Kopan Course No. 41 (2008)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #1746)

These teachings were given by Kyabje Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the 41st Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in December 2008. The transcripts are lightly edited by Gordon McDougall.

Lecture 13 is a talk on the beginnings of the FPMT by Ven. Roger Kunsang, who is Rinpoche's assistant and CEO of FPMT Inc. See also the Basic Philosophy of Buddhism, to listen to the audio files and read along with the unedited transcript for Lecture 10.  You may also download the entire contents of these teachings as a pdf file

Lectures 1 & 2: The Infallible Path

Kopan Course 41 Index Page : Next Section ►

Lecture 1

GREETING STUDENTS
So first I want to say good morning to everybody. I must apologize that I was unable to come earlier, because there were some difficulties, some karma experienced the night I came to Bombay from Nasik. Nasik is a big city which is few hours from Bombay, Nasik. Last year, a policeman who is Buddhist, an Indian Buddhist man, invited to come to his place, when I was at Root Institute, one of the FPMT centers. It’s not the place where we aim to build the five-hundred foot, fifty-story Maitreya Buddha statue, not that one. There’s another center which was started much earlier. I didn’t have enough time to go at that time, but he’s very dedicated, very devoted, a very dedicated person. I wasn’t sure what help he needed—I thought maybe a school or something, maybe he needed some financial help—I wasn’t sure what exactly. I thought it might be very simple, I didn’t know that he had a big project.

So, I went to this city, Nasik, around twelve o’clock. He had built a temple already, with the Buddha Shakyamuni statue inside, I think maybe at least three stories. He showed me that in the middle of the night, and then, the next day, even at that place there’s a huge mountain, a huge mountain, rocks, in the inside there’s a cave, maybe two thousand years ago. Inside the rock—not this size, but smaller—people carved statues. That’s what I saw there, there are quite a few statues of Maitreya Buddha, the future coming Buddha, so I think there might be some Mahayana teaching be spread in that area, probably during Nagarjuna’s time. Maybe it happened then. There’s statue of Maitreya Buddha in which the aspect is descending, showing that Maitreya Buddha will descend from Tushita to this world, after Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings have stopped. There is a very beautiful statue, and the two bodhisattvas, which come in our meditation, in the initiation, so it is there.

There are many of the statues, I think either of the enlightened Maitreya Buddha—seated on the throne, hands like this, but there’s no stupa there—and I think maybe Buddha Vairochana. There are many statues like that and this was really amazing.

Then in the hall, there are many caves. At that time the monks retreated in those caves, inside the hall. So, there are the caves and the statues and it’s dark. The people don’t see the statues because there’s no light, it’s all dark, unless they come with a torch, or unless they come with their inner light, they come with their inner light. [Rinpoche laughs]

There’s a letter written by King Ashoka, who happened after the time period. There was writing by him outside the cave. I think there were many caves but I didn’t have time to go to see all the caves. It’s very interesting. In those time people had this unbelievable energy, to make a huge hole inside the rock, carved. It’s amazing, the power of mind.

There is not so much of this now. There’s Ajanta, near Bombay, a few hours from Bombay. I think it’s maybe four hours from Nasik, this city.

We visited the caves and we did a puja there, because it was special day. We did commitments, vows, to offer tsog. It was the tenth so we did commitment from Mother Tantra initiations, having received that, there’s commitment to do that. We went to see the cave in the afternoon. It got late, and somehow we didn’t make it in the morning.

He had a huge piece of land, drove quite a few hours and I think we arrived there, I’m not sure, eleven o’clock or ten thirty, something around then, anyway. He said there were three or four hundred people waiting. That’s what he said in the afternoon, when we were doing puja. Anyway, [Rinpoche laughs] some people came to bless the land or do prayers, puja, meditation.
He brought a Bodhi tree, maybe from Bodhgaya where the Buddha meditated and achieved enlightenment. I think he got a Bodhi tree there. He asked me to plant it, so we did prayers, we did many prayers for that place to be beneficial for sentient beings, and to develop compassion, wisdom, and in particular to meet Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and for them to spread. After planting the Bodhi tree, we prayed for the people there to be able to actualize bodhicitta and to cause bodhicitta to be actualized in the hearts of everybody, in the hearts of all sentient beings, and particular the sentient beings who are in this world, to generate bodhicitta, the ultimate good heart, letting go of the I, cherishing others. Letting go of the I, from where all problems come, all suffering comes, and cherishing others, from whom we receive all our happiness, all the past, present and future happiness.

We think the money is so important. That’s why we cherish money, because we know the benefits, what we can do with money. We can buy chocolate or we can buy ice cream or how to say, I forgot—hot dogs! [Rinpoche laughs] We get to get hot dogs. We know very well what the benefits of money are, so I think that’s why we cherish the money.

It’s the same with gold or diamonds. We cherish them so much, because we know what we can get from them is expensive. Of course that is nothing compared to how precious one sentient being is, whether it’s an insect, whether it’s a mosquito or one person. One sentient being, how precious it is, how kind it is to us, how precious it is to us in our life is inexpressible. It is kinder than the Buddha, kinder than the Dharma, kinder than the Sangha.

Because the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha come from sentient beings. The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha who liberate us from the oceans of samsaric sufferings It’s probably easier to understand what samsara is. Even though it’s a Sanskrit term, the cycle of existence, circling in the oceans of samsaric suffering, the oceans of sufferings of human beings, problems, and then suras, asuras, those sentient beings, and hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, those oceans of each realm, the oceans of sufferings of each realm. We can get liberated from all this and achieve ultimate liberation, everlasting happiness, and not only that, we can also achieve full enlightenment, the cessation of all the mistakes of mind, the completion of all the realizations, by taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but then Buddha, Dharma and Sangha came from sentient beings.

DHARMA IS THE CURE TO OUR BEGINNINGLESS DELUSIONS
Since I’ve mentioned this, it’s very important. There are so many ways to meditate on the kindness of other sentient beings, but the deepest one on the kindness of others is how others are so precious, sentient beings are so precious, by seeing how all our past happiness, our happiness from beginningless rebirths comes from them. Not just this one, not just a few lifetimes, but numberless. The continuity of the mind has no beginning, the continuity of the mind has no beginning. So, it’s good to analyze if there was beginning, what would happen. That’s a very important analysis, what would happen, what mistakes would happen.

It’s contradictory to what the life is, to what we experience, it’s contradictory to that. If the previous continuity of consciousness, the continuity of this present life’s consciousness, the continuity of that is from past life. Before it took place on the fertilized egg and was conceived, there’s a continuity of the consciousness. There’s a continuity of that consciousness that was conceived in the fertilized egg. The consciousness existed before taking the birth, before conception. So, there was a past life.

Therefore, the continuity of consciousness or continuity of mind doesn’t have a beginning, it’s beginningless.

Similarly, the continuity of the delusions is beginningless. It’s the same thing. It is very important. If there was a beginning of delusions, what would happen? What mistakes would arise? How would this be contradictory to experience, to reality.

What I’m saying, there’s happiness we have experienced in past lives, from beginningless rebirths, the happiness is experienced from beginningless rebirths, the present happiness and all the future happiness, the happiness of future lives, while we are in samsara, in cyclic existence, all those temporary pleasures, are all from the kindness of sentient beings.

Then, when we are totally liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering, by ceasing completely the cause of the suffering, karma and delusion, the action, the karma, and delusions, and the cause of delusion, the negative imprint, the seed, which is carried on the mental continuum, when we completely cease that, by actualizing the remedy, the path, it’s like the medicine that heals the sicknesses. In the four noble truths, true suffering, which is to be known; the cause of suffering, which is to be abandoned. Since we don’t like suffering, what we have to do is abandon the cause of suffering, to actualize the cessation of the sufferings, so that means including the cause, karma and delusion.

To actualize that on our own mental continuum, to actualize that, for the success of that, we must meditate on the path, the true path. We need to actualize the true path. The true path, as the Buddha mentioned, the remedy, the true path, needs to be actualized.

In particular, the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, which is the only one that directly ceases the defilements, the disturbing thought obscurations. There are two types of obscurations, the gross ones, the disturbing-thought obscurations, the main deep disturbing-thought obscurations, which function to obscure our mental continuum. Instead of awakening or enlightening, bringing peace, it obscures, it causes disturbances. By ceasing the cause completely, by actualizing the true path, okay.

Sorry, I’ve forgotten what I’m saying! [Rinpoche laughs] Like a cloud in the sky disappeared.

[Student says something]

Thank you very much. [Rinpoche laughs] Actualizing the path is by the kindness of sentient beings.

THERE IS NOWHERE IN SAMSARA THAT IS NOT SUFFERING
So, anyway, I’ve forgotten. Oh, that’s right. The happiness we received, we have experienced from beginningless rebirths and all the happiness now, in the present, and all the happiness, pleasure, we will experience in the future, while we are in samsara, as well as ultimate happiness, the total liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering and the cause, karma and delusions. It’s very important, the happiness to be achieved, what we should look for.

If we don’t achieve that, if we don’t look for that, if we don’t attempt to achieve that, then all the samsaric happiness or all pleasures are only suffering. As you have gone through this meditation, explanation, this one is very important to realize, to meditate on, it’s very important.

This is not particularly Buddhist. It is not special about Buddhism; this is also with Hindus, they can realize this through meditation, through analysis, they can realize desire realm pleasure. We are in the desire realm, having desires, sense objects as pleasure.

Even Hindus, through meditation, through analysis, can discover the desire realm is only in the nature of suffering and whatever they think is great happiness is only in the nature of suffering. By analyzing the nature of pleasure, we discover it is only suffering.

For ordinary people, those who don’t do the analysis, who don’t check the nature of that, with attachment, they believe this is real happiness. But it’s not, when we analyze it we discover it’s only in the nature of suffering.

The other realm, the form realm, has seventeen levels, all come within the four firm contemplations, the four levels. Even they have total renunciation, they have no interest at all in the desire realm, in our realm. The devas, suras, asuras, have many hundreds of thousands—millions of times—much greater sense pleasure than us. It is said that compared to all the human beings’ wealth put together, even one ornament, or one earring is much more expensive than all the human beings’ wealth put together. So, it’s like that, they have far greater sense pleasure than human beings.

However, even those devas in the desire realm, their pleasure is only in the nature of suffering. To those devas who in the world of form, I guess it would seem like some country or some place where people are very poor, with a lot of contagious disease, very filthy, and a lot of disease. A place like that is very scary or very dirty, and we don’t go want to be there even for one hour. I’m just using an example. Even the sentient beings, the devas in the world of form, they achieved shamatha, calm abiding, which has nine levels, they achieved that through meditation to be born there. They achieved those levels and so were born in the form realm.

There are six types of analysis, analyzing the desire realm, how it is totally in the nature of suffering. There are so many problems and even the pleasure is only in the nature of suffering. They look at the form realm, and see there is more peace and happiness, and so they’re born there.

There are four levels of firm contemplation, through six analyses. Maybe comprehension, maybe six types of comprehension, or six analyses. Anyway, they go through that.

So the first one, firm contemplation, when they reach that level, so they look at that as nature of suffering, they look at the second level as having more peace. Then, by going through these six analyses, they reach that level, and then again they use the six analyses, looking at the second level of firm contemplation, to see it too is in the nature of suffering. Then, the third levels seems to have more peace and happiness.

Then they reach that level, and again they use the six analyses for the third one, seeing it’s in the nature of suffering, and how the fourth one has more peace, and so then they reach that.

Then, after they reach the fourth one, again they use the six analyses, and they see that the formless realm is better than the fourth level of the form realm, so they get born in the formless realm, on the first level, limitless space. Then again they do the six analyses, they look at that nature of suffering, then see the second one, limitless consciousness, is better, with more peace. When they reach that, again they do six analyses, seeing limitless consciousness is in the nature of suffering and that the next level, nothingness, is better, with more peace. They reach that level, and then they look at the third level of the formless realm, nothingness, and through analysis, comparing to the tip of samsara, the fourth one, then nothingness look to be in the nature of suffering. The tip of samsara has more peace.

So, after they went through the six analyses, they reach the highest realm of samsara, the tip of samsara.

I’m explaining this according to the Hindu religion. They reach the highest realm of samsara, formless realm, and among the four levels they reach the fourth, the tip of samsara. There’s nothing higher in samsara to compare it to, to realize that the tip of samsara is in the nature of suffering. There’s no higher samsara realm to compare it to.

They’ve discovered this in all those previous levels. The first one, the desire realm is only in the nature of suffering—the pleasure there is only in the nature of suffering—and then the form realm is only in the nature of suffering, and then the other three levels in the formless realm—the three before the tip of samsara—are only the nature of suffering. They’ve discovered all these are only in the nature of suffering. Then there’s no other higher samsara realm to compare, that shows the tip of samsara is only in the nature of suffering, to realize that.

So, they have always attachment. They’ve abandoned attachment to the pleasures of those other realms by discovering how they are all in the nature of suffering, but they are unable to renounce this tip of samsara. There’s no antidote to that, to their attachment, there’s no antidote.

In Buddhism, we meditate, we generate, we realize even that is only in the nature of suffering, without the great compassion towards sentient beings. Only with renunciation of all of samsara, we enter in the Lesser Vehicle path, that is the door or gateway of the path to nirvana, the sorrowless state.

BODHICITTA AND RENUNCIATION
On the basis of that, if we then meditate, looking at the other sentient beings, how they are unbelievably suffering in samsara, when we think of others, how they are suffering in samsara, we are able to develop great compassion. By realizing how we have been experiencing the oceans of samsaric sufferings, realizing how our own samsara is only in the nature of suffering, then, after fully discovering that, when we look at the other sentient beings, they’re numberless. Before it was just our own suffering, but now, when we look at others, numberless in each realm, and their suffering, it’s most unbearable.

Like that, we are able to develop great compassion. By having actualized that, that leads to actualizing bodhicitta, the thought to liberate others from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment, the peerless happiness, full enlightenment, the thought of working for others. Then, for the success of that, we ourselves need to be enlightened.

There’s a principal consciousness which is special, extraordinary, a principal consciousness which is similar in five ways, with these two intentions. With that we can generate bodhicitta, on the basis of the root, the great compassion for every sentient being.

Then, of course, we enter the Mahayana path. When you actualize bodhicitta we enter the Mahayana path, the path to enlightenment, full enlightenment, great liberation. The liberation we achieved before was the liberation of the lower path, the Lesser Vehicle path.

So, anyway, what I’m saying here, Buddhism it explains how not only the desire realm, but the form realm and even the formless realm, and the tip of samsara, all this is only in the nature of suffering. This is explained.

By meditating, we discover that our mind is totally free from the attachment, grasping at those realms, whether they have peace or they have pleasure. That’s the beginning, how we liberate ourselves by actualizing that renunciation, then we enter into the path, then remove the disturbing thought obscurations, the path of merit, the preparation path, right-seeing path, path of meditation, no-more learning, the five paths to achieve liberation.

We are totally able to cease the cause of suffering, karma and delusion, including the seed of delusion, the cause of delusion, the seed, the negative imprint, and we are able to achieve total liberation from samsara on this mental continuum, on our mental continuum.

The other thing is the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness. By achieving that, we’re able to directly cease delusion. That’s how we can be liberated from samsara. Not just the wisdom realizing emptiness but by developing that then you achieve the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, that’s the only one which directly ceases the defilements, disturbing thought obscuration, and the subtle defilements, the defilements which mainly obscure us from achieving the fully-knowing mind, the obscuration which mainly obscures the mind directly able to see all the past phenomena, all the present phenomena, and at the same time directly seeing all the future phenomena. Our mind can see all the numberless past phenomena, at the same time, present, at the same time, all the future phenomena.

The only realization that can directly see the gross defilements—the disturbing-thought obscurations—and the subtle defilements is the wisdom directly seeing emptiness, the ultimate nature.

To remove the subtle defilements by the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, it needs support. That happens by collecting inconceivable merit—inconceivable, inconceivable, inconceivable, so much merit, with the support of that. That can happen only by actualizing bodhicitta.

If we’re unable to actualize bodhicitta, if it is not there, with that wisdom we can’t cease the subtle defilements. By actualizing bodhicitta, we’re able to collect inconceivable, inconceivable, inconceivable merit, and then engage in the bodhisattvas’ holy deeds, the six paramitas: the paramita of charity, morality, patience, perseverance, concentration and wisdom. The, unbelievable, unbelievable merit we collect with bodhicitta, with all this support, we enter the Mahayana path, the path of merit, preparation path, then the Mahayana right-seeing path.

When we achieve the Mahayana right-seeing path, we become an exalted bodhisattva. At that time, we have abandoned the suffering of rebirth, the suffering of old age, and sicknesses and death, those sufferings. Those are completely abandoned. From the time we actualize the Mahayana third path, we never experience those sufferings; they are completely abandoned. The bodhisattva has a spiritual body, the body has changed, he doesn’t have this ordinary body that has bones and flesh, blood, all these things, but a spiritual body.

So, with the support of bodhicitta and engaging in the six paramitas, with that unbelievable, unbelievable merit, all that power of merit, with wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, we are able to cease the subtle defilements. The path of wisdom is developed, possessed by the method, such as the great compassion, bodhicitta and so forth.

Then, we are able to complete merits of wisdom and the merits of virtue and achieve the two kayas, the dharmakaya and the rupakaya, the holy mind of a buddha and the holy body of a buddha. We are able to achieve that. That happens by ceasing the subtle defilements.

The foundation or the of the whole of Buddhism is the two truths, conventional truth and ultimate truth, the truth for the all obscuring mind and the truth for the wisdom realizing the ultimate nature—these are the two types of truth. They relate to the two paths of method and wisdom and the goal of those paths, what can be achieved, the rupakaya and the dharmakaya, the holy body and the holy mind of a buddha.

So, the base is the two truths, conventional and ultimate truth, the path is method and wisdom and the goal is the rupakaya and the dharmakaya. That is the whole entire substance of Buddhism, what it reveals, what we learn.

BECOMING ENLIGHTENED TO GUIDE EVERY SENTIENT BEING
So anyway, going back! [Rinpoche laughs] How sentient beings are kind, how all our happiness comes from every single sentient beings. I got a little bit sidetracked.

While we are in samsara all samsaric pleasures, all comforts, everything, even the small comfort in a dream, even the cool air passing through when we feel hot making us feel good, every single thing we have received from every sentient being. Not just from one sentient being, but from numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras, numberless intermediate state beings, from everybody. From everybody who is here, gathered in this gompa, whatever pleasure we experience comes from everybody here.

Then we can expand to all the rest. When we achieve ultimate happiness, liberation, the cessation of suffering, that everlasting happiness is by the kindness of every single sentient being. We can start from here, or we can start from our family, from everybody here, then include all the rest, the numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, intermediate state beings.

That means all the realizations, the five paths to achieve liberation, the foundation higher training of the morality, the higher training of concentration, the higher training of wisdom, great insight. That’s the basis, the basic path to cause us to achieve liberation from all the karma and delusion and from the oceans of samsaric sufferings. When we achieve liberation it is by the kindness of every single sentient being, that means all the realizations we receive are by kindness of every single sentient being.

Then, full enlightenment, the great liberation we receive by kindness of numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, by depending on the kindness of every ant, every single ant, not only in this universe. There are numberless universes, scientifically mentioned, and also mentioned in Dharma, in the teachings, numberless universes, and so not only the ants in this universe, I don’t mean this world—this is just one continent, this is not a universe, this is not a complete universe.

There are numberless universes, there are different continents, east, west, north, south, human continents, then deva realms, and each universe has that.

From every mosquito we receive this happiness, not only liberation from samsara, but full enlightenment. We receive this peerless happiness, cessation of all the mistakes of mind, gross, subtle mistakes of mind and completion of all the qualities. The cessation of all the mistakes of mind, the completion of all the qualities of the mind, full enlightenment, we receive by kindness of every single of those lower realm beings, every single mosquito, every single ant, every single cockroach, by kindness of every single elephant, tiger, kangaroo—Australian kangaroos and there are New Zealand birds, kiwis—so every single rat, from every single sentient being, every single animal, from every single human being.

We receive our enlightenment from everybody here, then everybody in Nepal, all the people we see in the shops, all the people we see in cars, buses, in airplanes, every person who is in the restaurant, we receive our enlightenment from them. Everybody we see walking in the road, in the shops, everybody who is traveling, from everybody, from rich people, from poor people, from young people, old people, we receive our enlightenment from everybody.

That means, the whole path, the whole five Mahayana paths and the ten bhumis, including the tantric path, which means cause to achieve enlightenment, we receive from everybody, from every person, from every sentient being, from their kindness.

Then after we achieve enlightenment, we become perfectly qualified guide, with skies of qualities of the holy body, and holy speech and holy mind, all the qualities, with nothing missing, nothing more to learn. Then we are able to liberate numberless sentient beings who are in the hell realm, who are in the hungry ghost realm, who are in the animal realm, who are in the human realm, who are in the sura, asura realms, who are intermediate state beings. We are this one person, one living being, but after we’ve achieved enlightenment, then we’re able to liberate numberless of sentient beings from each realm, numberless. We’re able to liberate them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them in full enlightenment. It’s just amazing, all those unimaginable numbers, but that’s what we can do, that’s the benefit we can offer other sentient beings. Even one sentient being, with our omniscience, knowing that one sentient being, whether it’s in the animal realm or the human realm, we reveal methods of the path that fit exactly to that sentient being. Even in one life, there are various methods that fit to that sentient being, to develop on the path.

A buddha can bring them from happiness to happiness, for many lifetimes, to meet Dharma and then leave an imprint, even a buddha revealing teachings with the various forms. For beings whose minds are impure, the buddha manifests as impure, having mistakes, showing mistakes, That is the only way sentient being who have an impure mind can see, with impure karma, only then can a buddha guide them. Even though from the buddha’s side, he is fully enlightened, with no mistakes, but they can’t see, so a buddha showing the aspect of having no mistakes can’t be seen by them. Therefore, a buddha has to manifest as having mistakes to allow sentient beings with impure minds to see them.

For those who have pure minds, a buddha shows a pure form, then guides them that way. That reveals the methods buddhas use. There are various methods that fit to sentient beings exactly, to take them from life to life, life to life, from happiness to happiness, gradually developing the mind.

By actualizing the path, they are able to remove the defilements, the cause of suffering, then bring them to liberation, then full enlightenment, gradually like that, liberated from samsara, then gradually bring to full enlightenment.

This is what we do after we become a buddha. Not only do we have omniscience, complete wisdom, knowing everything directly: all the sentient beings, their minds, their wishes, their level of their intelligence, karma, all those details, not only that, we have the unbelievable method, even to guide one sentient being, to reveal the right method at the right time gradually bringing them to full enlightenment.

What I was saying before, since I mentioned this, this is our goal, this is our goal to be achieved.

Why we meditate, why we practice Dharma, why we do something extra in life, why we practice, why we renounce delusion, the immediate thing is to liberate ourselves from suffering, the immediate thinking is for our own ultimate happiness, not just temporary happiness but ultimate happiness, long term happiness, everlasting happiness. But the real goal, the real purpose of life, why we have taken this human body is to benefit others. This is the real purpose of life, real purpose of living, why we sleep, why we eat, why we spend money, why we make money. I mean, the whole thing, once you realize, is for this. This is the ultimate goal, to benefit numberless sentient beings: to benefit numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, intermediate state beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them in full enlightenment, bring them in full enlightenment, this is it. Everything we do is for this success. That’s what life is for. That is the very essence, the very, very essence, how we should live life, or what we should try. This is what we should live life, what we should do for is this one, to achieve this goal.

This is what we should have in our heart, this we should have in our heart, deep in your heart. If we have this in our heart, not only meditating, not only studying Dharma, not only praying, but even eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, doing our job—all these other things are done for that. What we have done in the past, even as a non-believer in the sense of karma, reincarnation, cause and effect, but we are compassionate, whatever action we do with our speech, body and mind, that has a result, every action has an effect, a result, happiness or suffering, depending on what motivation we did the act with, whether it was virtue or nonvirtue. Whether it’s done with attachment or nonattachment, with an obscured, disturbing mind, with attachment, or with a positive, non-attached mind, a renounced mind, whether it is done with anger or with patience, with non-anger, or done with ignorance of karma, ignorance of Dharma. The highest, the most special one is whether it’s done with the thought of cherishing others rather than with egotism, with the selfish mind.

The attitude makes a huge difference to the action, depending on whether the motivation is pure or impure. Our action changes, depending on that. With those positive thoughts, the action becomes virtuous, pure, and the result is happiness. Those other thoughts, those other wrong concepts that hold the object, the delusion which is a wrong view, which doesn’t exist. This is against reality. This transforms the action into nonvirtue, and then the result is suffering, not only suffering in this life but we have to experience suffering beyond this life.

I’m lost again. What did I say? [Student brings Rinpoche up to date with the subject.]

Yeah, what I was saying, even non-believer, not believing in reincarnation, negative karma and the cause and effect of the action. Whatever action we do, it has an effect, a result, happiness or suffering, depending on the motivation, how we did the action, with what kind of mind. That’s it, karma, cause and effect. So, we don’t believe in reincarnation, in karma, we won’t have great compassion for all sentient beings, because we can’t understand all sentient beings, but, just compassion for sick animals or poor people, people who need help. What was I saying? I’ve forgotten the connection now. I remember, I mentioned that, but I don’t know. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

A non-believer who has compassion for the people and animals with sickness or problems that they encounter in daily life, compassion arises, that is virtue. That’s sincere help; there’s no expectation to get something in return. I forgot the continuity. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

So now, the happiness, I’ll finish that. That’s right, so I said, I emphasized, the very important thing, the very essential thing in our life, what we should have in our heart is to benefit others, to live life with that, with thought to benefit others, living life to help, to benefit others. There is so much to explain, how to benefit to others.

THE GRADUAL PATH OF THE THREE CAPABLE BEINGS 
The Kadampa Geshes explained that the whole of Buddhism comes down to these two advices: to not harm others and benefit others. The whole of Buddhism comes down to these two advices.

The Buddha taught 84,000 teachings, and all that is included in the three baskets of the teachings. The lam-rim, the stages of the path to enlightenment comes in three: the graduated path of the lower capable beings, the graduated path of the middle capable being and the graduated path of the higher capable being. That includes the whole path to enlightenment, not just a whole path to liberation from samsara.

The gradual path of the lower capable being you have gone through already, the beginning of the path, the perfect human rebirth: its usefulness, how it is difficult to find again, then impermanence and death, and then the lower realms’ sufferings, then refuge, protecting us from that, and then karma. All that, the graduated path of the lower capable being, is contained in the first advice, not to harm others.

Then, on top of that, the graduated path of the middle capable being, is meditating on all the general sufferings of samsara, the six types, the three types, the four types, the sufferings of the human realm and the deva realm, showing why we’re circling in samsara, with the twelve dependent related limbs, the shortcomings of delusions, and then practicing the antidotes to all that, the three higher trainings. That’s in the graduated path of the middle capable being, that’s also included in the first advice: to not harm others.

The third one, the graduated path of the higher capable being, includes all the Mahayana teachings, including tantra, the whole, vast Mahayana teachings, the five paths, ten bhumis, including the tantric teachings, the quick path to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime, and even quicker than that to achieve enlightenment in a brief lifetime of degenerate times. All that is contained in the graduated path of the higher capable being is the second advice: to benefit others.

So, to not harm others, to abandon harm to others, and benefit others, in these two advices the entire Buddhadharma is there.

In the monasteries here, and in Sera, Ganden, Drepung—the great Gelug Lama Tsongkhapa teaching monasteries—from very young, monks and now nuns study those extensive philosophical subjects of the Buddhadharma, not only the root Buddha’s teachings, but many pandits’ commentaries, their root teachings and commentaries. Lama Tsongkhapa and many great scholars, highly attained beings—so many enlightened beings in Tibet—wrote many commentaries, and the monks and nuns study all that and put it into practice, integrating it. They study all those extensive teachings, the five treatises of sutra, then tantra, then integrate into the lam-rim. They study extensively, but integrate everything into the stages of the path to enlightenment, this teaching, lam-rim. Putting it into practice is how you go to enlightenment.

The basic thing is this. If we live our life with this attitude, what I just explained now, to benefit everybody, without sectarianism or without thought of nationality, whether a sentient being looks ugly or beautiful or looks weird—everybody—we need to free everyone from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment.

If we have this goal, this is the main purpose of our living, of everything we do. Then in the life, so many of the problems disappear; they’re gone, they doesn’t exist. Why? Because in the past, so many problem come from the selfish mind, our motivation, the way of thinking about our life, the root, the way we think is only cherishing the I, only cherishing this one being, and even that one being is ourselves, not some other being but this I.

THE I IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND
This I we believe in is not inside this body, not in the head, not in the hands, the fingers, not in the toes, not in the belly, not in the throat, not in the belly—well, maybe in the belly! [Group laughs]—not in the chest. We have done everything for this I, after we’re born studying at kindergarten, at primary school, at high school, at college, at university, whatever, and then all the activity we do—eating, walking, sitting, sleeping, doing our job, whatever—everything, everything is done for this I, for this I, for this I, but not the labeled one, the I that is inside this body, but that we can’t find when we look for it, this I we assume is inside this body, somewhere in the chest. Always when we talk, we point here, all the time. When we’re happy or unhappy, we always point to the chest. I heard in Japan they point to the nose or something, but I didn’t see this. But anyway, when they say I, they point to the nose, but I’m not sure.

But it’s not there. If we look for it, we can’t find, we can’t find at all. The minute we look for it, we can’t find, it’s not there. That’s proof. This is another, most important subject in life to discover.

If we meditate, looking for the I but can’t find it, it’s not there. But by that it doesn’t mean the I doesn’t exist. I exists, but the way the I exists is not that. That way is totally false.

The I exists. The I experiences happiness and suffering. The I creates cause of suffering, the I creates the cause of happiness. Every day I experience happiness and suffering. The I experience liberation, enlightenment, and hell. The I exists, the I can help others, the I can harm others. When somebody harms us, hurts us, we say, “Oh, he harmed me, he did something bad to me, me who is inside this body, who is living inside this body,” but it’s not there, at all, not even in name, it doesn’t exist even in name there in this body.

So what I’m saying is, this is how it is in reality. From birth, in kindergarten, believing this, we have been living life like this, doing everything for this I that is inside this body, but if we look for it, if we analyze, our discovery is that it doesn’t exist, it’s not there.

But that doesn’t mean the I doesn’t exist. The I exists, okay? The I experiences suffering in samsara; the I can abandon suffering, it can be liberated from that, it can achieve liberation and enlightenment. We need to do meditations on this. This is very important, very important.

All the happiness we have experienced in the past, from beginningless rebirths to the present, as well as all the future happiness, then liberation from samsara and enlightenment, all this happiness we have received is by kindness of numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, human beings, suras, asuras, intermediate state beings. From everybody, from each single sentient being, we have received all our past, present and future happiness, up to enlightenment. Everything, everything comes from every person, every insect, every sentient being. Therefore what I’m saying, all these three times’ happiness came from our good karma, our virtue. Our virtue is the action of the buddhas.

There are two actions of the buddhas: one is possessed by their own mind, and one is within the minds of us sentient beings. These are the two actions of the buddhas.

All these virtuous thoughts, all these virtuous actions, the buddhas’ actions, basically speaking, came from the Dharma. The Dharma came from the Buddha, and the Buddha came from a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva came from bodhicitta, bodhicitta came from great compassion, and great compassion is generated by depending on the existence of suffering sentient beings. Without suffering sentient beings we cannot generate compassion, we cannot have realization of compassion. So, great compassion is generated by depending on the kindness of each and every single obscured suffering sentient being.

Therefore, all the collection of goodness, everything, all the past, present and future, we receive by kindness of each and every single sentient being, from everybody, completely. That is how they’re the most kind and most precious ones in this life.

FOOD OFFERING AND DEDICATION
So, now the food offering.

We can visualize all the food in the kitchen as nectar, oceans of nectar, then think, “’m going to offer this for myself to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.”

La ma sang gyä

Due to all the three time merits collected by oneself, three time merits collected by others, that which exists but which is empty, may the I who exists but who is empty, achieve the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment which exists but which is empty, and lead all sentient beings who exist but who are empty, to that Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment which exists but which is empty, from its own side, empty from one’s own side—that’s very important—empty from its own side, by myself alone, who exists but who is totally empty from its own side.

Okay, so thank you very much.

Lecture 2

THE BENEFITS OF THE BODHICITTA PRAYER
Maybe in this session we’ll go through the bodhicitta prayer. The refuge and bodhicitta prayer is not just a prayer, it is a meditation. We must know this. It is meditation. Sometimes when you say a prayer, probably many young people might think it’s like Christian prayers, like in church, something like that, just praying. Many young people who grew up in these past years, about twenty or thirty years ago, hate to pray, hate to do prayers, they are against praying in church or things like that. So many people are against all that.

However, here, it’s not just a prayer, it’s a meditation, it is a meditation. Every word has meaning, oceans of meaning, deep, very deep meaning, like limitless sky. Each word has very deep meaning. We need to meditate on each word to understand. If we doesn’t understand, then, of course, it just becomes a prayer.

Because the meaning, what it talks about, what it contains, what is expresses, the meaning is totally different. It affects the mind, even if we don’t understand the meaning, it leaves a positive imprint on the mental continuum, by reading, by thinking, by reciting. It leaves a positive imprint on the mind, like planting seeds, like planting beneficial seeds, like planting seed in the garden, in the field to get food. To survive in life, we plant seeds in the ground, in order to grow crops. Here, we’re planting seeds in our mental continuum, like the field from which crops grow, where we plant seeds of those fruits, rice, whatever it is. We plant that, then it grows, so we and other people can enjoy life or survive.

Here, it’s within the mind. This leaves a positive imprint, a positive seed, on our mental continuum, exactly like the external phenomenon where we plant a seed then it grows. When the conditions come together, one tiny seed like this brings a sprout and then it grows into a Bodhi tree. There’s one name, I don’t remember, there’s a name of a tree in India. When you travel in India, when you go by train, in those hot countries, there’s a tree with a huge trunk. [Student: Banyan tree.] It’s huge, with thousands of branches that spread out, and cover five hundred horse carriages, underneath, under the shade of the branches. The seed is so small, but the tree is so big, unbelievable.

The inner plantation is even so much bigger than that. What we plant, the seed, the imprint on the mind, what comes out from that is far greater than an external see, the external projection. What comes from the internal seed is far greater, so much more than that.

So, anyway, without talking too much, in short, in the future, in our next lives, we will meet the Dharma again and be able to understand words, the meaning, what we heard before, in the past lives, much easier, so much easier. We will be able to understand it so much easier because we heard in a past life. Because of that having planted the seed, the imprint, it is so much easier then to practice. Then, we can actualize realizations, cease those paths as I mentioned this morning, the defilements, the disturbing thought obscuration, and then, by entering the Mahayana path, by actualizing the Mahayana path, taking universal responsibility, ceasing even the subtle defilements.

When we enter the Lesser Vehicle path, the Hinayana path first, we complete that path and become an arhat, liberated from all the oceans of samsaric suffering and the causes and cause, the karma and delusion, then, later, when that karma ripens, we enter the Mahayana path and cease the subtle defilements, and then achieve enlightenment. That’s one way. Or from the beginning we straight away enter in the Mahayana path, and remove both the delusions, disturbing thought obscurations and the subtle defilements, and achieve full enlightenment.

After we become enlightened, it doesn’t stop there, as I mentioned this morning. We are then fully qualified to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and the cause of those sufferings, and not only that, to bring each and every single sentient being to full enlightenment. That’s what needs to be achieved; that’s what we should be looking to achieve.

This is the effect that happens to your mental continuum. I’m not saying just any prayer, but what we are going to recite, these teachings of the Buddha. I’m talking related to this. I’m not talking as if this is the benefit of any prayer.

It’s because of the subject it contains, I think, because of that. Even the animals, if they are able to hear this meditation prayer which contains the path, as I mentioned before this morning, the whole entire Buddhism—the base: two truths; the path: method and wisdom; and the goal to be achieved: the rupakaya and dharmakaya, the holy body and holy mind of a buddha. That was revealed by the Omniscient One, who has not only realized omniscience, but also who has fully developed compassion, trained the mind in compassion towards every single sentient being, which includes us.

There’s nothing more to develop: compassion and having perfect power to benefit us sentient beings, being able to reveal any method that fits to us exactly, at different times. Even this present, various methods are revealed to us, ultimately to guide, to bring us to liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. So, anyway, there are skies of qualities, not just omniscience, knowing directly all the past phenomena at the same time as all the present and all the future.

WE CAN’T HAVE COMPASSION AND HARM SOMEBODY AT THE SAME TIME
For us, while we are thinking about the nature of the ice cream, the conventional nature of ice cream and the ultimate nature of the ice cream, when we are thinking about this phenomenon, at the same time we cannot discover, we cannot think about pizza, whatever, pizza or steak or whatever. While we’re thinking about ice cream, discovering the nature of ice cream, at the same time we can’t discover another object, pizza or whatever, cake or something. We can’t do it at the same time. We can’t think about the nature of cake at the same time. Our capacity is unbelievably, unbelievably limited.

But for the Buddha, who has removed even the subtle defilements, the subtle dualistic view, there’s no obstacles, so the holy mind became omniscient and can see all the past, present, and future phenomena directly, at the same time.

With all those inconceivable qualities of the holy body, holy speech and holy mind, then he has compassion for us, for each and every single sentient being, who believes or who doesn’t believe in the Buddha’s teachings, without depending on that, for every single sentient being, with fully developed compassion. He revealed his teachings, with all those qualities. Here I’m emphasizing one particular one, compassion, fully developed, towards every one of us sentient beings.

So, there’s not one single danger that he might cheat us, mislead us. Compassion does not allow that. There can be possibility. I mean, if there’s no compassion, maybe it’s possible, if there’s no compassion, if there’s perfect power, and then omniscience.

But because of compassion, relating to us, when we feel compassion to somebody, to a person or an animal, at that time there’s no thought to cheat that being. Compassion doesn’t allow us to cheat person or that animal. Compassion is the label, the mental factor wishing that sentient being to be free from suffering and cause of suffering, and when compassion becomes stronger, we take responsibility on ourselves to free that sentient being from suffering, by ourselves,. When compassion is stronger, we take responsibility on ourselves, so we don’t have the thought to cheat that being, to harm them, only to benefit, to protect from suffering, from problems. We can understand by using ourselves as an example. When we feel compassion for somebody, during that time, the thought to cheat them doesn’t arise. Compassion doesn’t cheat, because that is the nature of compassion, to protect that being from suffering.

From that you can understand how the Buddha, who has fully developed compassion, has nothing more to develop, towards every one of us sentient beings. There’s no misleading or deceiving at all; it’s impossible. So that’s one thing. That’s the main reason so many beings, numberless beings, numberless beings who correctly followed the Buddha’s instructions, the Buddha’s teachings, put it into practice, learned, listened, reflected, meditated on the path, and put into practice, by doing that correctly, they have been able to actualize the path. What it’s talking about is experience in that being’s heart, that meditator’s heart, the complete path to liberation and path to enlightenment.

THE INFALLIBLE PATH
The Buddha showed the twelve deeds and revealed the Dharma in India. He turned the Dharma wheel, first, second and third turnings of the Dharma wheel in those different places, Sarnath for first turning of the Dharma wheel, and for the middle one, near Bodhgaya, at Rajgir, then another one in Yangpelchen, I think, the last one.

When he revealed the tantric teachings revealed, there’s a place where His Holiness gave us the Kalachakra initiation, where the Buddha gave Kalachakra initiation, that place, huh? Amravati, Amravati, I’m not sure if it’s in U.P. [Uttar Pradesh] I was asking what state. So anyway, it doesn’t matter, so where he gave Kalachakra initiations.

He manifested into different deities, like Heruka, to give Heruka teachings and initiations on the top of Mt. Meru, by manifesting the mandala to special disciple, requested by Vajrapani. And then the Yamantaka initiation, this highest tantric deity’s initiation, Yamantaka, the Buddha himself manifested in that place called Orgyen. I think it’s either near Pakistan or it might be in Pakistan. There’s a place called Orgyen. Maybe there are some holy objects left, it’s an unbelievable long time ago, so I think it’s kind of empty, but there are some lamas who can travel, who went there to see those places.

So, the Buddha himself manifested as different deities and gave teachings at different places, according to the history of the tantric teachings. It’s not Hindu tantra; it came directly from the Buddha, manifesting into the deity, then granted it to special disciples.

I don’t remember now the place where he gave Guhyasamaja, that place name I don’t remember. He manifested into the deity and then gave it to a king—I don’t remember the name of the king—and then the king practiced and achieved enlightenment in that life. And in the town where the king lived, everybody practiced and achieved enlightenment, so the whole town became empty. [Student speaks.] Yes, King Indrabodhi.

So many yogis from India, and so many from Tibet and Nepal as well as China, so many who correctly practiced, who followed the footsteps of the Buddha, they all achieved the path to liberation, the path to enlightenment, and achieved exactly the same qualities as the Buddha, the inexpressible, unimaginable qualities that Buddha achieved, those who were able to follow the footsteps of the Buddha correctly, the teachings of the Buddha. Numberless beings achieved this.

That is the proof that the path that the Buddha has shown, the teachings the Buddha taught, that this is reliable, this is correct. Also the pandits, the great scholars… Recently someone told me that pandits in India aren’t so much respected. I heard that. Some people like “scholar” and some people like “pandit.” For example, the Six Ornaments, the pandits, Nagarjuna, Asanga, Aryadeva and so forth, those pandits analyzed the Buddha’s teachings, they did so much examination, and proved that it’s the pure path. The yogis put all into practice, and numberless of them achieved full enlightenment, not only from India, but from different countries where the Buddhadharma spread, as well as the Mahayana teachings, and not just Mahayana Paramitayana teachings, but Mahayana Secret Mantra Vajrayana teachings, they spread. They happened like so many stars in the sky at nighttime. Numberless happened who achieved full enlightenment.

Not only the Buddha explained how he practiced, how he followed the path to enlightenment, but later all those followers of the Buddha, all those pandits, the yogis, so many of those as they completed the path, they explained how they practiced and how they achieved realizations. They explained it, they wrote it down. Then their disciples did the same thing. They correctly followed the path to enlightenment and completed their realizations, then they explained their experience, how they practiced, how they bore hardships, how they achieved realizations.

Like that, up to the present lineage lamas, who have actualized the stages of the path to enlightenment, how they practiced, how they bore hardships and achieved the attainments, up to the present lineage lamas. All this is proof. All this means that the Buddha’s teachings are reliable. We can trust them. So many beings achieved enlightenment.

The philosophical text, the Pramanavarttika, the text of logic and philosophy—maybe there’s a second, and I think first—proves how the Buddha is reliable, how we can rely on the Buddha, how we can trust the Buddha. The reason his teaching is reliable is proved by many logical reasonings. However, the simple explanation is what I’ve just said. Even the present meditators who are correctly practicing, who understand, who listen, who receive the teachings from the guru, and reflect and meditate on the path, even now there are many meditators who are actualizing the path, even now, in Dharamsala, where His Holiness resides. There are many other places where there are meditators, even now, experimenting with the path. Those are the inner scientists.

By discovering our mind, our life, from there we have realizations, actualizing the path, so inner scientist is somebody who is experimenting, experiencing the path to enlightenment. By actualizing the path as the Buddha explained, by practicing it, and we are able to cease the suffering and the cause of suffering, the delusions, all the wrong concepts, negative thoughts, we are able to cease them. By ceasing anger we get liberated from all the problems caused by anger. So many of the problems in our life come from attachment, clinging to this life, so many unbelievable problems, not just an individual person’s life problems, but even a group, a family group, a country fighting each other to have power, not caring about their happiness. Because of attachment, country to country it happens like this. So much came due to the attachment. By totally ceasing attachment, we are liberated from all the sufferings. And it’s the same with the ignorance, with all those delusions and wrong concepts.

Those meditators or those inner scientists, those Buddhist scientists, the inner scientists work on inner development, inner discovery. By discovering, by understanding the mind, we understand more about external phenomena, the correct way. The more we understand the mind, the easier to understand external phenomena.

If we don’t understand the mind, we always have problems, so there are always problems to discover external phenomena. We get stuck, blocked when our discovery of the mind is very limited. If we don’t know what the mind is, then it takes a lot of time. It takes so many years to learn about external phenomena, when we haven’t discovered the mind, we have a very limited knowledge of mind, there’s so much hallucination, we have so many piles of hallucination we have in our life, so many wrong concepts, piles of hallucinations, and each wrong concept has its own view, its own wrong view, projection. Ignorance has its own view; anger has its own view.

Since I’m talking this, as it is mentioned in the teachings, this is very important advice, or instructions. Related to the teachings of Aryadeva, the great Indian scholar, the highly attained one, the great scholar, highly attained one, Lama Tsongkhapa mentioned at the beginning, ignorance, grasping at true existence, exaggerates the object. On the basis of that, discrimination comes: this is beautiful, this is ugly. Then from there, by discriminating, anger and attachment arise. Therefore, we can see we need to abandon what anger believes, what attachment believes. Why? Because we can abandon what this particular ignorance, this ignorance grasping true existence believes, what it apprehends, and then we can realize it doesn’t exist, we discover it doesn’t exist.

That is the logical reason, or faith, how it’s possible to achieve liberation, how we can be liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering. This is according to the teachings of Aryadeva, the great scholar, the highly attained being, as Lama Tsongkhapa mentioned. So this is a very important discovery in our life, an extremely important discovery.

THE LABEL DEPENDS ON THE BASE
I mentioned that to give some idea, when we encounter a person, how that person comes into existence. When we see the person, how does the person come into existence? The person didn’t exist before we saw it. It doesn’t exist before we see their aggregates, before we see the association of the body and mind. Before we see that, the person doesn’t exist. Also, when we see the aggregates, the person doesn’t happen at the same time. It doesn’t exist, it doesn’t happen at the same time.

We label “person.” We don’t label “person” when we see a pillar. When we see a table we don’t label “person,” we don’t label “person” to a car, to a bicycle or tree. We have to see a particular phenomenon that can receive the name “person,” that can receive the label “person.” We have to see that particular phenomenon, otherwise, any other phenomenon we see doesn’t cause our mind to make up the label “person.”

Something has to cause our mind to make up the label “person,” to impute the person, the particular phenomena. We have to see that first, that which causes our mind to make up the label “person,” for our mind to impute “person.” It is the association of body and mind. When the person is dead, there’s no mind. , you see, there’s no mind, so you don’t call that, you see, your mind don’t label “person” to that, see, because it’s only body, so like that. It’s the association of body and mind, except the formless realm beings, which don’t have a body, only the mind. Other than that, you receive the label “living being” based on that.

In Tibetan the word is kangsa, which refers to the person, but in English I think it might only refer to a human being. I think, I’m not sure. Is that right? Is that right or not? A person is a human being, having ears and eyes, having a small nose? Anyway, I’m joking.

A human being is the association of body and mind. Maybe we’re blind, we can’t see but you hear the voice, the existing aggregates, by hearing the voice, but anyway, first we see that, then by seeing that, it causes the mind to merely impute, to make up the label, “person.” “I am seeing a person.” It’s the same if we’re using that particular person’s name, or whatever. It’s same thing we’re analyzing.

We see those particular aggregates, the association of body and mind, then, by seeing that first, the next second the mind makes up, the mind merely imputes “person.” It creates the name. It makes up the label “person,” but even that is merely imputed, even that is merely imputed.

So, what is person now? What is person? Is nothing except what is merely imputed by the mind. If we analyze, we understand what person means, what is person, how the person exists, what it is exactly. It’s nothing except what is merely imputed by the mind.

The person does exist. The person does exist but it doesn’t exist from its own side. The person does exist, but doesn’t exist from its own side, at all. The person does exist, but it doesn’t exist from its own side, at all; it’s totally empty, it doesn’t exist from its own side; it’s totally empty.

Why? Here, you can see what I explained before. In the reality, what it is, first, you see this particular phenomenon, the aggregates. In the next second, it causes your mind to merely impute “person.” It is merely imputed from the side of the mind. So, there’s no person at all existing from its own side. That one is totally non-existent, totally empty. In short, the body is not the truly existent person, existing from its own side, existing by its nature.

Putting it into ordinary language, a real person, meaning of “real” in the sense of existing from its own side, a real person, in the language that is used in ordinary conversation—the body is not that one. Now, analyze whether it’s really existing or not. The body is not that one, the mind is not that one. Or we can analyze the five aggregates and see the same thing. Nothing is that real person, neither the body is that real person, nor the mind is that real person, nothing.

That real person that is existing from its own, when we use the word “real,” at the same time we believe it, we have the belief, the notion, the concept, that it exists from its own side. The meaning of “real” is existing from its own side, existing by nature.

We can’t find it. If we look for it, we can’t find that real person, from the tip of his hair down to the toes. There is no way we can find it, if you look for where the person is. We can’t find it from the tip of the hair down to the toes. There is no way we can find that real person, we can’t find it at all.

Not only can’t we find the real person, the person that exists that is merely labeled by mind, because there are aggregates exist, you know, which can receive the label, not only that, we can’t even find that base, if you look for it. We can’t even find what exists there, on those aggregates. It’s exactly the same.

We can’t find the false person, the one we normally believe to be the real person, the inherently existent person. We can’t find that anywhere, it's neither on the aggregates nor anywhere. Where it exists, we can’t find it. But even the merely labeled person, that which does exist—we can’t find that one there, on those aggregates. We can’t find it in this world, and in this country where there are these aggregates. In this country we can find where there are these aggregates. In the house, or outside, in whatever place, wherever there’s that aggregates, we can find the merely labeled person. But the merely labeled person, we can’t find on that aggregates. We have to know this. This is a subtle point. We have to know the differences. The other false person, which always appears to us, which we always believe we can’t find that either on that aggregates or anywhere. That is the emptiness, the ultimate nature of the person.

If we’re able to find the merely labeled person, if we think that we are able to find the merely labeled one on that base, that means it exists from its own side, so it carries that contradiction. It is findable on the base, when there’s a base, these aggregates, but if we look for it, we can’t find it The reality is that simple. If you look for it, we can’t find it, so there’s proof. It’s unfindable.

This is the Prasangika School’s view. Of the four schools of Buddhist philosophy, this is the fourth. The first is Sautrantika, then Vaibashika, then Cittamatra School, the Mind Only School. Finally, there is the Madhyamaka School, with the first [subschool] Svatantrika then the second, Prasangika.

So, according to Prasangika school, if we look for it, we can’t find it. The reality is, if we look for it, can’t find it. Even though the merely labeled one exists, we can’t find on the base, but of course we can find it in the universe, in the world, in the country, in the house, wherever the aggregates are—there we can find it—but not on the aggregates. It’s unfindable, unfindable. It is merely existing from the mind, merely existing from the mind, as related to that base.

Now, here we can see that the person is totally empty. That is the conclusion, it’s totally empty. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m not saying that the person is empty of person. I’m not talking about that. That’s ordinary emptiness. In the prayer called Tok ma dangwar dang ta mar ge wä mön lam, A Prayer for the Beginning, Middle and End, Lama Tsongkhapa talks about ordinary emptiness. You see the empty of the person. I’m not talking about the emptiness of the person, I’m talking about empty of the false person, the one that always appears to us, that we hundred percent believe as true.

So, anyway, you’ve got some idea of the reality, what the person is, you see, it’s totally something else than so far what we have been believing person, so far what we have, what has been appearing to your mind, and what you have been believing so far. That’s totally false, totally false. As I have mentioned already, it doesn’t exist, even the slightest of atom of that doesn’t exist anywhere. Now, through analysis, we understand that, as I already explained.

The reality is that the person does exist but how, what it is, it is totally empty from existing from its own side, but while it is like that, it exists merely imputed by mind. That way, emptiness and dependent arising are unified; they are not contradictory. That’s the correct understanding of emptiness, the ultimate nature of the person.

So what the person is, is unbelievably subtle, unbelievably, unbelievably, unbelievably, unbelievably subtle. It is not at all what has appeared to us and we’ve been believing up to now.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that after he studied the commentary to Nagarjuna’s teaching, the Root Wisdom of the Middle Way, after he read the U ma tsa wa she rab—that’s what the teaching is called—after he had been reading and studying this, he realized that when we see a phenomenon, it’s not this, it’s something else. It means when we see the person, it’s not that the person is something else, not this. So, it makes great sense. His Holiness said that since he had been reading that, his understanding that whatever the phenomenon, whether I or whatever it is, it’s not this then there’s something else, there’s something else.

Remember, I gave the example now, the false person and the person that really exists. It is totally something else, but something which is extremely subtle, an unbelievably subtle phenomenon.

THE SUBTLE OBJECT OF REFUTATION
This unification of emptiness and dependent arising is where it is devoid of the two extremes: of nihilism, where it doesn’t exist at all, and devoid of the other extreme, inherent existence. It’s free from the extreme of nihilism, that there’s no person at all, and then it’s devoid of the other extreme, that the person exists from its own side.

If you got the idea I was talking about, what the person is, how it exists, it is something that we can’t find on those aggregates, it doesn’t exist from its own side, we can’t find there, but it exists in mere name, merely imputed by our mind.

If you get some rough idea of this, then you know what the hallucination is. In our life, with everything, there is reality and there’s a false view that we hold. How it exists, what it is—that’s the reality, then the appearance, how it appears—that’s the hallucination. So, there are two things, with everything, with the I, with everything. When the appearance is according to reality, then that’s the correct one. When the appearance is against the reality, then that’s hallucination. So, I hope you got some idea of the person.

It’s the same, a person or Peter, or George or whatever. It’s the same analysis. Tony, or whatever, Mr. Yee or Mr. Wang or Mr. Woon. It doesn’t matter, it’s the same, if you know how to meditate in this way, how to do the scientific analysis, being the inner scientist or the Dharma scientist.

I’ll tell you one thing. When somebody accuses us, somebody blames us, he’s just blaming this merely labeled I. [Group laughs] At that time, if we’re able to meditate, if we’re able to think that there’s not that real I manifesting from its own side, expressing from its own side.

Usually I say this is the mudra, this is the mudra of introducing the object to be reputed, the false I, the I manifest or the I appearing from its own side, the mudra introducing the false I. [Rinpoche laughs]

As I told you, the person, even the merely labeled I, we can’t find, from the tip of the hair down to the toes—even that which exists can’t be found from the tip of the hair down to the toes. It exists nowhere; if we look for it, we can’t find it. We can’t even find the merely labeled I which exists on this base.

It exists relating to the base. Because the base exists, so it exists. The I exists in mere name, merely imputed by mind, but we can’t find even that; we can’t find it from the tip of the hair down to the toes.

To put it in a subtle way, to express it in a subtle way, it is not merely labeled by mind, not merely labeled by mind. So, it means there is something extra, something additional. It’s not just merely imputed by mind but something extra, something more than that, something that is not merely imputed by mind.

That is the subtle Prasangika school view, the subtle object to be reputed, gag-cha, appearing and believed. We let our mind believe, hold on to that, as if it’s true, a hundred percent. Also, in the very gross way it is as if it can be found in this body, in the chest. We believe it’s inside the chest or inside the body.

It’s the same when we do the meditation on the chakras, when we go into the head or there are different chakras, down inside the feet, we believe we’re there; we believe the real I is down there in the feet, or in the different chakras. It’s like there’s a real I there, going through the chakras and the channels. This is an example of the object to be reputed, the false I. There is no thought of mere imputation, but there’s a real I there in that spot, in that part of the body. This is the gag-cha, the object to be reputed.

So, it’s the same here. Normally, when we don’t analyze, it’s inside this chest, inside this body. That one is the false I. When we analyze, logically when we check, we cannot find it at all, we can’t find at all. We can’t find exactly where it is.

We discover that it is totally non-existent, that is totally empty, right there. From where it is appearing to us, it is totally empty right there; from where it is appearing, it is totally empty right there.

Anyway, what I was saying is that, so now I’ve forgotten….

Anyway what I was saying, it is exactly the same as the person before. I’m talking about the continuation of before. This is totally non-existent right there, okay, totally empty right there. When we discover the I appearing to us and believed in our mind that it is not merely labeled by mind, that it exists not merely labeled by mind, when we realize that, that it is totally empty, totally empty right there, at that time there’s no separation, with our wisdom seeing emptiness and our mind. I can’t remember… It’s non-dual, kind of like that. It’s mentioned in the three texts, that’s the realization of the ultimate nature of the I.

That doesn’t mean the I doesn’t exist. The I that exists, what is that? That is the merely imputed I. There was something else I was going to mention but I’ve forgotten now.

Anyway, we’re running out of time, so we’ll stop here. I didn’t complete it. So, you see, the person is merely imputed by mind, that’s the reality.

To our hallucinated mind, right after the mind merely imputes “person” [snaps fingers], the next second it doesn’t appear back merely labeled by mind. It appears back totally false, totally opposite to the reality. What before was merely imputed the next second appears totally the opposite. When it appears back, it does not appear back according to reality, merely imputed by mind. It appears back to us not merely imputed by the mind, totally the opposite. So, it’s a total hallucination, a total hallucination, when it appears back. What our mind merely imputed, the next second, when it appears back, it appears not merely imputed by the mind, but existing from its own side.

We have that hallucination. We’re born with it, but it doesn’t mean we can’t see that. We’re born with it, we have this hallucination. Why are we born with this hallucination? Because in our past lives we had this hallucination, and it wasn’t ceased by actualizing the path.

From beginningless rebirth, we’ve had this hallucination. That shows we haven’t actualized the remedy, the path, which removes the hallucination. That shows we haven’t done it so far.

In samsara, we die and we are reborn in the six realms, in all three realms: desire realm, form realm, formless realm. We die and we’re reborn, and we’ve done all sorts of unbelievable things; we’ve experienced pleasure, we’ve experienced suffering, everything. We have gone through everything, all the pleasures, all the sufferings; nothing is new. We have gone through everything, okay, everything, whatever we see how people suffer, whatever we see how the animals suffer, we have gone through this numberless times.

As I said before, we are born in the form realm and formless realm, through meditation, numberless times. Any pleasure, any suffering we are going through now, there is nothing new in samsara; we have been through it numberless times. But, actualizing the path, removing this hallucination, that we have not done.

The wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, which is supported by bodhicitta and the six paramitas, collects inconceivable merit. With all that, we are able to cease the subtle negative imprints, those on the mental continuum, which project this hallucination.

When we hear sounds, even though it’s totally dependent, but we experience it as an independent sound, existing from its own side. If somebody lights incense, if we check how we experience the smell, even though the reality is that it is merely labeled, how we experience it is not a merely-labeled smell, that means existing from its own side. So, that’s false, a false smell, a hallucination.

Somebody makes not incense but the other one, a fart. Either we do, or the person next to us makes a fart, Oh this is real one! This is not merely labeled by mind, but something real, existing from its own side, even though in reality it is merely labeled by mind, like I mentioned before with the person. We totally have the hallucination, which is a projection by this subtle negative imprint.

Therefore, it shows so far we haven’t actualized the path. We have done so much in samsara, all the suffering, all the pleasure, we created the cause, we have gone through it numberless times, but this one, this one we haven’t done, actualizing this path to remove this subtle negative imprint which projects all this dualistic view, this hallucination.

After the mere imputation, what makes everything real, from this subtle negative imprint, the hallucination covers over the merely labeled one, the reality, then we think it exists from its own side, not merely labeled by mind.

So, now you can see it’s completely a world of hallucination. We’re living in the world of hallucination, not created by god but by your own mind, not having removed the subtle negative imprints. We are completely living in the world of hallucination, produced by our mind, coming from our mind, our negative imprint.

So, now I’m going to conclude. Only after we remove this negative imprint will we be free from that hallucination, and see things as existing merely labeled by mind. As long as we have this subtle negative imprint which projects hallucination—not buddhas, just us sentient beings—this is the sentient beings’ hallucination all the time, except when arya beings with wisdom directly perceiving emptiness are in equipoise meditation in emptiness.

So therefore, the meditation on emptiness, the realization of emptiness is unbelievable. It can’t wait, it can’t wait even a second, because how much we have been suffering, how much we have been suffering, not from birth until now, but from beginningless rebirth. Therefore, we can’t wait even a second without realizing this.

Every day we need to meditate, to think of the reality, to look at the hallucination as a hallucination, not looking at it as the reality, not looking at it as true, but looking at it as a hallucination that we have been wrongly thinking of as reality.

It helps to think, in our heart, how all these things are in reality dependent arising, merely imputed by mind, the Prasangika School view, the subtle dependent arising. Then, the conclusion in your heart comes emptiness.

Or looking at everything as empty. Looking at subject I, action, object as empty. In daily life, this is how we can meditate, seeing things as empty or as dependent arising or look at them as a hallucination. What is false, what is a hallucination, being aware of the hallucination. So we don’t deceive ourselves, we’re not cheated by ourselves. Otherwise, in our life, we cheat ourselves, we are always deceived by ourselves. From beginningless rebirths, we have been cheated by ourselves, believing this hallucination, believing all this hallucination is real. Then, we get into so much trouble in life, developing anger, attachment and so forth. Now you’ve got some idea of the hallucination, okay.

On this basis, we see this body, this person as so beautiful, then attachment arises, grasping, attachment arises, and it has its own view, its hallucination. Attachment has its own hallucination, its view, projection. Seeing something as ugly, thinking of the reasons, then anger arises. It projects its own wrong view, because there is a wrong concept, the wrong view. When we put on red glasses, we see red; when we put on blue glasses, we see white things as blue. Like that, it depends on which of these wrong concepts arises, then, it has its own projection, wrong view. It doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist. That’s what we need to realize, the object that is apprehended by the view of the ignorance, anger or attachment, anger.

We can realize the object of ignorance, the concept of true existence, believing that it exists from its own side, not merely labeled by mind. We can realize that is false. Through analysis, we can recognize the object to be reputed, realizing it is totally non-existent, empty. That’s how we can find full confidence that we can achieve our liberation.

Sorry, this wasn’t planned. My plan was something else, but we still have some days here, so I wanted to do this. You went through the renunciation, bodhicitta, but I think, very important the mindfulness practice in daily life, our conduct. I think this is a very important thing to do, but I went some other way, in some other direction. So, I think I’ll stop here.

DEDICATION
So please, this is just a very short dedication. Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others—when it says others, it doesn’t mean a few people, or your family, or a few friends, it’s not that, this is not saying a few people around you, others means numberless sentient beings including bodhisattvas, all their merits. Then on top of that all the buddhas, numberless buddhas, all their merits. We have to remember that when we say “others.” It means everybody.

Due to all the three times’ merits collected by me and the three times’ merits collected by others, the numberless sentient beings, including buddhas, may the bodhicitta, which is the source of success and happiness for myself and the source of all the happiness and success of all sentient beings, including liberation and enlightenment, may it be actualized within my heart, in the hearts of my own family members, in the hearts of friends, strangers, enemies—if you have an enemy, then include the enemy—and in the hearts of all sentient beings, without the delay of even a second.

We pray like this, and in whose heart the bodhicitta is actualized may it be increased.

Jang chub…

We should realize that when we do this prayer, we’re praying for all sentient beings, like the whales in the ocean, as large as mountains as well as those animals, so small we can’t see with the eye but only with microscope, these are numberless beings in the water. And all the fish,
millions and millions and millions, they go together like this, what’s it called, what’s the name of that? [Student: School of fish.] School of fish. They go like this, wow. I heard the sharks eat so many unbelievable millions and millions. So, here, when we pray, we have to remember to include those millions and millions of fish; they have no peace, so much suffering. We pray that just that type of fish generate bodhicitta in all their hearts, unbelievable what they experience.

I was saying, when we fly, when we go by airplane, the sea looks, very nice, very peaceful, very nice, but we think only on the outside. If we look inside, if we go deeper, all those bodies like mountains, or those small creatures, they’re all eating each other, the small ones eaten by the big ones. We can’t imagine life in the sea, everyone has an enemy. They eat each other. We don’t have that kind of life, always having to run away, always have the fear of meeting the enemy, being eaten by the enemy, at the same time having to find food. We can’t imagine it. Compared to those beings’ suffering, it’s unbelievable, it’s like we are liberated. Compared to them, we’re liberated.

Of course, we’re not a human being all the time; we’re not in the human realm forever. It’s a very short time. We never know when this life will end. It can happen at any time, the appearance of this life can stop. We have a human body, we have all this, a beautiful house, all the comforts, a family, a car and all these things, all this comfort can be stopped at any time. This appearance can be stopped at any time.

Until that unimaginable suffering happens, it’s good to think, so we can realizes how we’re so fortunate. We don’t have those problems, we have the opportunity to look for a better life, a meaningful life. I was going to thank to you, but I forgot yesterday, but maybe I thank you today.

So what I’m saying is, with Dharma, we abandon the negative thoughts that harms us and harms others, and others means not just one or a few, but numberless sentient beings.

These negative thoughts that harm us, one person, and harm numberless others, have been happening from beginningless rebirth, these negative thoughts, this selfish mind, harming numberless sentient beings. We need to understand that this is how it goes if we don’t change our minds. If we don’t do something in this life now, at this moment, if we don’t make it better, this this selfish mind will harm numberless sentient beings also in the future.

Therefore, while we have this human body, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, with so much intelligence, so much capacity, we can do unbelievable things, things animals can’t do. We can learn so much; we can abandon these negative thoughts and develop positive thoughts that benefit us and benefit numberless sentient beings, bringing all the happiness up to enlightenment, not just this life, not just temporary pleasure, but all the future lives’ happiness, then liberation and enlightenment, to us and to bring the cause to numberless sentient beings. That’s what we can do. Having this human body, now, for this short time, this is what we can do, this is what we can use it for. Compared to the animals, we are so unbelievably lucky, we’re so fortunate, so unbelievably, unbelievably fortunate.

If we don’t do something meaningful in this life, while we can learn meditation, Buddhadharma, the complete path to enlightenment, when will we have the opportunity again? Therefore, we are fortunate that we take this opportunity now. It’s very important now, because how the future life turns out depends on this life; it depends on today, on what we do every moment, how we think every moment, how we live life, which way we think, a mistaken way or a positive way, a healthy way or an unhealthy way.

So, we pray to generate bodhicitta in everyone’s heart, so all those beings in the ocean and all those beings inside the earth, under the ground, in the sky, then human beings and devas in the numberless universes we pray to generate bodhicitta, the source of all the happiness, for success in all their hearts. When we do this prayer, it’s not an easy thing, you pray, to achieve enlightenment for everybody, so it’s a very important prayer.

In the road, when we see worms, when we see birds flying around, when we do practice, then we do prayers and dedicate merits to every one of those, it’s great to rejoice.

So, now we pray, we dedicate all our merits to actualize bodhicitta.

Due to all the three time merits collected by myself, the three times’ merits collected by others, may the bodhicitta be actualized in the hearts of all the leaders of the world, including the leaders of Mainland China, so that the millions of people in the country will have perfect peace, and they will live in the correct path to peace. It’s very, very important.

Jang chub…

Then third one, may the bodhicitta be actualized in the hearts of all the people who follow the different religions. May the bodhicitta be actualized in the hearts of all the different people who follow the many thousands of different religions.

Due to all the three times’ merits collected by me, the three time merits’ collected by others, may the bodhicitta be actualized in the hearts of everybody who follows religion, not only Buddhist, but Christians and all the rest, so they have perfect peace and happiness in this world, in their hearts. So, there is no religious fighting, or killing.

We dedicate the merits for that.

Jang chub…

[Long-life prayer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama]

Please dedicate the merits also that we have this incredible opportunity to meet the Buddhadharma, to develop our wisdom and compassion, the whole path to enlightenment, to be able to make our lives meaningful by taking the eight Mahayana precepts. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, if done with bodhicitta, skies of merit, unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable, with each vow, unbelievable merit. We are so unbelievably fortunate, that brings happiness for hundred thousands of lifetimes, then enlightenment. While we’re in samsara, we have all that happiness, then we attain ultimate happiness, liberation and enlightenment.

Every practice we do and generate bodhicitta, all this is by the kindness of His Holiness, and the next one, for him to have a stable life and all his holy wishes to be actualized.

Then, the next one is Lama Yeshe’s kindness, for this organization and those who offer service, founded by Lama Yeshe’s kindness, with his compassion. Therefore, we’re receiving guidance, help from Lama Yeshe, bringing our heart to enlightenment, liberating us from the suffering of samsara.

May all Lama’s holy wishes be actualized, and then Lama Ösel Rinpoche, his incarnation, become like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, like Lama Tsongkhapa, and be able to offer extensive benefit to sentient beings, and the teachings of Buddha, in this life.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three times’ merits collected by others, which exist, but do not exist from their own side, which are totally empty from their own side, may the I, who exists, but does not exist from its own side, who is totally empty, achieve Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment (or you can think of your own deity if you are practicing a deity) which exists, but doesn’t exist from its own side, which is totally empty, and lead all the sentient beings, who exist, but do not exist from their own side, who are totally empty, to that 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 who doesn’t exist from its own side, who is totally empty.

[Chanting in Tibetan]

Good night.

Kopan Course 41 Index Page : Next Section ►