Heart Sutra Retreat (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Genting View Resort, Malaysia (Archive #1048)

The following are teachings from a Heart Sutra retreat held in Malaysia in 1997.

The teachings include oral transmissions of the Vajrasattva mantra and the Heart Sutra and teachings on rebirth, bodhicitta and emptiness.

How We Are Tied to Samsara

So human beings, already they have so much suffering, the suffering of samsara if it's condensed, suffering of pain, suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness and death; then the worry, fear unable to find desirable object; even one has found cannot find satisfaction, cannot get satisfaction from that and meeting undesirable objects, there's so many problems between birth and death, the human beings, so many suffering of pain, then the temporary samsaric pleasure, which is suffering of change, which is only suffering, and pervasive compounding suffering, the fundamental suffering of samsara. Already one's own kind mother sentient beings, human beings, who are source of all one's own past, present, future happiness, one's own all the past, all the present, all the future, including enlightenment, all the happiness, one's own kind mother sentient beings, human beings, who are source of all one's own past, present, future, all the happiness including enlightenment, from whom you get all the happiness, so already they have so much suffering, and then so doesn't need to, no need to give additional suffering to them, already they themselves have so much suffering. So, mind is filled with wrong views and so much hallucinations, wrong concepts. However so like this, pitiful.

Then these insects, for example, also one's own kind mother sentient beings who are source of all one's own past, present, all the future happiness, including enlightenment, all the happiness, from whom one receive. So now, those fish, all these, example those animals, those insects, flies and so forth, those insects, worms, so pitiful, already there is so much suffering there, so pitiful, so doesn't, so to give more suffering on top of that to them, so it is very unbearable to cause more suffering to them on top of that already what they have, so it is very unbearable. So what we need to do is, what we need to practice is, including ourselves, by giving Dharma education, Dharma wisdom, education to others, so, it's something that besides not giving additional suffering that suffering already that they have is so much, what they are experiencing, what they have to reduce, already what they have, so much suffering, to reduce, to liberate them from the sufferings. So it becomes, everyday life, it becomes extremely crucial, important, great need, like that.

So now, yeah, so the root of all the samsara, the root of all the suffering, the oceans of sufferings of the human beings, sura, asura, hell, hungry ghosts, animals, oceans of sufferings of each realm, so all these came from cause, karma, and karma motivated by delusions, so the whole this then, where it came from, all these are produced by the ignorance, unknowing mind, unknowing the ultimate nature, not knowing what is the I, not knowing the ultimate nature of the I and not knowing the ultimate nature of the aggregates, the association of body and mind, the aggregates. So therefore, when we hear this, when we come to know the ignorance, this unknowing mind, the concept of simultaneous born the wrong concept of inherent existence. So, when we come to know that this is the root of all the sufferings, all those other cause of sufferings, so then that means if you want happiness, that means if you don't want suffering, you want happiness, then what you need to do, the one thing what you need to do is to cut this ignorance. The one thing that you need to do is cut this ignorance, the solution.

And the temporary samsaric pleasure, the feeling we are hallucinated as it is pleasure, those meditators, those practitioners who have realization detached mind to the samsara, they see, they discover, they have realized, how they see all these samsaric pleasures, sense pleasures, are only suffering. And this is what all the Buddhas they see, it's only suffering. This is what all the arya beings, arhats, all the arya beings who have the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness what they see, the samsaric sense pleasures are only suffering, this is what they discovered, this is what they realized. So, when our mind is, to our hallucinated mind, times when our mind is hallucinated then the feeling appears as pleasure and look at it as pleasure, believe it as pure happiness, as real happiness.

So however then this, by clinging in this, then that attachment ties oneself to the samsara again and again, so then in that way one never get free from samsara, one never get liberated from samsara, from the suffering realm, so one is always caught. [pause] It's like a fly that, butterflies or those small flies jump into the flames, by looking at it something very beautiful, something very attractive, something very pleasurable, so having hallucination so then that mind, that attachment cheats them, then brings them into the flame, so or in the candle wax or the butter lamp, in the butter, drawn inside, then burned. So, caught into that, so like that, so this attachment clinging to this, which is only in nature of suffering, this feeling, then it ties, that ties oneself to the samsara, interferes to achieve liberation, everlasting happiness.

So now, so all this came from, anger, attachment, all these delusions came from the ignorance, unknowing mind, so the whole solution, so what I was going to say is, so therefore, not enough to achieve samsaric sense pleasure, that is not enough, we must achieve everlasting, we must be liberated from the whole samsara, should achieve everlasting happiness, must be liberated from samsara, shouldn't be just satisfied with just temporary samsaric pleasure. So therefore, in order to accomplish this, then we need to eliminate the ignorance, this one solution, the solution, the one thing, to eliminate the ignorance. And that is, how you can do this is only by realizing emptiness, only with wisdom, how this can be eliminated is only by wisdom realizing emptiness, ultimate nature. So therefore, the way to realize the ultimate nature, the object of ignorance, for example, the I, the object of ignorance, the concept of inherently existent I, so object of that ignorance is false I, object of that ignorance [pause] is not I that exists, but the object of ignorance, what the ignorance apprehends, believes that is I which doesn't exist, false I, not the I which exists, not that one, but I which doesn't exist.

So what is that? So that is [pause], put it this way, the mind which sees the aggregates, your mind which sees the aggregates, for example, so if I ask you what you are doing, so you answer, I'm sitting or I'm listening or I'm writing, so whatever, so how that happens, how that label happens is, so first when I ask the question, then your mind thinks of what your aggregates are doing, what your body is doing your mind think of. Your mind sees your body is sitting, the aggregates, the body, is sitting, so then your mind, which sees that your aggregates the body is sitting, then that mind, reason because of that then make up the label, I am sitting, and believe in that, and that's it. Finished by that. There's nothing more.

Same, your mind, when I ask the question, then your mind think of also the aggregates or the base, the speech, what the speech is doing, if that's not doing action of talking then, if it's talking then that mind make up the label, I am talking. If it's not talking, not doing the action of talking then that same mind which sees what your speech is doing, not talking, then that mind makes up the label, I am not talking and believe in that label. So, same thing, mind which sees what aggregates, your body is doing, writing, then mind which sees that, then makes up the label, I am writing, and believes in that. So like this, constantly, reason, because the base, these aggregates, reason, because of this or in other words, relating to this base, aggregates, you can say that way; the other way to say is reason because the base, these aggregates, then the mind which sees these aggregates, then, makes up the label, I, and believes in that. So this is a concept, so now here you create the concept of the I like this, you make up the concept of I, your mind which sees the aggregates, the base, then makes up the label, reason because of that then the mind makes up the label, I, and believes in that. So that time you build, you have created the concept of I.

So now you can see the I is merely labeled by the mind, that is how the I exists, that's how I came into existence, and also what is the I is that. Nothing other than that, what's merely labeled by the mind. So this is what it is, this is how the I exists, this is what the I is, but when it appears back to, when the I after the mind merely labeled or made up the label I, merely labeled I, but when, that merely labeled I when it appears back to your mind, it doesn't appear as merely labeled by the mind. If it appeared as merely labeled by the mind to you then that is the truth, that is not false I, that is the truth. Then on the basis of this I, if one understands, if one sees the I this way, if one realizes the I this way, if one sees the I this way, the self this way, merely labeled by the mind, then there's no basis, as there's no wrong concept of inherent existence, so therefore there's no ignorance, that as there's no basis for delusions, then the attachment, those things do not arise. Also if the I is appearing back merely labeled by mind, then there's nothing to cling, there's nothing to be attached to that I, because it's merely labeled by mind, so there's nothing to, when you see this way, when you see the I in this way, then there's nothing to attach to the I, cling to the I.

But this is not, the problem is, the fundamental problem why we have to die and reborn, experience all the sicknesses and old age, all the problems, without beginning, time without beginning up to now, why is because haven't discovered this, doesn't see this way. So, when it appears back, it appears back totally false, totally when it appears back to your mind, totally false, not merely labeled by mind, so making very subtle, that the four schools of the Buddhist philosophers, the last one, fourth one, the Madhyamika school which has two, the last one, the Prasangika school, the extremely subtle object to be refuted, so the I appearing back to oneself as not merely labeled by the mind, not just appearing completely existing from its own side, that's not counted, that's the previous school's their point of view of the object to be refuted, the Svatantrika school, the object to be refuted. So when the I appears back to the mind, appearing not merely labeled, what it is is merely labeled by the mind but appearing back not merely labeled by the mind, not merely labeled by the mind. And, so you have false I, appearing false I, which doesn't exist.

So then, still this is not the problem. The problem is when you, the problem is you're not aware or because you do not practice meditation, not aware and one doesn't practice meditation, emptiness, doesn't practice right view, so then because of that, then in the daily life, so therefore you let, so there's no protection so you let your mind to believe, you allow your mind to believe this is a hundred percent true, that this I appearing back to you not merely labeled by mind, so this is a hundred percent true. So now, so this is the problem. Even appearing is not the problem, but this, you let your mind to believe that this hallucination is true, looking at the hallucination as true, this false I as real one, apprehending that is true.

So when you apprehend, when you let your mind to apprehend that this is true, so that time, I which is merely labeled by the mind, by one's own mind, and appeared back not merely labeled by the mind, then you let your mind to hold on, to apprehend that is true, a hundred percent true and you let your mind to hold on that, hold on to that. So that, like magician person gave, one did some business or something, so I heard many stories like this anyway , so business person, magician person who hallucinated your mind, so did some business and they give a lot of money, then actually it's just, there's nothing, all just paper, nothing. So the person really believed got these thousands of dollars, whatever, because appeared like that so they believed, hold on to that, the person's mind really holds on to that, cherished so much, then brought back to home and then put in the safest place , the best place in the house, the safe place, in the box, another box, another box .

So however so then, I think many times when the person actually comes back to home, the money's not there, I think many times the story is that. There's just some pieces of paper, the basis where the person, with the magic powers transformed the paper, so when the person comes back to home there's nothing, no money, not single rupee or dollar. So however so anyway, the person cherished so much, hold on to that, I have this! Then the person believe, I have this! All this, thousand dollars, million dollars, then after some time, the day when the person needs to spend, opened, then not there, it is nonexistent.

So similar, so exactly the same, so like that with this, exactly the same that our mind holding on that there's a real I in the sense appearing from there, real I in the sense appearing from there. So, yeah, the mind has been holding onto that, so, without break even a second, without a break, from beginningless, holding onto this so a hundred percent that this is real, this really exists. On this I, hundred percent that it's true, holding onto this time without beginning, holding onto this not just from birth time, holding onto this like this from beginningless rebirth, from beginningless samsaric rebirth holding onto like this, from beginningless rebirth, from beginningless samsaric rebirth holding on like this up to now.

But, so like this, completely hallucinated, so in reality there's nothing there to hold on, in reality there's no such I, there's nothing there, that the mind to hold on there in reality.

...to, also you need to recognize, you need to have the recognition that this is false, that this what you are holding on is false, that is false, that I is false, that view is false.

So, the minute you come to recognize that this is false, you come to recognize that this is what is called object to be refuted, this is the one that what you are holding on that is the one what is called object to be refuted in the texts, and this is the one that which is hallucination, so it means nonexistent, so while you are concentrating, while you are practicing awareness that this is nonexistent then suddenly the experience what comes, so there's nothing to hold on. So suddenly you see that there's nothing there to hold on, for your mind there's nothing, there's no I to hold on, there's nothing there. So it's like this , so before I did like this, now . So suddenly there's nothing there to hold on.

So then, right after that, then immediately start losing the I. It is not losing the self, you do get that experience that you are totally getting lost, you are totally start to lose the I, nothing to hold on, what you are holding on is empty, right there, empty, it doesn't go anywhere, it's right there empty. So that time there's no such thing, subject, I, there, emptiness, meditating on emptiness of the I, subject, object, there's no such thing, you the meditator, the self, meditator, yourself meditator, yourself, losing, then if one completely realize emptiness then so that totally becomes empty. You the meditator totally become, there's no such thing, the I somewhere there meditating on the emptiness, something, there's a gap between the mind meditating then object emptiness, there's a gap, not like that. [pause]

So this, so when you realize emptiness, it is said in the text that it has, so the experience comes that yourself becomes nonexistent, yourself the meditator becomes nonexistent, that is not what is happening in the reality, but this is what is appearing to you. Why this is appearing, why this is happening to you, even though that is not what is happening in reality, but why this is appearing to you like this is that shows that inherent [pause], on the merely labeled I there is no inherent existence. This experience shows, on the merely labeled I, which exists, there is no inherent existence, there is no inherent existence on that. So, it's showing this, it's a sign of this, you're realizing there is no inherent existence on the merely labeled I. But what appears, that is a sign, proof, but what appears to you, your experience is that the I itself, the I which is meditating, itself, totally becoming nonexistent. So this experience, even though this is not what is happening in the reality, but such this experience or appearance has to happen.

So [pause], and also why this experience happening that yourself is totally become nonexistent, losing or totally nonexistent, becoming nonexistent, the reason why this experience happening is because from beginningless rebirths, not only just from birth time, from beginningless samsaric rebirth until now, time without beginning, so now the mind has been habituated that [pause], the old habit which continued from beginningless time that, because one does not realize, one does not see the merely labeled I, you don't discover that, you don't realize that, so therefore, so the ignorance, the hallucinated mind, if the I exists then it has to be inherently existent, it's something, if the I exists it has to be real one appearing from there, so if the I exists it has to be this way. So, this old habit, so the mind has been so much habituated, conditioned this way, believing this way from beginningless rebirth, so therefore when you start to realize that there's no inherent existence, when you start to realize this, then you feel the I is totally becoming nonexistent, your self totally become nonexistent. So this is what I think, why this appearing like this.

So, that [pause], so there's this [pause], so there's imprint from past lives, there's imprint from past times, imprint left on the mind by reading, Perfection of Wisdom teachings, teachings on emptiness, one read, recited or listened or meditation, so then left imprint, so there's much imprint left on the mind, and then the times strong devotion to the guru, one's own spiritual master from whom one received Dharma connection with the recognition guru and disciple, not oneself as guru and other one is disciple, not in that way , other way round. So, strong, condition what makes to happen, condition what makes to have change to the mind or to have unexpected, to have sudden experience, sudden, you have completely different view of things, to discover what the refuting object is and, it is there all the time but didn't recognize up to now. Then, only then you get, only after this then you have correct idea of emptiness, understanding or idea. So condition which makes to happen this, then very strong guru devotion, that which makes to receive strong blessing in one's own heart. Then also one is doing intense purification and collecting extensive merit. So during those times, at the same time doing much purification, so together with imprint from past so then, so even something before didn't have any idea, before just words, you are just imitating words but no idea, so now suddenly then that completely total, your view, your understanding of the I is totally opposite than what you have been believing before from beginningless rebirth until now.

So then during those times that when the mind is ripened, ready, doesn't need many words, so even from the text, even two words, two or three words that you see, that even words like that, for example, vase on the vase, I on the I, so just two, three words like that, then suddenly wake up the mind...


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