E-letter No. 160: October 2016

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #1746)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Maitripa College, Portland, USA, 2010. Photo: Marc Sakamoto.

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for reading our monthly eletter. We're happy to share news with you this month of our newest multimedia title of Lama Yeshe's teachings, classic video of Lama Zopa Rinpoche from 1992, new advice from Rinpoche, and much more! Please share far and wide.


New Multimedia Title: Lama Yeshe on the Shortcomings of Attachment

"From Tibetan lamas’ point of view, if your actions don’t change, even though you might think or say, 'Attachment is the cause of all my problems,' it’s not really true for you; you haven’t realized it. Mere intellectual comprehension is not realization."
                -Lama Yeshe

From beginningless lifetimes we have acted under the influence of attachment, which gives rise to all our problems. In our newest multimedia title The Shortcomings of Attachment Lama Yeshe explains how the play of attachment hurts us and how to change this mental attitude. He encourages us to open our hearts and minds by replacing the tightness of attachment with the expansive mind wishing to benefit others. Lama Yeshe also warns that cultivating a mere intellectual understanding of spiritual practice is not enough. Instead we must be realistic, act sincerely, and practice to the best of our ability every day.

We hope you enjoy this latest addition to our multimedia catalog, where we weave together transcripts, audio, video and images to provide a multi-faceted presentation of the teachings. Please see our website for links to all our multimedia titles.

New Video: Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1992

The latest treasure emerging from the LYWA video archive is an extensive teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on health and healing. In this teaching Rinpoche discusses how to approach cancer, AIDS and other illnesses of our age from a Dharma perspective and how important it is for us to keep our minds peaceful when facing these kinds of challenges. Rinpoche gave this teaching at Institute Lama Tzong Khapa in Pomania, Italy in 1992.

You can view this incredible video on healing, and dozens of other classic videos, on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive YouTube channel.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche: The Basic Philosophy of Buddhism

Long Life Puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery, 2010. Photo: Mikk Tamme.We have just completed posting the audio and transcripts of an excerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings given at the 41st Kopan course in 2008 titled The Basic Philosophy of Buddhism. You can listen online and read along with the unedited transcript from Rinpoche's teachings from the 10th lecture of the course.

In this two-part lecture Rinpoche outlines the fundamental Buddhist path, and discusses the great meaning of the precious human rebirth with references to a verse from Calling the Guru From Afar and the story of Milarepa, who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime.

You can also listen to the first part of these teachings via our newly redesigned podcast. Check out this teaching, along with dozens of other teachings from Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche dating back to 1975.

The lightly edited transcripts of all 20 lectures from the course are also available to download or read online. And, an edited excerpt from Lecture 10 this month's eletter teaching below.

What's New on our Website

With much gratitude to volunteer Spanish translator Felipe Ángel from Centro Yamantaka in Colombia, we have posted more translations of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings on our Spanish translations page. These 6 articles that Felipe has translated adds to the collection of 10 books and articles that have previously been translated in Spanish and are available online, in print, or as ebooks. See our website for links. 

You can also access all translations  of LYWA publications on our Teachings page. Just use the filter on left to select the Translations topic and see the list of the 15 languages into which Lama Yeshe's and Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings have been translated.

Artwork by Lama Zopa RinpocheWe have also just added the following to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book:

Whoever meditates on the lamrim, their suffering in samsara—in the six realms, in the lower reams—will end. It is most unbelievable, most unbelievable; by explaining we can’t understand it, we can’t grasp it, and we can’t see how important it is.

Lamrim is the most important thing, now and in everyday life. It makes our life most meaningful, by meditating on the lamrim and actualizing the lamrim, the graduated path to enlightenment. Then even eating, walking, sitting, working our day job, even the breaks from the job, every activity is dedicated for sentient beings.

Please see our website to view and search all the latest advices posted.

LYWA Website tops 100,000 visitors each month

Ever since we launched the new and improved version of our website www.LamaYeshe.com, the number of visitors has been growing steadily. Since May 2016 we are averaging 100,000 unique visitors per month! When counting all visits, we are welcoming over 5,500 visitors per day. Many of our visitors come to us through our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, skillfully managed by Megan Evart, our Epublishing and Social Media Marketing Manager, who shares daily updates, quotes, images and links from our website, books, and related sites. We invite you to follow us on social media if you are not already doing so!

Thank you so much for your incredible support, and we leave you with this classic teaching from Rinpoche from annual lamrim course at Kopan in 2008.

Much love,

Nick Ribush

This Month's Teaching: The Antidote to Delusion

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with flower garlands, 2010. If there are some pujas or something you have to read many times, like many hundreds or thousands of times, you can read them fast. Of course, if you can think of the meaning as you are reading, even a puja, then it’s more effective.

It’s good to read slowly because it is for meditation, to have the opportunity to meditate on it. Read one word, then have a space; read another word, then have a little space. Because the subject is very profound, it is a very powerful antidote to the delusions that our mind has been habituated to or accustomed to, not only from birth but from beginningless rebirths. Our mind has been unbelievably habituated with that from beginningless rebirths.

That’s why even if we know the teaching very well intellectually, it doesn’t mean we are able to practice all the time. It doesn’t mean we are able to practice the antidote, able to use that all the time. It doesn’t mean that. When the delusion arises, it is even difficult to remember the teachings, the meditation techniques, the medicine for the mind, the teachings of Buddha, especially the lamrim teachings. It is even difficult to remember them in daily life.

Our mind is so habituated, it’s almost like we don’t exist without the delusions. We don’t exist without the delusions, it’s almost like our mind doesn’t exist without the delusions. We are unbelievably habituated; our life has been lived under the control of the delusions from beginningless rebirths. We have been a disciple of delusion. Delusion is the guru and we have been a disciple of delusion from beginningless rebirths. From beginningless rebirths we have been a student of delusion, a very obedient student of delusion, a very, very obedient student of delusion. A very obedient student of the guru delusion. That’s why it’s not easy.

It needs training, it needs continual training. For example, armies, when soldiers have more training, more watching, more remembrance and more awareness in using weapons, they are much more prepared when the actual enemy comes. They are much more prepared to fight and know exactly how to fight—knowing all the different techniques and how the enemy functions, how they fight. Then they can fight back exactly according to that, whether it’s in the sky, under the water or on the ground, in all the many different ways. They know exactly how to overcome the enemy.

It’s similar here. The more we listen to the teachings, the more we meditate, the more we apply the techniques, the more chance we have of overcoming the enemy delusion. At the beginning we will miss out many times, even if we know the meditation techniques well intellectually. We will miss out many times, because our mind will be overtaken by delusion, controlled by delusion. As time goes by, if we always try, every day try, we’ll be able to overcome it once, twice, and then more and more.

It’s like the story of Kadampa Geshe Ben Gungyal, who began only with black stones and then later had more and more white stones, and less and less black ones. As he continued each day there was more and more virtue and less nonvirtue, and after some time, there was only virtue and no nonvirtue. Definitely this needs a lot of effort; it’s a long-term training.

Our mind has been habituated, under the control of delusion from beginningless rebirths. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that? We are trying to overcome something that we have been habituated with from beginningless rebirths. Now here, we are trying to overcome that. Can you imagine? Of course it’s not easy, so it takes time.

Therefore, what I was saying, going back, it’s good, rather than reading fast, especially when looking at the nature of causative phenomena, but particularly related to our life, our body and mind, material possessions, the surrounding people, friends, enemies, strangers, all the things. Particularly related to these objects of delusion, the strong objects of delusion, attachment and anger and so forth.

So, say one word, then have a little space; say one word and have a little space. It gives time to meditate. Then, the prayer becomes very meaningful, like an atomic bomb dropped on the delusions, on the self-cherishing thought, on ignorance, on attachment, on anger. This is what we need to pacify the delusions. From there, we achieve the cessation of the suffering and the cause, karma and delusion. This is what we achieve, what we get by doing this meditation. It’s amazing; it’s unimaginable.

With the realization of impermanence and renunciation, then with the wisdom realizing emptiness and with bodhicitta, we complete the Mahayana path and cease the subtle defilements and achieve full enlightenment. Then we are able to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to full enlightenment, by ourselves, this one person.

This is the benefit we’re able to offer all sentient beings. It’s limitless, unimaginable, like the limitless sky, unimaginable. Even for one sentient being, the benefit we can offer one sentient being, up to enlightenment—first liberation from samsara, then enlightenment. This is what we can offer one sentient being, gradually revealing the different levels to them, the methods to bring them from happiness to happiness, then to the cessation of the suffering, and then even to the great liberation, enlightenment, the non-abiding sorrowless state.

It’s really amazing, it’s unimaginable how we can benefit others with this mind, which has all the potential. Especially having this precious human body, where whatever wish the mind has, we can actualize it. Having this precious human body gives us the unbelievable opportunity to realize whatever the mind wishes. It has all the potential, and then we are able to actualize it, and then on top of that, to attain highest enlightenment.

So, if we can make this habituation to meditate, each time we are planting positive imprints to have realizations of the path and to achieve liberation, enlightenment. If we meditate, if we meditate on this particular subject, in the prayers if we meditate, it’s much more powerful, even just by hearing the prayer.

As far as the Buddha’s teachings, we have this special benefit. The first thing is, by listening, even if we don’t understand it at all, not even one word, the special benefit is that our negative karma gets purified and we get a higher rebirth in the next life. Even if we don’t understand the meaning, even if we don’t understand the teaching, just hearing it purifies our negative karma and we get a higher rebirth.

Excerpted from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings from the 41st Kopan Course in 2008. Edited by Gordon McDougall and Sandra Smith. You can listen to Rinpoche give these teachings on our website, or read the entire lecture here.