E-letter No. 173: November 2017

By Nicholas Ribush, By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #714)
Lama Yeshe in Santa Cruz CA, 1978. Photo: Jon Landaw.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As we enter our 21st year of service to all sentient beings, we are so grateful to those of you who join us in our mission to bring peace and happiness to all beings everywhere through the Dharma.

Read on for links to new video and this month's free ebook offering, and for information about a special matching gift opportunity happening on "Giving Tuesday" November 28th.

Be Part of the Solution to the World's Problems

At the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive we transcribe, edit and publish the teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, which provide the Dharma wisdom that is the solution to all the world’s problems. As Rinpoche has advised in the Online Advice Book:

What is wrong and what is right? That is a huge question. In the world, what people believe is right, is wrong, and what they believe is wrong, is right. So we need right wisdom. The more Dharma we learn, the more and more wisdom we develop. That becomes complete when we achieve full enlightenment. It is not endless, we can complete it. That brings more and more peace and happiness in the world... So again, the more you develop wisdom and compassion, the fundamentals of Buddhism, by putting it into practice, the better the world can become, including economically.

Nick Ribush and Wendy Cook present one of LYWA's latest publications to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, 2016. Photo: Ven. Roger Kunsang.Recordings of Rinpoche’s teachings are continually added to the archive and our dedicated team works daily to transcribe and edit these teachings so that they can be shared with students everywhere.

From the free books that we have been publishing since our earliest days to the tens of thousands of pages of teachings freely available on our website and through our social media, LYWA reaches students who might not otherwise have access to the teachings. In addition we provide our ebooks through major ebook vendors, audio recordings on our website and on the newly-redesigned LYWA podcast, and archival video on the LYWA YouTube channel.

Last week we launched our Year End Appeal on the Wheel-Turning Day Lhabab Duchen, and are happy to report that we have already raised $8,000 towards our $50,000 goal! We invite you to partner with us to bring the Dharma solution to beings the world over by spreading the precious teachings that are the key to the happiness of all. Thank you all so much.

Special Match on Giving Tuesday

Lama Yeshe at a family gathering at Vajrapani Institute, CA, 1983. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.On November 28th starting promptly at 8 AM EST and until the matching funds run out, the Gates Foundation will match your donation and Facebook will waive all fees when you donate to LYWA’s year-end appeal through the LYWA Facebook Page! If you are a Facebook user and would like to make your year-end donation to the Archive today, visit our Facebook Page and click the big “Donate” button at the top for a chance to double your donation!

Even if you are not on Facebook, Giving Tuesday is still a great time to make your year-end donation to the Archive. As always, you can make your donation on our website, using a credit card or Paypal. You could also consider giving a loved one a Gift of Membership, so that they can enjoy all the benefits of an LYWA Membership, including free copies of books, access to our entire library of books in digital format, a one-year Mandala Magazine subscription, and much more. Help us reach our year-end goal and get our new year off to a great start.

From the LYWA video archive: Focusing everything on enlightenment

In this newly published video excerpt on YouTube, Lama Zopa Rinpoche addresses the monks at FPMT’s Nalanda Monastery in France in 2003. In this excerpt Rinpoche discusses the power of living confidently in our vows, why purifying as much negative karma as possible is so important and how keeping our attention focused on our goal of enlightenment cuts through daily confusion, clarifies our mind and generates inner happiness.

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

Holiday e-Free: Turning Away From Worldly Concerns, Practicing Pure Dharma

LYWA offers How to Practice Dharma as our eFree title this holiday season to read on your phone or tablet. While the eight worldly concerns were not traditionally part of a traditional lamrim text, Lama Zopa Rinpoche saw that this was a subject we Westerners desperately needed to acknowledge, understand and then apply to our Dharma practice immediately. How to Practice Dharma draws upon the vast archive of Rinpoche’s teachings on this powerfully practical topic and will keep us centered on the path to enlightenment.

You can freely download this title from Smashwords.com, which offers our books in all formats for any e-reader. And remember, all of our free books are also available to read online or download as a pdf from our website.

Shop While Benefiting All Sentient Beings

'Tis the season for many of us to purchase gifts for our loved ones, and if you are going to do so online you might as well benefit all beings at the same time! If you shop on Amazon.com, please remember to go to smile.Amazon.com and select Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive as your beneficiary. This has been a great program for us and each month Amazon sends us a wonderful donation as a result of our supporters' online activity. And, we recently signed up with Giving Assistant, so if you shop through their site you can choose LYWA as your beneficiary there as well.

Thank you so much for your incredible support. We leave you with this teaching from Rinpoche on the infinite benefits of compassion, not the least of which is to bring happiness to all sentient beings.

Much love,

Nick Ribush

This Month's Teaching: You HavE Infinite Reasons to be Compassionate

What differentiates Buddhism from other religions is compassion for all sentient beings. This is the essence of the teachings of the Buddha. Why is compassion essential? When you have an extensive understanding of this, you can then understand why the essence of the Buddha’s teaching is compassion for every single sentient being, whether or not they have faith in Buddhism—and even if they criticize Buddhism.

First of all, if you have no compassion in your heart, you have no happiness or peace of mind. The more selfish you are, the more problems, depression, and nervous breakdowns you experience. The less compassion you have, the more impatient you are; the more impatient you are, the more enemies you have and the more obstacles there are to your success. You become so worried that you can’t even sleep. All this comes from not keeping your mind in the nature of compassion.

Someone with little compassion for others has few friends, few people to help them. Many people criticize them and few people praise them. The less compassion you have, the more obstacles you experience in life. Your life becomes more and more difficult.

A person who has a compassionate, generous mind experiences much success. They have few enemies and many friends. They have many people helping them and praising them. Even if they wear ragged clothing, drink only water, and live in a simple house, their mind is very happy. Someone who doesn’t have compassion, who is very selfish, even if they live in a big family, is not happy. Even if they live in a luxurious apartment with the best of everything, they don’t enjoy it. Even if they eat the best, most expensive food and wear the best, most expensive clothes, there is no happiness in their life. No matter how much they surround themselves with the best enjoyments—beautiful objects, expensive food and clothes—and even if their whole house is made out of jewels, it is as if they are living in the middle of a fire.

All this unhappiness comes from their own mind. Nobody else created it; the person created it by not practicing compassion. With a self-centered mind, they live only for their own happiness instead of living their life for others. That is why even though externally they might be surrounded by many objects and people, there is no happiness in their life.

However, a person who has much compassion, who lives their life for others, even if they live alone and very simply, experiences much happiness.

Unless we practice compassion, no matter how much wealth we have, no matter how many trillions of dollars we have, there is no peace or happiness in our life. If we have no compassion, no matter how many friends we have, no matter how many people we live with, again there is no happiness or satisfaction in our life. And no matter how much education we have, if compassion is missing, again there is no peace of mind, no happiness, no satisfaction.

Even for our own happiness and survival, compassion is the most important thing in life. It is the most important thing for our own success. It is the most precious thing, more precious than all the wealth in the world. The good heart is more important than friends, wealth, fame, education, or anything else. In everyday life, compassion is the first thing to remember, the first thing to cherish and to practice.

So far we have talked about only our own happiness. The second point to consider is that everyone else wants you to have compassion for them. No one wants you to be angry with them or harm them, and on top of that, everyone wants you to benefit them. Since those who want you to have compassion for them are numberless, you have infinite reasons to be compassionate.

If you practice compassion, even if your partner doesn’t, they have happiness in their life because they receive help not harm from you. Of course, if they also practice compassion, there will be much more happiness. But even if they don’t, as long as one of you practices compassion, the other will receive that much more happiness in their life.

In the same way, if there are eleven members of a family and one of them practices compassion, since the other ten people don’t receive harm from the one who practices the good heart, they receive happiness. Like this, all the many millions of other people in that country don’t receive harm from this one person. And all the numberless other sentient beings don’t receive harm from this person.

On top of that, they receive help because of this person’s compassion. All the happiness that these sentient beings receive depends on this one person who practices compassion. If this person doesn’t practice compassion, all the rest of the sentient beings don’t receive that happiness of not receiving harm and, on top of that, of receiving help. Therefore, this one person is responsible for the happiness of all the rest of the sentient beings.

Now relate this to yourself. If you practice compassion, starting with the person you live with or your family, all the rest of the sentient beings receive happiness and peace because you don’t harm them and on top of that you help them. But if you don’t practice compassion, starting with the person you live with, all sentient beings receive harm from you, and from life to life.

Therefore, each of us is responsible for everyone’s happiness, starting with our family. This is the essential point that I want you to be aware of in your daily life. From morning until night, remember, “I am responsible for everyone’s happiness. The purpose of my life is not only to obtain my own happiness, but to pacify the suffering of others and bring them happiness. The purpose of my life is to serve others.” If you live your life with this attitude, your mind will be relaxed, and you will experience happiness and satisfaction. As soon as you think, “I have a problem—when can I be happy?,” you are putting your mind in a cage of self-cherishing. Immediately there is a big problem; immediately there is great unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Cherishing others can really bring you happiness. At home or at the office, as soon as you cherish others, as soon as you start to think that your work is for others, there is peace and relaxation in your heart. Happiness is not something that you have to look for outside. Happiness is right there if you change your attitude. If you think, “My life is for others. I am responsible for the happiness of all sentient beings, and I am doing this work for their happiness,” all your work becomes the cause of happiness.

Excerpted from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings given in Palermo, Italy in July 1990. Excerpts from these teachings were published in the Wisdom Publications book How To Be Happy.