Kopan Course No. 33 (2000): Audio and Unedited Transcripts

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #1257)

The following are excerpts of the teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Thirty-third Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 2000. Included is an oral transmission of the Heart Sutra and an oral transmission of portions of the Diamond Cutter Sutra.

The first five days of lectures are below; the remainder of the lectures can be found here. You can also read the entire lightly edited transcript here.

Day 4: Practicing Patience, The Enemy is the Kindest Person

For example, somebody who has enemy, whom he regard as enemy, one who has anger towards oneself, one who has anger towards you, one who dislike, doesn’t love, dislike. By practising patience towards that person whom you regard as enemy or one who dislike you, doesn’t love you, one who has anger towards you -your anger, month by month, year by year, becomes less and less. And then, after some time, very difficult to get angry, the more the mind is trained in patience. Even if it arises, arises very short time. [Rinpoche snaps fingers] Doesn’t last long. Just it rises, the duration like that [Rinpoche snaps fingers] It stops after having practised patience for some time – months, years. Then, even after that, by developing mind in patience, no anger arising. Whatever happens to you, whatever harm others give you, you never get angry. No anger rises.

However, now here is the point. Now here is the point: by practising patience, anger do not arise. You’re able to control. So that means you don’t give harm with anger. You don’t give harm to others. Giving harm to others with anger, stopped. So giving harm to numberless other sentient beings, from life to life, so many people in this life with anger giving harm – cause others to get angry and let others to create negative karma with body, speech, and mind, which makes them to be born in the hell realms, lower realms. You cause others to create negative karma and reborn in the lower realms. Anyway, even if you don’t talk about reincarnation, past, future life – however, making so many people unhappy, angry. You destroy their peace, happiness. You destroy so many people’s peace and happiness. Anyway, even one life - in the family, in the office, wherever you are, in the east, west, countryside, in the city, wherever you live, wherever you are.

So life to life, without practising patience, then life to life anger harms numberless other sentient beings. When you think from life to life it harms numberless other sentient beings. Visit all sentient beings if you think, from life to life, if you don’t tame the mind, if you don’t practice patience, stop getting angry, train the mind to make possible to not rise anger. If one doesn’t do that then this is what happens. Therefore, even this one disturbing emotional thought, anger, if you stop by practising patience from life to life, even just this life, so many people, animals, they don’t receive harm from you with the anger. So there’s so much peace and happiness from you. Now if we think from life to life, numberless sentient beings they don’t receive harm from you with your anger.

All that absence of harm is peace and happiness now what other numberless sentient beings are receiving from you. By your controlling anger, by practising patience, making possible to not rise anger. So that’s incredible skies of peace and happiness you’re giving to numberless sentient beings from life to life. So all this peace and happiness that you’re able to give numberless other sentient beings is by the kindness of this person who has anger towards you; that you are able to offer all this peace and happiness to numberless other sentient beings by practising patience, making it impossible to rise anger. So all this by kindness, it happened due to kindness of the person who has anger towards you.

I thought the microphone is tired. Tired and bored – the microphone or the machine, tired and bored, maybe getting upset because of my coughing. Anyway, so what I was trying to say before, all this peace and happiness that one is able to give numberless of other sentient beings through the practice of patience making it impossible to rise anger through that training, this is completely by kindness of this person that I could benefit so much to numberless other sentient beings, able to give all this peace and happiness. If this person didn’t have anger towards me then I have no opportunity to practice patience. If this person has no anger towards me I have no opportunity to practice patience then no opportunity to control, to gradually make possible to not rise anger. By developing my mind in patience then make it impossible to rise anger. That wouldn’t happen if this person didn’t have anger towards me. So all this that I’m developing my mind in patience, making it impossible to arise anger after some time, able to give peace and happiness, so much, to all the sentient beings – that which is the absence of harm, this is completely by kindness of this person who has anger towards me.

The other sentient beings not receiving harm from me out of anger, that has to come from my mind training in the patience. So how can I practice patience if no one gets angry to me? If no body has anger towards me then how I can get opportunity, how can I develop my mind in patience? There’s no opportunity to practice patience, no opportunity to develop patience. So, therefore, to develop my mind in patience, this very precious quality of human mind, that which is the path to enlightenment – the six paramitas to achieve enlightenment: the paramita of charity, the paramita of morality, paramita of patience, paramita of perseverance, paramita of concentration and wisdom – you need to complete these in order to achieve enlightenment; to cease all the mistakes of mind and to complete all the qualities of realisation that which is full enlightenment. Only then you can do perfect work toward all the sentient beings without slightest mistake. You can benefit, help. Only after you achieve enlightenment.

Especially for this, to achieve enlightenment so that one can enlighten numberless other sentient beings, need to practice paramita of patience which is the path to enlightenment, the bodhisattva’s conduct. For that, to train the mind in that, without depending on someone having anger towards you, impossible. No opportunity to practice this path, to achieve this path. Patience. So has to rely on, depend on somebody having anger towards you. So, therefore, now here, somebody having anger, you need anger. You need it for you. Maybe not good for that person having anger, but for you, there’s incredible need. For you there’s incredible need. Somebody having anger towards you, for you, is incredible need. There’s great need for development of your mind. There’s incredible need.

Buddha give teachings to practice patience. But you have no opportunity to practice patience with Buddha. The Buddha doesn’t have anger. Friends while they are friends, they don’t have anger. While they are your friends doesn’t have anger towards you. So with friend, no opportunity to practice patience, to develop this special quality of mind, human mind – tolerance, patience - very fundamental quality to have; basis for happiness in the life, peace and happiness, yours and others. Now stranger – if you were dividing sentient beings in three: friend, enemy, stranger. Numberless sentient beings divided in three. With the friend, no opportunity to practice patience; with stranger, they don’t have anger towards you, so no opportunity to practice patience. Now only the person among these numberless sentient beings, only the person with whom one can practice patience, who gives you this precious opportunity to practice patience, is only this person who has anger towards you. Only this person is left. Only this one’s left. So, if you don’t practice patience with this, who gives you the opportunity? Who pursues (?) you to follow the path; to practice patience. Otherwise you have no opportunity to achieve the path, then cannot achieve enlightenment, then cannot do perfect work towards the sentient beings without slightest mistake to bring them in full enlightenment. – can not. And that is the main goal of our life. That’s the main goal of your life: to liberate sentient beings from the suffering, lead them to enlightenment.

If that’s your main goal of the life, why we’re surviving day-to-day life, why we survive, why we put so much effort to live, is to develop the mind on the path; to benefit sentient beings. So this one is the main goal of our life to liberate sentient beings from the suffering and bring them in full enlightenment. That’s the main goal of life – your ultimate goal: ultimate benefit towards others. So, therefore, this person is unbelievable – so unbelievable kind. The kindness is like limitless skies because benefit what you achieve from that. What you achieve from that person is like limitless skies. So the kindness of that person having anger towards you, like limitless sky of kindness, unbelievable kindness – the most precious kind one in your life; the most precious kind one in your life.

Even you offer all the, each time that the kindness of that person having anger towards you, give you opportunity to practice patience. And the benefit each time, benefit of the patience each time you practice – that which leads to enlightenment, brings you to enlightenment and that you’re able to cause all the happiness, temporal happiness and ultimate happiness, liberation and enlightenment, you’re able to cause towards all the numberless sentient beings. So now to this person, each time...

[tape change]

... Even you give how much possession, wealth there is on this earth, you give everything, all the wealth there’s on this earth – you give to this person. It’s not enough to repay the kindness. It’s nothing. All this wealth that which is on this earth, you offer to this person to repay kindness, it is not enough. It’s nothing. It is nothing to repay the kindness of that person – all this benefit what you achieve; which you get from that person. Even if you offer billions of dollars it’s nothing. It’s nothing. With a billion dollars you don’t have that opportunity to practise patience, to develop patience – what this person gives you. The billion dollars and the value of this sentient being – the billion dollars is nothing; billion dollars is nothing, lost when you think of the value of this person. How much benefit you get from that person by practising patience – this person is giving you opportunity to practice patience by anger. Billion dollars doesn’t have anger. So like that.

So this person is, actually, most precious, most kind one, in my life. By making it impossible to rise anger by developing the mind in patience then numberless sentient beings don’t receive harm from you. Don’t receive harm form you out of anger so they get so much peace and happiness. You’re able to offer all this due to kindness of this person, okay, this opportunity is given by this person. This opportunity to give peace and happiness to all sentient beings is given by this person who has anger towards you – so kind and so precious. The other one is by developing mind in patience then able to achieve enlightenment. Then you’re able to give, able to cause, temporary happiness, ultimate happiness, liberation and enlightenment towards all sentient beings by developing patience. Again, this is completely by kindness, that I’m able to offer all this by the kindness of this person who had anger towards me. He gave me this opportunity. He gave me opportunity to develop mind and I’m able to offer all this happiness to others – temporal, ultimate. So it’s by the kindness of this person.

I’m just trying to conclude the meditation on kindness to the person who has anger – how to meditate on the kindness of the person extensively, one who has anger towards you, whom you call ‘enemy’, or who doesn’t love you. And then the other thing is this. The practice of patience need, even if one doesn’t believe in reincarnation, karma, even if you’re not seeking enlightenment, liberation from samsara, even if one is not interested in these things, doesn’t believe in these things, still you need to practice patience.

If you don’t practice patience what happens your friend, person whom you want to be your friend, even if that person becomes your friend you’ll make that person to become enemy to you. Even if we’re talking just one life, even just talking this life, happiness. If you don’t practice patience then your mind, every time when something happens, your mind becomes impatient; anger rises. Then when you get angry your friend, your beloved friend – your anger makes you become enemy to your beloved friend. Your anger makes your beloved friend enemy, to become enemy, to change his or her mind towards you – get angry to you, upset to you. Your anger makes your friend to be an enemy to you. Your anger breaks your relationship. Your anger makes the person to separate from you, makes the other person to get tired, bored, to leave you, to drop you.

Even without talking, even without, even somebody who only thinks happiness of this life, whose concerned happiness only this life, your happiness; concerned only your happiness but even that only just this life - even for that, if you want happiness, if you need happiness, it becomes so essential or so crucial the need to practice patience. It harms. You want the relationship harmonious but your anger, because you don’t practice patience, the anger makes disharmony in the relationship. It breaks that relationship. Doesn’t last. [pause] So with whom you want to be harmonious, with whom you want to have good relationship, your anger harms, destroys, harmonious peace and happiness in the relationship.

So peace and happiness, harmonious, between the employee and employer [students] What? Yeah, the employee and the employer – to have peace and harmony, good relationship depends on patience. Teacher and the students, parents and children – to have good relationship, harmonious, the practice of patience is needed everywhere, In every life there’s need.

So the person who never thinks of patience, never practice patience, then very self-centred mind - especially like that. Then whenever there’s something small, even some small thing went wrong or not exactly how you liked, what the person did, anything, something small, something not exactly what the person liked or what the person’s ego liked, not exactly, not completely – then, immediately, anger arises. Then destroys oneself, destroys, makes others angry or unhappy – beside oneself angry, unhappy, it transforms the environment negatively. When the person’s angry the environment in the room very negative, kind of terrifying. When you see that person’s body, very terrifying that time. Even though normally beautiful when anger manifests even the body become very terrifying. When you see the body – very terrifying. So like that.

So this person, wherever this person goes, east, west, wherever, instead of making friend, wherever you go everybody become your enemy. Where ever you go. Everybody, behind you, they complain, they create bad reputation explaining to people how the person has a cruel personality in actions, behaviours, attitude, self-centred, impatient - however, then difficult to have friend. Even those who are friend at the beginning become enemy later. One day later, friend in the morning, by the evening time they become enemy.

In this world one person who did not practice patience, one person who has much influence, power, but did not practice patience, you can see how many millions of people got killed, tortured, all that. Even one person in this world who has influence, so much influence, but did not practice patience, didn’t have that precious quality of mind, good heart – if that person who has so much influence practised patience, good heart, then the opposite effect. The person could give so much unbelievable peace and happiness to so many millions and millions of people in this world. That covers, also, the animals.

The other way there’s so many millions of people, make war, so many countries destroyed, so many millions of people were killed. And then, by the way, uncountable number of animals that suffered due to atomic bomb or due to violence, weapons. One can see, even one person practising patience, and not practising patience, how incredible big difference it makes to the world – from that one person to the world. Like that. So, therefore, it becomes so essential in our daily life to practice patience.

Try to communicate – sometimes silence is much more beneficial than talking, however, try to communicate without the addition of anger, without the negative emotional mind. Communicate without this extra thing, the unnecessary external thing – the emotional negative thought. The emotional negative thought, the anger rising – without that. Without that; that part is unnecessary. It’s only harmful. There’s no benefit that extra thing. While you’re communicating, negative emotional thought, anger rising – that’s only harm; no benefit. So without that - that part’s totally unnecessary – only harmful.

However, one day, rising anger, that [pause] wanting, without practicing, didn’t get to practice patience and one get angry, that leaves negative imprint back on the mental continuum. Then that means you created more cause to get angry in the future. Already there’s a lot of negative imprint left by the past anger. Already there’s a lot. So then, again, you’re planting seed back on the mental continuum. You’re leaving negative imprint of anger on your mental continuum. The more that happens it makes it more difficult in the future. Makes more impatient in the future.

So, therefore, same – here, I’m talking about anger but dissatisfied mind, desire, attachment, or any other negative emotional thoughts, more one allows to rise leaving negative imprint back on the mental continuum, makes your future life more difficult. Therefore, it is – normally, I say that actually the suffering of the hells is not, you experience the suffering, you experience the hell suffering until the karma finishes. When the karma finish then the hell suffering stopped. It’s finished. There’s certain length of time. It’s not like what Christianity mentioned – once you’re born in hell then you are in the hell forever. It’s not like that. What causes you to be born in hell is karma. So the duration of karma, you experience – the duration of the experience of the hell suffering. So, when that karma finishes, experiencing of the suffering of hell finishes. Stops.

Normally I say, actually, the negative imprint in our daily life each time anger rises, desire rises, leaves negative imprint back on the mental continuum – that’s much more terrifying. The negative imprint is much more terrifying than the hell. Negative imprint is much more terrifying than the hell suffering is what I think because if you don’t have negative imprint there’s no hell. There’s no hell. There’s no suffering of the lower realm – you never experience. It doesn’t exist for you. If you don’t have negative imprint, if delusion doesn’t arise, that means there’s nothing there that causes to rise delusion, anger and desire. There’s nothing there. Nothing there which makes to rise these negative emotional thoughts – anger, attachment, these things. So who is it possible to experience suffering of the lower realm, such as hell, those unbearable suffering.

So, normally, I say, by analysing negative imprint, is much more terrifying, much more fearful, than the suffering of the hell. So, therefore, very important in our daily life, even one time able to practice not [pause] – rather every time you let anger to rise, every time you let to be controlled by anger, every time you give your victory to anger. Instead of yourself taking the victory, control - you give the control, victory, to your anger. You lose, anger win. You lose and anger win. Anger control you. Rather than letting every time like that, rather than always giving victory to anger, always you lose and anger win – giving control to anger.

Even one time, even you miss to practice patience every time, but, at least, one day or one week, even you miss many times, missed out to practice patience, anger overpowered, controlled you, but at least even one time in a day or in a week, however, practice of patience, able to use meditation techniques is very important. Even one time able to control anger, that one day or one week, even one time able to control anger by practising patience, that makes huge differences. That way, there’s no opportunity anger to leave negative imprint on your mental continuum which gives rise, again, to anger – again and again, so many times in the future.

So this subject I started [pause] so here the other person having anger towards you become, for you, become very positive – great need in your life. Like you need, normally I say like this: as you need friend, you need enemy. As you need friend in the daily life, you need friend – exactly, here, we need also enemy. In other words, as you need happiness, same, need someone having anger towards you. So then the other thing is if you don’t, if one doesn’t practice patience right now, right now, while the other person has anger towards you, if you don’t practice patience right now, if you don’t take the opportunity right now, the minute when the other person’s anger is gone then you don’t have opportunity. You lost opportunity to practice patience. So one must practice patience right now while other person has anger towards you. Like that.