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Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Emotions : Various Emotions

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche at various locations (Last Updated Sep 2, 2008)
Failing Exams
Rinpoche had enrolled a Tibetan girl, who was born to his cousin’s wife, in a nursing school in Dharamsala. She had been studying there, but had failed her exams in the previous term. She was afraid of failing again the following year.

You are not losing your enlightenment, your liberation from samsara. You’re not losing a good rebirth in your next life. If that were the case, that would be something to be seriously worried about. Put whatever effort you can into studying, but in the event that you don’t succeed, look at the activities of this life as like the activities of a dream. What one gains or loses in a dream, when one wakes up, is nothing. Especially when the time of death comes, the activities of this life become like a dream, just totally empty. Especially at that time, you can see that the work you do just for this life is totally meaningless.

Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much. Even if you don’t succeed, you will manage to find a job. You can always be helped. You have a good heart, therefore you have some merit. You shouldn’t have a difficult life. Therefore, don’t worry too much.

Dealing with Loneliness
A monk commented to Rinpoche that people tended to avoid him, and didn’t want to be with him. Rinpoche gave the following advice.

That is no problem at all. It is good, because you waste so much of your time if people are interested in meeting you. Then, no meditation, no study, nothing, just blah, blah, blah, blah. That is why Milarepa achieved enlightenment in a brief lifetime during degenerate times. Why did he go to meditate in very high mountains? That is the whole point. He did it in order not to waste his life.

You can put effort, especially, into being alone, into not having so much contact with people. Otherwise, obstacles to having realizations come. We waste so much time. We have taken so many human rebirths, and we have wasted them countless times. That is a long time. We have wasted so much.

Buddha said that as long as one follows desire, one will never get satisfaction. Satisfaction, here, means peace of mind, but in a broader way it also means to understand that as long as one follows desire, there is no liberation and no enlightenment. If you have desire, these thoughts worry and upset you. If you feel clinging to this life, wanting praise from others, attachment to the comfort and happiness of this life, then there is no happiness. Once there is attachment, this life is gone. Attachment and clinging to this life is worldly concern. It is what is called the eight worldly dharmas, and that is the first thing to be renounced.

When you practice Dharma, it means actually fixing up the mind, making the mind better, transforming or mending it. You see that something is ugly, and then you make it into a better shape. You see the mind is negative, then you make it positive. Therefore, practicing Dharma means cutting the mind that is clinging to this life, by remembering impermanence and death. Letting go of this desire is the very first practice. It is the most fundamental practice, the very first Dharma, and it is the basis for renunciation of samsara in future lives, for compassion, bodhicitta, and the whole Mahayana path leading to enlightenment. Therefore, you should practice whatever cuts desire, using thought transformation, thinking, “Oh, that is good.” If you think, “Oh, this is bad,” then you become a friend of attachment. But if you think, “This is fantastic! Oh, this is exactly what my mind of attachment needs!” you feel happy to see harm come to your attachment. It is like when you feel happy if somebody harms your enemy. It is similar with attachment. Because of all the suffering that comes from attachment, when something destroys attachment, it brings you contentment and peace.


A student was experiencing jealousy and criticism from others around her.

Regarding the other people who are negative toward you, others being jealous or negative toward you and disliking you is a sign of samsara.

We’ve created various karmas in the past, from our own side, so these results are deserved. They can be expected.