E-letter No. 140: January 2015

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Italy, 1983 (Archive #064)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear LYWA friends and supporters,

Thank you so much to all of you who supported us during our Year End Appeal for 2014. We raised nearly $38,000, which helped us end the year on a strong note and ready ourselves for the year to come.

Speaking of the future, we invite you to read our Annual Report, where we tell you all about what we're working on in the coming months and our plans for the future.

We are so grateful to all you of who partner with us in this amazing work of bringing the Dharma to everyone, everywhere, every day. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche recently wrote to a benefactor:

The Buddha's teachings are priceless. Their preservation according to Hinayana and Mahayana is really, really, really important – and within Mahayana, Tantrayana especially is very important. One sentient being even just hearing the Buddha's teaching not only causes them higher rebirth, but liberates them from samsara. There really is unimaginable benefit – unimaginable, unimaginable, unimaginable benefit. This is something really priceless, something hard to imagine – and this is the result of your kind contribution. That is the real result of your compassion for sentient beings. I give you skies of thanks with my two small hands, putting palms together, with one hand in stroke aspect – my heartfelt thanks to you.

We have just posted teachings Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave on guru devotion during an oral transmission of Pabongka Rinpoche's Calling the Guru from Afar in Singapore, April 1992. Edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron. You can also listen to or download the audio files, and read along with the unedited transcript, of this very same teaching.

\"We have also just posted a long advice from Rinpoche to the mother of a child with special needs, who was caring for him completely. Rinpoche advised her: "Every action that you do, first think, 'This is for sentient beings.' Don’t do it with an ordinary motivation or attachment, thinking, 'This is for my child.'" Rinpoche then gave extensive advice on how to serve others from the heart, with compassion and loving kindness.

There are also new advices on specific practices that could help relieve symptoms of depression; how the mantra liberating the body, speech and mind from bondage should be recited to protect from the Ebola virus; advice on the benefits of reciting the Golden Light Sutra; and a thank you note from Rinpoche to the volunteers of the Light of the Path retreat in North Carolina, where Rinpoche noted:

Just as matches are used to light a candle and make the candle flame, also a tiny flame can burn a few stories of hay so quickly or a whole mountain can be burned just from a tiny flame. In the same way, so much heavy negative karma that has been collected from thousand, millions, billions and trillions of past lives can be purified in one second, just by pleasing the Guru.

There are many more new advices added this month; see our website for a list of all new advices added in January.

Just posted to the LYWA YouTube channel! Check out a video of Lama Yeshe teaching on Tantra: The Experience of Transformation at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa center in Pomaia, Italy in October 1982.

Also, this month's eletter teaching below is an excerpt from another of Lama Yeshe's teachings in Pomaia from the following year, when Lama gave a Gyalwa Gyatso initiation and teachings. We are also in the process of preparing the entirety of these incredible teachings for publication in print and ebook formats.

\"We are so happy to announce the second volume in the new ebook series of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Lamrim Teachings from Kopan 1991 called Creating the Causes of Happiness will be available next month.

In anticipation and celebration please allow us to offer you a free copy of the incredible first volume in this series called Practicing the Unmistaken Path: Lamrim Teachings from Kopan 1991 from one of our ebook distributors, SmashwordsJust preview all our titles on Smashwords, then place your order for Practicing the Unmistaken Path and enter the coupon code MJ69K after creating a free Smashwords account. You can download your ebook in any format you like, from PDF to Kindle to Epub for Nook and iBook and more! Smashwords keeps your account completely private and confidential while offering you a free personal home page, a personal web address and the ability to create a personalized library for all your favorite works.

Please enjoy Practicing the Unmistaken Path, watch for Creating the Causes of Happiness and may we benefit all beings from reading, contemplating and meditating upon these precious teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche!

We rejoice how this year our Facebook community has grown to more than 42,000 people!  If you are not following us already, please do.

Osel Hita, who has a vibrant Facebook page of his own, praises the LYWA Facebook page: "Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive is my favorite Facebook page. It’s doing really really good! I watch it often and it really has a big impact. Congratulations!"

You can also follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and Tumblr, and benefit every day from contemplating and discussing quotes from the Lamas, viewing current and archival images and reading updates about related Dharma projects.

I’ll be in Singapore from February 19 to March 11 with a side-trip to Kuala Lumpur somewhere during that period, and would be delighted to meet up with anybody who’d like to get together. Please let me know.

Thank you again for your kindness and support, and please enjoy this short teaching by Lama Yeshe.

Much love, 
Nick Ribush


Lama Yeshe at Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal 1982. Photo: Dan Laine.In 1982, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a Gyalwa Gyatso initiation at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Italy. Gyalwa Gyatso is a Highest Yoga Tantra manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the Compassion Buddha. A year later, September 1983,  Lama Yeshe led a Gyalwa Gyatso retreat and gave teachings on the practiceat the Institute. These teachings are being prepared for publication by the LYWA. Edited by Connie Miller.

Projections: positive and negative

When we have developed our own inner purity, great compassion, and great love, then we can also see a pure reflection and loving kindness in others. If we don’t have these qualities inside, then we see everyone else as ugly. Whatever we see everyday in outer reality actually comes from our own inner reality, which we then project onto outer reality.

Now, what is Gyalwa Gyatso? It is an archetypal or inner image that is universal loving kindness energy manifesting as Gyalwa Gyatso and his consort. It is father white radiating light and mother red radiating light. The Buddha knows what kind of archetype to manifest for us to identify with.

Most young people today have lost their identities. They cannot identify themselves as anything, so they try to identify with different trips, cannot find an identity there, and then are lost. Disturbed, they lead meaningless lives doing anything they want to do. Such things are happening in this world. From the moment these people were born until now, they have tried to emanate in many different ways. They have emanated as hippies and movie stars and in terrorist, governmental, and capitalist styles. They have tried almost everything, only to discover in the end that whatever they have tried to identify with is illusion, not reality.

Identifying with loving kindness wisdom energy

These trips are good examples. From an outer, philosophical point of view you can see the concrete concept of “I” trying to identify: “I this, this, this.” But “this” is not what you found you were. Now you know you have loving kindness wisdom energy. You should identify with and trust it instead of trusting outer projections. But loving kindness wisdom energy has to be fertilized, guarded, and tended well, like a garden. It needs to be nourished and developed as the deity Gyalwa Gyatso.

Westerners have an especially heavy blanket of concepts and build up innumerable projections. Already, you have almost a concentration camp projection within you. One iron bar, then the next iron bar, then another: there are so many. In order to break these projections, you need profound method and wisdom. You need to clothe yourself in the finest image: the union of great compassion and nonduality. This is your identity – your identity and your reality. You should wear this image and break your limited, closed projections.

It is logical to practice such a profound yoga method, because in this twentieth century world there is much hatred, disunity, and conflict. People are fighting for material possessions, are trying to conquer each other – you can see everywhere this going on – never feeling love for one another. It is incredible. Sometimes, even with your friend whom you love, when you are both angry, you don’t feel your friend’s love. Since we understand how much the world – each individual and mankind as a whole – needs peace and love, we can see how worthwhile it is to practice this method. There is no hesitation, no philosophical difficulty.

When we talk about loving kindness, we are just using words. Words do not help. We know the words, but we don’t actively energize loving-kindness into our nervous system. This yoga method unifies loving kindness with our nervous system. That is what we need and why, at this time, I ask you not to throw away the energy and time of His Holiness. We should try to practice, then at least we will not be lying to ourselves. We will be doing something worthwhile. That is the reason we are conducting this retreat.

Selfish love vs. Chenrezig’s pure compassion

You can see the effectiveness of true love and compassion, and you can develop them by practicing transformation. You can see, for example, that selfish love can be good or bad. It has both qualities. The good quality of selfish love and motivation, comes from mental projection, from grasping at others: your family, husband, wife, or nationality. This may be selfish love, but because of it you are giving and sharing something. You give to your brother, your sister, your husband or wife thinking, “Because they are my relatives, because we Italian people are the same, eating pizza, I have an obligation to give them what I can.”

Selfish love also has the manipulative power to transform you into a better, warmer person. Men say, “Oh, I am not a bad man. I take care of twenty children and my wife. I send them to school, give them good food, and I love them. They have a good home, and I do everything I can for them. Because I do this, when I die, I shall die happy, satisfied.” There is satisfaction in this. The motivation may be selfish, but the actions bring benefit to others, and so a kind of transformation takes place.

Do you understand? Selfish love has power to give, to serve, but pure love, pure compassion, serves in a much more profound, more dedicated way than selfish love. By practicing the profound yoga tantra method of Gyalwa Gyatso – the pure vision of the Dalai Lama – we are trying to emphasize a mental exercise to eliminate the selfish mind and to develop pure love as much as possible. We need this method badly in order to have pure vision, and we can have it. There is no doubt about this.

I, myself, wanted to ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Gyalwa Gyatso initiation, because this practice is good for me too. I also need to destroy my selfishness. Therefore, I have great devotion to Gyalwa Gyatso. So now we are all practicing together, and we are fortunate indeed for this opportunity.

There are many deities, but with Chenrezig it is much easier to have strong faith and comprehension. Because of Chenrezig’s compassion, until recently the Tibetan people lived peacefully. They did not make weapons, even though they knew that outside Tibet there were plenty of weapons. When the Chinese took over their country, the Tibetans didn’t have any machine guns and so didn’t shoot anyone. In that way Tibetans were lucky.

Westerners are unlucky. Many Western tourists say, “Tibetan people are nice. They talk about nice things.” I believe that it is only because of the manifestation of Chenrezig – the Dalai Lama – that there is something nice about Tibetans. If there were no Chenrezig, then Tibetans would be the same as everyone else. Unfortunately. In the beginning, when Buddhism was first brought to Tibet, Chenrezig came. He manifested again and again. That is the only reason why people can say there is something good about the Tibetans. Otherwise, what? Otherwise I wouldn’t believe them. Maybe they’re joking!

This teaching by Lama Yeshe is excerpted from a commentary on the yoga method of Gyalwa Gyatso given at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Italy, in September 1983. Edited by Constance Miller. You can read a commentary on Gyalwa Gyatso given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1984 on the LYWA website.