that basically is saying: don't commit suicide in our building because we don't want to take responsibility for your life if you want to commit suicide, do it at your house. They are actually dedicating their time, their energy, their space, and their commitment for that, and they don't have a choice, because in China the population is over 1.2 billion.
Even in the West, one guy was forty-seven years old and he lost his job. The only job that he knew how to do and he didn't know what to do anymore. He was very scared of having to live on the street. This fear, this kind of way of life that many people have right now, is happening. So the fact that we start to think very small, "Oh poor me, I am suffering, I am depressed," while we have everything we need to improve and have a spiritual growth, is very small thinking.
There can be physical suffering, but the mental suffering is much greater than the physical suffering if we allow it. So it is very important to actually be careful with the mental suffering because even if the physical suffering is great, if our relation—how we relate to that suffering from the mind—is different then the suffering is minimum. It is very important to be aware.
There are many people that spend their life searching in the rubbish for something and that is their whole life. Many people live in poverty, which means no school, no food, no sleep. They want to have intelligence, they have a wish to improve, but they don't have the resources, the opportunities that we have. For example, when you are in that kind of situation it is very difficult to choose an interesting job, something that you enjoy doing, for example. And for us, if we want to marry, we can marry for love not because we are aging.
Basically one of the people describes poverty like a river. When you have wealth, and what I mean by wealth is all kinds of wealth like resources, information, knowledge, understanding, company, all of these values that we forget when we get depressed. So when you have wealth it is like a river full of water. You don't hit the rocks. You can just float over the water without hitting the rocks. So when you get depressed, think about that. Think that you are floating on the river with a lot of water, OK?
I just wanted to start like that because, please don't be so serious. But I think it is important to be aware of these things, and to give importance to being joyful, to being happy, to smiling. When you walk on the street and you see homeless people, smile, look at them in the eyes and smile at them, speak to them, ask them questions, ask them how they got there, what is their situation, acknowledge them, recognize them. I think it is very important because it will mean so much to them.
And those are the real values, when you can really give something—something that you cannot buy, something that only you can give—it is so precious. Not only homeless people but also anybody who you encounter in everyday life you can ask, “When did you come in? What time did you start your shift? How many hours do you have left? How are you doing? Is it difficult?” Like that, you know. Maybe people are working there for eight, nine or twelve hours a day and just that fact that you asked them those questions—vooom—it lifts them up.
I heard in Paris fifty percent of the population live alone and in Sweden and Norway maybe seventy to seventy-five percent live alone. We are living in a city where we are sharing the same wall, but we don't even know who is on the other side of the wall. We don't speak with them. So what is this? What is happening? If we close ourselves so much in ourselves we are not able to communicate with other people, then obviously we are going to get a little bit depressed. It is good to open up. Don't be scared. Be spontaneous. Don't be so self-aware. One day we won't be here anymore so while you still are here live life, enjoy, give, be alive! You know, I mean all of you are already doing that and I know very well. [Ösel laughs] I know, but it is good sometimes to have a reminder.
So it’s just good to smile always, even though maybe you are unhappy, you smile and then you create the cause not to be unhappy, OK.
There is so much to talk about today, you know. I don't know, maybe, after some time we can do pipi break and come back again. I don't know, it depends. I have a lot to talk about, but I shouldn't brag too much because then maybe suddenly I don't have anything to talk about. [Ösel laughs]
There are so many things that I really want to talk about today, but I don't know exactly where to start. So maybe I am just going to write down a few things. I am going to start with communication, because communication is the foundation for human relationships and life is all about sharing. If you can't share, then what is the point? Even the wealthiest people who have all the material things and have everything that they can have for lifetimes, what they value the most is time and company. They fight for land, for resources, for wealth, for information, for so many different aspects, but in the end what they value the most is time and company.
Even before having to go through all of that, we already know this. We have this information. We have this value. That is why—let's start off talking about communication today.
Because, for example, most of the human projects that end up failing is because about eighty to ninety percent of the time the reason that they fail is because of misunderstanding. You understand what that means? People misunderstand each other because they don't have a good base for communication. So how do we start with communication? How do we start with communication? So first of all we have to be grateful.
[Ösel asks someone near him] Where is the Vietnamese monk, the one with the tattoos?
Ösel: Sangpo. Where's Sangpo? For example, I was just thinking of Sangpo. I don't want to make his ego big or anything. [Ösel laughs] I know he is very humble already but just with one smile he communicates so much.
Anyway, what I wanted to say was the first step of communication is gratitude, empathy. From the gratitude comes the empathy. So we have gratitude at the top. Imagine there is a power point. So we have gratitude. When we are grateful to our situation, we are grateful to the company that we have, to everything, and then we become more humble. When we are more humble we listen more. We try to understand.
[Translator interrupts briefly and Ösel speaks to audience in French explaining the difficulties of being a translator.]
When you are humble, you are more aware, so you listen more. You don't care so much to impose what you want or what you are, like that. It's not so important when you are humble, when you are grateful. That is when empathy comes in, so when somebody says something then you don't answer, you don't listen to answer, you listen to understand. That is the first step to communication. So, you listen to understand not to answer.
I know many people before you even finish speaking, they already, "Ahhhh," they already want to say something. And what is this? This is ego. I am sorry. I can say that, but it's OK if you get angry. Me, I can say like that. I have a very big ego. I recognize that, but sometimes also it’s very difficult to see, but now I have the chance to poke you. So please forgive me, OK? But I enjoy. A little bit I enjoy.
So, listen to understand and if you don't understand then you ask questions to understand better. So the first step of communication. And even if sometimes people don't say anything, if you are humble, if you are grateful, then you are aware, "Oh, maybe they are suffering. Maybe there is something." Even if they are trying to smile you can see they are having problems. And that is the first step to true joy. When you think, "Me, me, me, me, me, poor me, poor me," there is no joy in that and then you want people to pay attention to you and then you bring them down too. So it is good to give, but remember when we started off we said self-compassion also.
You have to have the balance. Always in life have balance. Moderation is very good. Even sometimes without moderation water can kill you. With moderation, fire can save your life. It can keep you warm. It can cook your food. Without moderation, what happens? You can burn yourself or your food will get burnt and you'll eat very crunchy food, black food. Already nature is showing us how important moderation is. In life, you always have to observe. The best examples are in nature, the best teachings. The best guru you can see in nature.
We can learn so much if we observe instead of just looking at ourselves—me, big me, the center of everything, me. Instead of looking at that, start to observe the small details. Wow, amazing! When you see the beauty in everybody, how beautiful everybody is, then you appreciate his or her presence. Then you can also start appreciating your presence. You start to see your beauty, which is infinite and magic.
So the first step is communication. How to do that? By having total gratitude at all times. Because we are creatures of habit, we work based on habit, so we start every morning, "Thank you, I woke up today. Thank you, I am alive today. I can appreciate life. I can even practice meditation.”
So many other things. I don't want to go into it because it's going to take a lot of time but you know. You already know so you can just do that. This is a good meditation. But start with your body, with your heart and the organs that are working constantly for you. They don't ask for anything, only for you to treat them well, to be grateful, to be aware, to take good care of your body, of your organs. Take good care of your mind, of the mindstream, that’s very important.
Everything we see that's been created by humans started with a thought. The only thing right now in this room that has not been manipulated by the human mind is the four elements, which are present. So be very aware of your thoughts and your mind and the power behind that. The effect that it can have on yourself and on many other people around you, even the human collective memory.
You have empathy thanks to gratitude and then you can start communicating much better. Because when you listen before you impose what you think is right, then that is where you really start to become wise. That is where you actually share what you really have. Instead of giving ego, you give humility. You will receive ten thousand million times more humility and love and understanding. If you give ego then you get more ego in exchange. Then all you can see is ego and conflict of emotions and every time you get more depressed, more angry, more despair and blah, blah blah.
We live in a community, this world is a community, and we are constantly coming in contact with other human beings. We really don't know what other people have gone through. We really have no idea. So it is very good to always give the best of yourself. And like that you will receive the best. Also with self-compassion, to really empower yourself you need self-compassion. That is why communication is very important.
So the first step in Buddhism is to adapt positively to any circumstance. Does it make sense? If you can adapt positively to any circumstance that life brings you with humility, with patience, with compassion, with joy, with respect and empathy then the result is that you will be so much more happy, so much more joyful and full of harmony, and your mind will be more calm because you are not only thinking about yourself.
The next step, I think, patience is very important. For example, when we are on Facebook or anything like that—sometimes we do so many completely useless things like watching TV which is basically brainwashing us—but somehow, we are then very patient. Why? Why is this? I don't understand. We are wasting our time, but we are super-patient. However, many times when we are not wasting our time, when we are actually doing something, we have a challenge, we lose patience so easily. Why is this? It is important to check and observe.
The other day someone told me a very funny story about a woman and a child in a supermarket. The mother took her daughter to the supermarket and the daughter immediately saw chocolate and she screamed, "Ah! I want chocolate, I want chocolate!" and the mother said, "No, no, no." Then after a while she saw some biscuits and she said, "I want biscuits!" She started a tantrum and then afterwards she saw some candies, so she started grabbing all the candies and putting them into the basket and shouting, "I want candies!"
The mother said, "No, sorry we are going to go home and take a shower. We are going to cook dinner and then we are going to have dinner." She very patiently said, "No, Caroline, we are going to go home. We are going to take a shower. We are going to have dinner." Slowly she took out the candies and she put everything back again while the girl was going completely crazy. Someone who was in the supermarket came to the mother and said, "Wow, I really admire you. You are so patient with your daughter Caroline." The mother said, "Sorry, no, I am Caroline and my daughter's name is Eleanor." [Laughter] So the woman said, "OK.” That is a good example of having patience with yourself. The mother was talking to herself not to the daughter.
It reminds me of another story. It doesn't have much to do with patience, but it is also a nice story about a young daughter. Maybe, I think, in Russia. Her mother took her to a big supermarket. Normally, they don't go to the market. They have to drive lots of kilometers to get there so it's something very unusual. The daughter suddenly saw behind the glass a magnificent doll. The mother immediately said, "Oh no, I can't afford it. Sorry, I can’t buy it for you. It's impossible.” And the daughter answered very wisely, "Mother, I am just enjoying by looking at it." The mother still cries today when she thinks about that story, when she tells that story. She is such a young girl and at such a young age is already so wise. She didn't say, "I want it!" She was just enjoying by observing, just seeing it, and it was the mother who thought, "Oh, she wants it." Anyway, these are funny stories that happen in supermarkets. [Laughter]
Anyway, we were talking about patience. Basically patience is very, very important, starting with oneself. But patience is not only now, like temporary, it is also long-term. If you have a challenge, if you want to achieve something, if you want to be dedicated, then you also have to have patience. That is why, because we are creatures of habit, we can't change like that. [Ösel snaps his fingers] We have to take baby steps slowly, slowly, slowly. So it is good to slowly create the habit, the pattern, in the mind first. Slowly, then you can start doing it and talking about it. Slowly, slowly.
The important thing is to recognize the patterns in the mind. When it is negative you cut, you stop, and then you switch to something positive. One of the main issues on the planet today, because there are so many problems, is that we overvalue negativity more than positivity. If we actually overvalue positiveness much more and we don't give so much importance to negativity then what we actually will have is positiveness. But it is important also to observe the negativity in order to learn, to know what you don't want and to know what you do want. So learn from your mistakes. You can make some mistakes, but don’t repeat the same, same, same mistake all the time. Then you don't evolve.
It's interesting how dissatisfaction works, because society kind of pushes us toward that direction, it really makes us believe that satisfaction and happiness rely on the outside. Somehow we want more transient things. Transient like moving, changing. Transient, how do you translate? Somehow we want transient things.
Translator: We are not satisfied with permanent things. We are looking for things that change, that are moving all the time, that are temporary. Or today we want this but tomorrow we want something else.
Ösel: Ah! It's good, huh? Fresh. It makes the mind fresh. [Laughter]
Somehow we can rationalize ourselves into wanting less. Does that make sense? We pursue things that make us happy only for a period of time. This is called temporary happiness. We search for that in order to forget about our temporary suffering. Basically capitalism is sustained by this way of thinking. If we understand the nature of this then the system will collapse. Then maybe money will disappear and maybe it will be the utopia of anarchy. No, I'm just joking. I think it is pretty difficult but we do have a possibility to improve the individual, who represents society.
The job is within us to really understand the nature of reality, the nature of our illusionary I, the hologram of the universe, the illusion of what we think is so solid and permanent. If we really start valuing the true inner values, the real values, then we can really start taking one step toward creating a new habit, a pattern which will change us and direct us toward happiness and true joy. So you have big responsibility. It's a small job but the effect is big.
[Osel speaks French]
Translator: Lama Zopa Rinpoche said to Ösel it's a good meditation if every time you go to the bathroom you think maybe it is the last time you may go to the bathroom. It's a meditation on impermanence.
Ösel: It makes us value more what we have now. It's not like we are projecting our death.
Translator: I don't understand.
Ösel: Projecting, to create. Projecting—we are not thinking that we are going to die. We are being aware of our impermanent existence. Then we don't take life too seriously. It's not like we are going to get out of it alive, right? [Laughter]
But we can go to the next life and we can take the values with us, the true wealth. The wealth that really counts we can take to the next life. We don't have to worry about anybody stealing it from us or losing it, or if we give it away. Nobody can steal it from us. When we share it, it multiplies. True wealth is the real inner values, and that is what Buddhism is talking about. That is what all religions—it's the spiritualism—the beginning of humans questioning our existence, questioning our purpose, and trying to understand what we are doing here. It all started from there, from really trying to understand our true wealth.
Don't forget that we have our motivation; we have the body, this physical human form which is infinite in its potential; we have this holy speech which is vibration and inspiration; and then we have the most amazing machine that we can't see, that we can't touch, but we are aware of this existence. We are using it constantly like the electrician uses his screwdriver, but the electrician is not the screwdriver. Just like that we are not our mind. Our true essence is clear light. Sometimes the consciousness, or we can call the clear light the soul, and the thoughts somehow are a little bit the result of our body, our brain. We use thoughts as a way to try to understand and relate to our existence, right?
It's important to be aware of the mind and how the mind plays tricks on us. Don't believe everything you think because the mind comes and goes just like the clouds come and go. You can't grab it. It is not solid. It is ephemeral.
Sometimes with our thoughts we become so sad or things become so difficult. Just as when there is a storm and a plane goes above the clouds, you can see the clear blue sky and the sun, you also have to do like that. You have to come out of these negative, conflictive thoughts that don't help you or anyone else either. They just bring you down and bring everybody else down. You can use it to improve, like I said, to know what you don't want and to know what you do want. It’s very important.
For example, many people work today in order to be able to eat tomorrow and when they get sick they have nothing to eat. Difficult huh? And for them the problem is not depression or mind, for them their problem is a physical situation. So it is good to pray for them and to be aware of all these things, to also bring oneself up to be happier.
For example, people who work in a factory putting in motors, they have to put a motor in a car and they are working eight, nine hours. They have back pain. They are sweating and their boss is pushing them and they have a lot of pressure. There is no empathy in the workplace. When they get home they have back pain and they can't even sleep sometimes. For them sometimes it is very difficult to practice Dharma in this kind of situation, but we have this opportunity. You cannot take it for granted. You really, really have a huge opportunity. Don't take it for granted. Don't feel like you are entitled for what you have. You have to really feel grateful for what you have and that way you can really practice Dharma much better.
You know, sometimes the most generous people are the people who have no money. Before there was money everybody shared everything. They exchanged things. It was a different kind of mentality also. Money created a sense of entitlement, “This is mine.”
We share everything. We share the earth; we share the sunlight; we share the air we breathe. We share everything. So what is ours? If we think about it, what do we really have? Everything. We have certain things like this time, this space and this energy. We have this body, speech and mind. We have the motivation, which is behind all of this. That is what we have. Everything else is transitory. So the desire to want to own something is ridiculous. We should already be satisfied because we have all our means to live granted.
Everybody who is here, we are here because we have enough food. We have enough wealth to live comfortably. We have certain work and if we don't have work we have means to live, to maintain ourselves, our lifestyle, our quality of life, let's say. Even some people they don't have much but they can still afford to pay for their addictions. People who don't have this situation, this opportunity, they are not here. They would be here maybe if we gave out food or if we gave out some money or help. They are more focused on finding food, finding shelter, finding some kind of resource, some kind of wealth, like money. Because we have all of this already covered then we can come here, for example. This is also one type of value.
The human race is sometimes very strange. You know, we deny people shelter. We deny people food. For example, out of all the food that is thrown away in first world countries—when I say “first world countries” it's because they stole everything from the third world countries. Not everything but a lot. The first world countries’ economic system is maintained by the third world countries, by the cheap labor, by the resources, by the food. If we closed the borders of the first world countries and we didn't allow the third world countries to bring in their resources, the first world countries would collapse.
We call them third world countries because they are poor, but they are poor because their wealth was stolen from them by imperialism. If all the first world countries gave away one-third of all the food that they throw to the rubbish, they could feed all the hungry people on the planet. That is the situation today. We literally deny people food. We have too much, so we throw it away. Even I have seen many supermarkets when they, what do you call it, the expiry dates? They have them on the food. What do you call the thing that they sell, the stuff that they sell?
Student: The products.
Ösel: The products. I've seen many supermarkets that throw away products in the rubbish before the expiry date finishes and they lock the rubbish so homeless people can't get to the food. They are like, "You want our food, pay for it!" That is the type of mentality. They lock the food even though it is perfectly OK, you know, you can eat it.
I actually did that kind of experience. I wanted to know what it was like to live on the street. I have many friends who live on the street and who have that kind of lifestyle. In my case it wasn't really a choice. Well it was kind of a choice, because I accepted it. I didn't run away from it. So I just kind of lived on the street for some time. It was very interesting to see how society sees you differently. Even your self-worth goes down because of the way society looks at you.
I made friends with a professional, a street-liver. [Laughter] He was very, very amazing. His self-worth was coming from inside; it wasn't based on society. For me, he was like a bodhisattva. I saw him like a bodhisattva. I was really lucky to meet him. He was always happy, always joyful. Theater; everything was theater. Everything was like a show. A show that he wanted to share with people to make them happy, to make them laugh. He was very funny. When he slept, sometimes he would get so cold that he would get up, run around and then come back and go back to sleep.
Where we brushed our teeth was at the McDonalds, because they don't say that you can't go into the bathroom, so you can just go brush your teeth and have water. Then I tried to get some food because I was really hungry in the morning. Everything I had had been stolen so I had nothing. I only had the clothes I had on. That was it. And already I had been many days on the street, so I really didn't have much option but to ask people to please give me some food. So I did a very sad face and there were people eating and then I would go to them. My clothes were very dirty because I was sleeping on the ground, and I smelled bad, maybe, and my hair very like [Ösel shows messy hair] and also no shave.
So I would go and say, "Please, can you give me some potato chips?" with big eyes. People would look at me and they would go like this. [Ösel slowly turns away] They would act like they didn't see me and they tried to make more conversation. They became more passionate in their conversation. They tried to ignore me as much as they could, so then I had a bad feeling, "Oh, you know these people are so (?). They have so much food but they don't want to share." And then it was me. Why don't they want to give to me? When I got out of McDonalds I was really unhappy and angry; not angry but like disappointed.
You know, he was so funny. He had this really nice leather, not leather, but like this thick jacket, and the same pants and clothes always. He had a chapeau. You know a chapeau? A red hat with a pom-pom like that. He was like that [Ösel bobs his head around] all the time, just this attitude joking all the time.
He was sitting with the toothpick on the bench like that, [Ösel shows a relaxed posture] with the sun on his face just enjoying. So I don't know, I came out really unhappy and I was like, “Man, these people are not generous. I am ashamed of the human race.” I was talking about that. He started laughing and then he went into the McDonald's and in five minutes he came out with two hamburgers, potato chips, ketchup, everything, laughing. [Laughter]
I couldn't believe it. My mind was completely blown away. Then I asked him, “What is your secret?” And he said, “I don't feel sorry for myself and people want to share that. They want a piece of that, so they want to give.” So that is one of the lessons he taught me.
He was such a funny guy, this guy. Oh my god. He would do the funniest shows, man. One time he went to the public bathroom and he opened the door of the toilet and he was squatting, reading the newspaper, singing. And you could tell he was living on the street but he was like, “Na, na, na, na,” acting like a theater in the bathroom. So people would come in and they would be shocked and say, "What's this? Oh my god." They tried to ignore him. They tried to ignore and then finally they would call somebody and kick him out but he would be laughing. Everything was theater.
One time I remember I went to the door of a restaurant and I asked for some food and the guy, the waiter, he gave me a loaf of bread. I was so grateful. I was like, wow. For one loaf of bread, it was just amazing. And after fifteen days, I took one hot shower. The water was black and I shaved. You know, it was amazing. And I could have one bowl of corn flakes with cold milk. Ha, amazing, really. Sometimes it is good to have these experiences. Not necessarily now, maybe it is more difficult because I am older. Maybe sleeping on the street I would feel my body. You know because I was sleeping on a card box. A cardboard box?
Ösel: On the street, on the cold floor, you can really feel the organs and the joints really suffer. No pillow, no blanket. I wasn't really well-prepared, actually. When you are young, you recover easy. But anyway, this guy's name was Litus (?) and he was traveling all over Europe hitchhiking. He had no money. He had nothing, but he traveled all over Europe. He went to Morocco, the Canary Islands, and all of Europe eating every day. He had everything he needed. He was always happy. This is because he had the inner values.
I was talking about the human race and how we deny people shelter. We deny them food. We deny other people their survival purely because of money. So it's also important to be aware of the condition that money makes. The true wealth is inside not outside. The true wealth is the company, sharing the best qualities of yourself; being all these very amazing qualities, that is the real wealth. True joy comes from that, from sharing, from helping, from benefiting.
There is one guy, I love him so much. Now he is not the president of Uruguay but before when he was the president of Uruguay he is an amazing example. His name is Mujica. Uruguay, next to Argentina. [Ösel speaks to translator]
Translator: I thought you were talking about an association or something.
Ösel: Uruguay, it's a country. He was an amazing president. If all the presidents of the world were like him it would be an amazing planet. But we are going in that direction, we have to have positiveness. Now we are entering the Golden Era. We are entering the Golden Era maybe now, because we have a lot of information. We think it's a difficult situation. Bad things are happening, but the only difference is that we have more information. But the information is actually helping us to be more aware of the situation and that way to actually transform.
So it is good to always have a positive view of the future. Not to despair but to be confident that we are actually starting a Golden Era, an amazing time. Especially in the presence of buddhas like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We are here alive at their time and we are able to receive their teachings, so the blessing is amazing. Such an amazing opportunity. Just the fact of being in their presence on the same planet is already directing us, pushing us in a much faster way toward enlightenment, because of the living embodiment of the example of buddhahood.
Anyway, I think Mujica is a bodhisattva. He must be a realized being for sure, the president of Uruguay, the ex-president of Uruguay. He was saying the way we live, our values are the expression of the society we live in and we cling to that. That is what Mujica says. He says, "Either you are happy with a little bit, without overburdening yourself because you have happiness inside or you'll get nowhere." Do you understand?
Mujica, the president, was saying this. He said we invent all kinds of material stuff so that people can keep buying and throwing, buying and throwing away constantly. That is how capitalism works, right? We invent things so people buy and throw away all the time. But it is our lives that we are squandering. Squandering is like throwing away.
When we buy something we are not paying with money, we pay with the time from our lives. The time from our lives and the time from other peoples’ lives also. But the difference is that we cannot buy life. Our life goes by and we are fighting for money. We are using money to buy things that we buy and throw away. Capitalism is inventing all these things. We pay with the money that represents the time that we sacrifice for that money. We sacrifice this and everybody else is also sacrificing this. But the difference is that we cannot buy life.
Mujica says, “Life goes by and it is terrible to waste your life losing your freedom.” It is terrible to waste your life by losing your freedom. So this is something I wanted to quote from Mujica, because I thought it was very inspiring.
OK, almost two hours already, is it? Yeah? Do you want a pipi break maybe? OK, so we do a fifteen-minute pipi break and then we come back again, but I am scared maybe only half of the people will come back! [Laughter] Just joking, joking.
Wow, everybody came back. I can't believe it. Thank you for coming back. Now I forgot what I wanted to say. I'm just joking. It's all written here. I am cheating, I wrote down everything. [Laughter] So you got to stretch your legs and disconnect and walk around. It is a good feeling, right? For the body, it's a good feeling, right? You have to do the same with the mind also once in a while, not just the body.
How's it sound, by the way? [Ösel speaks to tech support] Closer or further? Like this? Now it is good?
It's been proven already that people in the workplace and the schools are more productive when they have more time and more space, when they can relax, chill a little bit, disconnect. So quality is more important than quantity. One of the highest levels of school in the world is, I think, Sweden. The best result in education. And when they went to Sweden to check why they had the highest—what do you call that?
Translator: Quality? Quality of teaching? Quality of education?
Ösel: Yeah, thank you. Why they had the highest academic level, the reason was because they only studied for about four hours a day. The rest of the time at school they were just playing. So for those four hours they really were very interested, they were enjoying it and they had the real quality.
In the workplaces it is the same also. The same thing happens. In the workplaces when people work for less time they are more focused, more dedicated and the productivity of the company is much bigger. So it is good to give yourself time to relax, you know?
One of the reasons why Einstein was such a genius or became such a genius is because for a big part of his life he was doing nothing. He was just wasting his time, thinking about life. His parents didn't approve, his teachers didn't approve, but he did it anyway. And the result was somebody like Einstein; in our society we call him a genius. He invented E=mc2 and pi, the number pi. Even though maybe the result, the atomic bomb, the nuclear bomb, wasn't such a good positive result, at least he was a genius because of the productivity of his brain. It was because he gave himself space and time to really be able to relax and question life.
In the same way when we practice, if it's meditation or if we are studying, reading, working, anything we do, we have to also give ourselves a break. We have to chill a little bit, relax. We don't live to work. We work a little bit in order to be able to live, but the actual point of working is so that we can have a good quality life. Not to accumulate wealth that we can't spend in lifetimes. Maybe we share; maybe we donate, that is a good thing. Anyway, I wanted to just make a point on the fact that now your mind is fresher and your body is also a little bit more relaxed, because we took a break. In the same way take a break from your mind, OK?
Where were we? I don't remember any more. In society today, the system makes us become more individualistic. So it is all about me, all about us. Even the phone, we are all the time on the phone, and the phone is all about us. It's not about other people. It is about us. The phone releases some endorphins when we receive a message or something related to us; our body secretes endorphins, some kind of happiness chemical. But there is another name. There are endorphins and there is another name, another thing? What?
Ösel: Serotonin, serotonin, something like that.
Student: Happiness hormone.
Ösel: Happiness hormone.
For example, many times we write to people in order to receive something to activate this kind of activity that makes us feel self-worthy, "Oh, I am important." Somehow the society and the system create an addiction toward this kind of self. What do you call it, this kind of self-importance?
It is very important to be aware of that at all times. The phone, relax with the phone. You can also look around. Not all the time on the phone. You miss the real details of life when you are on the phone. That is the whole point of the phone, to disconnect yourself from yourself. Maybe the purpose of the phone is to connect you with people, right? But the actual fact is that, for example, before there were phones when you didn't see someone for a long time there would be many things that you wanted to talk about, so when you met the person you really appreciated their company. You were really aware of their presence and there would be a lot to talk about. Now these days all you think about, you just write whatever. You don't really appreciate the person's presence as much.
Maybe not so much in the West, but in Asia I've seen it a lot. You know, where a whole family goes to eat lunch and everybody is on the phone and maybe the only person not on the phone is the mother and she's like this. [Ösel looks up at the ceiling] She's feeling ashamed of herself because people are looking. Maybe in Asia it is more normal that everybody is on the phone. It is normal, but in the West it's not very polite, right? But it still happens a lot.
When you talk on the phone like this, you are actually frying your brain. If you look at the terms and conditions—which are very well-hidden in your phone, but if you search for it you can find it in very small writing—it will say there is radiation from the phone and you have to keep it at a certain distance otherwise it is very harmful. It is written there but it is in very, very small words and you really have to look for it.
If you speak on the phone, for example, it is good to use a loudspeaker and if you don't want other people to hear you can use an earpiece or an earphone or something like that. And try to not carry the phone with you all the time because sometimes the radiation can cause cancer and things like that. And when you go to sleep turn off the WiFi, turn off the 3G, turn off the phone. Sorry, it's very modern. [Laughter] So it's good because when you are asleep the subconscious—you are very sensitive—so when all these radioactive things and transmission and blah, blah, blah, it affects you, so it's good to take a break sometimes. You turn off the WiFi, you turn off your phone, turn everything off and then you can go to sleep. Don't leave everything on at night, all the electrical stuff; turn everything off if you can. Don't turn off the fridge though. [Laughter] But you know this habit of falling asleep while you are watching a movie on the sofa. This is not a good habit. If you see you are falling asleep, turn off the TV and go to sleep properly. Turn off everything and go to sleep properly.
It’s good to sleep in complete darkness. If there is a little bit of light, the sensors behind the eye detect the light. These sensors, when there is no light, activate a process in our body which regenerates around a billion new cells in one night. That's why it's important if we have some lights in the room or if we fall asleep with the lights on, then this process doesn't really happen and we are not regenerating those billion cells. So it's good to turn off all the lights, go to sleep properly, do some mantras or something and you slowly go to sleep. [Interruption] What? What? What? Is something to do? [Laughter]
Translator: I can't even translate it. [Laughter]
Ösel: These are just different habits that are important to keep in your everyday life. Try to sleep maybe five or six hours minimum and if you can sleep eight hours, then it is very good, but it depends on the person. I have a friend who can only sleep three hours; he can't sleep more than that and he's fine. He's super-active. Anyway, that's different people, but in general six hours is the recommended amount of sleep.
Anyway, we are talking about the phone and the fact that the phone is all about you. So be aware of that when you take up the phone. When you eat food don't leave the phone on the table; try to put it somewhere far from the food because it can have an effect also. You may think I am paranoid or something but in the long term it does have an effect. The short term maybe not so much.
I have some friends who make a rule when they go out to eat with all their friends together. Everybody has to give their phone in and then they put their phones all together and the first person that picks up their phone has to pay the bill. Or sometimes other people, what they do, they leave all their phones in the house and they only take one phone for the whole group in case of emergencies. So you can really have quality time with your friends, with the people. Because sometimes, maybe, you are having a very special moment and then you have a phone call which you have to take and then you have to go somewhere and you have to do something, so it really disconnects you from what's happening. So one phone for everybody for an emergency is OK, but that depends on the people. It's your choice.
Ultimately you are the captain of your boat. You are the ones who choose where you want to go. Whether you want to go smoothly or you want to crash everywhere. People have different styles. For some people it works to go smoothly and for other people it is more interesting and they learn better by having mistakes, big crashes, a crisis, but the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. But if we keep doing the same mistakes then we are not really learning anything. So it is important to move forward not go backwards. Don't take one step forward and two steps backwards. Keep moving forward all the time.
Try to challenge yourself to be better than the person yesterday. The challenge is not with the person next to you; the challenge is with yourself. You know you can't measure yourself with other people because everybody has gone through different things, different situations and everybody comes from different situations. And everybody has had different experiences and comes from different places so no one is better than you and no one is worse than you. You are you and that is the beauty. If you want to judge someone, judge yourself. If you want to criticize something, criticize yourself or otherwise criticize your best friend to his face and talk good about him behind his back. That is a good way to live.
Otherwise in society today they give us a wrong concept of beauty. The beauty that they portray doesn't exist. The same models that modeled for that slogan, for that publicity, they wish they looked like that. Because it is all a result of manipulation—the lighting, the make-up, and then afterward they do photoshop. There is a long process from the actual person to the result that we see on TV or in photos. But somehow the concept of beauty that they try to portray in our mind doesn't exist, so we are trying to reach a beauty that we can never find. We can never achieve it because the real true beauty comes from inside.
That is why when you wake up in the morning, you are so beautiful. You are like, "Oh no, I am ugly." No, you are very beautiful. When you wake up in the morning and you look in the mirror you are like, “Wow! How beautiful!”
You know for the Arab community, beauty is fat and blond. For them that is very beautiful. It is true. I have many Arab friends and if they are skinny, they are like, "No, I am very ugly." [Laughter]
So beauty is relative. It comes from what you see, how you relate to that beauty, what you base that beauty on. If you actually appreciate the beauty on the inside then everybody is so beautiful. And then maybe the cosmetic industry will collapse and many people would lose their jobs, so maybe better to keep quiet. No, I'm just joking. I think it's good to appreciate the real beauty and it's good to be aware of how sometimes society tries to brainwash us.
That is why, for example, art is so interesting, so valued. Because art for some people, this is art. [Ösel points at something on the wall] For other people it is just like, I don’t know. So it is very circumstantial, it is what society says it is. If they say it is valuable, then it becomes valuable somehow. If the artist dies, then the price multiplies a lot.
But there was one very famous artist, who was kind of making fun of the art industry a little bit. He is very famous. I think basically he put some of his own kaka inside a tin, closed, properly sealed and he sold it at an auction as art. And somebody bought it for millions, for a lot of money, to put it in their sitting room. So actually, I think, more than making fun he wanted to try to show a little bit how society labels things and then we all believe it is like that.
But actually, for example, we say today that gold is very valuable, that diamonds are very valuable, but when there is no water or no food then what is really valuable is water and food, not gold and diamonds. One day, suddenly, when we don't have food or we don't have water, the real money will be something different, what we exchange. I was talking with a friend that maybe the money at that time, in a situation like that, would be tuna tins. Because it is high in protein and the expiry date is ten years, but you can keep it for another ten years. So, for twenty years you can conserve it and it has protein, which is very difficult to find if there is no food or anything; protein is very valuable. You can eat fruit, you can eat different things, but protein is more difficult to find. Maybe at that time you can buy a house with maybe ten tuna tins or twenty tuna tins. I give you this many tuna tins in exchange for this land or this house or something like that. Why? Because that is what we value most at that time, so what humans value is relative. It is always changing based on our concepts.
So we have to relax a little bit more because what really counts is the inner values, the warm heart, kindness. If you want real joy then you have to give, not want to take. The more you want something for yourself, the result is going to be more suffering. The more you want to benefit somebody, the result is going to be satisfaction, but you always have to be aware of self-compassion. Take it easy but also have a limit. Don't let people abuse your generosity. If you give your hand, sometimes they want the arm. When you give the arm, they want the neck, you give the neck they want the head. Once you give the hand and then they want the arm you have to start to think a little bit, you know. So understand what is beneficial? What is necessary? What is not necessary? Am I really benefiting by letting them abuse me? Am I really benefiting by letting them take my help, my compassion, my kindness, for granted?
Humility and compassion are very good, but we also have to be wise about how we use it. Otherwise it turns into bitterness sometimes because we take on other people's mistakes, we take on other people's problems. If they do something that we feel is unforgivable then we can't forgive them, we are carrying their problem. It is very important to forgive them and also to forgive yourself. As long as you are learning then you are moving forward so don't torture yourself either. Forgive others and forgive yourself. It is very healthy and then maybe if the other person made a mistake that's their problem. You can try to help, but also you have to be aware of yourself; you have to take care of yourself. You can't be available all the time for the person, because then they will take it for granted. They will take advantage and then in the end what will happen is that they will take away your neck, your head, everything, then how can you help? You can't even help yourself then.
Anyway, I think that is one important point that we have to remember in everyday life, that we have to be aware of. Again, it is about moderation, about balance. Life is like tai chi, the balance. When you are balanced then you are harmonious, you are calm. And then your presence helps other people to be calm and harmonious also.
So we talked about patience. We talked about compassion. We talked about communication. We talked about gratitude.
Basically there is one example, we have two wolves and then we choose who to feed. One wolf is black and the other one is white. The one we choose to feed is the one who prevails and both are very hungry. If you feed the white one, the positive one, it has a high frequency vibration. This vibration is limitless. This is empathy, humility, respect, patience, compassion, kindness and generosity. All these things are high frequency. This is the white wolf.
And the black wolf is the low frequency vibration like greed, ego, hate, fear, selfishness and what else, so many things, anger, hate. These are very low frequency vibrations and they auto-destruct themselves. They can't prevail. In the short term it seems like it; it gives that appearance, but in the short term, the actual higher frequency vibrations will actually absorb the other ones and they will prevail. But we are responsible for that, so if we feed the black wolf more then we basically “auto-destroy” ourselves.
When I say “auto-destroy” I mean de-evolve. We de-evolve. So de-evolve, what does that mean? We create a pattern, a habit of enjoying doing negative actions. We actually end up enjoying doing it. Then we can be reborn in a situation like a tiger or a python. For example, a python, it's amazing, they can only eat living things. I have a friend who starved his python for eight months trying to give him dead animals, like a dead mouse or something like that. The python wouldn't eat and would only eat living animals. So imagine what kind of karma you have, that even if you are starving you still have to kill in order to survive.
Or being reborn in a favela or in some kind of gangland, where in order to survive, in order to be part of the gang you have to kill people. You are put in situations where you don't have a choice, so this is what I call de-evolving. You create the pattern where every time it is easier to de-evolve. But we can also create the positive pattern where we evolve and the more we do it the easier it is to do. It’s easier to maintain and we actually enjoy doing it, so we can be reborn in a vegan family, for example. A family that is more conscious and aware, and they are very empathic, full of joy, full of love, so they create the cause for us to actually be able to share that with people in our life.
That is why now we have a choice. Now we can evolve or de-evolve. We are the ones who choose which wolf to feed. We make the choice every day, all the time.
When we try to defend our self-cherishing mind then the result is going to be suffering. When I say defend the self-cherishing mind, I mean to uphold the belief of this wrong viewpoint of the I. There is no I and if we look for it we can never find it. But somehow we defend it so strongly. When we are bombarded by entertainment and distraction and pleasure, all these things, we are attracted to it. Why we are attracted? Because it supports the wrong concept of I.
So just be aware that originally we started as little blobs. We were single-celled animals that started to divide; composed of stem cells. The stem cells have the potential to become any type of—there are about two hundred different cells that have different jobs—so the stem cells have the potential to become any one of those two hundred cells. So these stem cells, originally that is what we were. We had the potential to become any organ of the body but we were just blobs that you can't see with the naked eye, only with the microscope. That is how small we were. And then this blob became a cylinder. So where is the I in this cylinder? And then slowly, slowly we became a fetus and then by two weeks the heart started pumping.
But basically the difference between a human and a pig is one percent, genetic. The genetic difference is one percent. The difference you see from a pig to us, there is only one percent of difference between us, so imagine how far away we are actually from reaching our full potential. Therefore we really have to wake up more and stop limiting ourselves by thinking so individualistically, because we are part of a collective and we have a purpose. Everybody has a purpose. Everything has a purpose. Everybody is magnificent in their own way.
Start to try to look for your I if you can. If you don't have an I, no I, you don't have the attachment or the aversion. If you have no attachment or aversion or destructive emotions, then you don't have the unskillful actions which just reinforce the mistaken sense of I. We actually are acting out of ignorance all the time. We should really, instead of covering ourselves up with a blanket of ego, let it go. See the truth. See the reality and then our problems will disappear. By reinforcing this ego, we are actually creating the imprint every day. This projection, we are actually creating that imprint every day and we are reinforcing that habit all the time. Basically we are projecting the karmic imprint also from past lives and we are constantly creating it again and again today. But this imprint is based on a false perception, so we create ignorance every day. We really have to start waking up, you know. It is never too late. It is always too early. No, it is never too early!
The mental attitude is relative to our humility and our pride so be careful of your mental attitude. Gratefulness equals humility. Gratitude equals humility. And when you are more humble you have less pride. Your mental attitude creates the cause to be more happy because we are all searching for happiness, not just the temporary happiness but the permanent inner joy which is a state of mind, a constant state of mind.
The only way to reach that is through the method and the wisdom together, and the method is compassion. Even if you have the wisdom, without the compassion you can get nowhere. Even if you don't have the wisdom, just with compassion you can get somewhere. OK?
So, I think maybe we covered almost everything. I just want to thank everybody who is working in the centers and I think it's very beneficial what everybody is doing at the centers. But don't think it's more beneficial to work in the centers than outside of the centers. The real benefit is the motivation. If you have a good motivation, then the result is going to be good. So whichever job you are doing with a good motivation, it can be very beneficial.
Of course, working in a center is very good, but you can be working any other type of job, as long as you have the capacity to be able to meditate while you are working. And how you meditate is being aware of what you are doing and being aware of the people that surround you. Being compassionate with yourself and with them and actually having a motivation to help people, because every single job that there is on this planet basically is to help someone. Maybe weapons manufacturers are not that good. Maybe in that kind of situation it is kind of difficult, so try to avoid these kinds of jobs if you can.
Actually, war is the number one profitable business in this world. It is about killing people. To kill someone is really bad and you go to jail, but in a war if you kill someone you become a patriot. No, what do you call that? A hero. There is something wrong with this mentality somehow, because most wars are about fighting about resources, about land, about wealth, information, power, influence, etc. So just a few people are benefiting from war. Many people are suffering. War is not the nature of humanity, it is not. War is a result of greed. If people are aware, especially the leaders, if they are aware that their greed is only going to bring suffering to themselves and to everybody else, then there would be no war today.
It is good to pray for better leaders, to have the hope and the wish and to create the cause for those leaders to start appearing. Leaders, for example, like the president of Uruguay, or His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he is the most amazing leader, or the Sultan of Oman. I also heard he is an amazing leader. The Sultan of Oman invites fifty of his citizens to have lunch with him every day so that they can tell him their problems and the issues of the country. This is because a leader is the servant of the people, not the other way around. Today in society we have a little bit of a misconception because a leader is there to improve the lives of the people. The people are not there to improve the lives of the leaders.
When we say democracy somehow it is becoming a little bit ironic because it is us who puts the leaders there, so it is us who can choose to take them down, too. But somehow when we do a manifestation, a demonstration, they beat us. It's true. I got beaten by the police, in Spain, in Madrid. When America wanted to conquer Iraq after 9/11, all of humanity came together all over the world. The biggest manifestation in the history of humankind happened at that time. All over the world people were demonstrating; everybody was coming out in the street and shouting, "No war. We want peace. We want love." It was the biggest movement in the history of humankind. And we don't really remember. In the media it didn't really come out, it came out a little bit but it wasn’t such a big deal. And the result was that the United States went into Iraq. They actually did the war. They didn't care about the people's voice.
I was on the street and I was shouting, "Paz. Amor. No alla guerra!" We were not even blocking the road. We were just there very peacefully with flowers and very beautiful. We were not blocking the road, nothing, not the cars, traffic, nothing, very peaceful, very loving. And then the, what do you call it? The anti-disturbance police with the shields. They started coming all on this side and all on that side, preparing, and we were all innocent, "Paz. Amor. No guerra!" and then suddenly they came running toward us and they hit everyone with the shields and they started beating everyone and shooting these guns with their plastic, rubber pellets. Someone got hit in the eye and lost their sight. If you get hit here [Ösel touches his side] it destroys the organ. If the rubber pellet hits the heart, you die. It happened. It happened. And why? Because we were shouting peace, love, no to war!
Anyway, I got hit several times on my back and I fell on the ground and every time I tried to get up they would hit me again and then my older brother, Yeshe, he was there also. So instead of running like everybody else he came back, he took my hand, and pulled me really hard, so with the inertia that he gave me from pulling I was able to run also. So we escaped but I saw a couple of rubber pellets flying past me at the head, at the level of my head. If it hit my head it can be very dangerous. Anyway, this is what we call democracy today. I don't want to go too much into it, but I just wanted to talk a little bit of my own experience about democracy.
In Spain, also, the situation is not very easy. Many places. I don't really want to go into a political talk, I could go on for hours. But I think it is very unjust what is happening, also it has always been happening actually. Today we just have more information.
So how do we start? Within ourselves. Transform our mind so we can affect the collective memory to be elevated. Elevate humanity's consciousness. Bring up the frequencies so that it will prevail. That is how we start, by being aware, by having compassion for those people who are acting out of ignorance.
Maybe people, maybe everybody's tired now. I can still continue talking. I can go on and on and on. I have so much to talk about actually, so much, but not much time.
Ösel: Continue? OK. [Laughter] I think maybe we can do question and answer. Maybe some people can suggest some subject to talk about, maybe we can do like that. It becomes more dynamic.
I just wanted to say—yeah, please pass the microphone—today is officially my last talk of this tour. So that is why I am trying to make the best of it. Because the next talk, I don't know when it will be. I am hoping to give some talks in Spain in Spanish, but Spanish is not my first language. My first language is Tibetan, second language is English, the third is Spanish so wish me luck if I give a talk in Spanish! [Laughter] OK, first subject.
Student: What do you mean by Golden Age?
Ösel: What do you mean by what do I mean? It is very obvious, don't you think? We are entering a golden age. All of humanity has been preparing itself for this time through the history of humanity. Now is the future. This is the future. We are in the future, 2017. Wow! We are alive at the same time as the buddhas, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. We are able to receive their teachings and be in their presence. We have the amazing possibility of going on the internet and getting any type of information. On YouTube you can learn anything you want. Absolutely anything you want, you can learn on YouTube. Just type “how to do” and it will happen. When in the history of humankind was that possible?
And now every time the collective memory is becoming more conscious, people are becoming more aware. We are actually elevating their frequency, the vibration of humanity. When a certain amount of the same race understand something then automatically everybody will understand. It is called the Hundredth Monkey Syndrome, so when a certain amount of people or animals of that race understand something then automatically everybody else understands. That is why at certain periods of time when one person discovered something there were actually many other people who discovered the same thing at the same time. Because somehow humanity was ready for that; because we created the cause for that. In the same way we are creating the cause for the Golden Age so it is up to us. So be an optimist. Don't be a pessimist. Be optimist.
Translator: I have a question.
Ösel: Oh, wow. OK, sure.
Translator: You talked about tradition at your last talk. Can you explain it a little bit more explicitly.
Ösel: Tradition. So, tradition many people may think, "Oh, this doesn't make sense. It seems ridiculous or it's too much superstition." Or stuff like that. I am sure many people think like that because they don't see the practicality. But actually it is very practical. It also depends on what works for us too, but in tradition everything has its meaning, everything has its purpose, everything has its beginning, its reason.
There are many, many different examples. I don't know, for example prostrations, everything has its meaning. It is a practice. The actions represent certain things. I'm not going to go into it too much, otherwise we are here all night. But everything based on tradition has a reason behind it and this reason comes from actual practitioners who had realizations. And they created the tradition throughout thousands of years in order to help people in a very practical way. So instead of judging tradition and saying, “This is superstition,” before you judge at least try to investigate.
Just like Shakyamuni Buddha when he gave teachings, he said, "Treat my teaching as a goldsmith treats gold." So you burn, you heat up, you scratch, you do all these kinds of process. Once the goldsmith knows it is gold, then he says, "OK, this is precious metal.” In the same way you have to check—does this tradition really work? Because there is a reason why it is there and that is the beauty of it. We don't have to go through all the processes in order to reach that result. It is available. But it is us who choose what we want to do and what we don't want to do.
For some people maybe tradition works very well and maybe for some people tradition becomes too heavy. Always keep the balance. Try to inform yourself but take what works for you and what doesn't work you don't have to take. Nobody is forcing you. No one is whipping you, saying, "Oh, you have to follow tradition!" It's a question of choice, so that is why. That is how I feel.
We are very lucky to have tradition today because thanks to that base, thanks to that root, we have the ability and capacity to branch out without being misguided or having misunderstandings. We have the direct lineage from all these practitioners who are realized beings and thanks to them we have this information available today. So it is very precious.
Student: If you had the opportunity to talk to the child you were twenty or twenty-five years ago, what would you tell him and what advice would you give him and would it change anything in your life so far?
Ösel: Wow, I really like this question. I really like this question. You know, I've never thought about that. Thank you for the question, it is very interesting, like psychoanalysis. So, what would I say twenty years ago?
Ösel: It depends, it's circumstantial. It depends on what I was doing or what I wasn't doing, but if you are generally speaking I would say: Take it easy, especially with yourself. Don't feel you are responsible for everybody who expects something from you. If they try to expect something from you in order to feel better about themselves then that is not your problem.
I would say something like that. If other people expect so much from you in order to feel better about themselves, don't take it so seriously, it is not your problem. Because Lama Yeshe gave many teachings on impermanence and everything that is necessary in order to evolve, but somehow it wasn't enough for his students. So a child, an eighteen-month-old child, not even two years old, had to take the responsibility of these unsatisfied students who somehow were grasping for more and were putting this responsibility on an eighteen-month-old or two-year-old baby who couldn't even speak.
So I would say, “Take it easy,” but today I say thank you. No, really, because without that, for me I think maybe my life would have been very different. So I am very grateful for this very difficult decision that many people made for me, because thanks to that I have a big opportunity today to help many people. And I pray every day that I hope I don't create misunderstandings or misguidance. I know that I am very ignorant, and I am really far away from any kind of achievement, but I have a great opportunity so I will try my best. I will try my best to try to help people if I can, in a small potato way.
So, that is what I think I would say. Today I say thank you. I don't feel qualified at all. I really don't feel qualified to be here, but at least I think if it can be a little bit of benefit then it is worth it. If I make mistakes or if I am wrong, please forgive me. Please criticize me so I can learn, so I can improve. I really appreciate criticism. Truly, it is a gift to be able to have friends who help me to improve. Thank you for that. Thank you for the question.
Student: Thank you so much for your direct approach to your teaching on your bit of criticism about the system. That pleases me. It seems you have thought a lot about these things and my question is what can we do, all of us collectively in a peaceful way, to change the trend, to change the way things are?
Ösel: I already said. I already said this. Number one: over-value positiveness. Be extremely optimistic. Get traumatized by positiveness and then start working on your mind. Find, understand the true nature of the clear light. The true empathy that is within us. Take off the sunglasses of ignorance. Have a lifestyle full of harmony and joy so that you can actually start to influence everybody else as an example. I think, that’s pretty much covered.
OK, we'll do a couple more subjects maybe three more. Please, who has the microphone?
Student: I am very happy to speak to you because it has been fifteen years since I've been waiting to be able to speak to you or see you. Do you eat fish and meat?
Ösel: No, I eat vegetarians. Sorry! I tried to be vegetarian a couple of times. I want to try again because I think maybe my diet wasn't very good. So when I have more stability I want to try to have a full diet and I want to try again to be vegetarian and to see how my body reacts. But when I tried to be vegetarian for a couple of months somehow I didn't have energy and I would get very dizzy. I would get very weak and sometimes I would fall sick. I don't know, maybe it is my metabolism, maybe it is my diet. I am not sure. But I am very egoist. But I try my best before I eat meat, I try to thank the animal and try to do the best I can to transform the energy of the animal into something positive, to do some kind of positive action. Whether it is positive thinking or saying mantras or doing some kind of positive action. Dedicate the meat to something useful, but I try to avoid meat when I can.
But you should try to be vegetarian if you can. I think it is very good. His Holiness the Dalai Lama really advises to be vegetarian.
Student: On the internet there is virtual space where there are virtual villages where people meet each other and they can also see art or get the Buddha's teaching or religious teaching. Just as a suggestion maybe you would like that.
Ösel: Thank you so much for this question because I almost forgot this is one of my life projects. I have two life projects since I was very, very young, maybe seven years old, it is what I've been wanting to do.
The first one is to create ecovillages. So in the ecovillage there is big land full of open space for people to come and go. Everything ecological, of course, no cement or metal, everything organic. So one thing there would be a school of Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine. And a clinic also for people to come and be treated so we can go back to the roots of medicine. And the other thing, permaculture, and a school of how to plant, so all the land would have permaculture going and then people can come to do permaculture courses. So people can do courses on Tibetan medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, on permaculture. Learn how to plant your own food. And then, an organic, vegan food restaurant and also a school of how to cook like that. There would be a restaurant where people can come to eat the organic food free from pesticides, free from meat. For example, the chickens today are full of growth hormones and full of pesticides, and the grains and the chickens they also give them antibiotics.
It is very important to have a healthy body so it makes it easier to have a healthy mind. And then in this ecovillage we would have big eco-domes and these eco-domes will have many workshops. We would have meditation workshops of all different types of meditations, so people can choose what works for them. We would have yoga courses. We would have dance workshops. Art workshops—how to make carpets, how to make artisani, you know, artisan things. Recycling—how to recycle things to make things that are useful. And then maybe an eco-lodge somehow in order to be financially sustainable.
But on this land there would be exactly what you are talking about, art. It would be a place where all types of people could come together from different cultures, from different backgrounds, from different beliefs, different religions. Agnostic, scientific, spiritual people, people who are religious, who are not religious, all kinds of people, scientists, non-scientists.
This is one of my projects to create ecovillages where we can actually help people to learn the real values in life. Because sometimes today you ask a child who lives in the city, you ask him where an apple comes from and he says it comes from a supermarket. We don't really have the education of growing our own food, of harvesting our own food, cooking our own food and knowing how to really live. They teach us how to work but they don't really teach us how to live. So I think that would be a very interesting situation, an ecovillage would be an amazing situation.
And my second project would be to create orphanages all over the world so we can actually give an opportunity to these children who have nothing. They have no hope. To give them the opportunities of education, of intelligence, of company, of a family and to recognize them and say, “You are worth it, you are amazing, you are beautiful, you have potential.” So to help those orphans who are so aware of the situation that they were in. They will really appreciate that and they will make a big effort to really make a big impact in the world. Like His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "The future is education.";
So we are going to do one more question, two more.
Student: It is something I did not understand about selfish compassion. Can you please explain?
Ösel: Wise selfishness. Selfish compassion is basically taking care of yourself, being careful, being kind to yourself also, so that you are actually able to give. Being warm-hearted with yourself, also with other people. When we are always trying to be kind to other people, sometimes we forget about ourselves. But you cannot really love anyone unless you really love yourself. I am not talking about self-cherishing, I am talking about the real unconditional love. Because today in society we mistake, we misunderstand the word love. We think attachment is love and then from attachment of course suffering is a result, then we say, "Oh, love hurts, love is painful,” but true love is everywhere. It is before you are born, while you live and after you die and everything in between. It is all love.
One more question.
Student: Hello, I am somebody who came from philosophy and when I was a student I have a very strong mental so it has been very hard to work through and work toward wisdom and sometimes during my life I meet people who, in order to wake me up, have been very harsh.
Ösel: They hit you on the head?
Student: It can happen. Sometimes when I face people who are very strong-minded with (?) and very (?) I try to, I have the same method. Sometimes I feel very aggressive or very cutting and I wonder if it's right if sometimes you can stop people with the harsh language or very disciplined behavior?
Ösel: Yeah, but that depends on each person. Everybody is different. For some people we need gentleness, and for some people life has to hit us really hard on the head in order for us to wake up from our comfort zone.
Student: Yeah, I feel the same with the guy who has been harsh.
Ösel: So it is very relative. We have to look at the circumstances, but it is always very important to be very kind-hearted and not to be too harsh because sometimes it can be counterproductive. Because not everybody is like you and me—we need to get hit very hard for us to wake up. Some people are very sensitive, so you have to be very careful.
OK, thank you so much. Oh, you have one more question? Last one.
Student: I have one question from a friend who is watching us live now from the United States, so I will read the question.
Ösel: Wow, what is her name?
Student: Her name is Alexandra.
Ösel: Alexandra. Hello, Alexandra. [Waves at camera]
Student: Lama Yeshe once said that romantic love is so gross. What do you think he meant by that? And what would be your advice for young Buddhist ladies who are in search of a romantic relationship? It seems today most men are most interested in a non-committed relationship and for her she has found it hard to practice Dharma and to be in a more intimate relationship with someone who wants a more physical connection, I think.
Ösel: I didn't really understand the question, but I think it depends on the context and I don't think we really have the context right now. If you just take out some words from a book and you just put them out it is very difficult to understand unless you really have the context of those words based on the words around it.
But if you want to talk about romance or relationships or things like that, I think being in a relationship and sharing your life with somebody can be a challenge sometimes, but it's a huge opportunity to really practice. To really practice the patience, the humility and the respect so I think it's a great way to really improve. I think we can take quantum leaps, light years evolving in relationships. If you can actually be in a relationship which is not toxic and really make the best of it then I think it is a huge opportunity and you can really improve a lot as an individual. It is an amazing opportunity and practice, but maybe not for everybody it works, it depends.
For some meditators maybe they go to a cave and they meditate on patience and then after twenty years they come out and they are like, "I am the most patient human being on earth," but if you stick them in family life and someone is shouting here and the other person is shouting there maybe after a short period of time they will say, "Arrgghh. I want to go back to my cave!" Patience sometimes can be very easy if you don't have somebody who really shows you. It is very easy to be humble when you are alone. Sometimes we need true friends to help us practice. People who actually sometimes show that to us are the greatest and most amazing teachers. Everything in life is an opportunity to practice Dharma. And everything is beautiful and this word "gross" I don't really understand the context, so I can't really answer your question, but I am sure he has a reason. Maybe I have to check the book again. Which book is it?
Student: I don't know.
Ösel: OK, thank you so much everybody. It's seven o'clock already. I just hope I didn't forget some things. Maybe for next time, I will keep it for next time. Thank you.
And my true wish is if it can be of benefit and please, I hope to not misguide you or give misunderstandings or like that. If there are any misunderstandings, please get back to me and try to ask me questions again. It is good.
Thank you so much for coming here. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to feel a little bit important and useful. Thank you so very much. I really try my best to be available and to do my job properly and to be here, so thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. Thank you so much.
We are all a family, and we are brothers and sisters. Never forget this, OK? Starting with yourself. You are your own best friend. You have to live with yourself all your life so better make the best of it. Don't be hard on yourself. Be easy-going. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Enjoy your own company without depending on external agents like intoxicants, which is just putting more samsara on the samsara we already have. So I appreciate your company, truly appreciate your company. Enjoy the time. Be present and don't be unsatisfied, because the main cause of unsatisfaction means you are not living the moment. So live the moment. This moment. It is always the same moment. OK? Thank you so much.