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 4: Qualities of the Gurus

[The students chant in Spanish 21 Tara praises.]

When we recite the Twenty-one Tara praises, of course, who has, there’s a whole life story of Tara, how Tara in the past generated bodhicitta and then benefited so many sentient beings. There’s a booklet, Tara story. But, however, who has omniscience and not only omniscience but perfect power to benefit us sentient beings and her compassion, whose holy mind is complete in compassion. So, how much more we trust to Tara, from our side, how much we trust to Tara, Tara exists, so with all those qualities, and from our side how much we trust to Tara, then there’s connection, communication, from your side also communicate, so then, so, anyway, so then you receive guidance. So, first need karma from our side, we have to create the karma, then, once the karma ripens, then we receive guidance from Tara.

Then, it is said that by one of my gurus, His Holiness Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche, who was not actual guru in Tibet, but who was Tsenshab it’s a representative, not actual guru but like a representative of guru, like that, helping with the education, so some very high lama, some, not everybody but some very high lamas, ones who are studying young time, then they have in the philosophical studies, so to have, so like His Holiness the Dalai Lama had Tsenshab, very, top, very learned among many learned, the monks, geshes. So His Holiness, it seems he had one from Sera Je, Sera, and Sera Je, Sera has two: Je, Me, so Je where we belong to, where Lama Yeshe and myself belong to, so, I think it’s Mongolian, I think maybe, so there are many Mongolian, very top learned geshes there, Mongolians came from there to Tibet to learn, so become top learned.

So, anyway, from each monastery, from each, so Ganden, Drepung, so, each one has two great monasteries, universities, Ganden has Shartse, Jangtse, then Drepung has Loseling and Gomang. So it seems there, looks like there’s a great, top learned teachers from each monastery to help, not guru but to help like represent the guru sort of to help in education.

So, in Tibet, His Holiness Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche was like that, Tsenshab means that in Tibetan. So then in India, Rinpoche is a great holy being. He’s the embodiment of Milarepa’s guru, Marpa, not Marpa but Marpa’s son, called Darma Dode, so he’s incarnation of that, embodiment of that. So Rinpoche has, there’s special, sometimes when the conversation is a little bit hard conversation, little bit hard topic, where Rinpoche’s aspect, turn out, a little bit, according to the topic so then Rinpoche’s face turn out a little bit, anyway, so there’s aspect, a lot of talk, so, then the here, bald head, not just bald head so, backside some hair, so then the, when there’s some hard talk then the skin here, the skin here goes up like this, skin, here, goes up, wrinkles, goes up like that, you see, moves, you don’t see other lamas like that.

It is said that, there was a story, so I think Marpa told the son, Darma Dode to not go for this, people, I don’t know what is the function, some function happening, where many people gather, so advised to not go, but then he went, then he fell down from the horse there, and broke, banged his head on the stone, and broke the skull. So there happened stories, like that.

So, what I heard is that, so that Rinpoche doing this time to time, only when it’s a little bit hard talk, so, then what I heard is this is to do with, connected with that story, the, so much ago the past life Marpa’s, Milarepa’s guru, Marpa’s son. Milarepa is the one that who, one of the Tibetan yogi achieved enlightenment in a brief lifetime of, not only in one life, but even much shorter, much quicker, a brief lifetime of degenerated time, within some number of years.

So, then, of course, somehow due to Milarepa’s dedication, Milarepa became very known, I mean, Milrepa’s life story came, it’s one of the books, I think that might be the very first life story, very first, there happened, I mean from after Buddha, the Six Ornaments and great yogis from India, like stars in the nighttime, so many happened, then also from Tibet, other countries, so many who completed the path, who exactly practiced according to how Buddha explained, how Buddha practiced and then achieved, completed the realizations, so there happened so many. So, it’s not only Milarepa who achieved enlightenment in one lifetime, in a brief lifetime of degenerated time, within some number of years, so there are so many others happened, even Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciples, Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciple’s disciple Gyalwa Ensapa, and then, who without even bearing that much hardships as Milarepa, it is said that, said by one of my gurus, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche, often used to say during the teachings that’s, I think, to explain how special qualities of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings, special qualities, so, the Gyalwa Ensapa, achieved enlightenment, so His Holiness Zong Rinpoche often used to say, to advertise, or how to say, to clarify the special qualities that Lama Tsongkhapa teachings, so, say, Gyalwa Ensapa achieved enlightenment very comfortable, very comfortable life by eating delicious food and, ?pleasure or something like that, Rinpoche said, but I think what he meant is, the advertising, the point what Rinpoche saying this is the special quality that Lama Tsongkhapa teachings has, so _______ that.

So, anyway, there happened so many who achieved enlightenment in one lifetime, in a brief lifetime of degenerated time, it’s not only Milarepa, but Milarepa became very well known to the world and that was, his life story was the first, one of the first Dharma books in English. I don’t know about German, but what was known to me was one life story that was in English was Milarepa’s life story, I think like 1963, 63 or 62, maybe around those times, so that was one book, maybe those times it might be happening, maybe those times the books get, maybe those times the books get printed, the Milarepa’s life story.

So, then there was another book called Way of the White Cloud, one German professor, Lama Govinda, so he went to Tibet and just near Sikkim, he went to Tibet and met this Domo Geshe Rinpoche, the great yogi whom I, whose story, I think I mentioned some days ago, huh? [Inaudible comment from Ven. Paloma] I mentioned two days ago, I mentioned this story two nights, two days ago, huh? The great yogi that lived in a cave in the jungles, forests, near Sikkim, at a place called Domo, and then the shepherd, the animals, people looking after animals, they were in the forest, and then they saw a monk coming out sometimes, and then the gorilla or, I don’t know it’s a yeti, gorilla, this big animal, bringing fruit in the cave, the animal, the large, the big animal you see in the zoos…. [Student: Gorilla.] Gorilla, yeah, so gorilla bringing fruit in the cave to the lama. [pause] So, that story I mentioned a few days ago, that story, okay.

So, Lama Govinda, so went in Tibet, I don’t think he went in Lhasa but just, cross Sikkim and then, India, and then across Sikkim then that Domo, where this great yogi, Domo Geshe Rinpoche was there, so I think he met. I don’t know how many, I don’t know how much teachings he received, so, anyway, there seems there’s a story he met, maybe received some, probably some short teachings, I’m not sure. So there’s book, Way of the White Clouds, and then there’s another book he wrote, what it’s called? [Student: Fundamentals of the Tibetan Mysticism.] What? The first one? What? [Student: The Foundation of Tibetan Mysticism.] Oh, The Foundation of the Tibetan Mystics, that one. Foundation of Tibetan Secret Things. Anyway, I’m joking.

So that was one book around those times. I think some, I think maybe during the death evolution, that those, I don’t know, I think maybe twenty-five absorptions so the, during death, death time, the way of dying, that process, the white appearance, and near attainment, dark appearance, and the increasing, the red appearance, and near attainment, dark appearance, and then clear light, maybe there’s some talk on those things, however, maybe he tried to, I think signs and some kind of, some of those visions, some tried to connect. So, and there’s, I think, the Bardo Thodrol, Book of the Dead, Tibetan Book of the Dead. So these existing around those times in English, these few books, three books.

The other one is Lobsang Rampa. So, you must have it in Mexican language, Lobsang Rampa? You have? In the Mexican language? Must be. [Student: ?Kalim.] Kalima? So, must be. That seems, when Lama Yeshe, in those early times when we go around in the West and give public talk, so the first, after you stopped talking then, when you give time for questions and answers, many times the first question was about Lobsang Rampa, “Do you know Lobsang Rampa?” Many times, that will be the first question, “Do you know Lobsang Rampa?”

I think, however, that person has some karma, however, I mean there were no other Dharma books but that become very known, so there must be some karma that person, maybe, gave those explanations, the astral trip, talking about the astral trip, without body, the mind can travel. So, that’s what he explained there, but I mean there’s intermediate stage, during the intermediate stage you don’t have this gross body, just one second, minute you are in Tibet, wherever you think you reach there, in the intermediate stage, after death, depending which rebirth you are taking, except the formless realm doesn’t have to go through intermediate stage, immediately get reborn there, but otherwise, desire realm, form realm, all the realms, you have to go through intermediate stage. So there then the minute, whatever you think, you’re just there without resistance of mountains or anything. They may have also, maybe karmically some, maybe some karmically, not through meditation but karmic, maybe clairvoyance or something, don’t remember hundred percent but just…. So, anyway, in a minute you can be anywhere. So, it’s not from special development, not that, that’s the nature of that karma. So this, [pause] however, due to karma you can’t enter back into the body, don’t enter back into the body.

Anyway, so, but the astral tour, so, those who are practitioners of tantra, like for example, Lama Yeshe, he can do this. So, whose mind is well trained in the root of the path to enlightenment, guru devotion, and his root guru is His Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s younger tutor, that is Lama Yeshe’s root guru. So, mainly, Lama Yeshe mainly follow, but also, excellent, very close, also very close heart relationship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well.

So, anyway, so that realization, that is the most important realization, that one, what makes everything to be successful, the whole path to enlightenment, then, trained well in the common path, what pacifies all the big problems, pacify, by having renunciation, pacifies all the desire, attachment to samsara, samsaric perfections, that’s huge problem from beginningless rebirth so it is pacified, stepped over, pacified by having renunciation of samsara. Then the self-cherishing thought gone, no self-cherishing thought, by having realization of bodhicitta, so all the big problems gone. Then the ignorance, then, so by having the realization of, not only wisdom realizing emptiness, but direct perception, the exalted path, the direct perception, wisdom directly perceiving emptiness.

So they, such as like Lama Yeshe, who are practicing tantra, the secret mantra, Mahayana the secret mantra, Vajrayana, and not only achieved the generation, the highest tantra has two, highest tantra has graduate generation stage, and the graduate completion stage, and graduate completion stage, graduate generation stage has gross, subtle, two stages; graduate completion stage has isolation of body, isolation of speech, isolation of mind, the clear light, then illusory body, unification of those two. Then unification of no more learning, that’s the enlightenment.

So, so like Lama Yeshe, then who has realization of the highest tantra, the illusory body, the clear light, has these, so, like in the case of Lama Yeshe can do this. So your main body is there in your house, sleeping or whatever, but then your subtle mind can go, can go out to do activities. So, those who have that realization of clear light, illusory body, they can do that. So this is before enlightenment. So it doesn’t require gross body to be there, wherever the consciousness goes.

So one late night, at that time, maybe His Holiness Zong Rinpoche was there at Tushita, Dharamsala, Tushita is one of the FPMT meditation centers, retreat centers. [pause] Because in that area, I mean there is the Tibetan government library where teaches philosophy, many teachings, but there’s nowhere for meditation, combined, so anyway, that has been unbelievable successful from, right from the beginning for all the time. So what I hear is, all the time there are people on the waiting list, not enough people fit there so always there are people on the waiting list is what I hear. So when they have meditation courses.

So, anyway, maybe when His Holiness Zong Rinpoche was there, during the first Dharma celebration, I think might be there, maybe around that time, I think, maybe. So then, anyway, late night, maybe after 12 or one o’clock or something, so there was one monk, Lama Gyupa, Lama Gyupa is a monk who entered in the tantric college, there are two, Lower and Upper Tantric College. So those who become geshe at Sera, Ganden, Drepung, Sera Me, Je, Ganden Shartse, Jangtse, Drepung, then Loseling, Gomang, so after you complete your studies there, got a degree, then you go enter tantric college, then you study tantra, you have to learn the very important root texts of tantra, so the whole path to enlightenment have to memorize and, there are many things, drawing mandala, meanings, all the rituals, chantings, all the rituals, all their meaning behind, so, so many things have to learn. Anyway, then you become the abbot, you become the gekyo, disciplinarian, looking after discipline, then, abbot, and one is the lama, one is the abbot, I don’t know exactly what lama, the functions, there’s a lama and abbot, two of them. Then, after that, after some time then you become ?Shartse Chotse, ?Jangtse Chotse, two very high lamas, so you become one, if you still have long life, then you’re one of, so there’s possibility. Then, after that, the highest one is Ganden Tripa, the representative of Lama Tsongkhapa.

So, in Tibet, there’s Lama Tsongkhapa throne, golden throne, I think there’s something like that, and then you sit on that, give teachings. So that’s like most qualified, after, so you complete all the things. So the regent of Lama Tsongkhapa, so he acts like Lama Tsongkhapa.

So, basically, all this means, you become more able to continue because you’re fully qualified being to help to us sentient beings, whatever, able to teach Dharma, show the Lesser Vehicle path to liberation, and Mahayana path, sutra, to achieve enlightenment, Mahayana path, tantra, for quick enlightenment, so you are able to, so extensive way you can teach, whatever, according to the level of sentient beings, so it’s unbelievable what you can do, so many different ways to benefit sentient beings, guide, can guide. It’s unbelievable.

So, so then you become the, propagator, full propagator of the, you preserve whole entire Dharma, intellectual understanding but also then you practice, being monk, then you practice. So, I think, also living in the experience. So not just scholar, not just living life of scholar, monk, but also you practice, so ?live ?in ?those, so that’s how what you’re supposed to be, happening, so anyway, like that.

So, why I was talking this? Huh? [Students explain Rinpoche was talking about Tara, Lama Gyupa.] Lama Gyupa?

So, there was one Lama Gyupa there at Tushita, looking after the altars at Tushita, making water offerings and taking care of the altars in the different house, so Lama’s house, gompa, and, so he, anyway, so he’s not from Sera, Ganden, Drepung, where he studied, finished debate, the study of extensive philosophy and then enter in tantra, not like that, but there are monks who entered straight in tantric college, so Lama Gyupa’s there like this.

So, I don’t think this one goes to Ganden Tripa, because the one who goes to Ganden Tripa all the, then this, after you become geshe, and study all the extensive subjects, Buddhist philosophy, the five major sutra texts, the reasoning, the texts, the Pramanavartika, it’s called ?Sem ma nam dul, the commentary of the Valid Mind, so, anyway, it doesn’t, different subjects, to, I think, the first or second one, I’ve forgotten, second one is about the reincarnation, all that discussion, the reincarnation. Maybe first one there proving how Buddha, how you can trust Buddha, so all the reasonings, so it’s not by blind faith, trusting Buddha, it’s not that, so there’s all the reasonings, how one can trust Buddha, how you can, how Buddha is true founder, not deceiving founder, true founder. So, all the reasonings, and how the teachings are true teaching, there’s all the reasonings, so understand all this.

So the, basically Buddhism is, the way of learning Buddhism is through analysis, it’s like scientists, yourself like the scientist, you learn Buddhism through analysis. The whole Buddhist philosophy is like that, not just blind faith. The way to learn is through, the way you learn is through, by checking.

So, anyway, then Madhyamaka, then, the Abhisamayalamkara, the Maitreya Buddha teaching, then, there’s Abhidharmakosha, then there’s the, it’s all based on Buddha’s teachings, so those Six Ornaments, the Indian great, the great pandits they wrote, the Six Ornaments, so, mainly these texts composed by them, based on Buddha’s teachings, there’s about one hundred volumes of Buddha’s teachings on sutra and tantra.

And then there’s vinaya about the vows, so then they study also for some years on that, on the vows, also. There’s root texts you memorize, you have to memorize, there’s many pages of root text, and the commentaries, not only by Lama Tsongkhapa, but also by Indian pandits.

Then, of course tantra, similar, root tantra, root, by, which is received from Buddha, then the great Indian yogis, then the commentaries, so there’s so many, then after that, there are Tibetan enlightened great lamas who wrote.

So anyway, so I ?forgot what, so, one late night, so, this Lama Gyupa, he’s a good practitioner, he did a three-year Guhyasamaja retreat there at Tushita, he must have some karma to us, strong karma. So, anyway, so he’s, from his side, responsibility to look after the altars and to make offerings.

So then sometimes, Lama, Lama Yeshe liked him, so, but he practiced, he understand those, practiced, he has some good understanding the tantric practice, the path, the meditations, all the sadhanas, so Lama, so there was some conversation happened about this thing, the consciousness going out, without the body, the body in the house, there’s some conversation came up, then Lama said, Lama Yeshe said, “Oh, I can do that, I can come, the body, without the body coming to your house, I can do that. I can come in your house to kill you.” Lama put it that way, but, Lama Yeshe can do that, because he had those realizations, so he can do, but he just put it that way to, as somebody who made joke or play or joke or play.

So, anyway, so, he presented that way, but what it means, Lama can do, that is same, many great lamas like that, I mean, His Holiness, no question, as embodiment of Compassion Buddha, so, many great lamas, many high lamas, they can do that, who have achieved those tantric realizations, so, the gross body in the room, then the subtle mind go, wherever, to do the activities.

And Lama Yeshe’s guru, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, besides Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, other one that received many, many teachings, I think, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche who’s also my first, who is my first guru before I met Lama Yeshe, so the first guru who introduced me the very beginning, the text of philosophy, called dura, so, didn’t receive much teachings, it was only at Buxa, so only when Geshe Rabten Rinpoche was at Buxa during that time.

So then Geshe Rabten Rinpoche was invited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to help him, I think he to look for, to work for His Holiness, in the library, the text, or sometimes to discussion, to have Dharma discussion. So invited at Dharamsala, so then they, the disciples, then the elder students, of course, then, I think they studied by themselves, I think, like Lama Yeshe, like that, elder students they studied by themselves. They already five great texts, already, have studied already, so, basically I think maybe studied by themselves, the very elder students. The other younger ones then they find, to study from other, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche’s elder disciples or maybe outside, other gurus or something like that.

So, when Lama Yeshe, well, what is said by doctor or things like, the heart, what doctor said heart problems, things like that, and, so there’s been, but many years ago in Nepal, I think, doctor mentioned, anyway, so, but I think may have, I don’t know, anyway, it doesn’t matter. So, then, later, at Kopan, the late, much later then took very serious, kind of aspect of sicknesses, then went to Delhi in the hospital and then we went, I went to see that time one student, she was an American school teacher, there’s an American school teacher in Nepal, in Kathmandu, so she had been teaching there for many years, and also I think maybe even before that, a very good teacher. So, how’s it called, this one, what do you call that? There’s different terms, Negro or what? [Student: African American or Black..] African American, okay, so she’s African American. So, we called her Mummy Max, Mummy Max, but she tried to help Kopan Monastery, all the young monks, and also Lawudo where I was born, the hermitage up there, also.

The very first Western student, as probably many of you read the story would know, Zina, the, Zina, princess Zina, Zina Rachevsky, Princess Rachevsky, something like that. She’s the daughter of, her father was king in Russia in the old times, then there was some revolution happened, then they left Russia, came to France, lived in France. I think she was born in France. Then she grew up, I think, in the United States, much of her life, then Greece, many, she went many places in the world, many, many, Afghanistan, all these, so many places in the world, so, she had many different class of life: rich, poor, so she had all kinds of experiences in the life, and, so she know rich people, simple people, all kinds of things. So, anyway, so she’s the very first Western student.

So, she was still there, then this Mummy Max, the high school teacher, so happened benefacting us, taking care of Lama Yeshe and myself, near the end. The other one is, and other become nun, nun at Dharamsala. We asked His Holiness, but didn’t have time so His Holiness asked one lama, Lati Rinpoche, one lama, who ordained her. So she was more in retreat, Lama sent her on the mountains to do retreat, so many years retreat, gave all the advices.

So then this one, African American, Mummy Max, so she, then she looked after us, and, so anyway...