Public Talk: Lam-rim

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Guadalajara, Mexico 2008 (Archive #1700)

The following is a public talk on lam-rim given by Rinpoche in Guadalajara, Mexico, on April 4, 2008. It includes commentary to part of Seven-Point Thought Transformation. Edited by Ailsa Cameron.

You can listen online to this talk. You can also listen to an 8-day series of teachings on the lam-rim that Rinpoche gave after this talk or read the edited version of the 8-day series.

I would like to thank all my brothers and sisters for coming here tonight. Maybe we will share a little bit of our experiences as I chat a little bit with you.

Why have we gathered here tonight? Why have I come here and why have all of you gathered here? It’s for happiness. It’s not for suffering but for happiness. The main topic of this talk will be from where the happiness and difficulties of life come. Basically, the happiness in our life, which we like and are looking for, and the suffering, which we do not like and do not want to experience, appear as if they’re coming from outside, but actually it’s totally the other way around: they come from our own mind. When we don’t have the necessary education, especially education of the mind, it appears as if the suffering, the difficulties of life, are coming from outside—not just from outside but only from outside. Maybe I should present it this way. It appears as if there is nothing wrong with your mind, as if your mind is perfect. You yourself are perfect and your mind is perfect. So every problem you have in your life comes only from outside: from other people, or maybe from some animals, or from the place. Even happiness appears to come only from outside, which is totally wrong. If you examine your life and your life experiences, you discover that that belief is the total opposite of your experience. And scientifically that belief is also totally wrong.

Here, right at the beginning, I want to mention a meditation instruction from the Omniscient One that is very helpful. This advice will help to solve all problems in life: problems in the family, problems in business, the problems of a spiritual person who is meditating, wanting attainment of the path to ultimate happiness, whether to the full state of omniscience, the peerless happiness of enlightenment, or just to the state of mere liberation from all suffering and its cause, karma and delusion. This is a great answer for anybody living any style of life who is experiencing difficulties or obstacles. I think this is a great answer for any obstacle you believe you have. The advice is “Put all the blame on one.” No matter what difficulty or obstacle in life we are experiencing, we should put all the blame on one.

So, where is that one? Is it outside? Is it in the ocean or in the sky? Is it at home? (Maybe home is getting close.) Is it in your head? Or in your brain, your fingers or your toes? What is that one? It is not others. That is not from where all the problems come. When you are having obstacles to your business, you have difficulties in your family life or relationships or you are having difficulties trying to win the Olympics, there is one source of all those problems, and you should put all the blame on that one. That one is not others, and it’s not your positive thoughts: your good heart, your compassion, your loving kindness, your wisdom. It is the ego, the selfish mind, the self-cherishing thought. Put all the blame on one means this one. No matter what lifestyle you have, this is the one from where all difficulties, all problems, come. Whenever a problem arises, immediately put the blame on that one, which is from where difficulties arise.

The minute you do that practice, the problem you believe you have—whether it is with your family, with your wife or husband, with your children, with a friend with whom you’re doing business—becomes nonexistent. You find it’s not true. Before, you thought the source of the problem was only external and never related it to your own mind. Before, you believed that you had a very serious problem, something huge, and that problem was even inherently existent, existing from its own side. It never came from your own mind; it had nothing to do with your mind. It existed purely from its own side, a real problem. Suddenly that problem is not there; it doesn’t exist.

The second advice from the Omniscient One is, “Meditate on the kindness of all.” Meditate means make our mind familiar with, so in our daily life we should meditate on the kindness of everybody. It’s not talking about the kindness of light or the earth or fire or the kindness of a tree or rock. It’s talking about the kindness of living beings. That means anyone who has a mind. We should practice kindness toward any living being. In daily life we should make our mind familiar with and keep our mind in kindness. We should meditate on the kindness of all. Kindness should go from you toward others, toward every single living being. This includes not only every single human being and every single animal, but all the many other beings that we don’t see, such as spirits (pretas, in Sanskrit), who experience so much suffering of hunger and thirst, and the worldly gods (devas, in Sanskrit) living on higher planes, who have sense pleasures that are a hundred thousand times, a million times, greater than ours. Those devas also have inner happiness derived through meditation. However, they are still not free from suffering because they are not liberated from the cause of suffering, which is inside not outside. They are not free from action, or karma, motivated by disturbing thoughts, by obscuring disturbing negative attitudes, such as ignorance, anger and attachment.

You, the one person, should practice kindness toward every living being, and you should be aware of the kindness of every living being. Don’t think just of the kindness of your friend, of the people you love, but of the kindness of your enemies and of strangers. In relation to us ordinary beings, all living beings can be divided into three groups: friends, enemies and strangers. Be aware of the kindness of every single friend, of every single enemy, of every single stranger.

I think that these two pieces of advice are unbelievable. If we can practice these two pieces of advice, it’s unbelievable. Especially when you think of the kindness of others, your problem, your difficulty, is gone. Again it doesn’t exist. First put all the blame on one: the ego, the selfish mind. You shouldn’t think it’s talking about others’ selfish mind; it’s talking about yours. Don’t get mixed up. In your life, the day, hour, minute when your attitude is selfish, cherishing the I and looking for happiness only for yourself, there’s no happiness. Due to your hallucinated mind, there may be excitement when your attachment or self-cherishing thought wins something. When you are playing football, soccer, when you win the match or are able to score a goal, you raise both your arms in the air with an intense expression on your face. That’s basically what people do, though some people celebrate in different ways. When I was watching TV and saw a player with such an intense face, I thought maybe he was very angry. He wasn’t smiling and looked as if he was going to hit somebody. Sometimes I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on.

So, sometimes there’s excitement, but if you question whether there really is peace and happiness in your heart, it’s difficult to see any inner peace or happiness. It’s a very tight, very closed mind.

The days, hours, minutes, seconds you cherish the I, you suddenly see many problems in your life. You’re not happy with your family, your husband or wife and children, or with your friends: “They’re not praising me. They’re not helping me.” Your hallucinated mind of attachment perceives objects in the wrong way, not according to their reality. When attachment arises, there is a view of attachment. When anger arises, there is a view of anger. And whenever ignorance arises in relation to an object, ignorance has its own view that it apprehends, that it believes. Attachment projects its own view and believes in it. When anger arises, anger also has its own view.

I would just like to mention a quotation from the great enlightened being and great scholar Lama Tsongkhapa. “The concept holding phenomena as truly existent apprehends things to be truly existent.” It’s not saying that nothing exists. If you believe nothing exists, you are falling into nihilism. And if you believe in the way you apprehend phenomena—I, action, object—to be inherently existent, as real ones existing from their own side, you are falling into the other extreme, eternalism, which is also totally wrong. Both nihilism and eternalism are totally wrong. How the self, or I, action and objects exist, how phenomena exist, is according to neither nihilism nor eternalism. Phenomena exist according to the Middle Way view. That’s the correct view of what things are, of how things exist.

I, the creator, actions and objects all exist, but they do not exist inherently. How do you feel about this? At the beginning I said that things exist, but then I said they do not exist. How do you feel when you hear that they don’t exist? Afterwards I mentioned inherently. So, with each word, how do you feel? To check that is very important.

Things exist but they are empty inherent existence, empty of existing from their own side. They exist but they don’t have inherent existence or existence from their own side, existence by nature. They don’t have that kind of real existence at all; not even the slightest atom of that exists. They exist in mere name, imputed by the mind. What exactly is the I, the self, that we talk about day and night, all the time? “I want this, I want that, I want to do this….” We talk about the present and future of the I and what this I did in the past. In reality, what exactly the I is is never the I that appeared to our hallucinating mind and that we believed to be something truly existent.

This is a very big subject but I will try to make it simple. We believe things to be inherently existent or existent from their own side and not merely imputed by the mind. In our daily life, when things appear to us in this way, we believe this to be the reality. Through meditation, through analysis, yogis or meditators have scientifically discovered the truth of the I. When you meditate, your mind analyzes what exactly the I, the self, is, and you discover the truth of the I, the reality of the I, and of all other phenomena. This inner scientist, who really analyzes through meditation, is actually the great scientist. There’s so much to learn, to discover, with your mind. Your mind is filled with the potential to be fully knowing, to directly see all past phenomena, no matter how long ago, while at the same time directly seeing all future phenomena and all present phenomena. Your mind is full of the potential to actualize the path, to remove all suffering and the cause of suffering: karma, your own actions, motivated by delusions, the obscuring, disturbing negative attitudes (particularly self-cherishing thought, as I mentioned at the beginning). Your mind can be completely transformed from that. All the causes from where all the suffering comes can be completely removed. This includes even the cause of ignorance, anger, attachment and the other delusions, the seed of delusion, which is in the nature of a negative imprint. The seed of delusion can be completely removed by actualizing the remedy of the path. Your mind can be totally transformed into the ultimate good heart seeking the happiness of only other sentient beings, who are numberless, with no one left out.

There are six realms: the realms of the hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, and asuras and suras, who are different types of worldly gods. Among the worldly gods, there are form realm gods and formless realm gods. We are in the desire realm, and there are also worldly gods who are in the desire realm. Form realm gods see all of this desire realm as only in the nature of suffering. The form realm gods see the desire realm the way we see countries or areas that are very dirty and full of disease, with many people dying and many bad things happening. You never want to go to such places.

The gods of the formless realm have total detachment to the form realm, seeing it as only in the nature of suffering. They see the form realm as something unbearable, like walking without shoes on thorns. The formless realm has four categories: limitless space, limitless consciousness, nothingness and tip of samsara. The devas who are living in the fourth one, tip of samsara, realize that the three other formless realms are only in the nature of suffering, but they don’t realize this about their own realm because they have no higher realm of samsara with which to compare it so that they can see how the tip of samsara is in the nature of suffering. So, until these formless beings realize that the tip of samsara is only in the nature of suffering, as it is only in nature of suffering (and this is not just applying some belief but actually realizing that it is only suffering in nature), and have total detachment to it and have the attainment of the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, which can cease the defilements, the disturbing-thought obscurations, and remove even the cause of delusion, the negative imprint, when the karma to be in the tip of samsara finishes, they will again be reborn in one of the six realms. As before, they will again be reborn in the six realms and experience all the sufferings of each of those realms.

Now I’m lost, but I’ll just try to come back to what I was saying before. I was talking about how things appear and how our mind believes. Even though everything that exists is merely imputed by the mind, in our daily life what is merely imputed by our mind appears back to us as not merely imputed by mind, and we totally trust this wrong concept, this ignorance. First I will put it this way. Your mind trusts that it’s a hundred percent correct. But the moment when you analyze, you can’t find at all what you believe to be a hundred percent right. You discover that it’s empty. You can’t find at all what appears to be inherently existent, existing without being merely imputed by mind, and believed by your mind to be a hundred percent true. You discover through meditation, through analysis, that it is totally nonexistent. Right there from where it is appearing, it is totally nonexistent. That is the very nature. When you see the I like that, that is the very nature of the I. You are seeing the ultimate nature of the I, the very truth of the I. You are not seeing that the I doesn’t exist. The I exists but it is empty. What you realize is that it’s empty, totally empty. While you are seeing the I as totally empty of existing from its own side, you are not seeing the I as nonexistent. You see that the I is existent but it is an extremely subtle phenomenon. It is something extremely subtle. You are discovering how the I exists, what it is exactly. Compared to your previous concept, how ignorance believed the I to exist as a real I existing from its own side, not merely imputed by mind, and how it appeared to your hallucinated mind, what you now see is like it’s nonexistent; it’s not nonexistent but it’s like it doesn’t exist. It’s not nonexistent but it’s like it’s nonexistent compared to before. The existence of the I, the self, is something extremely subtle, extremely fine. The borderline between the self existing and the self not existing is unbelievably subtle. While the I is existing, it’s empty. While it’s empty, it is existing. You are discovering that the I unifies these two, emptiness and dependent arising. So, this is the correct view, the Middle Way view.

First you have the realization of this ultimate nature of the I. First you see that the I is empty. That is the truth of the I. You are now seeing the truth of the I. The very nature of the I is emptiness. With this as a cause, as a result, you then see the truth for the all-obscuring mind. The previous one is the truth for the absolute mind. Truth for the all-obscuring mind is normally translated as “conventional truth.” However, the Tibetan term for it is kun tsob kyi den pa. Kun tsob is referring to ignorance; kun means all and tsob means obscuring. For example, when you are writing something, if you drop ink on the book, it obscures the letters so that you can’t read them. Here it’s describing the function of this ignorance. This ignorance obscures your seeing the emptiness of phenomena. So kun tsob, all-obscuring, is describing the function of your ignorance.

The first one is truth for your absolute mind, your absolute wisdom. Second, as a result, you then see the conventional truth. You see that the I exists. The I is not nonexistent; it exists in mere name, imputed by the mind. This is truth for the all-obscuring mind. Second you realize the kun tsob kyi den pa, truth for the all-obscuring mind. By having realized that the I is empty, by having realized the ultimate nature of the I, emptiness, as a result you then see the I as an illusion. In this way you are able to realize the two truths of the I.

Among students there are some who have collected a lot of merit in the past and who have collected a lot of imprints in the past by studying and meditating on the teachings of the Prajnaparamita. They have also had the blessings of the guru enter their heart. From their side as a disciple, they have correctly devoted themselves to the virtuous friend with the guru yoga meditation of looking at the guru as having only qualities and no mistakes, by looking at them as buddha. Through that devotion, the blessings of the guru enter the heart of the disciple. At the same time, they do intensive practice to purify their defilements. There are various practices for purifying the mind and collecting extensive merits. When these causes and conditions happen together, realization comes. You are then able to see the truth of the I, something that you never discovered from the time of your birth and during your beginningless rebirths. You see this for the first time.

By developing this wisdom, you later seek meditation from right view. If you haven’t achieved the calm abiding meditation before this, you then achieve it. You achieve the concentration from which is derived the rapturous ecstasy of body and mind. When you are meditating on emptiness unified with calm abiding, it is called “the concentration that is a unification of emptiness and calm abiding.” There are five Mahayana paths to full enlightenment and there are five Lesser Vehicle paths to achieve liberation for the self. The first path is the path of merit; the second is the preparatory path; the third, the path of seeing; the fourth, the path of meditation; and the fifth, the path of no more learning. When you achieve the third path, the path of seeing, at that time you have achieved the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness through development of the concentration that is a unification of emptiness and calm abiding.

In each of these paths, there are different levels and many things to explain, but I will just give you a very rough idea. By actualizing this third path, the path of seeing, you are able to remove 112 delusions. By further training your mind in the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, you then actualize the path of meditation, and you then remove sixteen delusions. By further training your mind in the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, you are then able to completely remove even the cause of delusion, the seed, the negative imprint. When that happens, the ultimate nature of your mind from which all this has been removed is liberation, nirvana, the sorrowless state. It is then impossible for you to experience suffering again. This cyclic existence in which you die and are reborn, die and are reborn, is totally ended.

It is totally impossible for you to experience again being born as a human being and experiencing the oceans of human sufferings. It is impossible for you to experience them again. In a similar way, it is then impossible for you to experience the oceans of asura and sura realm sufferings, the oceans of hell sufferings, hungry ghost sufferings, animal sufferings, intermediate state beings’ suffering. You are totally free from all those oceans of suffering of each realm; it is impossible for you to experience them again. Therefore, practicing Dharma and attaining true cessation of suffering by actualizing true path is just one-time work. You don’t have to do it over and over again, like with the works of this life, the works of samsara, or cyclic existence. The continuity of our contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion is samsara. This is what Lama Tsongkhapa explained in the Great Commentary of the Graduated Path to Enlightenment. Some of my gurus explain that samsara is the continuity of the birth of these contaminated aggregates caused by karma and delusion.

We have achieved the happiness of these aggregates numberless times during beginningless rebirths. For beginningless rebirths we have worked for the happiness of these aggregates. But still it hasn’t ended. There’s no way to complete this work; there’s no end to it. In the same way, no matter how long we continue, it will be endless. That’s why the suffering of samsara is endless. There’s no end to is. But Dharma work is just one time.

After you have achieved the blissful state of peace, you then abide in that state of bliss for many eons. Buddha then sends light to you, and you hear a verse of teaching that persuades your heart to enter the Mahayana path. You then actualize the five Mahayana paths to enlightenment. In this case you don’t have to remove the disturbing-thought obscurations because you have already done that. Here you remove the subtle obscurations, the main function of which is to interfere with your mind becoming omniscient. That’s the meaning of subtle defilements.

Here there are five paths. By actualizing the third Mahayana path, the path of seeing, you remove 116 subtle defilements. You then actualize the Mahayana path of meditation, where you also remove 116 defilements. By completing the path, you are then able to cease completely the subtle negative imprint that projects the total hallucination. Even though it has just now been imputed by your mind, whatever phenomenon, including I, action, object, appears to you appears to you to be not merely labeled by your mind. It appears to be existing from its own side, existing by nature. There is this hallucination decorated or projected on all phenomena, on your I, action and object, which are merely imputed by mind, existing in mere name. That’s the reality of how everything exists, but there is a projection from this negative imprint. This hallucination of a truly existent appearance is put on everything—on the merely labeled I, the merely labeled action, the merely labeled everything. Hell and enlightenment, samsara and nirvana, suffering and happiness—everything exists in mere name, merely imputed by mind, but this negative imprint in your mind decorates this hallucination on the whole of existence.

Here now, in actualizing the five Mahayana paths, by actualizing the path of meditation, you are then able to remove even the subtle negative imprint that projects this hallucination of everything, including I, action, object, as something real, something existing from its own side. You have decorated this hallucination on all existence, on all these phenomena, which exist in mere name. You completely purify this, and your mind then becomes omniscient, directly seeing everything, all the past and at the same time all the present and future. At that time, not only does your mind become omniscient, but while your mind is meditating one-pointedly on and directly seeing emptiness, immovable forever from the emptiness, at the same time, since at this time you are a fully enlightened being, your mind can see the base of emptiness; you see those two together at the same time. Take the example of this flower. While your mind is directly seeing the emptiness of the flower, continuously abiding in meditation immovable forever from the emptiness of the flower, at the same time, your mind can also see the flower. While you are seeing its ultimate truth, at the same time you can see the conventional truth, the flower. Seeing these two together is a very special quality of a buddha. While their mind is one-pointedly in meditation on emptiness, at the same time a buddha can see every single sentient being, their level of intelligence, their karma, their wishes and everything else, including even all the methods to guide each sentient being from happiness to happiness to enlightenment. They can see every single method that exactly fits each sentient being to guide them from life to life to enlightenment.

And at the same time a buddha can manifest with their holy body, holy speech and holy mind. When you achieve enlightenment, the body can do the function of the mind and the mind can do the function of the body. It is like that for a buddha. At the same time a buddha can manifest billions and billions of forms, numberless forms, to sentient beings and then guide them from happiness to happiness to enlightenment. They can manifest an inconceivable number of different forms. At that time, they also have the perfect power to be able to reveal whatever methods fit sentient beings.

With that, a buddha has also completed training their mind in compassion towards sentient beings. It is mainly because of the compassion generated for every single sentient being, with not even one being left out, and developed for so many eons that we sentient being receive guidance, especially as we open our mind and heart towards the path to enlightenment. It is then easy to guide us and liberate us from all the suffering and bring us to enlightenment.

A buddha is able to do perfect work without the slightest mistake for numberless sentient beings. When the one sun or one moon rises, there is no motivation, “I must reflect in this ocean in Mexico. I must manifest in Guadalajara, in this part of the water.” It doesn’t have that motivation. When the one sun or moon rises, it is naturally reflected in every piece of water that isn’t covered: in every single ocean, in every stream, in every single drop of dew. Without any effort, it is reflected everywhere, even in the smallest drop of water. Like that, when you become enlightened, you benefit sentient beings spontaneously, without any effort. You work for sentient beings without the slightest mistake until everybody is not only liberated from all their suffering but brought to enlightenment. When every single suffering sentient being is liberated and brought to enlightenment, we have achieved the real goal of our life, the real purpose of our life.

We can do that while we have this precious human body, because it gives us the full opportunity to engage in this—particularly this human body we have received in this southern continent. There are other human worlds—the eastern, western and northern continents—but this human body from the southern continent that we have gives us unbelievable opportunities. This human body we have received at this time in this world is more precious than all the wealth in the rest of the world. The value of all the wealth in the world is nothing compared to this.

This human body is so precious not only in every day, but in every minute, every second. It is unbelievably precious, more precious than gold or diamonds the size of this earth or even the whole sky filled with gold or diamonds or billions of dollars or even wish-granting jewels. A wish-granting jewel is a precious jewel that grants you whatever material comfort, material external enjoyment, you pray for. If you don’t have a human body, even if you own the whole sky filled with gold, diamonds or billions of dollars, zillions of dollars, or wish-granting jewels, you can’t achieve higher rebirth; you can’t achieve full enlightenment for sentient beings, to liberate everyone from suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. You can’t do that, and you can’t achieve even liberation for yourself. You can’t achieve even the happiness of future lives, a good rebirth. But without having any of these precious materials, if you have a human body, especially one received in this southern continent, you can achieve all this. You can achieve whatever happiness you wish up to enlightenment; you can be free from all the sufferings, all the defilements. And then you, the one person, can liberate numberless other beings in each realm from their suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. What we can do with this present human body is unbelievable.

Now we will get down to the basic thing, practice of the good heart. What makes all this possible? What makes everything successful? Practice of the good heart in our daily life. It is the opposite to what we talked about before: whenever obstacles arise, you blame everything on one, the ego, or self-cherishing thought. Now here I am saying that, while all the obstacles come from that, all your happiness and success and all the happiness and success you can give to all living beings come from the root, your good heart cherishing others, seeking happiness for others.

In our daily life we should live with this good heart cherishing others, seeking happiness for others, not with ego. I will give you just one simple example. Suppose your friend, the person you are living with, wants this object here and that one there, and you want to arrange them the other way around. Now, if you follow the ego, self-cherishing thought, you would then argue about this. You would fight for what your ego, your self-cherishing thought, wants. You could quarrel and fight and even beat your friend—anything could happen. Because of self-cherishing thought, you would get angry. When you don’t get what you want, you get angry. And when you get angry, anything can happen.

Then, first of all, you destroy your own peace. Before you were relaxed, peaceful, now that is destroyed. There is turmoil in your heart, in your inner life. The tightness of ego, self-cherishing thought, means there is no inner peace. There is then anger, and there is also attachment. There’s so much suffering. Your mind is filled with mental garbage. With these delusions you then create negative karma. You don’t fulfill the wishes of the other sentient being; it becomes an obstacle to the other being’s happiness. That’s the present situation.

The effect of your action is not positive but negative. There’s an immediate negative effect to the other person as what you have done doesn’t give them inner peace and happiness and brings unhappiness to them. It makes the other person unhappy. It then even causes the other person to get angry with you. What happens is that you are creating negative karma, which brings unhappiness to both of you, which creates an unhappy negative world.

The other effect, the long-term result, depending on how heavy the negative karma is, is rebirth in the hell, hungry ghost or animal realms. This happens because your motivation for the act is attachment, grasping this life’s pleasure, and there’s self-cherishing thought, of course.

Like that, it makes your life and the other person’s life totally unhappy. And then there’s the long-term effect of heavy suffering in the lower realms for an unbelievable length of time, many billions, many zillions of eons of suffering.

Now, with the good heart cherishing that other sentient being, seeking happiness for that person, your attitude is opposite to ego, self-cherishing thought. With the good heart you listen to what the other person wants. By thinking of all the benefits of cherishing that other person and bringing them happiness, you do what the other person wants. This attitude of cherishing the other person opens the door to all your happiness, to all the happiness of future lives. From there, it can also help you to achieve liberation and then highest enlightenment. It opens the door to all your happiness. When you cherish that person and seek to obtain their happiness, you open the door. It becomes the cause for you to achieve skies of benefits, including not only temporary but also ultimate happiness.

The long-term result of your positive attitude of cherishing and giving happiness to that person is that you are then able to liberate the numberless sentient beings from each realm from the oceans of suffering and its causes and bring them to full enlightenment. The benefit is just unbelievable! So, thinking of all these skies of benefit, of all the long-term benefits that you can receive, you are so happy to give up your ego, your self-cherishing thought, and to cherish that other sentient being and make them happy.

Now here, with this you are able to fulfill two purposes: you are able to make the other person happy and you are happy. This one action of cherishing that person and accepting what they want fulfills two purposes: it makes you happy because of all these benefits that you get and it makes the other person very happy. And you then don’t create negative karma. It is a totally unnecessary, crazy thing to create negative karma and suffer long term in the lower realms. Also, you don’t cause the other person to be involved in creating negative karma, cause to be born in the lower realms. You don’t experience unhappiness now, and you don’t hold a grudge that makes anger arise again and again, which is an obstacle to developing your mind, to completing all the realizations and bringing happiness to every sentient being.

This is an example of what happens in our daily life when we try to live our life with the good heart, cherishing others and seeking to obtain the happiness of others as much as possible. When you are at home, you are able to make your whole family—your partner, your children—happy. When you are in the office, you are also able to make everybody happy. Wherever you are, even if you are staying alone in a cave or on the moon, your life is so happy. Your mind is full of joy, and you see so much meaning in your life. With this good heart, you are always benefiting others, day and night. You even go to sleep for others, for the happiness of all living beings. Even when you eat and drink, no matter how many coffees or hot chocolates you drink, everything is for the happiness of all living beings. Whatever job you are doing, whether working in an office as a secretary, cleaning or driving, with this good heart, you do your job for everybody, for the happiness of all living beings. For however many hours you do your job, whether for eight hours or twelve hours, everything becomes Dharma. Here Dharma means that which protects you from suffering and the cause of suffering, the negative thoughts, the delusions. That’s the meaning of Dharma. Dharma is that which stops actions that are harmful to you and to others. On top of that, what you are doing is benefiting yourself and causing happiness to other sentient beings. You cause others to have all the different levels of happiness. You use your life to benefit others by causing others to have the happiness of this life. There are many people who perform that service of bringing the happiness of this life to others. A more important service than that, and one that is not well known in the world, is to cause all the numberless living beings to have the happiness of all the future lives. This is very long-term happiness. Now an even more important service to others is to bring them true cessation of suffering by ceasing the cause of suffering. Actualizing the true path then brings them to enlightenment.

Is there maybe one question?

Student: If everybody in the world wants to be happy, why are there so many problems, so much fighting and wars and everything else? Even politicians could help to bring more happiness. If we want to be happy, why don’t we have happiness? We have so many wars and problems in Mexico, in the States and everywhere else. Everyone wants to be happy but we have just the opposite.

Rinpoche: I gave the answer at the very beginning. “Blame everything on one.” Blame your own ego, self-cherishing thought, from where all the problems come. Then, from your own side, “Meditate on the kindness of all.” When this practice is done, the world will then have perfect peace and happiness. Politicians, those with influence and power, can cause so much happiness to the many millions of people in their own country, in other countries and in the whole world. If you change, what you can do is unbelievable; but this won’t happen if you don’t change, if don’t do this practice but constantly cherish the I and don’t realize how others are so precious and so kind, how all your past, present and future happiness comes from them. Without that, even though you want happiness and many other things, it won’t happen because what you are doing is the cause of suffering and not the cause of happiness. The answer was given in the quotation I mentioned at the very beginning. The answer was given at the very beginning.

Student: What is the mind?

Rinpoche: Now this question means it’s time to go to sleep! So, there’s a body and a mind. First of all you have to understand that the mind is formless; it has no color or shape. But its nature is clear, and it is able to perceive objects. Those are the characteristics of the mind. “Clear and knowing” is the definition of the mind. It’s a very interesting phenomenon.

Student: Sometimes we have the feeling that we have already been in a certain place or already had a certain experience. Something comes to your mind and you say, “Oh, I have already experienced this in the past.” Is it true that we have already had the same experience in the past?

Rinpoche: Yes, it’s possible. Also, when you meet people, with some people you feel that they are not new to you, that you have met them before. Before doesn’t mean in this life, but in a life before this. You are meeting them for the first time in this life, but you feel that meeting that person is not new. This is your karma expressing that you have met that person in recent past lives. Your karma is telling you that. It does have meaning.

Sorry, I talked on and on. It is an old habit of mind to talk on and on, so we then didn’t have much time for discussion.

We are now going to chant some mantras. The first one is the mantra of the future buddha, Maitreya Buddha. It has many benefits, but one particular benefit that only this mantra has is that if you, or even an animal, has heard this mantra, when Maitreya Buddha descends in this world to reveal Dharma as Shakyamuni Buddha did, at that time, Maitreya Buddha will look for you and you will become a close disciple of Maitreya Buddha, receive teachings from Maitreya Buddha and receive the prediction of your enlightenment. Also, this mantra helps to keep the mind in virtue, or positive.

[Rinpoche chants Maitreya Buddha’s mantra.]

This also has another important benefit. By hearing this mantra, you don’t get born in the lower realms. So, it’s very powerful.

The Medicine Buddha mantra, because it’s so powerful, also has the same benefit of preventing rebirth in the lower realms. And it is very powerful for purification and collecting extensive merit. For everything, it’s like a wish-fulfilling mantra.

[Rinpoche chants the short Medicine Buddha mantra three times, then some other mantras. Rinpoche then chants some dedication prayers in Tibetan, including the long-life prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.]

Everybody please pray in the following way. “Due to all the merits of the three times—past, present and future—collected by me and the past, present and future merits collected by others, may the ultimate good heart, bodhichitta, which cherishes all sentient beings, seeking happiness for all sentient beings and wishing to achieve enlightenment for them, be actualized within my own heart, in the hearts of the members of my family, of everybody in Guadalajara, in Mexico and in all the rest of the world and in the hearts of all sentient beings without even a second’s delay. In those whose hearts bodhichitta has been generated, may it be increased.

“Especially may bodhichitta be generated in the hearts of all the world leaders.” How much peace and happiness there is in the world also depends very much on them.

“And may bodhichitta be generated in the hearts of people of all the different religions—in the hearts of not only Buddhists but Muslims, Hindus, Catholics and all other religions. May bodhichitta be actualized in all their hearts. As well, may bodhichitta be actualized in the hearts of all the leaders of mainland China.

“Jang chhub sem chhog rin po chhe….

So, gracias, gracias.

Three monks have come from Ganden Monastery in South India. Sera, Ganden and Drepung are the three large monastic universities for studying Buddhist philosophy. They were founded in Tibet by Lama Tsongkhapa and Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciples. Since His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many lamas were able to escape from Tibet, they established Sera, Ganden and Drepung monasteries in India so that monks could continue their Dharma education, their extensive study of Buddhist philosophy, both sutra and tantra. The monks here are from Ganden Shartse. Sera has Sera Me and Je colleges; Ganden has Shartse and Jangtse; and Drepung has Loseling and Gomang. So, they are from Ganden Shartse. There are some khangtsens that practice the protector that His Holiness has been advising for many years not to practice, because it’s not good for the individual, the general Buddhadharma or the world, but they are monks who are following His Holiness’s advice. They have come to do some fundraising for their education and for new buildings. So, if anybody wants to help, they can help.

So, that’s it. Thank you.