E-letter No. 126: November 2013

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
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 the Archive and for reading our monthly e-letter. We would be grateful if could share it far and wide. 

Your Perfect Human Rebirth is Here!
The latest book from our FPMT Lineage series, The Perfect Human Rebirth: Freedom and Richness on the Path to Enlightenment, has arrived! As you can see, Rinpoche seems pleased with it. We hope you will be too!


On being informed of the book's publication, one of our members wrote, "What a joy! My birthday will be soon...and you just notified me that The Perfect Human Rebirth will be sent to me! I am feeling very blessed and am planning to share this blessedness and happiness with everyone this Holiday Season. Since I became the member my life has acquired a new brightness!! Thank you from the depth of my heart."

The Perfect Human Rebirth is currently being sent to members. Note that if you are a Member and have recently moved, please send us your new address right away.

And while the books in the FPMT Lineage series are not free, they are very reasonably priced. The Perfect Human Rebirth can be ordered from our website for only $10 plus shipping.

If you prefer the ebook version, it is currently available for $5 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more; others are forthcoming in the next week. Keep checking our website for links to ebook vendors, which will be posted as they become available.

Our Strategic Plan 2014-18
As the funding for our last five-year plan draws to a close, we have developed a new five-year strategic plan, which lays out our vision for the coming years. The new plan describes how we can maintain our present activities but also take advantage of new electronic publishing possibilities. Few publishers, Dharma or otherwise, have the potential to do what we can with the vast resources we have at our disposal.

Each year, the Archive continues to grow; we are constantly adding to our collection of recorded audio teachings, verbatim transcripts, edited versions, advices, formal and informal video and images. We collect, catalog and preserve all these materials, transcribe and edit them, and distribute the teachings in various ways for the benefit of all.

LYWA has some 650,000 books in print, most of them free. Our titles have been translated into fifteen languages and all are available as ebooks for a wide range of readers. We provide transcripts for use in FPMT course materials, Education Services publications and Mandala Magazine and prepare books for Wisdom Publications. We have published more than 125 monthly e-letters, have a well-established social media presence, a YouTube channel and articles published monthly in online magazines and blogs. Furthermore, we have tens of thousands of pages of teachings and hundreds of hours of audio freely available on our website.

Emerging publishing technologies now enable us to go beyond our already established means for making these teachings available. Using our amazing resources, we can develop a completely new kind of Dharma book: a multimedia presentation that brings all these media together in a seamless presentation that draws the reader ever more deeply into the teachings.

Thus we are looking to become a world leader in enriched-media Dharma publications by creating enhanced ebooks that contain not only written teachings but also the audio from which they came, video when available, photographs from those or similar teaching events and links to related advice and resources.

This will bring the teachings to life in a way that has not been possible before and provide a multi-faceted experience that offers much more than simply reading a book. Presenting the Dharma in this way will engage readers more deeply and, we hope, enhance their spiritual development.

But we need your support to be able to continue employing our team of editors, designers and support staff, all fully dedicated to the mission of the Archive and excited about bringing more and more of the teachings in the Archive into the hands of those searching for the Dharma.

Thus to benefit others even more than we have been doing, we need your help. We have developed a 5-year plan, which you can read on our website. Please make your year-end donation today and join us as a partner in our work for the benefit all.

New Advice From Lama Zopa Rinpoche
In Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice book this month we posted a response from Rinpoche to a letter written by a student who had recently read Rinpoche's Transforming Problems into Happiness. In this letter Rinpoche says,

This practice of thought transformation is using one's thoughts, one's actions and especially any problems in the path to happiness, which also means the path to enlightenment. It also means the path to happiness for other living beings, who are numberless. This is the most important thing in one's life—to cause happiness to others, who are numberless. Trying to cause happiness only to oneself, who is just one person, is where all the problems come from.

Read the rest of the letter where Rinpoche gives extensive advice related to thought transformation, ignorance and emptiness.

Remember you can visit our website to see a list of all new advices posted in the past month.

Also, did you know that you can sign up for weekly email alerts so you can be informed of new posts? You can choose to be notified about posts for certain teachers or topics, or everything! Don't miss any of the great teachings we make available by signing up for this great service.

Our Next Book
We are currently working on Moon in Rippling Water, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's extensive teachings on emptiness and next in our FPMT Lineage Series, expertly edited by Dr. Ross Moore. The book is scheduled for publication next spring and we are very excited about it. Please keep your eye on the LYWA eletter for ongoing news about this amazing project. We are happy to offer a tiny excerpt (minus footnotes) as this month's previously unpublished teaching.

Thank you so much for your kindness and support.

Much love, 
Nick Ribush

This Month's Teaching: The Nature of Causative Phenomena

Rinpoche doing chod offering practice at Jamyang Buddhist Centre (formerly Manjushri London) London, 1983. Photo by Robin Bath. Subject, action, object, friend, enemy, stranger, the people around you, relatives, possessions--all of these are transitory in nature. Due to causes and conditions they change within every second and can stop at any time. This is the nature of causative phenomena. Yet, while transitory in nature, we project an appearance of permanence onto them and wish they existed in that way. Not only do we project permanence onto them but we believe in our projection: permanent friend, permanent enemy, permanent stranger; permanent people around you; permanent environment and permanent possessions! But such things don't exist. What has happened is that our mind has created something else. We have decorated things with an appearance of permanence and then believed in that. This becomes the basis of our problems and gives rise to our fears, depressions and nervous breakdowns. When things don't exist in the manner we have projected but instead degenerate and finish, we become distressed. Our life becomes crazy. It becomes a problem simply because it is not what we expect.

Instead, if you were aware of the reality of these phenomena as transitory and looked at them accordingly, when they finished you would feel neither shocked nor frightened. You wouldn't feel as though you had fallen through the earth or had sunk deep beneath the ocean. You wouldn't feel so depressed. When you understand that that thing (whatever causative phenomena it may be) changes, decays, becomes older, stops, it doesn't appear to you as a problem. It is when you don't see things as transitory, but instead expect the opposite that there are sudden difficulties in your life. There was no problem before but there is now! There was no problem in the morning but now there is a problem in the afternoon. There was no problem an hour ago but right now there is a problem. Though there was no problem a minute ago, there is one just seconds later! So even from this simple example you can see again how problems come from your own mind. They do not come from outside but in dependence on how we think. When you do not see phenomena according to their nature, the expectation is itself the problem because it does not accord with reality. Thus problems are completely to do with your own concept. It is a question of whether you think skillfully and correctly. Because it is creating or producing a problem we can say that not thinking correctly is itself a problem. So, if we can think correctly that problem is stopped.

The conclusion is that all these causative phenomena are transitory in nature and can be stopped at any time. Due to being under the control of causes and conditions, causative things are changing, decaying, not only day by day, but hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. What exists in the first second does not exist in the second. What exists in the second second does not exist in the third. According to the Prâsaṅgika School, even within that second the object does not last. But that is totally the opposite of how we see that object, that beautiful flower, that beautiful body. We have the hallucination of permanence right there. We believe in this hallucination as true: these objects will, we feel, last for a long time. According to our projection of permanence this beautiful body will always be like this! Our projection of permanence therefore acts as a hallucination spreading a cover of permanence over impermanence.

But if, on the other hand, you allow your mind to dwell on impermanence, then immediately you don't see any reason to cling or to get angry or jealous. Therefore, what is the point of having the unsatisfied mind of desire? What is the point of the mind of anger? Generating such minds is nonsense. Without even analyzing or meditating in terms of their emptiness they are found to be baseless by a valid mind seeing their impermanence. If we understand impermanence we are loathe to engage in negative karma--the cause of saṃsâra and the lower realms. Following the thought of impermanence makes the object of liberation available to you, whereas following the wrong concept of permanence denies it. Then there is only saṃsâra. So it makes a huge difference in our everyday life.

By practicing mindfulness on impermanence we find peace immediately in our heart. Desire is instantly stopped. Here is a totally different world to the normal one created by desire in which everything (form, sound, smell, taste and so forth) appears to you as permanent. Such a world is a total hallucination due to being founded upon the deluded concept of permanence together with our attachment to such a view.

Excerpted from Moon in Rippling Water: Emptiness Teachings from a Tibetan Master, forthcoming from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive in 2014. Edited by Ross Moore.