Kopan Course No. 14 (1981) Audio and Unedited Transcripts

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kathmandu, Nepal (Archive #119)

The following are excerpts from the teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Fourteenth Kopan Meditation Course, 1981. The teachings include a commentary on Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara [A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.] Unfortunately, one of the tapes from Lecture Six was lost, and the remaining recordings were not good enough to publish online. So we have posted only those which are most clear. The entire lightly edited transcript of Rinpoche's teachings from this course can be read or downloaded here.

Lecture 2: Manjushri; Why There Are Different Aspects of Buddha


During the teaching of the Bodhicaryavatara, the teaching that is composed by the great bodhisattva, the great pandit, the bodhisattva called Shantideva. Manjushri is the particular aspect of Buddha to whom we are going to make request, to take refuge, in order to quickly realize or to see the object of the ignorance of the true existence and the object of the ignorance of truly existent "I" which is empty, to truly realize, that which is empty to quickly realize as empty. Then in that way to be able to quickly eliminate even the seed of that ignorance, the root of the samsara. By realizing that which is empty, by realizing empty that which is empty then in that way to quickly eliminate even the seed of that ignorance and that, one essential purpose is that. Then also to be able to quickly generate the bodhicitta, renouncing the self and cherishing others, this precious thought of enlightenment. To be able to quickly generate.

So for these two main purposes we visualize the particular aspect of Buddha called Manjushri. All of the Buddha's transcendental wisdom manifested in one aspect. So one face, two arms, the legs in the vajra posture, and the right hand is holding the wisdom sword, and the left hand is holding the lotus, holding the stem of the lotus and in the lotus is the Prajnaparamita scripture. The holy body in the orange color, which is called Manjushri, so manifested in that aspect and that is called Manjushri, particularly to grant us, the sentient beings to develop the Dharma wisdom.

So, as you see in the examples, in the thangkas or pictures the Manjushri then you do better than that as you visualize in front of, height at the same level as the forehead, above the ground, and then facing towards to oneself, smiling, youthful smiling face. Then, as the admiring prayer, the requesting prayer to Manjushri is still on the way to be printed, it's not finished, I will just read it here. So you just meditate in the meaning of this:

"Obeisance to my guru and protector Manjushri, who holds to his heart a scriptural text symbolic of his seeing all things as they are. Whose intelligence shines forth as the sun, unclouded by delusion or trace of ignorance.

"Who teaches in sixty ways, with the loving compassion of a father for his only son, all creatures caught in the prison of samsara, confused in the darkness of their ignorance, overwhelmed by their suffering. You, whose dragon-thunder-like proclamation of Dharma arouses us from the stupor of our delusion and frees us from the iron chains of our karma, who wields the sword of wisdom hewing down suffering wherever its sprouts appear, clearing away the darkness of ignorance.

"You, whose princely body is adorned with the one hundred and twelve marks of Buddha, who has completed the stages achieving the highest perfections of a Bodhisattva. Who has been pure from the beginning, I bow down to you, O Manjushri. With the brilliance of your wisdom, O Compassionate One, illuminate (this is the request) I bow down to you, O Manjushri. With the brilliance of your wisdom , O Compassionate One, illuminate the darkness enclosing my mind, enlighten my intelligence and wisdom so that I may gain insight into Buddha's words and the texts that explain them."

The purpose of visualizing, you might wonder why there is not only one Buddha, why there are different aspects of Buddhas. That confuses, having many different aspects of Buddha that one has to visualize, it confuses my mind. However those , even generally to do the works in a country, generally speaking, you have to have that particular power, you have to have that particular position so that you can do the work, so that those people will listen, those people will follow, so that you can achieve what you want to help them. You see, with that power, in that position, if you are in that particular position, with that particular power, then you can accomplish your wish, whatever you want to help them. Or maybe sometimes you have your own particular work, anyway it doesn't matter, that is not important, that we don't talk now. Anyway you understand.

If you are concerned for others, if you want to relieve the people from certain difficulties and problems, then if you are in the position of that king, like in Nepal, if you have that power, if you are in that position then you have power to make laws, or to change, to stop the actions or things which cause problems you can stop, and whatever there are good things, prosperity, whatever good things you can suggest and whatever you can develop, then you can help. Also they will listen if you are in that position, if you have that particular power, for example, such as the king. Then, there are other examples, such as a doctor. There are various examples, many different examples, just talking in general way. So these buddhas, these different aspects of Buddha are like that. Another way, if you don't have a certificate saying that you are a psychologist for example, if you don't have a recognized certificate saying that you are a very learned psychologist then probably other people may not come to you. There might not be crowds of people coming to see you. Or you might not make enough money. Anyway you see you have to have those things, certificate.

So like that there are many different aspects. One aspect is not enough. One aspect is not enough to fulfil the wishes of the sentient beings. There are numberless sentient beings, to fulfil the wish, all the wishes of sentient beings, even to fulfil the wish of one sentient being one particular aspect is not enough. So there is need for different aspects, which suits, to grant, to fulfil the different wishes, an aspect which suits the different levels of mind of the sentient beings.

So therefore, such as White Tara is particularly for granting long life. All these particular aspects buddhas, whatever there are different particular aspect of Buddha, the compassionate Buddha or Tara - there are about one hundred different aspects of Tara - however, the main aim, the main purpose is to bring the sentient beings in the highest state, enlightenment, the sublime happiness. That is the main purpose. But in order to make that successful, that main goal in order to make that successful there is need of wisdom. In order to make it successful one must generate the path to omniscient mind. In order to generate the path, just meditating on the blank, just meditating on the space, blank, that alone, without studying, without doing extensive listening, reflecting, meditation practice, without doing that, just sitting in meditation position, and just keeping the mind on space, keeping the mind in the blank. However, ignorant mind won't make it to enlightenment. With ignorant mind you cannot approach the omniscient mind. Like without the fuel in the car you cannot reach your destination. Even if you have the car, if you don't have the fuel then you cannot reach to the desirable place. So you see, similar.

However, in order to make successful in generating the complete path to omniscient mind, one should do extensive, for that one should have the wisdom or listening, reflecting, meditation, one should have all these wisdoms. So therefore there is a need, since you cannot do alone by yourself, like for example, you alone cannot learn ABCD, or you alone, without depending on somebody, you cannot, you don't know how to fix the car, how to fix the watch, how to make watch, how to fix the car, how to drive the car without depending on somebody. Somebody gives you a car, or you buy a car, then without anybody teaching you, you cannot learn the whole thing, if something is wrong how to fix, and how to drive. If somebody gives you a car, you learn, somebody puts you in the huge ground, if somebody leaves you there with the car but without anybody to teach, then you alone cannot learn, even if you have a car.

However, without talking much, here, what we are doing here this one month, what we are trying here is not just to learn how to fix a car, to fix the watch, how to, what else, how to make Coca-Cola, or how to make chocolate - anyway, I'm joking. It is not like that, what we are doing here is not like that. Here what we're doing is not trying to recover from some disease, not only that, not even that. Like you take medicine and then stomach ache, or toothache or discomfort of body to relax, to get rid of for some time, like you take medicine and then get better for some time, again it comes back. Not like that. Not even like that.

So here, what we are doing, whether we know or not, the method what we are doing, the different meditations that we are doing now, the benefits of that, from the individual's side whether we know the benefits or not, the benefit of that, doing various meditations, is to free ourselves forever from the true sufferings such as the suffering of rebirth, sickness, old age and death, all the problems of samsara. To be forever free from true suffering, all those various problems of samsara, even from the true cause of suffering, the unsubdued mind and its action, karma. Without being free from that there is no way that you can be forever free from those true sufferings, those everyday life problems. There is no way to be free forever from those. So, otherwise, as long as we are not free from, if we don't make forever free from the unsubdued mind and karma, the true cause of suffering, it would be like taking medicine, all the other methods is like taking medicine, perhaps, if it works it works for some time, that's all. It doesn't mean that you are free forever from that.

So not only that, not only the self alone, oneself to have the blissful state of peace, to achieve the ever-release, everlasting release from samsara, or from true suffering and true cause of suffering. Not only that. That is not the main goal, that is not the main thing, that should not be the main thing why we are here, why we study, why we do listening to the teaching, meditation. Particularly this teaching, the Mahayana. The teachings which were revealed by Buddha are divided into two: lesser vehicle teaching and greater vehicle teaching, this is greater vehicle teaching, Mahayana teaching. So the teaching that we are hearing, meditating, what we are trying to actualize, the path what we are trying to actualize, so, the basic idea, the main motive, the principal motive, the only motive, if possible the only motive that should be in our heart is to benefit others. The motive for doing this course, the greater vehicle, the Mahayana teaching, if it's possible should be only that. Should be purely that, only the thought to benefit others. On the basis of avoiding harm, not having the thought to harm others, having only the thought to benefit others, to fulfil the wishes of all the sentient beings. All the sentient beings to be in all happiness, to be in the sublime happiness, the state of omniscient mind. So, to make this extensive work for others successful, I am going to achieve the state of omniscient mind, which is completed in all the realizations and which is purified of all mistakes, all obscurations. For that reason I am going to listen and study, do reflecting, meditation practice on the graduated path to that omniscient mind. Like this.

So, also for that reason, to fulfil this work, the Dharma practice, one also needs a long life and many things: wisdom, long life, many necessary conditions. So therefore there are different particular aspects of buddhas who, the main thing is to bring the sentient beings to enlightenment, but to grant help, to grant the different guidance, therefore there are particular different aspects. So therefore, by taking refuge, or by ourselves, from the individual's side making contact with the particular aspects of the Buddha, one's wishes of Dharma practice become successful, the hindrances get stopped.

It just happened, otherwise you might wonder, why each session you have to visualize different things. It's very confusing, it drives crazy, you might wonder. If you want to go pipi...