E-letter No. 150: December 2015

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

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 150th issue of the LYWA e-letter! We have been sending out these monthly e-letters for over 12 years, and we know there are some of you out there who have been with us all the way. Whether you have been with us for years, or just a few weeks, we appreciate your reading our e-letter and passing it along to others who might be interested.

We have so much to rejoice in as 2015 comes to a close. Together we have brought the precious teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche to tens of thousands of people each month, in myriad ways: in books and ebooks, in teachings to read or listen to on our website, as video on our YouTube channel, in our new multimedia presentations, and more. We can't do it without you! Read on for updates and announcements from the month of December.

We're Nearing Our Year-End Goal!

Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Nick Ribush, LYWA office, Lincoln, MA October 2012.We recently sent you our year-end appeal. If you have responded, thank you so, so much. We really appreciate your support.

At the end of each year we try to raise $50,000 so that we can balance that year's books and get the new year off to a flying start. We are now more than halfway! But we still have another $20,000 to go.

Give the gift of Dharma to all beings in the world by joining in the work of the Archive. Kind mother sentient beings everywhere are suffering because of ignorance. The solution is Dharma wisdom, and that is what, together, we can bring them.

Each year Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive prints and distributes thousands of free books and specialized texts for sale. Every month our newly designed website is visited by nearly 50,000 people who read or listen to teachings, benefit from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's amazing online Advice Book, view our fabulous Image Gallery, and find so much more. We have nearly 100,000 supporters on Facebook and nearly 10,000 follow us on Twitter.

And our new multimedia publications are drawing rave reviews. See below for news of our latest release.

This is an exciting time at LYWA and we invite you to join us in advancing this incredibly beneficial work, making these precious teachings available to everyone in all ways possible. Your show of support for our Year End Appeal is extremely important to the mission of the Archive as it enables us to end the year on a solid financial footing and to advance our work into the new year more smoothly.

Please make your donation today, and we can rejoice together as we continue to bring these precious teachings to the world.

Our Latest Multimedia Title

We just released our newest title in the unfolding seven volume multimedia series based upon Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Bodhisattva Attitude. This second multimedia exploration in the series is entitled Cutting the Concept of Permanence and builds upon the first title, Everything Depends on Your Attitude.  

In Cutting the Concept of Permanence, Rinpoche focuses from every angle on our habitual mistaken belief that we are going to live for a long time. Abandoning this belief is the very beginning of Dharma and is essential for maintaining continual intensive Dharma practice. Rinpoche then specifically instructs on how to practice tong-len with loving-kindness and compassion.

We are so happy to be bringing you these multimedia presentations that weave together all the assets found in the Archive: transcripts, enhanced as much as possible by images, audio and video from that teaching, plus informal video and advice on the same topic, and other related material that we may have in the Archive. Please check out all our multimedia titles, if you haven't already. We hope they provide the means for you to engage in different ways and deepen your experience of the teachings.

Joyful Parents Successful Children Republished

We have just published the ebook version of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Joyful Parents Successful Children. Edited by Ven Joan Nicell and originally published in print by Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore, LYWA is now making this book available as an ebook.

The main body of the book comes from two talks given at Institut Vajra Yogini in France in May 2009, supplemented with additional teachings Rinpoche gave on this topic at other times. In this book, Lama Zopa Rinpoche not only provides the Dharma context for how our children should be brought up, but also contains many helpful suggestions of how we can introduce simple Dharma practices to our children. Rinpoche emphasises the responsibility that Buddhist parents have to educate their children in good qualities and behavior and to set a good example and practice the qualities Rinpoche outlines as essential for achieving every type of happiness, both short- and long-term.

You can read this book on our website here, or download a pdf of the book, for free. You can also access ebooks versions for any reader from Smashwords, or visit your favorite vendor site; see our online store for links. LYWA Members can download all versions for free from our Members Area.

Happy Holidays from Your Friends at LYWA

LYWA staff in the Boston area got together to share a pot-luck lunch in celebration of the holiday season. We were all reminded of how fortunate we are to engage in this beneficial work together that means so much to us all. And we appreciate all of you who support our work in all ways great and small. 

Please make your donation today, and we can rejoice together as we continue to bring these precious teachings to the world.

We close with a teaching from Lama Yeshe's Gyalwa Gyatso teachings from Italy in 1983, excerpted from a book due to be published in 2016.

Happy New Year!

Much Love,

Nick Ribush, Director

This Month's Teaching: be brave for liberation!

Lama Yeshe at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, January 1983. Photo: Dennis Heslop.I often find that Western culture tends toward two extremes. One extreme is a strong belief in an external power. This might be God, or Vishnu, or Buddha. Many people believe, “God will take care of me. Vishnu will give me bread. Buddha will give me love and happiness.” But then, when those people find themselves in difficulty, they think, “God is punishing me; I must deserve it.”

Later, however, they become fed up with thinking in this way and they give up religion altogether. They declare, “That was completely wrong. God is not right; religion is not right. Now I want pleasure, just pleasure, more pleasure. I believe only in pleasure.” 

These are the two extremes in Western culture, and both are mistaken. One is the result of fanatic religious belief; the other, of fanatic materialism.

We should try to find the middle way, an approach to life in which there is neither extreme rejection nor extreme acceptance. If you can put your mind into the middle way, the natural state, then you can grow.

It is also the case that we generally try to be logical. We think, “This is so because of that. That is true because of this.” We try to be rational and logical with everything. But then we fall into the trap of believing that everything we do is logical. Thinking that everything is logical is a dualistic concept; it is not necessarily always the right approach to every situation. Meditation implies going beyond rational, philosophical thinking. In meditation, you just be, just abide in your natural experience with intensive awareness. That is the heart of meditation.

Human beings can do great things. When I think about myself and my life, I may be convinced that there are certain things I cannot do. In spite of this, if I put myself in strict retreat conditions, even though I may have doubts, somehow the result of my actions is beneficial. We may believe we have certain limitations, but in retreat you may find that you can go beyond your perceived limitations. Human beings can exceed their own limitations; you can do this. So I want all of you to do a strict, intense retreat here. It is for your own benefit, not mine. Take notice of your mad elephant mind, which is continually dissatisfied. After so many lifetimes, by now you really should realize that it is not worthwhile to give in to this garbage continuously. 

Therefore, by the time you have finished the retreat, you should have cleared away at least one corner of the garbage you have piled as high as Mount Everest. Practice like this. Then you will realize what you can do; you will realize that you can achieve what you don’t believe is possible. That is the point. Be brave! We have always been brave for samsara. Now we should be brave for liberation!

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.