E-letter No. 169: July 2017

By Nicholas Ribush, By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #1955)

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your receiving our monthly eletter. Thursday, July 27, is one of the year's four main Buddhist holy days, Chokhor Duchen, the Festival of Turning the Wheel of Dharma. On this day Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave his first teaching, seven weeks after attaining enlightenment, when five disciples asked him to teach. In response he expounded the four noble truths

Chokhor Duchen is a Buddha Multiplying Day when, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said, karmic results are multiplied one hundred million times, citing the Vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic. Therefore Chokhor Duchen is a very effective time to make offerings. Your donation today helps us publish new free books from Lama Zopa Rinpoche such as Abiding in the Retreat: A Nyung Nä Commentary which is currently at the printers and will be available next month!

Chokhor Duchen is also a very auspicious day to make a special offering of the prayers and practices for Rinpoche’s good health this year as advised by Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Drönme). 


Through educating ourselves in the death process and training our mind in meditation, when the death experience comes we’re able to recognize what’s going on and think, 'It’s the conditions that are making me hallucinate. There are no self-existent hallucinated objects.' Thus this also enhances our understanding of emptiness.

- Lama Yeshe

In our latest multimedia title, Lama Yeshe leads us through the experiences and visions of the death process and how this natural process can be used to release ego and realize emptiness. This is our second title in the Life, Death and After Death multimedia series which is based on teachings given by Lama during a weekend seminar on death, intermediate state and rebirth in Geneva, Switzerland in September 1983. 

As with all our multimedia titles, the written teachings are accompanied by audio, video and images intended to help deepen your experience of and connection with these profound teachings. Please see our website to access more links to all our multimedia titles.

From the Video Archive: Perfect Human Rebirth

Check out the latest addition to the Lama Yeshe Wisdom YouTube channel! Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches on our perfect human rebirth during a longer commentary on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, an essential mind training text composed by Kadampa Geshe Langri Tangpa. This teaching was given at Tse Chen Ling Center, in San Francisco, California USA, in November 2003. 

Be sure to follow us on YouTube to keep up with all the precious video of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche that we are making available monthly from our video archive!

New on the LYWA Podcast: Making Space for Wisdom 

Lama Yeshe at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1973. Photo: Lynda Millspaugh.If the mind is occupied by the expectation, wanting such higher realization and wanting something power trip, spiritual power trip, cannot be relaxed and calm. Therefore cannot grow, cannot reveal universal wisdom, wise wisdom.

- Lama Yeshe

Our newest podcast is a journey through an experiential teaching given by Lama Yeshe at a five-day meditation retreat in Australia in 1975. Lama discusses the practice of meditation and leads us through breathing exercises that help clear the mind and enable the clear examination of one’s own experience both on and off the cushion.

The edited version of this talk has been published as Chapter One in the book Ego, Attachment and Liberation. You can also follow along with the unedited transcript on our website

The LYWA podcast features incredible selections from the hundreds of hours of archival audio teaching by Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and now Tenzin Ösel Hita. All the podcasts provide links back to the full teaching from which they were drawn and you can also listen to the podcast while reading along with a lightly edited transcript. You can download previous episodes and find out how to subscribe on our podcast page

What's New on our website

We have now posted a commentary on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, an essential mind training text. This is the third and final chapter from Teachings at Kadampa Center given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in May 2014, prior to that year's Light of the Path retreat. An excerpt from this teaching is included as this month's eletter teaching below.

Lama Yeshe, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche at EEC1, Dharamsala, India, 1982.We are also happy to share with you a precious Tara Puja and Commentary composed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in July 1982 for the success of all FPMT centers and activities. The text includes an explanation of the meaning of the prayer and advice on the visualization.

This commentary was first published in the Report on the first Enlightened Experience Celebration (EEC1) an event held in India from January to June 1982. A pdf of the entire report is posted on our website.

This month's new additions to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book include:

• Remember the Guru’s Kindness: This advice was in response to requests from students on how best to prolong the guru’s life.

• Recognize the Nature of Suffering: In this practice advice for a new student, Rinpoche explained how to become free from the suffering of samsara.  

• You Are a Beautiful Human Being: A student had tried to commit suicide several times and was very depressed. Rinpoche responded with advice about his own family, karma and reincarnation, and advised some ways of benefiting animals.

• Two Essential Daily Practices: In this letter, Rinpoche advised the benefits of two important daily practices: recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM and the Medicine Buddha’s mantra and names.

As always, you can view a list of all the recently added advices to Rinpoche's Online Advice Book on our website.

THIS MONTH'S EFREE : Advice for Monks and Nuns 

In honor of Chokhor Duchen, LYWA offers Advice for Monks and Nuns as this month’s efree title. In these talks, Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche explain the great benefits of practicing Dharma as an ordained person, how to keep the ordination pure, the purpose of a monastic community, how to live together as monks and nuns and much more. Please visit Smashwords to download this title in a variety of formats including Kindle.

If you prefer a hard copy, note that this title is also available in print format through LuLu's print on demand service. And, as with all our free titles, you can read it online or download a pdf from our website.

Watch Your Email For Updates!

As mentioned above, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's latest book, Abiding in the Retreat, is due to arrive here towards the end of August. We are getting ready to send it out far and wide. If you are an LYWA Member, you will automatically receive a copy, and you should have received an email from us last week asking about your preference for ebook or print. Please let us know if you haven't received the email, and remember to send us your new address if you've moved!

Many of us at LYWA are also preparing to attend Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Light of the Path retreat in late August. We'll have the books there with us to share with our fellow attendees. Please seek us out and say hello.

Thank you again for all your incredible support. We are able to do all the amazing things we can do only because you help us do so by making your generous contributions. Thank you so much. So please, take advantage of this Chokhor Duchen by donating to our book publishing fund. Working together in this way we can bring the Dharma to countless suffering sentient beings with the aim of leading them all to enlightenment. OM MANI PADME HUM

Much love,

Nick Ribush

THIS MONTH'S TEACHING: Eight Verses of Thought Transformation

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Italy.  Photo by Piero Sirianni.Practicing the Eight Verses is found to be extremely beneficial; the Eight Verses are extremely beneficial. I think it must be Kadampa Geshe Chekawa who found the Eight Verses very beneficial. When others treat us badly or abuse us, or when we are traveling and can’t find a lodging place or something; when there’s problem, then Geshe Chekawa found these Eight Verses very beneficial. The story is something like that. If we look at the basic teachings ... [audio missing] ... what Nagarjuna said.

Generally, how to live the life, the two main practices are bodhicittakun dzob jang chub sem, the truth for the all-obscuring mind, [conventional] bodhicitta, and absolute bodhicitta, so the two bodhicittas. This is in order to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering and to cause others to be free from that. And then with bodhicitta, for oneself to achieve enlightenment and to cause other sentient beings to achieve enlightenment.

The main thing is how to live the life in Dharma and how to transform the problems of everyday life into happiness. How to transform the problems and how to utilize them in order to achieve the peerless state of the omniscient mind, the peerless happiness. Not just the temporary happiness of the next life, not just that, but ultimate happiness. Not just liberation from samsara, from the oceans of samsaric suffering, not that; but the peerless happiness, the state of omniscient mind, for sentient beings.

That means to transform the problems that we encounter; to transform the problems into the [wish for] sentient beings to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering and to bring them to the peerless happiness, full enlightenment.

So really, especially when we encounter problems, that’s how to deal with them. So the Eight Verses contain a very profound meaning. I will read [the verses.]

I received the lineage of this oral transmission from His Holiness Dalai Lama, I think quite a few times, and also from other lamas.

Think, “The purpose of my life is not just to achieve happiness for myself, not just that, but for numberless sentient beings to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering and to bring them to the peerless happiness, the total elimination—not illumination, elimination—of obscurations and completion of all the realizations. Therefore, for that reason, for that success, I must achieve the state of omniscient mind. Therefore, I must actualize the path to enlightenment. It doesn’t happen only by praying; it doesn’t happen like that, [Rinpoche snaps fingers] automatically, so I need to actualize the path. Therefore, for that reason, to benefit others, I will take the oral transmission of this thought transformation practice.”

If I say it in Western terms, it’s the best psychology.

The teaching was given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kadampa Center in North Carolina in May 2014 and was edited by Sandra Smith. You can read the rest of this teaching on our website.