Teachings from the 45th Kopan Course (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Tenzin Ösel Hita
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #1897)

Tenzin Ösel Hita gave these talks during the 45th Kopan Lam-rim Course at Kopan Monastery in 2012. In the talks Ösel covers many lam-rim topics such as guru devotion, Dharma, the sufferings of samsara, our five senses and love, all from a contemporary viewpoint.

You can learn more about Tenzin Ösel Hita by exploring his biography on the LYWA website.

Second Discourse: Q&A

Yeah, so I think the November course has still, how many days left? ‘Til the eleventh?

Ven. Gyatso: Eleventh.

Lama Osel: Eleventh. So today, we are on the seventh? By the way, if you’re wondering what the monks were doing today before, they’re reciting Migtsenma. It’s Lama Tsongkhapa’s mantra. So they’re doing the korwa, circumambulation around the monastery, reciting the mantra because tomorrow is Lama Tsongkhapa’s day. Lama Tsongkhapa is the very beautiful statue we have up here; it represents Lama Tsongkhapa, of course. He’s the founder of the Gelukpa tradition, and he was an amazing practitioner – amazing.

So we have, tomorrow is Lama Tsongkhapa day and tomorrow, I think, all of you will go to Boudha, so make sure you make your wish or wishes. I remember, when I was a kid, I used to think, “What’s the best wish one can make?” I really wracked my brains, and I came to the conclusion the best wish is to wish to have infinite wishes. To me, that’s a good thing, yeah? So you can wish to have infinite wishes, and then you can wish all the wishes you want, which ultimately you don’t really need anything else. We have that potential, we have the possibility, the power of the mind, the power of the…. The individual is so powerful, that if we are able to focus and really feel whether we need that, we can make it happen, whether there is a stupa or not. But of course, the stupa will help a lot because the faith comes out, and the faith from everybody else, which affects the collective memory. And that helps the wish to become true more and more fast, and more strong.

So perhaps you have you any questions? I don’t know whether I should go through them or not? I don’t know – maybe you prefer using the microphone? Or maybe you prefer me to read these questions and answer them? I don’t know, maybe we can have a vote? I don’t know. Or maybe Venerable Gyatso can decide.

Should I answer these questions or should we send the microphone? From the audience or

Ven. Gyatso: From the audience? They’ve been pretty long, those questions.

Lama Osel: Okay, so let’s make it short. I’ll just pick some. But these questions are very complicated because I think the people thought a lot before. So there’s picky questions. [pause] I don’t know which one to choose.

Okay, so let’s just do.. it says “Questions for Osel”.

Number one: I think this is good, questions, because this way I can share a little bit of myself because I think it’s not, it’s not nice I’m just talking, talking, talking, but you don’t really know who I am or what I’m doing or anything. So I think that’s important to share also from my side. So anyway, so the question goes: “Are you planning on taking on students, or leading retreats in the future?”

I don’t have many plans for the future. I thought to keep it maybe, three months ahead, maximum. So after three months, I don’t really know what I’ll be doing. But one of the thoughts that I have is maybe for the next November course, if I can really get a deeper understanding of the lam rim, which is what I’m going to do after Kathmandu, I’m going to India to the monastery, to Sera Monastery, and Lama Zopa, he said that I should study the lam-rim from my teacher in Sera. So that’s what I’m going to be doing in the next couple of months.

So if I’m able to get a little bit deeper understanding of the lam-rim, then maybe for the next November course, I can try to give some insight or understanding or my thoughts, or whatever you want to call it, together with Venerable Gyatso and whoever will be teaching for the next November course. So that’s my wish maybe.

So for me, it’s very auspicious to be able to be here and talking with all of you because it’s the first time in the November course, and I think all FPMT started from the November course, so it’s really special and historical, for me at least. So I want to thank you to being able to make this opportunity, this moment a reality. Because without you, then I’ll just be talking to myself right now.

So then number two: “When are you going to be leading retreats?” I don’t know if I can really lead retreats, because technically, I’m not a Buddhist, yet, I’m in the process of becoming Buddhist and I have a hard time meditating. So I don’t know, maybe in the future, future, future, maybe. But I think, I’ll probably follow retreats in any case. I don’t think I’ll be leading retreat. Or maybe, I don’t know. Who knows?

So number two: “What are your goals and dreams besides enlightenment, in case that tops the list?” Yeah, enlightenment. That’s so far away. But I guess that’s the main objective, right, to become enlightened, to help other people become enlightened. But for me, that’s so far away, I never really think about it.

My goals and dreams, I think basically, my goal is to be a better person every day, try to go through what I’ve done at the end of the day when I go to sleep. Try to think about all my actions, and try to see what I did wrong, or what I don’t feel comfortable with by following all my moral code. Be a better person, basically it’s being a better person with myself, for myself and for other people. You have to take care of yourself, before you can take care of other people. So you start with yourself always.

And my dreams, I have many dreams like everybody. But my dream is just to be able to help Lama Zopa, and maybe take some weight away from him, so that he can relax. And I think basically, that’s the main reason I was born, and why in this life, I’ve had this opportunity of being in this situation. So if I don’t take advantage of that situation, or don’t do what I should do, would be good to do, then probably later on, I will regret a lot, I won’t be able to feel good with myself.

So basically, I think it’s my job. Maybe job is not the right word. It’s my responsibility, maybe, I don’t know. But anyway, it’s just – that’s my dream is to be able to do what Lama Zopa would like me to do in order to help people.

But basically my dream is to be able to reach people who are not Buddhist, and introduce them to Buddhism because I think they are the people who need the most help, people who do not have any contact with Buddhism, people who would never pick up a Buddhist book or go to any meditation course, who would even listen to teachings, or even just because it has the name of religion in it, then they’re like, “Oh, no! I don’t want to know anything about that”.

I think mainly my dream is to be able to reach those people, and to be able to give them a small taste of what Buddhism can be, and then introduce them to Buddhism, and help them in that way. I think that’s mainly my dream. That’s one of the reasons why I chose audio visual techniques, making films and stuff like that, because you have the power of sound, speech, you can condense any messages there, you can put music, you can give images.

Now I’m concentrating on documentaries. Maybe one day I’ll make a Hollywood action film, like the Matrix. That’s such an amazing film, right? Wow. Something like that would be amazing, but I think I’m very far away from that yet.

But anyways, tomorrow there will be screening of the new, official film, the first official film I did together with Matteo Passigato – he’s a very good friend of mine from Italy. I met him in ’98 in Bodhgaya, and ever since then, we’ve been in contact.

So we did this documentary together, and it was produced by FDCW, which is Foundation for Developing Wisdom and Compassion. And the documentary is about Universal Education, which is what Lama Yeshe started in the l970’s, and now it’s actually really happening. So basically, it’s just a documentary as an introduction to that. So I don’t want to go into much detail because I’ll do the presentation tomorrow. But just try not to miss it. If you’re interested, please come. I don’t know what time. I think it’s at five?

Ven. Gyatso: Three-thirty.

Lama Osel: Three-thirty. Oh, good thing I didn’t say ‘five’. Three-thirty, you’re sure of that? Okay. So three-thirty, not five. Yeah, maybe five in Spanish time. Two hours late. Three-thirty.

So anyways, so join my Facebook page. Just kidding. So thank you so much. I don’t know, maybe I should do more questions. I don’t know, it’s already nine, like almost [9:]15, so maybe we’ll just leave it there.

Student: Keep going.

Lama Osel: Sorry? Keep going. Okay. So okay, more questions.

Question: Do you, at some point, in the future, intend to officially start giving teachings, plus taking on students?

Answer: Well, I don’t know about teachings. I don’t feel very comfortable with that word, but for sure, I will, definitely I will share my experiences and my thoughts, and try to help people by doing that, which is what I’m doing right now. I’m just sharing my humble, small thoughts.

So that’s one of the reasons why I don’t feel comfortable sitting on a throne is because I like to be at the same level as everybody, because I don’t want you to see me as a guru or anything. I just want you to see me as a friend, as somebody you can talk to, somebody you can really relate to.

So that’s mainly the reason why, this is why I feel the most comfortable, not on a throne. I would never sit on a throne probably. Oh “Never say ‘never’”, right? Justin Beiber. So maybe, I don’t know anyways, so taking on students – well, I don’t know about students but, of course, I hope I’ll have many friends like you. So just think of me as a friend, okay?

Question: Okay, so will you/do you plan on taking over the lead at Kopan?

Answer: I don’t know about lead, but I’m just this small potato. I’m just somebody who walks around, and just listens to gossip, talks with people, has some tea somewhere, some coffee in the coffee shop. That’s it. Nothing else. I’m not the leader. It’s not like that. The leader is Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and basically, I’m just a follower, I just follow. So I don’t have any plans to take over and lead in Kopan, or anything like that. I’m just visiting Kopan; it’s my home. So I just love being here, and just enjoy being here and sharing with everybody, and talking and seeing people. That’s basically what I want to do in Kopan – nothing else.

Question: What are your close, future projects?

Answer: My close future projects. So basically, after this documentary, one of the things, the two basic things I want to do: one is to study a little bit more, maybe do some like communications, maybe economy, or leadership maybe a little bit. Even though I just said, I don’t want to be a leader, but I think it’s important to learn about leadership in order to work in an organization like the FPMT. So one of the plans I have is to study that for the next two years.

The other plan is after this documentary, maybe to create another documentary – ‘cause this one is just 15 minutes long. But the next one, it’s maybe one hour? And basically it’s about emptiness or spirituality together with quantum physics and science, coming together.

So the people who don’t believe in spirituality, then the really hundred percent scientists, they can see, “Wow, maybe spirituality has something to do with science; maybe it’s the same thing”. ‘Cause emptiness and quantum mechanics or quantum physics really blend together, you can really see how the principle is the same, the way they explained.

So I don’t know much about it yet but I really want to investigate and learn about that, and make a documentary. So that’s the other project I’m trying to do. So I welcome any help, any information, any suggestions from people. So those are basically the two projects. I don’t know more now, or have any more projects,’ cause then, it just becomes very vague. So I just focus on those two for now.

So that’s.. more questions.

Question: So one question here is, “Osel, are there any changes that you would like to happen in the monastic education for Tibetan Buddhist monks, and nuns?”

Answer: I mean, I don’t feel there’s any changes needed because the way the system works is very, very, very good. It’s based on how it’s been working for a long time, and it’s always worked very well.

But I think, one of the things that I would like there to be is some exercise. Maybe not sports because that’s very competitive, but at least like some stretching exercise or maybe even yoga, or some kind of exercise like that. Because the monks many times, they sit for a long time during the day time, and then if you don’t do exercise, then it can create back problems, it can be very unhealthy. So that’s one of the changes I would like in monastic system.

Like Thich Nhat Hanh, in his monastery the monks do exercise every day, stretching exercises. They even play music which is hard to believe, but it’s true. I learned that last month. They have this special time, free time where they can actually play music, and they have violinists and pianists and whatever. And it’s beautiful music; it’s like an orchestra. So for me, that was very surprising that monks were playing music in a monastery. Wow!

But of course, it’s a different type of tradition. It’s based on Buddhism but it’s just different ways of seeing it. So for different people, different things work. But I thought that was very interesting. It doesn’t mean that I want monks playing music here, of course. I think the exercise part is the part that I was talking about. Don’t misunderstand me. It doesn’t mean tomorrow we’re going to bring a band here and play rock-‘n-roll music and concert in the gompa, something, like that. No! No! For rock-‘n-roll you go outside of the monastery.

Okay, so more questions. Let’s see.

Question: So one question. I think maybe this is the last question. “Dear Osel Hita, in your recent talk you said that when you were younger, you had difficulties, coming to terms with your situation in life in relating to happiness. Are you happy now? If so, what changed?”

Answer: Am I happy? I don’t know. Happy is a concept, right? So it’s not like, “Oh, I’m happy”, because tomorrow I may not be happy. So then I was not really happy now. So it doesn’t really make sense to say, “Oh yes, I’m happy”, because tomorrow I may be crying. So then I wasn’t happy. Right? Because I’m crying afterwards. So where’s the happiness?

I think, so happiness is for me, it’s easier to tackle, like the other day I said, by thinking not being unhappy. So I’m not unhappy, that’s for sure. So that could be in a way I could say I’m happy. But happiness has a concept everyone is looking for, that concept is very difficult to find. It’s not something you go afterwards. It’s a little bit like the donkey going behind the carrot, and the carrot – it’s a guy with the stick, and the carrot’s hanging. So the donkey’s going behind the carrot, but he never really reaches the carrot.

So if we think about happiness in the way that many people think, especially in society: “Oh, like I’ll be happy when I have this house” – materialistic point of view. Then that happiness is impossible. You’ll always be searching, going after something which will never happen ‘cause actually that will create more suffering; it won’t create the happiness.

So anyway, so am I happy now? I can say I’m happy for sure, because I’m not unhappy, right? But not the happiness that people talk about. So it’s, maybe this should be two words, I don’t know, like for love also, should be different words – like ‘unconditional love’, maybe ‘unconditional happiness’ we can call it. So I’m not unconditionally happy, but I am happy. Yes.

So what changed? I think what changed is basically, the perception I had of why I was suffering. I was suffering because I believed I was suffering mentally. And the change really was that I realized that I was suffering because I wanted to suffer, because of my ego. It was me who was thinking about myself, saying, “Oh, poor me, and this and that, and blah, blah, blah, blah”. And then I was suffering because of that.

So I still suffer, of course, because every day is a different day, and we die when we go to sleep, and we are reborn when we get up in the day; in the morning-time, it’s like being reborn again. And every day is different. So you never really know what’s going to happen, every day can be different, –things can happen that make you unhappy, or make you suffer.

But suffering as a state of mind, I don’t suffer as much anymore because I really try to see the root of that suffering. And that came from my ego, from me saying, “Oh, me, me, me, me, me, me”. And then that’s something that Eckhart Tolle talks about. He says.., in Spanish you say, ‘cuerpo de dolor’. I don’t know how they say it in English.

Student: Pain body.

Lama Osel: Pain body. So that’s a little bit kind of the same thing. It’s like we create the suffering from our ego because we always think about ourselves, and then that increments that suffering.

So I think that’s one of the things that changed was that I read Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now. I read that and that helped me a lot to see that, to change that. So that was one of the things that helped me not to be so unhappy. And so to me for me that’s.., I hope that answered the question, didn’t make too much confusion.

So maybe now we can do some question and answers from, with the microphone. Just in case there’s some misunderstandings, someone wants to… [pause] We don’t want to take too long; it’s 9:22, right now.

Okay, so anyways, today’s vacation so you’re more relaxed. No precepts. You had dinner today?

[Students answer: Yes]

Good, good, good. So you’re not grumpy. I get so grumpy when I don’t eat. If I’ve got an empty stomach, then try not to talk with me ‘cause I’ll be very grumpy. How do you know if my stomach’s empty, though? Good question, huh? Then you can listen to my stomach, [makes stomach growling sound]. When it makes noise, then keep your distance. Just joking. So questions?

Question: So you mentioned in your last talk, and also in this talk, that we have a ‘collective consciousness.’ And so what would be your kind of interpretation of what that means, and how does it fit into a Buddhist framework, if it does?

Lama Osel: Wow, good question. Maybe we could think of it like karma also. Collective memory, it’s like something, ‘cause karma has many different types of karma. There’s a karma that is connected with all of us. Like right now, there’s a karma that has made all of us share this room. So that can be also a result from the collective memory. I don’t know. It could be.

The collective memory from my point of view, is like, it’s like the Hundredth Monkey Syndrome. Did I talk about that last time? No?

This experiment that they did about many different monkeys in different islands. And then all the monkeys were given sweet potatoes. So they would wet the potatoes in the water and then throw them in the sand. And the monkeys would eat them with sand. So it would be very crunchy and very uncomfortable, but they would eat them anyway because it was delicious, and they liked it very much. But, of course, it was very, it’s not nice to eat with sand.

So one day, one monkey discovered that if he washed the potato with water, then he didn’t have that crunchiness anymore. So he showed it to other monkeys also. Then slowly, slowly, the whole community in that island started to wash the sweet potatoes with water. And when around, I think, 100 monkeys, around, started doing that, then suddenly all the monkeys in all the islands started doing that, too, at the same time. And there wasn’t any real connection between them because it’s different islands. So I think that’s a pretty good example for collective memory. It’s like maybe when a certain number of that same species reaches a certain realization, then it helps everybody else to reach that.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on the individual because as we practice, the more we practice, the more realization we get, the more it affects the collective memory, which eventually will affect the people, the humanity also. So that’s why we can really make a difference in that way. That’s why it’s so important to really practice hard in order to help other sentient beings. It’s not like, “Oh, if I’m a good person I’ll be able to help that person on the other side of the world because I’ll go to Africa”. No. It’s like we will be able to help the other person on the other side of the world through the collective memory.

Thinking that way, then the motivation is, it’s even easier to keep that motivation. So it’s a good idea to think about the collective memory. In the same way also, our negative thoughts affect the collective memory. So maybe that answered your question a little bit. Okay.

Question: [Sorry. I’m a bit nervous.]

Lama Osel: That’s okay. That’s only your ego.

Question: We learned about the mind during the November course, about the power of the mind, and also about love, especially…I have a bit of a problem to describe ‘love’ and ‘mind’. It’s like when you go to the cinema, the guy with the projector is your mind, and the screen is your heart. And sometimes I just feel that all that is in the screen is what the guy’s projecting. Did you understand?

Lama Osel: Yeah, I understood. But I don’t think that’s a very good example. Because our heart is, like for example, this very short phrase I like to use is: ‘Being the self’. Right? Being, originally was, ‘Be the self’. But then I changed it to ‘being the self’, because we’re actually being, we’re constantly changing. So we can’t really be the self, because be the self is like static. So ‘being the self’. It’s a very simple phrase, ‘being the self’.

And when we talk about the self, I think we can also talk about the heart, it’s maybe the same? Maybe, I don’t know. But the heart is like our instinct, right. It’s our inner feelings, our subconscious mind. Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t want to create confusion because I’m also learning. So sometimes I may use words which may not make sense. But at least from my point of view, I think the heart is like a deep voice, it’s a real voice inside us. And the mind is something that is affected by everything else all around us. It’s like the conditioning. It’s a conditioner, something that’s been conditioned. For example, when we are born, the first words we learn is ‘papa’ and ‘mama’, ‘my papa’, ‘my mama’. That’s like conditioning already, first words, “my”.

So it’s a little similar, like the mind is, like it conditions actually our heart. So I would see it like, the other way around me, I mean the screen is the heart and the mind is the projector. Hmm. I mean, I think the mind affects sometimes. But we just follow the mind so much that we don’t really listen to our inner voice.

So I’m not really comfortable with the example you used because it can create confusion. But I think basically, we think too much; we give too much attention to our thoughts, which may come from outside also, which are conditioned. And the actual inner voice, we don’t hear it, or don’t listen to it.

And the best moment to listen to it is, for example, we go into to meditation, breathe deep. Or even before going to sleep, then you just breathe and you feel yourself and you try to stop thinking. I know that sounds very hard, but it’s possible.

You can start one second, stop thinking. Turn off the mind. One of the ways I like to use is like you become a stone, so you don’t exist. Or you can, like meditators don’t exist, so then you can’t think; if you don’t exist, you can’t think. If you’re a stone, you can’t think. Right?

Or maybe you can visualize a scenario, the curtains are closing, the curtains are completely black, so then the mind, all the images are like buzzing around, and the curtains close, then you can’t see anything [makes blowing sound], and then you just forget about what you’re thinking.

Or sometimes just concentrate on one point. You just concentrate on your breathing, concentrate on your heartbeat, or concentrate on some visual image you can make in your mind. But at least try to not think. Actually, from my point of view, it’s better not to have any visual images.

And then especially before going to sleep, so then you can actually turn off the mind, and the longer you keep it, the better. Slowly, slowly with practice; it’s not something that happens from one day to another. It will take time. But eventually, if you can stop the mind for ten seconds, then already that’s a realization. And then from there, you can keep going back to the ten seconds. And in those ten seconds, you will hear the real voice, the inner voice, the true self, who we are, unconditioned.

And that’s why it’s also good to do it before you go to sleep, because that way you manually turn off your mind. And when you fall asleep, you already turned off the mind. Because normally what people tend to do is you’re just thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, you can’t sleep. And then finally, you get so tired, your thinking stops and you fall asleep automatic.

And many times, we can’t sleep because we’re thinking too much. So a good way to go to sleep is by turning off the thoughts, just feeling yourself, listening to the inner voice, and then you manually go to sleep. And that way, you’re more conscious of falling asleep, because sleep is actually one of the best meditations. His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that: He says sleep is the best meditation.

And also, of course, going back to what I was saying before, the melatonin is released during our sleep. So it’s important also to sleep during the night-time, because when there’s light, the melatonin is not released, because the senses are behind the eye. So it’s important to have a good sleep hours, like you’re doing now in the November course.

I’m a late night sleeper. Sometimes I go to sleep at 2 a.m. It’s very unhealthy; I don’t recommend it. I’m trying to change that. That’s one of the habits that I’m trying to change. But maybe it’s a Spanish thing. I don’t know, maybe it’s a Western thing, or maybe it’s a universal thing, I don’t know. It’s good to go to sleep early and get up early, so that you sleep in the night, in the dark hours, in the night hours for the melatonin to regenerate.

And also to have that schedule, because when the morning time come and the light, and the sun comes up, it’s like a ceremony; it’s nature’s ceremony. All the birds and the animals, they all celebrate the fact that the sun’s coming up. So why shouldn’t we also celebrate that? Why should we sleep in bed and just wait ‘til the sun shines so hard, we have to get up. “Oh my God. It’s so hot here”.

Question: So you mentioned be yourself, your true self

Lama Osel: Being yourself.

Question: Being yourself, true self, inner voice, these are all things that come naturally to me and I understand them. But here, there’s a lot of talk of no self. And that’s difficult.

Lama Osel: No self. Hmm. Maybe that should be a question for Venerable Gyatso. Maybe that’s, the no-self part is based on the emptiness concept? Of course, that’s a different story. It’s like, for example, there’s different stages of learning, and for example, you’re learning the Buddhist philosophy. One of the first stages it says the past and future don’t exist, because everything exists in the present. So everything in existence, only exists in the present. That’s what they say.

Like _. But of course, when we go higher up, when you study more the Buddhist philosophy, there’s a certain point which says “past, present, and future are all the same time”. So it changes. But of course, in order to reach that there, then you have to understand the first steps.

So from my point of view, I don’t really know much about that. So I’m just sharing what is practical for me at least, what I can relate to, and what I think maybe all of you can also relate to. But because I’m in the process of becoming a Buddhist, I’m still studying. So I’m not qualified to really talk about that in that sense.

And also I just want to say please don’t misunderstand me, or take me too seriously. I’m just sharing thoughts. So it’s not like you have to say, “Oh, this is the truth”, or just don’t take me seriously. Just take what works for you, check it, see if it’s really true or not, if it makes sense. And then if it’s useful, use it; if it’s not, just leave it. It doesn’t matter.

So any more questions?

Question: I just have a request. I know you’re a very busy person, but I would like to invite you, if you can come to our graduation on Tuesday, the closing of the.., I think all of us would love to have you and be a participant of our completing the course, if you can come to...

Lama Osel: Thank you. Okay sure, for sure. Yes, I’ll be very happy to do that.

So the question is, could you explain emptiness in your understanding?

Lama Osel: My understanding is so small, it’s difficult. I can’t explain emptiness but I can explain some parts of emptiness, maybe, that I understand.

I think first of all, in order to understand, or to start understanding emptiness, we have to realize that actually there’s a lot of things outside. And what we experience is what we experience. For example, a stone cannot experience reality the way we do.

In other words, you can even say we’re a reflection of the universe because through us, the universe kind of exists. I’m not sure if you understand. It’s, so all reality’s outside – it’s happening. And then we are just a functional being who’s experiencing it; it’s happening. And in order to experience it, we have to have the five senses, for example, or any one of the senses.

So basically, what we experience is inside us. It’s our experience, but it’s not necessarily what actually is out there. So that separation, it’s like the dualism. And then, we are composed by many, many different kind of cells or atoms, or like metabolisms, and all of those together create one, which is us, because when we think we are one functional being; we think as one. We don’t think as many voices or many people. It’s like one. But that one comes from a composition.

So I think those two things are like an introduction for emptiness – to think about that. That’s analytical meditation, to experience that, to think about it and experience it. Of course, practical meditation is very important also. But analytical is super important. So the two to be combined is good.

That’s kind of basically a little bit of the understanding I have of emptiness. I’m not sure if that is …

Venerable Gyatso: We’ll talk about it.

Lama Osel: Okay. I have to come to the teachings also. Okay, maybe one more question? Okay, two more questions.

Question: Last night Lama said that love is suffering.

Lama Osel: Love is suffering. He did say that? I don’t know. So yes, he did say that Gautama Buddha said that love is suffering. It can become suffering if it’s not unconditional love. But I think maybe he referred to the type of love that materialistic or samsaric people like us sometimes believe in – not the unconditional love. I very much doubt that the unconditional love is suffering. So maybe it’s just a word-play; it’s just misunderstanding from the words? I don’t know, I may be mistaken. Good question. It’s good to question always; very good to question; you have always to question, always, always.

Question: So last time you mentioned having been inspired by the works of Carlos Castaneda. Tonight you mentioned having been influenced by the words of Eckhart Tolle. Have you been studying karma from the Theravada point of view, or do you plan on doing so?

Lama Osel: I see. Well yeah, for sure, I’m very open to that and I would love to do that. But no, I haven’t really studied from the Theravada point of view yet.

One of the people also that inspired me was Krishnamurti, which I forgot to mention the last time. Because his life and my life are very similar, so many times I identified myself with him. And he helped me a lot also to understand myself, which is the main thing I’ve been trying to do since I left the monastery was to understand myself.

So I think also, all of you should do that, should understand yourself. So I hope I didn’t create much confusion. Please if I did, maybe you can ask me, or you can ask Venerable Gyatso. I’m sure he can clarify that for you. Please don’t take me too seriously. Give some freedom so that I don’t get very stressed when I talk.

Sometimes I talk, everyone’s so serious, everyone’s looking at me. I’m just joking. You’re all smiling; it’s so beautiful. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it. And it’s beautiful to be here with all of you, such amazing energy. And please, please keep that energy going, keep that purity. Don’t forget what you learned here, and spread it when you go back to where you came from. And maybe see you next year at the November course. Maybe see you before that? Yeah, anyway, I’m going to see you tomorrow!

So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]