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 eighteen discourses, lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

We have now posted Lecture 19 from this series. The teaching begins with an explanation of the benefits of displaying large thangkas at special events and advice on how to think when making offerings to Sangha, guests in our home and beggars on the street. Rinpoche also discusses how to have a happy and peaceful death by letting go of attachment to this life.

Beggars' banquet, Bodhgaya, India, 1982. Lama Zopa Rinpoche feeding people on the street.
19. Inner Wealth and a Happy Death
May 3, 2003
Thanks to Peter Iseli for the Large Thangkas

I thought in this session maybe to go over how to help a dying person, to have some discussion, or for those who do not have much knowledge, to get some idea of how to help, things like that.

Maybe I’ll just go over something that Chöden Rinpoche recently explained. I don’t remember the whole thing, but some of the things that Rinpoche explained last time at Land of Medicine Buddha I’ll go over that, which means you’ll get some essence, Rinpoche’s advice, which is extremely precious, very useful. Then maybe on that basis, we can have a discussion on that basis.

I think there may be others here who have been working for the hospice, so maybe Ecie, because she started the hospice in New Zealand, Amitabha Buddhist Hospice, so she can explain some of those particular issues from her past experiences. Then, of course, those of you who had experiences in the past that you found beneficial, you could also add to that and share with each other, help each other, like that.

The other thing is just to go through the questions. That’s one way. Or another way is, I go through this, some essence of what Rinpoche said, and then on that basis, also Ecie can help from her past experiences, like that.

[Ecie and other students ask Rinpoche to teach.]

Anyway, I’ll just go through this, so then you’ll get some essence. Then after that or even during that [you can discuss]. Maybe you can sit here or something, so maybe that can help.

And thank you very much for the wonderful painting of the Twenty-one Taras by Peter and thanks to ?Jangchub, for helping Peter to actualize the Twenty-one Taras. It came at a very auspicious time during the Tara retreat. That’s very auspicious to receive it then. Actually, I thought Peter told me that it was going to come yesterday, right? But I was looking around and I didn’t see it. I didn’t have the karma to see it yesterday. [Rinpoche laughs]

I was thinking when it comes to receive it with a procession or with incense offerings, like when you receive a lama, so to receive it like that. It’s in a thangka form. As I mentioned before the Twenty-one Taras is coming, but it’s in thangka form, in the form of a thangka. So it’s very good. It looks like a very ancient Twenty-one Taras thangka. I think from the time of Nagarjuna or some time long ago. I think from India it went to Tibet, and it went around different parts of Tibet, to the nomads’ place and to various parts of Tibet, then I think it came through Nepal and is now in France. [Rinpoche laughs] Maybe soon it might be going to Afghanistan or Iraq, for peace and happiness, to bring peace and happiness.

Peter made it. The first Buddha I asked him to make for Nalanda was many years ago. This was much before the Thirty-five Buddhas. Then the next one was the Thirty-five Buddhas, the last one, no, Chenrezig with the lineage lamas—that one or the Thirty-five Buddhas? So, the Thirty-five Buddhas. Oh, I thought that was the first? Oh really? Oh, I got confused. So, first was the large Thirty-five Buddhas, which I explained, I thought it was a good way to understand the merit field in that way. And then the beautiful Chenrezig, a very large thangka again for Nalanda. Chenrezig with the lineage lamas. Normally you don’t see thangkas or pictures with the lineage lamas. You don’t see it, almost you don’t see it. Maybe in the old temples, in some temples you may find that on the wall but usually you don’t. So it’s for inspiration, depicting all the lineage lamas of the nyung nä, those who achieved Chenrezig. It’s for inspiration. Starting from the fully ordained nun, Gelongma Palmo, where all this nyung nä practice came from, and was passed on up to now.

Then, what’s the next one? Medicine Buddha! Next one is Medicine Buddha? There’s another one, Mitukpa or Medicine Buddha, but my idea was always a very big one. [Group laughs] Not as large as a 500-feet Maitreya Buddha, but anyway Peter didn’t have a  large place where he had the freedom to make very large thangkas, to spread out; he didn’t have a place like that.

So recently a large Thousand-armed Chenrezig thangka was made. I asked Peter to do it for Chenrezig Institute, Queensland, the original meditation center that happened in Australia after we did a course with Lama in Diamond Valley. It’s called Diamond Valley? Yes, I think so. We did the course, and there were, I think, maybe 200 or 300 people, I’m not sure. You were there? [Ecie: No, William was.] Ah lay.

But I spent a lot of time on the hell realms. [Laughter] And, I think the eight worldly dharmas, yes, and those sufferings, confusions, caused by the eight worldly dharmas, so probably I spent many days on that. Then I said, “Tonight we’ll meditate on the hell realm, because this is the only chance to discover, to meditate, to find out, so tonight is the only chance.” So we did meditation, then the next day some parts were empty. There were some parts empty. [Laughter] The next morning when the session started, the meditation on the hell realms had chased them away. So they were walking away with their backpacks. So then I thought, “All this is merely labeled,” but we cannot see merely labeled, anyway.

I think that was the season or time in the West when there was a lot of interest in yoga, all this, and at the same time an explosion of the drugs, and then there was a lot of spirituality, looking for a new life. So the center started, was initiated after this course.

So I asked Peter to make a very large Thousand-arm Chenrezig thangka. Peter didn’t have a place to make the large thangka, he didn’t have enough space, so he made the painting by rolling [ the canvas], because there wasn’t enough space to stretch it out. Before you sent it, did you see the thangka, or you haven’t seen the thangka? Huh? Not complete? So he didn’t see the whole complete thangka before he sent it to Australia.

So the idea is this. I wanted these big thangkas for some of the centers because in Tibet, some of the large monasteries, like Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the Panchen Lama’s monastery, have each year a special celebration [with a large thangka] on a very large wall. I think the Karmapa monastery [also does that.]

Recently, when I was in Tibet, somehow it was very interesting that on the journey we happened to go to see Karmapa’s monastery from Lama Yeshe’s birthplace. So it was very interesting. We stayed there for two or three days? Two days or something, anyway. It was very interesting.

I think it was very pleasant and I was very happy that we went there and had the chance to see the monastery. On the way to monastery, I think they heard—they didn’t know me, but they heard that somebody was coming, Mickey Mouse, somebody was coming. So the villagers were waiting on the way through and I met them at different places. The old mothers were crying so much, they were missing His Holiness Karmapa, they were missing him so much, and they were asking to pray for Karmapa to come back. So we tried to make offerings at the monastery and do puja. We saw almost every temple there. I don’t think there was even one left; we saw almost every temple, I think, the different parts of the temple.

Think You Are Offering to All the Gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha

During that time we were trying to put together some donations, something like that. I put something, then other people also added to that, so we made money offering to the Sangha there. While I was making the offering, the idea came in my mind—I didn’t think of that before, actually, I don’t remember, but while I was making the money offering to each monk, the idea came to think of them, now I’ve forgotten—rather than making offering to a monk and thinking, “I’m making offering to a monk” like that, the idea is to think of all the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. When you make offering to each monk, [think of] all the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, all the merit field, then you make the offering with much respect, with both hands, with much respect, to each monk.

So in this way, if you think “I’m making offering to this monk,” of course that itself, there’s inconceivable merit and the result is happiness, as I mentioned in the example of the very poor person who offered a medicinal drink to four monks, then in the next life he was born as a very powerful king in Kaushika, having so much wealth and power. So like that, because the karma is also expandable, the result is so much. Karma is expandable, so it’s something that we can’t believe, the result is so much, a good rebirth and all these enjoyments, so much, from that one medicinal drink offered to four Sangha. The nature of karma is like that, so powerful. So offering to four monks, there is so much good karma like that.

Then when making the offering, think that it is all gurus, all the buddhas, all the Dharma, all the Sangha, so think you made offering to all of them. Physically you’re offering to one monk but actually in your heart, you’re offering to all the gurus. Each time you offer to each monk, you are offering to all the gurus, you are offering to all the buddhas, numberless buddhas, numberless Dharma, numberless Sangha, so the merit that you collect is like the limitless sky.

So it’s useful. Usually I don’t make the offerings; Roger makes the offerings. I just sit there and sleep, or half-sleep. Anyway, I try to practice making offerings directly by myself.

Offering to Guests

It’s the same idea, since my talking came to this point; I didn’t mean to be talking about this, sorry. I didn’t mean to be talking about this, but anyway since I brought this up, at home when a guest comes, it’s the same. We give drink or we give food, whatever we have we offer, and that can be charity. There are two things, making charity to sentient beings, so any time a guest comes to our home, offering whatever we can, so it’s all that, charity, and doing that with the motivation to achieve enlightenment, for us to achieve enlightenment. Think, “The purpose of my life is to free all sentient beings from all the suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore I must achieve enlightenment; therefore I’m going to make charity to sentient beings.”

So every person who comes to our home, think, “This is a wish-granting jewel.” Not just a wish-granting jewel, if possible we should think, at least think that actually that person is more precious than the skies of wish-granting jewels, so each person, each sentient being who comes to our home, in our heart think that. Why? How?

Think, “From that person I received all my past happiness from beginningless rebirths, and at present and in the future, including realizations of the whole path, including great compassion, bodhicitta, realizations of the Mahayana path, enlightenment, all the infinite qualities that Buddha has, the infinite qualities of the holy body, holy speech and holy mind that Buddha has, that which I am going to achieve, so I will receive all this from each sentient being.”

Then, you see, the skies of wish-granting jewels are nothing, the skies of diamonds or gold or wish-granting jewels are nothing, and this sentient being is the most precious one. So that is the attitude, like having found a jewel in our house, we collect merit. We can think like that as we are making charity and if we think that person is all the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, like that, then it also becomes an offering. Think, “I’m making offering [to all the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha].” So we can collect so many times limitless skies of merit by offering even a cup of water, a glass of water or whatever.

My mother makes food, a big pot of food, then all day long when people come to her home, they are never sent away empty. She always give them drink, food, and she always treats them well, with a good heart. It’s not just worldly activity, not with the eight worldly dharmas, with expectation, but just with a sincere heart, for the happiness of the other person, so like that.

Offering With Respect and Bodhicitta

Anyway, when we give money to the beggars, when we give food or money to the beggars in the street, it’s the same. So the way to do it is like this, as I’ve just explained. I don’t need to repeat it again. The attitude is like this, thinking this person is so precious, from whom we get all the three-times happiness, everything. So we make charity by generating a bodhicitta motivation, then we give with both hands. Not thinking “This is a beggar, I’m something [better],” not like that, but with both hands, respectfully, offering with much respect.

As it’s said in the Bodhicaryavatara, after talking about how without sentient beings’ kindness we can’t practice Dharma, we can’t have realizations, all that, patience and so forth, then similarly, it talks about why Buddha is so precious because Buddha revealed the path and then we can cease defilements and achieve enlightenment, so Buddha is very precious. So it’s the same thing—without sentient beings we can’t have realizations, we can’t practice Dharma, we can’t have realizations of the path to enlightenment. So the Bodhicaryavatara says just as we respect Buddha, why not respect the sentient beings? As I’ve said in Tibetan.1

So, with a motivation of bodhicitta and with much respect, this is how to offer charity. First we can make the charity to the beggar and then afterwards think about the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Think, “This is all my gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha,” then make offering. So in this way, there are three things.

First of all, we collect so much merit, we collect limitless skies of merit because we have done the charity, even if it’s one rupee or whatever it is, we have done that with bodhicitta, so we collect limitless skies of merit by giving. And then, by thinking of all the gurus, however many gurus we have, by thinking of them, we collect the highest, most extensive merit that many times, by however many gurus. Then thinking of the numberless buddhas, [we collect] limitless skies of merit; numberless Dharma, numberless Sangha, so like that. So within that, we collect unbelievable, unbelievable, unimaginable merit. That means we become closer to enlightenment and that is by the kindness of this sentient being who asked us, who is there, who is in front of us, that we don’t have to look for, who came to us asking for help. They just came to us and gave us an incredible, unbelievable, incredible opportunity, so we don’t have to go there; they come to us, so like that. That’s the kindness of sentient beings.

Inner Poverty and Inner Wealth

Anyway, also when we do that, so here now, the other thing that I want to mention here, when we help sentient beings, like beggars, giving them things, whether it’s a beggar or a rich person it doesn’t matter, we’re giving things. Even the billionaires, zillionaires, even if they have wealth but if they don’t have an understanding of Dharma and don’t have realization, then that’s the main poverty, that’s the main beggar, the main poverty.

There is external poverty and inner poverty. Inner poverty is worse because with inner poverty there’s no understanding of Dharma, no realization, then that’s what causes us to always engage in negative karma and all the time to go through problems in this life and then go to the lower realm sufferings, continual samsara, to die and be reborn, to die and be reborn, to suffer in samsara. Also we can’t really help other sentient beings much because we are suffering in samsara ourselves, just as an armless being cannot help others who are falling down or if we are drowning in the water we can’t help others, so it’s similar to that. The inner poverty, that’s the real poverty, and those who do not have satisfaction, who don’t have that, there’s all the wealth outside, billions, zillions, whatever, everything, but inside in the heart there’s no inner wealth, satisfaction, contentment. So that’s the real beggar.

So there’s poverty and outside there’s nothing but inside there’s satisfaction, contentment, peace. Because there’s satisfaction and contentment there’s so much peace and happiness. That is inner wealth. Because we have this inner wealth, so then we have so much peace and happiness in our life, in our heart.

Anyway, whether we are giving to wealthy people or to the beggars in the street, with bodhicitta motivation we can think how precious this sentient being is and give with bodhicitta motivation. Yeah, so like that.

Here what I want to say, the third thing that I wanted to say is this. What we have to realize is that, this is what I thought during the Dharma Celebration, when we were doing the first Dharma Celebration in Bodhgaya, when I was doing all those hundreds of sets of initiations, with so many difficulties, with much difficulties because I didn’t check the text, I didn’t have time to check. There are many “etc.” and it doesn’t say all the prayers, it just says “etc.” I hadn’t memorized so many of the prayers, so then all these you have to find where they are, and some are difficult to find, so it’s hard, with many difficulties.

Anyway, so I thought this, when we give food or money, whatever we give to the beggars, I mean, that was related to the beggars, but anyway giving to sentient beings, when we do that, naturally it becomes an offering to the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Naturally it become an offering to them. Why? Because who the numberless buddhas and numberless bodhisattvas cherish is only sentient beings, no one else, only the sentient beings, only the other sentient beings. That’s who they cherish like this. And who they work for is only this, other sentient beings. Therefore, if we help the sentient beings, even a small help or a big help, whatever we do, whatever hardship we have to bear to help the sentient beings, it’s the best offering to the buddhas and bodhisattvas, because this is what they cherish the most in their heart.

Therefore, all our help to sentient beings, giving one rupee, giving eight anna or a rupee to this one sentient being, that becomes an offering of eight anna or one rupee to all the numberless buddhas and numberless bodhisattvas. It pleases their mind. It’s like giving a present to a mother’s beloved child—the mother who has a beloved child that she cherishes most, more than her own life, so then if we give a present to that daughter or son, it makes the mother so happy, because that child is what she cherishes most in her life. So it’s exactly like that.

Therefore, in our everyday life, whether it’s a person that we know or we don’t know, it doesn’t matter but since it is a sentient being, whether it is an animal or human being or any other type, we all want happiness and do not want suffering, so any help we can give is most pleasing to the buddhas and bodhisattvas. It’s like how much the mother is so happy when we help her child, her daughter or son that is beloved most by her. How we treat the child affects the mother, and if we criticize, if we harm the child, then it hurts the mother. Now here it’s the same thing. If we harm the sentient being, it harms all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. By saying some bad words, if we hurt the sentient being then exactly it affects the buddhas and bodhisattvas, because what they love, what they cherish most are sentient beings. No matter how evil they are, no matter how bad they are, having an evil nature, being involved in the heaviest negative karma, suffering, harming others or criticizing Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, being a non-believer, totally against that. However, from the buddhas’ and bodhisattvas’ side this is who they cherish the most.

Praising Others Becomes an Offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

Therefore, even praising someone, even if there’s nothing to praise, not really, but just with a sincere heart wanting to make the other person happy, even praising them, any praise that makes the other sentient being happy becomes the best offering to the numberless buddhas and numberless bodhisattvas, all those holy beings, like that. It naturally becomes an offering. And because our attitude is like this, and this is what we are doing in everyday life, naturally all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are behind us to support us, protect us, help us. Then no question when we die; no question, they are always with us. They are there to save us from the lower realms, they are all there with us. Even if we are alone there, even if nobody’s there physically, all the buddhas and bodhisattvas are there with us, guiding us to a pure land. We will have a very good future, like the sun shining in the world, a future like this, a great future that achieves enlightenment easily.

So, it is said in the teachings, perhaps the Avatamsaka Sutra (Tib: do pal po ché),2 I think it might be that text. That is quite famous in Chinese society; they read this. I think it might be this text. There’s one nunnery in Taiwan, the abbess of this nunnery, not the most famous one but the second most famous. There are two top abbesses. The first one built hospitals and schools and was involved in a lot of social service; she’s famous for that. I went to see her too, I think for the Maitreya project or something, I’m not sure. I don’t remember what she responded. And the second one is the one that in the past, I think helped the most, for projects the most help came from this one source, and not only that, [she helped with] some part of the food fund, the offering to nearly three thousand monks at Sera Je. We offer food to them, so I think [she had] some part in that.

Anyway, this abbess, her emphasis is morality, practicing Dharma, chanting, living in the vows, all that. She has a monastery and nunnery. So what they do is this, I think this Avatamsaka Sutra or something, I’m not sure. So what they do is, all the nuns do prostrations to each word of this thick book, so all the nuns prostrate to each word, they prostrate. So they finished the whole book like this, by prostrating to each word. When I was there it was the third time, the whole book, this teaching of the Buddha. So this is four or five volumes, one of the elaborate Buddha’s teachings on bodhicitta. I wanted to read it, so one time I borrowed the text at Vajrapani Institute, but I didn’t get to read it.

When I was there, she said this was their third time, starting from the beginning of the book again, reciting each word while doing a prostration. This is her main emphasis, how she benefits sentient beings.

What was I going to say? I’ve forgotten again why I came to this point? Oh yeah, that’s right!

All Sentient Beings Are Equal

There’s a quotation; I think it might be in that text. Buddha said,

Harming sentient beings is harming me.
Benefiting sentient beings is benefiting me.

Why? Sorry, I don’t remember the verses. Maybe I need to do Vajrasattva first, then I can remember. I need to do purification first, Vajrasattva, then I can remember. So you’ll have to wait. [Rinpoche laughs]

Anyway, Buddha said that myself and sentient beings are equal in the happiness and suffering. Myself and sentient beings are equal in happiness and suffering. This means if sentient beings are happy, if somebody made sentient beings happy, then Buddha is happy, and if somebody made sentient beings suffer then Buddha is experiencing that suffering or unhappiness equally, or something like that. The text says,

Myself and sentient beings are equal in [wanting] happiness and [not wanting] suffering.

And the last words, anyway, the last one. The Buddha said,

The reason I achieved the two kayas, dharmakaya and rupakaya, is only for sentient beings. I achieved these two kayas only for sentient beings.

What Buddha is saying is that he generated bodhicitta only for sentient beings, then he achieved the path of merit, the preparatory path, the five Mahayana paths to achieve enlightenment—the Mahayana path of merit, the preparatory path, the Mahayana right-seeing path, the Mahayana path of meditation, and the Mahayana path of no more learning—and the ten bhumis, all this. He collected the merits for three countless great eons, practicing charity, giving his life, his limbs and his life to other sentient beings.

For three countless great eons he made charity of his life, his whole family, possessions, being born as a king, then giving charity to all the families, to other sentient beings, and purposely being incarnated, purposely being born as king, so that he had all this wealth, so then purposefully giving away all the wealth, making charity to sentient beings, giving all the families charity, giving to other sentient beings, then practicing charity with his own body for three countless great eons. Not just one time, not just in one life, but for three countless great eons practicing charity to other sentient beings. As well as that, practicing morality for three countless great eons, practicing patience, perseverance, concentration, wisdom, all that, for three countless great eons for others.

So he collected the merit of wisdom and the merit of virtue, or the merit of method, so all this was only for sentient beings, to benefit sentient beings, only for the happiness of sentient beings. And he achieved enlightenment for us, only for sentient beings. Therefore, that’s what the Buddha is saying. That’s the reason why all sentient beings are equal. He achieved all this, he achieved the two kayas for the benefit of all sentient beings.

This is also very good to remember in our daily life, so it helps us to cherish others. If we have faith in the buddhas and bodhisattvas, then because of that, the people around us at home, in the office and at the meditation center, wherever we are, including the animals, the insects, so everybody, this is what numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas, who we take refuge in, who we pray to all the time, this is what they cherish most. Therefore, by having faith in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, by understanding what they cherish most, then this helps us discover how they are so precious. So every time we respect them, every service we do for them, then it’s respect for all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Every time we help, every offering or every help that we do is helping, offering to the numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas.

So this is what makes all those holy beings most happy. What makes them most happy is when we are able to cherish other sentient beings and we are able to help them, we are able to offer service, so like that.

Actually, it should be understood like that in the whole world, even those who don’t believe in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but believe in God. All the different religions who believe in God should understand this. Their education should be like that—that God loves all living beings; God has compassion and love for all living beings. God wouldn’t have a self-cherishing thought, a selfish mind, but would have compassion, loving kindness. Therefore, God doesn’t have ignorance, the self-cherishing thought, but has wisdom, loving kindness, compassion toward us, therefore what makes God most happy is if we help others, if we worship the sentient beings, if we worship the sentient beings, if we help the sentient beings and free them from sufferings. That makes God most happy.

The education should be that way. If the education in those different religions were like that, then there would be so much peace and happiness in the world and between the different religious people, so like that.

Same thing when we make a party at home, from our side it doesn’t have to be an ordinary party, so we can practice like this, making charity and making offering to everyone, thinking each person [is] all the gurus, all the buddhas, numberless buddhas, numberless Dharma, numberless Sangha, and then we make offering. So this becomes like making extensive offering at the altar. It’s the same. Here [at our party] we have a many hundreds of kinds of food, but normally we don’t make that many offerings at the altar, we don’t offer extensive varieties of food, we don’t leave that at the altar. We just offer water to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. [Rinpoche laughs] Anyway, here, all the delicious cakes, pizzas and all that, so all the very delicious food, so much, in this way we’re making offering. From each of [these people], however many there are, by offering like this, however many people there are, each person we can think like that. It’s like offering to all the gurus, numberless buddhas, numberless Dharma, numberless Sangha. So we collect many times limitless skies of merit during that time, like that. Then also charity becomes unbelievable Dharma practice, very powerful, very extensive.

Normally even at home with our family members, we can always practice this with each of our family members, by offering them food and drinks, whatever. With this meditation we always collect [merit] from each person. By making offering to each person, we collect so many times limitless skies of merit every day. Even if we didn’t have time to do separate offerings at the altar, if we didn’t have time to do preliminary practices, making offerings at the altar, even if we didn’t have time, here if we do that meditation, giving, offering to everyone, it is a way to make our life meaningful while we are doing these normal things.

With this meditation, with understanding of Dharma, knowing how to practice, especially with bodhicitta, and remembering all those holy objects, the powerful objects to collect merit, externally we are doing normal activities but because we do all this with understanding, with the motivation of bodhicitta and with all this wisdom understanding Dharma, knowing how to practice, we are using all our normal activities to create the most merit. The normal things that we do anyway, we are making it the best, we are using that to achieve the most merit, to make the life most meaningful.

So, I’ll just end up. Sorry, I was talking about the thangkas then it went out to different places.

So the idea is now to have these very large thangkas, even if the center doesn’t have an actual gompa to fit it there. The idea is to perform or set it up once in every six months if possible, or if not, one time in a year, like those monasteries do in Tibet. They do that. So there is this huge thangka they put on the mountain. One buddha is Padmasambhava, huge, spread out across the whole mountainside. I think probably many of you have seen this in the art books. And then people come from everywhere.

All the monks carry umbrellas, banners and so many offerings, and they do extensive offering bath, all this, the preliminary prayers, extensive offering bath, then all the prayers and praises to whichever the deity is. Then all the lay people come from all over the village, dressed up, and they offer incense everywhere and they do prostrations but also it is used as part of a picnic. The people come from all over the village with their thermos of tea and their Tibetan biscuits. So it’s to collect merit by seeing the buddha. That purifies us, as I mentioned the other day. How much merit, numberless great merit they collect just by seeing, so like that. There is so much purification and they are planting the seed of enlightenment. They get benefit from all that, by making this special celebration, by having this incredible, large holy object. Then, also they have entertainment, a picnic in the outdoors, on the mountain.

So anyway, the idea is at least once a year to have an event like this, a similar function, to invite all the local people, all the people in the area and have a celebration. Having many umbrellas on top, very beautiful, then banners and various offerings lined up around the holy object, and thousands of water offerings. Then at the beginning, give some general introduction to meditation, Buddhism and the center’s activities, then do some puja, depending on which buddha it is. If it’s Medicine Buddha, do a Medicine Buddha puja. Then people can offer their music that day, or dance or music, whatever it is, that day they offer to the buddha, so that’s the psychology, that’s the idea. So that day they offer to the buddha, so it’s a way to allow them to create good karma and to make a connection and sooner or later to have realizations from that of the path to enlightenment. So, there’s practice but there’s also entertainment, so on that day offering to buddha. That’s the idea for the local people, people in the area.

I heard, I didn’t see the pictures, but I heard that Chenrezig Institute, the original center in Australia, already did that. With the geshe they already did that celebration. They used the Chenrezig thangka made by Peter; they already used it for sentient beings to purify their mind, to collect merit.

So this one, the idea was to create a thangka for Tara Institute, right? That’s the center in Melbourne, Tara Institute. It’s quite a large center and there’s a very beautiful park outside, so every year the idea is to have a celebration like this. There’s also a water pond, so every year to have a celebration like this, to help the sentient beings in different ways.

OK, so I think that’s it. That part is finished. [Laughter]

This year, I don’t which month, but I’m hoping one or two thousand people will gather and follow this idea that I mentioned, and also to have catering along with that, some drinks and food for the people who come there. I think there are Tibetan singers nearby. In the United States, there is a Tibetan lady who normally sings and I think some Western musicians or singers also, so I think to invite them, something like that. Maybe they have to discuss with the neighbors, people who are around the Land of Medicine Buddha, who have [space for] car parking. For that many people, there’s not enough space for parking, so people would have to park their cars a long way away. They are going to build [?] a new car park somewhere on the land. So making sure the neighbors don’t get upset, the people who have houses around there.

So here I’ll just explain bits and pieces, and maybe you can get some answers from that.

I think first Rinpoche3 gave an introduction to samara, before all this about what we should do [at the time of death] and how to help others. Before that, Rinpoche, I think gave an introduction to samsara, a foundation. No, I didn’t write the whole thing, sorry. What’s called samsara is the continuity of these contaminated aggregates. The aggregates are defiled or contaminated, which means the seed of the disturbing thoughts, taking that to the future samsara. So the aggregates caused by delusion and karma and the contaminated seed of disturbing thoughts, taking that to the next life. The continuity of these contaminated aggregates, taking the future life samsara, joining to the next life aggregates, which are caused by karma and delusion, the contaminated seed of disturbing thoughts, so that’s what it means to be circling in samsara.

Another meaning, circling from birth to death—intermediate state, then again birth and death, intermediate stage—so continuously circling like this. That’s another meaning. In Tibetan it says khorwa, circling.

Signs of Imminent Death

At the beginning there are even the signs in our dreams which mean that we are going to die, for example, dreaming of red flowers again and again, or going toward the south riding on donkeys or camels. Those are the signs of death, because south is where the Lord of Death, Yama, Yamaraja [resides]. Because of that, also when you sleep, if possible, face your head toward the west, where there’s Amitabha Buddha’s pure land. That is auspicious.

Then you should stretch your legs toward the south, so that’s the opponent to prevent [death]. The south is where Yamaraja, the Lord of Death, is abiding. When you do sleeping yoga in your room, if possible, this is how it’s advised. Also, when you do retreat, if it’s convenient, then you face toward the west, so that’s auspicious for you to be born in Amitabha’s pure land. Otherwise, you can visualize you are facing toward that side.

There are many dreams which mean that we are going to die. These are dreams that keep on happening, not just one time. So that could be a distant sign that death is going to happen after one year, or I don’t know, after some time, the sign of that. It could be after a few months or a year. Dreams like that are a distant sign of death.

And then there are near signs of death and very close signs, when we are very close to death. There are three things that are explained in the texts; there are different signs showing that the death is going to happen. There are texts that explain that. I thought to translate the texts a long time ago, but somehow it didn’t happen. It is maybe explained by Padmasambhava or something; there are different texts.

Then we can do all the necessary pujas. These things can happen. We can do practices for a long life, taking a long-life initiation if there’s a possibility in the area or we can go somewhere to take this long-life initiation. And then we can do a long-life retreat, a long-life deity’s retreat. 

Animal Liberation

Then saving the lives of others, animals, if we can, which is very easy to do. The fish, worms and crickets, insects, we can get many thousands. They are very cheap and we can get so many thousands of those animals that are given to feed the other animals, so we can liberate them and we can get so many very easily. Many thousands, tens of thousands, so many. And then also bigger animals, depending on how much we can afford, so we can get larger animals and liberate them.

Some years ago, I was thinking to have land where we can liberate large buffalos or large animals and have a person to look after them. At Kopan, quite a few years ago now, they had a small place to do retreat behind the mountain somewhere, then there’s also a place, an area behind for animals, a place to liberate animals and for somebody to look after those buffalos, goats and things like that.

On the Maitreya land we did have chickens and there was one calf, a baby cow, and some chickens. I think maybe it started last time when His Holiness was there. After the teachings we liberated quite a number of animals for His Holiness’s long life. Marcel took care of them on the land. This happened twice. This time when I was at Bodhgaya, on the way, there are many chickens were killed. It was kind of unbearable to see them, so I tried to buy quite a few and take them and put them in the car and bring them. Marcel already had some from last year, so it was very easy to take care of them. He said it was quite expensive to feed the chickens. [Laughter] Anyway, the reason is for long life for His Holiness.

The animals are kept outside. I think [the motivation is] for other holy beings and for peace or something like that. So the idea is either on the same land or to buy another piece of land somewhere, a bigger place, so to have a place for big animals that are liberated and to keep them there, to give them food and take care of them, to have a person to look after them, so to have them in a larger place. The Tibetan people come for teachings, they buy animals then they bring them to Maitreya land. [Rinpoche laughs] I think they do that because they don’t know what to do, they don’t have any other place to take care of the animals. So we need to have a larger place either on the same land or on another piece of land, to start this, where people have the opportunity so they can buy the animals and there is a place to keep them. I think this is an incredible opportunity. It’s a wonderful thing to do, to save the lives of others.

Then, to have all those powerful mantras playing through the speakers to all the animals, so they can hear the mantras. Also, to make holy objects, stupas, at the center, like this, and then the animals can go around, people can bring the animals to go around, to circumambulate the holy objects. In this way, all those animals every day can create so many causes of enlightenment and liberation from samsara, the happiness of future lives. So they become very fortunate animals by having these holy objects and mantras that they can hear. This plants the seed of enlightenment, realizations of the whole path to enlightenment by hearing the mantras, so it becomes wonderful even for the animals, a way to benefit them. Not only are we benefiting the people, we are also benefiting those very suffering, pitiful sentient beings.

In Italy many years ago, one of the nuns there was thinking to build a nunnery. There was one lady in Rome, a very wonderful lady, very kind of special, very wonderful, kind of fortunate, a little bit elderly. So she took the dogs that were going to be killed and fed them. She had one hundred dogs. One nun gave quite a big donation for the nuns in Italy to have a nunnery. [The elderly lady] came to see me, so I was very happy. I made a tape of Namgyalma mantra, the long one, and a few other mantras, so she was going to play this for the dogs every day. She did that for one year, then the tape got worn out. By playing it over and over again, the tape got worn out. I was supposed to make a new one but that didn’t happen. So I didn’t meet her again, of course, for a long time, anyway.

Saving Human Lives

Anyway, saving the lives of others, that’s for long life, but also we can save human beings as well. We can save human beings. If somebody is going to suicide, somebody who is suicidal, we can do consultation, we can talk to them, do consultation, then we are saving the life of a human being. Or if this person is going to kill somebody or this person is going to kill themselves, then we do consultation and we save the life, in that way.

There are many ways we can save the lives of others. By teaching meditation, we save the life of human beings, those who have life danger get purified and pacified and have a long life, by meditation, by teaching Dharma. Of course, those are the real methods. They change their negative attitude and actions, which cause shortage of life to ourselves, a danger to our own life, those negative things and also cause a shortage of life to others. There are many things that we can do to save others, also human lives, causing them long life. There are many ways to do that. I don’t remember everything now. There are many ways we can save the lives of human beings.

Methods for Long Life

We can make long-life deity tsa tsas for long life. We can also do a long-life retreat or recite mantras. There’s also a long-life fire puja, the White Tara fire puja for long life, with the long-life grass, just with that.

Then also we can do the vase breathing. Well, I think, those who are familiar with that, you know what I’m talking about, but I don’t think it’s a correct translation. holding the wind like vase at the navel, so that meditation also becomes cause of long life. There are various meditation techniques for long life, and there’s a long-life special meditation with White Heruka, things like that.

So without describing the details, anyway, just to go more straight.

First we do all these methods for long life and if, after doing all this, still it is happening, still we have the same signs in our dreams, if that’s happening every day [there is danger of imminent death]. Also [we need to do] betraying the death and the puja practices and hooking the life. The potential of our life has been stolen, taken away by spirits, scattered and stolen by spirits, so then we need to bring it back into us. So all those things, they are also for long life. After the spirits took the potential of our life away, then if we don’t do the puja that brings that back, either from our side by doing meditation or by asking others who can do that puja, if that doesn’t happen, if the puja didn’t happen, if the practice didn’t happen a long time ago, then there’s danger to experience death if nothing is done.

So, taking away the potential of life, if that happens, it starts with fear. You see, for example, if a cat suddenly jumps and we get frightened, or if some condition happens that we are so frightened or some condition like that and then, while our mind is distracted, not being mindful and not living in the practice, with emptiness or bodhicitta, maybe also to do with that, so not being mindful, not living in the practice, so it’s very easy to disturb us, we are not protected, so some condition which causes us fear then takes away the potential of life.

Maybe sometimes these signs might happen. Before, the color of our face looked very shiny, bright, but now it’s kind of dusty, kind of degenerated, dusty, that also happens. Lama Pasang, Lama’s disciple, who Lama asked to come to help at Kopan Monastery— there is Lama Lhundrup, who is the abbot now, and Lama Pasang, who helped outside with all the buildings—before he passed away, a few months before he passed away, he became like that. And because there was so much work to do there, I asked him to build a kitchen for the nunnery. He needed to do a long-life retreat and he could have done a little bit each morning even though there was no time to do it the whole time, all day. He could have done a little bit in the mornings, however, it didn’t get done somehow, he missed out. So a few months before he passed away, [his face] became like that, it appeared like that. Then he passed away.

And the body, I’ll just mention this one. When we feel our body is drained or tired, having no energy, feeling very dry or drained, we’ve lost energy, no strength, so this to do with the spirits. It’s connected with the spirits, our energy is taken away.

By practicing these various methods, and by doing everything that we can, all the methods for long life, if these signs are still happening, then instead of putting effort into living, we should prepare, we should make ready, we should prepare our mind, we should make ready any time to leave [this body].

A Happy, Peaceful Death

The main thing, the most important thing, the fundamental thing, is to have a peaceful, happy mind in order to have a happy, peaceful death and to go to the pure land of the buddha, where’s there no suffering at all, and especially the pure land where, as I mentioned yesterday, we can become enlightened. This is the quick way to be free from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and to achieve enlightenment, or again to be born, to reincarnate in the human world where we can bring more benefit to others in that country; again to receive a perfect human body and then meditate on the path which we haven’t actualized in previous life, so then we develop in that life and achieve enlightenment.

The basic method, the foundation, to make our mind free at the time of death, with no worry, no fear, all these things, nothing that ties our mind. Just as a bird wants to fly in the sky, being free, but its limbs are tied with ropes to a stone so it cannot fly, even though it has so much wish to fly it cannot fly because the limbs, the legs or hands are fastened with rope on the rock. Like that, that which brings all the fear and worry, and makes death so difficult, so difficult to let go, is the attachment, grasping the family members and friends, grasping, so attached to them, and to the possessions, property, house, money, and then being attached to our own body.

What makes death so difficult is that our mind is not free, so why we can’t let go is because of this attachment. So then we need to do strong meditation, thinking of the shortcomings, however, generating renunciation of samsara by meditating how samsara is in the nature of suffering; how the samsaric perfections, are in the nature of suffering. Thinking of all their shortcomings cuts the attachment, like the rope that tied the bird’s hands on the stone, so we release that, we cut the rope, we release that, then the bird can fly, so like that. This is the main thing to meditate on, to put effort to free ourselves, to let go, the method to let go. So for ourselves like this, also to advise others who are dying, to free the mind, to have happiness at the time of death, to free the mind instead of getting caught, stuck. Again, even to help others by explaining these things skillfully according to that other person’s mind.

Rinpoche explained here, [Lama Zopa Rinpoche turns the pages] there are other ways of examining the life. So when the sun rises or at nighttime when the moon rises, then with just a naked body, of course with the pants on, the short pants, so if we look at our shadow, I think where the heart is, I think there’s a syllable AH, where the heart is. Our shadow is there on the ground, so we focus, we look at it continuously without closing our eyes, we just look at it. I think we have to think AH is in the center, I think, something like that. Without closing the eyes we look at it until we get some irritation or something, then we look at the sky. So when we look at the sky, we see the reflection of our body, not like in a mirror, but we see white, we see our body there, kind of white. By seeing in the dark then when we look at in the sky, we see something, I think, white.

A similar thing happens if we look at one object, a thangka, if we look at a thangka, if we look at it for half a minute or something and then we look at the wall. After that if we look at a wall we see it there, not colorful like that, but we see a kind of thangka there, kind of white on the wall. So like that, similarly it happens. In the sky we see it, then that time we see which part of the body, if some part of the body is missing, that describes when we are going to die.

Or if we are holding bell, vajra, malas, mandalas, like that, in the hand and if we don’t see it there. If we don’t see a bell, vajra, malas, like that, that means we broke our samaya. So it’s best to do a self-initiation, to take the vows again, if it’s missing there, if we’re holding these things and it’s missing there.

However, depending on which part of the body is missing, then it describes what to do.

Also, in the text it explains that we put our two knees like this, then we put our, this one here in the center, between the two eyes, put like this and then usually we see something there. Even though we see something very tiny, but still there’s something there. When we see there’s nothing there, not even a tiny one left, kind of like total space, nothing there, so that’s also a sign of death when we examine like this. So we put this one between the two eyes like this.

And then another examination, a very accurate examination, to check when we are going to die is by breathing—not breathing from the mouth, but from the nose. Usually at the beginning of each month, on the first, second or third morning, usually at dawn the breath changes. After three days, this one becomes stronger, then this becomes weaker, but around the dawn time it changes. Also in the daytime, if something’s going to happen to us, some problem or something, then the breath also changes. I haven’t seen the text for that, but it seems there’s also some kind of sign of what’s going to happen. Every three months, on the third day in the early morning, at dawn time, it is explained in the Kangyur, after how many years we’re going to die, after how many months we’re going to die, so that is regarded as a very accurate sign. It’s explained in the text, the twelve months are described, so this month if it happens, then this, like that. Anyway, I think Rinpoche explained the details of that, those things. I think the breath one, I think he didn’t explain the details but just mentioned it.

Rinpoche said that at the time of death there are people who are very, very angry normally, having a very impatient nature, but then at the time of death, near the death time, their mind becomes very good-hearted. It can happen like this. Then someone who is very good-hearted normally in their life but near the death time, their mind becomes very bad, their mind become very violent, very negative. Rinpoche explains that people can change like that. Near the death time this kind of change happens.

Then, Rinpoche emphasized that if the person has taken the initiation of the highest tantra, then the best thing to do is taking initiation, the self-initiation, which makes the vows pure which have been degenerated. The pratimoksha, bodhisattva vows, which have been degenerated are made pure by taking the vows again. Then all those negative karmas get completely purified so it is impossible to be born in the lower realms if the self-initiation is done. But same thing, if there’s a lama there then if it’s possible to take initiation, we should take initiation. If not then we should take the self-initiation.

What I was saying before, in our own daily life, normally, not only are we waiting at the time of death to practice renunciation, to let go, all these things. We’re not planning only to do this at the death time, when we are near to dying, not like that, and to do the self-initiation, these things. However, normally in the daily life, if we are practicing normally in our daily life, the main thing is practicing the antidote to attachment, letting go [of desire]. It doesn’t mean to separate away from the world, the main reason, it doesn’t mean to separate away from the world. For example, our own body, we can’t split our mind from our body because then there’s death if we split the mind and body. The emphasis is not that, it doesn’t mean to separate away [from the body], but to let go of the desire.

If we are practicing renunciation, detachment or freeing our mind from this bondage, from this emotional pain, normally if we are practicing in our daily life then our mind is already trained, like the military before actually attacking the enemy. The military are well-trained before, so whenever the enemy comes to attack they are well-prepared to defeat the enemy. So here if we practice in daily life, we can train the mind in this, because death can come at any time. Not only is the death definite, but it can occur in any year, any month, any week, any day, even in any moment it can happen, we can’t tell. So therefore, just as the enemy can come, the enemy can attack at any time, death can come from any side, it can attack at any time, so we’re fully prepared, knowing how to defeat it.

Here, suddenly that day, that moment [Rinpoche snaps fingers] death suddenly happens so we are well-prepared. It’s very easy, there’s nothing to be bothered about, nothing to be upset or angry about, no regret or sadness, there’s nothing, so for us death become so easy, so easy. It can lead the consciousness to the pure land of the Buddha or to a good rebirth.

Same thing, anyway, for a while until we reach the level of the path, like the Theravadin path, the Lesser Vehicle path, by achieving the renunciation of samsara, this realization, then we enter the Lesser Vehicle path. Without bodhicitta we enter the Lesser Vehicle path.

The Five Mahayana Paths

There is the path of merit, the preparatory path, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation, and the path of no more learning. By achieving the path of meditation we remove the delusion, the simultaneously born delusion, we remove those obscurations, including the seed of delusion. So we are totally free from the cause of samsara, the delusion and karma, so we have no cause to reincarnate again in samsara. We’re free forever from the cycle of death and rebirth, the whole entire suffering of samsara.

So until we reach that level, [we remain in samsara.]There is the Mahayana path of merit, the preparatory path, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation, and the path of no more learning. The third one, the Mahayana right-seeing path, when we achieve that path, then we have totally overcome the suffering of samsara, rebirth, old age, sickness and death. We don’t experience that when we achieve the Mahayana right-seeing path.

According to the highest tantra, when we achieve the generation stage, on the basis of the generation stage, then there’s the completion stage. There is the isolation of body, isolation of speech and isolation of mind. For the isolation of mind there are two: the clear light of example and the clear light of meaning. After achieving the clear light of example, we achieve the impure illusory body. After achieving the clear light of meaning, we achieve the pure illusory body as a result. This happens when we achieve the clear light of meaning. The mind has a gross mind, subtle mind and extremely subtle mind, and the body has a gross body, subtle body and extremely subtle body. So the third one, when we achieve directly seeing emptiness, then again here we have overcome death; we don’t experience the cycle of death and rebirth.

Until we achieve one of these levels of paths, we have to continuously reincarnate in samsara, die and be reborn, die and be reborn. Therefore, here, at the moment we can’t stop the death now. We have to experience death, we have to go through that, but we can enjoy the death, a happy death. If we die with attachment, put it this way, if we die with attachment without letting go, then that causes us to be reborn in an unfortunate realm, the heaviest suffering realm, the hells, hungry ghost realm or animal realm, due to our past negative karma. Then also if we die with anger, attachment, a jealous mind, with all these delusions then that causes us to reincarnate in the lower realms if we die with the negative thoughts.

So the basic thing, the most harmful thing when we die is attachment. Of course, if we are able to let go by meditating on the shortcomings of these objects; how samsara is in the nature of suffering, the samsaric perfections, how samsaric pleasure is in the nature of suffering, all that, as it is. Then we are able to cut, we’re able to free our mind from attachment, this emotional pain. Then we’re free, our mind is free. Even if we’re experiencing death our mind is free. It’s like that bird, the rope that’s tied its legs to stone is released or cut, so it can fly. So then it can have a very peaceful, happy death.

And then on top of that, with bodhicitta, letting go of the I, cherishing other sentient beings, with bodhicitta. This is how to enjoy the death, with bodhicitta.

The other thing is, even without talking about bodhicitta, we have full confidence that we won’t be reborn in the lower realms and definitely that we will have a happy rebirth, that we have full confidence that we will have a very good rebirth, a very good future. We have full confidence of that. We’re just changing, leaving this old body which has sickness or whatever, and taking a fresh—maybe fresh is not [the right word] —taking a new healthy body. Fresh is only used for food, sorry. Taking a new healthy body. So anyway, we can see from that how the mind is happy, like that.

The other thing is, especially with bodhicitta then we can enjoy the death. With bodhicitta, letting go, cherishing other sentient beings, then experiencing the death on behalf of all sentient beings, the numberless sentient beings who have to die, who are dying or who have to die, particularly experiencing death on behalf of all the sentient beings. Taking everyone’s death on ourselves and experiencing it for numberless sentient beings and letting them have all the happiness, letting them be free from the suffering of death and up to enlightenment, all the happiness they have. So this voluntary mind, as I mentioned the other night, the voluntary mind that dedicated ourselves. Then we are so happy to experience the suffering for others, to experience death for all the sentient beings, the numberless sentient beings. We are so happy to do this.

On the basis of how sentient beings are suffering so much and on the basis of realizing how sentient beings are so precious, how they are so kind, so precious, from whom we receive all our own past, present and future happiness, all the happiness, so on the basis of that, and then that makes compassion and loving kindness arise. We have compassion to free them from all the suffering and its causes, and we have loving kindness. Wishing them to have happiness and to cause that by ourselves, to free them by ourselves, that’s great compassion. To cause them happiness by ourselves, that’s great loving kindness.

So from the basis of this fundamental understanding comes the enjoyment [of death]. We are able to experience death for others, for all sentient beings. I think the more we cherish others, the more we think how others are so precious, then I think, the happier we are, and we enjoy death more. We enjoy experiencing death for other sentient beings. So psychologically, it works like that.

Dying with Bodhicitta

Of course, dying with bodhicitta, what His Holiness calls “self-supporting death,” and what His Holiness calls the best way of dying is dying with bodhicitta, the thought of benefiting other sentient beings.

So here with bodhicitta, dying with bodhicitta, the thought of cherishing others, benefiting other sentient beings, then we are using our death to achieve enlightenment. Even without talking about tantra, with bodhicitta we are using the death to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings. And we are using the death, this way our experience of death becomes the cause of happiness of numberless other sentient beings. Our experience of death become the cause of happiness of numberless sentient beings. Because it develops bodhicitta, so our bodhicitta brings all the happiness—this life’s happiness, our future life’s happiness, all the future life’s happiness of sentient beings, liberation from samsara, enlightenment. Numberless sentient beings receive all this happiness from our bodhicitta. So when we use the death to develop bodhicitta, when we die with bodhicitta, this is what happens. Then, by achieving enlightenment—it causes us to achieve enlightenment, then that makes us do perfect work toward the numberless sentient beings. So that’s how experiencing death, done with bodhicitta, our experience of death becomes the cause of happiness for all sentient beings.

Therefore we shouldn’t leave this practice, including death, experiencing this with bodhicitta, utilizing it in the path to enlightenment. Normally in our daily life, if we develop our mind in this way, those fundamental positive thoughts, seeing how others are so kind and precious and how much they’re suffering and the compassion, loving kindness thoughts, where it comes from, also, exchanging oneself for others, letting go of the I, cherishing others also comes from that [bodhicitta].

We realize that all the problems, all the undesirable things, come from the self-cherishing thought and that means all this is coming from the I. Not only realizing that, but realizing the benefits of cherishing others—how all the happiness, all the collection of goodness, all the desirable things, all the good things, including enlightenment, that we receive, all this which comes from bodhicitta. We receive all this from the sentient beings, so we know how they are so precious. So then that encourages us, that makes us decide to let go of the I. We cherish other sentient beings; we let go of the I and cherish other sentient beings.

Thought Transformation Practice

In our daily life, training in this, meditating on this in the session time and in the break time. Actually, as much as possible, we should put it into practice, taking somebody’s difficulties on ourselves. Not giving the easy thing to the others. What did I say? No, I made a mistake. [Rinpoche laughs] No, something that which is difficult, giving our problems to others, maybe that’s one way to say, we give our problems to others. [Laughter] Giving our difficulties to give others—something that we find difficult we give others, we let others do that, and we do the easy things—that is according to the self-cherishing thought. That is the activity of the self-cherishing thought. In the session time we meditate but when we actually deal with people, working with people, living with people, then we should put into the practice whatever we can. I mean, to share any difficulties. If that person is having some difficulties, doing some hard work or something, then taking it on ourselves, sharing that load. If that person is carrying a very heavy load or something, then we take it on ourselves, we share it. So whatever we can do to actually put into practice, so like that. 
In other words, of course, there are details, so when we do thought transformation practice there’s also the need for wisdom along with that. For example, if there’s a job that is very difficult and someone has to go through a lot of confusion or a lot of hardships or some problems; then there’s somebody who can accomplish that, who is able to do that work, to accomplish that.

We know that they cannot complete this at all, we know that and then “Oh, this is thought transformation practice. Oh, I’ll take it on myself.” We think, “Oh, this is thought transformation practice, so I will take this job on myself,” but we know that we can’t do it. We know that we can’t complete it, we can’t actualize it. This person is having a lot of difficulty, much confusion, and we think, “Oh, this is thought transformation practice, lojong practice. I will take this on myself. I will experience the problem, all the confusion, let the person be free.” That part is good, that part is good, but then we don’t have the capacity to actually accomplish that work.

So here we know we can’t do it, and if we do then it will be a disaster. [Rinpoche laughs] It will be a disaster. So I’m just using an example, what part is practical, what part is not practical. The attitude is very positive, but actually while we don’t have the capacity to actually accomplish it, if we take that, then it becomes a great disaster. The opposite.

So, in that sense we can generate the wish, we can do tonglen, the visualization, taking all the suffering, all the problems of sentient beings, whatever, taking that on ourselves, and giving all the merits, happiness, all the results, success, everything, including enlightenment, giving to that person, we can do that. We can do tonglen, in the visualization.

In this case, to actually to take that responsibility upon ourselves, while we know that we cannot, that’s going to be a disaster. So then, in this case, it’s the right decision. We practice that mentally, but the right decision is not to take that responsibility, and somebody else can accomplish that. We cannot do it, we cannot do it at all, and it would only be a great disaster.

Here what I’m saying, we can do thought transformation but along with that that we need wisdom.

Here the main aim is to benefit others, to benefit the majority of the sentient beings, to benefit others. On the basis of that, we are making decisions, whether to do it and whether it can be successful or not. So using wisdom, judging, not only taking responsibility, but making the decision by analyzing with wisdom whether we can accomplish it or not. [If we can’t,] look for others who can do that.

Give the Victory to Others

Also, a similar example, in the case of Tibet, normally in the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, the first stanza, second stanza, third stanza, fourth stanza, fifth stanza, it says to take the loss upon oneself and offer the victory to others.

5. When, out of envy, others mistreat me
With abuse, insults, or the like,
I shall accept defeat
And offer the victory to others.

Generally that’s thought transformation, lojong, what to practice. To take the loss upon oneself and give the victory to others. Generally speaking, in individual cases, it’s like that. That’s the practice that should be done. Generally speaking, that is the practice that should be done. This is the way we stop creating the cause of suffering, and create the cause of happiness. Taking the loss upon ourselves and offering the victory to others, we create the cause of happiness. We stop the cause of suffering and create the cause of happiness. By giving happiness to that person, by giving victory to that person, it makes that person happy. So then from that good karma, we have the result of happiness, success, in the future. From that good karma, we have the resultant success in the future, in many lives, not just one-time success, but for hundreds, thousands of lifetimes, we’ll have success. From this one good karma, making that person happy, offering victory to that person and taking the loss upon ourselves.

If we give the loss to the other person and take the victory ourselves, then the other person will get upset, angry, and will engage in negative karma. If the motivation is the self-cherishing thought, and on top of that there can be attachment or anger, so we engage in negative karma. Also, not only do we engage in negative karma, it makes other sentient beings suffer and become unhappy. Then as a result from this, we have to experience a suffering result for many lifetimes, so many lifetimes, so many times in one life, and for so many lifetimes we have to experience the suffering results of that.

Therefore, by giving the victory to others, by taking the loss on ourselves, we don’t create this negative karma with the self-cherishing thought, attachment, anger. Also the other sentient being doesn’t become unhappy or upset or angry or suffer. And then we don’t have to experience all the suffering results in many lifetimes, so many times in one life or in many lifetimes. So that is one great advantage. The absence of that is peace and happiness.

Then there’s the good karma, having done it with a positive attitude and making the other sentient being happy. So the result of this is success. Our wishes get fulfilled and we will have success, so much success in one lifetime and in so many lifetimes.

Therefore, what appears in ordinary people’s view is that we lost and the other person won because we gave the victory to others. What appears in the ordinary people’s view is that we lost and the other person won, but in reality, within this life or the future life after this, in so many lifetimes we will have success, so much happiness and success from that. For so many lifetimes we can enjoy success, so in reality by doing this practice, actually we win all this happiness that we experience in so many lifetimes, so we win, in reality we win. And we who accepted the loss while the other person took the victory, in reality that person lost and we won, if we think of the karma.

Also, as Kadampa Geshe Langri Tangpa explained, why give the victory to others and take the loss upon ourselves? Why? All the sufferings come from me, come from the I, and all the happiness comes from others, comes from the other person. Therefore, that’s the reason for taking the loss on ourselves and offering the victory to others, to the other person, the other sentient being.

There was one time, one monastery in Tibet was criticizing Kadampa Geshe Langri Tangpa, and he heard this. So one day Kadampa Geshe Langri Tangpa went to the monastery with all the offerings to the monks, so then he made offerings, he made tea offerings to all the monks and then, during the puja, after he made all the offerings, he thanked all the monks for criticizing him; he thanked them. He appreciated them and he thanked them for criticizing him. [Rinpoche laughs] So that is giving the victory to others and taking the loss upon oneself.

Use Wisdom to Know When to Take the Loss

What I was saying about Tibet, generally we have to practice this verse in this case, especially in our own case. But in the case of the example, like the case of Tibet, that’s already occupied or taken away by the Communist Chinese, we might question here, “Why not practice giving, offering to the Chinese and taking the loss upon oneself?” When it comes to global [issues] or in the case of Tibet, an example like that, here, if we do this, here if we use this thought transformation, of course, there’s thought transformation practicing patience, to the Communist Chinese practicing patience, there is thought transformation there, but in the case of taking the victory, giving the victory to others, taking the loss upon ourselves, here if we do that then we are making mistakes in this case. That means the Tibetan people won’t have total freedom, total religious freedom to use the land. They won’t have total religious freedom.

That means all the people in Tibet won’t have the opportunity like before, when everybody had freedom for whatever they wished, to practice Dharma, to learn Dharma. Uncountable numbers were meditating in the mountains, actualizing the path and studying in the monasteries, all that, the incredible freedom that they had in past they wouldn’t have. So that affects the existence of the teachings of Buddhism, Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, it affects its existence and development; it affects that also.

Therefore, if we use this [method] in this case, instead of benefit, there are shortcomings, the opposite to benefit. The Tibetan people, particularly those who live in Tibet, don’t get all those benefits which I mentioned before, and won’t be guided by the Buddha of Compassion, His Holiness. They won’t have that incredible opportunity.

That’s why His Holiness is saying … [Loud call from a peacock] The peacock is making so much sound, I think, the peacock could not bear that ongoing talk, what I’m talking about, ongoing. Anyway, that’s why His Holiness says if the Tibetan people are happier being under the control of the mainland Chinese government, if they are happier, then there’s no purpose for the autonomy or independence. That’s what His Holiness said, if they were happier.

Here the aim, here we have to use wisdom to know what benefits there are if we take the loss on ourselves and give the victory to others. What’s the benefit? Here it’s the opposite; there’s no benefit, it’s the opposite.

So I was just using that example, it’s just a side-talk. But we have to use wisdom, is what I’m saying, otherwise there’s a possibility of making great mistakes in the life. Especially, anyway, I think even in individual cases sometimes, it depends on the matter, but especially dealing with the public, dealing with many people. So we have to have wisdom. Before the practice we have to have wisdom to be able to judge whether it will harm or benefit if we do this practice. If we take this decision, will it be more harm or benefit to the people? So with wisdom seeing that, then we decide what decision to take.

Here what His Holiness, the Buddha of Compassion, the decision that His Holiness is making, is this way. It’s not that His Holiness is giving these teachings but not practicing it, so it’s not that.

So I think my talk on death and dying disappeared. [Laughter] It disappeared, anyway ….

I think maybe if you have one question, one or two questions, maybe that. I’m not going to go through because I think it takes time. Then I get caught in some things, so I think I mentioned the basic thing for ourselves and that’s similar to what you practice, that’s similar advice that you can give to others. Of course, you can do it in a skillful way according to that person’s background, their religion, non-believer or believer, and their level of understanding. But basically, I think if you understand your practice, what you are supposed to do for your death, when you die, the preparation for death, all that, when you die you know what to do, then I think the more you learn about that, then you know how to advise others, how to help others. This is how I think. And the less you know for yourself, then you have less advice, less wisdom, less method to help others. It seems like that.

Maybe there’s one or two questions? OK? Sorry, I was going to go through but blocked. Yeah, go on.

Q&A: How to Help Our Parents

Roy: Rinpoche, the big problem for many of us at my age is that our parents have no experience of Dharma and yet the more we practice ourselves, the more advice we can give them, but maybe their minds are closed or it’s difficult for them to hear what we have to say.

Rinpoche: You mean to advise them when they’re passing away or when you pass away? Huh? When they pass away, what to do to help them? You mean very difficult to explain to them? That’s what you’re saying, right?

Generally, anyway, the first answer is that I would say we don’t have omniscient mind or clairvoyance to know what exactly fits or to make the right time to explain. There’s karma to understand, to listen, karma to understand, at the right time. Time is very important. When all those things come together, [Rinpoche snaps fingers] the understanding, the acceptance, is like that. It’s just a second, [snaps fingers] when the karma is ripened, when the time is right, like that. So not only is there no omniscient mind there’s not even ordinary clairvoyance to see beyond. Therefore, we help with whatever we can, with whatever wisdom that we have, compassion that we have. With the wisdom that we have, we check how to present, when the time is right and there is the right mood. However, as much as possible doing it with compassion, by analyzing how to present. So to educate what we can, like that, with wisdom, as much as possible with skillful means, that is the essence, what I would say, doing whatever we can to help. It doesn’t mean it will always work, but it’s a skillful way. Anyway, by using wisdom, by analyzing, that helps, like that and then sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes they might pay attention and it might work.

I think, related to the parents, the most important thing is, as I normally mention, even if we don’t say the words to them, the most important thing, more important than the words, is the example, becoming the example to them of kindness, compassion and kindness. Being tolerant, loving them, caring them, loving them, I think this. If they see we have warm heart toward them, I think, with these qualities, then the words come out and gradually they are impressed by our qualities, by the change into someone good, loving them, caring for them. So then they will see we have all these qualities, even without us needing to explain to them. They will ask us, “What is meditation? What do you practice? What is Buddhism?” I think because it made their mind happy, they are surprised, astonished, they’re happy with us, then the question will come from their side, “What do you practice? What is Buddhism about?”

I heard stories in the past, our students by meeting Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, especially Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, lamrim, bodhicitta, all that, compassion, loving kindness, bodhicitta, then there’s also the kindness of the mother, all these meditations. So toward the parents, before the daughter or son was not like that. The parents didn’t even have an interest to Buddhism, but they saw their child had totally changed, that person became much better than before. Their daughter or son became much better, they could definitely see that. They received more care, more loving from them, from their daughter or son, and tolerance, beauty. The beauty was inside, beauty of the mind.

Sometimes I heard them say, “I don’t like Buddhism.” Not everybody was the same, but some said, “I don’t like the Buddhism.” They said this because they didn’t understand what Buddhism was. Anyway, they said, “I don’t like Buddhism, but I like the change,” in their daughter or son. They said they didn’t like it because they didn’t understand, they had no idea what Buddhism was, because maybe they had other beliefs, things like that, just this is what they labeled. So it seems in my past experience, many [parents were] very happy when this happened. Even though they never read Dharma books or did meditation, it made them very happy when their daughter or son had developed these good qualities and had changed. They were happy because these good qualities had developed and they could see their children were also very happy.

It seems that in the West, it’s very important in the West, when parents see their daughter or son, before they met Buddhism and practiced meditation they were not happy, they had so many problems, so much dissatisfaction, so many problems, so much unhappiness. So then after they practiced Buddhism, meditation, the parents saw their daughter or son with so much happiness, more smiles, and so much happiness. When they see them enjoying, with so much happiness, then this really clicks in their mind, I think. Then they really wonder, “What is it about Buddhism?” It made them happy and they were not happy before. So then I think it makes the parents ask questions about Buddhism and they want to learn meditation. I think there is also this issue, I think there are the words, but I think this issue seems more important than the intellectual words. So this is basically what I think, how you can help your parents.

You think? Or maybe you have something to say?

Letting Go of Attachment to this World

Ecie: Well, I was going to tell a story about when I was going to work as a night nurse, looking after a man who was Dutch. When I arrived the previous nurse told me if he gets really anxious or something, you can give him this drug under his skin.

So about five minutes later, after she left, he got really anxious, so I got out the drug and I gave it to him and nothing happened. He was really, really anxious and he was just tossing around all over the bed, and I found out from his family that he was a fisherman. I reckon that he was seeing the vision of all the animals he had killed and he was really, really upset. Usually the drugs don’t work anyway at this time right before death, because the liver isn’t working, so they can’t use the drugs.

Anyway, his sister from Holland was sitting on the bed and I sat on the bed too, a really large bed. His wife had gone to sleep and I started talking to his sister and to him as if he was alert. Of course, he wasn’t alert, he was comatose, but I started talking to him about how beautiful Holland is in the spring with all the flowers. This distracted him and he settled down a little bit. I think it distracted him because his mind is like a baby’s mind. People just before they die have no control over their minds and whatever they think and feel is shown completely in their body.

So, I distracted him by talking about the fields in Holland and all the beautiful flowers. And then I said to him, “You’re surrounded by love here. Your family loves you dearly and I know you love your family.” I knew he was Christian, probably Catholic or something. Anyway, I said, “God’s love is even better and bigger than that, and he forgives you for everything that you’ve done. And not only that, but the flowers in heaven are so much more beautiful.” Then he settled down completely, nice and quietly, and then a couple of minutes later he died. So, I hope he died peacefully.

Rinpoche: Somebody who has difficulty understanding what the pure land is, by saying “heaven” maybe that makes it easier, because that’s a very common word. Heaven is something that, in general recognition, is something very beautiful or, I don’t know exactly what in the Western terms. Anyway, something very beautiful, so there is great enjoyment there. I think that it is easy to think about and so that helps. What makes it easy for that person to leave the consciousness, to die easily is this, otherwise they have all the pain, all the physical pain, also the mental suffering, all that. They have to suffer, so that helps by knowing there’s a better place, by knowing there’s some place better than the present world where the person is now. So it makes it very easy to let go of the attachment to the present world. It makes it very easy to let go, to give up this in order to have that; to let go of attachment to this. Wanting to be in heaven where there’s great enjoyment, seeking that makes it easy to let go of the attachment here, to this world.

I think that is very useful, normal psychology or support for the person who is dying, by mentioning the name like, I think in the West they think of Shangri-La. There’s somewhere the Shangri-La, something very wonderful, that’s something I heard. However, by mentioning the name Shambhala or Amitabha pure land or the blissful realm, Amitabha pure land or something, and describing how beautiful it is. Now here, the main refuge—this is just another thing to say—now here the main refuge for that person is the name of that pure land, the name of that Buddha’s pure land. So that becomes a very important refuge, that name. The name of the pure land, Shambhala, becomes a very important object of refuge.

So when the person hears that it is so beautiful, whatever the person is looking for, is attached to, like the shag, the butter in Tibetan tea, by mentioning the name of that pure land, Amitabha pure land or Shambhala or whatever, that easy name, which exists, [the dying person understands] that there are all these better things, there are all these better enjoyments or more friends or they have many wonderful friends or something. Anyway, those who love that person, especially by knowing what the person normally enjoys, so here, if the person thinks of that name and generates the wish, then that helps the person let go of this attachment here and it helps them to go to the pure land, to be born in that pure land. So by hearing the name, by mentioning the name, “Amitabha pure land” or something easy, that becomes the main refuge. That name becomes the main refuge, then the dying person generates a wish for that. That’s the main thing which causes us to be reborn in that pure land.

But I think sometimes, for some people we could mention heaven. Probably that could be like a deva realm for some people. But I think sometimes even though the other person has no idea at all, by mentioning a specific name like this and the main thing it is describing is how much incredible enjoyment there is, so then I think that strong wish directs the consciousness to go there. So I think some people might think of heaven. I think that could be an idea.

One more question? Otherwise maybe you have more things to say? Some things? [Student mentions something about a break]

I think so. Do you want to continue? We can have a break and continue afterwards or maybe that’s it today?

Ecie: No, we want to continue after a break.

Rinpoche: No, but I mean, no, no. We stop today there.

Students: No!

Rinpoche: We can do it next year. [Laughter] OK. So anyway, of course, break. Anyway, of course, break. Whatever they need, break. Then see what thought comes, maybe you can continue, or get enlightened. Get enlightened before you come back, to know how to help others. No, I’m joking, anyway. Now I’m joking. Thank you so much.

[Marie leads the short mandala offering]

Jang chhub sem chhog rin po chhe ….

This time to do in Tibetan.

Ge wa di yi ….

Due to all the three-time merits collected by me and by others, that which are empty from their own side, may the I, who is empty from its own side, achieve Tara’s enlightenment, which is empty from its own side, and lead all the sentient beings, who are empty from their own side, to that enlightenment, which is empty from its own side, by myself alone, who is also empty from its own side.

I dedicate all the merits to be able to follow the holy extensive deeds of the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Manjugosha as they realize.

I dedicate all the merits to be able to follow, I dedicate all the merits in the same way as the three-time buddhas and bodhisattvas dedicate their merits.

May the general teachings, particularly of Lama Tsongkhapa, be spread in all the directions and flourish forever in this world by completely actualizing within my own heart, my family members and all of us here, in the hearts of all the students and benefactors in this organization and those who give up their life to the organization doing service for sentient beings, the teachings of the Buddha, in all of our hearts without delay of even a second.

Chhö kyi gyäl po ....
Dag dang zhän gyi

Gomo Rinpoche’s Wisdom Mother

Those who have received teachings from Gomo Rinpoche in the past,4 Rinpoche’s consort or wisdom mother, who is eighty-seven or something, passed away this morning at six o’clock in Salt Lake City. I guess she had heart problems. I think the doctor said that she had a heart attack, then they did some surgery but it seems the doctor wanted to do it again. I think it didn’t come back to function well, so the doctor wanted to do more operations. Then I think the daughter Yanki-la brought her back home, because in the hospital you can’t meditate, you can’t have the time to meditate in the hospital, so for those reasons she was brought back home.

I think for three days she didn’t talk—her limbs were moving but she was not talking. Her eyes were closed and she had only a little bit of water. For three days she had maybe half a cup of water with the blessed pills or things like that. And then when she came back from hospital, we have a Dharma connection, so I recited by telephone the Maitreya Buddha mantra. Her root guru is also His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, and then, I don’t remember, Maitreya Buddha and another mantra, I recited in her ear these three mantras, then I talked to her.

Gomo Rinpoche had two daughters, the other one is Pema-la, the elder one. I think she’s the head of the Tibetan [community] there, and she also works for the American government. Pema-la said when I was talking to her mother by telephone, by putting the phone to her ear, her face changed a little or her mouth moved a little bit, something like that.

So this morning, it seems at six o’clock she passed away. I told her daughter to put the body, the limbs, in the [posture of] the Buddha, when the Buddha was passing away into the sorrowless state, by putting the pillows on the back side and setting it up that way. So I was trying to explain to her that this helps when you put someone that position, like Buddha when he passed away into the sorrowless state. That physical condition helps the mind to more easily arise virtuous thoughts. It’s easier to arise virtuous thoughts, it helps. And then if the person can, with the right hand under the cheek then block this right nostril breathing, normally if you can. If you can’t do that, then other people can put cotton here, because this is the breath of attachment, and attachment is the main cause of samsara. The immediate cause of reincarnating in samsara is the attachment. So that helps, by stopping that breath, it helps the mind to not get controlled by attachment, to not die with attachment, but with the virtuous thought.

So I just explained to her that her mother doesn’t need that, because she is an unbelievably fortunate being. You can see from her face she is not ordinary; you can see she is an incredibly fortunate woman. The expression of her face is unbelievable. She was unbelievably devoted to her gurus, incredible, like that.

Before, she was a nun. Before she became Rinpoche’s wisdom mother she was a nun in one of the nunneries and Rinpoche came to give the oral transmission of the Kangyur, those many hundreds of volumes, so she was a nun, like that. Yeah, always, I think not even once, with no break for even one second, she was just always the same, having incredible, unbelievable devotion. That was her mental state.

I did not know about her, even though I met her quite a number of times and stayed at her house. On the way to Geshe Sopa’s, when we were driving, we stayed at her house. I didn’t know she had clairvoyance or could see the past or tell the future or things like that, I didn’t know. So the second time we stayed at her house, she advised—no, I think, she asked Tsenla, the Tibetan nun who built our Kopan nunnery, who translated for many centers—she asked Tsenla how our journey that day was, because we were driving for many hours from there to Nevada, all this. It was very windy, nothing grows and it was this very kind of depressing place, with many hours of driving. So somehow, she asked Tsenla and maybe she was doing malas or a mo. Maybe she saw that or heard that before, I’m not sure, anyway, maybe she prayed for a good journey or something like that. Then she said, “Today it will be very windy on the road and you have to hold the car like this. It will be very windy and maybe there’s some danger of hitting a rock.”

That’s what she said. So when we driving through Nevada, there was no green, nothing. It was a very windy place, with so, so strong wind, and it was exactly what she said—we had to hold the car, the wind was so strong, so that’s exactly what happened. So that’s how I found out that she could tell things.

Then I asked her a few questions about going to Dharamsala or something, to meet Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and things like that, and what she explained was exact, very precise, exact. So then I asked many other questions about the Maitreya Project. Then that became more questions. She had a great wish for the project to happen, so she said she would sell her shoes to raise money from the Tibetan people; she would sell her shoes to raise money for the Maitreya Project. She was just expressing her wishes.

It’s very interesting how she appeared and what she did. The family said, “Oh, she’s kind of crazy or something, this, that.” She was cutting her clothes if she was alone there and then sometimes when her daughter offered food with a napkin, she ate the napkin and said, “Very delicious.” So she did un-normal things.

Even in America when she was staying at my house, she thought she was in Mussoorie, which is near Dharamsala. Mussoorie, where she lived for many years with Rinpoche. I think she said, “Oh, this is Mussoorie,” things like that, like she has no idea at all. But at the same time if you asked her a question, the life is .…

There were two things, one was like having no idea at all of her surroundings, the place, but if you asked her questions like, “What about this house? Is this going to happen?” then some things were very precise, very clear. Many of the things she said, she emphasized, she advised according to Dharma, were very pinpointed. But then at the same time there was another aspect of her life, like crazy, what the common people’s view was, that she had no mind, like that.

She had a prayer, the Vajrayogini sadhana and maybe Guru Puja or some things, maybe Yamantaka, I’m not sure. So there were prayers, old texts, and she spent many hours reading those, but all those pages were mixed up, so the daughter had to put them together again, then again they were all mixed up. They were all mixed up completely, but she read the texts and then sometimes when you asked her a question, she quoted from the text, but this was Vajrayogini sadhana. She was not predicting the future or this and that, but she read from that. And then even if the letters of the text were facing the other way, she still read it. The letters were facing this side, but she read and then said, “Oh, it says this, this, this. This says this.”

So then there was His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche’s photo, which I think I gave her, because she’s very humorous. She does all these things but also she’s very humorous, even with her daughter. She is very humorous, making jokes, very humorous, with a very sweet face, very humorous all the time, so that shows her mind is always very happy. Just with the daughter, not with other people, but she is always humorous, like that.

Anyway, sometimes she was asked to do a mo and then she would say she needed money. She said, “To make a mo I need money.” So then I think one time, in Bodhgaya or somewhere, maybe five rupees, or I’m not sure, one dollar or something, money that I gave her, she kept it in her prayer book. She kept it in the prayer book all the time. Then, they moved to a new house, a very beautiful house, and she did a mo and it came out very good. So then she had mortgage of her house. Anyway, Ama-la said, “Don’t worry, I have money, this one dollar, five rupees or one dollar.” So she had money. She said, “I have money to give you, don’t worry.” And then when she did prayers she also read the dollar. She also read the dollar! [Laughter]

There were many hours like that. The prayers were completely mixed up and the daughter put the pages together again, but still she read like that. So she was very sweet and there were a lot of things in the life that she said that were very humorous, laughing.

She couldn’t walk, she walked like this, her feet like that, so she had to have support and she walked like this, very little. One time they asked me to do some long-life practice, not exactly a long-life initiation, but the same as long-life initiation, preparing a long-life pill for her. So I finished the blessing one morning; this was for her. I finished the blessing and she needed to come up, and the very surprising thing was that she had to walk like this [with support], but when I finished she came upstairs by herself alone, without any supporter. Usually there had to be somebody [helping her] to have freedom, but all that life was just acting. When she went down her daughters were there, they had to help her because she could walk only very little, but she came up by herself, alone, to my room. She had to go up all the steps.

There are so many things like that, very amazing things. I think the daughter wrote it down. Maybe after we started asking her questions, then maybe she started doing that. She said she didn’t believe the mo. Before that, the mother did a mo and said her daughter, Yanki’s husband, the younger daughter’s husband, would have a car accident, things like that. Then something happened, so that gave [Yanki] some faith, but I think normally they didn’t ask her. Maybe they asked the other lamas, someone more important. Anyway, by sending more questions to her, after these few things were very amazing, correct, so more questions were sent and I think that gave more faith to the family, to the daughter.

So anyway, now, it comes out good in my divination, in my Mickey Mouse divination, that she might be in meditation state. Her face was very white, extremely, it seems sort of blissful, even after the breath stopped this morning at six o’clock.

In Bodhgaya, not this year, the year before, she came, and then before she was leaving she asked me for permission whether she could come to see me. I don’t know, I don’t remember one hundred percent, but she asked me before she was leaving, “Can I come alone at nighttime to see you?” Something like that. And then the daughter was standing next to her, so she heard. I think she didn’t mean with the physical body, with that same body, not that. So I said, “Yes.” The daughter was about to go; maybe she didn’t know the daughter was there, I’m not sure. The daughter was listening, so the daughter got surprised by that comment she made.

Anyway, if you have received teachings from Rinpoche in the past, pray for whatever wishes she has to succeed, to be actualized as quickly as possible.

I think that’s it, the prayer for her. Thank you so much.

[End of discourse]


1 Bodhicaryavatara, Ch. 6, v. 118. A Buddha’s qualities are gained / From the sentient beings and Conquerors alike, / So why do I not respect them / In the same way as I respect the Conquerors? [Return to text]

2 Tib: མདོ་ཕལ་པོ་ཆེ་; Wyl: mdo phal po che. [Return to text]

3 Lama Zopa Rinpoche is referring to Choden Rinpoche here and throughout this section of the discourse. [Return to text]

4 Rinpoche is referring to the previous incarnation, Gomo Tulku (1922–1985). [Return to text]