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. You can also download a PDF of the entire book.

Lama Yeshe teaching at Lake Arrowhead, California, in 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.
What is Buddhism - Part A

Some subject about Buddhism. Different people has different idea about what is Buddhism. I think difficult to say, “This is the Buddhism, therefore should be this way,” sort of. Simple way to judge is difficult. But I can say Buddhism is different than Western way of view of religion.

And also, learning Buddhism means learning about you, the nature of your body, speech, mind. That subject learning. Particularly emphasize, subject is, how the nature of mind, and cooperate the everyday life. This is very much emphasizing rather than too much emphasizing something, what is Buddha, or Buddha nature, or something like that…God nature or….

Because, it is so important to know or comprehend about our own mind nature. Since we want happy and enjoy and peace and satisfaction. Because the satisfaction is comes from the mind or conscious or wisdom, rather than comes from ice cream!

The one thing is, Buddhism is very simple and practical, logically explain how the satisfaction comes from mind rather than super sort of natural; you should believe, sort of; this kind of emphasizing.

It is very true, in the West, since you born up to now, extremely emphasize that happiness is outside. So the, your sense perception and conscious is extremely involving to getting or, the sense world. Therefore, you making life, for the life, what is real value for you is you make all the time value is outside, rather than your life, even. So this extreme, this extreme, the mind view, to making value on the external, that is misconception. Unreasonable, illogical thinking.

So, one should know, one want and real peace and happy, real joyful, one should realize this satisfaction happy is comes from the mind, rather than too extreme investigate into outside. You never can found. Who found, who is?

Since human existent, you can never found, although scientific technology, we think that is solution to brings human happiness. That is totally wrong conception. Impossible. Of course, technology is good, it’s necessary, to using skillful. That not against religion, you understand? One who realizing, technology, outside external development, we have to know, that’s not against religious aspect.

But in the West, so extreme, religious people, they sort of against external people developing sort of scientific knowledge, and science, or non-believer people, and against believer people; misconception.

Who is not believing, in the world? Who is not believing? First of all, if I give question, believe means, does not mean intellectual. People think, “I don’t believe,” they think they are something very intellectual, sort of, but 2, 3 questions, “What you like, what you don’t like,” he immediately shows hundred things “I like.” You understand? “Which way you like?” He shows, then he’s believing. 2, 3 questions, he finished this.

So however, the external developing and internal developing, it goes sort of balancedly, rather than contradicting each other. Very useful. Then life becomes balanced and harmony. Otherwise you contradicting each other. In the inner mind is becomes conflicting.

So Buddhism, there’s no contradiction, external scientific developing and also mental developing, there’s both needs, both are correct development. But can be positive, can be negative also. So that is way of you putting; your mental attitude, isn’t it? There no such things absolutely external existent, this is totally negative, this is totally positive. The positive is, negative is, comes from is, way of the background.

So, to avoid the extreme view, it is very important. Because, in the West, extremely the emphasizing, emotionally emphasizing, into attachment object: “This make me good, this make me happy.” You have to know how to go to middle rather than extreme overestimate or extreme underestimate.

That doesn’t mean sort of you give up everything. Lama doesn’t mean you, you give up everything, your possessions. But emotionally extreme attachment in the any object—external, internal—which makes you sick mentally, so that sick, the mental disease, has very difficult to cure in the West. Medicine is not solution, isn’t it? You all know. And psychologist, I think doubtful, how they solve problem attachment problem…you know what I means, you know? I think you all have experience. This is the problem.

The reason why is not investigating the reality of the mind. Then you know, the function of attachment lead frustration, miserable, isn’t it? I mean, we all know. Actually, it is really not difficult. It’s so simple. The Buddhism has the method to demonstration that your mentality of attachment, how functioning everyday life, through the meditation. It’s so simple, actually, you know.

So, so, so real conclusion is, what, what happens is, lack of knowledge wisdom.

Specially, concerned too much your own comfort and pleasure with overestimate attachment, and automatically brings the hate feeling, someone, others. That feeling is contradicting on the, automatically, in your mind. That nature is, Buddhism think, Lord Buddha’s psychology think, that is the sickness, unbalanced mind.

So that is not enough, only going temple or church Sunday. One should, one should examine every day by becoming conscious oneself and one’s behavior and action. Most times we hurt others is unconsciously. So, to demonstrate unconsciousness, the mind action, the need, lot of strength energy wisdom. So that is, cannot gaining instinctively; and all the time, everyday life, by becoming conscious and then you can realize easily. It is so simple, actually.

We always say the religious person or non-religious person, loving kindness to others so important. The, how to have, how to have that loving kindness feeling is through understanding other people’s need and which way suffering. Which way, best way to give happiness, brings to others, you must check out. But our emotional, we project what we, what we attachment…what we think good is we project others. We think people’s problem is hungry and thirst, so try to give chocolate and drink, these things. People problem, the human problem, is not thirst and hungry. It’s misconception, pollution; mental pollution.

So, therefore, very important to make your mind clear. As long your mind is clear, the external world up and down does not bother you, into your peaceful mind. You still be in your mind peace and joyful. It’s reasonable! Otherwise, you always watching up and down world; world up and down, “Oh, too bad or too good,”...like that, you up and down. That, that is only way you be happy or unhappy, you never be happy, lifetime; impossible! Because anyway, there is, world nature is way of fixed mind, putting, build up is the, the up and down nature. So, should up, should down sometimes. So that you upset and disturbing your peaceful mind, you never be happy, lifetime.

But if you realize this up and down is natural, but there is reason, you be happy and peace. As long your mind is peace, balanced, there is wisdom, there is control.

I’m sure Westerner think, “Oh control. East religion or Buddhism is all control. So emphasize control. We don’t want this kind of things. That is their trip, Himalayan mountain trip. Not the Los Angeles trip.” They think that way.

But control is natural dear. Lama, Lama’s experience, control is natural. As long you have wisdom, the knowing the how the functioning uncontrolled mind, what root, how root uncontrolled mind, when you realize, control is so natural.

We think control and human development equally same thing. There is distinction, “This kind of sentient being can develop that way, this kind of cannot be.” There is no. To discover mental joyful, peaceful, has no distinction between East and West and white or black. There no distinction. Potentiality of the human mind is equally same thing. Therefore human ability is so greatful.

So if you use wisely, with wisdom, then it’s worthwhile. If you use with such emotional attachment, basic associated with emotionally ignorant, impossible! There no you be happy. So therefore, be careful.

So, Lord Buddha’s teaching, so much emphasize understanding rather than fantasy hallucination.

Actually, many times, the emotional projection, hallucination, not perceiving realistic view, that perception is, we think, wrong conception. So as long your mind is pollution with wrong conception mind, impossible to be not frustrated.

So, so clean clear mind has ability same time enjoy. So, it’s so simple, when you, your mind is extreme, one side extreme emotionally attached, one part emotionally hates, what reason you hate, what reason you happy, grasping? If you check up that, logically ask yourself, that logical comes conclusion equally same conclusion, true logical. Because, because the emotional attachment giving logical is illogical and unreasonable. So same thing, emotionally you hate this one object is illogical, unreasonable, giving hallucination projection. So although you believing that way, therefore I saying, believing is, do not think intellectual something, “Yes, I believing; yes.” That doesn’t mean you believe too, also. You say believe, you not believe sometimes, you know? OK. So, believing, unbelieving is deep root into conscious. As long you have attachment, there is definitely believing. Believe does not necessarily supernatural, something beyond something logical. Can be many different way, believe is.

So, the training, Buddhist psychology, to be able to love or compassion to others, you must have the equilibrium feeling with all living beings. It’s not sort of rational [radical?], “I have one piece of candy, that should cut to others.” Not like that. It’s inside your mind. Unbalanced mind is unhealthy. So therefore, therefore, the equilibrium mind is the, in the mind to, to have this feeling, rather than emphasizing again you go to putting external. That is almost impossible, I tell you, actually. I mean, the equilibrium, Buddha says, equilibrium is the training your mind equal and the balanced and communist they try tell equal—that’s different! You have to know that.

So long as you have equal, balanced mind, you can, without discriminating, loving kindness with universal living beings. When you have that, the attachment, the emotionally attachment, the conceptualization, automatically decreased. If you have method, however, it’s not difficult. With right method, with right wisdom to put together, it’s so easy to solve problem.

But human being are lack of, the reason, lack of intensive knowledge, and their happiness is there, but we searching here, you understand? This is the problem. Actually, really simple. Real joyful peace, happiness with you, with you, therefore, we say, if you professional meditate and searching the nature of mind, you can discover everlastingly joyful and happiness. Because always with you. It’s mental energy, not this outside, the refrigerator energy, which is always exhausted.

So mental energy, mental energy, with right wisdom and right method, it becomes unlimited, unlimited; it’s always with you. Incredible. Therefore, human is powerful.

You know, we are, materialistic people think, human great, look at, build outside, look at. Fantastic outside we building. But we don’t know, that is comes from the humans’ mind. Without human skillful mind, there’s no outside also supermarket. You understand? So, so the really instead of too much extreme value into supermarket and real internal supermarket try to discover, it’s very useful. Then mind becomes equal and balanced.

You know, sounds like Buddhism renounce and not good extreme attachment for you emotionally. But that doesn’t mean sort of physically give up. You using bathroom all the time, every day, isn’t it? But that doesn’t make you tied, tied yourself. But using every day isn’t it? You know, lavatory, every day we using. But we don’t have attachment, too much. You understand, another words? So the same thing, we use material equipment, reasonable value, for human existent, but not too extreme.

Like, one boy, he run to get apple, there’s one apple, he runs, himself, very intensively runs, and he broke his leg, and then you people think, “Oh, he’s foolish.” He making value, get one apple and his life is…he changing, we going say, “He’s foolish.”

Same thing, actually, actually, we check out, deeper check out, we making extreme attachment projection on object, extremely, so forget how your ability, potentiality. So this is dangerous. Like boy to run one apple, he destroying his life, for get one apple. It’s wrong that. Oh, the same thing, actually, the attachment emotionally, looking with hallucination on object, it’s definitely destroying your own nature.

So, so, the human nature is great(ful), but way of using energy by skillfully, worthwhile. To know is very important. Way of directing your life energy, which way putting together, is very important.

I think, instead of I talking too much, better we have little bit discussion, OK? Thank you. If you have some questions, and give questions, so then we do some….

Q. What is the way to make mind aware so that we have the equilibrium of mind and skillfulness in action?

Lama. Good. By recognize the false conception view, then can put your mental energy into clear atmosphere. It’s clear?

Q. No. 

Lama. OK. What he say, question?

Wongmo: How do you make the mind equal?

Lama. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right, yes. That’s why I say, by recognize unbalanced mind, how come, which cause comes, which cause reacting, unbalanced mind, if you know, then becomes clear. Thank you. I think it’s clear. You see, maybe I talk little bit, you see, Buddhism is, to destroying something negative, instead of avoiding that, you have to face and check up how come this, what is reality, you understand? Therefore, it’s so logical, more scientific, rather than you avoid, you go some other place, avoid, and only something thinking positive—that is not enough dear. OK? Oh ya, that’s all. So when the problem comes, instead of go this way [away from problem], face this way [to problem]. OK. Very useful that.

Because actually, in the West, many times, when the problem comes, they go this way [away], so they can not found really what is problem root. And sometimes they hide here [head under zen], they hide here [like head in sand]. That’s not good, that’s not good. You have to, you have to demonstrate how the coming. OK? Then can you really discover clean clear mind. By knowing unclear nature, how cause comes, what nature of cause, that’s very important, to know root. Example, growing your house something thorns, something, always hurt you here, if you cutting here, oh, cutting here, little bit here, here, again grow, all the time hurt you. If you check up root, how deep root, that you cut, then it’s forever not bother you, that’s all. Yes?

Q. I think you talked about going beyond thought. Is there any experience of the mind, could you talk about? [Question not very audible.]

Lama. Possible, yes.

Q. May I ask a question?

Lama [continuing with previous question]. One who realize—there’s one question already—one who realize one’s projection, or the hallucination, the ego’s giving, what you are, self imagination, then when you realize that hallucination, self imagination, what you are, is not existent as you are thinking, your mind thinking, as ego’s interpreted, then suddenly when you recognize, the shunyata vision, emptiness vision, automatically comes, experience. But until self imagination, “I am this, I am this, I’m Thubten Yeshe, this, this, that way, therefore I should have this, I should have this, this, this,” impossible to reach beyond thought. So the skillful knowledge wisdom investigates, analytic knowledge wisdom, the mind imagination, ego’s interpretation, what I am, self imagination, what is? Is it form, is color? No. What is? The finally conclusion is, there no existent, externally, internally. So the experience, the voidness or shunyata or emptiness, vision is automatically comes. That time you reach beyond thought. Because many times, “I’m this, therefore I need house; I’m this, therefore I need this; I’m this, therefore I go supermarket.” This “I’m that-this,” so much emotionally involving thought, that conflict destroying the inner peaceful. Clear?

Q. You are beyond the control of the mind, then? You are beyond to control the mind. Beyond.

Lama. Beyond, yes? [To control the mind…] You say, you asking, excuse me, you asking is, OK, how you reach beyond the thought. That’s all I answer. That’s clear? First of all, this clear? [Yes.] OK, then, then what? Then another question?

Q. Then you are beyond thought and then there’s that void, there’s that void, it’s empty…

Lama. Yes, that is empty, or whatever you call, sometimes terminology Buddhism call shunyata, Sanskrit, and sometimes call empty, but empty does not mean something empty, nothingness, you understand? [No, no…] No. It the conceptualization of the ego build up, “I am Thubten Yeshe” is much more bigger than Los Angeles. You understand? This is good example. You know what I means, you know? That is hallucination. So when we realize that is totally non-existent; it’s only project by my mind, my ego, suddenly comes the experience, shunyata, “Hmm, good.” Clear, clear?

Then suddenly reach, there’s no thought also. No thought does not mean sort of you becomes unconscious. Not like that. So many people, that’s dangerous. First of all, that is dangerous point of view, because “no thought” does not mean you becomes unconscious. It means…no, no…this important, this is public talk, therefore, if we talk sort of personal, sometimes people get misconception, so therefore, does not have conflicting “that-this” dualistic, conflicting thought.

It means, you reach beyond thought, means conflicting dualistic mind, you reach beyond that, not, doesn’t means you are becomes unconscious, OK? Very important to know. Good. Thank you so much, thank you. Yes?

Q. I have a question. [Yes, sure.] I understand what you’re saying and I feel very strongly for some of the things that you’re saying. [Yes dear.] I’ve also learned these through the Fritz Perls method, the idea of your projection, [yes] very much solid. I have felt them badly in me [that’s very true]. The problem (?),that I’ve never heard from anybody, even in our own culture, is we’re sort of trapped in our own world. Suppose you lose your job or suppose you have trouble with your family or suppose you are running down on money and your relatives or people, you can’t easily divest these connections because these are part of you [that’s right]. How do you handle your projection, your identification…

End side 1,

Lama. [May be a bit missing] To put yourself such environment, such influence, you choosing is also very important. If you put yourself bad situation, automatically that, maybe before, first time, you don’t have that kind of habitual, but one, two, three days and then sometimes get that all; you becomes automatically same thing. Therefore important, yes, thank you so much, thank you.

Q. Are there physical exercises you do, similar to tai chi kuan or yoga, to tone your body as well as your mind?

Lama. Good, physical exercise also good, but better mental exercise; more powerful.

Q. I agree, but is there physical exercise that’s part of Buddhism?

Lama. Oh yes, yes, we have also, yes, certain point, because sometimes we have to sitting some small, some particular point; we have to sitting long time, month, month. That time we have physical also yoga. But normally we emphasizing so much how mental attitude is the most important. Whatever you does, speech, body, action movement, any…yes, good dear, yes. So the Buddhism very much emphasizing the nature of mind, to know. Good. Yes?