E-letter No. 124: September 2013

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
O Sel Ling Retreat Center, Spain, 1983
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear LYWA friends and supporters,

Thank you so much for your kind interest in and support of the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. We have many new releases to announce so please read on!

Forthcoming in November
We are pleased to announce that the 3rd book in our Publishing the FPMT Lineage Series is nearly complete. Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Perfect Human Rebirth: Freedom and Richness on the Path to Enlightenment will be available in November.

The FPMT Lineage series is comprised of books of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment (lam-rim) drawn from his four decades of discourses on the topic based on his own textbook, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun, and several traditional lam-rim texts. The books in general are arranged according to the outline of Pabongka Rinpoche's Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. The FPMT Lineage series is the most extensive contemporary commentary on the path to enlightenment teachings available and comprises the essence of the FPMT’s education program.

When the book becomes available we will automatically send a copy to our Members and anyone who made a donation of $100 or more to our Publishing the FPMT Lineage (PFL) project in the past year. There's still time to have a free copy sent to you! Become a Member or make your donation of $100 or more to the PFL project and your book will be on its way to you in November.

In the meantime, you can read an excerpt of this book on our website, and when it becomes available in November if you are not receiving a free copy you will be able to order it from our online store for $10 plus shipping.

New Release: HH The Dalai Lama's Illuminating the Path
\"His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment has been out of print for some time now. We are proud to announce that it is now available as an ebook!  See our Online Store for links to ebook vendors.

Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive produced this book for Thubten Dhargye Ling Publications, Long Beach, California in 2000. His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Thubten Dhargye Ling (now Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling) and gave teachings on two lam-rim texts—Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and Lama Tsongkhapa’s concise lam-rim, Lines of Experience. This book contains the teachings from that visit.

Note that if you are a Member, you can download ebook versions of this book for free from our Members Area. And everyone can download a pdf of this book, or read and search it online, on our website.

New Lama Yeshe Video
In Madrid in January, 1983, Lama Yeshe spoke to the directors of O Sel Ling Retreat Centre, Bubion, Spain. It is interesting that among them were the parents of his next life. Looking at them, Lama said, "…you have been putting your energy into developing the Dharma in this way. In my heart, I will never forget you. Even after I’m dead I will try to remember you and be thankful for your kindness. Actually, I think we're making karmic business to be together, so I'm very happy."

This month’s previously unpublished teaching below is an excerpt from this talk, where Lama talks about the importance of doing retreat. As many of you may have seen in the recent FPMT newsletter, Lama Zopa Rinpoche has also spoken of his wishes for FPMT students to actualize the lam-rim teachings and achieve realizations through long retreat. This is clearly a message that has been given by our teachers to us for many years.

You can see the video of this interview on our YouTube channel:

New Teachings On Our Website
Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave a talk at Chenrezig Institute, in Queensland, Australia in June 2006 on How FPMT and the Centers Benefit Others, edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron. After beginning the talk with a concise teaching on guru devotion, Rinpoche reminded those who offer service through Dharma organizations that:

We are able to offer sentient beings unbelievable benefit, limitless skies of benefit. Therefore, we must rejoice all the time. All the staff of the general FPMT organization and of each center should remember this deep and extensive benefit that we are offering to sentient beings. We should remember this every day.

You can read more advice from Rinpoche on offering service to the FPMT and Centers on the FPMT website, and in our Online Advice Book.

We have also just posted teaching on Motivation in Daily Life that Rinpoche gave in Singapore in 1994, edited by Ven. Sarah Thresher. The talk was given on the Tibetan New Year and Rinpoche talks about the importance of motivation, developing the thought to benefit others, and our good fortune to be able to practice Dharma.

New Advice From Rinpoche
We have posted 14 new advices in September! These include:

The essential answer is: please read the lamrim text Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand very well, from beginning to end. Don’t read it so fast, thinking that ice-cream will appear somewhere. As far as Buddhism is concerned, the Buddha’s words—every single one of them, each word—has ice-cream behind its meaning. There is ice-cream behind the meaning of each word, and the ultimate ice-cream is enlightenment.

As always, we leave you with a previously unpublished teaching, which we mentioned above, excerpted from Lama Yeshe's talk to the directors of O Sel Ling Retreat Center in Madrid, Spain in 1983.

Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

Much love, 
Nick Ribush

This Month's Teaching: The Importance of Retreat

Lama Yeshe with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and entourage arriving at O Sel Ling Retreat Center, Spain, in September, 1982.Why is retreat important? In order for our spirituality, pure morality, wisdom, single-pointed concentration and insight into reality to grow, we need time and space. The normal twentieth-century environment does not give us this. It induces either distraction or sluggishness, and retreat can take us beyond both. As human beings, we have the potential for unlimited growth, for limitless compassion and wisdom, bodhicitta and the six perfections. So retreat is very important in expediting this.

Furthermore, Dharma experiences come only when you put yourself into a Dharma situation. If you don’t immerse your body, speech and mind in Dharma, the Dharma can’t really be of use to you. So retreat is very important in promoting your development.

The first stage of your spiritual growth occurs during your first retreat. The second stage happens in your second retreat; the third stage in your third…and so on. Spiritual growth is not an intellectual thing. It has to be organic. It is beyond the intellectual; it has to become your own experience.

Let’s say you’re practicing a sadhana. If you’re just doing it at home without retreat or penetrative insight, you’re never going to become the sadhana. You’ll certainly never become the deity if you just do it that way.

You can see, even in European history, that Jesus and other great spiritual leaders went into solitary retreat. Christian, Muslim, Indian, Tibetan; all the great mahasiddhas went into isolation for certain periods and gained their high accomplishments through practicing intensively like that. So the history of human experience also shows that Dharma realizations come only through concentrated, twenty-four-hour-a-day practice.

And when you are in that situation, you can conduct research into your experiences, just like scientists investigate phenomena in their laboratories. You can analyze your dreams, your sleep and whatever else come up, and you can supplement your research by reading—as long as what you read is related to your meditation and your sadhana. When you’re in retreat you should not read newspapers or worldly books.

Successful retreat demands discipline. The fundamental discipline is living ethically in pure morality. On that basis you need to follow a strict schedule and avoid all outside activity. You should not meet with other people or talk nonsense. Best, of course, is to maintain silence for the duration of your retreat and not meet people at all.

By going into retreat, maintaining ethical discipline, keeping yourself together and developing wisdom, love and compassion, you are benefiting not only yourself but the whole society, all of mankind, all of humanity. Of course, most people don’t understand the reality of human existence, but in fact, by going into retreat you really do benefit all.

For example, Shakyamuni Buddha came and went more than two thousand five hundred years ago but we are still experiencing the incredible benefit of this one person’s method and wisdom, aren’t we? So one person’s retreat really can bring great benefit to all.

My experience is that many of my students want to retreat but, as I said, have nowhere to go. So this proves that we need more and better retreat facilities. Also, as I always say, each of my students should do a retreat every year, be it long or short. Retreat once a year. It transports you from the level you’re at to another realm. I’m not joking. I always tell everybody to retreat.

Some people listen to me and do at least a short retreat every year. In that way they maintain their spiritual development, even if they don’t shift from one level to another. And in the future, more and more people are gong to want to do retreat, so we really do have to pay attention to this. That’s why we need more facilities.

I am very happy with O Sel Ling. It is so beautiful, pure and isolated and, especially, it was blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he visited last year. He was also very happy with the center and felt that it has great potential and, even without being asked, offered the name O Sel Ling, Place of Clear Light. This itself is a huge blessing; through it, people who retreat here will discover the clear light nature of their own mind.

Excerpted from a talk Lama gave to the Directors of O Sel Ling Retreat Center in Madrid in 1983. Edited by Nick Ribush. You can read the entire talk here, where you will also find a link to see video of Lama giving this talk.