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 5: Completed Karma, The Ten Non-Virtues: Killing and Sexual Misconduct

So, now, the negative karma of killing, completed negative karma of killing – when I say ‘completed’… first of all the completed negative karma of killing, for example that one, the negative karma, then what kind of appearance you get? What kind of appearance, what kind of life experience you get from that?

So now more details, more specific details on that.

Completed karma of killing is: there’s a base, a sentient being, a living being. A sentient being: having mind – not necessarily human mind, but having mind. Mind doesn’t have to be only human mind. Sentient being – so the base is that. Then action. The thought. Base, thought, action, goal. Goal is, in this case, if you died, you did action of killing. But, if you died before the other living being, then it’s not completed -so like that.

These are the four things, which complete the killing. If the killing is done out of ego, self-cherishing thought - attachment, anger, whatever, that’s what makes the killing non-virtue. That makes action of killing come from non-virtue. By having these four things gathered, action of killing is completed. So, anyway, this negative karma is completed negative karma, then it has the four suffering results. The ripened result – the rebirth in the lower realm: hell, hungry ghost, or animal. One of those realms, experiencing those very heavy sufferings until the negative karma finishes, no matter how many … If the karma is to be experienced for aeons, for many billions of years, one experience that. That much long of time, if the karma is that, the karma is heavy like that. The ripening result is rebirth in the lower realm. Then, lesser, when you get born in human world you experience the three other sufferings.

The place where you live, or where you get born - the food, drink, medicines, crops, fruit – these things have very little protein. Due to you karma they don’t have much power, very little protein, very difficult to digest. Even if you eat these things, drink, unable to digest. So the digestion problem, according to the Sutra explained by Buddha, {Sa …Do} The Sutra of the Tenth Bhumi. I think this explanation comes from there. Explained in Lam Rim - the Lama Tsongkapa Lam Rim. So here it talks about digestion problem. Even you eat, unable to digest. These things are the result of the past negative karma of killing. Even you eat these things, then you get disease. It causes un-health. By drinking, eating food, cause of disease – result of the past negative karma of killing. Even the food itself, there’s nothing wrong, but for some people it becomes problem. I think like this. I have diabetes so the sweet things, cannot eat. So it become, it increases diabetes. So like that. So people with diabetes like me cannot eat food that contains sugar or like that. So same: food itself is okay but for some - many people it doesn’t harm - but some people cannot eat. It harms. So like that.

Even the person has, can still live longer, but untimely death happening before that. Person still has karma to live longer but untimely death happened. These things are result of past negative karma of killing. Death happening in the mother’s womb, before even coming out, and so forth; shortness of life, like that – the past negative karma of killing.

Then, two other sufferings. This one is to do with the place. Tibetan’s call ---- de.wo – possessed result. Two other problems result of the negative karma, comes from the negative karma of killing. The other one is experiencing the result similar to the cause you’ve done in the past - harm to others. So even if you’re born as human being, you experience shortness of life. And you experience many sicknesses. You experience shortness of life and many sicknesses one after another, or many sicknesses at the same time. This is experiencing the result similar to the cause.

Then the other one: [Tibetan] creating the result similar to the cause. [Tibetan ] Creating result similar to the cause. When you’re born human being you engage again because of previous habit, or imprint, negative imprint left on the mind by the negative karma of killing. Then, next life, after some time when you’re born human being, then again you do killing. That is creating the result similar to the cause. So like this.

Then [unclear] similar the cause, again produce the four suffering results. So like that you see. [unclear] create do again next - when you’re born human being next time then doing the action of killing again. So goes on an on like that. Goes on and on like that. No end for the negative karma and suffering until, unless you purify negative karma.

Unless you purify the past negative karma of killing, unless you purify that - and the solution is not only purify. Purify is one thing – so that you don’t experience the result again. But purifying is not the only solution. Very important solution is to live in the vows, precepts. To abstain from killing, abstaining from killing – that’s very important. That’s the change of your action so that’s very important. So there’s two things: purify past negative karma that we’ve done, then to not kill again. To do that, the best thing is to live in the vow - to live in the vow abstaining from killing. That’s how this vow counts (?) So these two – purify, and living in the vow to not kill – is the solution to not experience on-going, unending suffering. Killing(?) again, again and experience the result suffering again, again. Like that.

So, therefore, the next one and then I’ll stop there.

The next one is completed negative karma [unclear] but I’m going to mention – leave that one. I’m going to mention completed negative karma of sexual misconduct. Leave that second one. The completed negative karma of sexual misconduct: ripened result is birth in the lower realm. And then the three other sufferings one experiences in the human realm. Posses the result to do with the place: place where you’re born, or city where you live, very filthy, dirty place; filled with excrement or lot of dirt, very muddy place; lot of garbage, unhygienic, so many bad smells, very sad, very unhappy place, very unpleasant place. Even if, normally, we don’t live in such a place but sometimes we have to pass through. Even that, even that short time passing through bad smell, dirty place, and you have to go through – even that, is possessing the result of past negative karma of sexual misconduct.

Then, experiencing the result similar to the cause. That one is, when you’re born human being, your surrounding people they’re disturbing you. They’re not harmonious to you. Family or surrounding people, companion, other person that you live together – they’re not harmonious [unclear]. Very disturbing [unclear] – always bothering you. And you can’t trust them, the other person, the companion, the surrounding people – you can’t trust. Like that. The wife or husband, other companion, the other person, the mind is comparative, against to your wishes. What the husband or wife or other person, the way he or she thinks, the other person’s way of thinking is against your wishes. So that brings problem like disharmony, bad relationship. So such these things, not harmonious to your mind - the other person that you live together, way of thinking is against your wishes. So that brings not harmonious, so much unhappiness and problem, quarrel, fighting. So, anyway, this is the result, experiencing the result similar to the cause: the sexual misconduct done in the past by oneself.

In other words, the family members – even in the family – everybody become your enemy. Husband become enemy or the other family members become enemy. People around you become enemy to you. [unclear] and they’re not listening to you. They disobey you. They’re not listening to you. This is the result of the past negative karma of sexual misconduct.

Then experiencing the result similar to the cause, that one is doing the action. When one is born human being, another lifetime, then doing the action again, committing that action again. Then, again, that produces four suffering results. One again engages in sexual misconduct and that produces another four suffering results. So goes on. If you just leave it, if you don’t do anything, if you don’t practice purification, if you don’t live in the vow abstaining from that, then like that – one negative karma killing or sexual misconduct today goes on and on. It affects in all future lives - numberless lifetimes it affects, become unending suffering. Like that. So this one karma today, negative karma today, if you don’t take [unclear] any purification, if you don’t live in the vow, don’t change your actions, abstaining from the negative karma, then these sufferings become – from there it become suffering through many numberless future lives. The suffering becomes unending. So like that.

So, therefore, now, even I explain just one or two of these, now you can see how. Now same thing: if you’re live in the vow, the precepts, this virtue, morality, then also it should be same. Four results of happiness: good rebirth - deva, human rebirth. Then, in the future lives also, able to live in the vow, precepts. In the case of the place, abstaining from killing, living this morality, the place where you live, where you get born, everything is so – food, crops...

[tape change]

.. The four sufferings of one negative karma - the killing - then you, by living in the vow abstaining from killing, completely opposite: the four results happiness you achieve. So that’s the way to be known. And long-life in the future lives; no disease, no sicknesses; much of the life is healthy. Maybe there’s some sickness but much of the life is healthy, or no sickness. So like that. So then like that. It’s not just one lifetime. The effect goes on life to life. By living in the morality abstaining from killing, the four results of happiness, and it goes from life to life. You enjoy the result of that from life to life.

Then, the same thing: sexual misconduct. By practising morality abstaining from sexual misconduct then not only peace and happiness this life, but harmonious relationships, all that. Not only this life but future lives. Everybody listens to you. Everybody’s mind is harmonious to you – family, in the office, wherever. Your companion is always, how his mind is always exactly wish is exactly yours. Thinks the same way you think, wish the same way, obey you - so there’s much peace and happiness in the life. The place is so beautiful, so clean. No dirty smell, filthy – not like that. So opposite. So this life when we enjoy those kind of places – beautiful gardens, very clean places, that’s the result of past good karma of living the morality abstaining from sexual misconduct.

We should recognise like this in our daily life: these enjoyments came from such as good karma, and these unpleasant things came such as negative karma. And we should, by understanding Lam Rim, about karma, in our daily life we should recognise. This is the result of negative karma. This is the result of positive karma. So it’s very good. Then that inspires you to abandon negative karma and practice virtue. Like that.

So, therefore, the conclusion: without living in the morality, what happens if you allow yourself to develop, to be – some people say, ‘I want to be myself’. I don’t want to be something else. I want to be myself. If you continue to become ‘yourself’, all self, which is all self – no change; no change. Then, what happens is this: you do nothing. You don’t purify negative karma. You don’t practice morality. You don’t change your mind and action, so then, no change. So, being yourself: the old one, old self, I want to be myself, that old self you see. So then the suffering is endless. No end. Even from one negative karma.

So, therefore, now by living in the morality, happiness goes on and on in all the numberless lives. Therefore the four result happiness from completed good karma. Now you can understand morality. Now you understand the importance of morality. Even for lay there’s lay vows – doesn’t mean everybody become monk or nun. For the lay there’s lay vow. So now here, even to practice one – even if one cannot practice all the five: abstaining from killing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, stealing, and alcohol – that which makes the mind unconscious or uncontrolled, behaviour change, then engage in many negative karmas, which makes engage in many negative karmas. So even if one cannot practice all the five moralities, at least one. At least one. It becomes so important, so essential. If you want happiness, this is living in the morality – at least one.

You can understand from this explanation that it’s so essential. It’s the basis of your happiness from now on. So important. Like that. So, how to make life meaningful – how to make it now, up to the death, up to how many years, how many months, days, weeks, hours, minutes, seconds – how much we have now from this second up to death. How many there is, if we want to make meaningful, one of the very important practice, that is this. One of the very important practices to make life meaningful is this one: morality. So today there are many subjects on that.

So Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe’s teacher from Tibet. Now in Sera Je College, the present Abbott, ex-Abbott before, many of the great teachers there who have been educating the young monks, educating many hundreds, thousands of young monks to become Geshe, educating, receiving excellent education as you saw Geshe Tashi. Like that. There are many young Geshes like that down there receiving excellent education. These monasteries – Sera, Ganden, Drepung, are the main places – the places to learn the most extensive Buddha’s teachings in the world. These are the only places learning that extensively through the form of debate, through form of – not Tibet, debate! - in the world. So those great teachers, many of those great teachers have been educating those young monks, like Geshe Tashi, like Lama Lhundrup and so forth. Their teacher is those great learned ones down there. Their teacher is Geshe Sopa Rinpoche - many of those, Lama’s teacher and my teacher. So Geshe la will be here few days. So I will request Dharma teaching according to our present mind, developed mind something that is really needed, fit so that later easy to develop bodhicitta and so forth. Then we have basis to practice Tantra. So Geshe Sopa Rinpoche will be teaching so this time very fortunate that Geshe la is here, happened to be here on the way to India for pilgrimage and Dharamsala to attend religious meetings.

So maybe tomorrow I thought to give oral transmission of the Thirty-Five Buddha practice, the compassion purification, the oral transmission of the prayer, the Thirty-Five Buddha. The name of the prayer is Confession of Downfalls. Extremely powerful. So to give the oral transmission of that. To do this, you can recite this in the car, aeroplane. Put your palms together like this. Unbelievably powerful.

Even reciting the first name of the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha’s name, even reciting the first name, just one time, just once, it has power to purify 80,000 aeons negative karma – not just years or months, days – aeons of negative karma it has power to purify. So these Buddha’s names are like atomic bomb to purify negative karma, to destroy the negative karma. So for many aeon negative karma get, each Buddha’s to purify different negative karma.

Even without the prostration, just to recite is unbelievably powerful. This is a very essential practice in the daily life - very, very important. Then when there is place to do prostration, or opportunity to do prostrations, then to do with prostration.

And something on that – prostration is extremely important to collect extensive merit. So, maybe, some elaboration on that, on the prayer - as a solution to purify all these negative karmas. So I’ll stop here – really stop!

Mandala Offering, Dedication Prayers [not transcribed]