E-letter No. 164: February 2017

By Nicholas Ribush
(Archive #047)
Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in a group photo from the 8th Meditation Course at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1975.

Dear Friends,

Losar Tashi Delek everyone! Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters! May this be another year of countless meritorious activities we engage in together, spreading the precious teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche far and wide for the benefit of all.

Losar and Lama Yeshe

This year, losar (Tibetan New Year) is on February 27 and the holiday is traditionally associated with making a fresh start. At this time we rejoice over past accomplishments and make extensive offerings for the peace and prosperity of the coming year. 

Losar is followed by Monlam Chemo (the Great Prayer Festival inaugurated by Lama Tsongkhapa), which runs for the first fifteen days of the new year. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has explained how important these fifteen days are for doing practice and making offerings, as during this period the merit we create is multiplied one hundred million times.

Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.
Losar is also an extremely special day for the FPMT family as it marks the passing of our supremely kind founder Lama Yeshe on losar, 1984. Rinpoche recommends that centers continue or start the tradition of telling stories about Lama Yeshe every losar to keep his memory alive, for example, by inviting older students who knew Lama to share their favorite stories, such as those being compiled for the forthcoming biography of Lama Yeshe, Big Love.

See below for more links to resources made available by the Archive to honor Lama's precious memory and give us access to Lama's timeless wisdom.

New Lama Yeshe Video Published

The Archive contains precious historic video of Lama Yeshe teaching in his wonderfully direct style and we are working hard to digitize and publish it all for you! This month LYWA presents Life is Karma excerpted from teachings given by Lama Yeshe in 1977 in Auckland, New Zealand, hosted by Dorje Chang Institute. In this excerpt Lama explains how we create karma through our body, speech and mind and how repeated actions leave positive and negative imprints on our consciousness and how karma shapes our life experiences.

The unedited transcript of this video is this month's eletter teaching below.

The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive YouTube channel contains dozens of hours of teachings by Lama Yeshe. We are also collecting recordings of Ösel Hita, Lama Yeshe's reincarnation, and are posting video and teachings on our website. See, for example, We're All in the Same Boat, Ösel's talk at Losang Dragpa Centre, Malaysia, in February 2015.

You can experience Lama's teachings through our multimedia titles, which integrate video and audio with transcripts and images to bring Lama's teachings to life.

This month's Podcast: Lama Yeshe — The Transference of Consciousness

“From the Buddhist point of view, human life and death are equally important events. There’s no reason to think that life is important and death is bad, unimportant. You should not think that way. Both are important.”

Lama Yeshe teaching at Tushita Retreat Centre, Dharamsala, India, 1983.
This month’s podcast presents Lama Yeshe’s teachings on the transference of consciousness at death and are particularly poignant as these were from the last teachings Lama gave in the West. He passed away on Losar some five months later. These teachings have also been published by LYWA as Life, Death and After Death and are drawn from teachings given by Lama in London, 1982 and Geneva, 1983.

The recently redesigned and revitalized LYWA podcast features incredible selections from the hundreds of hours of archival audio teaching by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.  All the podcasts provide links back to the full teaching from which they were drawn and you can also listen to the podcast while reading along with a lightly edited transcript.

What's New on our Website

We have recently made available two translations of Lama Yeshe's teachings. The first is a Spanish translation of Is Attachment Completely Negative, which can be found on our Spanish Translations page. This talk joins the collection of seven translations offered by Felipe Ángel of Centro Yamantaka of FPMT Colombia.

Also just posted is a Hebrew translation of Lama's classic book Becoming Your Own Therapist, which can be found on our Hebrew translations page. The book was translated into Hebrew by the Shantideva Study Group in Israel. LYWA books and transcripts have now been translated into 16 languages and we are grateful to all our translators for helping to make these precious teachings available to students in languages other than English.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche relaxing at Waterlow Park, Highgate, London, 1983. Photo: Robin Bath.
New to our website this month is a discussion with Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the sur practice with the monks at IMI House, Sera Je Monastery, India, on 23 December 2013. Rinpoche explains that the practice pacifies obstacles at the Dharma center, repays our karmic debts to animals such as termites and mice, and creates the merit to be reborn in the pure land. This is the practice that Lama Zopa Rinpoche has recommended that FPMT Centers and Study Groups do regularly

New advices added to Rinpoche's Online Advice Book include:

Care of Chenrezig Statue in Garsha, India: Rinpoche wrote this letter to an international Buddhist organization regarding construction of a monastery in Garsha, a small village in Lahaul district, India. This would ensure the future care of a precious self-emanating Chenrezig statue located there.

The Merit of Pleasing the Guru: Rinpoche sent a card with various quotations to thank a student for his extensive help at a Dharma center

Life Practices After Kopan: A new student who had just attended a Kopan meditation course in Nepal asked Rinpoche for life practices. Rinpoche encourages the student to practice daily and explains:

Putting effort like that is very important. This life’s happiness is not important, and you have to switch. Now you think that this life’s happiness is important, not future lives. Regarding the happiness of this life and the happiness of future lives, this life’s happiness is not important but the future lives’ happiness is very important. When the mind is totally clear about this, then our attachment, anger and so many problems—hundreds, thousands of problems—get stopped. The less you’re concerned about the happiness of this life and the more you’re concerned about the next life, the more your actions become Dharma. Your actions become only Dharma if you totally renounce attachment to this life.

As always, you can see a list of all newly-added advices to the Online Advice Book here.

This Month's eFree: Lama Yeshe — Universal Love

Buddha Maitreya was very dear to Lama Yeshe’s heart and in 1981, Lama gave the fortunate students of FPMT’s Maitreya Institute a commentary on the yoga method of Maitreya. Later we were delighted when the Maitreya Project commissioned LYWA to publish this commentary. Universal Love presents Lama’s unique teachings on tantra along with introductory teachings given by Lama in the United States in 1975.  And Universal Love is this month’s free ebook offering! Visit your favorite ebook vendor using the links at the bottom our store page. [Note that as of this moment Amazon has yet to update their price but remember Smashwords offers all formats including Kindle.]

And speaking of translations, Universal Love has been translated into German, French and Russian. See links on the Universal Love Translations page.

Most Secret Hayagriva Teachings

At Vajrapani Institute in 1997 and at Tushita Meditation Centre in 2010, Lama Zopa Rinpoche led month-long Most Secret Hayagriva retreats, giving extremely rare and precious teachings. We have now undertaken the joyful task of editing these teachings to make them available to students who have received the Most Secret Hayagriva initiation from Rinpoche. We have the names of those who attended those retreats and also last year's Most Secret Hayagriva initiation in Penang, Malaysia, but if you want to be sure to be on our list for more information, or if you have received the Most Secret Hayagriva initiation from Rinpoche elsewhere, please email us and let us know where and when you received the initiation. Thank you.

Read the FPMT Annual Review

FPMT have just published Working to Benefit Beings as Infinite as the Sky: FPMT Annual Review 2016. It is FPMT's first ever fully-digital annual review, and it shares the story of a year's worth of activities of FPMT International Office. Included are letters from Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche, CEO Ven. Roger Kunsang, and the FPMT Board of Directors. There is also a review of Rinpoche’s year of Dharma activities, plus beautiful photos and reports on FPMT's work in education, charitable projects, communications, and more. Check it out.

Happy Losar to you, and thank you so much for partnering with us in our mission to bring peace and happiness to the world. We leave you with this teaching from Lama Yeshe.

Much love,

Nick Ribush
Director Life is Karma

This Month's Teaching: Lama Yeshe : life is karma

Lama Yeshe teaching in the gompa at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1974. Photo: Ursula Bernis.
So now, if human mind is kind of diamond and clear, not kind of mixture with negative energy, is kind of pure, then, what kind of progression, progression, how to, what happen growth, growth?

Anyway, there are two things: positive way growth and negative way growth, or progression or development, whatever you call. Very simple. The source of, the cycle of existence, the human cycle of existence is the ego mind. The grasping attitude mind is some kind of the progression. It is source, it is progression, how we develop uncontrol, uncontrol…uncontrollably we are cycling, doing different trip; even this life we doing different trip. Since we born up to now, we enjoy different things. First enjoy mommy give toy, these things, looking these things, then give up these things, then another toy, you pick up. So now, different period, you doing different play game in your life.

OK. So all this kind of existent, all this existent, development is, basic, on the ego mind, the grasping, grasping attitude. OK. Even, why you come this earth? The grasping attitude mind, the grasping such particular enjoyment and life, sense enjoyment, sense life. So that produce, that bring you in this earth. Not the God brings you into this earth.

So that’s what we call karma, remember? Sanskrit, we call karma. The karma is, the real karma, the evolution, the human being, is, the root is kind of ego, ego making different life style, different interesting, different things. So, we call karma; karma is, the function of our body, speech, mind is karma. In other words, karma is action, action, in other words, action of body, action of speech, action of mind. So, what is real karma? The movement of our body, speech, mind is karma. OK.

Maybe another way saying is, life is karma, that’s all; life is karma, that’s all. It’s very simple explanation, actually, karma is. So, movement, movement of body, speech, mind is giving some kind of, is giving imprint into the conscious[ness]. Kind of like, conscious[ness] is reserve bank, yes? Our mind is like reserve bank; each time we repeated, repeated grasping attitude, or rejecting hatred attitude, we acting by body, we acting by speech, mind also active—each this time, each time, almost twenty-four hours nonstopping, not stop, no stop, so this energy movement itself is each time repeatedly and each time putting imprint, imprint, the energize, that energy or imprint is collected into the reserve bank of our conscious[ness]. OK? You can see. So by repeated, this imprint is kind of energize to produce more interest, to produce more interest, interest, yes? Interest, you know. That’s good, really, that’s all, another way explanation. That’s right. You see, when we put certain kind of, the mind, certain directions, and interest is always, certain way stimulate without effort—why? Why this happen? Why difficult mind contemplate one pointedness? That shows because so many repeatedly, putting collection into reserve bank. So imprint is easier. Each time you collected, easier, easier, easier, easier, easier. Because power of the imprint contaminating into our mind.

OK. So concentration is good example. Now, contemplate one pointedness is more difficult. Why? Very little experience. Bank is so small. Very little interest. Well, it’s good you know, true. That’s all. But by repeated again, by repeated, repeated, as we do samsara, samsaric action, it is so easy. The control is the nature. You understand? Control is natural and concentration is becomes nature, no complicated. That thing’s human potential. Is so great, human mind is so powerful. Whatever, wherever we put, energy, direct and by repeatedly, it goes that way. That’s why I say, there is positive side, there’s negative side, remember? If you put your energy, body, speech, mind energy, into the positive direction, goes without almost kind of worry. You don’t need think about. You just put into the right channel, that’s all, it goes. Same thing negative way or positive way. Anyway, same thing.

Especially, we all experience, by repeated, by repeated, action repeated, doing, doing, doing, doing, each time the force energy is collecting, so the energy becomes so strong, strong, strong, strong, strong. This is our own experience. And almost, sometimes, when there’s too much repeated, energize inside, psychologically, in your mind, it becomes some kind of unforgettable, unforgettable. You don’t want think about, but automatically, energize, buzzing, understand? That is the real, that is the karma. OK? Karma, the Buddhism explanation about karma, it’s not something you believe. The explanation karma is not something making philosophical, something make up, you understand? You are this; you are this. It is explanation about relative nature of your own…of your body or your speech or your mind! OK? That’s very important to know.

Sometimes baby Dharma practitioners, baby Dharma practitioners, yes? Thinking that karma is something, “Oh, yes, I believe karma because my lama says, Buddha says, so there must be some karma.” That attitude is wrong! The karma, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter you believe or you don’t believe. Twenty-four hours, yes, I said, your mind, body, speech is running, tick, tick, tick, like that. Doesn’t matter you believe or you don’t believe, that is the karma.

But knowing is interesting. Each time movement of your own body, speech, mind, making some kind of energize, or putting imprint into the conscious, making more stronger, stronger, stronger and reproduce again, reproduce again; in other words, reacting again. That is effective. That can be done kind of attraction way, or can be done hatred way…you know what I mean. Every day, our life experience, Buddhism actually talk about life. That is very interesting, Buddhism talk about everyday life, what happening. This is very interesting. Not too much interesting some kind of talk about God or something. It’s talk about right now, what we, what happen, every day what we doing. That is very interesting thing.

Excerpted from Lama Yeshe's Dorje Chang Commentary given in Auckland, New Zealand in June 1977. Transcribed by Ven. Ann McNeil and checked by Megan Evart and Nick Ribush.