In this book, Lama Zopa Rinpoche emphasizes one of his favorite themes, compassion, and how the purpose of our lives is to strive for the benefit of others. Living with compassion not only helps others; it helps us as well. In fact, if we want the best for ourselves, we should dedicate ourselves completely to the welfare of others, putting their happiness first and our own last—an attitude that His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes as “wise selfishness.”
The teachings in this book have been drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s extensive, 700-page work, Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat, teachings given at a three-month retreat held at the FPMT Center, Land of Medicine Buddha, California, in 1999. As a result, there are more references to Vajrasattva practice and other practices than might otherwise have been expected, but the points Rinpoche makes have universal applicability and should be taken in that way.
I would like to thank my co-editor of the Vajrasattva retreat book, Venerable Ailsa Cameron, and all the other people who helped put it together, Wendy Cook for her valuable editorial comments and, once more, the Lai family for so kindly helping make these teachings available to a much wider readership than the original book allowed.
—Nicholas Ribush, Editor