Teachings from Singapore, 2009 (Audio and Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Singapore 2009 (Archive #1748)

Excerpts from teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, given in Singapore in January-February 2009. 

Includes a talk on how the Kopan courses began. An edited version of this talk can be read in the April 2009 issue of Mandala magazine.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, 2005.
How karma comes from ignorance: Part A

[Prayers for teaching occasions]

Can read the last part of the English, okay.

So, good evening, today, I was unable to do the, I came down to do the preparation but I was unable to do, so I think do tomorrow that, and do a little bit teaching today, and then we’ll do the tsog offering, so that’s for preparation.

Student recites:

Do not commit any nonvirtuous actions,
Perform only perfect virtuous actions,
Subdue your mind thoroughly—
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

A star, a mirage, the flame of a lamp,
An illusion, a drop of dew, or a bubble,
A dream, a flash of lightning, a cloud—
See conditioned things as such!

Through these merits may sentient beings
Attain the rank of all seeing, subdue the foe of faults,
And be delivered from samsara’s ocean,
Perturbed by the waves of aging, sickness, and death.

So this verse which is mentioned by Buddha, and the end of the Diamond Cutter Sutra, this verse comes there, in the Diamond Cutter Sutra teaching, at the end, so looking at the causative phenomena, all the phenomena which are causative phenomena, then meditating on their nature, looking at them in their nature, the false, and reality, and nature of impermanence, they do not last, constantly decaying, changing and decaying, not only decaying day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, even within second the subtle impermanence, even within second, they do not last, they decay even within a second, not only second by second, but even within second, so that do not last, they decay, so that constantly this is their nature.

So, particular what we should concentrate on is this causative phenomena, your own life, one’s own life including this, including I, these aggregates, this body, possessions, surrounding people, family members, friend, enemy, strangers, particularly these are the subjects to causative phenomena, particular we are to remember, so looking at their nature, that which appears something, appears to you something else, but which doesn’t exist, all these things, and the reality is something else, emptiness, reality, their very nature is emptiness, empty of how they appear to you, and empty of how we have been believing, how we have been holding on to, holding on to things, empty of that. So these phenomena are empty of how they have been appearing to our hallucinated mind and empty of how we have been believing at them, how we have been holding onto them, all the time, so empty of that, that’s what it’s saying, empty of that, so that part is the false, so that’s, all the, this is our biggest problem and all other problems, problems of the attachment, problems of the anger, problems of the ignorance, jealous mind, pride, all the doubts, problems with all the emotional minds. So this is the basis, comes from this, the way the phenomena appear to one’s own hallucinated mind, appeared false, which is not there, and then believe, and then on top of that, that’s not the only problem, the problem is, then we let our mind hold on to that, this is one hundred percent true, so no doubt, no question, so live life completely, so we live life completely with that, so, it’s really, it’s unbelievable shocking, if you realize this it’s, we have been cheating ourselves constantly, constantly, from beginningless rebirth, not only from this morning, not only now, not only from this morning, not only from birth, not only from birth, since consciousness took place on the fertilized egg, in the mother’s womb, not only from that time, from beginningless rebirth, so constantly.

So not only problem appeared wrong way, all these phenomena that which our mind labeled constantly, this and that, so then appeared back to our mind, hallucinated mind, not merely labeled by mind.

Just second before, your mind merely imputed, but then, not aware of that, and not aware that at all, and what your mind labeled, merely imputed, and then it appeared back the next second, something totally, so there are many different levels, so when it appeared back, it has as permanent the, how to say, I forgot the Sanskrit name, chedan__[Sanskrit] Bhagawan, I’ve forgotten, I’ve forgotten, anyway, the four schools of Buddhist philosophers, the Cittamatra, see, it has eighteen groups, eighteen schools, [pause] eighteen schools, __[tib/Sanskrit?] so the, there’s _ so however, so they appear in the Hindu religion, the I, self, believe permanent, what’s called, atman, atman, believe permanent, and existing alone, existing alone without dependent parts and existing with its own freedom, without depending on cause and conditions, so like that.

So here, in the Buddhist, Vaibhashika, that’s right, Vaibhashika School, the je dra ma ba, that which has the eighteen schools, however, the first one, so the view of this school, even this very first school, reality, the view of this school, however, it’s empty of permanence, the I is empty of permanence, because it’s under the cause and conditions, so they are existing under the cause and conditions so it changes, decays, constantly, so, it’s in nature of impermanence, so it’s empty of permanent, and then empty of existing, depending on parts so empty, it’s empty of existing alone, and it depends on cause and conditions, it is empty of existing with its own freedom, so that's the reality, so if you analyze, that’s what we discover, if you analyze, this is what you discover, the nature of the I, self, so the same, the rest of the phenomena, causative phenomena.

So anyway there is, second before the mind imputed I, mind which, focused or sees the aggregates, so doing the different activities, the mind which sees the aggregates then merely impute I, and then the next second it appears back as permanent, appears back as existing alone, appears back as existing with its own freedom, so there’s all this hallucination we have with the I, the self, when it appears back, this extremely gross, extremely gross, wrong view, unbelievable, extremely gross.

So on top of that, all the schools, the view is that the self, not only that, but, empty of self-sufficiency, rangya tub__ tong ba [Tib] empty of self-sufficiency, existing without depending on the aggregates, and continuity of that, collections of aggregates and continuity of that, as controller of the aggregates, so self-sufficient. So when the I appears back, second before your mind labeled, but next second when it appears back, then there’s another hallucination, self-sufficiency, appearing like that.

Then there’s also, maybe also this, the, [pause] outwardly existing, so cho__tong ba[Tib] so there’s, according to Madhyamaka School that, so the phenomena, imprint what’s left on the, substance or imprint, what’s left on this, the seventh consciousness, the base of all, the samsara, nirvana, substance, imprint what is left on that, then manifests out, one is knower, one is knowing phenomena, shepa, knowing phenomena, then one is the object of that knowing phenomena, so manifests out, two things, subject and object, so without depending on the substance left on the seventh consciousness, without depending on that, manifesting out subject and object, so that without depending on that, substance or the imprint, what’s left on the seventh consciousness, manifests out as, one is subject, one is object.

So in here, how this hallucination, outwardly existing appear, however, then the rang gyü pa, the Madhyamaka School, rang gyü pa, as well as Svatantrika School, de pa__[Tib], the truly existent, is there.

So, that, without depending on, appearing to the valid mind, and that valid mind labeling, without depending on that, and then existing from its own side, that definition of true existence according to the Madhyamaka School, the Svatantrika School, rang gyü pa, the second when the I, self, first second the mind merely imputed, then next second appeared back as that type of true existence is always there, this hallucination is also there, this false I is always there.

So then next, then the very subtle one, the very subtle object to be reputed, gakcha, the very subtle object to be reputed, so the Svatantrika School, the I is labeled by mind, I has to be labeled by mind, came from mind, so therefore can’t truly exist, from its own side.

So it means truly existing, here the definition of truly existing is without the mind labeling, truly existing.

So of course, as I mentioned just before, we have this hallucination when the I appears back, I appearing that way, in this form of hallucination.

And then, so what the rang gyü pa thinks is correct, you know the I is labeled by mind, but it should have existence from its own side; it’s labeled by mind, but it should have existence from its own side.

So, now that, there should be something from its own side, there should be something from the side of the object.

So, now what the rang gyü pa, Svatantrika School thinks, then correct view, that’s totally incorrect according to the Prasangika School view, next one, the Madhyamaka School, the second one, Prasangika School, so that’s totally wrong, which they think is correct view, but next, according to the Madhyamaka School, Prasangika School, that’s completely wrong.
So, it is labeled by mind but there should be something existing from its own side, otherwise how can it exist, so, they can’t figure it out, the merely labeled, what they cannot understand, if it’s merely labeled then it doesn’t exist, that’s what they think, so cannot accept only one object, cannot accept the I, existing as merely labeled by mind, existing in mere name, merely labeled by mind, couldn’t understand that, so the merely labeled by mind, existing in mere name, merely imputed by mind, so therefore it’s empty, therefore it’s empty of existing from its own side.

So they couldn’t put two things together: existence, the subtle dependent arising, existence, and the emptiness, Prasangika School view, emptiness, that extremely, the most subtle emptiness, however, that’s the emptiness, the emptiness, there’s only one emptiness that you can, by realizing you can eliminate the root of samsara.

So what rang gyü pa believes that, exists, labeled by mind but there should be something existing from its own side. So that one, so that is the refuting object, the Prasangika School’s view, object to be refuted.

So there should be something existing from the side of the object, that one, even though it’s labeled but oh, that one is total, completely, total non-existence, total non-existence.

So when you realize that, then you realize Prasangika School view, emptiness, the emptiness, there’s only one, that which directly eliminates the root of samsara, the ignorance, root of one’s own samsara, ignorance, holding the I as true existent while it is, while there is no such I exists at all, and holding the aggregates as truly existent, while such aggregates total non-existent, not merely labeled one, something, I which is not merely labeled one, aggregates which are not merely labeled one, well then, total non-existence, that’s total non-existent, so, [pause].

So, there’s huge piles of hallucination when the I appeared back, after the mere imputation, and when it appeared back, next second there’s huge piles of hallucination.

So therefore the answer is, why you have fear, or why you feel unhappy, why you feel unhappiness, depression, however, so whatever the problems of mind, whatever the problems of body, even this, you press here, you feel pain, here, why you feel pain instead of great bliss, so why there’s pain, why you experience pain, so same. So when you go through the doors or sometimes we bang our head on the door or some, knocked, then pain, this table or something, why you feel pain, also, all that, so same, why there’s attachment arising in the daily life, certain object attachment arises, certain objects anger arising, certain objects, pride, jealous mind, pride, so ignorance, so all this in the daily life with the different objects, why it’s happening, so that, all this wrong concepts, superstitious thought, because it’s not true, because the object, what it projects, what it believes, what it projects is not true, it’s not there, it doesn’t exist. Each delusion has its own view, projected, and that believes, which is not true, doesn’t exist, because it’s all built after, on the basis of projection by the ignorance, projection, false view, projection, object to be refuted, projected by the ignorance, on what is merely imputed by mind.

So on, I, action, object, the phenomena which are merely imputed by the mind, merely imputed by your mind, mere imputation by your mind, so, right after that second, there’s a projection decorated on that mere imputation, right after that second, it’s projection, decorated, hallucination, decorated, on the mere imputation, so, then made it real, everything made real, true existence.

What exists is the first, the merely imputed by mind, that’s what exists, but the next one, when it appears back, next thing that, then, projection, the hallucination, the true existence, decorated on the things by the ignorance, by the concept of holding, ignorance holding true existence, by leaving the negative imprint on the mental continuum, and then, from the mental continuum, by mind, that’s what exists, but the next one, when it appears back, next thing that, then projection, the hallucination, the true existence, decorated on the things by the ignorance, by the concept of holding, ignorance holding true existence, by leaving the negative imprint on the mental continuum, and then, from the mental continuum, then it projects, this hallucination is decorated there, so from there hallucination comes, the projection is decorated there, so the true existence.

So then that’s how everything made real, something which is not there, I, action, object, everything, hell, enlightenment, samsara, nirvana, happiness, problems, even day to day life, happiness, problems, so, everything, makes it real, by your mind, makes something real by your mind, by the ignorance, by the ignorance, you see.

So it created your own world, hallucination, like that.

So anyway, so what I was saying before was, so people as, in the West, why there’s fear, why do we have fear, it’s one of the questions, why there’s fear, so anyway, same, it is same, any problems, so, not only that question but any, see, why there’s problems, why there’s anxiety or, all that, fear, worry, I mean all the things, all the mental problems, as well as all the physical problems, pain, so as I mentioned, so including this, because we let, didn’t realize the I is empty, as well as the action, object, did not realize it’s empty as they are empty, from beginningless rebirth, so, this hallucination that you create, that you have created, projected by your ignorance, so then it’s something that appears something real, independent or true existent.

So then, we let our mind hold on to that as true, so from beginningless rebirth, from beginningless rebirth, from beginningless rebirth, so that’s the ultimate answer, that’s why we have all this, so, anyway, even the, relating to the individual us, all the difficulties, whatever, so, everything is because of that, it came from that, so, including the world problems, same, the war, pain, disease, torture, poverty, sicknesses, dangers of fire, water, earthquakes, dangers of fire, water, earthquakes, tsunamis.

So President Clinton mentioned it’s natural, it’s natural, but I don’t think it’s natural, I don’t think it’s natural.

It’s not natural, it’s not natural because if there’s no mind, it doesn’t exist, if there’s no mind, tsunami doesn’t exist. If there’s no mind, tsunami doesn’t exist, if there’s no obscured mind, tsunami doesn’t exist, if there’s no obscured mind, tsunami doesn’t exist, how do tsunami, I mean, there’s no cause for tsunami to happen, if there’s no obscured mind, if there’s no negative karma, tsunami doesn’t exist; if there’s no negative karma, tsunami doesn’t exist, okay, so that.

All the people wouldn’t suffer, that wouldn’t happen, due to that condition, all the people who suffered, then the whole valley washed away, so that, even the big hotels, there’s water, so all that, I don’t think it’s great bliss, I don’t think it’s an experience of great bliss, so it’s suffering, you see.

Anyway, so without negative karma, it’s impossible to happen, so it’s a creation of negative karma, it’s a production of negative karma, our negative thoughts, negative actions, so it’s not natural, that’s not natural, at all.

If that were natural then everything would be natural. If that, tsunami is natural, then everything is not karma, not karma, no karma doesn’t exist. If that is the nature, then everything happens natural, independent happening, it doesn’t depend on karma, it doesn’t depend on the mind of sentient beings.

So that means all the people who died, suffer, all this, that didn’t depend on karma. If you that’s natural, then all those people who suffered, died, during that time, it didn’t depend on karma, so that means karma doesn’t exist.

If karma doesn’t exist, if karma doesn’t exist, then we don’t have freedom to overcome karma. If the karma doesn’t exist, if karma doesn’t exist, then we don’t have freedom, our life doesn’t have freedom over karma, we can’t change karma, you see.

So, how to say, what did I say? What did I say? Huh? What? [student fills in Rinpoche]
Yes, that’s right, thank you very much.

So, yeah, if that’s natural, so then everything would be natural, everything has got to be natural. All those people who died, suffered, fear, unbelievable fear, if it were all natural then, then karma doesn’t exist, you see.

Then, if karma doesn’t, okay, then we don’t have freedom, we don’t have freedom to overcome suffering, we don’t have freedom to overcome suffering, okay, so, then there’s no freedom to achieve liberation, there’s no freedom to achieve liberation, which means cessation of the suffering and its cause, the action and delusion, so cessation, cessation of that is the liberation, so means you can’t achieve liberation, see, no way you can achieve enlightenment, so that.