Teachings at the Kadampa Deities Retreat

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Institut Vajra Yogini, France (Archive #1413)

These teachings were given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a retreat held at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, from 18 April to 11 May 2003. The retreat was on the four Kadampa deities, however, Rinpoche teaches on a broad range of lamrim topics. Read the first seventeen discourses, lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

We have now posted two more lectures from this series. In Lecture 16, Rinpoche explains that everything is a creation of mind and problems arise because we believe things are truly existent. In Lecture 17, Rinpoche advises that the purpose of our life is not just to accrue wealth or achieve power and fame. In these two lectures Rinpoche also gives commentary on the Thirty-five Buddhas, Lama Chöpa, Namgyalma mantra, Request to the Supreme Compassionate One and concludes with advice on how to dedicate the merits.

Rinpoche talks about a Chenrezig relic of Thangthong Gyalpo's incarnation at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, November 2016. Photo: Ven. Lobsang Sherab.
16. How We Label Good and Bad
APRIL 30, 2003
Request to the Supreme Compassionate One

[Rinpoche leads chanting of La ma tön pa…, then recites mantra]

The requesting prayer to Compassion Buddha, the exalted great Compassionate One, was composed by Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche’s root guru while doing Chenrezig retreat when he was fifteen years old. During that time, in his view so many things appeared due to that condition, with his devotion, faith to Chenrezig, then he made this request.

I received the oral transmission [of the Request to the Supreme Compassionate One] from Trulshik Rinpoche along with the prayer Purifying the Six Realms, the method of attainment, that which has great blessing, so along with that, this was also received. So I already did the oral transmission of this, I think, during the Chenrezig initiation, the jenang of the Four-arm Chenrezig, so I did that along with the oral transmission.

This is also to use as a motivation at the beginning of a session—it can be read or chanted, whatever, or both, as a motivation, and also to recite during nyung nä. I think this is in the nyung nä text; I think it’s already there. So, you can recite it at the beginning of a session to receive the blessing of Chenrezig, for inspiration and then also to reflect. I think here, one main thing is how our own precious human life has been wasted. Reflect that in the lower realms or the sura, asura realms, those other realms, there’s no opportunity to practice Dharma, how difficult it is. We have received a human body this time, but we have used this precious human life for meaningless activities so far. The precious human life, received just about one time, is used for suffering, to create suffering, and is finished by suffering. Our life is finished by experiencing suffering, difficulties, problems, confusion, all the emotional problems, sicknesses and relationship problems and so forth. Our life is gone, our life is finished by suffering.

Also, it says here, this human body is so difficult to find again and it is so easy to decay. It’s so difficult to find and that which is found is so easy to perish or to be stopped. It is received but it was spent doing meaningless activities, nonvirtuous activities. Another meaning or another label is nonvirtuous activities; the life is spent engaged in nonvirtuous activities. So this means our life, this precious human body received just about once, is spent to create the cause of the suffering; another meaning is that. Then we experience all the problems, our life is finished by experiencing all the problems. We are creating the cause [of suffering] by doing meaningless activities, and, instead of making life meaningful, we do meaningless activities, nonvirtuous actions, the cause of the sufferings.

Then the other one is, our life is finished by experiencing the sufferings, emotional problems, sicknesses, relationship problems, all the difficulties earning a living and so forth, so we have all these problems, being unable to find job or many other difficulties. So our life is finished; another aspect is that.

Then it says, while we are doing something, we never finish it. While doing these activities of this life, while doing something, it’s never ending, one thing after another, doing the activities of this life, while we are engaging in this, then suddenly [Rinpoche snaps fingers] death arrives, death comes upon us.

So “I, the heartless one” means we who have not been thoughtful, mindful, by realizing how this human body is so precious and how it is highly meaningful, all that. How it’s difficult to find again, all that, without knowing that, without any knowledge of this, or maybe intellectually we know but we didn’t actually make it meaningful, we didn’t actually get to make it meaningful. We are so heartless, no mindfulness, so heartless.

So the life has become essenceless. We are unable to make it meaningful, unable to achieve any essence of this life, so our life has become essenceless, empty. We are returning back empty-handed. We came to the human realm but we are returning back empty. We are going to our next lives empty, so “Please, I, who am heartless, lived like that.” As it is explained before, our life has been without essence, empty. “I am returning back empty-handed, so Compassion Buddha, please pay attention to me.” So we are asking for help.

Maybe we read this one in English, then I will do the chanting, so those people who would like to know the chanting of this can learn how to do it. That can be done, it can be learned.


Ven. Rene: Rinpoche, it’s the prayer…? Yeah, maybe.

[Ven. Rene starts to read a prayer then has some doubts.]

Ven. Rene: It starts with “Namo Guru Lokeshvaraya”?

[Ven. Rene reads most of Songtsen Gampo’s prayer instead.]

Rinpoche: No. Oh, I see. Not that one. [Laughter] Is that finished? Oh, how many lines left?

Ven. Rene: A few more. [Laughter]

Rinpoche: Not that one. That one I did an oral transmission before. Not that one. This is I think in the nyung nä text, it’s there. I’m sure Maria has it in her bag.

Ven: Rene: We try this one then.

[Ven. Rene then starts to read the requesting prayer from the nyung nä text, Request to the Supreme Compassionate One.]

Rinpoche: It is in nyung nä book, that one. Huh?

Ven. Rene: She went to get them. She went to get the nyung nä texts.

Rinpoche: Who?

Ven. Rene: Ani Michelle went to get the nyung nä texts.

Rinpoche: Ah lay. OK. Anyway….

Request to the Supreme Compassionate One


Praise to the beautiful four-armed lord of the world,
Sublime embodiment emanating from the unity of all the victorious ones of the three times,
Possessor of all knowledge and holder of the lotus,
Your immaculate feet beautifully ornament my crown.

May the karmic pollutions of myself and others be washed away
By the cool tear of your compassion, great loving protector,
Sole refuge of pitiful, transmigrating beings who have no guide.
You generated bodhicitta first and then reached the extreme limit.

O merciful one, please behold with your compassionate eye
The beings of the evil-gone, caught in realms difficult to escape,
Experiencing the individual results of evil actions,
As hell beings or pretas, amongst animals, asuras and so on,

Behold with compassion, the thoughtless ones who return empty-handed;
Even their high rebirth was without meaning.
Their human bodies were so rare and fragile, but their lives were consumed only in suffering.
Amidst their endless actions the lord of death arrived.

Behold with compassion tough-skinned beings like me, [Rinpoche: Or like me.]
Who maintain a religious manner but do not achieve the great meaning,
Being overwhelmed by attachment, hatred, and the eight worldly concerns. [Rinpoche: The famous eight worldly concerns.]
Without having subdued our minds by observing cause and result.

With compassion, please lead (us) without refuge on the path.
For when (our) vision of this life fades,
The vision of (our) self-created karma arises as the enemy in the bardo (intermediate stage),
And (we) are taken on a precipitous route by Yama’s messenger.

Look upon us with compassion, O Lama Chenrezig,
Mother attached by compassion to all sentient beings,
Who is the special sole refuge of the Snow Land.
May I and all others quickly attain your state of enlightenment.

Thamo Nuns and Origin of Sherpas in Solu Khumbu Region

So chanting of this prayer was done by the Thamo nuns. In the upper part of Solu Khumbu, there’s only one Gelugpa monastery, which happened later.1 All the rest [in the region] are Nyingma monasteries—that’s what tradition spread from the past, many, many years ago, since people came to that area to live.

The original Sherpas, what I heard, what I saw of the history, is that they come from Kham, I think, Dege2 or something. I think they were from Kham, [a place] called Dege? There was maybe some disagreement, maybe they were different, [so they went to] another country. I don’t know what happened, but it seems they escaped from Kham and came to Nepal and then lived in a place, lived in the eastern part of Nepal called Shar. Shar means east in Tibetan language; shar is east. So they lived there. They came with their animals, they had escaped from Kham, they came all the way from Kham, the lower place of Tibet, they came with lots of animals, sheep or goats. They escaped and then they lived in that area, in the land of Nepal, which is kind of near the border of Tibet and Nepal, so it’s inside Nepal.

So their food was the animals; they killed and ate their animals. Then after some time the animals were finished and they didn’t have any food so they went on the mountains and found certain plants to eat so that’s how they were living their life. I think, due to their karma, I heard that the potato was brought from Holland, I’m not sure. The potato was brought, I think from the West, from Holland or, I don’t know, from somewhere. Then that’s how potato became their main food.

With the potato they make thirteen different foods. Thirteen different foods. Potato noodles—you mash the potatoes, mash them well on the stone, then you make noodles, with soup, with a large soup. So you don’t bite much; when you take those noodles you swallow them. [Laughter] And of course, those who have been to Solu Khumbu you know there are potato pancakes and potato wine. I think I told you the story of potato wine. Anyway they make thirteen different foods with potatoes, so there are many things. Somehow, it’s their karma, and somehow the potato happened later. So they found some plants to eat on the hills, on the mountains.

So, why I’m talking about that? [Group laughs]

Anyway, I think the tradition that spread to that area, that part of the Himalayas, was the Nyingma tradition. Also all that part of Nepal is Padmasambhava’s holy place. The part where Namche Bazaar is, all this part and also another part where I lived for seven years, which is much, much more primitive, that’s Padmasambhava’s holy place. It’s regarded like that, and there are many of Padmasambhava’s caves. There are many Padmasambhava holy places in those areas, including Lawudo. There’s also Padmasambhava’s cave. The story is that Padmasambhava came there, he flew there.

Behind the big mountain there’s a Japanese airstrip which was built together with Nepalese government, so there are one village or two villages there, called Upper Khumjung and Lower Khumjung. So maybe in Upper Khumjung there’s one Padmasambhava cave way up there. There is supposed to be a footprint of Padmasambhava there and the syllable AH appeared from the rock.

I went there one time. I was waiting for the flight at a place called Syangboche, this small airstrip behind Lawudo. There’s a mountain between, so I was there waiting. I think I waited maybe one week. [Laughter] One time with Lama we waited one week. There was one Tibetan family, no, there was one Sherpa couple who had animals, yaks and dzos, living there next to the airstrip, so they took care of us. They cooked for us for all those seven days, they did the cooking, brought food, like that.

So one time, maybe seven days or less, that time Lama was not there. I was with some students, I think. I stayed in the Japanese guesthouse, not the main guesthouse, but there was a more simple one. We went to see the cave but it become quite late, so we did five minutes of tsog, just standing. We just did five minutes of tsog in the cave because there’s danger when it becomes dusk and then you might fall down. It’s quite steep.

I’m not sure, I think maybe I was praying to Tara, I was thinking of Tara, that time I was doing some more practice of Tara, I think, Cittamani Tara. So, the thought came in my mind to have tea. I think I might have asked Tara for tea, I’m not sure. So we went down and reached the village, then I was quite surprised because there was one lady waiting with the tea in the village, and her name was Lhamo Dolma. Lhamo is goddess, Dolma is Tara, the same. She put the carpet on the road and she was waiting with tea, so we had tea after coming down from the mountain. Anyway, it could be a coincidence. I was little bit surprised anyway.

So going back to the original story. There’s one Gelugpa monastery down below Lawudo, called Thamo, so that happened after Tibet was overtaken by the mainland Chinese government. The Thamo nuns used to chant this prayer during nyung näs. In the past when I had time, we did many nyung näs with them. We’d call, we’d invite them during Saka Dawa to do nyung näs up there [at Lawudo].

One time when they chanted this prayer it made me cry a lot in that session because what the words say, all these words there, all those previous words, what I said before, those, then also the section about the thick-skulled mind, that even if we take the form of practicing Dharma, we never achieve the great meaning and we pass the life with attachment, anger, the eight worldly dharmas. Our life is under the control of this and we are not subduing the mind, our mental continuum, by doing the practice. We do not abandon the nonvirtuous actions and then the result is suffering, but when we practice virtue, the result is happiness, so we are requesting Chenrezig, “Help me, I, who has such a thick-skulled mind.” However, we are not making our own life meaningful. So I think that’s the main thing, the main part.

[Rinpoche chants Request to the Supreme Compassionate One in Tibetan]

After this you can recite, “Due to all the three-time merits collected by myself and by others, my own family members, all the students and benefactors, including those who give up their life to the organization doing service for sentient beings, the teachings of the Buddha, and all the rest of the sentient beings, may we only become like Chenrezig, like your holy body, like your life span, and like your entourage, the surrounding deities, the surrounding bodhisattvas, like your pure field, like your holy name.”

Just by hearing the holy name it liberates us from the lower realms and purifies so many negative karmas. It liberates us from samsara and plants the seed of enlightenment, so it makes us achieve enlightenment.

Chän rä zig wang khye ku chi dra dang…

So during the nyung näs you can read or chant this for inspiration, as well as when you do Chenrezig retreat, like that, it can be used. 

The previous talk, the rest of it had some details on karma, that which is explained in the Lamrim Chenmo, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Elaborate Explanation of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, which quotes the Buddhist sutra, the Chapter of the Truthful One3 and the Sutra on the Ten Levels [Bhumis]. Also maybe most or some of the explanation is from Sharlu, I think it might be from that lamrim text. I’m not a hundred percent sure but some clarifications might be from the Sharlu, one lama’s lamrim text. 

I started talking about this subject, how everything came from the mind, is a creation of mind. Hell comes from our own mind, from the impure mind, the negative thoughts, and enlightenment is also a creation of our own mind, it comes from our own mind but from the pure mind, the positive thoughts.

Similarly, liberation is made by our own mind, it comes from our own mind. Liberation, everlasting happiness, total liberation from the whole entire suffering, including the ongoing cycle of death and rebirth, and all the sufferings in between. This continuation has no beginning and no end if we don’t do something. If we don’t cut that continuity, if we don’t do something, especially in this life, while we have all the opportunities, having met Buddhadharma, having the opportunity to learn the whole path which ceases the cause of all the suffering, delusion and karma, and all the sufferings. Only then can we become liberated from all the sufferings. And having received this perfect human rebirth, not only having received this precious human body but having received this perfect human body which has the eighteen qualities, which gives us all the opportunities, so whatever Dharma we wish to practice we can practice. Especially if we don’t do something in this life, now, in this life, even that now.

Samsara is created by our own mind, it came from our own mind, the same as  liberation. Any problem is created by our own mind, it came from our own mind; any happiness, any pleasure, is created by our own mind, it came from our own mind.

How We Label Good and Bad

In Tibet, in the East, I think, this means very good, right? [Rinpoche holds up some fingers.] But in the West what does this mean? Oh, I think there was another country that didn’t have that interpretation, that it means good. It means something else in another country, but I’ve forgotten. Anyway, like that. For somebody who labels this [mudra] good, it means good, but for somebody else, they label this as not good, as something bad or something else. So the person who puts a positive label, when a person does this mudra, by seeing that mudra the person who labels “good,” who puts a positive label, then for them there’s a positive appearance and they see it as positive, so they get a positive feeling and it makes their mind happy. At the end, it has a positive effect or happy mind. It makes them happy, it gives them a happy feeling. The other country, the other person who puts a negative label on that mudra, a negative label and a negative appearance, then sees it as negative and it has a negative effect on the mind, and it gives them an unhappy feeling.

I think in the Tibetan people’s view or in Tibet, if you are fat, if your body is fat, it’s regarded as good. Now I’m sure it’s changing by those living in the West and learning Western culture and following the influence or being habituated, becoming familiar with that, being habituated with what is advertised to them. So, anyway, Tibetans don’t think it’s bad, they think it’s good. There’s no concept that being fat is bad, there’s no concept of “bad” regarding the person who is fat. Also other people who see that fat person don’t have that concept of “bad”. There is no thought that it is bad in Tibet.

In the view of Tibetans they label it as positive, they don’t label it as negative. There is a different view in the West, where there is a negative label, and we think it’s bad and other people think that too and put a negative label, like that. Then when someone becomes thin there’s a positive label. If someone has a thin body then we put a positive label, “fit.” We label “fit.” They appear fit, so we label fit; they appear fit and are seen as fit, so it’s good label that makes them happy.

So then, [some people] have these big muscles. [Laughter] They have these huge muscles, here and then here, but the face doesn’t change, the face stays sweet, the face stays nice, the face stays small and nice, but [the body is] huge all around. But the legs, I didn’t see the legs, the legs are not [huge], only this part, I think. I didn’t see the feet becoming big. [Laughter] I think basically this part, not the ears or the nose, they stay the same. Anyway, being bigger,  there’s a positive label, it appears positive, we see it as positive, and those people are happy. Other people think it’s good and we think it's good, so like that. So because we put a positive label, it appears positive, it is seen as positive, then they have a happy feeling. Society labels it as positive; society labels these big muscles as good.

Then in the view of some other countries, maybe the East or some other country, maybe Tibet, in the view of some other people in the world, they see this same human being and they put a negative label, then that person appears negative. They see them as negative, very strange.

So like this, from moment to moment, in every moment what kind of concept we create, what kind of label our mind puts, if it’s positive, we create a label that’s good, we put a good label. Then after believing in that, we have a good appearance—not bad, good. We see it as good, then we have a happy feeling, we have pleasure.

Whether we’re labeling “good” on the object of the eye sense, or whether it’s an object of the sense of ear or an object of the sense of the tongue, like food, the taste of food, like that. Again, it’s the same, the person who labels the food “good,” for them it appears as good and they see it as good, then that has an effect, a happy feeling, it makes their mind happy. And for the person who puts a negative label on that taste of food, there’s the appearance of “bad” to the sense of tongue, and they have a bad taste. It upsets their mind and they have an unhappy feeling.

So it’s like this. Also, the objects of the sense of the body, the tangible objects, all this depends on which label the mind puts, whether bad or good, positive or negative, then through that it affects back to our mind. It came from our mind, it started from our mind, but it affects us by labeling, through these labels, then the effects come back to our mind, either a pleasant feeling or an unpleasant feeling or an indifferent feeling. So it affects back to our mind. It comes from our mind, the creation, all this, then the effects come back to our mind.

In other words, we create our world, our sensual world. As I mentioned already a few times, what we see came from our mind; what we hear came from our mind; what we are looking at, the object that we are looking at is something which came from our mind; the object that we are listening to is something that came from our mind; the object that we are tasting is something which came from our mind; the object that our body is contacting is something that came from our mind; the object that we are smelling came from our own mind, so like that.

Here you can see that for the Buddha’s [nose] sense there’s no bad smell and for the Buddha’s sense of tongue there’s no bad taste. There’s only delicious taste, only the ultimate delicious taste, the highest, the purest, the greatest bliss, the most delicious taste. So there’s no bad taste for the Buddha’s senses, the tongue. Same thing for the Buddha’s nose, there’s no bad smell. Why? Because the Buddha’s holy mind, not only having purified, having ceased the gross defilements, but also having ceased even the subtle mistakes of the mind, the subtle negative imprints left by the ignorance, the unknowing mind—the concept of simultaneously born, the ignorance holding things, holding I, action, object, phenomena, as inherent, as truly existent, apprehending them, holding onto them as truly existent, existing from their own side—so that is completely purified. Even that subtle stain, that subtle negative imprint left by the delusions is completely purified. So, the Buddha is completely pure, having ceased gross and subtle defilements and completed all the realizations.

Therefore, for the Buddha’s senses, what appears is only pure. There’s no impurity regarding place or form—there’s only pure appearance. Then sound—there’s only pure appearance. Also smell, [the object of] the nose sense, as well as the object of the tongue sense and the object of the body sense and so forth. So, for the Buddha’s holy mind, the Buddha’s senses, there’s nothing unpleasant, there’s no impurity.

The mind that is totally enlightened or totally pure has only pure view. To those senses, to that holy mind there’s only pure appearance; the objects that appear are only pure.

The Merely Imputed I

Now related to our impure mind, even the I, the self, in reality the way it is existing is merely imputed by the mind, because the base, the aggregates exist. The I is merely imputed by the mind, so there’s nothing else, nothing more than that reason. How the I exists is nothing slightly more than that. So the I exists in mere name, merely imputed by the mind. That’s what the I is, the I which exists and does the functions—creating the cause of happiness, creating the cause of suffering—the I which does all this and purifies the cause of the suffering, actualizing the path, the I which does all these functions and which experiences all this, that is what is existing in mere name, merely imputed by mind and doing all these functions, also [exists] in mere name. It’s merely imputed by the mind and experiences all these things, which are also merely labeled by mind, like that.

But in the view of the ignorant mind, the I appears to that inherently. The I appears to that as not merely labeled by mind, as truly existent, existing from its own side, independent.

Similarly, when we think of the president, for example, when we think of the president of America, the United States, when we think of the president, how does it appear to one’s own mind? The president, even though it is through elections, if they have one more [vote] than the others who are also in the same election, if this person received one extra [vote] from the public, anyway, this is just an idea, then this person receives the label “president.” If this person has received more [votes] from people, even one extra, they receive the label president. So depending on that person receiving more [votes] from people, then “president” is merely imputed by the mind. That’s how the president exists in mere name, merely imputed by mind.

However, when we think of president, even though that’s the reality, what is “president” is nothing except what is merely imputed by the mind, but that doesn’t appear to our hallucinated mind, our ignorant mind. The president appears not merely labeled by mind, as if they never came from mind and exist from their own side. Besides not appearing as not merely labeled by mind, that person appears to us as nothing to do with the mind, never labeled by the mind; they appear like that. Anyway, something extremely gross, how the president appears to us, something unbelievable gross, appears in the view of our ignorant mind.

In the view of wisdom, the president does not exist at all from their own side. They exist, they are not non-existent; they exist, but they exist in mere name, merely imputed by the mind, relating to the person who received the most [votes] from people, relating to that.

When There’s No Attachment, There’s No Painful Mind

So now, when there’s no attachment to that object, to that person, there’s no painful mind that. On the basis of the hallucination projected by the ignorance, apprehending that object as truly existent, existing from its own side, not merely labeled by mind, even though it’s merely labeled by mind, there’s attachment to that object. On the basis of that big hallucination of the person, there is the huge hallucination of the person existing from their own side not merely labeled by mind. Even though that person’s body is existing in mere name, merely imputed by mind, merely imputed by our own thought—even though that’s the reality, the body that we see, the person that we see, is that which is merely imputed by our own mind. Then on top of that there’s this big hallucination covering it. On that reality this huge hallucination is covering that, like this carpet covering the floor or this brocade covering the table, like that. So this huge hallucination is put there on the merely labeled body of the person. Then on the basis of that, our mind exaggerates, thinking, “This is beautiful, this hair, the certain way of keeping the hair.” We think, “This is beautiful.” Then we think the certain shape of a nose is beautiful, so like that. So I don’t have to go through this all the way.

On top of this huge hallucination, while nothing exists from its own side, while it is totally empty, all that view, all that appearance, believing something is real from its own side, existing, while it’s totally non-existent, empty, there’s no such thing there in reality, so we project this huge hallucination, the truly existent appearance. On top of that, the mind exaggerates, thinking “This is beautiful, this is beautiful,” so all that. Or, “This person is very fit” or something like that. All these labels that the mind exaggerates or labels, all this, thinking, “This is beautiful, that is beautiful,” all that.

We believe what our mind is labeling, then we have attachment. After that, there’s the appearance of that, then we see that, so it’s the same thing. Again it’s the same evolution, then our mind, the attachment clings onto that. The attachment goes after that, clings onto that, grasps or clings onto that.

The nature of attachment, the nature of that thought is a painful mind, so it’s difficult to separate away from that object. It’s painful to separate away from that object. As the texts say, just as oil gets on cloth or paper and it’s so difficult to separate the oil from the cloth, so it’s like that. The nature of the attachment, how it feels, that’s our experience with the object; that’s our experience with attachment to the object. It’s like a thorn going inside the body, the mind is like that, or it’s like being stuck on honey or chocolate, or like something sticky that falls down and dust or garbage sticks to it.

So this is the view of attachment. When there’s attachment to that object, we never think that beauty comes from our mind. We never think the beauty that we see comes from our mind, is merely imputed by our mind. We never think like that, never. We think things exist from their own side, that they completely exist from their own side, that they completely come, exist from their own side, which is an extremely gross [view]. So there are all these piles of hallucination there that come from our own superstition. There are all these piles of hallucination there, like that.

In other words, if we analyze the object, now we can get some idea of the object that we’re attached to. [We think] there’s something worth being attached to, however, as His Holiness says, we are attached to an object that is not there. We are attached to an object which doesn’t exist, which is not there, because the object of our attachment is created, built up or projected on the basis of the wrong view of the ignorance, on the basis of ignorance apprehending the object as truly existent, existing from its own side. It’s built up, the view of the attachment, the object of our attachment is projected there on the basis of this very big hallucination, which is the wrong view of the ignorance. So we can see now, the object that we are attached to is not there, it’s totally empty.

Now, similarly, for the same object, when there’s no attachment to that object. Now if we analyze, the same object, the same person, the same body, when the attachment is stopped, when there’s no attachment to that person or that person’s body, when there’s no attachment or before the attachment to that object [arose.] Of course, there’s a big hallucination there, thinking the person’s body or person is completely existing from its own side, or it is appearing as not labeled by the mind, there, but there’s no mind, the mental factor that is clinging onto that object, appearing as worth being attached to. There’s no mind clinging onto that, grasping onto that, finding it difficult to separate from that, so that is not there. Wanting to have that, possessing that or clinging onto that, wanting to have that, wanting to possess that, so that isn’t there when there is no attachment.

Once the attachment has arisen on that object, then it is there, all this. [We think it’s] worth being attached to, that it is something beautiful that is difficult to separate from and we want to have that, to possess that. Therefore, because of that there’s all the worry, the fear; because of that there’s all the worry, the fear of losing [that object]. Then when we come to know, there is the thought that we want to possess that, so I think, when we see or when we find out that object separates from us—when it goes, when it separates from us, when we find out that this object is used by others—that shows along with the attachment there is the thought that we want to possess it, we want to own it. I think that must come together. So because of that, then we think, even though the object of attachment is there with us, when we find out that it’s being used by others, then uncontrollable anger arises—anger to this person, anger to the object of attachment, anger to this person and anger to the other person or other people, arises.

Having Suicidal Thoughts

Then come suicidal [thoughts.] That is the time when the lamrim becomes very far away, many hundred miles, lamrim becomes in Tibet or Mount Kailash or Tibet or maybe Afghanistan or somewhere. Lamrim is not in this world. At that time, lamrim is not in this world; lamrim is in some other universe, maybe on Venus, maybe on the planet Venus or the moon. [Rinpoche laughs]

Also, when our fortune is down there are spirits who influence us. Spirits can influence our mind and make us think—based on our own karma but there’s a condition that influences our mind. Even though normally it’s not possible for us to think like that but at those times, when our merit is down, when our fortune is down, then they influence us to think something which we would never think. Even other people who know us would never think this, and we ourselves never think that way but then at that time, the spirits influence us. However, at that time, in the view of our mind, even though it’s totally wrong, in the view of that mind, we think, “This is one hundred percent right!” We think this is the only way, the only thing that’s left to do in the life.

So it appears like that, then the person engages in that, and then it’s just a minute and our life is gone. The precious human life, the perfect human life, is destroyed, it’s gone. That [opportunity] to achieve any happiness in our life, including enlightenment, and to cause numberless sentient beings happiness of this life, happiness of all the coming future lives and ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara and full enlightenment [is gone.] We can cause all this happiness including enlightenment, peerless happiness, to all the sentient beings with this human body by developing the mind in the path to enlightenment. We ourselves completely stop that opportunity by cutting this life.

So even this one time, even this human body that we have been given, that we have made prayers [to receive] for hundreds of thousands of past lives. Just as we make prayers now, we made prayers for hundreds of thousands of lifetimes, for many, many lifetimes we made prayers to be born as a human being. And we practiced morality in many, many lifetimes and made offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, or made charity, created good karma by making charity and so forth to other sentient beings, living in the morality and abstaining from harming other sentient beings by killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and so forth, for many lifetimes.

In so many past lives we practiced morality, we worked so hard, we bore so much hardship to create the cause, to practice morality. For so many lifetimes we worked so hard, then finally by dedicating the merits, we achieved this human body. Finally it happened and then due to the lack of understanding of Dharma, of karma, the lack of practice, then suddenly one day, due to attachment, this precious human life is gone. In other words the attachment killed us, the self-cherishing thought killed us, anger killed us. The precious human life is gone, that we worked so hard to attain for many, many lifetimes, for hundreds of thousands of lifetimes.

So the anger arises. If there’s no attachment to that object, then anger wouldn’t rise, there is no reason for anger to arise. If there’s no attachment to that object, when other people use that object, or other people take away that object, anger would not arise, there would be no reason for anger to arise. When there’s clinging, that causes anger; because of that, anger arises when other people use this object or they take away this object from us.

So all these are the shortcomings of attachment. The function of attachment is to deceive oneself because there’s no such object. It’s all built on the basis of a wrong view of ignorance, on the basis of that. We are deceiving each other, like that. [The object of our attachment] is totally empty, it is not there, so we are deceiving each other. First of all, the ignorance is deceiving us, that’s the biggest cheating. The ignorance holding I, action, object, phenomena, as truly existent is the biggest cheating. That is the biggest cheating, the biggest cheater. It’s cheating us, it’s the biggest cheater, deceiver, cheater to oneself, and then on the basis of that, these other cheaters come. Then these other cheaters—attachment, anger, all this, jealous mind, all these cheaters—are cheating us, deceiving us, all this. Yeah.

With Loving Kindness and Compassion Our Life Has Meaning

If there’s no compassion, no loving kindness in our life, in our heart for others, for the other person, then our life is totally empty, it doesn’t make sense, our whole life is a hallucination. Only if we have loving kindness, compassion in our heart for other sentient beings, only then is there meaning. Only then there is meaning to living together. Otherwise, it’s all suffering.

Loving kindness and compassion for others is not suffering, it is the path to enlightenment, the path to peace and happiness for oneself and the other person, for all sentient beings. Otherwise, the rest is only a suffering life, a hallucination, wrong views, wrong concepts. Other than that, our life has totally no meaning, and we are living in the double, triple hallucination. What’s the next one? [Laughter] Double, triple, we are living our life in double, triple, quadruple problems or hallucinations, deception, which means sufferings, so like that. The only thing that makes our life meaningful, worthwhile, is loving kindness, compassion, the thought of benefiting others, the sincere thought of benefiting others, without expectation.

What I was telling you before about how we view the same object before the attachment arises for that person, on that person’s body, how it was. There were not all these other additional things. I mean, the inherently existent appearance was there, but all the other rest was not there. 

The Merely Imputed Enemy

Here we need to understand the view of attachment, then the anger. Again it’s similar, on the merely labeled person there’s a projection that came from our own ignorance, is decorated there, the truly existent appearance, the truly existent person, and on that basis our own mind merely imputes what the person thinks. We [label] the way the person thinks as bad or the way the person thinks of us as bad, and we think the way the person is behaving with the body is bad, the person’s way of speaking to us is bad, is harmful, bad. Then because of that, we label that person, the enemy as “bad.” We think he or she is bad, then we label the person as bad, then on that, because of that label we believe that. Our mind puts that label, a negative label, and then we believe in that. Then there’s appearance of bad and we see bad, all that, which came from the mind. Everything came from our mind. After we label things as bad, then anger comes. Our mind puts the label “bad,” and the person’s way of thinking or way of talking to us and way of behaving with their body, their actions, we label bad. Not bed, bad; not bed, the sleeping bed, but bad, b, a, d, bad, not b, e, d, bed. B, a, d, bad. Then anger rises.

The mind merely imputes “bad” or “enemy,” and believes in that, then there’s the appearance and we see, “This is bad,” then anger rises. When that happens [Rinpoche snaps fingers] the anger rises, then it becomes undesirable, so we have the thought which wants to hurt. We dislike that object and we want to hurt it. Even by words we want to hurt that person’s mind as much as possible, whatever the worst thing we can say, we can think of. Even if we don’t hurt them with the body, we try to harm, to hurt them with our words.

Anyway, the nature of anger is to hate the object, to dislike that object and want to harm it. Again, there’s no such object there because it’s built up, it’s projected on the basis of the biggest hallucination, the view of our own ignorance, true existence, the truly existent appearance, so like that. Therefore, all this becomes totally nonsense, there’s no such thing there, it doesn’t exist, it’s just mental fabrication or like that, there’s no such thing in reality, it’s all nonsense. Then on top of that, it’s not only nonsense, but we create negative karma. There’s all this nonsense and not only that, we create negative karma by getting angry and harming, generating the thought of hatred.

What’s the time now? 12 o’clock? Oh, I see. Oh, that’s a very good time to stop. [Laughter] By understanding, by doing this analysis, we discover that nature. We discover our life, all this fantasy, hallucinations, unnecessary problems, the unnecessary wrong concepts that we build up.

So like this we make ourselves suffer continuously in samsara and we believe these hallucinations, all these piles of hallucinations. Then that causes the delusions to arise, and that’s what causes us to die and be reborn, to die and be reborn like that in samsara, experiencing all those sufferings of each realm.

Therefore, here, by discovering these things, it shows how it’s so essential to meditate. It shows how important meditation is and to actualize lamrim, the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment. That’s the essence, to engage in the five paths, the ten bhumis, to engage in this path that removes these defilements, delusions, these wrong concepts, that which actually removes or ceases these wrong concepts, these delusions.

The quick way, on the basis of guru devotion, the three principles of the path and the two stages of tantra, as we have the opportunity to practice, to meet tantra, the highest tantra and to practice the two stages. So this is the swift path to enlightenment, that which has the greatest skills to remove the defilements, both gross and subtle, the quickest way. By discovering these things, falsity and truth in our lives, in our life there’s nothing else that is interesting, in the life there’s nothing else except actualizing the path to enlightenment.

[The group chants short mandala offering and dedication prayers: For Lama Tsongkhapa’s Teachings to Last Forever and For Lama Tsongkhapa’s Teachings to Spread in the Hearts of All Sentient Beings.]

Good morning and good night and everything.

[End of discourse]


1 Thamo is a Gelug monastery established in Solu Khumbu in 1962 by Khari Rinpoche and Sangha who had fled Tibet in 1959. The Sherpas originally migrated from Tibet to Nepal approximately 600 years ago and established Nyingma monasteries in Solu Khumbu region. [Return to text]

2 The Kingdom of Dege (Derge) existed in Kham, Eastern Tibet, until the 19th century. Derge is a major town in the region. [Return to text]

3 The Chapter of the Truth Speaker (Satyaka-praivarta). See The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Volume 1), by Tsong-kha-pa, Shambala Publications. [Return to text]