The Wish-Fulfilling Golden Sun of the Mahayana Thought Training

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal 1973 (Archive #488)

This book gives an overview of the Mahayana Buddhist path to enlightenment and outlines essential meditations and daily practices. The text was compiled from students’ notes from the second Kopan meditation course, March 1972, and first published for the third Kopan course in the fall of 1972. Over the next two-and-a-half years this version was revised several times by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Nicholas Ribush for the various Kopan courses held during that period. An edition of the 1975 final edit was published by FPMT in 2016 and is available for download as a free PDF.

Meditation Four: The Mahayana Equilibrium Meditation

It is never enough to gain only self-Liberation. Attachment to my own self-peace and striving solely for this is very selfish and cruel.

Visualising a disturbing enemy, a helping friend and a stranger, surrounded by all sentient beings, after contemplating each section of this meditation, I should think, “There is no reason to be attached to, and help the friend, nor to hate the enemy and return harm.”

  1. If I were to work only to gain my own self-peace, there would be no reason to have been born human, because, even as an animal, I could strive for this.
    The different forms of animal have the same aim: self-happiness, and perform many negative actions, such as destroying enemies, cheating others with political mind and fighting, as do many highly educated people, who also seek only their own self-pleasure. There is almost no difference between them other than physical shape.
  2. The main purpose of my being born human is to strive for and achieve higher aims: to bring every sentient being into everlasting happiness.
    This is something that no animal can do.
  3. Just as I wish to avoid suffering and find happiness, so do all other sentient beings.
    Therefore, I and all other sentient beings are equal; therefore there is no logical reason to care more for myself than for another and I should harm neither enemy nor any other sentient being.
  4. For countless rebirths I have been discriminating all beings as either friend, enemy or stranger with the self-“I” consciousness.

    Päl.dä’ö.dr’ag said:
    If there is self “I” consciousness, then there is the discrimination of self-others.

    Attachment and hate arise from discriminated partisanship between other and self.
    All negative things arise from acting under the influence of these negative minds.

    1. How the self-‘‘I” consciousness (ignorance, wrong conception) causes
      “I” attachment (greed)
      attachment to self-happiness (possessiveness).
      All the different functions of the negative mind arise from the above.
      1. Anger is caused by greed and self-attachment; it makes me discriminate against whoever disturbs my happiness, thus producing the enemy.
      2. Greed points out the friend who helps, and the enemy who hinders. Such reasoning comes from past, present and future instances of help and hindrance.
      3. Ignorance discriminates the stranger, who neither helps nor hinders.
    2. Results
      1. Anger makes me hate and harm the enemy.
      2. Greed makes me be attached to, and help the friend.
      3. Ignorance makes me see the stranger as of a permanent self-nature.

      By following the advice of these negative minds I become involved in suffering and complicated situations.
      Greed creates suffering and danger for myself and all other beings. The whole Earth is in danger of explosion. Attachment offers no peace, and only causes suffering.

  5. The two negative actions, helping with greed and harming with anger, have thrown me into samsaric suffering for beginningless lives, making perfect peace and Enlightenment impossible to achieve.
  6. To continue in this way will cause me the same suffering, receiving neither realisations nor Enlightenment, for countless eons. Negative actions leave negative impressions on the consciousness. These ripen into negative karma, and create suffering ad infinitum.
  7. The three objects—friend, enemy and stranger—are not definitely true. The reasons for their being what they are, are very temporal. The present friend, enemy and stranger have not always been the friend, enemy and stranger in past countless lives. Even the enemy of last year may be the friend of this year, or the friend of this morning become this afternoon’s enemy. It can change within the hour, and does so because of attachment to food, clothing and reputation. The Teaching, Pung.zang.g’ says:
    If one tries to befriend an enemy for a moment, he becomes your friend. The same thing occurs when one treats a friend as an enemy. Therefore, knowledgeable ones are never attached to food, clothing or reputation, nor to friends or enemies, by understanding the impermanence of temporal relationships.
    Guru Shakyamuni said:
    The father becomes the son in another life, mother becomes wife, enemy becomes friend; it always changes. Therefore, there is nothing definite in samsara.
    According to this realisable quotation, there is no reason to be attached to friends nor to hate the enemy.
  8. If that ignorant, self-“I” conception and all of its objects were true, these three distinctions (friend, enemy, stranger) should exist from countless previous lives to the present, and even beyond Enlightenment.
    This contradicts the significance of Buddhahood, for the Enlightened Being is called Buddha because his wonderful, sublime Knowledge has not a tiny atom of the delusions and illusions that cause such discriminations.
    Therefore, the fully-understanding One showed his compassionate method, the Equilibrium Meditation, to free me from delusions, illusions and discriminations.
    The discriminations are not true because that conception and its objects are totally illusive. There is no self-“I.”
  9. My afflictions are not created by the enemy but by myself. In my previous lives I afflicted others through ignorance, and the results of this return during my present life.
    As a Sutra says:
    I have killed all of you before and was chopped up by all of you in previous lives. We have all killed each other as enemies, so why should we be attached to each other?
    Chandrakirti said:
    It is very foolish and ignorant to retaliate with spite, in the hope of ending the attack of the enemy, because the retaliation itself only brings more suffering.
    Therefore, there is no reason to retaliate.
  10. The enemy is the object of my practice of patience, to control my anger. I should not hate the enemy who, by strengthening this practice, brings peace into my mind.
  11. The enemy is infinitely more precious than any possession. He is the source of my past, present and future lives’ happiness. I should never hate. Any material possession can be given up for his peace.
  12. The enemy is my greatest need. He is the cause of all beings’ Enlightenment, including mine. He is my best possession; for his peace I can give up myself. From now on I must never hate nor harm the enemy, nor any other being.
  13. The enemy harming me physically and mentally is under the control of his negative mind. He is like a stick which someone uses to beat another. There is no reason to get angry, harming the person in retaliation—it is not his fault; as the pain of the beating is not the fault of the stick.
  14. If I had clear Wisdom, I would see that harming others with hate is, in fact, harming myself with hate. Obviously, I should not do it.
  15. The enemy, as well as every other being, is the object of the Buddha’s compassion. The numberless Buddhas hold the enemy and every other being as dear as their own heart. Therefore, even lightly harming any being is like harming the infinite Buddhas.
  16. The Buddha always considers all sentient beings, even enemies, more important than himself. Mindlessly harming any being for my own peace is the act of a mind like stone.
  17. The enemy and all other beings have been my mother countless times. The Holy Body, Speech and Mind of the infinite Buddhas are servant to all beings, enemies included. So I must not give harm.
  18. Not harming the worst enemy, which is in my mind, and destroying the outside enemy instead, is like shooting a friend and not shooting the enemy by not recognising the object. I should not harm the outer enemy but the inner one that causes all the suffering.
  19. Because of high realisations based on this meditation, a Bodhisattva would see no sentient being as an enemy even if all should rise against him. The enemy is merely the conception of my hate, just as friend and stranger are conceived by greed and ignorance. I should not believe as my negative minds discriminate.
  20. I should check up with my inner Wisdom Eye: the attached friend and hateful enemy will never be found anywhere, neither inside nor outside either of their bodies. With the true Wisdom Eye, I can see that these are only names.

For all these reasons I can now see clearly that I have been foolish and nonsensical for beginningless lifetimes.

Realisation of this meditation is our most beneficial possession. It brings peace to numberless beings as well as to our many future lives. Inner realisation of this meditation brings the true, well-subdued peace—as indestructible as a diamond. The enjoyment of this peace is invaluable and has no end.

All this is within our mind and is unshakeable, even if all sentient beings were to rise as an enemy against us, so why don’t we try to experience this understanding peace as shown by the Enlightened Ones who completed this realisation?

From the Profound Tantric Text, Guru Puja

With this prayer visualise:

Guru Shakyamuni, surrounded by Vajradhara, the Infinite Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Arhants, Dakas and Dakinis, many other Tantric Deities, the Protecting Deities, and all the Holy Gurus in the direct and indirect Lineage of the Teachings, sending much light to me and to all sentient beings, who are visualised as surrounding me.

This light is absorbed into me and into all sentient beings, purifying all negativities and obscurations and bringing all Knowledge—especially the Knowledge that it is only the delusion of self-attachment that makes me differentiate myself as more important than others, and that the blessings of this prayer give much power to accomplish the Equilibrium Meditation.

suffering subtle even not desiring
happiness to never satisfaction not having
I and others to differences having no saying
others happiness gladness generate please bless

(Please bless me and each sentient being to think continually that all others should have happiness and its cause, and to be happy when seeing another being create even the tiniest merit. For there is not the slightest difference between myself and all other beings, never finding satisfaction, even in dreams, nor desiring the smallest suffering.

After this prayer, complete the visualisation as described on pp. 16-18 and dedicate the merits with the prayer on the last page.