E-letter No. 242: August 2023

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, By Nicholas Ribush
(Archive #2131)
Artwork by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Dear Friends,

Thanks for subscribing to our monthly eletter. Feel free to share it with others!

In this month's issue we have a new video and podcast to share, several new teachings, translations and advices posted to our website, as well as our featured free audiobook, Virtue & Reality. And don't miss this month's teaching that Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave to staff and volunteers at Karuna Hospice, a palliative care service in Brisbane, Australia, on how to help support people at the end of their life.

FROM THE VIDEO ARCHIVE: Divination for Maitreya land

This month from the video archive we bring you Lama Zopa Rinpoche at the Mahabodhi Stupa in 2001 doing the first divination for Maitreya land in Bodhgaya as requested by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Filmed by Christina Lundberg.

Visit and subscribe to the LYWA YouTube channel to view more videos freely available from our archive. See also the FPMT YouTube channel for many more videos of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings.

ON THE LYWA PODCAST: Imagine the Power of Bodhicitta

Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Nick Ribush, LYWA gompa & library, Lincoln, MA October 2012.The incredible, unbelievable, most unbelievable, no words, how most important to generate bodhicitta, can you imagine?
—Lama Zopa Rinpoche

This month on the LYWA podcast, Lama Zopa Rinpoche celebrates the power of bodhicitta. This excerpt is from teachings given by Rinpoche at the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive home offices in October 2012 while Rinpoche was in town to attend the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at FPMT’s Kurukulla Center in Boston, Massachusetts. You can read along with the unedited transcript on our website.

The LYWA podcast contains hundreds of hours of audio, each with links to the accompanying lightly edited transcripts. See the LYWA podcast page to search or browse the entire collection by topic or date, and for easy instructions on how to subscribe.


Venerable Pende Hawter at the Big Love Café, Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Australia.This month we have posted Lecture 19 from Teachings at the Kadampa Deities Retreat, a series of teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in France, 2003. In this teaching, Rinpoche discusses the benefits of displaying large thangkas and advises how to think when making offerings to Sangha, guests in our home and beggars on the street, and how to have a happy and peaceful death.
We have also posted three new teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on death and dying. In a talk at Karuna Hospice, Rinpoche advises the importance of providing support for people who are dying, so they can die happily, free from fear and negative emotions. You can read an excerpt of this teaching below. In a teaching given in Dharamsala, Rinpoche discusses the best way to help others prepare for death, and in a teaching at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Rinpoche explains why suicide is not the solution to our problems. These three discourses are from the collection of Ven. Pende Hawter, who has worked extensively with the dying and their families. Ven. Pende was the founder of Karuna Hospice, a palliative care service in Brisbane, Australia.

We have also posted new Vietnamese, German and Spanish translations. Our latest Vietnamese translation is A Praise to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama composed by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Translated by Lozang Ngodrub and edited by Võ Thư Ngân. You can find more Vietnamese translations of teachings by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche available as free PDFs on our website.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with Zia Bassam and Helmut Hohm, Germany 1979.We also have a new German publication, Wie Glück get (How Luck Goes), a book for kids and teens based on a teaching given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to the Buddhism for Kids and Teens Group at the Aryatara Institute in Munich, Germany in 2018. Created by Venerable Fedor Stracke at Happy Monks Publication and published by Aryatara Publications. The Spanish translation, Un libra de términos budistas para niños, is also available as a PDF on our website. Translated by Luis Ernesto Rivero Sánchez and published by Happy Monks Publication.

We are grateful to work with so many amazing translators who make our publications and transcripts available in languages other than English. Visit our website for links to translations in eighteen languages.

Every month we share new advices for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book, adding more than 100 new entries every year on a variety of topics. More precious than ever, there are now more than 2,200 of Rinpoche’s advices online. Here are a few more:

  • Practicing Dharma in the City: A student had done a Kopan meditation course and felt very connected to Dharma at first, but later moved back to the city, where there were many distractions. He asked Rinpoche for guidance.
  • Compassion for the Animals: Rinpoche sent this letter to a student who lived on a farm, where she tried to protect the animals and treat them with respect and love. She had abandoned butchering animals but sometimes found it necessary to kill small animals, such as intestinal worms.
  • Remember Impermanence and Death: A student wrote that his practice had weakened, and he had resumed fishing and hunting. He now regretted the harm he had caused and wanted to renew his vows. Rinpoche advised him to remember that life is very short, like lightning in the sky. 

You can always find a list of all the newly posted advices from Lama Zopa Rinpoche on our website.

LYWA Audiobook Feature: Virtue and Reality

This month we are featuring the free audiobook version on Google Play of Virtue & Reality: Method and Wisdom in the Practice of Dharma by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. This book contains methods for transforming everyday actions into the cause of enlightenment, anger into patience, and the ordinary view of phenomena as inherently existent into the wisdom realizing emptiness. It also includes several meditations led by Rinpoche, although everything in the book is a topic for meditation.

To access more free audiobooks visit the LYWA audiobook catalog, which includes some of our most popular books by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, now available as free audiobooks from Google Play and titles for purchase from Audible. You can also find popular titles here on the LYWA YouTube channel.

Thank you so much for all your interest in LYWA. Read on for this month's teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on how to support the dying.

Big love,

Nick Ribush

THIS MONTH'S TEACHING: Support for the Dying

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Chenrezig Institute, Eudlo, Australia, 1994.  In Western culture there are a lot of questions about death and rebirth because there is a lack of clarity or education about these two things. Among psychologists and doctors there are many different points of view, which indicates that there is a lot to learn about the mind. It is only by understanding exactly what the mind is that we can understand what death and rebirth are and exactly what is the best method for helping a dying person.

I think that being able to help a dying person's mind is even more important than being able to cure diseases such as cancer or AIDS. If you are a healer and you are able to heal many people from diseases such as cancer and AIDS it is miraculous, unbelievable. But if you compare that to helping somebody who is dying, who is at the most terrifying point of their life, I think that our service [Karuna] is more crucial and important. This is because by offering psychological advice to the dying person, how to look at death as positive, it brings a state of peace and happiness to the mind.

Especially important is giving advice on how to experience death on behalf of all the other numberless living beings who are dying. We can advise how to use the experience of death to free others from death and to obtain happiness for them, especially ultimate, everlasting happiness. In this way that person’s death experience becomes very positive and useful, not terrifying, because it helps to bring peace and happiness within their mind. Thinking in this way also purifies from the mind all the negative energy and imprints left on the mental continuum by the person's previous negative or mistaken thoughts and actions. These unhealthy mental states are obstacles for present and future happiness, not only temporary but especially ultimate happiness.

If the dying person dedicates this experience for others, it will bring the cause of happiness to countless others. I think that this meditation or psychology is the key to transforming the death experience into the [spiritual] path, bringing not only temporary but ultimate peace and happiness for oneself and for others. As well as this method there is a lot of other advice that can be given according to the state of the mind of the person who is dying.

For example, it was explained by the kind and compassionate, omniscient Guru Shakyamuni Buddha that even though the body disintegrates [at death] there is a continuation of consciousness, and we have to experience the cycle of death and rebirth until we achieve the five Mahayana paths. The five levels or stages of the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) are the path of merit, the path of preparation, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation and no more learning. When a bodhisattva achieves the third of these paths, the Mahayana right-seeing path, the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, which is called the true path, they don’t experience rebirth and death, old age and sickness. In relation to us, it means that until we achieve this level, this bodhisattva path, the right-seeing path, we have to keep experiencing this cycle of death and rebirth, old age and sickness, these things.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this talk to staff and volunteers at Karuna Hospice, a palliative care service in Brisbane, Australia, on October 5, 1994. First editor unknown. Second edit by Sandra Smith, August 2023. Read the entire teaching here on our website.