Kopan Course No. 20 (1987)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, By Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1987 (Archive #399)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the 20th Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 1987. Also included is a discourse on the bodhisattva vows by Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup, late abbot of Kopan Monastery. The edited transcript of these teachings is now available for download as PDF file.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings were edited by Namdrol Adams; second light edit by Sandra Smith. The teaching by Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup was edited by Sandra Smith.

Lecture Fourteen: Samsara and the Twelve Links

Please listen to the teaching well by generating at least the creative bodhicitta thinking, “At any rate I must achieve the state of omniscient mind for the sake of all the mother sentient beings who equal the infinite space, who have been kind from beginningless birth; therefore, I'm going to listen to the teaching on the graduate path to enlightenment.” Also clarifying the righteous conduct of listening to the teaching according to the traditional practice of the lineage lamas.”

Today I thought to give a little bit of introduction to samsara through the explanation of the drawing of the Wheel of Life, before giving refuge and precepts. The part on the great equilibrium meditation is finished and then the general topic on exchanging oneself for others was already spoken about—that subject was already discussed during the explanation of equanimity. But again, it’s more precise, to have a clear understanding, to integrate it with the commentary on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation. The Eight Verses contain all the answers, all the solutions to day-to-day life’s problems—how to deal with them, not just to stop them—that’s not the main point. It can stop problems, it can transform problems into happiness, but that's not the main point.

The main point is to make the problem that we are experiencing worthwhile, to use the problem on the path to enlightenment, to make it beneficial for other sentient beings. That's the main point of this teaching, the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation. This contains the solution, the fundamental methods for our problems from now up to enlightenment, until we achieve enlightenment. This contains the basic methods to cut off the obstacles from this minute up to enlightenment, until we achieve enlightenment, which means including the subtle dual view, the last obstacle. Even the very last thing, when we are near enlightenment, there's no disturbing thoughts, nothing is left, only the subtle imprint, the dual view is left, so then even that problem gets eliminated by the realization of the path that is revealed by the teaching of the Eight Verses.

Now, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, whose holy mind has completed the training in compassion toward all sentient beings without any discrimination, who is extremely kind, the purpose of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha descending on this earth is only to lead sentient beings to liberation, to enlightenment. Only for that purpose. He taught 84,000 teachings, but the foundation of all these 84,000 teachings is the four noble truths. It is explained in Maitreya Buddha’s teaching, Do de gyen, “The disease is to be known and the cause is to be abandoned. Abiding in happiness is to be achieved. And medicine is to be relied upon.” This refers to suffering, the cause, cessation and path.

What Maitreya Buddha is saying is that a patient who wishes to abide in happiness and recover from disease should first know the disease. This makes the patient seek the cause of the disease. When the patient finds out the cause, the patient realizes that this is what he should abandon. By ceasing this cause, being free from this cause and the result, the disease, the patient comes to know what is needed to achieve that, what is needed to experience that. Then, the patient recognizes happiness, which is the release from that cause, the liberation from that cause and the result, the disease; that this is happiness and that is what the patient should have. The patient seeks that happiness and as he seeks that happiness, he checks the medicine. Following a skillful doctor, the patient relies upon the medicine and takes the medicine. In this way, the patient is able to recover from the disease.

Similarly, we, the sentient beings who are experiencing samsaric suffering, should first realize that all the suffering of samsara is what we should be free from. For example, in the West, even if they don’t feel pain, people go for a checkup every year to see whether they are healthy, whether there is something wrong, some disease, so that it can be stopped before it gets worse and becomes a serious problem. This is regarded as good. Even though you don’t believe that you are sick, by going to the hospital to check the blood and x-rays, to have the diagnosis, the doctor tells you that you have cancer, or high blood pressure, or AIDS, or a virus. I think especially maybe the ladies check more in the hospital.

Even though you don’t believe that you have this and that disease, because you don’t know, you don’t recognize it, but after the doctor checks up, he tells you that you have cancer or you have this and that. If you have a disease but the doctor cannot recognize it, it is considered unsuccessful, but if you have a disease and the doctor does recognize it, this is success, this is good. So in this way, recognizing the disease that you have through the doctor’s explanation, through the doctor’s proof, blood, x-rays, or whatever the signs, that makes you see the cause. As the patient wants to know the cause, the doctor explains the cause and then the patient knows—what am I saying? I got mixed up.

Like this, same thing with the suffering of samsara, the problems of samsara that we don't know, that we experience but we don't know. Through hearing Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings from a virtuous friend, we are able to recognize the sufferings of samsara that we were not aware of before. Similar to the patient, we wish for cessation, ultimate happiness, the cessation of all suffering and its causes, and to achieve this we should know the entire suffering of samsara. The problems of samsara that we know of are only a small part of it. As for the rest, such as the suffering of change and pervasive compounding suffering, we are not aware, we always experience it, but we are not aware.

We become aware by depending on the virtuous friend who teaches the teachings of the great compassionate Shakyamuni Buddha, like a skillful doctor. Now, same thing, by realizing true suffering, we see the cause, whether it has a cause or not. Then by knowing the cause, karma and disturbing thoughts, the true cause of suffering, we know what ultimate happiness and liberation are, and that we should achieve them, and that this is the complete cessation of the whole entire suffering of samsara and all the karma and disturbing thoughts. We understand this by depending on the teachings of the Buddha. That’s what Buddha explained, true suffering and true cause of suffering. Then, whether there is a path, the complete cessation of suffering and its cause, this is what we should achieve. So there is a path, there is a means to achieve this. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha himself practiced this path and generated this path to the holy mind and achieved liberation, not only liberation from true suffering, the true cause of suffering, but great liberation, which means liberation even from lower nirvana and from the subtle obscurations. Buddha himself practiced and generated the path, and achieved liberation and enlightenment.

Not only Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, but uncountable numbers of pandits, great yogis, those who have practiced Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings, uncountable numbers of them, have achieved enlightenment. All the qualities of realizations and all the qualities of cessation of the obscurations, all the qualities of realization, all the qualities of cessation, all the qualities that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has achieved—they have all achieved the same thing, exactly the same.

Then, besides uncountable numbers of disciples, uncountable numbers of great pandit-yogis existed in Nepal, in those different places. There were uncountable number of yogis and pandits in Tibet who practiced, who listened, reflected and did the meditation practice of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings, and the commentaries written by the Indian pandits, who put all those teachings into practice; uncountable numbers of them all achieved the graduated path to enlightenment.

Even now there are so many meditators. Even in the present in these countries there are many meditators who have generated bodhicitta, realized shunyata, the renunciation of samsara, who have realized also the highest tantra path, the generation stage, the completion stage, to achieve the unification of no  more learning. Many meditators even nowadays have achieved the second stage realizations.

Even nowadays so many meditators have the correct unmistaken understanding of the teaching of the Buddha, and with correct understanding they are able to practice correctly. So many of them are experiencing the path, like scientists making experiments on the path, developing the mind in the path year-by-year, month-by-month, in the three higher trainings, the higher training of concentration and great insight. There are meditators who have accomplished those realizations even nowadays and are proceeding on the path to enlightenment.

So, there is a path to achieve liberation. The teachings of this path, which make us achieve liberation, were revealed by Buddha with his own complete experience. He himself practiced the teaching revealed by his guru and achieved enlightenment. Then, after he revealed the teachings, the pandits checked whether there was a mistake or not. Then the great yogis put that into practice, and they had realizations.

This is a teaching that was already checked; it is not a teaching that needs to be checked, this teaching of the Buddha. Many yogis experimented by putting it into practice and they all achieved enlightenment. And still we can see—that’s why there are so many holy places, so many caves that we can make pilgrimage to, and we can meditate in those caves and do retreat. By making pilgrimage to those places, praying, doing practices, we are able to receive blessings from these holy places by doing practices there, and we are able to quickly develop the mind.

In relation to all those common teachings, sutra teachings, tantra teachings, all those commentaries of the path written by those yogis, pandits, those Tibetan lamas and others from other countries, there is still the great opportunity to study, and be able to experience the same realizations as they had by studying their teachings that were written with experience, that were taught by them with experience. We can see examples like Milarepa's hymns in his biography, which are his teachings, and which give unbelievable benefit to many sentient beings—not only Eastern people but also many people in the West are able to receive so much benefit. There are so many things—Milarepa's life story, the unbelievable teachings of his experience of the path to enlightenment, by following his guru Marpa.

Therefore, the path that is revealed by Buddha is not just done by simply applying faith. The path that is revealed by Buddha was taught to the disciples, who practiced it and achieved liberation and enlightenment, and then they taught it to their disciples. It had been handed down like this, from their experience, until now. So, I can refer like this, until my present gurus. Not only His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but I have many other gurus, who, even in the general view, have much experience of the common path, the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment, and the tantric path. So, down to my gurus, like that. All the gurus that I have, even those who don’t show enlightenment but in the common view have the attainment of the tantric path on the basis of the three principal aspects of the path, and the teachings being taught with experience, not just from scriptures.

Therefore, there's no reason at all why we cannot understand the teaching of the Buddha, and why we cannot practice, why we cannot actualize the path. Even Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, before he became enlightened, before he generated the path, had the same problems that we have. But Guru Shakyamuni Buddha did the practice before us and generated bodhicitta, renouncing oneself and cherishing others, and by having generated bodhicitta then completed the realizations of the practice of the six paramitas and became enlightened.

Without talking about Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, the pandits, the great yogis, and even the present meditators are the same—the bodies are the same, having flesh, skin and bones inside, filled with blood and so forth. Those meditators are having realizations of the path to enlightenment month by month, year by year. Why are they able to have realizations? Because they practiced. Why didn't we have realizations so far? Because we did not practice. We did not change our attitudes, we did not put the teachings into practice continuously. Milarepa lived in a cave, and just ate nettles—he didn’t live on ice creams, chocolates, steaks or barbecues.

Anyway, in regards the conditions, you can see when you do pilgrimage, you understand how they lived, you can see the caves, very isolated places—there’s no heater, no shower, no—what else? Huh? The living conditions are like this and what they eat is extremely simple, nothing like what we eat—different kind of vegetables, different kinds of food, not like that, nothing like that. Different food, different changes, various types of food, nothing like that. The Tibetan meditators lived on tsampa, flour from barley, just that. They wore very ragged clothes; very old, ragged clothes. The conditions were like this.

But they generated the whole path to enlightenment, they generated bodhicitta, they generated the tantric path, and uncountable numbers of them became enlightened and taught sutra and tantra, with experience, to their disciples.

If you go to see those lineage lamas of the lamrim path, if you go to see their places, you can see. We are living such an unbelievable luxurious life, therefore there's no reason why we cannot have realizations, why we cannot practice. We have so many medicines—even when we travel, we carry a whole bunch of medicines in case a problem happens, from the hair down to the feet.

The practices are not stopped by the conditions, food, clothing or place. After having met the Dharma, it is just a matter of practicing. One way of thinking is like this. It looks like enlightenment is so difficult to achieve, but the thought comes in my mind, whether we are able to generate realizations of the path or not, whether we achieve enlightenment or not, I think the whole thing is up to the decision. Whether we are able to generate realizations of the path or not, whether we are able to achieve enlightenment or not, it is up to our decision. It’s not that this physical body becomes square, the physical body becomes round or square, triangle shape, changing something, it’s not that. The decision is through the mind; it is to do only with the mind. The physical body doesn't decide. When we make a decision, the physical body doesn't make a decision. When we make a decision, the decision is made by the mind, the mind that we cannot see, the mind that the physical eye cannot see, which is intangible, colorless and shapeless.

Now, why is enlightenment up to the decision? Why is the realization of the path up to our decision? Why is enlightenment up to our decision? By ceasing following the desire of this life, just by that, we become a pure Dharma practitioner, and whatever we do with our body, speech and mind becomes pure Dharma. Everything becomes virtue, all the activity, all the actions become virtue. Now, when we believe in the truly existent appearance, we are creating the cause of samsara. But if we stop believing in the truly existent appearance as true, if we stop believing that things that are merely imputed exist from their own side, there’s liberation.

This way, with the wisdom realizing that everything is a dependent arising, empty, practicing awareness of everything as a dependent arising, the unification of dependent arising and emptiness, we stop grasping or believing in the truly existent appearance. This way, we do not create the cause of samsara. This cuts off the root of samsara, so there's liberation. So this is also a matter of making a decision in life.

If we follow the selfish mind, there's no enlightenment. If we follow bodhicitta, there's enlightenment. So, again that's a matter of making a decision. It is not that we have to make the sky into the earth, and that we have to make the earth into sky. It is not like that. Do you understand what I'm saying? It is not like that. That is very difficult! To make all the rocks gold, to make the whole earth into gold, if this is our aim, to make the whole earth into gold, the whole sky into earth, that is very difficult.

You can see that these are just decisions, which way to think. Which way should the mind think? You can see it’s very simple. It’s simply talking about which way the mind should think. So, whether we can have realizations of the graduated path to enlightenment in this life, and enlightenment in this life, that is up to the decision, today, right this minute—whether the mind will follow Dharma instead of following desire for this life and whether we follow the wisdom of the absolute truth instead of following the ignorance of true existence. Cherishing others instead of cherishing ouselves and making the decision to stop ordinary conception and appearance. Making a decision to stop ordinary conception and appearance. By stopping this ordinary conception and appearance, there's pure thought and pure appearance, so that is the tantric practice.

We become enlightened within a few lifetimes or we become enlightened in this life—so you see now, the whole thing is related with the mind, the whole thing is dependent on the mind making the decision, making the complete decision. The decision in every hour, the decision in every minute, the decision in every day. By making the decision, which is mental, which is just simply a change of attitude, which means a way of thinking, this will lead to realization. There are no obstacles. There’s liberation, there’s enlightenment. You can see now that this is so much easier than making the sky into earth or the earth into the nature of the sky.

I have one teacher, the first teacher who taught me the alphabet—actually, I have two teachers who taught me the alphabet, but the first one had a beard and often carved mantras on the rock in Solu Khumbu. People sponsored him to carve mantras, the Diamond Sutra, the Heart Sutra, on the stones and rocks on the road. After he finished carving the rocks for the benefit of others, people, animals, travelers would come and circumambulate, to purify and accumulate merit. The Sherpa custom is that after they finish carving the rocks, they invite the lamas and offer tsog, and they bring a lot of wine in a big pot made of wood, and they make a big party. First, they do puja, the ceremony, then after that they sing songs and dance and drink a lot of wine. Then making a lot of jokes they go away, they separate.

My teacher used to tell me that the whole problem is not having made the decision. The whole problem, the reason there is no progress, is because of not having made the decision. I remember this frequently, and at that time I didn’t understand that it could relate to all the wrong conceptions, from disrespect for the virtuous friend up to the subtle dual view. I didn’t come to this understanding; this understanding did not come at that time but as he advised, the reason there is no progression is the mistake of not having made the decision. It sounded very simple, but I remembered it many times. It is one word containing so many answers, one word containing extensive advice.

So you see now, from guru devotion working up to enlightenment completely depends on our own mental determination. When we make the wrong determination, there’s no development, there is no realization, and when we make the right determination there is progression and realization happens. The whole thing is completely up to the mind, completely up to our own mind, not somebody else. It’s our own decision, it is not somebody else’s decision. Our own enlightenment and liberation does not depend on somebody else’s mind, it depends on our own mind.

By relying upon the virtuous friend, like the skillful doctor, the skillful guide, by practicing the path revealed by that skillful guide, we are able to achieve liberation. It is explained in the sutra, the Tsa lu jang pa, as Buddha said, “The bhikshu who sees Dharma, one who sees dependent arising, will see Dharma. One who sees Dharma will see Buddha.” Buddha, by holding a plant in his hand, said, “Bhikshus, one who sees dependent arising will see Dharma, and one who sees Dharma will see Buddha.” So the one who sees dependent arising will see Dharma, I think this means emptiness. By realizing emptiness, by developing the wisdom realizing emptiness, we are able to remove the obscurations, we are able to remove the disturbing thought obscurations and the fully knowing obscurations, which means the obscurations that interfere with the mind becoming fully knowing.

By developing the wisdom realizing emptiness, we remove completely the disturbing obscurations and fully knowing obscurations, the obscurations that prevent the mind from becoming fully knowing mind. By completing the wisdom realizing emptiness, we are able to cease all the obscurations and the mind becomes the fully knowing mind. We see Buddha by becoming Buddha. The Buddha, through the development of the wisdom of shunyata, when we cease all the obscurations, it becomes enlightenment, the Buddha becomes our own experience. So through our own experience we see Buddha. That might be the meaning of this.

Then Buddha explained the twelve links. How one sentient being circles in samsara under the control of karma and disturbing thoughts. How one sentient being circles in samsara, from one life to another life. First of all, ignorance—how ignorance is created. Ignorance is the root of samsara, from where the rest of the twelve dependent originations, the twelve dependent arising limbs come. The originator of samsara is ignorance. The main creator of samsara is ignorance. The mind that is the main creator of samsara is ignorance; ignorance not knowing the nature of the I.

So now, a little bit of detail on this point. There are imprints left on this mental continuum from beginningless rebirths by the ignorance of true existence. Each time the ignorance arises, it leaves an imprint. Each time we follow ignorance, each time we create ignorance, in other words each time ignorance arises, it leaves an imprint on the mental continuum. From beginningless rebirths it has been like this. The imprint of the ignorance of true existence is left on this mental continuum. Now because of that, things that are merely imputed by the mind appear to exist from their own side.

When you label “I” on these aggregates, that is the thought of mere I. Now, at that time, the thought of the I is not the ignorance, but after the thought of I imputes I on these aggregates and the I that is merely imputed on these aggregates appears to exist from its own side, unlabeled, independent, not merely imputed, and when the thought of I starts to believe in this appearance, this thought of I becomes ignorance. Before that the thought of mere I is not ignorance. When you start to believe, immediately after that, that the I that is merely imputed on the aggregates appears to exist from its own side, the thought  of I becomes ignorance. That’s how you create ignorance. When you believe in the appearance of the truly existent I, that it is completely true, that thought of I is ignorance.

So now you can see very clearly how ignorance is dependent arising. Ignorance, the base on which we label ignorance, is that thought of I when it believes that the merely imputed I exists from its own side. So now you can see that by believing in that, the mind becomes ignorant.

If you practice awareness, and if you generate the wisdom realizing emptiness, when you have the realization of the wisdom realizing that this truly existent I is empty, you can see the object that ignorance believes is empty. So in this way you see that there is no space in the mind, and when you see emptiness, while you are seeing the emptiness of the I, while you are seeing that the I is the unification of dependent arising and emptiness, there is no thought of I clinging to the thought that this is truly existent. There is no space for that.

When you know this, however, when you have realized the emptiness of the I when you have realized shunyata, you know that the thought of this ignorance, the thought of the truly existent I, is completely false. You know that the object in which you believe is completely false. And this is the root of all other disturbing thoughts, karma, and all the problems of samsara. When you have this experience, then you have the definite understanding that you can achieve liberation, that liberation is possible. When you have this experience from your side, besides having faith in the teachings, it becomes your own experience that liberation is definitely possible, from this experience of the realization of emptiness. You have the confidence, the faith, the definite understanding that you can achieve liberation, that liberation is possible when you receive this experience.

And you know that this hallucination, this ignorant, hallucinated mind, this ignorance of true existence, is the basis of all other disturbing thoughts and karma. Then from there, the whole entire result, all the problems of samsara come. Therefore, you know the cessation of the whole thing, liberation, and that it is definitely possible for you to achieve that; that it exists.

That’s why I mentioned before that each time we believe in this appearance of true existence, each time, we are making ignorance—it leaves an imprint continuously on the mental continuum.

So now, ignorance. Here Guru Shakyamuni Buddha explained the twelve links, relating to the external evolution, the plant. Ignorance is the originator, the creator of samsara, and it is like the farmer. The karma that is motivated by ignorance is like the field from which you get various crops. Similarly, from karma we receive various rebirths—happy rebirths, suffering rebirths, various rebirths—they come from karma, so it’s like a field. The consciousness on which the karma leaves an imprint is like the seed, because the seed holds all the potential. One small seed holds all the potential—the trunk, the tree, all the billions and billions of leaves, branches, flowers, fruit—all that potential is held by the seed. So now similarly, the consciousness holds the potential, or the imprints left by karma. From the imprint, the seed, come various lives—happy lives, suffering lives, various lives. All the seeds of these imprints are held and carried by the consciousness. So the consciousness is like the seed of the plant.

Now the craving, grasping and becoming. Craving and grasping are like the water and the heat, the warmth. The water and heat, these conditions, make the seed ready to sprout. Similarly, the imprint, the seed that is held by the consciousness, is made ready to bring the future life’s aggregates, the future life’s samsara. The seed that is held by the consciousness is made ready to bring out and actualize the future life’s aggregates, or the future life’s samsara, by this craving and grasping. So this imprint and seed that are held by the consciousness are ready to bring the future life’s aggregates. This is becoming, and this is like the external seed that is ready to bring a sprout.

Next, after this, when the consciousness takes place on the fertilized egg, name and form are actualized. That is birth. That is the future life’s aggregates, samsara. That is like the stem that came out.

Now, knowing the number and example is not enough, but we should relate these twelve links to our daily life. This makes it very clear how everything came from mind, how everything is to do with karma, how all our own happiness and suffering life came from our own mind. From that consciousness, the nearest one, there is ignorance, karma, then there is consciousness. This present life’s birth, all the aggregates, this samsara, the foundation of all the problems…

[Tape ends]

For example, the bodhi tree at the Tara place. It came from the seed; its potential was contained in that.  So this birth, these aggregates, like that tree, came from this consciousness, came from this tiny seed, which is our own consciousness. The imprints were carried by the past life’s consciousness, held by our own past life’s consciousness up to the time that consciousness took place on the fertilized egg. Since the consciousness took place on the fertilized egg, this has been the consciousness of this life. But before that, before the consciousness took place on the fertilized egg, it was the past life’s consciousness. All our aggregates came from that. So this is how samsara came from our own consciousness.

Now same thing, besides these aggregates, the action, the objects, the six sense objects, what these aggregates use, enjoy, or suffer with—everything came from the consciousness. The undesirable imprint left by nonvirtuous actions on the consciousness manifests, is actualized, and that’s why we have the undesirable appearance, perception, the undesirable view. The desirable objects come from the imprints left on the consciousness by virtuous actions, they manifest, are actualized, and the desirable objects are an appearance of that. What we feel disgusted with and what we feel attached to—all this is an appearance, a manifestation of the imprint. So all objects come from our own consciousness.

Today, from this morning until tonight, indifferent objects, desirable objects, undesirable objects, bad and good, all these things that we see from this morning, since we opened your eyes, from this morning until tonight, all these things come from our own consciousness. Like this.

What we see on the TV is not up to the screen, it’s up to the figures and imprints that are left on the negative film. When it is associated with the machine, electricity and light, it projects there.

Similarly, from this morning until tonight everything that we see—how we see the people, how we see the place—the whole thing comes from our own consciousness. Exactly like the negative. When we travel, we see mountains, trees, villages, cities, we see many different things, ugly, good, many things—and all this, each moment, each hour, each different appearance— deserts, snow mountains, clear sky, fogginess—all these things look like they are nothing to do with our mind, like they just came from there, from their own object, from the side of the object, nothing to do with our mind. They look like they are nothing to do with our mind. But everything, not only the sense of the eye and ear, but everything that we feel moment to moment comes completely from our own mind, just as what we see on TV comes from the negative film.

Meditation on these twelve links is very effective if we relate firstly like this. Especially when there are problems with others, relationship problems. All these appearances—thinking this is a bad person, this is a good person, this is an enemy, this person is helping, this person is harming—the whole thing comes completely from our own mind. Therefore, when we think of the actual evolution of our world, it came from our own mind. All these things, subject, action, object. There is nobody to blame on the outside except ourselves, except our own disturbing thoughts. All these problems, all these bad things are the result, the mistakes of our own mind.

Even when we go to the shops, to the city or to a beautiful park, or when we go to a desert or some very dirty, filthy place with mud and cow kaka all over—whatever, the whole thing came from our own mind and consciousness. How all these things come from the consciousness is because of the imprint left by karma. Karma is our own thought, motivated by ignorance. Karma is the thought arisen from the consciousness. Then from that action comes the action of body and the action of speech. So while there is a thought, there is an action arising from the thought, and that is the thought that accompanies the actions of body and speech. So karma is our own thought. The whole thing, the whole life from birth until death, all subject, action, object, our whole world, our whole appearance, completely came from karma. The karma came from our own ignorance, completely hallucinating the nature of the I. We believe the merely imputed I, that which appears as if it is unlabeled, existing from its own side. We believe it is true. We believe that it is true, while it is completely empty.

The whole samsara, our whole samsara, our whole samsaric existence, everything, came from our ignorance, our mind. While we are human beings it is like this; when we are devas it is like this; when we are born as animals it’s like this—whichever realm we’re born into, it’s like this.

Therefore, you can see how extremely important it is to realize shunyata. It is extremely important to eliminate ignorance, the originator. The only remedy that can remove ignorance is the wisdom realizing emptiness. Therefore, in everyday life, practice awareness, meditate and study the teachings of shunyata. Leave as many imprints as possible by studying, practicing awareness of the unification of emptiness and dependent arising in everyday life. It is the utmost need, an important practice. Like the earth, it is the most important foundation for happiness up to enlightenment.