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 B

Q. During the tantric meditation ceremony, where is the consciousness, physically and spiritually?

Lama. Physically or spiritually means what?

Q. The body is more or less mechanical, right? This is going through conditioned responses, conditioned action, the consciousness is…

Lama. Actually, their consciousness is beyond their body. Actually their conscious is not involved intense, sort of, this body. It’s almost beyond physical…

Q. So where is it physically, which means location-wise, and spiritually, which means in relation to higher energy?

Lama. Into conscious, into mind, that is.

Q. Is it the union of the consciousness…?

Lama. Yes, yes, that’s right, yes. That is union of knowledge-wisdom. Yes.

Q. Or is it union with universal consciousness?

Lama. Possible. That depend who are meditator. One is maybe little bit, one is universal, can be. OK. That is all individual. Example, five lamas, they doing meditation, but they have different level of mind, isn’t it? So one doing very universally, some doing maybe little bit. That’s level of your, their own mind.

Q. OK, so [first bit inaudible]…LA is hooked onto California, which is hooked onto the United States, which is hooked onto America. OK. So, your consciousness is hooked onto maybe the consciousness of the people you are with, which is hooked onto maybe the consciousness of the people of that country…[yeah, yeah…] [inaudible]

Wongmo. Just as Los Angeles is a part of California, are you a part of everybody’s universal consciousness?

Lama. Sure. The nature of California one energy is universal energy. [OK] OK, good. Nature of, one part of my nature is totally same thing as your nature, but relatively we say, “You are that this, I’m this, this.” Relative mind we make distinction. If one can see it’s really absolutely the nature of your nature and my nature, one can see there no distinction.

Q. I guess I had a misunderstanding because of a…

Lama Good, thank you, OK. Then yes, you?

Q. I read about Tibetan mystics living at the center of the Earth, that they’re trying to live forever or that they are living forever. Is the reason for control of the body-mind to gain access to other worlds, with their body here…?

Lama. Possible, possible. Mind control, mind control body, speech…

Q. What do you have to say about people trying to live forever, meditating…

Lama. That’s possible, yes. I say possible…

Q. Is that your goal personally? Is that your goal, the mind control to live on Earth forever?

Lama. No …no…no, that not my goal. Thank you dear, OK, then? OK, now, you…yes, here is some…

Q. You were talking about universal energy force. Universal energy, wouldn’t that be the most important reason for probably the most beautiful aspect of Buddhism, which is bodhicitta?

Lama. Yes, that’s right, very important, yes, that’s right yes, yes…

Wongmo. Could you ask him to repeat the question? They didn’t hear the question.

Lama. I see. Can you give question little bit aloud?

Q. You were talking before about universal energy and how…and I said that bodhicitta was probably the most important aspect of Buddhism, it’s tied into this idea of blissful energy …[inaudible]…

Audience. Can you repeat the question, please?

Lama. I think he is saying is, Buddhism there is technical meditation, it called Sanskrit… 

[end of tape] 

Lama. …bodhicitta. This meditation, one who have that kind of meditation, realization of that kind of meditation, one does not have something in this Earth, any living being, any living being for him appears, one is strongest sort of attachment object, close, and one is sort of distant, sort of little bit hate, sort of, hatred, he doesn’t have, that kind of, all universal beings, every culture, the insect, the animal, besides living being, even pig, chickens, all living being for him, equally same feeling. For him there no existent such things enemy or hatred object. That’s all he means, something, round, we talk about that way. Yes. It’s very important, the mind training such way.

Otherwise we always make, when we choose one atoms, “Oh, this is, yes,” one atoms. Human being are like one atom; when you choose one friend, “This is my best friend,” with so much attachment, overestimate grasping feeling, automatically indication someone is you hurt and dislike. When you extreme too much one grasping atom, then another atom is you forget or not different, you not concerned, you ignore or, either hatred. So that unbalanced mind, automatically frustration and conflict. So to have universal compassion or love, you should have equanimity feeling with all living beings. So your mind is so healthy. Even Lord Buddha says, “You do not attachment even realization of enlightenment.” Somebody says, “Oh, enlightenment is you freaking words; there’s no such things existent.” And then you go like that. That is your problem. Many times, this very dangerous, we always say, something we see, either religious object or idea or philosophy or… “Oh, this is fantastic. So good.” Then we overestimate. Somebody say that idea no good, we freak out. This is the unhealthy mind. No matter what you see or you found Buddha or whatever or religion or philosophy or psychology or, whatever you found, your idea, putting your action practically, but somebody says, “ That is no good, bad,” that time you showing reaction, that your problem. So therefore, you shouldn’t attachment even idea something realization, higher realization, enlightenment; you should be free—besides the sense world object. Many times we attached even idea: “This idea is very good,” you choose. Somebody say, “Your idea is wrong, “ you freak out—that’s your problem. So, Buddha says, “Even enlightenment, even…do not take partisanship my one, do not trust my word,” say; you accept, “This is, of course, yes, should be, because Buddha says. Buddha says, “That reject; you are wrong. Check up with your own knowledge-wisdom. What I said is fit or not, you must check up. You are more responsible. Don’t believe because I said so.” OK? I think clear. Yeah?

Q. I believe you spoke of turnings, one from outer world to the inner world, and one from self-occupation to being occupied with the good of others. That I just wanted to affirm. Now, around that time that you were talking about that you said there were three very important things to know. [Yes.] Do you remember…?

Lama. I remember, yes, dear sir, yes. OK. I saying is, when we give charity, example, when we give charity, when we give charity—the terminology Buddhism, charity does not mean you just this [object] giving. Charity is in the mind, realization of wisdom, not this give. But when such way, we give idea, charity is so important, without knowing, just give idea, religious idea, you doing these things—instead of solution, dissatisfaction, the attachment, it brings reaction, some people, conflict. First I give, then think about, “Oh, I’m not right. Today I don’t have, I’m sorry.” That charity is not charity, this kind of…. So how to should be is, object [being given] this, yes, this nature; and the nature of who going give [recipient], should know—why he need? Which way help? And knowing your own mind. These three nature, reality knowing, giving charity is perfect.

Q. You check each thing out?

Lama. Yes, definitely yes; you have to check up.

Q. To see whether it’s appropriate?

Lama. Yes. It is professional, by giving this, reaction this spoiling…example, you giving ten dollars, giving this charity boy, boy go drinking place and drinking he becomes intoxicated, not sure. OK. Good example, that is. Instead of helping for him you make him destroying. But you think you helping so much! But this is simple example, there’s so many different ways.

Q. Would it be charity then not to give him money?

Lama. Yes; I say yes, that’s right, Yes, yes, yes. Because, dear, charity is Lord Buddha’s charity is psychology, to lose the attachment, to brings realization inner peaceful. It’s so true isn’t it? If you have really understanding the object what you giving, subject, these three natures, with understanding you giving is, no problem reaction. OK? Which cause…we always giving things, we trouble, expecting something return. This is great problem psychologically. So therefore, give things be careful. OK, all right, so…. Yes, yes?

Q. What do you think of the Christ’s teachings?

Lama. Oh, good, good teaching, yes. Good teaching, if you know. Example, Christ he teaches so many actions, true love, it’s—just simple example—he teaches, “Don’t be selfishness.” And he, Christ also meditating, if you know, it’s not the meditation is only Eastern trip, also. And his love is, if we can meditate, is so great, incredible; we reach beyond the attachment, selfishness. It is very useful. Yes. He is so much actions emphasizing, forgetting oneself, more concerned other sentient beings’ pleasure. That is good example for us, isn’t it? Good, dear, good. Yes? You, yes?

Q. With our orientation, in our culture, it seems like so much of our motivation is to get ahead, based on what we can get out of it. If, for instance, if we give to charity, where will it get me on the board, who will I meet? And everything, psychologically, we find that we’re the number one person and getting ahead materially seems to be the measure of whether we are successful as an individual. So my question is, is it more difficult for people from our culture to be able to go into the practice successfully? That’s one question. My other question is, in the chanting, are you chanting for something specifically, because in Nichiren Shoshu, I know that when they chant they have a list of material things that they want to accomplish and when they chant they chant to get those things, something like getting a sum of money or getting a new car; in fact those are the things that they tell you you’ll get…

Lama. That’s true, yes, agree, yes. That’s good. They tell you, you have to get but that’s not necessarily you get. That, they tell you you have to buy big new car, you say, check up, why need? Do really I need? You check up. Your need is you make decision. People says is not important. I think. Really.

Q. [inaudible]

Lama. Yes. My point of view is, people says, pushing to you, is not important. When the people says this is very important for you, why? How? Is really necessary? Without this I cannot have life enjoyment? You check up. Big super car is not necessarily. Can have practical car and wherever you go, they take you. They tell you outrageous things, “You have to buy this, you have to buy this” That is, I think, my interpretation is, unnecessary. You must check up what is necessary to make your home happy, things you buy.

Q. Lama, she says, this chanting, Nichiren Shoshu does it very powerfully, and people, when they go into Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, they say, if you come and chant Namo Myoho Renge Kyo, you can have a car, because the chanting can open, I don’t know what, but it definitely, it has so much power that people chant for “I want a car, I want a car,” they get a car. It’s materialization. She wants to know if that’s part of your practice.

Lama. I think, I don’t think so the practicing is, practicing Buddhism is you using for to get car.

Q. What is a car?

Lama. Huh? [What is a car?] What is a car? What you think? That is your car.

Q. Lama Yeshe [yes?], there seems to have been, especially in the last five or ten years, an influx of Eastern teachers into the Western world. Can you explain this? Like is there some feeling in the East that the West is ready for things like meditation and spiritual practice?

Lama. Yes, of course. It the ready. Because terminology, the temperament or the personality of Buddhism never ever allow to pushing others. Never allow to pushing my idea to you. When the time comes, right time comes, all right.

Q. It seems from this influx of teachers an age of enlightenment for the whole world because (?) will become practices or who will do practices…

Lama. Possible, that can see, yes. Because many predictors, sometimes in Tibet, we have some lamas predicting, and this Buddhism is going from north to west, these things, yes.

Q. A lot of the philosophies that are being brought to the West originated in India and if the Western person looks at India right now, generally they see famine and hardship. Has this anything to do with spiritually practices?

Lama. No, not necessarily. Not necessary you have to learn that all part of take. You take which is necessary for equipment for your mind. Don’t take all things.

Q. Well many people ask you this question, well, if the philosophy came from the East, why is the East in the turmoil that it’s in, surely with this much spiritual awareness there should be a better country, like India or…?

Lama. No, that’s not necessarily, not necessarily, because way of conditions; way of conditions make different shape. Even West also have some place are difficult, as East. It’s the, different period also; yes, that’s right. And material progress also, time the changing, changing goes, comes, like that, always. Different period, yes, you cannot make always this, this, that. Yes, thank you, yes? Thank you.

Q. What is the belief, general belief, among Tibetan lamas as to the difference in the way Guru Padmasambhava taught when he was in India before he went to Tibet?

Lama. [What he say?] Excuse me, we not clear, can you make again clear, your question?

Q. The basic, the first major teacher in you lineage was Guru Padmasambhava; he was brought by the king from India where was teaching in Patna (?), and what is the general belief that his teaching was, when he was in India; how does that differ from what it is in Tibet?

Lama. Not different. They exactly translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan language, yes, exactly. Still nowadays, many texts are, Sanskrit is disappear, Tibetan is left, and many texts are, you can compare now, what Sanskrit says; exactly. It’s not lost. Yes, very good, yes. Still, the Tibetan scholars and India, some people, they know, Sanskrit texts, and we are now, Sarnath, and they are, the college, the university, we have comparatively checking now, nowadays. Yes, good dear, very good, thank you. Yes, maybe this, please, this now?

Q. You answered some questions with the word “it’s possible,” at a time when I wasn’t sure that you really thought it possible, but then I wondered if there are any things that you think are impossible?

Lama. Anything I impossible? Impossible things I can tell, sure, I can tell, yes. Impossible you are permanent. OK, yes, good, yes?

Q. Anything else?

Lama. Impossible you are self existent, as you imagine, your mind; impossible you are self existent as your ego’s imagination. Yes, good dear, good. Therefore, your interpretation, when your mind imagine “this is me,” you check up, the really this is me or I put extra painting? This is the problem. If you realize that, fantastic; really knock out all the problems. Yes, good, thank you, yes, you?

Q. Are you a red hat or yellow hat? [What he say? Wongmo: are you a red cap or yellow cap?]

Lama. Both! Thank you. Yes?

Q. This is a problem I’ve had recently and I wanted to know, as an employer, if I hire a Dharma brother and he wants to meditate every morning, it’s very important, but he gets up late and wants to meditate and comes to work late, what should I do with a problem like this?

Lama. Better, if he is too late, better forget meditation morning. Work one time, come back, there is time, meditate. Always there is plenty of time, solution. OK, if you are wise.

Q. He gets angry when I make that…when I…

Lama. You can tell [I’m not being fair to him], yes, and two needle simultaneously cannot sew well. He realize. OK? Good. Yes, you now, excuse me, yes?

Q. Lama, sometimes when lama gives teachings to give happiness and taking suffering, is that possible in a time when there’s so much suffering and…

Lama. Possible, yes, possible, yes, possible, yes. Possible. [But is it really working?] Possible, yes possible, of course yes. Possible. If you are powerful enough, strong enough, the psychic or knowledge-wisdom, it’s possible dear. Possible, sure, OK? Good. You should be very strong, OK? You should realize you have that potentiality and always keep grow wisdom. Good, then you can do.

Q. I asked you earlier question about the two turnings, do you remember? [Yes] And there’s still a question in my head. [Yes, what is your question?] I wonder whether there are two turnings or whether there’s one… [Two turnings, what is, what, what…?] Turning from the sense world to the world of your mind and then turning from self to helping others.

Lama. Yes, right; this is very important, these two things, OK?

Q. I’m wondering about the relationship of the two turnings: the turning to your own mind at first…

Lama. First turning your mind and more investigate inner is first come. Then secondly, you can do this one, OK? Turning, OK? Yes, good, good. Thank you. You?

Q. How…I’m trying to say this so it makes sense…Christ, how can you compare Christ and Buddha? How evolved was Christ compared to Buddha or are they interrelated in some…?

Lama. Sure. They are related each other, too. But different purpose, different appears…

Q. One was in one…?

Lama. Yes, one purpose, one is purpose, another purpose, yes. Purpose has different, and when the time that. Good. Yes, right. And example, the Jesus is, worthwhile, time that, where he come time that, specific the place…

[break in the tape]

[Not on Archive tape: Let the human body disappears, does the consciousness disappears also... In necessary to try to live for ever?]

[Tape resumes] Lama. …that’s right. Therefore, it is so necessary, too much, too strain, you grasping, “I want live life,” that is not realistic. We have to know, the linked of our body and our conscious is, relationship is, still impermanent.

Q. Does the individual human consciousness reincarnate in another human body?

Lama. That’s right, that’s right, yes; yes, that’s right. Yes?

Q. You said that Jesus had purpose for being here and Buddha had another purpose for being here. What are those purposes and how to they differ?

Lama. You can see, there’s different, Jesus gives his followers his teaching and they digest it and they reach, they discover their inner freedom, and Buddha he give his teachings his followers and through that they can discover their inner freedom. So there is purpose, isn’t it? That’s all, simple.

Q. Then the purpose is the same…?

Lama. No, different. Different peoples, he, Jesus, such period, he contact with such different people, and Buddha comes such different period and he contact such different people. That’s why. Therefore different peoples need different ways of raise, and according their own mind. Therefore you cannot say, Jesus teaching is only right, Buddha’s don’t need. You understand? The Buddhism is only right, Jesus teaching don’t need. You cannot say. Need. Actually, human development is not always same thing. Some people need different things, according his develop, his mind. Some are not ready, another philosophy can catch and can practicing, not ready. So different people, according mind, different method need. OK? I think clear. So therefore you cannot make dogmatic view. Example, Lord Buddha also give so many, thousand, thousand different methods. You cannot say, “He give this method, this is only right method, rest his method is wrong, is not necessary.” It’s necessary some people. OK? Therefore, the shopkeepers make thirty different ice creams because thirty different minds, different need. I think so. So simple. You cannot say, “This ice cream is only right, rest ice cream is wrong.” Can you say? [No] Oh good, good example, yes?

Q. If I have one mind, can I have no mind?

Lama. Pardon?

Q. If I have one mind, can I have no mind?

Lama. Possible, but different terms. You have one mind but you have no mind is different terms, that’s right. They both has, if you check up, there is meaning. OK? Good, that’s possible. Yes?

Q. Is there a book or a manual that details how in terms of meditation and how to approach the discipline for people who can’t get there for those two weeks?

Lama. Yeah, yeah, yeah, many, many books, yes; many, many books. Now scholars they writing many books and also many lamas writing many books; possible, yes. I think we have some book list recommendation, maybe you ask her, OK? Good, dear.

[Wongmo. He wants to know our method books, if we have books. If we have books for our method.]

Lama. [I see, I think you can discuss this, recommendation books.] Yes, I think this one, yes, excuse me?

Q. In Buddhism not relating to outside God, outside savior.

Lama. Yes, the most emphasize is your savior is responsible yourself. Your positive action is responsible yourself. Your negative action is responsible yourself, not God, not Buddha. So therefore you must be carefully check up your mind, all the time, before the doing action. When the action finished, does, then you are late, OK?

Q. Then there’s the idea that all exterior beings are just projections of one’s own mind and that they’re substantially not real. So from that point of view, the whole exterior world is a projection of one’s own mind. Some beings however are actual physical entities on a relative level, and some beings like yidams are a creation of the practitioner’s mind, so there’s a lot of implications where you have dakas, dakinis as helpers and guides to assist you. Are they strictly creations of one’s own mind…?

Lama. Yes, right, of course, yes, yes. Example here is, you can see, Yamantaka. Yamantaka is not this outside. The some people very anxiety, hatred, so the true compassion transmitted that hatred energy into wisdom. That wisdom is transmitted such powerful form—actually, your mind. It is psychology to release such anxiety hatred. OK? Clear? Good. Simple. Yes, you?

Q. I’m a teacher and I am a philosopher [good] and I am without outer guidance, but sometimes, when I think, I experience an inner teacher or inner guide.

Lama. Possible, yes, possible, yes? Because as long you, somehow, you intensively concentrate aware, you doing something, show you.

Q. The more aware I am, the more I see. Now, I am also nervous in general because I am seeking enlightenment and I am worried about it.

Lama. Shouldn’t worry, you shouldn’t worry about, OK? As your example, your short time, you be, example, one day, how many times you are conscious? OK? Check up how many hours you are conscious. Such you aware, short time you progress that much, but rest time you are unconscious—sleeping and eating time—and that ability, you should know, if you are full of, all day, all night aware, all your actions, you can develop. So instead of worry, should act.

Q. It depends on an awareness?

Lama. Yes, and act with right wisdom action, OK? Then perfect, thank you.

Q. And the teacher, I don’t know whether to follow the inner teaching teacher…

Lama. That depend, yes. That depend, yes. It’s not necessary. That’s individual thing. If you are advance, advance already, your previous life, you don’t need this life somebody tell you; you already. But if you are, that is personal question, you give question yourself, you can realize; you are wise enough and put your state into right channel, your own effort, inner your wisdom, guru or whatever you call, then all right. If you cannot put together, integrate, always there is hesitation, doubtful, doubtful is the negative, actually. OK? That’s makes you… [Then you need?] Then you need, someone who has experience. OK?

Q. But if I go back and forth between those two views…?

Lama. Oh, you can check up, that you have to check up. That, even somebody to show you, you have to check up. He’s, this, make you advance or nothing advance, your own doing is more advance, you don’t necessarily following. That is, you are more responsible. Yes, good. Thank you.

I think, question finishing now? Thank you so much and thank you very much. [Applause.]