Teachings from Guadalajara: Days 1 - 4 (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

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

Days 1-4 of an eight-day series of lam-rim teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Guadalajara, Mexico, in April, 2008.  You can listen to days 5-8 here.

You can also read an edited version of this series here, and listen online to the public talk that Rinpoche gave prior to this series.

Day 2: Nature of Samsara Part 2

...harming to others, which has been harming to yourself, which has been causing to continuously reincarnate in samsara, and experience the hell suffering, hungry ghost suffering, animal suffering, human being suffering, suras, asuras, intermediate state beings, all those, numberless times, which causes oneself, yourself, to reincarnate continuously in these six realms, one of these realms, continuously reincarnate and die. During that, after the birth and before the death then experiencing oceans of suffering of those realms, the realm that you have taken birth. So, for example, human, because we have taken birth, one has taken birth in the human, the six realms where one is circling, so here this time in the human realm, so taking birth, so because taken birth then experience all those, old age, all those problems, then sicknesses, so many sicknesses, so I have diabetes, because of the mistake taking birth, so then old age, then sicknesses, anyway, so many sicknesses, the 400 [pause] 424, then however, anyway, so forth, many sicknesses, that even you have medicine, medical treatment, not immediately, there’s no response. You look for many treatments, you don’t find beneficial many treatments. Sometimes you don’t find anything beneficial. So even you take the medicine given by doctor, by checking, but the medicine doesn’t fit to you, and it has side-effects, so many things.

So anyway, then I think I might have mentioned also yesterday, so other than that, old age, sickness, then there are many other problems, unable to find desirable objects, friend, for example, unable to find a friend, companion. So waiting for years and years or couldn’t find exact friend, waiting for years and years, so there’s, waiting for perfect friend. What is the word? Perfect, there’s one word, perfect or? Anyway, there’s one word, but I don’t remember now. There’s one word I hear but I don’t remember now. Probably maybe you have in the mind, anyway, so that’s okay. Anyway, I don’t remember this word. [Student: Soul mate?] Soul mate, not quite. Anyway, the perfect friend, looking for years and years, couldn’t find, then so much suffering, being lonely, or however, could not find the companion.

Then even though one has found and at the beginning, then as you start to live together, you thought you have found, and so excited, unbelievably excited. You thought, looking for a long time, then now found. Then as you start to live together, when you actually start to live together, so before that then, once you meet now you found, so excited. Oh, if I can be with this person, that you be will perfect, no problems, completely no problems, nothing, no problems, you will be totally blissed out. You never think of problems, never. Problem rising. Just, everything is just perfect. You have all this unbelievable, what do you call? [Student: Fantasy.] Fantasy or all this what’s going to happen to you, perfect. So, unbelievable. You never think of problems, never. What things will rise after that, you never think. After meeting and after living, what else, all the problems, like water flood or some, like water flood or the, like volcano came out. So, never think, no problem, completely incredible. Just unbelievable.

Then agreed, then you agreed to live together, something that got agreed, agreement to live together. Then so excited. Then as you start to live together, then one day goes, two days go, three days go, then gradually, then slowly, then you, as the days go, because being, now living together, before you don’t see the mistakes, problems, now you live together. One day goes, two days go, then you see more and more mistakes.

Somebody, one student told me, that after he found a friend, then after some time, he told me, so one day saw his friend in toilet, doing poopoo, then he said, he saw this and then he got total, his excited mind is gone. That’s as an example. You start to see slowly, slowly mistakes of the body, mistakes of the mind, slowly, slowly, you see the mistakes of the body more and more, more, more, and the mistakes of the mind, selfish and this, that, angry. Then all the things come, like volcano, I mentioned volcano, all coming out. Or like the septic tank break. So anyway, then you see, before you never think these things, only just every problem will be solved. If I can be with that person, you won’t have any problem. You have that such a strong belief, so strong belief. You never think of the problems what are going to happen.

So there’s a problem before meeting, if you don’t find there’s a problem; if you found then there’s a different problem. After you found, there’s a problem, dependent to that. This is how it is if you are in samsara, not free from samsara. When you don’t find, a problem, you have problem. When you found, you have also problem. Depending on that, by having met then there’s a problem, another problem starts. Then, basically, when you don’t live together there’s all this expectation or all these dreams, your fantasies or dreams, or belief, all that thing, so which is not true. So as you live together, gradually, you see more and more mistakes. Not only physical problems but also the, that you haven’t thought before, then all these mistakes, problems, and then, especially the mind, so all those things which I mentioned before, anger, then more and more anger rising, then the selfish mind and all this. Then, selfish mind so against your wishes, that person has a different wish, against wishes, wishes which is against yours, opposite. Then you have difficulties. Even physically living together but always quarrel or fight. So it’s totally opposite to what this huge dream that everything will be perfect, that you won’t have any problems. So totally opposite of that, totally something else that you never thought before, the real life story.

So even physically living together always quarrel, fight, and all that. Then after some time, even you don’t say it, but in your heart, Oh, when I can be free? When I can be free from this person? Beginning, Wow! If I can be with this person, all the problems stopped, no problems, just incredible bliss. So now, total opposite. Even you don’t say it but in your heart, When I can be free? Which is the day that I can be free from this person? Which day I can be free from this person, the day that you can be free from this person, oh, liberation. For that person, anyway, liberation. It is not actual liberation from samsara but just liberation from that, just free from that person, that problem with that person, that problem that you are having with that person. So because you are physically separated from that person doesn’t mean you have overcome relationship problems forever. No, it’s not that. You are free from relationship problems forever, no, that’s totally wrong. You are just free temporarily from that person, relationship with that person, that’s all, a very short time. Then you start with another one. Already you may have started another one already.

Then, of course, then again, just exactly like before, Oh, if I can live be that person, wow, how I can be so happy. Again you have the same expectation, exactly the same, that will be so good, I will be so happy and everything, no problem, everything will be solved. Or if it’s maybe a practitioner, if one is a Buddhist practitioner, Oh, if I stay with that person, I will be a much better practitioner. Much better practitioner. He will be practicing or she will be practicing and I will be practicing – it will be fantastic. You think it will be so matching. Unbelievable.

So anyway, so then especially if it started with that, already you have started before, separating from this, then also that makes even more, that makes life even more difficult because you already started with somebody, already started, another life started with somebody, so it makes very difficult, makes more suffering to be with this person, this friend or whatever. So even more, even much more longing for the liberation, When I can be free from this person, away from this person? Much more because you have already started. So suffering is much more heavier.

Then, anyway, even a practitioner, Oh it will be so good, he will be practicing, I will be practicing, or she will be practicing, I will be practicing. Then you live together. Then sooner or later, after a few weeks or months, something, after a few days, then totally, now you have, what you experience is totally opposite to what you expected at the beginning. Then you are going through, gradually through the real life. Not that you haven’t thought before but which you haven’t thought before, at the beginning, then your experience again the same, you go through the same experience again, the personality problems. You find difficult, your personality problems and that person’s personality problems. It gets worse and worse and worse. The again same, then quarrel. Even you’re not living together but quarrel, fight, on and on, heavier and heavier and heavier. Then your heart is more grief, Oh, I should have done, I shouldn’t have tried this, I should have done this. Then you will feel so much regret. After the real explosion of your living together, all the, yours and the other person’s, all the unhappiness, and all the negative karma and all the fighting each other, all the things. Then become very mess, become very messy. Life become very messy. Then one day, of course, with so much sorrow, with so much sorrow, and then unhappiness, anger, then you separate again.

So, again, you find somebody. Again look for somebody and find somebody. The desire looking for somebody, okay, some friend or companion. Then again think, fantastic, this and that. Wow, you have all the dream what is going to happen, even though you have gone through quite a few times, already you have gone through the same type of life, even you’ve gone through quite a number of times, I mean you learnt a lot, but somehow….. You have gone through quite a few times, but still, main thing is following the desire, following the superstitious mind, desire, so you have again the same expectation, and again same story. It will be so fantastic, I will be so happy and no problems if I can be with this person. So again same thing, if it happened to live together, then so beginning you thought you had succeed, but however, then gradually again the same story. So when you live together, that as the days go, week goes, month goes, then the same story.

So here, the reason I am saying has two purposes, this happens, so desire, craving, craving samsara, samsaric pleasure, samsaric temporary pleasure, samsaric pleasure, which is temporary, the enjoyments, so until you are free from this desire, grasping, clinging the samsara, samsaric pleasure, which is only temporary and it cannot be developed, not only it cannot be developed but it doesn’t continue. And also, then after some time become even suffering of pain, no more happiness, suffering of pain become.

So the reason why it’s like this, samsaric pleasure, why it’s like this, why you can’t develop like Dharma happiness, and you can complete the Dharma happiness, it’s one-time work, achieve liberation, enlightenment, one time, you don’t have to repeat over and over. So here, that’s because, when you analyze what is the samsaric pleasure, your wisdom sees that it is only nature of suffering, when you analyze. With your wisdom, you see that’s only nature of suffering. So that’s what you discover, the reality of the pleasure, it’s only suffering. So that’s why, that feeling is only suffering that which you label pleasure and appeared as pleasure and believed by attachment that’s, believed by ignorance that is very true. By superstitious mind, ignorance, the big superstitious mind, ignorance, believing it’s true. Then the attachment arises on that. So which is not there, which doesn’t exist at all, which is not there in reality. So, why, like Dharma happiness, why samsaric pleasure cannot be, the pleasure of sleep, the pleasure of eating food, the comfortable place, or sexual pleasure, whatever, all these why it cannot be developed, why it can’t be increased like Dharma happiness, why it doesn’t continue, so that’s because it is dependent on external conditions. However, that pleasure is only suffering, so then you labeled, because the samsaric pleasure is, when the, for example, yesterday you hade much headache; today your headache become less and that’s regarded as comfort, pleasure. Then tomorrow becomes less headache. So depending on something which is more unbearable pain then you label this feeling “pleasure.” So reality is what is that feeling is only suffering. So it is like this – today’s headache compared to yesterday, pleasure, but compared to tomorrow, which is less than today, then this is not pleasure. However, the feeling is a suffering feeling only which you label pleasure.

So samsaric pleasure is something that, another suffering began, another suffering stopped, another suffering began, so that feeling, on that feeling then you label as pleasure, and appeared as pleasure to the hallucinated mind. Then appeared inherently existent, never came from your mind, never depend on, never came from your good karma, your positive thought, your positive actions. Nothing to do with that. Appeared truly existent from its own side – appeared like that, which is a hallucination to your hallucinated mind, appear, hallucinated appearance to your hallucinated mind. Then you let your mind to hold on to that as true then that time you are creating the ignorance, concept of true existence, then attachment rises on that, grasping, so then that becomes cause of samsara, that ties yourself to samsara, then causes to be reborn again in samsara. The ignorance, that ignorance and the attachment so doesn’t let you to be free, this ignorance, this attachment, doesn’t let you to be free from the suffering of samsara. So anyway, since I am talking this subject, ______ finish here.

So the way to meditate, how to, scientifically how to, scientific doesn’t have to be only Western science. When you meditate, there are two types of meditation. One is one-pointed concentration, one is analytical meditation, one-pointed contemplation, meditation, and one is the analytical meditation, so it’s analysis, checking, like how the scientists, I mean, there are Eastern scientists, Western scientists, but anyway, scientists checking the [A student falls off a chair in the gompa – chair breaks].

Oh! Oh. Old chair? [Ven. Paloma: The chair has broken.] Oh, I see. Any external thing that is made it up, it ends by breaking. That’s the end, breaking. So if you don’t make it up, there’s no breaking; but if you make it up, it’s breaking.

So here, actually, my topic was, because took birth so there’s all these problems you have to go through, you have to experience because you have taken birth. Then you have to die, because you took birth. But it got expanded, it got expanded, the talk got expanded, but that’s what I was, the essence to mention.

So anyway, so I say, there’s inner scientist, inner scientist is the meditators studying the mind, studying the path through analysis, through analysis trying to see the ultimate nature of the I, mind, the phenomena, the very, very nature of the phenomena through meditation, through analysis, and all this discovery, realization, comes through analysis. With these two, analytical meditation and then the one-pointedness, with these two together then you are able to meditate on the path. Then you are able to have renunciation to the cause of suffering, the karma and delusion, you have renunciation, determination to be free from these, to renounce, you have the wish to renounce these, to achieve liberation from all these. Then, all these wrong concepts, as you learn, all these wrong concepts, the defilements what need to be purified, so you learn all these, then you learn all these paths that remove all these, study and actualize, then you remove all the defilements, these wrong concepts, all the superstitious thoughts, all these defilements, gross and then even subtle, achieve enlightenment. Then you achieve total liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering and causes and full enlightenment. Then you are able to liberate others from the oceans of suffering of samsara and also bring them to peerless happiness, enlightenment. So this is an unbelievable, mind-blowing, what an achievement, what a success in the life, that you can benefit to all the living beings, all the suffering beings you can benefit, you can do extensive benefit like sky, like deep like ocean benefit to sentient beings. Wow! Reveal the path. It’s amazing!!! Can’t imagine the benefit. So comes through meditator, the inner scientist, meditator, so that fixed meditation, analytical meditation everything you analyze.

As far as the lam-rim, stages of the path to enlightenment, all the realizations it has to come from analytical meditation. The realization what comes from fixed meditation, one-pointed meditation, concentration, that’s the shamatha, calm abiding. After you achieve nine levels then you experience the rapturous ecstasy of the body and mind, extremely refined rapturous ecstasy of the body and mind, that, after that, after you have that experience, then you achieve the fully characteristic the shamatha, calm abiding. So of course, that’s the general explanation but of course while you’re meditating on these nine levels, where you achieve perfect concentration, meditation, you have to watch, you have to analyze, you have to watch how your mind is meditating, remembrance and awareness. So you have to use remembrance, awareness, to keep your mind in the object of meditation. You have to watch what your mind is doing. The remembrance of object of meditation, the awareness is that your mind is distracted or about to distract. So like subtle sinking thought, about to distract; it’s not distracted yet but about to distract. Sorry, subtle, not sinking thought, sorry, subtle attachment-scattering thought the subtle one. So you have to cut that, you have to overcome that, even that. Then you have very firm, extremely firm meditation on the object, so free from all the gross sinking thought and subtle sinking thought.

I mean one way of saying, one way you have to watch the mind, how it is doing the meditation – so there is some, you can say there’s also analytical checking, part of your mind is checking, part of your mind is meditating, some part of your mind, corner of your mind watching, spying whether you’re meditating or not, whether you’re distracted or not. So this is how you develop the gradual, so there are many other antidotes, the different obstacles. Continuing skillfully then you’re able to achieve this full characterized calm abiding. The other realizations all mainly come through analysis like scientist. By analysis, checking, then you get the realization. Mind become more and more familiar with the path, then the mind get actually transformed in the path, so actually become the path what is explained by Omniscient One in the text then your mind become actually transformed in that.

So anyway, since I’m talking this, so it is said by the meditators, from very beginning, Oh, this, I have to meditate on this, then you try to fix your mind on that, (RL) then later the attachment-scattering thought comes, then your mind distracted from that on some object of attachment. Then maybe you spend many hours in that. Even can be sometimes many hours distracted to that. Your body is sitting like this but the mind is not object of meditation. So can waste a lot of, can waste so much of your precious life.

Therefore the advice, skillful, how to meditate in a skillful way, that is, from the very beginning, well, when you are free from the attachment-scattering thought, obstacle for perfect meditation, the attachment-scattering thought, gross, subtle, then sinking thought, gross, subtle, when you free from that of course, then how long you plan, how many years, how many hours, how many weeks, months, years you plan to meditate on that object, so as you planned then you place your concentration on that, and it stays like a mountain on that as you planned how many months, how many years. So that’s different, so like us the very beginners. When you begin the meditation, so the mind focus on this but a part of mind, a corner of the mind, watch, while your mind is meditating on this at the same time corner of mind has to spy to your mind, whether it’s meditating or not, at the same time. A corner of mind has to spy to the mind, whether the mind is meditating or not. So that way then not putting the whole awareness just on this, not that. So if you do that when mistake comes is there can be danger many hours wasted, I mean, your precious human life is wasted. It can happen. Then, not having realized that your mind is completely distracted – attachment-scattering thought happened and didn’t realize this, no remembrance and awareness. So you could cheat oneself. But if you meditate from the beginning what I mentioned just now, as the meditators they experience or they meditate, beginning, not putting the whole attention, not putting all your awareness on this, but your mind while it’s meditating on this, focusing on this, a corner of the mind is spying, watching, whether the mind is meditating or not, checking. So doing this together that helps to be able to last the concentration longer and longer, longer.

So now I am going back to suffering. So anyway, since I mentioned that, brought up that issue there, so I would like to mention this. We have to understand why the samsaric pleasure you cannot develop and why it doesn’t last, then again you have to put effort, anyway, so it goes on like that, endless, so become endless from, not from the birth of this life but endless from beginningless, we did that beginningless samsaric lifetimes, we did that, we did all this, all samsaric pleasure from beginningless rebirth, worked for that, it’s gone, worked for that, then it’s gone. So all the samsaric pleasure, devas, human beings, whatever there is, there’s nothing new left for us. Everything we have experienced numberless times. Similar pleasure nothing new left, we have experienced numberless times any samsaric pleasure.

Then, similar, all the samsaric sufferings, any problem, what we see other human beings suffering or the animals beings suffering, how they do their life, one eats another one alive, tiny ones eat the big ones, big ones eat the small ones, and eating each other. So all these, nothing is new; we have gone through these numberless times from beginningless rebirth. Nothing’s new. When we get cancer it’s not the first time. We had cancer numberless times in the past life. This is not the first time we experience cancer or AIDS. Whatever sicknesses we experience, difficulties of the life, relationship problems with this person, with that person, with this person, that person, all this is nothing new. We had relationship with everybody. So here in this room so us each other from beginningless rebirth, everybody has been my mother numberless times. Not just one time. Not only human mother, but even dogs and cats. Maybe not mosquitoes – born from egg, laid by other mosquitoes. You all have been my mother, not only human mother, numberless times. Or dog, being dog mother, numberless times, cat, my mother being cat. So I was born to you being cat. Your being my cat mother. Numberless times. Then cockroach, I’ve been born even as a cockroach, you’ve been mother numberless times. Even I was born a kangaroo and you have been the kangaroo mother to me numberless times. Crocodile, even a crocodile, I was born a crocodile, you have been a crocodile mother numberless times. I was born a gorilla, and you have been gorilla mother to me numberless times. I was born as an elephant, you have been elephant mother numberless times. I was born monkey, and you have been monkey mother numberless times. So, numberless times, time without beginning.

If you can remember all the past things, past connections, past relationships each other, just unimaginable. That I’ve been born, I was born any creature born from egg or from womb, any creature, any animal, so you’ve been mother. Any creature, turtles or fish. Not only you’ve been mother human, not only that. Then pretas, spirits, hungry ghosts, even those things. Even born, in other lives even being human being in the past lives, even in the human, even being born human being, that then yourself has been friend, some of the lives you’ve been friend, then enemy, father, mother, husband, wife, or children. All like this, numberless times, all this happened not one time, numberless times, from beginningless rebirth. So each other, we all each other. This is how the, [Rinpoche has a discussion in Tibetan], put some oil.