In Praise of Dependent Arising (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Sydney, Australia (Archive #881)

Teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Sydney, Australia, in 1993. Rinpoche gives an oral transmission of Lama Tsongkhapa's text, In Praise of Dependent Arising, and teaches on emptiness, karma, and the benefits of bodhicitta.

Click on the audio links to listen online and read along with the unedited transcript. The praise is now freely available as a PDF file, produced by Piero Sirianni, for viewing on your mobile device or computer.

Cherishing Others, Asanga's Teachings

There can be one aspect, in that point there can be one aspect, one try to do what other person wishes but when it is not from the heart, when it is not sincerely done, instead you are doing this for that person like you are doing it for yourself. So sometimes there can be point that, when it's not sincerely done, maybe doing something for the other person but still it's involved with the self-cherishing thought, so that could cause unhappiness to oneself. I think there could be one aspect like that, it's one aspect, could be like that. Do you understand? Do you get the idea? So there can be one aspect like that.

So when there's still, one is helping the other person but very deep, but way inside one's own heart, the motive, self-cherishing thought, the very inside of the heart, then that causes the trouble, that one is doing for others but that one is not completely happy, like that. Or one has to do this, somehow it become obliged or one has to do this. So h/e the main thing is if there's self-cherishing thought the very inside of the heart, so that can cause not really enjoying, you are doing something for that person, but you are not really enjoying it, that can be one aspect.

Basically I think if one cherish, generally speaking when one cherish the other person, I think that brings happiness, that is the source, when psychologically, when the attitude is kind of sincere like this, I think that gives the enjoyment or the satisfaction or happiness. I think even the work is hard, what you are doing to that person, even it's hard thing, but because your mind cherishes that person, so I think there's enjoyment, that gives enjoyment.

Something else? [pause]

I think sometimes we have to satisfy, one can do many other, there are so many opportunities, one's own mind has much potential, all the potentials, but I think there are so many things that you can do but we try, one try what one can, according to this present capacity of mind, the knowledge or understanding or the capacity what we have, according to present capacity, that much developed, so then whatever we are able to, if it is small benefit we are able to offer to others, I think important thing is to feel happiness, to rejoice that I have this opportunity to serve, even it is small benefit, that having the opportunity that I am able to do, so to rejoice, to satisfy, thinking this is good, even this much I am able to do, I am able to offer service, benefit, happiness towards others, how fortunate I am, because this is the purpose of my life, so even this small service that I am able to do, so one should appreciate to oneself that able to do that.

And also the other sentient beings giving opportunity to you to do service, other sentient beings giving you opportunity you to fulfill the meaning of life, whether it's a sick person, whether this person is old person or sick person or dying person or who has a lot of problems or whatever, whether it's a baby, whatever, that I think the most important thing is as I mentioned yesterday, as I mentioned last night, I think what makes life rich and what makes life worthwhile is, the whole thing is to do with the motivation. So as I mentioned so far, by cherishing, one's own life is for this, so even to offer a small comfort to this person that is the purpose of my life, even to offer a small comfort, whatever, that is the purpose of my life. So you feel happiness having this opportunity.

And also this sentient being is giving you opportunity to, this sentient being is helping you by giving the opportunity to do service, you to do service to that person, that makes your life meaningful, and also that sentient being is helping you to practice Dharma, to practice bodhicitta, to practice bodhisattva's deeds, the paramita of charity, morality, patience, perseverance, so forth, concentration. So when you do the service also need concentration, mindfulness in that, and including motivation and so forth, including the work, motivation, it has need concentration. So then if one can then there's also wisdom, emptiness.

So however the other sentient being, so with this attitude, thought of benefiting others, with this positive mind, the thought of bodhicitta, your work that you are doing, it becomes path to enlightenment, that itself become path to enlightenment. So as I mentioned last night, I gave the example of Asanga, by sacrificing himself for that one living being, by feeling unbearable compassion, only then he was able to see Maitreya Buddha, because that action purified so much, unbelievable, inconceivable negative karma, obscurations, and accumulated inconceivable merit in that time. Even though during retreat, of course, purified, accumulated merit by doing retreat, but it's not enough. So now, not generate that much unbearable compassion during the retreat, didn't get done, even though during retreat accumulated merit, purify, practicing virtue, Dharma, but not like, didn't happen like the time when he saw the wounded dog. So, only then, by having purified so much negative karma, by that unbearable compassion sacrificing himself for that living being, so then, because purified negative karma, the obscurations that obscures the mind to see Maitreya Buddha, to see the Buddha as Buddha, so purify the obscurations so that now able to see Buddha, Maitreya Buddha in the aspect of Buddha, not wounded dog. So that appearance is stopped. So like this.

So that, so Asanga immediately grabbed Maitreya Buddha, grabbed on Maitreya Buddha's shoulder and asked why it took so long time, that, why I didn't see you earlier, Asanga little bit screamed to Maitreya Buddha. So Maitreya Buddha said that, I was always in the hermitage, in the meditation room, hermitage but you didn't see me. So Maitreya Buddha showed his robes where Asanga spit, so the marks where Asanga spit, in his hermitage he spit, so Maitreya Buddha show the marks on the robes where Asanga spat. So and then Maitreya Buddha asked, what do you want? Asanga said that, I want teachings.

Then Maitreya Buddha took Asanga in Tushita, in the pure realm, Maitreya Buddha's pure realm, Tushita. Then I think their time, one morning, gave the Abhisamayalamkarika teaching, that contains explanation of the whole path to enlightenment, very extensive explanation. So one morning of Tushita pure realm according to their time, but it's fifty human years, according to human time, then fifty years. Then Asanga came down and then spread this teaching that he received from Maitreya Buddha, Abhisamayalamkarika. There are five divisions of teaching taught by Maitreya. So Asanga made commentary, Maitreya Buddha's teaching called ?Jang Cho Den Nga, and then Asanga wrote five commentaries called ?Sa Den Nga. So then this, such as the text Abhisamayalamkarika, Maitreya Buddha taught Asanga, now, so since from that time this has been memorized and many pandits from India and also high lamas, high Tibetan lamas wrote many commentaries on this text. So from that time until now, especially these monasteries, the Lama Tsongkhapa tradition, the monasteries established by Lama Tsongkhapa's direct disciples or even the disciples of disciples, so like greatest university to learn the whole philosophy, the whole path to enlightenment, all the teachings taught by Buddha, Sera, Gaden, Drepung, these three main colleges, like the largest university of learning the whole entire Dharma, especially the sutra. So then all the branches of those monasteries. This is round Lhasa. Then there are very large monasteries also lower place of Tibet, Amdo. So there are many monasteries, branches of these Sera, Gaden, Drepung monasteries.

So until now, so these scriptures that Asanga received, the teachings Asanga received from Maitreya Buddha, so have been practicing, have been studying very extensively from, it has been continued and it is practiced, so essence is the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment. So, so far it has been studied extensively and the teaching has not been degenerated, it has been preserved by great scholars, practitioners, the Tibetan lamas, so from this teaching that Asanga received from Maitreya Buddha, there have been numberless meditators who actualized the path, renunciation, guru devotion, renunciation of samsara, bodhicitta, the wisdom, bodhicitta, renunciation of samsara, that which makes, that which causes one to achieve liberation, ultimate liberation from the whole entire suffering and causes, and bodhicitta, that which makes oneself to achieve enlightenment, the wisdom realizing emptiness, that which makes practitioner, oneself, to cut the root of the whole entire suffering and causes, the root of the whole entire samsara.

So, then on the basis of these three realizations then actualize particularly the tantric path, generation stage, completion stage, that which makes to achieve enlightenment within one life, within a few years, without taking much time, within sixteen lives, within seven lifetimes, within three lifetimes, to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings. So there have been many meditators who studied these things, practiced the path, that which is contained in these scriptures. Then the condensed one, the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment. So there have been numberless, even nowadays Dharamsala, those monasteries, many different places, those Sera, Gaden, Drepung, those large monasteries, there are geshes and lamas, those incarnate lamas, geshes, and many other places there happening many who have actualized even the very high path of tantra, the maha-anuttara yoga tantra, who actualized generation stage, completion stage, and there are many who actualized the three principles of the path, who actualized bodhicitta, realized emptiness, so there are many happening even nowadays, that having incredible fortune, there has been happening many and nowadays, including Australia, many Western countries, where it has been dark without light of the Buddhadharma, where it has been dark for so many hundreds of years in the past. So nowadays that so many of us, many, many thousands and thousands of us, Western people, having opportunity to study these incredible precious teachings, these scriptures, then particular the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, that able to make life so meaningful, that every day one can make one's own life, after having met lam-rim teaching, that you can make your life closer, closer to enlightenment, closer, closer to liberation, that every day you can make preparation, you can become closer to the end of samsara, every day you can bring yourself closer to the end of the samsara, the cessation of the whole entire suffering and causes. So to that end one is able to bring through these practices and even by doing direct meditation on the short teaching, the graduated path to enlightenment, even one page or even half a page. Going over the prayer, the meditation prayer, which contains all the essence of the path, that by leaving in that one minute or two minutes or whatever, by reading the prayer once that leaves imprint of the whole path to enlightenment, that made yourself closer to the end of the samsara, to the cessation of the whole entire suffering and causes, closer to enlightenment, you become closer to bring all sentient beings to the peerless happiness, the full enlightenment.

So all this benefit came from Maitreya Buddha gave teachings to Asanga, this Abhisamayalamkarika so forth, these five divisions of Maitreya Buddha's teachings, that Maitreya Buddha gave to Asanga. So that basically came from Asanga sacrificed himself to one living being, the wounded dog that he saw, generated unbearable compassion, so all these benefits, up to now, all these incredible benefits that we receive in everyday life from these teachings, and those who are experiencing the path to enlightenment, common path, the three principles of the path, then particularly the tantra. So all these benefits of Asanga generating unbearable compassion by seeing this wounded dog, so everything came from there.

So whatever capacity we have, understanding Dharma, capacity that we have to do service for others, so one do whatever one can. So even though there are many other opportunities or many other great benefit, that one, that there to do, but even the small benefit that we are able to offer, we should realize that, we should satisfy even this, I am able to benefit for sentient beings even this much, how fortunate I am, how fantastic it is. Even this much that I am able to benefit others. I mean there are so many things, you can be enlightened and achieve all the realizations and cease all the mistakes of the mind, all the obscurations, there are so many things that one, there to do. But h/e even this much that I am able to do, even it is a small thing, that one try to satisfy, Oh, even this much I am able to do, benefit others, how wonderful it is. Rejoice, how wonderful it is. So that brings happiness within one's heart, instead of depression, hopeless, so forth, it brings joy, happiness.

Then also that this sentient being is giving me opportunity to do service, in other words, giving opportunity to me to practice Dharma, to practice bodhicitta, bodhisattva's conduct. So, with this attitude, thought of benefiting other sentient beings, with this good heart, then the service what one is doing it become path to happiness, path to enlightenment. So then path to happiness, it become path of purification, path of accumulating merit, path to enlightenment, so therefore one can appreciate, one can feel the kindness, so one can think, that person is so kind, that sentient being is so precious, so kind to me, giving opportunity to do service. So if it's old person that you are working for, old folks' home or old person that one is doing the work looking after, cleaning, whatever, so one can think like this. Whether it's a baby, whether it's an old man or whether it's baby, small baby, it is same, it is sentient being, so same thing.

However if one's own life, whatever style of life that you are in that, during this time, at the present, whatever the style of life, that one has at the present, try to make that beneficial. The main point is to make, the present lifestyle that one has, to make that most beneficial as possible for other sentient beings, whether it is for one person or whether it is for many sentient beings, that is the main point, whatever different lifestyle that one has, different circumstances, whatever one is having at this time, the main aim is to make it most beneficial for others. So again the while thing depends on the attitude, what makes life, how much meaningful or how much beneficial for other sentient beings, so whole thing dependent on, as I mentioned last night, how stronger, whether one has good heart or not, the thought of, attitude, this good heart at least thinking of one's own meaning of life and the responsibility.

However I think developing compassion, loving kindness, the thought to benefit other sentient beings, to develop that, I think that is so essential. It seems that is the answer for everything, that solves all the problems, even if one wishes to be free from samsara, you achieve from that, that happens very quickly, because if one practice bodhicitta, sacrificing, dedicating oneself for other sentient beings, more one practice bodhicitta, more one dedicate for other sentient beings, more merit one accumulate. So, more merit one accumulate, then it's easier to realize emptiness. Then that means easier, it is quicker to cut the root of samsara, it is easier, quicker to cut the root of samsara, the root of the whole entire suffering and causes, the ignorance not knowing the ultimate nature of the I.

So, there is a verse that Tara mentioned, Tara advised to one lama, ?Rongta Lama Rinpoche, one Sera lama who often sees Tara. Tara advised to this lama that by practicing bodhicitta, taking other sentient beings' sufferings on oneself and then giving one's own happiness, merit, body, so forth, towards other sentient beings, so practicing this bodhicitta one accumulates extensive merit so then that makes quickly to realize emptiness. So from the good heart also comes, also you get the success to achieve liberation, to be free from samsara, from the whole entire suffering and causes.

So since that is the answer for everything, for example, even for a Dharma practitioner, that if one does not practice good heart, bodhicitta, then it is said in the teachings of the Kadampas...