Perfect Human Rebirth and Bodhicitta (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Cumbria, England, 1979 (Archive #280)

The following are excerpts from teachings on Geshe Langri Tangpa's Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Manjushri Institute, Cumbria, England, August 16-24, 1979. Rinpoche began the series with introductory lam-rim talks.

Listen to more teachings from Rinpoche on the Eight Verses from 2003 here. You can also read Rinpoche's commentary on each verse in his commentary on the Everflowing Nectar of Bodhicitta text.

Making the Precious Human Rebirth Meaningful

Sangye cho dang x3

If it is too loud maybe it might be causing pain in the ear. After the course you have to go to hospital to have treatment for the ear.

Before listening to the teachings, it is extremely important in order to become the action of listening to the teaching, to become Dharma, cause of happiness, what we wish to receive, even the action of listening to the teaching, even that becomes, even that is able to transform the cause of happiness, Dharma, just that alone is not sufficient. It is necessary to become cause, yeah, it is not sufficient, even it become cause to receive the release from samsara, nirvana. The goal, what we should achieve, in order to work for other sentient beings what we need, what we should achieve, that is enlightenment. So, not only to become the action, cause of happiness for self, to become cause of happiness for all others, the sentient beings, well then it is necessary to become cause of enlightenment, it is necessary, the motivation to be possessed by the, at least, even though there's no actual bodhicitta, the effortless, uncreated bodhicitta, at least the motivation should be effortful or created bodhicitta.

So think: As I mentioned yesterday about the different, the advantages of the precious human life, the perfect human body, as I mentioned yesterday. If the motivation of listening to the teaching, if it is possessed by attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, then, such as seeking reputation, "If I know meditation, if I know Tibetan, Mahayana Buddhism meditation, teachings, then I can become great master. Then I can become great yogi. Can be famous. I can be one of gurus, one of the yogis. Then I will be very famous, everybody will know, in the world. Then I can write a lot of books, books talking about experiences. Many visions." I'm joking. I'm sure nobody thinks like that. Anyway, that doesn't matter.

Anyway, if the motivation is the thought seeking only the happiness of this life, then the action of listening to teaching does not become Dharma, it doesn't become cause of happiness. You might have heard, I think somebody has talked on the lineage, the great pandit, the great bodhisattva, Atisha, from where these thought training teachings came, the teachings on the steps of the path to enlightenment. His disciple, Atisha is the one who has re-established Buddhadharma in Tibet, through his disciple, his close disciple, Dromtönpa, his Tibetan disciple, the closest one, Dromtönpa, he asked Atisha, his guru Atisha, What result will be the actions done with attachment clinging to the happiness of this life? What the result will be of this karma, this action? And what result one will receive from the actions done with the motivation which is not possessed by the ignorance, anger, attachment? Other one, actions done with motivation possessed by anger, ignorance, attachment? So like this he requests to his guru Atisha. Atisha answered, Actions done with the three poisonous minds, the result will be narak, preta, animal. The actions done without anger, without attachment, without ignorance, the result will be the human being, sura, asura. So, not only listening to the teaching, but any other action that we do, any other normal activity that we do in the day, if those are done with the motivation, the seeking the happiness of this life, with this attachment, well then, the result is what Atisha answered to that question. Motivation is non-virtue, unsubdued mind, attachment, the result is suffering. It is only result suffering, so the action is non-virtue. Oh then like that.

Any action, any this type of action possessed by non-virtuous motivation, result suffering, all those works are meaningless works. Why? Because it doesn't have the result of happiness. So this is the way to define what is the meaningful work, what is the meaningless work. The meaningful work, meaningful action that is the action which has the result of happiness. Any action which is Dharma, which is virtue, those are meaningful actions. Like that.

So like this we should recognize our actions, the actions of the body, speech and mind. Then if the motivation of listening to teachings or any other activity that we do in normal life, from morning until nighttime, the last action, going to bed, the first action getting up, whatever the mind thinks, however, if all those actions are done with the attachment seeking samsaric happiness, perfections, all those actions become, even listening to teachings, even saying prayers, meditating on deities, whatever profound meditation it is, whatever profound path of secret mantra, tantra, whatever one is practicing, how much secret, how much profound it is, all that practice becomes cause of samsara since it is done, if it is done with the attachment seeking happiness of this life, oh then it didn't become even Dharma, no matter how much profound it is that meditation, tantra, how much secret, how much profound it is. Even the person is concentrating one-pointedly on the object, without any, without one single distraction for eons, even the person is meditating like that, since their motivation is attachment seeking happiness of this life, well didn't become even Dharma, cause of happiness. If it is possessed by the attachment seeking samsaric pleasure, perfections, then it didn't bring even cause of nirvana. Besides it doesn't become cause to achieve enlightenment. Like that.

Then, listening to teaching, any other activity that we do in our life, any other normal activity, anything that is done with the self-cherishing thought, with the motivation of the self- cherishing thought, nothing of these actions can become cause to achieve enlightenment, the state of omniscient mind. Even one meditates on shunyata for eons, on absolute nature for eons, even one meditates, since the motivation is the self-cherishing thought, it doesn't become cause to achieve enlightenment. How much profound the tantra path that he is practicing or that he is meditating, how much it is the quick path to enlightenment, since it is done with the self-cherishing thought it doesn't become even cause to achieve enlightenment, besides becoming quick path to enlightenment. Doesn't become even cause to achieve enlightenment.

So, listening to teachings, the motivation if this is not possessed by the attachment seeking happiness of this life, oh then, it becomes Dharma, cause for happiness. Or if it is not possessed by the attachment seeking samsaric happiness, perfections, then it becomes the cause to receive nirvana. If it is not possessed by self-cherishing thought, possessed by the thought of enlightenment, then it becomes the cause to achieve enlightenment, the action of listening to the teaching. Like that.

With any other activity we do with the body, speech and mind - eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, making business, any other, whatever activity we normally do, all those activities if they are possessed by the thought renouncing, not seeking happiness of this life, if all those actions are done with the thought renouncing, not seeking the samsaric happiness, perfections, the thought of the bodhicitta, all those activities become Dharma, the cause to achieve nirvana, the cause to achieve enlightenment.

So, from morning until night, by examining the motive each time, by examining the motivation, one can find out in one day how many actions, body, speech and mind, become Dharma, become cause of nirvana, become cause to achieve enlightenment. One can find out by examining like this. This year, this month, this year, from the birth time until now. However it is useful to check like this, to check back like this. Think: I must achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all the mother sentient beings. Therefore I'm going to listen to the commentary of the Mahayana thought training.

It's important to try to know, each time in the discourses, even though you cannot understand all, try to understand the essence, like the outline. The main body of the subject that is very important. In that way, one doesn't, time that one spend becomes meaningful, and one doesn't waste the time. If one didn't understand the subjects what I spoke, if one didn't understand didn't hear exactly, correctly, didn't hear, well then, ask those who are familiar with my torn language. Like a cloth which has many holes. Like that. Sometimes, can be mistakes, you hear differently due to the language, the way it is put, not being correct in the grammar or something missing, few words in between, things like that, like missing teeth. Person who has missing teeth. Oh then, when he eats he is able to bite some part of food but some part is left. It could become like this, not completed you know. So anyway, so try to, can also be mistakes due to the ?unruly mind, so anyway, those, by asking those who know, oh then, one can find out like this, it can be clarified. Those which are wrong, which are mistakes, you can leave. Those which are useful, which are correct, pure, you can keep it. Then you can practice, if one wishes, then practice.

But each time to understand, it doesn't matter even you don't get every single, every word, but main body, to have idea of the main body, of the subject, that is very important. Important now, important also in the future, would be great beneficial in the future. Oh then it is very important to check up like this, to check up like this. After you went through the three great advantages, meaningful to obtain the precious human body, meaningful to obtain the temporal goal, ultimate goal, one can make this precious human life highly meaningful even in such a short time, hour, minute, second. After examining, then you check, whether my life, since I was born, the precious human body that I have received, since I was born, whether this has been utilized to make preparation for the happiness of future life. Whether this has been used, whether this has been meaningful to obtain the temporal goal. How much it has been meaningful, utilized to obtain the happiness of future lives. Examine like this. If one has been utilized, how much? Then how much one has been utilized this precious human body to achieve the release from samsara, the nirvana. Again check like this. And again check, how much one has been utilizing, whether one has been making the precious human body meaningful to achieve enlightenment. So examine like this.

If one has been making the precious human body meaningful to achieve the ultimate goal of enlightenment, then how much? Wasting the precious human body, wasting is more or more that the precious human body has been made meaningful. Which is meaningful to achieve the ultimate goal, enlightenment, whether it has been utilized to obtain the ultimate goal, enlightenment. Oh then, like that you check. Like this you check, how much the precious human life has been wasted. If you have not been wasted, it is worthwhile to feel great happiness or rejoicefulness. Then, check how much it has been wasted, from birth time, until now. Well then like that check. After, if it has been wasted, if one finds the precious human body, the perfect human body, that has been wasted, I have been wasting, I have completely wasted, until now. From birth time until now, then make strong determination. So far I haven't met Dharma, have no wisdom, lack of Dharma wisdom, not knowing how to make the precious human life meaningful. I have wasted so much. From now on, now I have discovered this, how much I have been wasting my precious human body, from now on, how many years that I can live, three years, four years, twenty years, twenty-five years, few months, few days, few hours, how much time there is, life is left, from now until death, how much life there is left, this span of life, the length of life that is left. So during this time, how much there is, during this time, even several hours, two or three hours, even a few minutes, how much there is, I'll be very cautious of my life. Be very clever, I should be very skillful with my life from now on. I should be very careful with my life. I must make it, without wasting the precious human body which I have received now, without wasting it, I must make it meaningful, highly meaningful as much as I can. During this time, how much year it is, how much month, how much hour there is, how much minute there is. Like this. Necessary then to make strong determination like this.

However, if one thinks, doesn't matter, doesn't matter so much really. Anyway, why I should, why there's need to practice Dharma, why is it so important to practice Dharma, why is it so important to develop the mind, to practice Dharma, to pacify the unsubdued mind? Why is it so important? I want to live for a thousand years and when I die, the consciousness stops, the consciousness ceases. Becomes blank, complete blank. So definite, there's no life after that, this just is one life, only one life, consciousness ceases. So what's the point, why should concern so much of my life? What's so important? What's the point to attempt to renounce non-virtue and to practice virtue. Why is it so important? It's only one life. Anyway, whether you practice virtue or don't practice virtue, there's only one life. The consciousness ceases at the death time, so what's so important? However, I'm sure nobody thinks like that, but it's just my, it's just questions, I have the question in my mind, I'm sure nobody has questions like that, but I have just raised the question so that you can examine on this question. Then think, question to yourself, how do I really know there's no past life, there's no future lives, how do I really know, how can I really decide. You think, you question to yourself. Do I really know? Do I clearly see that there is no future life? Definitely the consciousness does not continue after this, do I really know it, do I really see it? That is does not continue, it stops. Well then, you question to yourself.

Anyway, the conclusion. We make preparation for the happiness of tomorrow, we make preparation for the happiness of next year, next, the thirty, forty, fifty years, even now we make preparation for those future happiness. Even one doesn't, even one is uncertain that one will live tomorrow, definitely live tomorrow, even one is uncertain that one will definitely live for thirty, forty, fifty years, even one is uncertain, even one does not really know that one will really live for that many years. But still, even though it is uncertain, if someone asks question to oneself, you are making preparation for that much long time but will you really live for that many years? Do you really know that you are going to live for that many years, if someone were to ask, even just tomorrow, do you know that you will definitely live tomorrow? That you won't die tomorrow? Do you really know? If the person thinks really inside of his mind, whether he can see or not, whether death will occur tomorrow or, whether it will occur next year or whether it will occur tomorrow, even tomorrow, you can't really tell, you can't really say, his mind is in a state of doubt. However, without...

[tape change]

...tomorrow, this year, thirty or forty years, but still we make preparation, still, it's not sure that we will live that much but still we make preparation for the future happiness. So just like this why can't we make preparation for the happiness of future lives. Even though it is uncertain, even though we have doubt, even though it is uncertain whether there is existence of future life, continuation of consciousness. Even you have doubt in this, in reincarnation, it is exactly same reason that you should make preparation for the happiness of future life, even the mind is in the state of doubt, same question. Same thing as the other example, that we normally do, same thing, same reason. So, it is more skillful, whether there is past life or not, again I'm going back, whether there is, I think some spirit is in the mouth, possessed, you know, the tongue, some spirit, anyway, I'm joking!

Anyway, if you make preparation from now for the happiness of future life, in case there is a future life, after death, in case there is a future life, it has been highly skillful. It has been highly skillful. One has been very clever. That is really clever. One didn't waste the time, one didn't waste this life. The dangerous thing, dangerous thing, without examining whether there is reincarnation or not, whether the consciousness continues or not, after this life. Well then, without examining, without thinking about it, without concerned about it, completely believing this is the only life, life is only one, only this. Never make preparation, by keeping only this thought of one life, well then, never make preparation for the happiness of future lives, completely done all the actions only for the happiness of this life, with only the thought of this life. Then, one day when the death occurs, unexpectedly, one day, one time, one hours, one minute, when the death occurs, well then, when one reached the future life, oh then, how much one is experiencing the suffering, oh then it's finished, now it's become late. Become late. Well then, one didn't have done the preparations for happiness in the past time, while one had the precious human life, the highly meaningful precious human life, while one had this, while one had the opportunity to make preparation for, to make preparation any happiness, whatever one wished, while one had this opportunity, one did not, one completely utilized in the wrong way, to accumulate, completely used by doing meaningless work. Wasted by doing meaningless work. Well then like that. Then, that time finished. When you start to experience the result, it's finished, you become late to create the cause. Well then like that.

So this, if it happened like that then, one has completely wasted the precious human body that one, the perfect human birth that one had, completely wasted. Well then, in that way then it didn't make any sense, whether he had, whether he was born as human being or whether he was born as pig. He was not born as a human being, he was born as pig, didn't make any differences since the perfect human rebirth it was not, he was unable to make it meaningful, at least to make preparation for the happiness of future life, well then it didn't make any difference. It was like he didn't receive the perfect human body. Well then like that. So this is the dangerous thing, the most unskillful thing or this is the greatest danger.

If this is utilized, while this has opportunity, with this perfect human rebirth, while one has opportunity to make preparation, to go from happiness to happiness, always better and better. Because of this, with this perfect human body we make better, receive better our future life. Then by receiving that perfect human rebirth, then again we utilize, we make it meaningful, use it to create cause of happiness, again find even better rebirth than that. Well then like this, from happiness to happiness. Better and better. Like this gradually, by practicing Dharma, following the path, we receive enlightenment. With this precious human rebirth, like this, while one has opportunity like this, always to go from happiness to happiness, like this, better and better, well then, not utilizing this for that, utilize this completely only to accumulate the non-virtue, the cause of suffering, in many future lives, we will not have the opportunity to experience even the temporal pleasure, no opportunity. Well then like that. However, it is important to not become like this, anyway the conclusion is this. [pause]

I often say this: There's no one who realizes there's no past life, no future life, there's nobody who realizes this, who realizes, who sees very clearly without one single mistake. And one who realizes, one who is able to see clearly without one single mistake in understanding, one who realizes the existence past life, future life, reincarnation, numberless, numberless. At the moment, even though it is not the object of our knowledge, but it is the object of numberless many other beings, their knowledge, those who have that knowledge to see, to remember, to see. Well then like that. There's no one single pure logic to prove there is no reincarnation. In regards to identify there is reincarnation, there's numberless logic, pure logic, to prove it, that can go deeper and deeper.

However, we should always keep in the mind, the way to make the perfect human body highly meaningful, most meaningful that is to practice, to train the mind in bodhicitta. If you practice bodhicitta then also even if you wanted to realize shunyata, by the way, also, very easy to realize shunyata, to realize absolute nature, because to realize shunyata one need to make incredible, one should accumulate extensive merit, one should make much purification, so much purification. The conditions, accumulating merit, one should do much practice of purifying all the hindrances. So without depending on that, there's no way to realize, without depending on that, no matter how much you meditate on shunyata, how much you have understanding of shunyata, intellectual understanding, or how much one studied, how much one understands the teachings of shunyata, how much one meditates, no way to realize shunyata. It's blocked. It's like having a very solid wall, it's like having iron wall, between you and to, all the objects of knowledge, absolute nature. Like that. Anyway, so as you train your mind in the bodhicitta so constantly, all the time, you accumulate infinite merit and at the same time make much purification. So, because of that makes it much easier, much easier, quicker to realize shunyata.

So, in order to generate bodhicitta one must generate the mind that renounces samsara, that depends on realizing the shortcomings of samsara. To be liberated from samsara one must recognize the cause of samsara. All the sufferings of human beings, problems of humans beings, the sura, asura, narak, preta, animals, all the sentient beings' sufferings came from the unsubdued mind, and its action, karma. Unsubdued mind, 84,000 unsubdued mind, the twenty secondary, six root, unsubdued mind, they are like this. However, all those unsubdued minds came from the very root, like the mother who lays many eggs, like the chicken mother. Lays many eggs, then they become mothers then from that again lays many eggs then they become mother, like this. Expressed like this, hundred thousands, billions. The very root of all the sufferings, all the unsubdued minds, the cause of the unsubdued minds, karma, the very root of those, that is ignorance believing, holding truly existence. Even while the I is the non-truly existent but believing, ignorance believing the I is truly existent. This is the very root of all the suffering, all the confused minds.

Yeah, I think I stop here.