Universal Love (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Los Angeles, USA. June 28, 1975. (Archive #206)

In 1975, Lama Yeshe gave introductory talks on Buddhism; one in Los Angeles, CA and one in Madison, WI. These talks form the first three chapters of the LYWA book Universal Love.

In these talks Lama covers a variety of introductory topics followed by lively question-and-answer sessions that convey Lama's unique and engaging character. Click here to download the PDF of Chapters 1–3 from the book Universal Love.

The Purpose of Meditation - Part A

Purpose meditation is experimenting how mind is functioning. Meditation does not mean something you changing your idea or philosophy or try something, try something East trip. Which is basic already, you have mind, body, speech, energy existent, so checking, that energy is: how is, why, which makes that energy?

It not searching external; it searching your own mind. It is so worthwhile. So, therefore, I saying, the meditating does not mean you changing your idea, something, going some, another religious trip or…does not mean that way.

The seeking or searching your own nature, your own reality of your life or your mind, whatever you call, your inner nature or whatever you call, so many words isn’t it, doesn’t matter words. But we cannot deny, “I have no body, I have no mind, I have no speech.” You cannot say, isn’t it? Because you can see yourself, everyday life. That you cannot say, “Oh, that, that checking is religious trip.” You cannot say. You are; you are living in that energy. So the searching that, your own energy, what happened, is so worthwhile.

And also, seeking your own mind nature is not something, something young people maybe can do and old people cannot do, sort of; it’s unnecessary. How can deny, old people, their own body, speech, mind? This is we both need, since we have undisciplined uncontrolled mind. There is no discrimination: “These people need check up, there is subject; these people don’t need.” You can see, old people also, undisciplined mind is there, uncontrolled mind is there, so this makes you are agitated and conflict, frustration. So to know, incredible, so useful. Even the old generation besides younger generation, it’s very useful.

That you don’t need sort of extreme, extreme, changing something, culture or whatever you call, changing your food habit. You don’t need change your food habit or working habit, sleeping habit. But uncontrolled mind, linked everyday life association, and that situation makes you conflict in the mind. So therefore, very necessary to know about the mental attitude nature. It is so essential. The mind is essential…reality.

From the energy mind produce the positive energy and negative energy, whatever is, by body, speech, mind, so the central, the electricity, what you call, the control, electricity, this all electricity, one place has generation, you understand that? I think I’m not sure what language…I think you know. There control. So through that coming energy, all this Los Angeles. So the same thing, all your body, speech, mind energy is, comes from the essential [central], the mind. So as long you know, the, as long you know the essential nature of the mind, the function of uncontrolled action or behavior or control behavior, if you can, easily can see…

So, so therefore, Buddhism, much emphasize about mind, to know. So the method we, many different way using, specially meditation means, to experimenting. So the instruction of the…introduction of the meditation is to show which way investigate the nature of mind. So you experimenting, checking through your own experience. When you see small things through the meditation control, [surprised] “Well…I cannot control before. Now I control this. Hmm; surprise.”

Then you realize, encouragement. You have fantastic ability potentiality, rather then weak: “I’m hopeless, I can’t do anything.” Expecting somebody else to you, everything. That’s the, terminology Buddhism think, weak mind.

So the meditation, what really philosophy of Buddhism, psychology and meditation, is try, you become psychologist; you become knowledge. You, you can able to give solution when the problem comes. This is real, always, Lord Buddha’s teachings. Every Lord Buddha’s teaching, eventually, to student to bring, they becomes knowledge-wisdom, to be able comprehend their own, the everyday life, with their own mind, how to functioning.

You see, Western psychologist, they try to give solution for the patient but they not try the patient becomes psychologist. The patients who are sick mentally, they should realize the nature of their sick. Then they can give solution. Otherwise, if not, hidden—their problem is hidden. That doesn’t stop problem. One should realize one’s own, the nature of problem.

And also, meditation does not mean, Buddhism, one sitting some corner do nothing, like that. It’s not necessarily. Meditation can be, you are working, body acting such, simultaneously you are aware, be conscious, can observe yourself, how your mind is communicate with sense world, which way interpreted. You knowing simultaneously, by becoming conscious or awareness totally. That also meditation.

Many times we are walking street or communicate with people, we are unconsciously making the, OK, unconscious behavior, and imprinting into mind, and that make the reaction problem. That is call karma. But most time we are unaware. This is the problem. Example, we talking, we eating, and we are doing things with unconsciously. So the meditation, you wake up rather than sleeping. We think we wake up when you are working, that time. Still there is sleeping. If you check up; deeper check up.

So you see, worthwhile, seeing the, your mental function, of undisciplined uncontrolled mind, making discipline yourself, with right wisdom, so worthwhile. We need. Even though we are so old, we need. Definitely we need. You check up. That way control is so easy. It’s so natural.

Because uncontrolled, undisciplined mind is opposite of knowledge-wisdom and happy, that nature is dissatisfaction. So your mind put such way, control, with your own wisdom, there is space, you can discover peace and joyful. So your life is becomes joyful, peaceful, no matter the outside world is up and down, up and down. There is reason you be enjoy, rather than you blame, “OK, I’m unhappy because society up and down, and outside situation is not good, therefore I’m unhappy.”

That’s many reasons you be happy, but weak mind couldn’t see possibility to be happy. So what is opposite of weak mind is wisdom energy, knowledge energy. Knowledge give you energy to not depressed and give you answer, all your problem. Therefore, knowledge-wisdom is path of inner freedom and liberation or enlightenment, whatever you call.

So through the meditation you can discover the selfish attachment is the causation of all mental disease and frustration, so when you can change that attitude, instead of too much concerned the self-imagination is, sort of, worry about: “Maybe that going sick, maybe that going,” always concerned that, to changing, to change, life dedicate benefit to others through the training mind, mind becomes healthy and you can see purpose, life living is so worthwhile.

…self-concerning attachment. Actually, self-concerning means mind is obsessed mind. So that makes automatically narrow. The narrow mind is, brings reaction problem.

So Mahayana teaching, we call the bodhicitta, it means the attitude change. Instead of too concerned, with obsessed mind, self-imagination, “I’m this, this, this; I’m cold; I’m this, this, this, this…,” is changing that attitude to others; more concerned other living beings’ pleasure. Rather than concerned one’s own pleasure. Trying, like dedicate, somehow, whatever you doing is benefit for other sentient beings. If you have that kind of mind, automatically you brings relaxed and joyful; what you doing is joyful. You can see there is purpose, doing.

Otherwise, you only you see the self-imagination, the obsessed object. Then sometimes easily can brings down and depressed. You see, the depressed and happy mind is comes from, not the outside. It comes from the way of you put your mind. Not changing your life, but your life, what you doing is, what motivation, motivation, what motivation, doing for what? This is more important than the action.

Action is bad, action good is you cannot say, “This is totally bad action, this is totally good action.” The action determinate good or bad is comes from the, the motivation, the impulse.

So you can see, don’t ask, “Am I doing good or bad?” Check up what mind brings, doing this action; rather than outside checking, “Am I doing this, good or bad?” Every day your life, good or bad is, check up which impulse pushing you to do. It is only self-imagination, self-attachment motivation is always brings frustration and conflict in the mind.

But life, what you are doing, no matter what you do, is dedicate totally to others’ benefit, that way automatically, your mind, there is relaxing and there is joyful. You have so much energy to do so. But that is mental level; not emphasize physical levels to do.

In the West, there so much emphasize physical action. Example, religious people, emphasizing, doing things for religious aspect and charity or something like that, but many times, ego trip. Instead of getting solution to purify attachment, instead of, by giving charity, instead of purified one’s own attachment, dissatisfaction, brings reaction more dissatisfaction, more ego freak out. That is nothing to do with religion. You just take words, idea—you think you doing but idea charity is, the real, the really Buddhism, charity is…charity is not the giving you; it the inside impulse, without attachment, really totally giving others, without expectation anything to return. Mind automatically free; free, you understand? Expectation you doing something, returning something, that nature is conflict.

So, very useful to be carefully checking what you doing action. Otherwise, giving charity, also, instead of giving beneficial others, maybe brings reaction yourself becomes confusion and others confusion too. Therefore, very much emphasizing the object nature, the subject nature, what you giving, three things involving, is understanding that reality—three objects and doing things. So worthwhile; very professional.

It’s psychologically solution to emotional attachment. And attachment, the, many times the emotionally, the miserly and tight mind, body (?), rather than relax, clean clear mind.

So investigating the nature of the mental attitude is so worthwhile. Specially to change the self-attachment, the attitude, instead of concerned so much self-imagination, worry about, this self-imagination is losing and to beneficial to others. You don’t need something physical energy, but mind turning that way. It’s so worthwhile. There is joyful. You can discover in your mind the joyful and purpose of life. Then you start warm feeling. We always think, warm feeling is searching outside. There no way you discover searching outside. Warm feeling, satisfaction, is comes from you; comes from in your mind rather than outside. So worthwhile.

I think, instead of talking too much, perhaps you can make questions. Maybe that is more easier. Yes? First you, then you, thank you.

Q. You spoke about turning the mind around, making a change of mind, the way we look at the things, kind of like turning around 180 degrees from the normal way we look. If I were, say, experiencing some sadness or some negative mind state, something that I didn’t like that was going on in my consciousness, I wonder if you would explain what do you mean by changing the way I relate to that state of mind?

Lama. Problem is already in your mind, past, the reason something action past. Example, perhaps yesterday your friend tell you something hurt your reputation and that then you check up today, “Oh, that not nice,” and you hurting that one. That you can easily, can stop the problem. One thing is, your attachment too much clinging your reputation and you believing you are good or bad is depend what he says. Your energy good bad is responsible yourself. One, somebody say you bad good does not make you higher lower. You are responsible. Definitely. And especially, yesterday he says, his action is gone already, why you worry about that? However, this is just example. Any kind of bother comes in your mind, either too extreme attachment, either too extreme hatred, either ignorant, lack of intensive knowledge-wisdom, there is answer. So relating that way, that three ways, OK? Good, good dear, thank you, very good, thank you. Yes?

Q. As I understand it, Shakyamuni taught for what, twenty years, something like that…?

Lama. About what?

Q. Life.

Lama. About life? [Life.] Life, yes, right, yes, yes, yes. Yes, right. Long time. [That’s right.] Yes, 2,000 years already, but we still, yes, good, good…then?

Q. He taught in stages, as we teach math to our children, we start with 2 and 2 is 4 and go up to algebra, calculus, on to much higher, higher world…

Lama. Yes, yes, that’s right, he explain also mathematics and astrology and many thing he explain, yes. So then? All right?

Q. So then I’m wandering if tantric Buddhism, I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m wondering if it’s really representative of Shakyamuni’s highest teachings?

Lama. Yes, that’s right. Yes, it is very much highest teaching, and Lord Buddha’s giving. Person who has skillful intelligent knowledge-wisdom can transmitted, or transformed, poison into medicine. That kind of people, Lord Buddha giving higher tantra teaching. Good. But people who does not have intelligent skillful knowledge-wisdom, sometimes using yoga tantra method is very dangerous. So very be careful. Especially, there is gradually, gradually to develop. It’s not you just can jump, something like that.

Q. This is, one experience is…actually, the potential to live many lifetimes in one moment…

Lama. Yes, that’s right. It is a very quick method, most quick, quickest method to reach enlightenment or inner freedom.

Q. Actually, it seems to me that people just don’t have their eyes open…

Lama. Yes, that’s difficult, yes. That’s difficult. Even people opened, that to digest is also difficult. You right, people open is difficult; also opened people, to put that, digesting into knowledge-wisdom is very difficult. You right, I agree with you. Good.

Q. How does this Buddhism relate to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism?

Lama. Yeah, Buddhism has many aspect, so therefore Nichiren Shoshu, that is another aspect philosophy. Yes. Because Lord Buddha gives so many, countless methods, meditation, and turning people’s mind according different element of the different mind. So Lord Buddha gives individual training method for the individual purpose mind and individual problem. Good, therefore so many methods.

Q. Do you think that one person’s Buddhism might be another person’s Catholicism?

Lama. Possible. Why not? Possible.

Q. We are having a convention in Hawaii to celebrate world peace, in July. Have you heard about it?

Lama. I didn’t heard. [GL] Good yes, thank you.

Q. If anyone else has a question, I’ve had enough of your time, I really appreciate it.

Lama. Yes, thank you very much; I’m happy, beautiful your question, thank you, yes, thank you dear, OK.

Q. I noticed in the movie [Tantra of Gyutö] the sound is made by the playing of the cymbals and the drums and the chanting [that’s right], it’s very hypnotic, it gives you a feeling of trying to read (?) yourself. Is that, is there an effect on your body, on your mind?

Lama. Possible yes. That is very much effective for the mind. Actually, those symbolics are, they tell you themselves, without words. Example, when you look at this, just simple example, Lord Buddha sitting this way, you looking…he didn’t say words, there Lord Buddha image, you understand? Why this, sitting this way? Automatically that art explained control. It gives control impression in the mind. So the Mahayana teaching, many teachings, Mahayana teachings are, symbolically show through the art. So the really, the meaning of teaching is living into symbolic. It’s very useful. Yes…then ?

Q. What does the sound do, what does it do to you when you chant?

Lama. This is training, one aware with sense object. Many times our sense object is totally unconscious and not knowing. As I say, sense object is there, when we see sense object, we putting extra projection, and then we interpreted, “Oh, this is good, this is bad.” But this, the Tibetan chanting, this is, the ordinary, the ordinary, the sense perception, transmitted into blissful and wisdom energy and with totally conscious, this kind of training…

Q. It opens your consciousness more and more…

Lama. Yes, right, yes. More, more nature reality rather than hallucination given by the ego isn’t it? Good, very good, yeah. So those, this, what you saw, this are, actually, those people doing things, symbolic these things, but inside they are meditating, actually. You see they doing something, some ritual, actually they are simultaneously acting, simultaneously meditating. So this is we need learn, isn’t it? OK? Good. Then also, this is path of, this aspect, what you saw is, yoga tantra aspect. So the yoga tantra aspect is, normally we consider, sort of, ordinary people say, “Oh, this is negative, not good for mind.” But the very powerful skillful intelligent knowledge-wisdom, having great using the tantra method, to using that energy, people who consider poison, putting into medicine. It’s turns [into] medicine. Like, like, alchemy, alchemy? Yes? OK, good. Yes?

Q. Would you speak on the role of women who are seeking enlightenment? [Yes?] Would you say something about that?

Lama. You means…that’s same thing men. Sure, isn’t it? And women has the ability and potentiality mind, can training whatever you want. It is same men has, it equality. But relatively, sometimes women, way of physical structure, the vibration sun moon and this monthly changing, sometimes make difficult. Actually, this is just general. But powerful mind control. It is same thing as men can do. Sure. We say, to reach enlightenment, inner freedom is equally same thing, man and woman. You cannot make distinction, woman is lower, cannot do anything. No. Yes. And also in Tibet, we have many the…(short break in tape)....

…[sounds like answering another question]…so that one way you be control, happy, easily going, why not two weeks? Therefore, State of (?) slowly, slowly. It’s really simple, it’s so simple. This is very important. Person who know, control is, learning this is, try to learn slowly, slowly, then is very much together come. But one try, want something, grasping, big things, and then the actions is so lower, then mind thinking something want big things, that doesn’t work. So the slowly, slowly, gradually, one who does, one he always reach. OK? Good, that’s good.

You know, we always say, if you want go some place, long place, instead of running this way, one goes maybe, have to go some these thing. One goes slow, slow; one goes quickly. Then he is tired, he cannot go, one goes slow, slow without disturbing, without disturbing. So he reach there. That’s good simple example, isn’t it? [GL/LL]…and make sure, he. It’s very important, you are religion or you are…whatever you try is, not grasping fantastic idea. What you do, how you do, how you, “I can do, how to put right now, into my actions?” This is the most important things, more practical. Many people, when they are sometimes problem, doesn’t work, the material, we say samsara, doesn’t work, then they turn into something philosophy or meditation. Then they try same thing like supermarket grasping. Then is difficult, mind is difficult. This is my experience. I’m not saying you. My experience, I spend long time with European people, so I, really, be careful. So I start always meditation by step, step, slowly, slowly, by step, step. I think then, very comfortable. And you sure what you are doing. Very useful dear, and that way people very easily experience and comes together and integrate together. Good.

Actually, there is some specific, the method. Sometimes we are using concentration and mantra, sound listening, inner sound, short time we listening. And then that way also we can easily develop. And we have many technical method. However, the general is, instead of too much action, you moving yourself, relax, such short time sort of checking your motivation. It’s so powerful. Much more powerful than watching you television. Yes, you know what I means, you know? Really powerful. Thank you so much, beautiful your question, thank you. Yes?

Q. Lama, I have question to ask. I’ve been reading some material and they say that there are some people living in the inside of the earth and some Tibetan lamas have disappeared through large caves, that take them down, up and down, and they never return. Do you have any knowledge of this?

Lama. That possible, yes [GL] Yes. Some people are, some lamas are meditating thousand years and cave, and cave is closed, when sometimes, some ages, ages opened, still they are meditating. Possible, that’s possible, yes. Possible! Definitely.

Q. [inaudible] underground world…north and south pole…do you have any knowledge of this?

Lama. I think particular, I didn’t, cannot tell you, but this is possible. We have this kind of experience, OK, possible, sure. Then yes, thank you?

Q We are told to control our senses, does this means, that if I have a rose in my hand that I mustn’t smell the rose? How do you mean to change, to control my senses?

Lama. I see, your hands you have rose, the control does not mean you throw your rose. You enjoy with rose smell with reasonable rather than too much value making. Example, OK, you choose this flower, this flower, you say, “Oh, as long I have enjoy this flower, I have this flower with me, I have life. If I don’t have this flower with me, I have no life.” This is unreasonable, making so much value with hallucination. This is, dear, you understand? Good. Really. OK. So, therefore, it’s reasonable, you have to know, this is sometimes growing, sometimes disappear. It is natural.So therefore, you know when the time comes disappear, all right, time go, go, rather than say, “Oh, now I have no life.” That is really, that’s way, the problem is create by our mind. But it is very interesting. I always say, “This, I like this…,” maybe you say, “I like this,” maybe, you did not say intellectually, “Only if I have this, I have life.” But without intellectual, inside you, completely, that kind of deep root philosophy. Yes, so therefore, what you mind thinking is not necessarily intellectual, so therefore you need be carefully watching and checking, besides conscious levels.

Q. But at a higher level, doesn’t smell, doesn’t the ability to smell become…

Lama. Can smell, can smell, can smell, but doesn’t gives impression attachment in the mind, OK dear? Thank you, all right, good, good question, thank you. Yes? Then you…yes?

Q. What is the best defense against worldly pain inflicted by others, by other people, when you’re searching for wisdom and it makes you vulnerable to that pain?

Wongmo repeating to Lama. If you’re searching for wisdom and somebody hurts you, what do you do, what do you do when somebody hurts you, does something bad to you?

Lama (to Wongmo). When you search wisdom?

Wongmo. When you searching, you’re trying to be a good person and somebody hurts you?

Lama. OK, when you try to be good, somebody hurt you, how hurt? How? That is question, first of all. Hurt is comes from you or somebody beat you or what you means ‘hurt’?

Q. If someone hurts you, say, in business, someone intentionally tries to harm you financially, not to reputation but to take something from you, should you be fighting back or should you be passive?

Lama. Depend that situation. Yes, good, good, good, yes. That is depend situation, dear. OK? If you have, if you have enough, say, he hurt you two, three dollars, you think. “Well, two, three dollars does not make me, does not make me different for me. If he want that way, let can have,” instead of your argument, hurt, hurting, say, “Very glad, have,” that’s all, so simple.

Q. What if it’s a larger?

Lama. Large? Depend. [A few thousand dollars…] Few thousand dollar? Depend, dear, I tell you why; depend. If you hurt few thousand dollar, you check up, “How much I have, how much I live? I never sure, maybe five years enough, maybe. I have five years enough. But I still bother these two thousand, somebody give me, that’s very really, you never sure. I have enough, why I’m worry about two, three thousand dollar? Let have.” I think so. True, yes. It’s very true, it’s very true. If you really check up, you never sure how much you live life. The many times, the man, he forget his value, he make so much so much. Example, he make million dollar and if he live life maybe fifty years, he can use that one. But he live life maybe ten years, rest one he worry about when the time comes death. It’s hopeless. Be reasonable. So therefore, under what conditions you worry, you check up. Good dear. Be really, skillfully check up. You cannot say, that this—what conditions? Then you can see, judgment, OK? Good dear, thank you very much. Yes, you now?

Q. What I understand is that there is a world within you, there’s a positive world within you and a negative world within you, and you have to realize the positive rather than the negative.

Lama. Yes.

Q. That’s what you’re saying?

Lama. I saying, if you, because, it is, anyway, it becomes for you positive. And your mind, you can be enjoy, instead of putting yourself such bad situation and too much conflict. And also, it’s realistic. You are all right. What you using is, you need, your energy, to keeping your, your body speech, mind, to keep going well, and that need, human need. But extra too much, if you count, “I need, I need this…” it is unlimited.

Q. [Hard to hear] The positive would be the humanistic, the good in man, or would be spirit or the god-like spirit within us…

Wongmo. The positive would be God within us…

Lama. Yes, that’s right, I think so, yes, that’s right, yes.

Q That’s what we are reaching for?

Lama. That’s right, yes, exactly yes, yes, that’s right. And also, practical, life practical. You should not expecting, “God do everything for me, I do nothing.” That’s also extreme. You have to act also as much possible with skillful knowledge wisdom. Good, yes. The nature or wisdom nature is God, I think. Good dear, thank you very much. So then this…

Q. I’m a student of Zen. Zen says you do no one a right by allowing them to do you wrong. Would you agree with that?

Wongmo. You don’t do anybody good by allowing them hurt you, is that right? It’s not right to let somebody to hurt you, Zen says. Is that right? You shouldn’t let somebody hurt you…

Lama. You mean you shouldn’t do…?

Wongmo. It’s not…in Zen [says somebody…?] somebody shouldn’t hurt you, you shouldn’t let somebody hurt you?

Lama. Yes, actually, no one hurt to you except most time we hurt ourself, isn’t it? OK Most time we say, “He hurt me, she hurt me,” that’s the ego projection. If you check up really, you put yourself down is, actually your own capability of the lack of intensive knowledge wisdom. Therefore, I don’t think so, no one hurt you.

Q. [inaudible]…you are…someone else is giving you harm…

Wongmo. If you allow somebody to hurt you, you’re harming them. If you allow somebody to hurt you, this attitude…

Lama. Yes, yes, yes that’s possible, yes, that’s possible, but I don’t, I saying, that’s all, that is possible, but that doesn’t means you always concerned you hurt, somebody hurt, somebody going to hurt you. I saying is, you should not think somebody going hurt you. The basic, that mind is not right. Why? I saying, most time is, you hurt your own mind, your negative dissatisfaction mind hurt yourself. It’s so simple, isn’t dear? Of course, I can say what your means, somebody, somebody always come, thief in your room, try to, take your everything. One day come, two day come, three day come. You not necessarily let him take everything. Perhaps that is, he keeping continuously, he like keeping, he becomes thief all the time, maybe you catch him. That you can do, yes. Not necessarily emotional, “Oh, I do everything…” Check up for him: “For me OK, but if I let him go that way, it’s bad for him, therefore…” Introduce is, that reaction is, “If you do always this, this kind of reaction comes.” You put him into prisoner. Possible. Yes, yes! Good, good. Some people don’t realize, OK? Yes?