The Need for Wisdom and Compassion (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Tara Institute, Australia, June 3, 2006 (Archive #1585)

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave these teachings at Tara Institute, Australia, June 3, 2006.

Developing Lam-rim Realizations

So, even one doesn’t know many other teachings about guru devotion but if you’re able to keep this in mind, keep this in the heart, then this is the very essential meditation, so you have protection to your mind, protection to your life. So doesn’t break samaya.

So there is, the lineage lamas of nyung-nä practice, the initiation, the meditation and recitation of Compassion Buddha, nyung-nä, that has been handed down from Gelongma Palmo, the fully ordained bhikshuni, I think it might be, I think there’s a place in Nepal, when you go to, in Kathmandu, so when you go to Pharping, the Padmasambhava’s cave, the Vajrayogini place, from Kathmandu when you cross the mountain like this, from here, here’s Kathmandu, you drive from here, then go to see. So this, the hill around Kathmandu, ______ _______ here but there’s hill that goes like this. So there’s a long steps you go up, so there’s a temple there inside. [Rinpoche drinks as he’s losing his voice.] So there’s a temple there, so there’s long steps you go up there, there’s a red Chenrezig inside, and then outside the temple people, Nepalese people, put so many pots, on the wall outside the temple, so many pots. Probably, I’m not sure, means for good luck or something, I’m not sure. Must be something for good anyway.

So next to the temple there’s a platform, like a throne, platform, then there’s a roof and there’s, seems that’s the place where Gelongma Palmo lived or something like that, so there’s one house there where the family lived or something like that. So maybe Nepali, I’m not sure. So anyway, there’s, so one lineage lama had lung, wind disease, lung, that after you met Tibetan Buddhism then you find out, sooner or later you find lung. So anyway, tried many things, didn’t work. Tried many things, Highest Tantric deities, tried many things. So then Tara appeared and told, either directly to this lama or told another lama, another yogi, lama, that asked question what to do. So then Tara advised, so in the past you broke the samaya with the guru, I think maybe rising heresy to the guru or something, I don’t remember exactly but it’s something, I think, that’s right, disturbed the guru’s holy mind in the past. So that Tara predicted, so the solution is to do confession practice. So then, only then the lung, only then doing confession to the guru, the purification, only then that lung recovered. Otherwise, before that, did many things, other meditations, deities, many things, didn’t help, didn’t cure.

So that is, so we have some student, some Sangha, student who had lung for many years, so many years, tried to go to Burma to heal, do Theravadin meditation to heal, but nothing helped. Still has lung. So anyway, so the method is just there, very, it’s just there, what Tara advised, it’s the same, it’s there, but, I guess, didn’t click [snaps fingers] in the mind. Didn’t click in the mind. Maybe no good karma, maybe didn’t have good karma or whatever.

So anyway, yeah, so [pause] objective of our life, goal of our life, purpose of our living, is to benefit for other sentient beings. As I mentioned before, causing happiness of this life, whatever one can, then causing long-run happiness of all the coming future lives to other sentient beings, then liberation from samsara, then bring them to full enlightenment. So our ultimate goal among these is to bring the sentient beings in full enlightenment. The ultimate goal or objective of our life is that. So therefore now, for that then we need to actualize the path, to achieve enlightenment then we need to actualize the path, the graduate path of the higher capable being. Then, to actualize that we need to actualize the graduate path of the middle capable being in general, in common. And for that we need to actualize the graduate path of the lower capable being in common. And so, for the success of all this, the root, correctly devoting to the virtuous friend with thought and action.

So now, so therefore, so now here the essential advice or whatever, here to finish with, while one is doing service, meditation center or working in a company, business company, whatever, at the same time must develop the mind in the path, must develop the mind in the spiritual path. What is that? That’s not just any spiritual path, this lam-rim, must develop the mind in the lam-rim, not just any meditation that you like, or somebody teach in the world, that one like, that sounds good. Not like that. Kind of soothing, not like that. Should be path to enlightenment. As I mentioned before, what is your goal? What is your goal of life? What’s your objective? To bring sentient beings to enlightenment, the main one. So if that is what you want, your goal what you want to achieve, benefit numberless sentient beings and the highest, enlightenment, so then for that, must stick your life in lam-rim, develop in the lam-rim step by step. So beginning from the root, guru devotion, then one day do one meditation on guru devotion, so in one day, so one meditation on guru devotion, so whatever time one can, time is according to oneself, so train the mind in that, until you have, from the bottom of your heart without the slightest question, that one guru is all the buddhas, one buddha is all the gurus. So there’s no, without the guru there’s no buddha. So until you have such, no one single question, from the bottom of your heart you feel this a hundred percent. Not just feeling like this for a few hours or a few days, but stable. So that is the realization of guru devotion.

So then still, you don’t need to spend that much time but still you need to stabilize, a little bit, doesn’t need a long time but still need a little bit of meditation to continue, as Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo advised. So every day a little bit of meditation on guru devotion, which brings all the success, which stops all the heaviest obstacles for developing, to have realizations. Which means it stops the heaviest obstacle for you to benefit for sentient beings, extensive benefit for sentient beings, obstacle, so the heaviest obstacle it stops, the guru devotion. And heaviest obstacle for your happiness, all the happiness up to enlightenment it stops, guru devotion, so attaining all the path, heaviest obstacle so the devotion protects your mind, stops.

So then training, but this is after one has studied the whole lam-rim from the beginning to the end, have read, and maybe one or two, three times, or even after you read one time, become familiar with it. All the, except the shamatha, of course one can learn but not ?really you can have that realization. So all the analytical meditations, so including this, so then try to become familiar with the subject. Then, after that, then so knowing the below subjects, like emptiness and bodhicitta, it gives a wider view, even though you meditate, try to have realization from the beginning, step by step, perfect human rebirth, usefulness, difficulty, like that, impermanence-death, lower realms, refuge, karma, but having those subjects below, it gives, you have wider view why you have to do this meditation. It gives greater meaning to meditate on impermanence and death. Why? It gives much greater, wider view, if you know those other subjects. So there’s much greater joy in your life, deep reason.

So anyway, so then when you’re become familiar and then when you feel, now if I really meditate seems I can achieve realization. Because when you go through you feel something, some feeling, as I mentioned, some feeling. When you meditate on compassion, you feel something, when you meditate on bodhicitta you feel something, you get some feeling. So now, if I really try I can achieve realization. Like the person, who can guess, you can get the idea, Oh, if I really fight this person, seems I can conquer, I can defeat him. When you have confidence like that, then so like that, similar here.

Then, one meditation on guru devotion, no matter how many months, years it takes time. Then another one is training the mind in the perfect human rebirth, the karma, especially impermanence and death. So one can do the perfect human rebirth, how many weeks, months, it takes time, then after you achieve that realizations, then usefulness, how many weeks, months, it takes time then kind of like that. Or from perfect human rebirth up to karma, especially impermanence and death. Today do this, next day, usefulness; then next day, difficult to find again; then next day, impermanence and death; next day, lower realms; next day, refuge and karma, up to karma. So this is maybe more interesting and maybe in case so it helps to not get bored, maybe it helps. But maybe until one achieve those realizations maybe do like that, until one achieve all those realizations. But among those it seems, according to some lamas, the one is Gen Jampa Wangdu’s, the guru ?Tehor ?Kyorpen Rinpoche, who selected disciples, geshes, lamas, who have many realizations of shamatha, calm abiding, and lam-rim, three principles of the path, two stages, like Gen Jampa Wangdu, so his disciple ?P______ Rinpoche, his heart disciple, ?P______ Rinpoche, who passed away already in Tibet, when His Holiness asked to go in Tibet to give teaching then he gave a lot of teaching in the tantric college, those very extensive tantric texts, then passed away. Now reincarnation came and the attendant asked me to, if he can have a house at Tushita, so then got one house there. There was one nun but she disrobed and so ?Keutsang Rinpoche, one incarnate lama is a friend, so his sister, nun, lives in the West, so he ?go ?there.

Anyway, so according to this Rinpoche’s advice the main thing here to meditate on impermanence-death. So that helps for everything, that helps, if you meditate on that then it helps for everything, to have quick realization of others, I think. To do more, to do that as a main part of meditation, I think that seems it helps to have those other realizations quicker. Most, I think, skillful.

Then, after that, once you have stable realization then the renunciation to the future life samsara, the evolution of samsara, twelve links, then all the shortcomings of the deva realm, the individual realm’s sufferings then general sufferings and all that. Until you see the, up to formless realm, desire realm, form realm, everything’s just like being in the center of the fire, only in the nature of suffering, totally disgusting, like nest of the poisonous snakes or like the inside the septic tank, totally disgusting. So however, the whole thing, cannot find one single attraction for even one second. So see only suffering, so that is the realization, day and night, all the time, constantly, only what you’re looking for is liberation from samsara. Like the person who’s caught in prison or fell in the fire, how the person will feel. So that’s stable then there’s realization of renunciation of samsara.

Then, after that then bodhicitta. So then the, about the right view, so bodhicitta, that as I think I mentioned, anyway, so one feel, twenty-four hours one feel spontaneously the thought to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, like the mother who has her beloved child fell in, drowned in the water or fell in the fire, so then how she would, whatever she does, only that thought to save the child from that, to go there, so constantly there. So like that, to liberate sentient beings from the ocean of samsara, bring to enlightenment, so for that to achieve enlightenment, so constantly thought spontaneously rising without reasoning why and this and that. So then stable, that has to be stable, so then, or it is said also when you see each sentient being you feel to achieve enlightenment. When you see each sentient being, rising the wish to achieve enlightenment. So that also when simultaneously, spontaneously rising then having realization of bodhicitta. Like Lama Atisha, especially like Lama Atisha, those.

Then one day, guru devotion, then the step by step, the meditations. The other one is emptiness. So emptiness rather waiting a long time you can meditate every day, five minutes or ten minutes, whatever, on emptiness. So different techniques as you find in the texts. So yesterday I mentioned two techniques. One is I used noodle, so that, which analysis that’s one technique. That’s very short, that’s one simple technique but it’s very powerful. When you meditate on emptiness you can use that. The other one is this I mentioned yesterday, from the I down to the atoms, particles of atoms, then seconds of consciousness, split-seconds of consciousness, meditating how they are merely imputed by mind and seeing nothing exists from their own side. Nothing of this exists from its own side. What it appears existence is totally empty, so that one. Then one day you can do that, then next day you can do for the house, emptiness of the house, similar analysis you can do that. So anyway, there are different techniques of meditating on emptiness, especially in the philosophy there are many. So however, the four analyses, there are different techniques so you can use different techniques each day. So to never get bored, you can use different techniques. Or recite those verses, those very powerful, effective verses from either great lamas or from Buddha’s teachings. Then you recite that and meditate on that, so it’s very good.

So then must do meditation on emptiness, yeah, so that’s very, very important. So, [pause] one must know what it means, we must know what it means, meditating on emptiness. If you don’t know what it means, meditating on emptiness, then your whole lifetime you do analysis and never realize emptiness and you’re doing wrong analysis, wrong meditation, wrong analysis. So that’s why in the four analyses the first one is ?gak cha ____ _____ ne, the four vital points, methods to do analysis to realize emptiness, so first one is ?gak cha ____ _____ ne, the vital point, recognizing the object to be refuted. So that’s why, why this comes very first, so this is the one that you look for, this is the one which doesn’t exist. So therefore, you look for, analyze, and which doesn’t exist then you realize it’s empty as it is empty. So otherwise, you look for the I, just the mere I or the, general I or the mere I, where is it? Then at the end you don’t find, and nothing clear, no conclusion, how it exists, and it doesn’t lead to emptiness and it doesn’t lead to also dependent arising, and so at the end, confusion, nothing. Then there’s danger to fall in nihilism. So as Lama Tsongkhapa explained in the middle lam-rim, so if you search where is the table, rather the gak-cha, the table, that table which is appearing to you not merely labeled by mind, the real table in the sense existing from its own side, so that one is the target, so you have to see this is nonexistent, so you look for this on the parts of the table, collections of the table, so which one is table, all the collections, where it is, so cannot find there at the end, totally, then it helps to lead to emptiness, to realize emptiness. Then that helps to realize the existence, the merely labeled table, you come to realize that.

So just give one example, one example of object to be refuted, table. So, okay now, like this. So merely labeled table, so now, you don’t connect to the false table, the real table existing from its own side, just the table. Just the mere table. Where is it? You look for, okay. This is not table, this is not, nowhere here, so where it is? You look for. Can’t find anywhere. Okay, now you can’t find anywhere. Now you look at the table, how do you see the table? Oh, there’s a real table there, existing from its own side. After you look for the table, where is it? There’s no table, where is it? You look for it, cannot find. Now you examine your view, after all that you examine your view, how does the table appear? There’s a real table, on the base there’s a real table appearing to you, oh, that is the object to be refuted. After you search everything, you look at, how the table appears to you? How do you see it? There’s a real table appearing from there. Oh, that is the object to be refuted. Before you didn’t touch to that, before you didn’t connect to that. Now after all this, now you examine again, so there, the object to be refuted, the false table.

So now, then, this is the target, then now you found the target, what is to be realized empty. This is an example, this can be another useful example to find, to recognize the object to be refuted, what we have to realize is empty.

So, yeah, so all these things, of course, the most important one which brings all the success is the guru devotion. Again that’s everything, wish-fulfilling everything. Then, so now, the sitting meditation, yes, that’s good, should do, but now, okay so now with this, of course with this, practice of purifying the mind, collecting extensive merit, so all those, there are all these traditional practices, prostrations, mandala offerings, all these, the Vajrasattva, Thirty-five Buddhas, there’s this but if you don’t have time to do that, whether you have time, whether you don’t have time, but whatever you’re doing, eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, doing job, everything should become Dharma. Best to do with the bodhicitta. Not just detached mind to this life, which becomes Dharma. Yes! Cause of happiness. Then detached mind to future life samsara, then of course becomes cause of liberation, all these things, but the best thing, of course, with bodhicitta then everything whatever you’re doing means of collecting limitless skies of merit, numberless merits, whatever you’re doing, thinking of all the sentient beings in the heart, bringing, thinking of all the sentient beings in your heart. Then do whatever, taking care of baby or family or in the office, whatever, whatever job you’re doing, business, whatever, but in the heart, that, then you collect limitless skies of numberless merit, because your thought is to benefit all sentient beings.

So, even you don’t have time to do those particular practices, preliminaries, purifying then ?collecting ?merit, but whatever you’re doing, job, whatever doing, everything, the activities to become, make it to become Dharma, especially with bodhicitta so it becomes cause of enlightenment, becomes cause of happiness of all sentient beings. So, this is very, the other extremely important is the, not break time from Dharma practice, there’s no break time from Dharma practice, break time from sitting meditation. Break time from sitting meditation, not break time from Dharma, not break time from lam-rim, that’s wrong. If your mind is not in lam-rim you’re creating negative karma, you’re in trouble, nonvirtuous thoughts and negative karma, creating the cause of, you’re using this body to create the cause of the lower realms. So there’s no break time from lam-rim, Dharma, but break time from sitting meditation.

So, the busy life, make sure of the motivation, here. That’s the most important thing. To take care…. I started the talk take care of yourself, but then I went all over again. Went all over the place. So, here, your refuge is bodhicitta, your good heart, when you have a busy life. That transforms your life. Everything becomes ______. So, with bodhicitta, if you walk with bodhicitta, the thought of benefiting other sentient beings, so when you go to do job from home, first you generate bodhicitta, okay. So, think of the kindness of sentient beings and how they’re suffering, then as much as possible the kindness of sentient beings, effective, then free them from all the suffering and bring to enlightenment, therefore, then I’m going to do service for sentient beings. Then you think in the room, then you, with the thought of sentient beings, then, to benefit them, so each walking you collect limitless skies of merit. With each walking to the office you collect limitless skies of merit, numberless merit.

So if you chant OM MANI PADME HUM with a bodhicitta motivation, so with this OM MANI PADME HUM by thinking of sentient beings, by thinking of numberless sentient beings in your heart, each time when you, with that motivation you recite OM MANI PADME HUM, with each mantra, with each OM MANI PADME HUM, you collect numberless merits, because here your heart is sentient beings, thought of benefiting sentient beings. So with each OM MANI PADME HUM collect numberless merits. So even you don’t have time to do other separate practice, but so like that, cooking or whatever, cleaning, especially cleaning is incredible Dharma practice, that’s part of the preparatory practice, Jorchö, at the beginning, before you do sitting meditation there’s cleaning as a preliminary. So, generate bodhicitta, again think of the kindness of sentient beings as effectively as possible, then how they’re suffering, then to bring to enlightenment, therefore I must, therefore I need, therefore I’m going to do service. Even though you’re making money, receiving money, making money from that, but your motive, instead of thinking for my happiness, so generate bodhicitta then you change the attitude, you’re working for the other, for those people, for other sentient beings, so with that attitude, help, service, offer service. Then, with that motivation you go from the house. That’s the best, that’s the most important preparation. Not only motivation, when we do virtuous activity, there is motivation, preparation, motivation, actual body, completion, sorry. Preparation, actual body, completion. So this is not only for meditation or doing prostrations or doing, but this is also for job. This is also daily life activities, the same. There is preparation, actual body and the conclusion, which is dedication, even in job, whatever we do, should be the same.

So you generate bodhicitta then you go to work, cleaning. Then while you’re cleaning then you think, you meditate, all these are defilements of all sentient beings and this vacuum or whatever it is, that’s the whole path to enlightenment, method and wisdom, so you’re purifying the minds of all sentient beings. Or can think of both, your own defilements and sentient beings’. So then how many hours you spend cleaning, it’s all Dharma, done with bodhicitta, and then every cleaning, every movement of cleaning you collect limitless skies of merit, numberless merits. So there’s incredible joy, unbelievable joy. Even outside looking business, job, but from your heart, for you it’s Dharma practice, so benefiting all sentient beings.

So I heard some, one student in the Washington ?near the retreat place, one old, it’s called Margaret, she memorized Diamond-Cutter Sutra by heart, I think by now maybe finished, because she has a commitment I gave to recite many, so she memorized. So because she memorized then inspired me, I started to memorize when I was there, but then after I left didn’t happen. Because she memorized so then of course I thought why not, so I should memorize, so then started to memorize but did not, after I left Washington didn’t happen. Anyway, by now she has finished, so she keep on reciting Vajrasattva while she’s shopping, while she’s cashing, the cash place, where people come in the line, where you, the case, where people give money…. Huh? [Students offer suggestions.] Cashier place. Anyway, she keeps on reciting Vajrasattva mantra while she’s doing this. So this is how to make meaningful, how to make life meaningful, it’s like this. So even there she keeps on reciting Vajrasattva mantra. And then there’s many, on the edge of the table there’s many, this, I don’t know, I think where you hang bags, all the way round, so you take out bag then put things. So then she turned this as a prayer wheel, she has got a prayer wheel but somehow she heard about prayer wheel, so she like very much, so she didn’t have prayer wheel, so this one she turned like this as a prayer wheel. So I sent one prayer wheel from Aptos House, I had very nice prayer wheel, one guy, one very kind guy who brought so many prayer wheels at the Land of Medicine Buddha to, then people buy and that goes donation as big prayer wheel, this one man, he get all from Nepal. But this one is made of plastic, transparent plastic, very beautiful. So I gave her that, so in Wal-Mart, this big shopping place, so to keep, to keep next to her, to turn. But this is very unique, but I was going to give her another one, my own, which has pearl decoration, but then she thought that might be, ?boss, this might be too obvious. So this one.

So then, so there’s many people asks questions she says, they turn, some people turn. And there was one boy came and liked so much, one little boy. I think there must be some strong karma from the past. So anyway, so I think there was one prayer wheel made of cloth, I think it must be from Tibet, inside there’s ?no OM MANI PADME HUM, but very nicely made with the cloth. So I left there to fill up, to give the boy.

Anyway, so, she gets very exhausted there, sometimes not enjoying the work. So anyway, so like this, okay, now, that, even as a non-believer that can, some people who has no particular faith or, anyway, even that person can think this way, so the work becomes spiritual, the virtue. So when every person comes, you remember their kindness, their kindness. But this is for non-believer, so there’s not much deeper. This is just very limited kindness. So my survival every day, that I have a human body, my survival, that I can do so many good things for me, I can do so many good things, help so many things for others, so this is from the money that I receive by doing job, money I receive from the customers and the boss, the organization and the customers. So, [pause] by their kindness. So you think of the kindness as the people come, you think of their kindness. Then, think of their kindness and then smile at them, so they feel you are kind-hearted, they feel your kind heart, warm hear, and smile. Then, they’re very happy and they will always come that shop, and they will always come, even in the line, there are different lines, after you bought, then they will come through that line where the person, very kind-hearted, smiling at you, so but that’s just benefits, I mean you don’t have to think that way, but that’s just all the benefits. They will specially choose to come that way. So this is for even non-believer, who don’t believe in reincarnation. It’s just your happiness, your survival, like this, but so many good things you can do for others, help others, so this came from their kindness, all the customers and the boss who gave the job to you. So, but it’s nothing to do with past lives, any of the things, just about only this life.

So anyway, so there I’m using the example of a shop but you have to similarize that for the…. Now, as a practitioner, as a lam-rim meditator, then there’s deeper kindness. So the one day you can think of the mother kindness, mother and four ways kind, four ways kindness of mother, done numberless times from beginningless rebirth, so one day you can do that with each person you see. Or if you are a school teacher then the students, you think. So in the office, at home, like that. So one day that, then next day the extensive kindness, that one that I often mention, numberless happiness from beginningless, happiness from beginningless rebirth and present and the future, all the temporary happiness, all, then ultimate then, the liberation, enlightenment, everything ...