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 3

When we see on TV somebody took photos, pictures of the animals, their suffering, the relationship, and then so much harming each other, all this, their life. Or you actually see on the beach or in the water or on the ground, harming each other and so much unbelievable suffering. Or tortured by human beings, harmed, killed by human beings, so much suffering. The fisherman catch the fish by putting this worm alive, not dead alive worm, then put a needle through the body like this, and then moves. Then alive like this. To attract the fish. Fish they are looking for food. When we see the fisherman doing this, catching the fish, then get caught the fish, by following desire then they get caught, the hook in the mouth and can’t go away, and unbelievable pain, suffering. Then they take out then take out the skin, the hairs taken out with the knife, and then cut out the heart, then also immediately so they might not have died completely, the mind may not have left completely, left the body. So however, unbelievable suffering. Like somebody cut your body in half, how you do feel that? And somebody put, yeah, I mean if that worm, the needle put through the body while alive, that is to attract the fish, I mean, to kill another one. So somebody put a needle through your body to give to another animal, to be eaten by another animal, to cheat another animal, to cheat another sentient being. How that is so unbearable. If somebody put a needle through your body like this, and then you are used to cheat another sentient being or kill another sentient being, so how that is most unbearable.

So anyway, when we see at the beach the fisherman catching fish, so we think, even we think somebody should, that’s harm to this insect, fisherman giving harm to this insect and the fish, who are also looking for happiness, same as the fisherman, looking for happiness, the fish and the worm also looking for happiness, want happiness, do not want suffering, so exactly the same. But due to desire then depending on who is more powerful, the fisherman is more powerful so then able to use, able to harm, use those other living beings, they themselves have no freedom, no choice, no freedom at all their happiness. They can’t speak, they can’t express that they are suffering. Nothing they can say, nothing they can do. So it’s a question of who is more powerful.

Then the next thing is, then these fish and these worms died, suffered so much, then what happens, then the fishermen create the cause, the fishermen create the karma to be reborn as those fish. Not to become that fish, that is not possible. You don’t become another sentient being, that impossible. You can become Buddha but you don’t become another sentient being. Due to this karma then the fisherman, if the fisherman did not purify the negative karma before death, harmed the worm and the fish, did not purify, then if the person died, then in the future life you get born as a fish in the water, you get born also as those worms. So then now it’s your turn because you caused those sufferings to others in the past so now it’s your turn, it’s the result of your negative karma, it’s ripened on you. Then you’re born as a worm then somebody, another fisherman put the wire through the body, or you’re born as fish then another fisherman use this worm, then you look for food, I mean by following desire then you get caught, then get killed. So this happens numberless times. Karma is definite to experience the result, happiness or suffering depending on negative karma or good karma.

Then the second one, because definite to experience the result, it may sound just one time. No. Karma is expandable. We have to understand the second outline of karma: karma is expandable. You create one cause, the result you experience many, you experience hundreds, thousands of times, many lifetimes. Karma is expandable, so we have to understand that one. First, definite, if you don’t purify it’s definite to experience the suffering result. If there’s no obstacle to the virtuous karma then definite to experience the result happiness. So then second one is very important – karma is expandable.

It is said that in the teachings by the Omniscient One, by Buddha, that if one killed one insect, one sentient being, then you get killed, from that one action killed one insect, whether it’s a human being or whether it’s insect, killed, that one bad action you experience the result you get killed 500 lifetimes. So karma is expandable. Being an animal you get killed, being a human being you get killed by others. So how many times – 500 lifetimes. From that one action killing one, you get killed 500 lifetimes.

Similar, it is mentioned by Aryadeva, great Indian pandit, after Buddha there happened Nagarjuna, Asanga, and the Six Ornaments, pandits, great pandits, those enlightened beings, completed the path, path what Buddha explained they practiced and attained, achieved. So those innumerable numbers of yogis and pandits happened. So one of the pandits called Aryadeva mentioned in his teaching Middle Way the 400 Verses, I think. There it’s mentioned that if you cheat one sentient being then you get cheated by others 1000 lifetimes. One thousand lifetimes you’ll get cheated by others. So that’s teachings by great, in his teaching, so all these teachings taught by great pandit, those Six Ornaments, those great pandits, however, it’s all based on those teachings.

So anyway, karma is expandable. You do one negative karma, the result of that karma you experience in many lifetimes – suffering. Similar, one virtuous action, then the result happiness you experience hundreds, thousands of lifetimes, from one virtuous action. So, therefore, because from nonvirtuous action suffering result rises, which you don’t like, so must abandon the cause of suffering. What you like is happiness then must practice the virtue, the good karma. Then the karma is expandable. One negative karma the suffering result experience so many lifetimes – hundreds, thousands of lifetimes. So therefore, one must abandon any negative karma – must abandon. So since what you like is all the happiness so must engage all the good karma.

Then, you don’t experience the result if you don’t, if you haven’t created the cause. Whether it’s happiness or suffering you don’t experience, you don’t get it. If it’s happiness you don’t succeed if you haven’t created the cause, good karma. Same, you don’t get those sicknesses if you haven’t created the cause– cancer or whatever it is – those sicknesses you won’t get, if you haven’t created the cause, those negative karmas. Even you stay with that person who has a contagious disease, you won’t get, you won’t experience, if you haven’t created the cause. Then the fourth one, so therefore here, the fourth outline emphasizes that, so you don’t experience the result if you haven’t created the cause. You don’t experience suffering result if you haven’t created negative karma. Therefore, must not engage in the cause of suffering, negative karma and must engage in the good karma because what you want is happiness, so definitely you experience if there is no obstacle happened to that.

Then the fourth one, [Tibetan] whatever karma is done never get wasted, never get lost, no matter how subtle the negative karma or good karma, no matter how heavy one, powerful one or small one, negative karma or good karma. Never get disappeared. So it’s said, in the sutra teachings mentioned, no matter how small it is the karma, what you created, good karma or negative karma, even if it has been hundreds of eons, [Tibetan], I don’t remember the whole verse, but even hundreds of eons ago, the karma never gets lost, never get disappeared. So that means, definitely, when the cause and conditions come together, no matter how small it is definitely we experience the suffering result, it it’s negative karma. If it’s good karma, when the cause and conditions come together, no matter how small it is, no matter how many eons goes, definitely experience the result happiness. How many billions of eons ago it doesn’t get disappeared, no matter how small it is, it doesn’t get disappeared, even subtle karmas. Therefore, the conclusion is– even a small negative karma must not engage. Even a small good karma, even a small benefit to others, helping others, animals, humans, other sentient beings, even a small benefit, must do it, help others, must do it. So the result – the happiness, that you experience so many, karma is expandable, many hundreds, thousands of lifetimes the result happiness and then never get disappeared, how many eons ago, billions of eons ago, never get disappeared.

Time is gone. Time didn’t wait. Time is gone, time didn’t wait. So I just explain this, the conclusion, okay, since I came to this point, so anyway, this has to be explained one of the days.

So this is a very important meditation, scientific meditation. [pause] So you have a beautiful car. You bought a beautiful car, so in the beginning you’re very excited. Then as the day goes, week goes, month goes then not that much excitement as you have at the beginning. Then becomes more and more boring. Then you see another one, very beautiful, much more beautiful than, more expensive, more beautiful than that, something, more attractive. Then this one becomes, then the other one becomes not interesting. Then you’re excited this one. After you bought it, then another company made even more beautiful, I mean, more attractive, which has more things inside. I haven’t seen the car yet has a shower (GL) – that I haven’t seen yet. So, I will tell this story that, so a few years ago I went to give a talk the Florida, we have one center there, meditation center, Tubten Kunga Ling, so I had to go to give a talk at the university, so the center arranged that. They arranged a car, the center, it’s a long car, I think, what’s it called? A limousine. What’s the other one? Limousine, then what else? What is the other one? There’s other cars. [Various comments from students. Anyway, it’s either limousine or…. So anyway, so the director of the center got this car.So I saw in this car there’s water bottles and all this, drink, lined up like the bar place where you have all the bottles lined up – there’s no wine, it’s water. Then I thought of a shower, there should be shower. Thought of a shower came after seeing this. So anyway, I think the director he tried his best, I think.

So this is how the whole life goes like that. The get bored of this – want something better. Having a new object – the previous pleasure that’s gone, that become just not so interesting, that object, old one. Then it doesn’t last, this excitement, as days goes, months goes. The pleasure doesn’t increase and it doesn’t last. It becomes even suffering of pain. Especially when you see something better, no interest. So it becomes a problem having this. Why it cannot increase, by having the object, the pleasure should increase. More that car you have, longer, as the day goes, as the week goes, month goes, year goes, the happiness should increase. Every day up, should go up, but not happening, so it doesn’t go up and doesn’t continue. It cannot continue. So then it becomes uninteresting, then boring, then become suffering of pain. So basically, so all these are feelings only, it’s only suffering. Same thing, as I mentioned before, friend, same, I’m talking about the car but another example is the friend, it’s the same. So all these pleasures is feeling which is suffering then labeled pleasure, so that’s why it doesn’t increase, doesn’t continue, the pleasure.

So now, as Lama Tsongkhapa mentioned in the Lam-rim Chen-mo that after the body being exposed under hot sun, then being hot you enter in the water, you jump in, the beach, anyway, in the water, swimming-pool or whatever, beach water. Then at the beginning there’s a pleasure, after being burned the body, become hot, then being in cold water, pleasure, at the beginning.

So now we analyze that pleasure, whether it’s true happiness or it’s nature of suffering. Then that pleasure, the longer you stay in the water it does not increase, it does not continue. Then it becomes more and more unbearable, the cold. First explain this one then explain what we think, the way we believe, the hallucination, which is false. So it is explained by Lama Tsongkhapa, who is the embodiment of Manjushri, embodiment of all the buddhas’ wisdom, how the pleasure is rising by entering in the water is, so the action which compounded the previous suffering, feeling hot, it’s stopped, body being exposed, body being under the sun shining outside, under the sun, so that action, body being exposed, stopped, that action stopped, due to that, the feeling of hot is stopped. Then the next action, being in the cold water, as soon as you put the body in the cold water, since that action was done, next second effect of that action, the minute when you enter in the cold water, then next second effect is the suffering being in the cold water. The discomfort started the next second, right after the action is done, next second, the effect started. The discomfort of being in the cold water, okay, started right after the next second. But it is unnoticeable, it is so small so it is unnoticeable. Because it is unnoticeable now, the discomfort of being in the cold water, compounded by the action of being in the water, so that is unnoticeable now, so then one has labeled pleasure. Then the longer you continue the action of being in the water then that discomfort gets developed more and more and more. Later it’s no more that pleasure and then increase the discomfort and become the suffering of pain, the suffering of samsara, suffering of pain. Before it’s suffering of change, while having pleasure it’s suffering of change. Now it’s the suffering of pain.

Now like this, that samsaric pleasure, so another suffering stopped, another suffering begins, but it’s very small, unnoticeable. So on that feeling then one label pleasure, one’s own mind labeled pleasure. Even, labeled pleasure but right after, the next second, after your mind mere imputation pleasure, the next second, the pleasure what your mind merely imputed, it should appear back to you merely labeled by mind, merely labeled by your mind. It should appear back to you, merely labeled by your mind. Just a second before. When you analyze details like that, the second before your mind merely imputed pleasure, it should appear back merely imputed by your mind, that’s the reality, but that doesn’t happen. That is not happening.

So now here, so there’s a big question to meditate or to discover what drives us crazy or put yourself into this huge hallucinated world. So now, because the negative imprint left on the mental continuum by the ignorance, concept of true existence, concept entrusting or holding things as truly existent, existing from their own side, truly existent, believing. So the negative imprint left by this ignorance, concept believing truly existent, things exist from their own side, not merely labeled by mind, which believes that. So because we haven’t removed this negative imprint which is on the mental continuum, left from the past, I mean, from beginningless rebirth, not only one hour before, not only a minute before, second before but even from beginningless rebirth, negative imprint left. So we haven’t removed this by actualizing the path to enlightenment, especially the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness. This is the one that directly ceases this but we haven’t achieved that.

So, to do that, you have to have also bodhicitta realization, so the subtle defilements, to remove these you have to have bodhicitta realization, so at the beginning, you have to have renunciation, in order to have bodhicitta, you have to have renunciation of samsara, renunciation of future-life samsara, renunciation to this life. So lack of this attainment, path, which removes this, ceases this negative imprint. This negative imprint which projects this hallucination, true existence, on the merely labeled I, on the merely labeled action, the merely labeled object, on the merely labeled all the phenomena, then this negative imprint decorate hallucination. Like putting carpet on the floor or the table here, brocade, the cover or like the human body covered with dresses.

Everything that exists, I, action, object, everything what exists is what is merely imputed by mind. But then this negative imprint on the mental continuum puts this projection, inherent existence on everything, covered everything. Then made everything real to you. I real to you, real I existing from its own side. Made everything real to you, the light, real light, light from its own side, a real light, in the sense existing from its own side. Flower, red flower, from its own side, existing from its own side, from there. So these flowers, these white, all these plants, the plants moving there, the leaves – everything existing from its own side. Something real one. When we look at people, a real human being existing from its own side. If we look at the statues, thangkas, everything’s real, Medicine Buddha thangka, it’s a real one, everything real, all exist from its own side. So all these are hallucination, total hallucination, we’re in to, trapped into, caught in, trapped. Anyway, made everything real, whatever you look at, sky, if you look at the sky, there’s a sky from its own side, real one. If you look at the trees, it’s merely labeled by your mind but it appears to you total opposite, real one from its own side. So if you look at the roofs, house, real one existing from its own side. When you look at the road, also appears like that. When you walk on the road, a real road from its own side. So completely, total hallucination.

So now here, same thing with the happiness, your mind merely imputed happiness to this one, after you went in the water, then so when it appeared back next second, truly existent one, real one which means not merely labeled by mind, which is totally not true, which is completely false. But just now a second before your mind merely imputed pleasure. Then on this, because you are not aware, not aware your mind just merely imputed, not aware of that, just a second ago, not aware of that. Then the happiness the way it’s appeared is existing from its own side.

So first of all, that’s the discovery, samsaric pleasure. That’s it, what it is, pleasure. What pleasure what are you looking for, achieve, it’s a name given, name imputed on the suffering. Another suffering heavy one stopped, another suffering begins, something which is unnoticeable, then labeled pleasure. That’s it. That is what samsaric pleasure is. The very nature, what is exactly the pleasure, that’s all, nothing else. So now because of the negative imprint you have from past there on the mind, you are not aware your mind has just a second before merely imputed. So appeared not merely labeled by mind, hallucination, appeared wrong way the pleasure that you labeled. Then we let our mind to believe that it’s true. That time we create the ignorance. Ignorance, the superstitious mind, the concept, wrong concept of true existence, that the pleasure is truly existent. As it appeared like that, it’s really true, that this is the reality, thinking this is reality, believing this is reality, which is not there at all. Totally nonexistent there, such happiness, pleasure. But the ignorance, we let our mind to believe like that then we create the ignorance that time, which believes this is true. That’s the main superstitious thought what makes us to suffer, from where the attachment, anger, all this comes, from the ignorance, and create karma and then continuously die and reborn in samsara, experience all the sufferings, each realm.

So now, next one. So we create the ignorance, believing this is a hundred percent true. Now next one, then attachment arises, grasps on that, the pleasure. This is how becomes cause of samsara, to be reborn again in samsara, which ties us to samsara.

I’m giving this as an example to meditate, to analyze, scientific analysis, inner scientist. Like this, same, any other pleasure we should meditate to realize how their nature is only suffering. So then this helps, then this discovery, they are nature of suffering, this helps us to be detached to this and then to renounce this and then that makes us to achieve ultimate happiness, everlasting happiness. Then with renunciation and bodhicitta we achieve enlightenment. So basically it is said in the teachings, [Tibetan] a person who is seeking small pleasure cannot achieve great pleasure, the everlasting happiness, liberation from samsara, enlightenment. A person who is seeking, a person who is caught or seeking, small pleasure cannot achieve the great happiness. How to achieve the great happiness, liberation, enlightenment – by letting go the temporary pleasure, which is only in reality the nature of suffering, reality only nature of suffering, even that. By letting go of that then you’re able to achieve the great happiness. So that’s what we need to achieve. We haven’t achieved this from beginningless rebirth up to now. So that’s what makes our life meaningful, worthwhile this time, is if you look for this, by practicing Dharma. That happens only by practicing Dharma.

So anyway, so all that I was talking before, by taking birth all the problems with that, death and all that. It was ?related to me, I think, didn’t take birth then didn’t experience all those things. Then you don’t have to have diabetes. If you didn’t take birth you don’t have diabetes. You don’t have cancer, all that. So mistake is by taking birth, under the control of karma and delusion. So therefore, we need to cease the cause of samsara, delusion and karma. That is only by Dharma practice, no other means. You can’t do that in a hospital, you can’t go to ask the doctors, Please liberate me from karma and delusion, please do operation.

Okay, maybe I stop here. I stop here, I think.

So become the most important, how most unbelievable important it is to practice Dharma, path to liberation, enlightenment, okay, to actualize.

Then due to the three-time merits collected by oneself, by others, may the bodhicitta be actualized in one’s heart, in the hearts of all the students, and all those people, so many people who are doing service for the organization, those who give up their lives to the organization, doing service, and in the hearts of all sentient beings, in the hearts of all the leaders of the world, in the hearts of all the different religious peoples’ minds.

Jang chhub sem chhog rin po chhe….

Due to the three-time merits collected by me, by others, that which exist but are empty, may the I, who exists but is empty, achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, which exists but which is empty, lead all the sentient beings, who exist but who are empty, to that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, which exists but which is empty, by myself alone, who exists but who is empty. [pause]

Of course, everybody cannot become Sangha, so everybody doesn’t have karma to do that. So here what I am saying is that if you are not practicing Dharma, if you don’t have Dharma in the life, Dharma practice in the life, if you’re not practicing especially bodhicitta, loving kindness, compassion for others then your life is totally suffering. If you don’t have Dharma in the life, Dharma practice, especially the loving kindness, compassion, bodhicitta cherishing others, so if you don’t have this then the life is only suffering. So, I want to, because I talked all that, samsaric suffering in our life so I want, I also mentioned, this has renunciation, what I mentioned before then I wanted to mention this last one, so in case you have questions, that’s my answer.

Thank you so much. So whatever, tea or dinner.

[Short mandala offering by the students.]

Okay, thank you very much. Gracias.