Kopan Course No. 36 (2003)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #1441)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the 36th Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 2003. Lightly edited by Gordon McDougall.

Rinpoche teaches on a range of lamrim topics, including refuge, motivation, Medicine Buddha and seven-limb practice, the purpose of our life, emptiness and much more. The edited transcript is freely available for download as a PDF file.

Lecture 3: The Kindness of the Enemy
Everything comes from the mind

[Chanting long mandala offering]

I go for refuge to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha until enlightenment is achieved. Due to the merits of having done charity and so forth, may I achieve full enlightenment in order to benefit all migratory beings.

So, good afternoon. Maybe there is a question. [Pause] No questions? You don’t have to have a question.

Student: [Inaudible]

Rinpoche: You just listen to my cough. [Laughter] Ignore the rest; just listen to the cough. What about that?

I think you asked your question at the right time. Your question is right time question. It is the right timing question.

Normally, I say there are two things, [learning] how to do everything. One, you can learn at school or college, university. Maybe at the university there are Buddhist subjects, maybe that is a little bit different. But you learn how to do a job, how to do business, not just listening to teaching, not only how to meditate but it is important at the same time [knowing] how to do a job, how to sleep, how to wash, how to sit, to cook, to do business. All these are important to know how to do, as much as how to listen to teachings, how to meditate. It is not only important to know how to meditate or listen teachings, it is important to know how to put those things into practice twenty-four hours a day, so whatever you do is very important, very essential.

What I normally say is that the physical side you can learn from college or university—how to do business, how to start a cleaning business, how to be a waiter in the restaurant. In the East, here in Nepal, I think there isn’t much of this kind of thing to learn, but it looks like in the West you can learn how to be a waiter, how to behave, what to say to people. When the people come in, after they are sitting down, you learn to say, “How are you?” and when they leave, “Have a nice day,” or something like that. [Laughter] It may not be just that but other things. Of course, that brief communication makes people very happy; it’s a nice way. Saying a few words gives a kind of close feeling and makes people happy, makes them feel like home. Paying attention makes some connection. And you can learn the way to carry the food—all those practices and details, so it doesn’t become a mess, so it becomes convenient and nice.

These external aspects are taught in school or college or university, but the other aspect, how to do things mentally, is not really taught. That is biggest thing missing in the life—mentally how to do things. Externally how to do things is taught but mentally how to do isn’t taught. Mentally how to do things is missing, and that is the most important part, that is where peace and happiness comes from. It is the source of peace and happiness in life; it is where satisfaction comes from, where fulfillment comes from. It is what makes life meaningful, beneficial for yourself, beneficial for others. All this comes from the mind, from the attitude.

What we want is happiness and what we do not want is suffering. Happiness and suffering do not come from outside. Even worldly pleasures, samsaric, temporary sense pleasures—their root comes from our own mind. However, when we are not aware, when we do not think about it, when we do not meditate, when we do not analyze it, when we do not think about karma, it appears as if it is coming from outside. When we do not analyze where it’s coming from, when we do not think about karma, how everything comes from mind—when we either do not know or we intellectually know but fail to practice mindfulness in daily life—it appears as if it comes from the outside. When we encounter problems, the suffering appears to come from the outside; when we have success, the sense pleasure we experience appears to come from the outside. Even though samsaric sense pleasures, temporary pleasures, have external conditions, the main cause is not outside but in our own mind. It’s a healthy mind, a virtuous thought, a positive action caused by a pure mind—pure in the sense of a mind of non-ignorance, non-anger and non-attachment. That is the definition of a pure mind, a pure attitude in that sense. A good heart, unstained by the self-cherishing thought; a good heart cherishing others, as well as wisdom, which is opposite to ignorance. From that, the unmistaken, pure thought comes.

There are two ways of thinking. Our present happiness comes from the positive attitude we have today, this hour, this minute. Also, today’s, this hour’s, this minute’s problems come from the negative attitude we have today, this hour, this minute, from that way of thinking. This is the negative way of thinking, not the positive way of thinking. The previous one was the positive way of thinking. This moment’s happiness and peace depend on or come from how we think this moment, whether it is positive. And this moment’s problems come from the negative way of thinking or negative attitude we hold at this moment.

The enemy comes from the mind

For example, the minute we get angry with somebody—the minute I get angry with them, if I get angry with them, if I get angry with them …. [Laughter] Anyway, maybe in future, on a special day, the minute I get angry with them.

The minute our anger arises, we find an enemy in our life. We see a person that we hate or we want to hurt, or a person harms us and we see them as an enemy. But the minute our anger is gone, we don’t see them as an enemy. Only when anger arises do we see the enemy but the minute the anger is gone, we don’t see them as an enemy.

We interpret based on their way of thinking, how they behave with their body, their way of speaking. Based on that, we put a negative label on it, that they harmed us and then they are an enemy. Then, we believe in that. We put the label on a situation and then we believe in it. After we believe in it, the person’s action and the person themselves appear bad, harmful. We label them “enemy” and we believe in that and after that they appear back to us as an enemy. Only after our mind labels “bad” and we believe in our label, do that person’s action and that person appear to us as bad. Then it creates, by seeing that, by contacting that, the feeling that we get is an unpleasant feeling—not pleasant but unpleasant feeling—so we become unhappy.

From this, we can see very clearly that the enemy is the view of anger. That’s why when the anger has gone, we don’t have that view of an enemy. First our own mind interprets, negatively labeling “bad” to the action and the person. It does not appear like that, however. The person disturbs us, we put that negative label on the situation, we believe in it, and then anger arises. Believing in that negative label that has been imputed by our mind, we get angry, we experience all these unpleasant feelings. Before, we didn’t have a problem. Because there was no problem before the mind labeled it, it’s very clear that it came from our mind. It came from our mind. It is solely the creation of our own mind, by putting a negative label on it and believing in that.

So, we get angry, and then that makes the other person get angry with us, they are unhappy with us. Not only do we create negative karma but our anger also causes the other person to create negative karma by getting angry, destroying the peace and happiness within us and the peace and happiness within the other person, replacing it with an unpleasant feeling, which is the problem. Engaging in negative karma creates the cause to reincarnate in the hells or as a hungry ghost or animal. It brings not only unhappiness in this life but even in the future life when we are born as a human being again, where we will have to experience the consequences of this negative action. The effect of this even in the future life when we are born as a human being is that we have to experience many problems.

That person’s attitude to us didn’t change—whatever their attitude, angry or whatever, it is the same. From the other person’s side—their behavior, their attitude—nothing has changed.

The next way of thinking is that instead of that person’s action causing us to get angry, we can think that it’s kind. Instead of seeing it as harm, we can think that their anger toward us is a special favor they have done for us, a special kindness. It is something very particular, very special. If we don’t practice patience but always let the anger arise, we will always create suffering. Rather than giving ourselves the victory, we give the victory to anger, always letting ourselves be dictated to by anger, letting ourselves be abused by anger. We always let ourselves be used by anger, like a slave. We become a slave to anger, being dictated to by anger. If we don’t practice patience, if we let anger arise, this is what happens. If we give in to anger, instead of giving victory, freedom, to ourselves, we are giving victory, freedom, to anger and we are letting ourselves be overwhelmed, possessed, by anger.

In the world, people don’t like dictators. They complain about them; they don’t like them. And also, instead of bringing peace and happiness, they bring so much suffering. This is similar; we let anger dictate to us. There is not one single benefit from anger, not one single benefit, only destruction. We destroy our merits, the cause of happiness. The cause of happiness is only virtue, merit, and that is destroyed by anger. Whatever little we have gets destroyed by anger, what we receive is only harm and what the other person receives from that is only harm.

If we don’t practice patience but always let anger arise, then even our most beloved friend can become our enemy at any time. Even our most beloved friend—the person closest to us in our life—can become our enemy at any time because we can get angry at them, since we don’t practice patience. Our anger can turn our closest friend into an enemy at any time, so there is no question it can do it to others. In that way, we make the other person unhappy, we desert the other person and then the relationship doesn’t last. There is no harmony in the relationship. There is no peace and happiness in the relationship. It makes the other person think more and more about leaving. Finding our character difficult, this thought of leaving arises in the heart.

The day that happens—the day our friend speaks out and leaves us—the pain and the grudge from that day stays there in our heart for years. For years and years, the pain stays there. And every time we remember the situation, tears come out; we feel very sad and disturbed. Even if the person who is closest to us in our life, our beloved friend, can make us angry, there is no question about other people who try to harm us.

Therefore, if we don’t try to change our mind, if we don’t try to change ourselves to become a better person now, when will we? Now, we have this precious human body, which gives all the opportunity to develop all the good qualities, such as patience, wisdom, compassion, loving kindness, universal responsibility. Only now is the chance to develop, to generate all these basic good qualities of the human mind; there is all the opportunity that this human body gives, this human body we won’t have for a long time. How long we will have this precious human body is only a very short time. Its duration is like a flash of lightning. When it’s dark, then suddenly a flash of lightning appears and it is gone. Or like last night’s dream—it appears but it’s gone. How long we have this precious human body is a very short time. It gives us all the opportunity to be better, to develop our mind on the spiritual path.

If we can’t develop this quality of a good heart during this brief lifetime, while we have this precious human body, then it will be impossible when we have an animal’s body or some other rebirth. Developing these qualities, let alone the higher achievements, liberation, the freedom from suffering forever, and finally achieving full enlightenment, if it doesn’t happen during this time when we have this precious human body which gives us all these opportunities, if we miss out on this by not practicing, once we lose this precious human body it will be extremely difficult to regain the opportunity.

The kindness of the enemy

Without developing, we won’t change, we’ll always stay this deluded being. Of course, if we are an enlightened being, if we are free from delusion, that’s different. Or if we are not free from delusions, but actually want to be a suffering being, that’s different too. [Laughter] But basically maybe if a person is like that, they don’t know what it means. Since we are not like that, not an enlightened being free from delusion and karma, but are given to selfishness and impatience, there is no protection for our mind and anger can arise at any time. Whenever the situation comes, anger arises all the time.

Anyway, maybe I should bring up this issue. If we don’t practice patience, whatever the situation, anger arises. No matter what the situation, it becomes the cause for anger unless we practice patience, and when anger arises, all the time it harms us and other sentient beings in this life and in future lives. Like this, from life to life, with our anger we harm numberless sentient beings. It becomes very frightening, it becomes very scary.

Then the situation happens, if one person doesn’t practice patience, that one person can torture or kill many millions of people in this world. This is without counting animals, who suffer and are killed, by the way. These things can happen if we do not practice patience. We can become like those people who cause so much destruction in the world. We can become like that. Even if it doesn’t become like that in this life, it can become like that in other lives. So, there is danger. We can see in the world history, it has happened many times that one person not practicing patience has tortured and killed many millions and millions of people. So many incidents in history have happened like this. If you think of life to life, we ourselves can also become like that, creating great danger to numberless sentient beings.

Therefore, if we practice patience with the person who has anger toward to us, then our anger will gradually become less and less, weaker and weaker; it will arise less and less through the continual practice of patience with person who has anger toward us. Then, after some time, getting angry becomes extremely rare. Even if anger arises, it only lasts a few seconds and it dissipates. So then after some time, we never get angry, our mind is always in the nature of patience.

By practicing patience with a person who has anger toward us, it helps us not to get angry with the rest of the sentient beings. That means we stop giving harm with anger to the rest of the sentient beings. Then all other sentient beings, who are numberless, get so much peace and happiness from us, from our patience. The peace and happiness that numberless sentient beings receive from us, from our patience—this is something we can offer. We stop giving harm to numberless sentient beings with anger, and we give only peace and happiness to numberless sentient beings with our patience. The person who gave us this opportunity is the person who has anger toward us. It is by their kindness that we are able to do this, that we are able to give so much peace and happiness to numberless sentient beings because of our patience.

By training our mind with this person who has anger toward us, we are then able to turn to numberless sentient beings and, from our patience, offer them peace and happiness. This is very clear. We can offer this completely due to the kindness of this person who has anger toward us. Therefore, this person is the most precious, most kind one in our own life, the most precious, most kind one in our own life.

And this person who has anger toward to us is the only one who can help us train our mind in patience. Among the numberless beings, there are numberless buddhas, numberless bodhisattvas, there are numberless other sentient beings, strangers, and then other ones, friends—they are all different sentient beings, but among them this person with anger toward us is the only one left who can train our mind in patience, which is the path to happiness for ourselves and which brings happiness and peace to numberless sentient beings, and the path to enlightenment.

As it is mentioned in the teaching by the great bodhisattva Shantideva in Bodhicaryavatara, the Buddha gave teachings on how to practice patience, but the buddhas and the bodhisattvas don’t have anger toward us so we can’t really practice patience with them. There is no opportunity to put the teachings into practice, and to train the mind. And while the friend remains our friend, there is no anger toward us so they too are unable to give us an opportunity to train our mind in patience. With them, there is no opportunity to train our mind in patience, to put the teachings into practice. And the rest are strangers. Strangers don’t have anger for us, so with them we have no opportunity to practice the meditation that we have learnt and to put the patience teachings into practice.

Among the numberless beings, both holy beings and sentient beings, this person [who has anger toward us] is the only one with whom we have opportunity to train the mind in the good heart, with patience. Only with patience can we achieve the highest enlightenment and bring skies of peace and happiness to numberless sentient beings. By allowing us to train our mind in patience, and through that to bring peace and happiness to numberless sentient beings, this person is so kind, so precious.

As I mentioned before, even though the buddhas explain how to meditate on patience, since the buddhas and bodhisattvas don’t have anger toward us, there is no opportunity to put the teachings on patience into practice, and similarly with friend or strangers. This person who has anger toward us is the only one left. Because of that, this person is extremely kind, extremely precious.

Even for a nonbeliever, with no religion at all, if that person wants a harmonious relationship with others, if they want other people to not get angry at them but to love them, if they desire peace and happiness, there is no choice but to practice patience. Even if somebody is a nonbeliever—not believing in reincarnation or karma—if they do not practice patience, then what happens? For example, it is said in the Bodhicaryavatara that if we are not a bodhisattva and we get angry at a bodhisattva, then even if the negative action is done for one second, for however many seconds it lasts, that causes us to be born in an inexhaustible hot hell, the very last of the eight hot hells—where there is the most unbearable, the heaviest suffering—for as many eons as the seconds we were angry.

Then, with the negative karma collected from beginningless rebirth, then is no question, we won’t get reborn in the realm of the happy transmigratory beings. It means we won’t get reborn as a human being or as a deva in the next life. There is no question of that. If the negative karma done for one second causes us to abide in the inexhaustible hot hell, the very lowest hot hell, for eons, with all the negative karma we have accumulated from beginningless rebirth, then no need to say that we won’t get reborn in the realm of the happy transmigratory being.

That is what it is saying. If we, who are not a bodhisattva, get angry at a bodhisattva for the shortest time, for only one second, it has that much effect, causing us to suffer for an incredible length [of time], for one eon.

It is also mentioned in the Bodhicaryavatara that the merit collected for thousands of eons by doing charity and having made offering to the Gone to Bliss Ones, the buddhas and so forth—I don’t remember the exact words—by allowing anger to arise for one second, whatever merit not done with a bodhicitta motivation, not dedicated to enlightenment for sentient beings, doesn’t get destroyed completely but gets weakened. All the merit collected by offering to the buddhas, by offering to the stupas, no question actually to the Buddha, but even to a statue of the Buddha, or a stupa, a scripture, by doing prostrations, by circumambulation of those holy objects of the Buddha—that merit doesn’t get destroyed completely, even if it is not done with bodhicitta, not dedicated to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings at the end, but becomes weaker, becomes less [if anger arises.]

The other merits [from actions] not done with bodhicitta motivation, not dedicated to achieve enlightenment, those are completely destroyed [by anger], like burnt rice. And so, even the merit created with bodhicitta motivation, dedicated to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, even that merit become weaker, smaller, when anger arises. That’s how the anger destroys our merit. That’s the definition of destroying that merit, even if it is done with a bodhicitta motivation, dedicated to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, because it makes it smaller, so whatever instances of the shortest possible time duration we get angry at a bodhisattva—this not talking about a guru or the Buddha, just somebody who has the realization of bodhicitta—that many eons of merit get destroyed and that many eons of realization are delayed.

So again, this person who has anger toward me gives me the opportunity to train my mind in patience. This way, there is no danger to destroy my merit. By having anger, this person is helping me, mainly because having anger toward me, I am able to practice patience and in this way I am able to protect all the merit, so it does not get destroyed and the realizations are not delayed again and again, again and again. Each time anger arises, the realizations are delayed. So this person helps me to quickly achieve realizations, by attaining the path to be free from samsara and by attaining the path, such as bodhicitta, to achieve all the realizations of the Mahayana path, bodhicitta and so be able to achieve enlightenment.

That is the special kindness of this person. It is a different kindness from somebody who gives us a billion dollars, a different kindness from the kindness of the father and mother, the kindness of a friend. Somebody who gives us a billion dollars doesn’t offer us that special kindness. Even if somebody gives us a billion dollars, we don’t feel that kindness from the bottom of our heart, that very deep kindness, we don’t feel that. But with somebody who has anger toward us, we can see how beneficial it is, being the cause for us to achieve realization of patience and to train the mind in the entire path. This kindness is a very deep, very deep kindness. And our appreciation is very deep.

I think the tea has become very hot. Let’s make the offering.


What I was saying before, the person didn’t change from their own side. The anger toward us didn’t change. It is still the same, but now we are seeing the unbelievable kindness of that angry person, because we can see what incredible limitless skies of benefit, of advantages we can get from that angry person. Now, we look at it only in a positive way, we label it only positively. There is nothing slightly negative at all, only kindness. We label it positive; we see only positive. It appears only positive; we see only good, most beneficial, most beneficial, most beneficial—the person who has anger toward us is the most beneficial for us.

Now, in this second, with patience, we are so happy with that person’s anger at us, so happy, and we want to repay the kindness. We want to thank him because his kindness is so deep, the benefit we get is like the limitless sky. Therefore, from the bottom of our heart, from the very depth of our heart we feel appreciative.

When we think of the benefits of practicing patience by depending on a person who has anger toward us, there must be a person who is angry with us. For the practice, this is something we must have. It is not something to give it up, it is not something to abandon, it’s something that we must have in our life, this person who has anger toward us—we have to have that. The need for an angry person in our own life becomes an utmost need, so crucial, so important. It is so crucial, so important, to train our mind. There is an incredible need, like the need for a guru who reveals the teaching on the short path. This is the one who makes us practice. This is something so incredible; it is not something to abandon, it is something to have.

And also, as I have mentioned, this person is not angry all the time; they is not forever angry. If they were angry with us forever, it would be very good as then we would have the opportunity to practice patience all the time. But it’s not like that. Their anger can change at any time. Their anger can stop at any time, and then we have no opportunity to practice patience. Even this one person who has anger toward us, this person doesn’t get [angry with us] forever. This can be stopped at any time; their mind can change at any time. Therefore, we have the opportunity now to practice patience, to train our mind in the path.

Because their anger can stop at any time, now becomes even more precious. By thinking of this reason, the time they are angry with us becomes so precious. So precious. Every moment of their anger becomes very precious, very precious, a very precious moment.

When we think of the kindness of that person who has anger toward us, how they give us the opportunity to practice patience and receive all the benefits which that brings, then we label that anger as positive; we see only positive, good. And from that, we have a pleasant feeling. Because it makes us happy, our happiness with them can change them; it can affect them, also making them happy. So here you can see, a deep peace and all this happiness comes from our positive label and positive thought. Looking at it that way, the person with anger toward us is not harming us but only benefiting us, only helping us.

Therefore, it is so important to practice patience. That is one side I have emphasized here. As I mentioned before, today, this hour, this minute’s happiness comes from our own positive mind. This example shows that.

The two mistakes of not practicing patience

The other thing I want to emphasize is this. I mentioned this before. If we don’t practice now while we have this precious human body, which is only for short time, when can we? Relating to patience, if we don’t do that practice now, in this life, now, today, one day sooner or later we will separate from this human body, and then it will be extremely difficult to get such an opportunity again to practice. Even just to be human again is extremely difficult, extremely rare, without talking about a precious human body qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. Just to be a human being is extremely rare because it has to come from having practiced pure morality.

Practicing pure morality, even to take one vow and not necessarily to be able to practice purely, is so rare. Here, we are so lucky to be able to take the eight Mahayana precepts, even it’s not for a lifetime but just a one-day precept, and through that we are able to open our heart. To be able to accept and practice like that is extremely fortunate.

Generally speaking, first of all, to understand and have faith in karma is extremely difficult and rare. The people in this world who understand and have faith in karma are very few, whereas those who don’t are so many, even in this world of human beings. So, it is not easy to open the heart, to take the vows, the precepts, and even if we are able to take them, it doesn’t mean we are able to practice purely. And if we do take them but can’t keep them purely, we cannot receive a human rebirth in the next life.

I don’t remember it, but there is a sutra quotation that is very, very important, very, very beneficial. The essence is very important to remember. Whenever anger arises, it comes from a cause, and there are conditions. There is a cause and there are conditions. Why does anger arise in this life? Because there is a cause of that anger, and that cause is not outside. The cause of that anger is on the mental continuum, as an imprint, a seed. The lamrim texts talk about delusions and then talk about cause and conditions that make delusions manifest, and that is the imprint, the seed of anger that is on the mental continuum.

We haven’t actualized the path in the past, the path of merit, the preparatory path, where we achieve both shamatha [calm abiding] and the great insight based on shamatha. At this level we attain the extremely refined, rapturous ecstasy of the body and mind by doing analysis on emptiness, unified with shamatha. This is great insight. It is like the preparation for the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness in the next path, the third path, the path of seeing. This is like the preparatory step. By actualizing the right-seeing path, the exalted path, which is the transcendental wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, we actualize that path which ceases the intellectual defilements and by actualizing the path of meditation, we continue training the mind, training in wisdom directly perceiving emptiness. That’s the path of meditation, and by actualizing that we cease the simultaneous-born defilements, the delusions. Then there is the path of no more learning.

We haven’t actualized these paths, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation, those exalted paths where we directly cease the disturbing thoughts, the obscurations, the defilements. If that had happened, there would be no cause of anger, no seed, the nature of imprint, which gives rise to the delusion—that’s the definition of the “seed.” The definition of “seed of delusion” is that which gives rise to delusion, which is the nature of the imprint. This has already been removed by completing the path, therefore it is impossible for anger to arise, as it had in the past. There would be no anger at all, and the same with attachment and all these things. We wouldn’t be born with anger, attachment or any of this. We wouldn’t be born with all this stuff, with a mind with all this garbage. But because that wasn’t done, because we did not complete the path, which ceases all disturbing thoughts, obscurations and the seeds of delusion, therefore the seeds of delusion are still there. We are born with this, even today we have that.

Not completing the path in the past is the first mistake. That’s why delusion arises, why we are born with delusion, why we suffer so much with the delusion, why we have all these mental sufferings, and because of that all the physical sufferings. That’s our first mistake.

The second mistake is that, when we are in a situation where anger can arise, we either don’t know the meditation techniques taught by the Buddha to deal with the situation to stop these delusions—the negative emotional thoughts, the cause of the suffering—to arise or if we do intellectually know we don’t apply them. When we are in a situation, because the seed, the imprint, is there, because the cause is there, and we make the second mistake of not applying the correct meditation technique, then anger arises. From that negative imprint, anger manifests and then that motivates karma.

It destroys our own liberation, our own peace and happiness and it delays the realizations by destroying the merit. Because it destroys the merit, it delays the realizations, therefore that’s how it harms sentient beings. Anger is especially a very harmful enemy to bodhicitta.

To actualize bodhicitta we need a lot of merit. We need to collect so much merit, because if we have bodhicitta, then everything is possible, we can achieve enlightenment and enlighten numberless sentient beings, being able to cause all happiness up to enlightenment for all sentient beings, and to achieve it ourselves. Bodhicitta fulfills every single wish for happiness, for ourselves and for every single sentient being: every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, every sura, every asura, every human being. Every single human being’s wishes for happiness get fulfilled.

As I mentioned the other day, we need to collect so much merit, but anger destroys merit. With anger, the nature of that thought is to hurt, to harm others. The nature of the thought of bodhicitta is to benefit others. Therefore it is easy to see how the thought of anger doesn’t allow us to develop our mind in the path, how it hinders the achievement of enlightenment, it hinders the actualization of bodhicitta. In that way, our anger harms all sentient beings. We can think like that.

We can understand where the anger arises from—the imprint already on our mindstream. Every time we get angry, it leaves a negative imprint back on the mental continuum; it plants the seed in the ground every time we get angry. So, the more we get angry, the more negative imprints there are, and that makes it more difficult in our future life. Each time we get angry, more negative imprints are left on the mental continuum, and it becomes very heavy. Our future life is much more difficult because impatience and anger can much more easily arise due to those negative imprints and this makes it much more difficult to practice in the future.

One of the most frightening things is that the negative imprint is left again and again on the mental continuum by anger, by desire and attachment. And the more negative imprints left on the mind, the more difficult it becomes in the future for us to control the mind, to have realizations. This is very important to remember in our daily life, very important. It makes it difficult in the long run, in the future, to have realizations completely. That is very important to write in your notebook! [Group laughs] You can see there are some small notes in the daily prayer book. If you have that problem of anger, you can have a very special piece of paper and keep it along with your daily prayer book, maybe on the cover, something like that. To recite the words of a prayer is easy, but to practice what those words mean is not easy. Reciting prayers is easy.

The Kadampa geshes say it is easy to meditate on deities, anybody can have a deity practice to do. Similarly here, reciting daily prayers is easy, but to practice, as the Kadampa geshes say, is not. The problem is not having a mantra to recite or not having a deity to meditate on. That’s not the problem. Anybody can have a deity to meditate on, anybody can have some mantra to recite, but the problem is that we do not practice Dharma. Here, we can relate that to patience. It means letting go of desire, the desire clinging to this life, the attitude that is nonvirtue and so makes every action nonvirtuous. That includes anger and all those other things. The opposite is practicing Dharma, practicing patience, like that. This is very true.

The enemy is created by the mind

It happened once that while a person, a student, was doing a retreat, busy reciting mantras, his enemy came and banged on the door very strongly. He banged on the door very strongly. The student continued reciting mantras, but in this hand he held the mala and in this a knife. [Laughter] He kept on reciting mantras doing the session, but also kept hold of the knife. This happened. We can think like that.

We have already used this example. There is a person who has praised us and given us presents, not this year, not last year, but the year before. Because of that, we label that person “friend.” Then, last year, they didn’t give us a present but criticized us instead. Then, we called them an “enemy.” Then, this year, that person again gives us a present and praises us, so now they are a “friend.” So you see now, the same person, at one time we interpret a good friend, at another time we interpret as bad and labeled as “enemy,” and then at a third time we interpret as good and label as “friend.” Even just looking at one person, we can see the different labels we put them, the different interpretations, friend, enemy, friend. One is the view of attachment, the other is the view of anger. However, it’s all the view of delusion. It’s all the view of the hallucinatory mind.

Here is another example. It comes from our mind, and by believing our own label—this is positive, this is negative—we have the appearance of friend or enemy and from that we have a pleasant or unpleasant feeling. Each is the view of the hallucinated mind; one is the view of attachment, the other the view of anger.

When we make further analysis, we can discover that this is all our mind’s creation. We have this appearance, then it affects back to us. We see it like that. When we don’t analyze it, it appears like it comes from the object’s side whereas it actually comes from our own mind. So you see, our mind is the creator, our mind is like a TV and it depends which channel we watch. Our untamed mind is the door to suffering, but our mind is also the door for all happiness, the happiness of this life, of future lives, of liberation and enlightenment. It depends on whether the mind is tamed or not. The good heart, the mind with the thought of cherishing others, especially the mind called bodhicitta, is the door for all the happiness; the mind cherishing the I is the door for all the suffering.

This is one thing. Our present happiness or present suffering depends on whether our present attitude is  positive or negative. As all things come from our own mind, that happiness or suffering come from our own mind. In the long term, whatever happiness or suffering we will ever experience come from our own mind. This long-term evolution is karma. Whether the action becomes good karma or negative karma depends whether the attitude that motivates the action is positive or negative, whether it is pure or impure, whether it is virtue or nonvirtue. Our long-term evolution—our future happiness or suffering—comes from karma, from the mind.

Whatever karma we create becomes the cause of happiness or suffering. That karma is solely a creation of the mind; it comes into existence by the mind. As Nagarjuna explains, actions born from non-ignorance, non-anger and non-attachment all result in birth as a happy transmigratory being; actions born from ignorance, anger and attachment, all result in birth as a suffering transmigratory being, as a hell being, a hungry ghost or an animal. What makes the action positive or negative is the motivation. An action is positive karma and the cause of happiness, or negative karma and the cause of suffering, depending on the type of mind, whether it is virtuous or nonvirtuous.

Knowledge without compassion is useless

One thing I am going to mention is this. We might have a very good job and make a lot of money. Perhaps we learnt how to do that job from university or college. We know externally how to do the job, and so make a lot of money, but we don’t know how to do it mentally, with a bodhicitta motivation. If we do the job with a bodhicitta motivation, with the thought of benefiting other sentient beings, then our action of doing the job becomes the cause of enlightenment. That brings us the greatest profit; it brings the greatest success and, out of that, peerless happiness—the cessation of all the mistakes of the mind and the completion of all the realizations. And we are then able to benefit and enlighten numberless sentient beings.

Because of lack of education, that is not happening. That lack of education is not having a full understanding about the extensive knowledge of the mind, not having an understanding of karma, of reincarnation and all the subjects about the mind. That makes it difficult to have faith and difficult to understand things, because of obscurations, defilement, mental pollution. We have not purified and so our mind is still obscured. When we can have extensive knowledge about the mind, which includes karma, the function of mind, the nature of the mind and all these things, with that understanding we can practice purification, by purifying the defilements.

Defilements, obscurations, happen due to causes and conditions. Therefore, because of dependent arising, we can purify them by depending on other causes and conditions. If they were independent, we couldn’t do anything about them. We couldn’t change the mind, we couldn’t develop, we couldn’t have any realizations.

Until now, we haven’t had this knowledge; there has been no education about this practice, so to make whatever we do in our daily life—sleeping, eating, walking, working, whatever—the cause to achieve enlightenment and be able to enlighten sentient beings, this is not happening.

If whatever activities we do in our daily life with the thought to attain liberation from samsara, to gain freedom from all suffering realms and the continuity of birth caused by karma and delusion; if whatever we do is not motivated by this thought of renunciation of samsara, then there is no way it can become the cause to achieve the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara, even just for ourselves. All those long, long hours working at whatever job we do doesn’t become the cause to achieve ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara for ourselves. If all those activities are not done with the Dharma, with virtuous thought, unstained by attachment, clinging to this life and seeking the happiness of future life, all those hours spent working not only don’t become the cause for the happiness of future lives, ultimate happiness and liberation, it is all nonvirtue.

If whatever we do in each twenty-four hours—eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, working, all those things—is done with attachment, with clinging to this life, it all transforms into nonvirtue. It all becomes nonvirtue, the result of which is only suffering. This even includes meditation. Even when we do meditation, if we do it with that thought of worldly concern, with attachment, clinging to this life, even that action of meditating becomes nonvirtue, as does the action of reciting prayers. Even if the subject is Dharma, our action becomes nonvirtue when done with worldly concern, with attachment, clinging to this life. Even visualizing a deity, an enlightened deity, if it is done with attachment, it becomes nonvirtue.

There are stories about this. In Penpo in Tibet, two people were meditating on Yamantaka, the extremely wrathful aspect of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom. They spent many years of their lives meditating on the deity. Then, one friend died and was born as a preta, a hungry ghost. The other friend, who was still living, kept doing the retreat, and each evening he did the sur practice, the practice of burning tsampa, barley flour, in the fire to make charity of the smell for the pretas. One evening, a very terrifying spirit, with many heads and arms, appeared to him. He asked who the being was and why he was there, and the spirit answered that he was the other meditator, now reborn as a spirit and brought by the smell of the food. Even though he had been meditating on the highest level of tantra, he still didn’t know how to meditate. He didn’t meditate with either renunciation or bodhicitta motivation; he didn’t meditate with right view. Because of that, all his meditation became nonvirtue and he was born as a spirit.

Therefore, as I mentioned at the beginning, there are two things how to live life: the external things can be learnt from school or college but the other one, mentally how to do things, is not taught there. We might have a job and a lot of money, but we don’t know how to do the job mentally, with a positive mind. All that part is not there—the positive mind that transforms the actions into good karma and brings the result of happiness. Therefore, what is happening in our life is only negative karma, because our attitude is only nonvirtue. That is the reason why, even though a person might make a lot of money, their mind is not happy, why they never seem to have satisfaction. Why can’t they be fulfilled in his heart? Why can’t they have peace? Why is that person’s inner life suffering? Why are they crying, suffering, miserable? Even though they are externally wealthy, making lots of money, regarded as successful, their real life is unhappy, they are totally miserable. It is because what is missing is how to live life, how to do things mentally. The other education is missing.

We need that other education; we need to learn how to do things mentally, so that all our activities, all our many hours working, studying, meditating—whatever we do—becomes good karma, so that it only results in happiness, in success in this life and in future lives, all the way up to enlightenment. That way, everything creates the cause for long-term success, long-term happiness, it transforms whatever we do. Because the action is positive karma, the result can only be happiness. Otherwise, even though externally we are able to be successful, in reality all the actions become negative karma because our motivation transforms them into nonvirtue.

This is why a person’s life can have so much suffering even though there is so much wealth and so much success in business. You see, the heart is totally empty. That describes how the other education, the internal, mental education, the extremely important part, is missing.

So that was the question.

Golden Light Sutra: Oral transmission

I’ll just read one page and stop, only one page.

“At this time, I have received a perfect human rebirth, that which extremely difficult to find again, and if it is found, that has great meaning. I have received it this time but it doesn’t last long, death can happen any time, so before that I must be free from samsara and not only that, just that not sufficient, I must achieve enlightenment because all the sufferings come from cherishing the I and all the happiness come from cherishing other sentient beings. All my past, present and future happiness, everything comes from the kindness of the sentient beings, every single sentient being. They are most precious, most kind, so I have the responsibility to free them from all the suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment, therefore I am going to listen, I am going to take the oral transmission of the Buddha’s most precious teaching Golden Light Sutra.” And then think, “May each word that I listen to benefit, may it free numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment.”

[Oral transmission]

I think if you concentrate on the sound of every word, it plants the seed of enlightenment. Each word that you listen to becomes incredible purification and leads to enlightenment.

[Oral transmission]

So that’s one page. One page is one Tibetan page, back and front. It’s extremely fortunate even to hear one page.



Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merit collected by others, may the bodhicitta be generated within one’s own heart, one’s own family members, all the students, benefactors, all of us here and all those who benefit this organization, and in the hearts of all the sentient beings.


May the bodhicitta be generated in one’s own heart, all family members, all of us here and in the hearts of everyone in this world.


May the bodhicitta be generated in one’s own heart, all family members, all of us here and all the leaders of this world, every country, without delay even one second, may the bodhicitta be generated in their heart. This way can bring so much peace and happiness to many millions of people in each country, their own country. And as well as all the people, the terrorists or gangsters or all those different groups, all those who harm others, may bodhicitta be generated in all their hearts without delay even a second.


May all the father, mother sentient beings have happiness, may the three lower realms be empty forever, may all the bodhisattvas’ prayers succeed immediately, and may I be able to cause all these by myself alone.

That we have all these opportunities here, to do listening, reflecting and meditation practice, the opportunity to train the mind in path to enlightenment, is by the kindness of the Buddha of Compassion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So please pray for him to have a stable life and for His Holiness’s holy wishes to succeed immediately. And also in particular, after that then particularly Lama, particularly my kind guru, who is kinder than all the three times’ buddhas, Lama Yeshe. It is by Lama Yeshe’s kindness that we have this opportunity, that we have all these opportunities to do listening, reflecting and meditation practice on the Buddha’s teachings, especially on the lamrim. Being able to train the mind in the path to enlightenment, that is due to Lama Yeshe’s kindness. That I myself have the opportunity to speak, to tell you a little bit of the Dharma and from your side to have all these opportunities is by Lama Yeshe’s kindness. So dedicate for Lama’s incarnation, Lama Ösel Rinpoche, to be able to complete his study in the monastery and to be able to show all the qualities like Lama Tsongkhapa, and to benefit all sentient beings just like Lama Tsongkhapa.


So make the dedication, please do it this way.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, anybody who sees me, touches me, remembers me, harms me or helps me, benefits me, talks about me, criticizes or praises me, even dreams of me, even sees a photo of me—just by this, may they never ever get reborn in the lower realms from that time and may they immediately be free from sicknesses, spirit possession, free from negative karma. May their negative karma totally get pacified, purified instantly, and may all their wishes be instantly, immediately fulfilled.

May whatever happiness they are wishing for immediately get fulfilled according to the holy Dharma. That means their wishes get fulfilled but at the same time nothing becomes negative karma, that’s very important. If it becomes negative karma then they have to suffer. So their wishes get fulfilled, but only good karma. May other sentient beings seeing me, touching me, remembering me, talking about me, seeing my picture, even dreaming of me, be able to become of incredible benefit to other sentient beings.

Dedicate, so that you will be able to affect, to benefit to others.

May they immediately actualize, find faith in refuge and karma, actualize bodhicitta, and complete the path and achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, may I able to offer limitless skies of benefit to sentient beings. Like the Buddha, Lama Tsongkhapa, by having the same qualities in me as Lama Tsongkhapa has, from now on, in all my future lifetimes, in every second, may I become like that. From now and in every second may I be like that.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, that which exists but does not exist, all these merits which exist but do not exist from their side, which are totally empty. May the I who exists but does not exist from its own side, who is totally empty, achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment which exists but doesn’t exist from its own side, which is totally empty.

May I lead numberless sentient beings who exist but do not exist from their own side, into Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment which exists but doesn’t exist from its own side, which is totally empty, by myself alone, who exists but does not exist from its own side, who is totally empty.

I dedicate all the merits to be able to follow holy extensive activities just as the bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Manjughosha realized. I dedicate all the merits in the same way as the three times’ buddhas dedicate their merits. May the general teachings of Buddha and the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa spread in all the directions, may they flourish forever in this world by completely actualizing in one’s own heart, by completely actualizing in all of us here, in the hearts of all of us here, in the hearts of all the students in this organization and the supporters of the centers and those who gave up their lives to this organization, doing service for sentient beings, in all their hearts.


Sorry, many hours. Good night.