E-letter No. 174: December 2017

By Nicholas Ribush, By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #1413)
Lama Yeshe meditating in the botanical gardens, Berkeley, California, 1974. Photo donated by Judy Weitzner.

Dear Friends,

As 2017 comes to a close we rejoice in the countless ways that together we have brought benefit to all beings around the world: through the thousands of pages of free teachings on our website, the free video on our YouTube channel, the daily gems on our social media sites, our books, ebooks and multimedia presentations, our podcasts and more!

We are accomplishing all this due to the kindness of our teachers, the hard work of our incredible staff and the amazing support of all of you. Each year our many donors of gifts great and small provide the support the Archive needs to make the precious teachings of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche available in the myriad ways we do.

And, as we do each year, we ask you to contribute to our Annual Year-end Appeal to help us end the year in a strong position and enter the new year ready to continue our work bringing peace and happiness to all. Many thanks to those of you who have already contributed! We still have a ways to go to reach our $50,000 goal, having raised just over $30,000 so far. Please help us reach our year end goal, and be sure to read on for news of our latest online offerings. Thank you!!

New Online Image Gallery: 1979

Lama Yeshe with a parrot, Java, 1979.We have just posted a new album on our Online Image Gallery featuring images from the year 1979. This amazing set of images, like the one you see here, features the Lamas as they travelled the world, through India, England, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Indonesia and Nepal. 

As we are in the final stages of editing for Lama Yeshe's biography Big Love, I have been working with our Digital Imaging Specialists David Zinn and Francine Fagundez to prepare images like these for inclusion in the book. We are getting ready to turn over the manuscript and images to our book designer for layout, and are on target to print the book later in 2018. 

In the meantime, you can enjoy reading excerpts from the book on our Big Love blog and on our website.

LYWA Multimedia: Switch Your Mind From Emotion to Peace

Our latest multimedia presentation is based on a talk given by Lama Yeshe in Berkeley, California in 1983. Lama was asked to comment on how to deal with our fear and anxieties about the future in the context of the development of nuclear power and the nuclear arms race between the United States and Soviet Russia. While the situation today may be different, Lama Yeshe’s observations and insights are as just as powerfully healing and as relevant today as they were when he first made them. 

The Berkeley talk was recorded on video, excerpts of which are included in the multimedia presentation, but you can watch the full video on our YouTube channel, and listen to the question and answer session that followed the talk on the LYWA podcast.

Our collection of multimedia titles is always growing! You can see the catalog of all our multimedia titles on our website.

What's New On Our Website

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, 2000. Photo: Brian Halterman.We have posted another two discourses from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Teachings at the Kadampa Deities Retreat in France, 2003. In these two teachings Rinpoche sets the motivation for the retreat and leads a meditation on the emptiness of sound. An excerpt from the motivation for the retreat is this month's eletter teaching below.

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

•    Take Care of Animals with Compassion: A student wrote to Rinpoche after many gerbils had died unexpectedly. Rinpoche recommended Medicine Buddha and other practices, and advised caring for animals with unconditional love and compassion, not attachment.

•    How to Make This Life Most Beneficial: Rinpoche advised how to make this precious human life meaningful, and suggested a dedication for the worms and insects which are harmed when growing, picking or offering flowers, and for any calves which are harmed in the production of milk for tea. 

•    A Big Decision: A student asked Rinpoche about becoming a monk. Rinpoche gave this advice about the endless suffering of samsara.

•    Animal Liberation and Nyung Näs: Advice given to a student who had written to Rinpoche about life obstacles and whether to do nyung näs.

You can see a list of all the newly-posted advices on our website.

New Companion Website: Teachings From Tibet

Lama Yeshe, His Holiness Zong Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche at EEC1, Dharamsala, India, 1982.We are pleased to announce the launch of a new website dedicated to teachings from great Tibetan lamas.

As many of you know, in 2005 we compiled a free publication titled Teachings From Tibet that included teachings given by great Tibetan masters to western students visiting India and Nepal in the 70's and 80's. These great masters from the Gelug tradition included His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ling Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and many more. 

Over the years, the Archive has received additional transcripts of teachings given by these great lamas. We now have an extensive collection that we wanted to make more accessible so we created the Teachings From Tibet website. Please have a look and let us know what you think!

help us reach our goal

As you can see, we are continually working to share the precious contents of our audio, video, image and transcript archive with the world. Each month we are able to make available new teachings and media that have not been available before, taking advantage of the latest means for providing the easiest and most immediate access to the wisdom that is the solution to all of our problems. 

In this time of turmoil, violence and dissention, the work that we do together—making the wisdom of our teachers available to all—is needed now more than ever. Please partner with us to benefit beings the world over by spreading the precious teachings that are the key to the happiness of all. Thank you all so much.

Much love,

Nick Ribush


Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, 1987. Photo: Robin Bath.Cherishing the I is opening the door for all the problems, all the obstacles, all the undesirable things; and cherishing others is the source of all the happiness, opening the door for all the happiness for oneself. As I mentioned before, moment to moment, day to day, moment to moment, peace and happiness, when we generate this thought, when we transform our mind into this bodhicitta, then up to enlightenment, we achieve all the happiness from this. And from our bodhicitta numberless sentient beings receive happiness. All the happiness is received from our bodhicitta.

So now, we put it this way. If we generated bodhicitta, if we changed our mind, our attitude, like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha did, like Maitreya Buddha did, if we changed our mind like them, then we would have been enlightened already. Then the numberless sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive teachings or to be guided, who are dependent on us—the numberless sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive guidance—they would have been enlightened already. The numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, suras and asura beings who are suffering unimaginably now, they would have been enlightened already. But because we did not change our attitude; we kept the ego, the self-cherishing thought in our heart; we followed that and never changed; therefore these numberless sentient beings of each realm are still suffering unimaginably.

Guru Shakyamuni, Maitreya Buddha and so forth, changed their attitude inconceivable eons ago and already enlightened numberless sentient beings. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, they enlighten numberless sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment. Therefore, we can’t wait, we can’t stand it, we can’t wait, it’s so unbearable, we can’t wait. How urgent it is, because there are numberless other beings who are suffering, who are dependent on us to receive guidance.

We can understand by the example of how many sentient beings there are who are dependent on us to receive guidance. For example, in this life after we met the Dharma, then how many—many of us can use that example—how many people have met Dharma by our talking to them, only then they met Dharma. Even though there are numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas, only after they met us and heard teachings about meditation, then they got inspired and they continued to learn and follow the path, so how many people that happened for. That is an example, so there are numberless other sentient beings who are dependent on us to receive guidance in order to achieve enlightenment. Therefore, we need to generate bodhicitta without delaying even for a second.

And then, we need to let go of the I and cherish sentient beings. We need to generate bodhicitta. We can’t wait, we can’t delay, it’s unbearable to delay even for a second, a minute or a second.

Not only that, all our own past, present and future happiness, including realizations of the path to enlightenment, everything, came from our own virtuous action. And our own virtuous action is the action of the Buddha. Buddha came from bodhisattva; bodhisattva came from bodhicitta; bodhicitta came from great compassion; and great compassion is generated by depending on the existence of the obscured, suffering sentient beings. By depending on every one of the obscured, suffering sentient beings, including the person who abuses us, or who we call enemy, who harms you, including that person. Therefore, all our own past, present and future happiness, everything, we receive by the kindness of every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, every single human being, every single sura, asura, intermediate stage being, so every one of them.

For example, every person here is the most precious one. Every person who’s here in the tent is the most precious one in our own life. Like that, all the rest of the human beings. Like that, all the rest of the sentient beings. Every single insect that is running, moving on the ground or on the plants, is the most precious one in our own life, so like that. Nothing is more precious. Even Buddha, Dharma, Sangha came from them. Those to whom we pray and take refuge came from them. Even the Three Jewels, the most precious Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, came from sentient beings. Therefore, the sentient beings—every single hell being is so precious, the most precious one, then hungry ghosts, animals, suras, asuras, all those—are the most precious ones.

Therefore, in my life there’s nobody to cherish except only the sentient beings. In my life there’s nobody to work for except only sentient beings. What they want is happiness and what they do not want is suffering, therefore, think, “I should free them from all the suffering and its causes and bring them to enlightenment. Even that, from my side, even that, anyway, for the success of that I need to achieve full enlightenment. Even that, from my side to achieve that, to bring the sentient beings to enlightenment, I need to achieve enlightenment, for that success. So from my side if there’s need, even if I have to suffer in the hell realm for eons equaling the number of the atoms of this earth, even if I have to suffer that much for sentient beings to achieve enlightenment, from my side I can do that. In my case, from my side I can do that, but the sentient beings’ suffering in samsara is so unbearable, I can’t stand it. Even one day, even an hour, even a minute, is so unbearable. It’s like suffering for eons, therefore I must bring them to full enlightenment as quickly as possible. Therefore, I need to achieve enlightenment quickly.” 

Excerpted from teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at a retreat held at Institut Vajra Yogini, France, from 18 April to 11 May 2003. Lightly edited by Sandra Smith. You can read more from these teachings on our website.