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.

The Influence of Past Karma; Suffering Results of the Ten Non-Virtues

So they start their retreat, we start our retreat. They start their session, we'll start our session. The only thing we have to analyze is whether their session is, which one, our session or their session, which one is cause of samsara, which one is cause of liberation. So except that one to analyze, the result.

[preliminary prayers]

So, the first part, I would like to, so since tomorrow we are going to take the Eight Mahayana Precepts, so also as preparation for that, that which is immediate solution, that is another immediate solution, well, since it is possible, since we met Mahayana teachings it's possible to achieve enlightenment in this life. So, generally possible to achieve, we have possibility to achieve full enlightenment, then also as there's opportunity to practice, to meet Mahayana secret mantra, Vajrayana, so there's opportunity, because of that there's opportunity to achieve full enlightenment in one life and especially by practicing Highest Tantra, maha-anuttara yoga tantra, there's opportunity to achieve full enlightenment in a very short time, in a brief lifetime of degenerated time. But however that need to actualize the whole path for that, even to achieve liberation, that which is free forever from the whole entire suffering realm, samsara, then one need to actualize, one need to proceed developing one's own mind in the five paths to achieve liberation, however the immediate thing what we should do now that is, if the death, not only that death is definite, but the death can come any day, at any moment, so therefore what we need is, what we need to immediately prepare from our side, from one's own side, that is to not be, the very first thing to save, to protect ourselves from the lower realms, make sure, if the death happens today, if it happens during this hour, during this moment, however it can come any time, so before it happens, before the death suddenly comes, falls on oneself, before it suddenly happens, and then no time left to practice, nothing you can do, the life is gone, so before this happens, before this risk happens, then make sure to not be reborn, save yourself to not be reborn in the lower realms, and at least to receive perfect human body next life, again to continue to practice, to develop the mind in the path to enlightenment.

So this is what we need to do immediate, the immediate thing, to stop the immediate danger, not only the big suffering, heaviest suffering of samsara, if one get reborn in the lower realms, not only that but the main thing is there's no opportunity to practice Dharma, to meditate on the path to enlightenment and to actualize the realizations. So therefore, one of the, like the certificate or like the degree, to be able to find job, to be able to make money, so like the degree, like to show the qualifications, so like that, so taking the precepts, taking those lay vows, especially Eight Mahayana Precepts, something that which is so convenient that just for one day and that doesn't have obligation for the lifetime, just for one day and that one can take, since one has received the lineage from the virtuous teacher, one can take any time, whenever one can that one can take, such great opportunity, that one can take by oneself from the altar, by visualizing all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, by visualizing merit field, that one can take.

So beginning, so these practicing morality, which means abstaining from negative karma, stopping negative karma, making vow in this, so living in the vow is like having leg, you have leg to walk, to go to the desirable place where one wishes to go, having the leg. So, generally speaking, just general idea is that if one does not have legs, then one cannot reach there. Of course one can go by vehicles or things, but I mean generally speaking, general idea that [gap], so generally speaking it is like that, similar. So without living in the vow of the precepts, without practicing morality, then like without legs, so cannot achieve liberation that which is free forever from the samsara. So that's similar way to understand, so full enlightenment.

So this is something which we can do in our life any time, whenever it's convenient that one can take this opportunity. So this is one very important one to make preparation for yourself, to protect yourself, to guide yourself.

Now, one thing that I want again to clarify what was spoken this afternoon. So, those things, without need to be taught by others, then that one do, including having very impatient nature or characteristics or very egoistic nature, or very generous, very good-hearted nature, that people, that less thought, more thought that others are important and less thought that I am important. So more good heart, always character is more giving to others, so some others more character of taking from others for one's own happiness. So however all this, then all those behaviors including the animals, not only human beings, including the animals, which I explained before some examples, so however so in Western culture so since there's no education on reincarnation and karma, these things, so therefore the way, only what you can explain these things is, what you can say is instinct, otherwise there's no other explanation, there's no other way to explain. So only way you can answer to these things is to say instinct.

But that also does not depend on parents, the child can be very compassionate nature, very special child, where the parents are very ordinary beings, there are also many times like that, so doesn't have to be again always kind of something, how the parents are, then the child also like that, always the same character, not necessarily it follows. So among the, if there are five children in one family, they have different characteristics and different wishes, different interests, different wishes. Different characteristics.

As I remember when Lama Osel, Lama Yeshe's incarnation, Lama Osel, when he was, when we received him in Nepal at Kopan Monastery to do enthronement, that time he's very little. So the first time coming to Kopan, the enthronement. So there were all his brothers and sisters, so upstairs on, now that pervious one is now completely become non-existent, because now there's new one there . The previous small one, so on the roof, so we were having, I was having Tibetan food, tsampa, the flour from barley, tsampa food mixed with tea and butter and so forth, sugar, cheese, like that. So I was offering to Lama Osel, so that time he was very small so then he stretched out his hand like this, then again he stretched out the hand , but his brothers and sisters they're all there but they don't like Tibetan food. I don't know other food but they don't like tsampa, they don't like to eat tsampa. But he was the only one who is so interested. Anyway, I think even the food it really proves past lives, even that proves very clearly the past lives habit, that you got used of those foods. So anything that usually Lama Yeshe, anything that liked so eats, so exactly what Lama Osel does. That this white thing, what's it called this? White thing, that's round? The white thing that is kind of like this, anyway you open and then, that's right, yeah! The white one, cashew, yes . Roger says I'm the only one who opens this cashew. No, because the reason why I open, the reason, because I think in the past I saw some things inside. Cashew, cashew nut. Anyway, the reason why I open is that I saw some things inside in the past , so then there's always imprint there so not sure . I do the same with the orange, some of the oranges, that orange that ?stick, so those things I'm not so sure, so I just open everything like the doctors are doing operation, open the whole orange and watch. Well, I think maybe in the West not so much problem, but maybe in India, need to be more careful I think. Maybe in the West, perhaps this injection, they get injected or what? No? Right? Maybe they kill the worms or something. But anyway , those oranges that got stuck , not only mandarin. So sometimes those things, like in my experience, oh I have a lot of karma to see worms in food , so that's why I've very careful, so that's why I have a lot of superstitions, watch the food, because a lot of karma to see worms . That other people don't see but I see. That other people enjoy so much , so it happened many times. This is my karma.

So anyway, Lama used to eat this cashew, this white one normally, that and the other, pistachio. Those white ones Lama used to eat normally, that's one, so that, exactly the same thing with Lama Osel, he also likes to eat this very much. Same with other Tibetan food, that normally whatever Lama likes, also momos, so same, whatever Lama Yeshe used to eat, exactly the same Lama Osel.

So the food definitely, even the same family, the rest of the children they don't like, so that clearly shows the past life he's definitely been Tibetan, it shows as I mentioned the third logic about reincarnation, habituation from the past, that's what it is.

Yeah, then [pause], so it's just karma that even a person, you see somebody you don't like, you see somebody you like, I'm talking about even at the very beginning, you see somebody you hate from the very beginning, just by seeing them. So with somebody, you feel so difficult to separate from, somebody doesn't want to see, however this, so including these things, then somebody who has not been object of anger suddenly become object of anger and somebody who has never been object of attachment but suddenly one day become object of attachment, so all these things how it happened, all these things how it's happening is, so already mentioned this morning in the basic evolution or the meditation how everything came from the mind, consciousness, karma, ignorance. So the person who has not been object of anger and suddenly today it becomes object of anger, to hate. Of course there's always something, yeah there might be conditions, stories or some conditions, however, even the conditions whatever you have things to say about why you got angry, even the conditions, whatever you are explaining, things happened, it came from your own mind, even the conditions came from your own mind.

So however the imprint left on the mental continuum by past karma, so far that didn't, to see that person, to rise anger towards that person, to see that person so ugly or undesirable, to change the view of that person, to change your view towards the person, so far didn't happen but the day that karma, the imprint left on your mental continuum by past karma, it has been there so it becomes powerful, that day, that moment, that hour, is ripened. So that day, that hour, is ripened. So, yes, even the conditions came from one's own mind, whatever, when you explain why you got angry, why you got upset, the reason what you explain also came, those what you see, conditions, even this happened, this happened, this happened, I don't like this and this and that, however this came from one's own mind, because of karma, the negative imprint left on, if it's something negative then came from negative imprint left on the mental continuum by the past negative action, then on top of that then with the situation that happened, one generate the concept towards change of the situation, relationship whatever it is, the person's behavior towards oneself or way of thinking towards oneself, which is just another change, so one, besides karma then one generate the concept that, instead of generating positive concept, positive mind, looking at the situation positive and then you have a happy feeling, pleasant feeling, which makes you happy, then happy feeling, you generate positive thought, looking at it positive, looking at the situation positive way, then instead of unpleasant feeling, happy feeling, it makes you happy. So instead of that, then one generated negative concept, negative thoughts looking at the situation negative, interpreted negative way and then because one generate the negative concept, thought which look at everything negative and believe it's negative, label it negative and believe in that, then after believing negative then that's what the feeling unpleasant, unhappy or depression, upsetness, so forth. So there's two things, first there's the karma from past, if it's something which is undesirable, then, so came from negative imprint left by past negative actions, then on top of that, then as I often mention during the talks of healing, in the subject of healing, basic psychology of healing or thought transformation, the practice transforming the sufferings into happiness, so on top of that, one generate negative concept, one generate thought which gives negative label or negative interpretation, then one believe in that and that's what makes life, another type of crazy or uncontrolled or that unhappy.

So same thing the person has never been object of attachment before, never had painful mind of attachment to that object, but then suddenly that day the past karma, past karmic imprint related with that, karma created with that person in the past, imprint left on the mental continuum…

…and this today, so that imprint becomes powerful so then it is experienced out, so that projected something beautiful, then attachment rises, that which nature is so difficult, the mind to be freed, separated from that, from the object. So suddenly your view of the object changed, that day, so all this coming from one's own mind, can be said, projection of one's own mind or from the karmic imprint, it's a projection from that.

So this is what karma is; so but then normally, so in the life everything happens like this, but then lack of understanding Dharma, Buddha's teachings, and even one has general understanding but when the emotional problem rises that time one didn't relate to Dharma, one didn't connect to Buddha's teachings, didn't relate to that, didn't connect to that. So therefore, when we do not understand, when our mind is not aware so then all these things what's happening in the life it looks like coming from outside, it's happening from outside, existing from outside or from its own side, from the object's side. So this is how one is experiencing karma in our daily lives, that's why there's change of views to that same object, views changing, feelings are changing, so this is also very useful meditation, this understanding how it is creation of one's own mind or projection of one's own mind. It's not coming from outside but it's coming from one's own mind, it's very helpful technique to [pause], as it is mentioned in the third stanza of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, Examine one's own mental continuum throughout all the actions. As soon as delusion and endangers oneself and others, makes evil oneself and others, then avert it, immediately avert it. I will practice immediately to avert it. So immediately, with force, with effort, so I will practice immediately to, with effort to avert it.

So like that, it helps very much to have less problems, if we apply the lam-rim meditations or Buddha's teachings when we have emotional problems, when our mind becomes uncontrolled, so then it helps to have less negative karma in our lives, so that means less suffering now and in the future, less obstacles for realizations. So by ceasing delusions then we achieve liberation, the everlasting happiness, then by ceasing delusion we achieve also, without obstacle we achieve full enlightenment. [long pause]

So the negative karma, the complete negative karma of killing, so this has four suffering results. So the first one is ripening aspect result, this means rebirth in the lower realms. Then, three other suffering results one experience in the human realm, after some time, when one get reborn in the human realm then one experience three other suffering results. So the other one is experiencing the result similar to the cause, so that one is, shortage of life, in the future when one get reborn as human being one experience shortage of life, like even in the womb, without even time to come out, to be born, death happens in the womb or child time, baby time, so however shortage of life. And many diseases, many sicknesses one experiences. That is experiencing the result similar to the cause.

Then possessed result is to do with the place. Very dusty place. The crops, the food, the drink have less protein, either they don't have protein or less protein. Then even one eat it causes unhealthy, it causes shortage of life, sicknesses and one can't digest the food. So ________ of problems came from, so here one can see the result of killing, negative karma of killing. So the killing which is done out of ego, self-centered mind, then because of that then it becomes non-virtue.

Then, so one more left, then the other one is creating the result similar to the cause. So in next lives when one is reborn in the human realm, one engage again in the negative karma of killing. So that complete negative karma has again, it results again four suffering results, so one of them is again engaging, the past habituation again engaging in killing, so like that, if one does not purify, if one does not practice confession, the remedy of the four powers, if one does not purify the past negative karma and if one doesn't live in the morality abstaining from negative karma, such as killing, then it goes on and on in the future lives, so today's one negative karma of killing, today or this life one complete negative karma of killing, so by having done this, so it has four suffering results, goes on and on, because each one has creating the result similar to the cause, to engage again in killing, so then that results, that causes four suffering results, again that one has that result engaging again in the negative karma of killing, so it becomes endless, the suffering, this one negative karma of killing that is done, one that is done today or in this life, just this one, so there's danger the suffering becomes endless.

So therefore, now, so if one practice, if one take vow and practice morality abstaining from the negative karma of killing, then this complete good karma has result, the four happiness, ripening aspect result, deva, human body, and then, experiencing the result similar to the cause that long life, not only future lives, even it causes long life even to this life, not only future lives, not only you have long life in all those coming future lives, so many hundreds, thousands of lifetimes, you have long life; not only that, it affects even this one to have long life. So then healthy body, without sicknesses, one has a healthy life [gap], the best way to be healthy, it comes from Dharma, it has to come from Dharma, it has to come from good karma, abstaining from such as killing.

So then, the possessed result, same, place, very beautiful place, very glorious, very magnificent, very beautiful place, then the food, those things, a lot of protein, yeah, even it's correct medicine, even the medicine given by doctor even it's correct medicine but due to your past karma, the medicine, even medicine doesn't benefit you, becomes harmful, due to such like this negative karma of killing. So by living in the vow of morality abstaining from killing so then you have completely opposite, only happiness, that everything has protein, everything cause healthy life and long life.

Then again, in the future lives one engage again in the good karma of practicing morality abstaining from the negative karma of killing. So one enjoy, because karma is expandable, karma is much more expandable than outside phenomena, you plant one rice, from one rice many, many rice come. As I mentioned this morning, so you plant one small seed then from there big tree comes, so many branches and so many seeds, many hundred thousands, so many seeds come from that. So many leaves and branches, so the inner phenomenon of karma is even much more expandable than outside those phenomena, from one see how many seeds coming, fruit comes out. So one enjoy the result of this one time good karma, one time living in the morality, practicing morality abstaining from killing, taking the vow, even just one time in one day, one time in the life, so even that result one can enjoy for hundreds of lifetimes, hundreds and thousands of lifetimes.

Then, the negative karma, then sexual misconduct that is done with the self-centered mind, then which becomes negative karma, there's ego, self-centered mind first then there's done either from three poisonous minds, with one of them, that done with transformed into non-virtuous action. That completed one has again four suffering results. So ripening aspect result, rebirth in the lower realms, and experiencing the result similar to the cause, that is, the surrounding people they always bother you, they always becoming disturbing to your mind, bothering, the surrounding people, becoming enemy or become bothering to your mind. Then, the other companion, husband or wife, the other friend or the other companion, has opposite wish, becoming competitive towards oneself, against the wishes, doesn't have same wish, opposite wishes. So that makes the life difficult or unhappy or disharmonious. Then, leaving oneself, separation.

Then the possessed result is even some time future even one is born in human realm, but being in very dirty, filthy place, very muddy, very filthy, place which has a lot of bad smells, very unhealthy place, so either one has to live in such a place or one has to, so in our life time to time we have, we experience these things so that is, that time we are experiencing the result, possessed result of the past negative karma of sexual misconduct.

Then the other one is creating the result similar to the cause, so that is engaging again because of past habituation, then engaging again in similar negative karma, so which produces again four suffering results, from that complete negative karma. So same as before, what I explained.

So by living in the vow of morality abstaining from this, then you have only happiness, that ripening aspect result, body of the happy migratory being, deva, human body. Then the experiencing the result similar to the cause is that, there's so much harmony in the relationships, the other companion, the other friend, the mind is not competitive, it's exactly according to your wish, having same wish and having so much peace and happiness. And then the surrounding people, they are not bothering to you, they all are very kind to you. Instead of bothering, peaceful, kind, supportive.

Then, possessed result, one can understand that very clean, beautiful clean place where one live.

Then, the last one, maybe two more, so stealing that is done out of self-cherishing thought. Then out of that, with one of the poisonous minds, which became negative karma, then that complete negative karma has four suffering results. The ripening aspect result, rebirth in the lower realms. Then in the future when one get reborn in the human realm, one experiences the experiencing the result similar to the cause, that is poverty, difficulty in the means of living. Less means of living, even one has but one has to share with others, that you don't own completely. So - I don't know what I said - experiencing the result similar to the cause, so other people stealing, taking wealth, confiscating or stealing one's own possessions. So those are experiencing the result similar the cause that one did stealing in the past, negative karma of stealing done from others.

So now, the possessed result that is to do with the place, lot of famine, earthquakes, lot of danger happening in the place, in the country, in the area where one is, earthquakes, water floods, either too much water, too much rain, destroy the crops or no rain, drought, like the so much of those so many years which we hear like the South Africa, those places, so long still suffering so much. So many parts of the world so many people suffering, having so much hard life, harsh life, hard life, and so many [pause] hail storms, so there's so much harm to the crops, no water at all, drought, so these things. So all this came from their own mind, so now here you can see, all these problems came from their own mind, those people experiencing it came from their own mind, so that's from their own karma, so that is the main cause.

So as I mentioned that, from many countries try to send food in those, like South Africa, those places, those people, but then again the powerful people they take it away and the real, the poor people they get very, even they get they get very little, so again there's, still they cannot receive everything what they, what was sent to them. And as I heard some years ago that one, because there's no water so then one airplane brought water from another country, so as soon as it landed at the airport in South Africa, as soon as the airplane landed there, the water completely become, very bad smell, people cannot drink, when the water arrived there. So like this, so what stopped is their negative karma, which is not purified, so it stopped, blocked, even the whole world people trying to help but because their karma is not purified, as they don't practice Dharma so the negative karma is not purified so therefore it blocks them. So, so many obstacles happening.

Then on top of that, rather purifying the mind, purifying the past negative karma they create even more, on top of that doing so much stealing, killing each other, so that means, so they continuously create same, because of the difficulties of life they continue, they do so much, so therefore, they will have to experience the difficulties of life, each of those persons has to experience in so many hundreds of lifetimes, for such a long time they have to experience that hard life, poverty, starvation.

So then creating the result similar to the cause, and then doing, again engaging in the same negative karma of stealing. In the future when one is reborn human being, again engaging in same negative karma, so then that complete negative karma again produces four suffering results so then goes on.

So therefore, then by living in the vow, abstaining from the negative karma of stealing, then one enjoys the result, four results in happiness. So, completely opposite to the previous ones. So, ripening aspect result, the body of the happy migratory being, deva, human body next life, so many lifetimes. Then, experiencing the result similar to the cause, the wealth, not only in the future lives, even in this life, it becomes cause. When it's powerful then cause begins in this, yeah, so wealth in the future lives, in so many future lifetimes. So when the good karma having practiced the morality abstaining from killing, like this, is strong, done so much, then whatever one think it happens, receives wealth, all the needs. Then even more than what one thinks.

Then, possessed result, the place where there's no, there's plenty of crops, food, in the country, receiving the rain in the right time. So everything is, perfect enjoyments.

Then, creating the result similar to the cause, in the future lives again one practice morality that which result again four results of happiness. [pause]

Then the telling lie that is done out of the self-centered mind, then also done with one of the poisonous minds, so the action, that action of telling lie which is transformed into negative karma. So that complete negative karma has four suffering results. So ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms. Then experiencing the result similar to the cause, that one is, so many people criticize you, when you are born as human being after some time in the future, then many people criticize to you and they cheat, many people cheat you, they tell lie. So like this, experiencing the result similar to the cause. So here the other people in our life, when other people criticize, it came from our mind. So we think…

…experiencing the result similar to the cause. So here the other people, in our life when the other people criticize, it came from our mind, so we think it's just purely came from that person, but actually it's coming from our mind, yeah from such this negative karma, the telling lie.

Then, the possessed result to do with the place, so that, so if one is doing business, not receiving people, buyers, not receiving clients or buyers. So if one open a shop, not receiving people to buy. If you open restaurant not receiving people, so all the desks are empty, all the many chairs are empty. So in the teachings mentioned if one is doing the transportation by ship, bringing people by ship, then not receiving passengers, so that's the same, whether it is a business or whether it is Dharma center or whatever, so not receiving people, so there's very little number of people, so those kinds of problems, they came from the past life negative karmas, sorry, not stealing, telling lies.

Then in the future when one is born human being again one engage in similar negative karma of telling lies, then that produces four suffering results, that complete negative karma, so like that, it's the same as before I explained.