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 3: How the I Exists

Maybe there’s one question, then if I don’t know, then I stay in silence. If it’s something that I know, then I chat. Yeah, go on, yes.

Student: Rinpoche, the base where we put the label, the base has to be inherent existence or not?

Rinpoche: So, because the base, the base is also labeled on another base, okay. Which, so, when the very first time, the Mexican money, when the very first time Mexican money was made, so they created the idea of the base. They created all the idea, first in the mind, and then, so anyway, this is just again, elaboration, this is helpful also. So when you have all the ideas, how to make the paper money, but haven’t actualized yet, that time, that time the money, the Mexican money, whatever it is, it doesn’t exist. You have the ideas but nothing materialized; at that time, money doesn’t exist, even though you have the idea of money.

So then the, you put all the things, all the figures, writings, person’s face, everything there, but then, you haven’t labeled yet, money. Probably, well I think that, I think, because that’s for money, so I think the label there But like a child, that I think, that money, money, already you have the label, you wanted my money, label comes first, you want my money, then you get how to make money, then comes that base, you create that base, all the designs, the person’s face, the leader of the country and all the things. So, I guess maybe in case of money, I think the label comes first, then you create the base. The thought putting the label, money, comes first, then you create the idea, the base.

Then when it’s materialized, then at that time, the base and the label, money, exist. But in the case as child, then, you get the child first, then, you get, sometimes people, it’s possible some, maybe sometimes some people have the name first before they met the child, even before they met, I’m joking that one. So they, yeah, anyway, some, maybe also like that. So, anyway, so usually I think, so they get a child and then, the children aggregates, association of body and mind is there, the collection of the five: feeling, cognition, compounding aggregates, form, feeling, cognition, compounding aggregates, consciousness, the collection is all there. So that’s gathered, the aggregates are there, the base. Then, later, they think of the name, what to put. They look through the books, they go through the books, what name to give, or they try to think. So until the name is given, the base exists but the, for example, name, Roger, so maybe that, okay? So, didn’t exist, Roger didn’t exist, before the base is there, Roger didn’t exist, until the parents gave the name. But the other one is, the parents, they discussed and gave name, they gave the name, but the children is not born yet. There’s no collections of the five aggregates, the children aggregates are not there, but they have already decided the name. So, the ‘Roger’ doesn’t exist there, even though their mind labeled, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no base, the aggregates don’t exist, it’s not there.

So when the aggregates are not there, then the label doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist. So it’s same, that becomes same as like dream. In the dream your mind labeled this and that, but there’s no base. If the base exists, then when you wake up, let’s say you dreamt you win the lottery and you got a billion dollars. If that base exists, then when you wake up it should be there. When you wake up you realize that was just a dream, not true, it doesn’t exist, you don’t have it. Even though in the dream your mind labeled, a billion dollars I received, so mind imputed but the base doesn’t exist in the dream, so that’s why when you wake up, you don’t have, okay? So, in that case the billion dollars doesn’t exist, even though your mind labeled, okay?

So only when you actually get a billion dollars, then you are able to go shopping, you go to buy a car or TV or whatever, then that billion dollars exists. The base and the label, the base actualized, then label also happened.

So what I was trying to tell you is that this is quite useful for meditation, to get the idea of emptiness, and what is the hallucination, the inherent existence, existing by its nature, from its own side, to the false view, to recognize that. Once you recognize that, then you know what is emptiness, what is ultimate nature that we have to realize, which, the realization of that which ceases the delusions, karma, cause of suffering. So this is quite helpful to understand this, this analysis.

So, the child, one is, the children is born, or in the womb, or outside, but haven’t labeled, haven’t given the label yet, one example, Roger, something, so haven’t done yet, haven’t. So that time, Roger doesn’t exist, okay?

And the other one is, you already, your mind already decide the label, the parents already decide the label, then, the base, the aggregates of children didn’t happen yet, the children born yet, okay, aggregates are not there. So, that time, even though the parents already, mind labeled, Roger, but Roger doesn’t exist; that time, also Roger doesn’t exist.

So, when Roger comes into existence, the base is there, the base has to, because Roger or Peter or whatever it is, that, that existence, existing that depends on existing the base. So without the base it cannot exist, even though labeled by mind, but it cannot exist, it doesn’t exist. So, it, existing Roger depends on existing the base, its base. So same with Peter, or whatever, whatever you call, ], so like that.

So, the base is there, then the label, then the, given name or the other, the Roger is imputed by the mind. There’s the base, and then imputed Roger by the mind. Then, that time, Roger came into existence. There’s a base there, then whenever the mind imputed Roger, then it came into existence, yeah, of course, with the belief. So, I mean, anybody can give the name, but, can play with it.

So, then that time Roger came, only that time, then Roger came into existence, okay? [pause]

Question: Rinpoche, in the book of Ultimate Healing, in your book of Ultimate Healing you mentioned that, for example, the same with cancer, cancer is also just a label. When the doctor tells you, you have cancer, it’s just a label or the base exist?

Rinpoche: Actually I did not finish my answer to her first question. I was just talking about the label.

So here, the first one I was explaining, so now you can see, when does Roger come into existence? So to that question, I mean, the analysis, when does Roger come into existence? So, there’s the base and then mere imputation by the mind, Roger, mind make up the label, Roger, with the belief, believing in that, okay. So that, so you can see here what Roger is, it’s nothing. Through the analysis, what you see, what is ‘Roger’ is nothing, nothing other except what is merely imputed by mind, okay? It’s nothing other except what is merely imputed by mind.

Related to the aggregates, aggregates is not Roger, that’s not Roger. Aggregates exist before. So, aggregates exist before, Roger, how to say, because it exists, and then imputed, Roger, by the mind. So ‘Roger’ exists in mere name, merely imputed by mind, because there’s the base, or you can say, related to the base, so like that. Because the base exists, so the label, Roger, it exists.

So, here, you can see, one is base, one is the label, two phenomena, they are not one. They are not one because one is the base to be labeled, Roger. It’s the base to be labeled Roger, so they’re not one, they are two different. Not two separate phenomena, but two different phenomena. Not two separate phenomena, like your nose and ear, like your nose ], like, anyway, like your nose and ear--they are separate phenomena--they are separate phenomena, they separately exist. Or these two, [Rinpoche picks up his bell and vajra] this bell and vajra, these two, they exist separately, not only different, but separate, exist separately. But ‘Roger’ and his base, the aggregates, those two do not exist separately, but exist differently; they are different phenomena.

I and the aggregates, they exist differently, but they don’t exist separately. There’s no way I exists without relating to the aggregates. Without aggregates, how can the I, how can the self exist? No way. It’s impossible. Our self doesn’t exist without the aggregates, okay?

So, therefore, aggregates and self,: aggregates is the base to be labeled, the self. You see, these two are, can be said, one in essence, but they exist differently. They exist differently, those two, but do not exist separately.

So, that’s why when you do meditation on emptiness, the analysis of the four vital points, the I, the self, the real I appearing to you, I appearing, I, every time, all the time, constantly your mind imputes, merely impute, okay, so, your mind merely impute, so then when it appears back, constantly when it appears back, it appears back, whenever it appears back, it always appears back not merely labeled by mind. It appears back as it never came from your mind, so like that, totally false, totally hallucination or false when it appears back, total hallucination, false. So, to your hallucinated mind, contaminated the negative imprints, that which projects the, this false view, inherent existence, okay.

So then here you’re doing analysis, analysis of the four vital points, where is this real I, this real I that’s appearing never came from your mind, appearing not merely labeled by your mind, so, really you’re analyzing whether it really exists, so analyzing.

So the, so if it exists, it should exist, if this exists, then it should exist either one with the aggregates or it should exist separately from the aggregates. So then you do all the analysis, then you don’t find, it doesn’t exist with the aggregates. So, you find, the, whether the form is I, that real I or not, so you do all the analysis. Then, the feeling is I, this real I or not. Then through discovery, through analysis, you find it’s not. Then, the cognition, whether this cognition, this mental factor, this is that real I or not, through analysis, then you find, you discover it’s not. Then compounding aggregates, there’s many, after you took the feeling, there’s fifty-one mental factors, you took the feeling, cognition out, and then, all the rest of the mental factors called compounding aggregates, so then you check whether this is the real I that appears to you and believe, whether this compounding aggregates, whether this is that real I or not. Then through the analysis you find out, you discover, it’s not. Then, consciousness, you check whether this is a real I or not, then you discover, through analysis you discover, it’s not.

Then now all the five, collection of all the five, whether this is real I or not, you check, and through analysis you discover it’s not.

Then, so now, neither of this is that I, all together it’s not that I. This real I that appear to us all the time, that we hundred percent, no question, we believe this is really there. So, when you analyze, you can’t find. When you analyze like this, then you can’t find, nowhere you can find. So, from the tip of the hairs down to the toes, nowhere you can find. On this collection of the five, where this real I that always appear and you believe hundred percent, no question, so not there. So, can’t find, nowhere can find, on this, on these aggregates. So as I mentioned, from the tip of your hairs down to your toes, on this, you can’t find, nowhere you can find.

So, that means, this real I that you’ve been believing, that you’ve been believing from this morning, from the birth, from even from the birth, from the mother’s womb, even from birth, when the consciousness took place on that fertilized egg, even from that time, you’ve been believing there’s a real I, hundred percent believing, and the life before that, just before that, intermediate stage, so we’re born a human being, so we had intermediate state before that, then, like that, from beginningless rebirth, you had this hallucination, this false I, appeared back not merely labeled by mind, and then, your mind have been believing on that hundred percent, this hundred percent exists. So, no question, from beginningless rebirth, not only from this birth, from beginningless rebirth, hallucination.

So now here, now, then, today, you do meditation on emptiness, you’re looking for this real I appeared and believed hundred percent, no question, that, so, look, can’t find. None of those is I, all together is not the I, then can’t find on these aggregates, on this, you can’t find. From the tip of the hairs down to the toes, nowhere, can’t find, that real I, appearing then believed your, you made your mind to believe on that hundred percent, which is ignorance.

So, the way the ignorance it trust on that, or entrust on that, like entrust a person, my friend, you see, this is my friend. So somebody who likes you or somebody who always helps you. But, in reality, that person, I’m just giving an example, so you have total hallucination. So in reality, that person doesn’t love you, doesn’t like you, and then against, and always trying to harm, cause so many problems. But your mind believing this is my friend, this, he or she loves me, and doing all this many good things ], takes care of me and doing, so you label all these things, okay. But, in reality, not that, totally harm and hate you. So, like that, so then today, you realize that, suddenly you come to by analyzing, today you analyze that person, what you have been believing or holding, what you’ve been believing so far, appear and believed, today you analyze, at least you realize, what you’ve been believing so far, what appeared to you is totally hallucination, completely hallucination. Today you realize that is an enemy, like that, no friend, enemy. So, anyway, that’s just an example, just to give you some idea.

So, here, today, so, due to the blessings of the guru, your strong devotion to the guru, looking at it buddha, no mistakes, and only qualities, then, praying, praying to receive blessings, or to have attainment, so very strong prayers and then very strong intensive purification, purifying negative karmas, engaging in those practices, and very strong obtaining guru’s advice, and, so all those, strong guru devotion, then, doing intensive, engaging in the intensive practice of purification, how to say, collecting extensive merits, and then meditating on the lam-rim, path to liberation and enlightenment, so the emptiness, okay, so today, then, after having done so much purification and collecting necessary condition, merits then, then, the mind requesting, one-pointedly requesting to the guru, then the meditating on the path. So today, then, it somehow, it become the time, ripening time to see the emptiness, to see the truth.

So, when you do this meditation, then you find, you look for and can’t find, none of those aggregates, then even all the group of aggregates are not there, not the I, not that real I existing from its own side, not that one. Then, can’t find anywhere, from the tip of the hair down to the toes, nowhere. So then, so it exists nowhere. So at that time, you realize the I, the I exists, it doesn’t exist separately from the aggregates.

The real I, “real I” means what we, so far what we’ve been believing real I means not, the very final determination, the very final meaning of that is not merely labeled by mind, because going very subtle, subtle mistake, not merely labeled by mind. I mean there is, you see, nothing to do with your mind, never came from your mind, all these very gross ones, but now here, very subtle one: not merely labeled by mind. So, now you realize that doesn’t exist also separately from the aggregates, doesn’t exist even separately from the aggregates, so that means, now it’s proved that was total hallucination, what you’ve been believing so far, from this morning, from birth, from beginningless rebirth, that.

So, now you realize, you see that, now it’s, for those, it’s said in the teachings, for ordinary bodhisattvas, it’s a great shock, so, great shock because you have been believing this hundred percent for, so as I mentioned before, so even from birth, even it started from birth but still it’s an incredible shock. But now not only that, from beginningless rebirth, so even ordinary bodhisattva, it’s incredible shock.

So, now you’re seeing the truth of the I, reality, the truth of the I, which you never thought of, which you never, the idea of how that I exists, exists in mere name, merely imputed by mind, never, so, never had that experience. So, it’s a total shock, unbelievable. So that’s why there’s fear, that’s why incredible fear rises. The fear is not like, well, not like you meet a tiger, then suddenly you get fear or some kind of snake, then fear, but it’s something deep fear, very deep fear, not something like that, but something very deep fear, because it’s something that you’ve been holding on that, you’re holding on that real I, from beginningless rebirth, so there’s all this belief, it’s just wrong belief, which is not there.

So therefore, now, okay, it doesn’t exist. So here, I’m not talking merely labeled I, I’m talking, particular, the real I, existing from its own side, or the, not merely labeled by mind. So, can’t find. These aggregates, the base is not that, and it doesn’t exist even separately, okay, from that. So you realize it exists nowhere, okay.

So the higher bodhisattvas, okay, no, sorry, the bodhisattvas who are higher intelligent bodhisattvas, they get unbelievable joy, happiness, and then, because incredible joy, happiness, the tears come, the hairs from the pores stand up, the tears come out, that’s the tear from happiness ], tear from incredible joy. So among the students, some, they, I mean they, some have this experiences, joy, incredible joy, I’m talking about Western students, some they have experience, and then incredible joy, unbelievable joy comes, then the tears come, so did happen, so, I was explained, so, unbelievable, incredible joy.

So, anyway, so it’s very deep fear, so the lower intelligent beings, like that. So, you have to know these things, what will happen when you are, because intense purification, continual intense purification, collecting necessary condition, merits, and then, your strong guru devotion, the one-pointed request, so, which causes to receive blessings of the guru in your heart. Then the fourth one, then, meditation on the path.

So, anyway, since I’m talking here, so, anyway this I think has to be explained in one of the days, anyway, so, I think it’s very important to be known before, ahead of time, otherwise you make mistake, otherwise there’s a great possible of mistakes if you don’t have idea what to do when this happens.

So like the airplane when you fly, after you get inside then the hostess, so they, or sometimes they show, the Mexican one I had, no, which airline? I think must be American, the one that we came back,? Huh? That’s American. Well, she was showing the, showing that, but normally, so the hostess, hostess, no, what do you call? [Students: Stewards.] Stewards. Steward. [Student: If it’s a woman, stewardess.] Man? [Student: Now they call them flight attendants, actually.]

So, anyway, the steward, I think usually steward, I think who shows this, how to do all this, it’s steward, most of the time, usually, sometimes man, not monkey, not gorillas. So anyway, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen but in case, in case if it happens in the airplane, the, dropping on the ocean. So, I mean, of course, it doesn’t mean, if it actually drops, I don’t think there’s any time to, , in the actual fact, I think, I mean, I don’t know whether there’s actually time to fix everything, , the airplane waits until you fix everything, then land on the water. I mean so many airplanes drop in the water, the very large airplane that when I came, Lama Yeshe and myself we came from Nepal straight to New York, that was the very first Western country have seen, from Nepal straight to New York. So we came by Pan Am, it has two stories, huge. Anyway, it was Pan Am, I think, it last two or three years, I think, then it dropped in the water, I think it’s in England or somewhere.

So, anyway, there are many hostesses, that mean stewards, not hostess, I mean steward, stewardesses , so anyway, so came to New York airport, and then the guides asked me, “Did you pack up this, which is your baggage?” your suitcase, how to say, “did you pack it up yourself,” or something like that. Of course, what that probably that means is, do you know what you have inside. So I think, usually of course, at that time, I think that maybe that Peter might be, who has been the director of Maitreya Project, the 500-feet Maitreya Buddha statue, so, much taller than him. So, anyway, I think he might be the attendant or secretary, I think, that time also I think, maybe Dr. Nick was also there, the one who started the Wisdom Publications, and now is working on the archives.

So, anyway, so I was very impressed, the customs, the first time to see New York, so very impressed, very impressed how they do it ]. But I don’t think I brought any drugs there . So, anyway, not Buddha grass. I’m not sure whether, well, maybe here you don’t have Buddha grass, then the LSD, long time, those hippy times, in Nepal, I was going to tell you yesterday but then didn’t happen.

So one student gave us LSD. Lama Yeshe and myself. One student gave. No, we didn’t take. Small yellow, small flat yellow pill, yellow, not completely but it’s orange. I think two pills or one pill, I don’t remember, and gave Lama ?Lhundrup. I think that person could be American, I’m not sure, could be American or English, so I don’t remember who, some tall guy.

Anyway, so that time around, when we arrived in Nepal from India, those years, those few years, everywhere in Nepal, Kathmandu, every corner, from every corner you see Western people, the dusty or pale the face , dusty, pale, every corner, every corner of Kathmandu you see, come out, you see, everywhere, everywhere. That was my experience. So all become ?dusty, kind of, so many everywhere during those times, not these days.

So, anyway, so now going back, ], so anyway, I mean, when the people take drugs, people have different experiences. I met, many students were telling me what effect it had, some see mandala or deity or some, who are very connected to, positive, like that, and some, lot of fear. So mostly, some, very few, then has, related to some deity or some mandala or the things, for some people, seems like that. So, what, all these also due to karma, all they, whatever experience comes it’s also, it’s all related, to do with your present karma.

So, anyway, so, since I came to this point, so I would like to mention this also. So, the shocking thing is that, the really shocking thing in the life is that, [pause] I think it’s okay, I mean, I think the time is okay to explain now, doesn’t need to wait till later, after many subjects. So, the great, really great shocking thing that is, so now you got idea that, just some idea that, nothing of those is I, this, anyway, each of the aggregates is, through analysis, not the real I, how to say, what is the word? Inflated? Not inflated but…? With F? English. [Student: Fabricated?] Ah, fabricated! What does it mean? [Student: Made up.]

So, because it’s just a mental fabrication, not mental publication, mental publication, what is it? [Student: Fabrication.] FABrication, mental FABrication. It’s a superstitious mind, the ignorance, left negative imprint then, as I mentioned already, I think two times, fabricated, published, or whatever, fabricated, FABricated, so the, then you let your mind believe that hundred percent, no question, not one single question; it exists, it’s there, not one single doubt.

And if this is not there, it means, there’s no I, you think like that, you believe like that. If this is not there, it means there’s no I, there’s no self. It’s not true, but you have this belief. If this is not there, that means you don’t exist. So it’s not true but this is how we believe.

So, if you analyze, so anyway, so, first I finish that, okay, the other ?part. So, with all the conditions together, the continual strong practice of purification, collecting extensive merit, strong guru devotion, which causes to receive blessings of the guru in one’s own heart, enter, then, by looking at it, obtaining the advice, and looking at it buddha, no mistakes, only qualities, like that, so, then, then meditating on the path, lam-rim, the three principles of the path, aspects of the path to enlightenment, the right view, so, then the, then suddenly today, click, never, so it has never been clicked, never discovered, never realized, never recognized the false, never recognized this is, that this is false, this I that I’ve been believing so far is false, never discovered that, never discovered. So today, only today, due to all these conditions together, strong purification, collecting merits and receiving blessings of the guru, strong guru devotion, so then, all those together, then today, suddenly, click in the mind.

So, I’ll use the word click, click in the mind, so that gives you some idea. And then, it doesn’t depend on something going over, I mean that time, it doesn’t, it’s just, even two or three words, some two or three words, some experience of lama’s instruction, some even two or three words, it wake you up, it click up, when the mind is ready, when you made your mind ready.

So, for example, seed planted, then you put minerals, good minerals, water, everything, put together. Then, the stem comes from the seed, so like that, today, so, then suddenly, first thing, you recognize the, you recognize this is what false I is, this is object to be refuted, the I, this appears something real to you. So, then, once you recognize this object to be refuted, in Tibetan called, gak cha, the false I, so, then after that, it doesn’t take much time, right after that, then, you think, then you use the logic, dependent arising, the I is dependent arising. So there’s a logical reason, I is, I doesn’t have true existence because it is dependent arising. So that’s the king of the logic. There are so many reasoning, many different ways of reasoning to see the truth of the I, ultimate nature of the I, so many reasons, but this is like king among all those, so many reasonings. So I doesn’t have true existence because it is dependent arising. Not Tibetan rice ], dependent arising.

So some six, seven years ago, I think, quite a number of years ago, at Kopan I talked about dependent arising in the beginning, a few days. So there’s one old lady from London, I’ve forgotten her name. It’s a very nice, very kind, very nice old lady, she helps, I mean, the student from the center there in London, I forgot her name. So, very, she has very special English, so when she talks, it has tune, for example she says, writing, so wri-ting, there’s a long, there’s a kind of tune, any name that she’s going to mention, it’s how she speaks. So, a very kind lady.

So, anyway, she came to the course, no, she attended the teachings in London when I go there, but anyway, the first time when she came to Nepal, so for beginning three days she thought I was talking about Tibetan rice. Then only after three days, then she asked one monk, one who started the center in Goa, Namgyal, so, the English, he’s English, so after three days, three or four days, only then she asked him, What is it about Tibetan rice? Because, I mean, it doesn’t make sense, Tibetan, if it’s Tibetan rice, it doesn’t, it wouldn’t make much connection, the Tibetan rice with the I.

Anyway, she must have a lot of patience. So anyway, then the monk told, the monk he started a center in Goa, I have never been, didn’t make, for last how many years? I think maybe six, seven years, seven years, I think. So then the monk explained it’s not Tibetan rice, it’s dependent arising.

So, then suddenly, so once you recognize that, this is what is object to be refuted, the false I, so then, right after that, so after that, it doesn’t take much time, then you think, you analyze, this is dependent arising, or however, so, well you have idea so this means hallucination, this means hallucination. So, however, it doesn’t take much, what the meditators they say is that then the, then immediately you, so what happens to your mind is, it loses, so loses that real I, so lose that, which means, it’s not going through the window lose from your, come out through the nose or from the ears or from down below and go through the , open the door and then, or window, then go to Africa or some other country, or some stars or some beach or under the ocean, not like that.

So, here, you’re discovering now, losing means you’re discovering it, you’re discovering now that what doesn’t exist at all from beginning, from this morning, from birth, from beginningless rebirth what didn’t exist at all, totally empty forever, from beginningless rebirth, this I. So, now, which you’ve been believing is there, which you’ve been believing is there from not only from this morning, from beginningless rebirth, believing it’s there, now you start to realize it’s not there ], now you start to realize, it’s not there, just there. So, from where it is appearing, it is not there.

So, losing means which is empty, which never exist, which never existed from beginningless rebirth. So, that numberless buddhas, omniscient ones, all those who realize the phenomena, they do not exist from their own side...