Kopan Course No. 28 (1995): Audio and Transcripts

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kathmandu, Nepal 1995 (Archive #1019)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Twenty-Eighth Kopan Meditation Course in November 1995. Included are oral transmissions of the Heart Sutra, the Thirty-five Buddhas Confession Prayer, and Pabongka Rinpoche's Heart-Spoon.

Download or listen online to the audio recordings of Lectures 1-3 and 6-9, and read along with the transcript. You may also download the entire transcript in a pdf file.

Lecture Seven: Karma

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As is mentioned in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, even the fully ordained one by degenerating the five divisions of the downfalls, by receiving the vice, as a result reincarnates in the hot hell, becoming alive again and again. Then the practitioner, the individual, degenerating so.jong, the rite of confession, makes to reincarnate in the gathered and crushed hell-realm. Then the remainder of the divisions of downfall being degenerated makes one reincarnate and suffer the experience the hot hell-realms, hot, extremely hot. Then by receiving defeat one must reincarnate in the unbearable suffering state that lasts for one intermediate eon.

Besides those, even the non-ordained, the common living beings, the ordinary living beings, the negative karma, negativities that have been received. Besides those ten non-virtues, ten examples, generally in our life when we do walking, sitting, sleeping, eating and so forth, these activities, if the attitude is just attachment clinging to this life, if this is the attitude then every action, how many spoons of food we eat, every action becomes negative karma. How many drinks of coffee or tea, one drink, that glass or that mug, all those actions of drinking become negative karma, non-virtuous action. With this non-virtuous motivation then bigger mug of tea becomes bigger negative, becomes more quantity of negative; the more quantity, the bigger negative karma; the bigger the plate of food, the bigger the amount of negative karma.

With this motivation, how many steps we walk, every action becomes negative karma. With this motivation, with this attachment, clinging to this life then even how much walking is done, running around in the cities—there are so many people, under the hot sun, juggling, jogging, (laughter) aware of the hot sun, jogging for many miles with all the sweat coming out. So however many steps are done in all those four or five hours, going around the mountain, in the city, on the beach, along the water, every step, with this motivation everything becomes negative karma. If you go to bed with this motivation, how many hours you sleep becomes negative karma. How many hours you talk, with the motivation of attachment clinging to this life, how many hours we do talking, the actions become non-virtue, all become negative karma. However many hours we talk, as I mentioned before, gossiping.

If we live the life with this attitude, the whole twenty-four hours life is just finished, just negative karma, you created negative karma. A whole week goes like this, a whole month goes like this, whole year, so like this, the whole life finished, just only creating negative karma. This is just talking about this life (laughter) (Rinpoche laughs).

Now, the positive thing is that with the motivation, as I said before, of lam.rim, especially bodhicitta, even with right view or renunciation, then all these, however many hours one sleeps becomes good karma, cause of happiness; how many hours one eats become good karma, cause of happiness; how many hours one drinks, how many hours one eats chocolate, biscuits, how many hours one walks, whatever activities in the daily life, all become good karma, become only cause of happiness. Especially with the bodhicitta, with every single action you collect infinite merit like the sky. With every action of eating, sleeping, walking, whatever, talking, with bodhicitta you collect infinite merit, always create the cause of enlightenment.

If one does no purification before going to bed, if one doesn’t do purification such as reciting the Vajrasattva mantra, meditation and recitation, then even one very tiny negative karma can get multiplied, become double the next day, tripled the third day, as Pabongka explained. After fifteen days it becomes like the heavy karma of having killed one human being, then after eighteen days it becomes 131,072 times. That’s what Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo explained in his teaching of lam.rim.

If one does the long one-hundred syllable Vajrasattva mantra twenty-one times, or even if one cannot do that, the short one, OM VAJRASATTVA HUNG, the six-syllable one twenty-eight times then that has power to stop multiplying negative karma, today’s negative karma becoming double tomorrow, so that one’s negative karma does not become double tomorrow. Any negative karma done today with the body, speech and mind doesn’t get multiplied tomorrow. Not only that, it purifies today’s negative karma, it purifies negative karma accumulated in this life, negative karma accumulated from the past, in the past lives. So it becomes extremely important, extremely important to practice the meditation and recitation of Vajrasattva.

It is mentioned by Lama Atisha, as I often mention, on the basis of pratimoksha vow—that doesn’t mean only for ordained persons but the same for lay people—on the basis of the pratimoksha vow one has taken the bodhisattva vow.

There are many, forty-six vices to protect from. The wishing bodhisattva vow involves abandoning four black dharma and practicing four white dharma. The entering bodhisattva vow involves protecting from the forty-six vices. And on top of that, by taking highest tantra initiation then there are the tantra vows: the fourteen root falls, then the eight heavy ones or bompos, then the samaya of the mother tantra. After one has received the highest yoga tantra initiation one is supposed to visualize, practice looking at everything as pure: oneself into deity, the place into the mandala, one looks at everything pure by stopping the ordinary concept, the ordinary appearance.

Each time the objects are left in ordinary view, without looking as pure, depending on how long one looks each object as ordinary, unable to look at them as pure, the rainfalls of vices one collects even just from missing out that one vow, in a second, a minute one collects huge piles of showers of vices. Then there are those many other secondary vices, after the root falls, the secondary vices one receives.

Lama Atisha uses the example of mandala, as the very clean car you park somewhere is very soon completely covered with dust, like that piles of the vices on the mental continuum, showers of vices of being unable to practice those samaya vows. Lama Atisha explained that doesn’t mean taking the highest tantra initiation makes it so difficult to reach enlightenment because of being unable to practice the samaya vows and in one second so many showers of vices one receives. Lama Atisha says it is like this but the practitioners of tantra have a special method: with the Vajrasattva meditation recitation one can purify everything at one time, all these negative karma, all the other vices, all can be cleaned, all can be purified all at once, all these piles, all this, so much can be purified all at one time.

It is like if there are hundreds of birds in the field but you throw one stone, I don’t know what is called, this sling, by throwing one sling you can chase away hundreds of birds. So like this there is a more skilful means for the practitioner of tantra, this Vajrasattva practice, to purify.

There are preparations to do from Lama’s side. The self-generation, front generation, blessing the vase and so forth are done. Then there are graduate things to do from the side of the disciple: washing with the blessed water, then doing prostration, then distribution of the offering flower. Then there’s mandala offering. Before that there is torma given to the interferers, who interfere to grant or receive the initiation of Vajrasattva.

So during this time you can generate strong compassion. Can think how sentient beings are suffering and generate strong compassion. In this way taking the Vajrasattva initiation is not only for your own happiness.

[Vajrasattva initiation]

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