Teachings on Karma (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Maitreya Instituut, Emst, Netherlands (Archive #144)

Teachings on karma, excerpted from a lamrim course led by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Maitreya Instituut, Emst, in August 1990.

Click on the audio links to listen to each section and read along with the unedited transcript.

Renouncing the Self-cherishing Thought

However you see according to the Western culture you see the method that is used you see the psychological method that is used, so to use this everywhere, in every case, all the time, not doing, then trying to believe in that and doing nothing with the negative karma, and adding more negative karma, creating more negative karma, continuously creating more negative karma you see piling up, so you see doesn't really solve the problem. To really solve the problem one has to do something with the cause, which is within the person's mind. So what I think is that because there's no other method you see you know such as purification and in the Western culture there is no karma mentioned, as I mentioned in the early, during one of the teachings, that the explanation of karma is missing, the knowledge of karma is missing in the Western culture you know in the psychological method or the scientific knowledge or in the psychology. So subject of karma you see the knowledge of karma is not there so therefore, and also the method to purify or what can be done, how one can, how to stop, the actual cause is not mentioned there, so therefore also the method is not there how to stop the problem, how the person can stop the problem by avoiding the cause, so it is not mentioned there. The inner cause [pause].

So like this. So karma, the actual evolution you see of the happiness and suffering that is not mentioned there, so therefore also the method to stop experiencing problems, to purify the past and to not create again is not mentioned there, so that doesn't happen, so in other words, the solution is not mentioned, this real solution is not mentioned. So then what happens is, the advice, only advice what is left, what one can think of is you know to feel okay, no matter whatever one has done you know even one killed father or mother, or whatever, feel okay, that you are all right, nothing wrong with you, like that.

So there is a need a deeper method, that's not enough, that's not sufficient, immediately making the person's mind kind of some pleasant, that's not enough, there's need deeper, there's need something deep. So you see now because the method is not there, so then you see that's only, without choice this is only what is left so this is my point of view, I don't know, I haven't studied Western psychology, doesn't know anything about it, so this is my point of view. I'm talking just my own view, what I think.

So here in the teaching of Buddha there is a method, you see goes down to the root you see to change the whole thing in the mind you see method to purify, to stop creating cause again hts what has already been done, what you can do with that and you see future what you can do you see to not have problems, like that. So this you see this path, then practice is mentioned, that you can purify, various methods to purify you know you can generate the path, you can remove the imprint and by living in the morality, the vows, one don't create the cause of problems again, so like that. And yeah, by developing a good heart, positive attitude, you don't create the cause of problems. So these things are mentioned you see as a principal method. [pause]

So because of karma, subject of karma is missing, in the scientific knowledge or the Western culture, the psychological knowledge or whatever you see so therefore, harming others, since the subject of karma is missing so there's no understanding harming others means harming to oneself. So you see the knowledge of the evolution of the problem is not mentioned there so therefore if it makes you happy, doesn't matter you are giving harm to others, if it makes you happy then you do it you see anything that you feel right, anything that makes you happy then you see you do it. Like anger, by exposing anger to the other person, if it makes you feel comfortable, then you do it. Whatever insult or bad words or whatever, in the mind you see if it makes you happy by saying that loudly you see in the ear of the other person anyway, if it makes you feel comfortable, happy, satisfied, then you do it.

So such these things is due to you see the knowledge of karma, knowledge of mind, about the mind, the cause and the result, this evolution about mind you see that is missing there. So you see one doesn't understand giving harm, hurting others means you are creating the cause to be hurt you by others, in other words it is harming to oneself because you are creating the cause.

And also compassion is missing in the knowledge, the education of compassion is missing in the scientific knowledge, not mentioned there and also the in the psychological method you see that is not conveyed, that is not mentioned, so because of that, so you don't think about what the other person feels, if you do this, if you say this, if you act like this, what other person, the concern for others, kind of, as long as you feel comfortable, as long as it makes you happy, satisfied, happy, it doesn't matter if it hurts to other person. So the other person's feeling is not mentioned there, other person need also happiness, doesn't want suffering as oneself you see so therefore should not harm others, should not hurt others you see like yourself you don't want to be hurt, you don't want to be insulted, so it's not mentioned there.

So therefore I often say, those who do job psychologist, in those public service, those consultation, so my idea is that, so the book is not important, if you do the treatment by relying upon the book, what is laid out or what it written how to do you see if you rely upon only book then you don't have, if you don't keep the aim to benefit, if you don't have the aim in the mind how to benefit for the patients, the aim is not there, the aim is only book you know you see to do only what is written there and to follow only that you see then because that view is limited you see so as I mentioned now these things are missing, so therefore you see in your action, the benefit is limited, cannot benefit deep in the person's mind. So therefore it is better, even though, of course in the book there is something useful, that you take it, one use, then you see use one's own knowledge, use your own experience, use your own wisdom, you see keeping in the hearts how to benefit for that person, how to solve that person's problem, the disease, or the mind or body problem, whatever it is, keeping that in the heart, then think of the method by yourself, by using your own wisdom, your own experience. So that way much more, that way there's great benefit to the other person. If the book become the aim you know not the patients then you see I think very difficult to benefit.

So you see since one has got degree, all that thing, the title, then actually how to treat, especially after one has met Buddhadharma, so after one has degrees, those things, the recognition that permitted to do the job however so subjects, those things need to study for the examinations, those things, but actually, reality to really help the people, especially after one has met Buddhadharma you see there is so much, one can offer various methods according to the capacity of the other person you see various techniques, meditation, whether it's called meditation or not however various psychological methods. [pause]

Basically, generally speaking, the whole problems in the city, generally, the whole thing is this, if the self is not renounced, there's a problem in the life; if the self is renounced there's no problem in the life. So, the basic thing is that, It's one answer to all the problems, whatever problems, relationship problems, disease, AIDS, cancer, whatever it is, any problem, somebody doesn't love you, whatever happens, death, anything, what makes that life experience become a problem is because not having renounced the self. If one sacrifice the self for others, there is no problem, that experience, situation is not a problem, until you don't label it a problem, but you see when the self, as long as the self is not sacrificed for others, is cherished, that itself is the problem, even though there is no relationship problem, even everybody in the city, even every human being on this earth loves you, starting with the family, then if it's meditation center you see then everyone loves you, everyone misses you, everyone loves you, so even every human being on this earth, including creatures, dogs, cats anyway, birds, worms, cockroaches, mouse, anyway, I'm joking. So even everybody loves you however you see as long as one doesn't sacrifice the self, there is a problem. That's the biggest problem, that is the originator of all the problems.

So you see so if this is practiced, self sacrificing for others you see same meaning, cherishing others, same, but here I say sacrificing the self for others, so if this is done you see immediately in the life there is great happiness and satisfaction. Even one spend a million dollars, a trillion dollars for court cases to win you know over that person, to defeat the other person you see even you win, there's no happiness, there's no real peace in the life, there's many other problems, besides all the money is spent for negative karma, because the motivation the self-cherishing thought, so all the money is gone for negative karma you see for the lower realms, all the expenses are gone for the cause of the lower realms, so like that.

So, this is one example about the life, so there are many other things like that we spend money for the cause of the lower realms. We make big debts for the cause of the lower realms. However so you see for example you see it seems, for example like in Australia you see in Sydney, the cities they have person giving advice anybody who have problems, everybody can make telephone to this person, but in my view, I think maybe there is somebody whom you can talk to you see who will listen to you, say yes, yes, or something, how good or something like that, who answers back to you you know some response, yes, yes, so that makes you happy. So at least you know some person no matter where he or she is, you hear yes, yes, to your talk, then that makes you happy, or something, that you are sad, something happened then the person says, Oh, sorry or something you know tried to be sad together, so that makes other person happy. There's one person like that, then other person, I think there's one person who try to give answer, I think to the problems.

But however, in my own view, everybody talk about, the problems came from self-cherishing thought but don't talk about so much self-cherishing thought, don't talk about the inner attitude, talk about the result, I mean that is usually what it is. So even this person, I think, this person is quite well known, it's well known person, good in answering people's problems, however he knows that because so much hearing, so much listening, hearing, years, years, years, people's problems so I think he says that you see problems came from self-cherishing thought, but in my view I did not hear the solution is to sacrifice self-cherishing thought, that I didn't hear, to that one, came from there and that has to be you see changed, that has to be given up for others, so that I did not hear. So that is what is missing. There's only one answer to solve problems, one answer, actually doesn't need many words, just this is: renounce self for others. If it is put into the practice, immediately there's no problem, the situation is not a problem you see doesn't appear a problem, even if it is cancer, even it is AIDS. If you are experiencing for others, if you sincerely do this, it's not a problem. So even these serious problems, what is believed, even these things, so other small problems you know no question. So, like this.

So good, in this work...

[tape change]

...warm heart and other people seeing content, satisfaction, happiness you know I think that helps, so warm heart, compassion, loving kindness, even there's not that much wisdom, but if there's this on there, then anyway can benefit to people's mind in the public service.

So however needs to dedicate the merits every day and pray. Anybody, any sentient being, due to all the three time merits accumulated by me and by others, any sentient being who hears me, who touches me. who remembers me, who talks about me, who think of me, and everyone, just by that, all their sufferings to be pacified immediately and to obtain happiness, means including enlightenment. So if one dedicate all the time like this then you see and always you keep the attitude in this way, benefiting others then you see so job, working in the school, working as teacher, or working as a psychologist, even in the office, or even cleaning the house, or sweeper, whatever work you do, with this attitude in this prayer can always benefit others, even when one does conversation with unknown people in the street or in the office or something, because always you have the intention to benefit others so you see because of that always you speak something that is beneficial for that person, naturally comes you know if one keep the attitude in this way, thought to benefit others, even in the conversation you see just somebody out of the street you see in the street however something to benefit for the person's mind you know rather you see only, then instead when one meet the person then you see whole hour talking about my problem, putting one's whole big, anyway, so first of all one's own problem you see thing that oneself labeled problem and make it big, very serious, you label first problem, then you make it very big you see very serious, very big you know for your mind, in your view you made it very big and then put on the other person's head. Put all this problem in the other person's brain, like putting things back to the refrigerator, putting food back to the refrigerator.

Anyway, so however rather spend all the time like this you know you see anyway, if there's attitude then always beneficial, always, if there's attitude all the time altruism you see then you see all the time there's benefit to other people, according to one's own capacity you see you give benefit in the action. And if you pray all the time, every day like this, then even other people seeing your picture, they can success in their activities by you see even they see your picture or something you see even they remember you, their disease get healed or their problems get solved. Like that you know. So even the person doesn't know you or doesn't see you, haven't seen you, so even by name it can benefit to the person's life by remembering even your name, like that.

So, then, the strong regret, going back to the subject you know and then you see even it cost to endangering my life you see I won't do, so doing confession with the remedy of four powers you know such as the for example, Thirty-five Buddhas practice, what is called the Sutra of the Three Heaps, I don't remember exactly now so maybe somebody can remember so can, anyway, it can be discussed. So this is purifying by depending on the holy names of the Buddhas. If one think in the meaning of the prayer you see complete, then one get practiced the remedy of the four powers, so become perfect purification, like that. And each of these Buddhas names, for example Shakyamuni Buddha's name, by reciting one time, purifies 84,000 eons negative karma. So each Buddha's name purifies you see many eons of different negative karmas, so by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas' practice, purifying downfalls, by reciting this even one time, practicing this well one time, it purifies even the heaviest negative karma, five uninterrupted negative karmas that which makes immediately straight after the death to be born in the hell, narak you see even this negative karma, killing parents, causing blood to the Buddhas, killing arhat, all these things you see causing disunity among Sangha, get purified.

Then, the special mantras, Vajrasattva, so there are many mantras, there are five powerful mantras to purify the cause of the lower realms you know including Vajrasattva. So Vajrasattva with the maha-anuttara yoga tantra aspect with the father and mother embraced, this aspect, Highest Tantra, this can purify even the heaviest negative karma broke tantric root vows, even this can be purified. So then meditating on emptiness, reciting Heart Sutra, reciting the Essence of Wisdom, Prajnaparamita text you see 80,000 verses, meditating on emptiness this are very, very powerful purification. Then, making tsa-tsas, the stupas of Buddha, making statues, those are inconceivable merit and purification and so making offerings to the Triple Gems, so there are about, in the lam-rim it's mentioned about six.

Yeah, so I stop here.