Bodhgaya Teachings: 2006 (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India 2006 (Archive #1588)

Days 1-3 of teachings given at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, December 26-31, 2006. Included are a Maitreya Buddha puja, teachings and meditations on Maitreya, and oral transmissions of the Maitreya mantra, Maitreya prayer and King of Prayers.

Click on the audio links to listen to that portion of the teaching and read along with the unedited transcript. You can listen to Days 4-6 here.

Day Three: Wrong concepts of impermanence; Taking care of oneself by cherishing others

[Rinpoche recites verse preliminary to teaching in Tibetan.]

Sorry for the change in time. This might be difficult time for you but my favorite time. Nighttime is my favorite time. But it’s difficult time for you, yeah? Sleeping time.

So, to not forget, if I did it at the end might forget, so then I do the lung of the mantra, so there’s a few other mantras of Maitreya Buddha for different _______.

Yeah, then, this, not just we received a human body, which is so precious, even just to be a human being, having a human body is so precious, because it can, so precious, not easy to receive, extremely difficult to receive, rare to receive, just enough to be human being, having a human body, that it is mentioned in the teachings by Buddha that, just, why it’s so rare and difficult to find, I mean, to receive, because the cause is very difficult to create, because need not just living in morality but one need to live in the pure morality, the cause, you need the preliminary, before taking a human rebirth, you need the preliminary, lived in pure morality. So, it’s not easy, even one vow, first of all, even for oneself, for us, it takes, not easy, even to take one vow it takes a long time. First of all to understand, first of all it depends on, especially understanding, strong knowledge or strong faith in karma, to abandon the cause of suffering, the opposite, taking, anyway, killing, whether it’s killing oneself or killing others, so, so forth, negative karma and result only, it has result only suffering, some idea of that. Even one doesn’t understand completely that each complete negative karma has four suffering results. Ripening aspect result, rebirth in the lower realms, then even in the human realm, even you are born as a human being due to another good karma in the future, then you have to experience three suffering results in the human realm, to do with the place, to do with the environment, suffering, environment which is very harmful and not, anyway, a lot of dangers for life, a lot of disease and a lot of war, famine, so there are many conditions for, that which makes the life suffer or causes death. [pause] That even the medicine become side-effect. Even the food that you eat, it’s meant for long life, for health, but you have side-effects. Even the food causes digestion problems or side-effect. Even the enjoyments it harms you, it has side-effect. So like that, example. But of course, for that person, but that doesn’t mean for everybody. It doesn’t mean everybody who are living in that place or living in the country, it doesn’t mean that, but it’s defined by karma. Even the medicine helps to the body but for some people it becomes side-effect. So it is defined by karma, it is defined by past karma. Not by God or not by somebody, but by your own past actions and negative thoughts.

So, the possessed result and then experiencing the result similar to the cause, how you treat other sentient beings in the past then you are treated in that life by others in that way, similar. So, somebody abuse you, all those things, whatever happens in that life is that you did the same, similar to others in the past, so then you experience the same thing. The karma that you harmed or treated in a negative way, so that karma ripened in that life and then when that karma is ripened so the sentient being whom you harmed in the past is there and then they, in either animal form or either in the form of mosquitoes or in the form of whatever, or human form, then you receive harm from that being. So it is impossible phenomena that these things happening without reason for it. The reason is done before the act, the reason is done before you receive harm from, before you receive the result, harm, from others. Whether it’s a spirit or a human being or animal or whoever that’s giving harm. So the reason why this being, the person, giving harm, the reason, the preliminary, the reason existed before, a long time ago.

So, then sometimes can be, you create the karma yesterday and you experience the result today or sometimes also you experience the karma today, you created the cause in the same day. In the same day you created the karma then within, in the same day a few hours then you experience the result. Also that can happen. So depending, if the karma is very strong, that can happen. Very powerful, it can happen also like that. So anyway, so it doesn’t have to be only, if it’s past karma, doesn’t have to be only past, done in past lives. Not necessary.

So however, the reason that which exists before you receive harm from others, that is how you treat other sentient beings in the past, harm in negative way, abuse, whatever. [pause]

So one can, in the sutra, there are so many stories of karma, Buddha, those are explained by Buddha why this happened, why this animal is suffering this, why this person is suffering this, something hard to believe. The problem is something that hard to believe, hard to imagine, hard to believe, then Buddha explained why this happened, because in the past such-and-such a time, then did such-and-such, created such-and-such negative karma, so there are full of karmic stories. Now besides other, the great pandits, yogis, those great holy beings, besides those who have clairvoyance, those who have omniscient mind or the clairvoyance, besides that, there are so many that Buddha himself explained. So some of the stories are brought into lam-rim, those hard ones, that hard to believe. The similar book, I think there’s a similar book, Whether You Believe or Not, so a book called Whether You Believe or Not, but inside there’s actual, there’s pictures, unimaginable bodies a person has taken this life. There’s all sorts of things, mostly here it’s related with the body, just unimaginable things, you can’t think of, hard to think, hard to believe. So, unbelievable, unbelievable things happened. So this, all kinds of things, unbelievable things.

So it has, [pause] but it happened. It is hard to believe but it’s happened. It happened. These things happened different parts of the world and so then took pictures, like that. So, particularly in the West, all those people who have unbelievable strange, inexpressible strange bodies, so they’re all kept one place so you don’t see in the street. But whereas in India, sometimes you see in the road. So in the West it’s all kept in one place. I’m not sure, because there’s organization who takes care of them or, not sure the reasons. So, in Spain many years ago, quite a number of years ago, so my favorite one sight-seeing that is the, when people ask for sight-seeing, so in Australia, in the United States, the one sight-seeing is that house where kept the human bodies. So that’s my favorite sight-seeing. So that is, that’s the real teaching, breaking your concept. You have totally wrong belief that this body is clean, that this is, suffering, believing suffering is pleasure, there’s all these wrong beliefs, all these hallucinations, and even the life is totally in nature of impermanence, doesn’t last long, but you always, every day you get up with the idea that I’m going to live for many years. So all the time you have this concept of permanence, wrong concept, contradictory to the reality of the life. That you think this even the same day, you’re going to die today, in that morning, even that morning you think the same thing, I’m going to live for many years. So even five minutes or even just a few seconds or minutes before the car accident, you have this belief that I’m going to live, nothing’s going to happen to me, Oh, I’m going to live for many years. You have this wrong concept even just before, a few seconds, of the car accident or heart attack, that you die.

So it’s, so this is a real teaching that breaks all these wrong concepts, that doesn’t allow you to practice Dharma, that totally illusions, these wrong concepts completely, totally illusions you, deceives you, totally deceives you, illusions you and make your life, appeared life something else, not the reality. It doesn’t allow you to discover the reality of the life. Then unable to change the mind, unable to soften the heart, unable to change the mind and unable to practice Dharma, that means unable to practice Dharma. So unable to have realization of the path, and that means unable to, not only unable to achieve higher rebirth but unable to, besides, unable to achieve liberation from samsara. [pause] Then yeah, unable to do that, then also it harms to achieve higher rebirth next life, so the life is totally illusioned by this wrong concept. It’s like having taken a drug. These wrong concepts are like having taken drug or being alcoholic, taken drug. These wrong concepts is like a drug. More harmful than a drug. That totally illusioned you.

So like this, yourself, your life, your body, the environment, and the people around you, everything, wrong projection, wrong view, wrong projection, by these wrong concepts. So make oneself to live in the total, make your own world, which is illusion. This is besides truly existent. You make everything as truly existent, you make everything as real, truly existent, this is besides, so many other illusions besides this. Gross, very gross illusions, besides the truly existent appearance. Everything what exists is what is merely labeled by mind, but not appearing according to the reality and you make with your mind, with your ignorance, the ignorance project the true existence, project the hallucination on the merely labeled I, the merely labeled action, the merely labeled objects, form, sound, smell, taste, tangible objects, so everything, so decorated or project the hallucination of true existence on all the I, action, object, all the phenomena, which are merely imputed by mind. On the mere imputation, then all these hallucinations are projected by one’s own mind, by one’s own ignorance. So you, on other words, we let our mind, due to lack of meditation, mindfulness, due to lack of realization of emptiness, that phenomena that which are imputed by mind, that they are dependent arising, so therefore they are empty of independence, empty of existing from its own side.

So, we allow our mind, ignorance, we create ignorance by ourselves, by oneself one create ignorance, first place, and then let the ignorance to project all these hallucinations over the mere imputation of everything. So made everything real. Instead of everything appearing merely labeled by mind, which is the truth, which is the reality, but everything something totally opposite to reality, which is the definition of the false. So the definition of false is the, the appearance, how things appear to you and reality it’s contradictory, not harmonious, that’s contradictory, that’s the definition of false. So everything false, contradictory, opposite to reality, so including I, action, object, all the phenomena. So lack of realization of emptiness and developing that, with the support of bodhicitta, method, the great compassion, great loving kindness and bodhicitta, so with the support of that and, so developing these with the support of wisdom, so and then ceasing the subtle negative imprint left on the mental continuum by the past simultaneously born concept of true existence, so that didn’t get ceased, that subtle negative imprint left by past ignorance, concept of true existence, the simultaneously born, so that subtle imprint, subtle defilement didn’t get ceased, so therefore then, we have this hallucination, false view. And also, not only that then also, lack of realization of emptiness then not discovering, not seeing that they’re empty of existing from its own side and then, as things appear truly existing from their own side, then one, you let your mind to hold onto it that it’s true, that it’s completely, a hundred percent it’s true, the believe a hundred percent, so strong the belief in this, which has been habituated from beginningless rebirth. From time without beginning we have been habituated in this wrong belief, this is a hundred percent true. So then that become the root, the basis, for all the delusion and karma and all the oceans of suffering of samsara. So every single problem came from that.

So, [pause] so what Buddha explained in the teachings, you are the guide to yourself, you are also enemy to yourself. So that’s become very true. [pause] So, when we meditate on emptiness, looking at the I, action, object, phenomena are empty, how they are, that their nature is dependent arising, even one does not have realization but one has the correct understanding of the meaning of the words and meditating, so when you do that, so that leads to realization of emptiness. The correct understanding, meditation, leads to actual realization of emptiness. Then that wisdom realizing emptiness, so that leads to liberation, the total cessation of suffering and causes.

So here, in the daily life when we do the practice, when we do meditation, like this, mindfulness, so you are the guide, so you are liberating yourself, that time you are liberating yourself. The other times when we let ourself totally illusioned, when we let ourself to be deceived by ignorance, by following the ignorance, and then all the I, action, object, all these phenomena, while they’re empty, merely imputed by mind then appeared truly existing from their own side and then we follow the ignorance. By following the ignorance then hold onto it, believe, trust on them, a hundred percent you trust on them, so on these hallucinations as they are reality. So like trusting enemy, it’s enemy but you believe it’s a friend and the way you think, then made, actually it’s harming you, cheating you constantly but one interpret it as a friend, and then you totally trust in that, but in reality, constantly harming you, cheating you. So I’m just explaining the word, how to trust, so we trust on this hallucination, these false views as reality, as they are true, as reality.

That, and then when we do that, we engage into that, then that’s the obstacle to achieve liberation for yourself, cessation of all the oceans of samsaric suffering and cause, karma and delusion, become, so you _______, not allowing yourself to achieve liberation, so then become harming. Then, same, on that basis then all those other negative emotional thoughts rises, delusions, same, then engage in negative karma, even in negative karma. So, many obstacles. The anger, the ignorance not knowing karma, not knowing what is right, that which benefits you and others, wrong, which harms you and harms others. Ignorance not knowing that and so many other negative emotional thoughts rises. So these times you become the enemy to yourself. So when you practice Dharma that that time you become guide to yourself, because you are creating the cause of happiness, so that makes you to achieve happiness, from happiness to happiness to liberation to enlightenment, when you practice Dharma, so that is, that time you become guide to yourself. When we do not practice Dharma, when we follow ignorance, anger, attachment, these attitudes, follow these delusions and then engage in the action, then that time we are creating the cause of samsara, we are creating negative karma, so which leads to many sufferings, the endless suffering of samsara, which leads to many problems of this life and then life coming after this. So therefore, that time, when we do not practice Dharma, then one become enemy to oneself.

When we practice Dharma, that time you are looking after yourself. Whenever you, every day in our everyday life, whenever you are practicing Dharma, that time you are looking after yourself, you are taking care of yourself, and that is what it means, you love yourself. In the West talk so much about you love yourself. It become huge, become mountains, the issue is become like mountains, like Mount Everest.

Anyway , so anyway, so one can understand by understanding karma, understanding what is negative karma and the suffering results of those, unimaginable suffering results that you have to experience from life to life, not only in this life but from life to life, hundreds, thousands, thousands, thousands of lifetimes. Then the result, engage in the good karma, virtuous action, then the result happiness you enjoy, experience from life to life, for hundreds, thousands, thousands of lifetimes, even up to when you achieve liberation or enlightenment, from life to life enjoy the happiness, the result.

So anyway, by having some understanding of this and by having the understanding the benefits of compassion, limitless skies of benefit of compassion, limitless skies of benefit the compassion has, that is the real source of all your happiness, success, now and in the future, all the time, and that’s your greatest success, your great achievement come from that, and as well as numberless sentient beings, numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, those and your family, even this life the family, surrounding people, animals, so everywhere, whichever country you are, or in the office, at home, wherever you are, so all those people’s happiness, which comes from your compassion, their happiness dependent on your compassion and your good heart benefiting others. So, knowing that, how it’s so dependent, numberless other sentient beings’ happiness, peace, so dependent on your compassion, like that, so then, however, by having some understanding of this then, so you have some wisdom to judge what is right and what is wrong. What is right to practice, what is wrong to be abandoned. So, as I normally mention, so when you practice renunciation, contentment, letting go the emotional, you give freedom to yourself and don’t allow oneself under the negative emotional thoughts, the desire and you take, you become independent from that, try to achieve independence, yourself to be independent from that and free from that that. Let go of that. So when you practice the determination to be free, or the renunciation, so that time you are protecting yourself from the suffering of samsara. You are protecting yourself from the problems of this life. So that’s one Dharma, very important Dharma, the renunciation. Making yourself free from suffering by making yourself free from the cause of the suffering. That’s what it is, from these negative emotional thoughts. So you can see very clearly, so here, you’re protecting yourself when we say, when there’s a practice of renunciation or this letting go the negative emotion, desire. Looking after yourself, making yourself come out of problems, to be free from problems, like coming out of prison, that constant prison, making yourself come out of this negative emotional prison, the worldly living, the prison that you live in. So that becomes the best, that becomes real loving to yourself.

Then when you practice right view, emptiness, right view, then no question because that’s, that which cuts the root of samsara, that meditation or that wisdom, root of all the sufferings, so no question, ?about that there’s no question, that looking after yourself, most, very important one, looking after, very important looking after yourself, loving yourself.

Now the most important, best one, that’s, to take care of yourself is the compassion, as I mentioned before, the good heart, bodhicitta that’s the best way of, best, the wisest, the most wise way of living the life, because even you have realization of emptiness, by developing that without bodhicitta, the highest what you can achieve is just only the liberation from samsara, that’s it. You can’t become even a bodhisattva. You can’t achieve those five Mahayana paths, ten bhumis, you can’t achieve. You can’t achieve those, even the ordinary bodhisattva’s qualities, you can’t have, don’t have. Besides you can’t achieve those skies of qualities that arya bodhisattvas, exalted bodhisattvas have. Even eighth bhumi bodhisattva, ninth bhumi, tenth bhumi bodhisattva, before becoming enlightened, it’s almost like Buddha, I mean, unimaginable, unimaginable, unbelievable, it’s hard to believe their activities, benefit for sentient beings what they can do is just, it’s out of, it’s beyond our, can’t imagine, beyond our concept. For us it’s like Buddha. They’re not Buddha yet but how unbelievable activities what they can do, with their body, speech and mind, it’s just…. [pause] Can manifest in various forms, even the bridge or water or rocks or trees, whatever needs for sentient beings they can manifest. So in many worlds in the pores, not money purse, not in the money purse, many worlds on their pores of their body, tiny pores, so many worlds. Then they’re able to, yeah, pervade, this as it is mentioned in the Madhyamika the commentary, so I just, I think maybe the last chapter, just amazing ?ones. For us it’s like Buddha already. Even though they’re still a sentient being, but what they can do is just amazing.

So anyway, so cannot achieve those qualities to offer extensive benefit for sentient beings, cannot achieve, only with the wisdom realizing emptiness, even direct perception but without bodhicitta, without great compassion, loving kindness, bodhicitta, so like that. So that’s why I was saying, that’s why the wisest, most wise life is practicing bodhicitta, the great compassion, loving kindness, bodhicitta. And the three-time buddhas, past, present, future buddhas, they checked what is most beneficial for sentient beings and they discovered bodhicitta, when they checked for many eons what is beneficial for sentient beings, they discovered bodhicitta is the most beneficial thing for sentient beings. So even from that point of view, the quotation in the Bodhicaryavatara, even from that point of view, this means most wise, most fruitful, most wise, is practicing this. Even one do not have actual realization, but with effort trying to generate this attitude and live the life with this, making life useful, beneficial for sentient beings. So no question if there’s actual realization that without any effort we just naturally you feel, spontaneously you feel, your mind become that. Your life become that, your mind become that, so without any effort just your mind is in that experience. So that no question. So anyway, so that’s the best way of taking care of one’s own life and that’s what means loving to oneself, the best one.

So when our life, when our mind is opposite to that, opposite to the three principles of the path then we are not taking care of our life. Then you are not looking after yourself, you are not taking care of oneself. So then it becomes a problem. When you’re not living in the three principles of the path, the lam-rim, the heart of the lam-rim, then you abandoned, you think you are taking care, you love, but actually you abandoned yourself. So when you cherish yourself, you abandoned yourself. When you cherish others, that’s the best taking care of the life. Because from cherishing others then you get everything, you achieve enlightenment, you achieve, you get liberation from, cessation of all the suffering and causes, due to that, up to seventh-bhumi bodhisattva, there’s defilements, but then after eighth, eighth-bhumi bodhisattva, ninth-bhumi bodhisattva do not have the disturbing-thought obscurations, so totally ceased even the seed of delusion. So free, not only achieve total cessation of suffering but also achieve enlightenment, you can achieve. So for yourself you can achieve all this, all this happiness you’re able to achieve then you’re able to cause numberless hell beings good rebirth, temporary happiness, then liberation from samsara, enlightenment. Then you’re able to cause numberless hungry ghosts, able to cause them to have good rebirth, temporary happiness, then liberation from samsara, enlightenment. Then you’re able to cause numberless animals, numberless ants, numberless mosquitoes, numberless fish, numberless flies, each type is numberless, worms in the ground, those red worms, when rain comes, those or the, so even just animal realm there are unbelievable number of each different types and each type is numberless. So you are able to cause happiness to all of them. Even just able to, you just think of the ants, able to cause good rebirth, able to cause temporary happiness to them, the numberless ants, even one mountain, even one spot there’s thousands, thousands, thousands, under one rock, one spot or nest, then a mountain can’t imagine how many there are on one, on one field can’t imagine how much and then in one country, how many ants there is in one country, one area, one country, then in this world, but then there are numberless universes, so therefore, in other universes, in all those other universes, there are ants. So I’m counting, not only I’m counting the ants of this world, but I’m counting the other universes, ants from other universes. Mouse from other universes, mouse, rats, mouse, cockroach. Anyway, so you are causing happiness to all the numberless ants from different universes, yeah, then, give liberation, ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, ultimate happiness, enlightenment, you’re able to cause. Can you imagine? You, the one person’s compassion, bodhicitta can do that. So that is am-a-a-zing. So that is a-m-a-a-a-zing. So that’s a real am-a-a-zing. I should _____ even more, third, fourth, amazing.

Anyway, so it’s like that, with your compassion, you the one person’s great compassion, bodhicitta, what you can do if you practice, if you generate this, develop this. So you’re able to cause all the happiness to all these numberless ants, then as well as human beings, numberless human beings, suras, asuras, then intermediate state beings, all the sentient beings. That’s just mind-blowing. It’s just mind-blowing. So it’s just amazing.

So, and from this explanation you can understand, you can see how this is the most important practice.