E-letter No. 244: October 2023

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, By Nicholas Ribush
(Archive #1587)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Waterlow Park, Highgate, London, 1983. Photo Robin Bath.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for subscribing to our monthly e-letter. Feel free to share it with others!

In this month's issue we have a short video excerpt on Lama Yeshe teaching how to transform the vajra hells; a new podcast with Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving an oral transmission of Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri; four new teachings and advices posted to our website; two new installments of the homemade audiobook version of Big Love; a feature on the Lamrim Year Companion website; and a link to an extended mantra mix of Lama Zopa Rinpoche reciting a variety of holy Dharma. And don't forget to read the monthly teaching by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on the Need for Power.

Please enjoy and let us know what you think!

From the Video Archive: Transforming the Vajra Hells

This month from the video archive, we bring you an excerpt from Lama Yeshe's 1983 commentary on the Heruka Vajrasattva Tsog at Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, California, 1983. Lama Yeshe wrote this purification practice in 1982 especially for Western students. In this excerpt from the commentary, Lama discusses the request to avoid the vajra hells and arise in infinite purity, followed by a request from the students to never be separated from the teachings of Lama. You can also watch the entire commentary on this practice here on the LYWA YouTube channel.

These teachings have been published by Wisdom as Becoming Vajrasattva: The Tantric Path of Purification.

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: Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Italy, June 2014. Manjushri bodhisattva is the highest manifestation of being, the embodiment of all knowledge.
 –Lama Zopa Rinpoche

This month on the LYWA podcast, please listen to Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving an oral transmission of Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri. Rinpoche asked for the recording to be made available for anyone to listen to while they go about their day. Rinpoche also suggested to play it loudly so that animals and others nearby can hear it and thereby benefit from it as well.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently offered the precious advice to recite Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri continuously for the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s reincarnation. You can download the English translation of Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri here.

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.


Lama Yeshe with unknown friend or relative, Tölung Dechen, Tibet, 1982.This month we are happy to announce two new installments of the homemade audiobook version of Big Love: The Life and Teachings of Lama Yeshe, read by people who were there as the story unfolded. The Prelude, narrated by Jonathan Landaw, describes the situation in Tibet when Lama Yeshe was born and, Chapter 1. 1935–40: Beginnings, narrated by Janet Brooke, recounts the birth and early home life of the child who would grow up to become Lama Thubten Yeshe.

This heart project is comprised of narrations recorded by a group of friends of the late Åge Delbanco (Babaji), who was one of Lama Yeshe’s earliest students. Åge was in his 90s when Big Love was published and was having trouble with his eyesight, so his kind friends decided to record it for him but he passed away before it could be finished. With those same friends, we are now completing our recording of Lama's biography and gradually bringing you this informal oral transmission of Big Love in his honor.


We are happy to share that it's been one year since the launch of the Lamrim Year Companion site, a website designed to help access Lamrim Year‘s daily meditations wherever you are, from your computer or mobile device. Since its inception, 1,150 students have enrolled and close to 20 have completed the year of study. We rejoice in all of their efforts!

You'll be happy to find, due to recent updates, improved site speed and new tools posted to the Resources page. One new resource is the Lamrim Year Crosswalk, a navigational guide created to support students who wish to extend their understanding of the teachings found in Lamrim Year by reading the corresponding section of Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. Please visit the site and let us know what you think!


Artwork by Lama Zopa RinpocheThis month we have posted an inspiring talk by Lama Zopa Rinpoche about the motivation for offering service, given to students at the European Regional Meeting in June 2014. Rinpoche teaches on the four immeasurables and the kindness of others, and advises why Western students need to actualize the path. Lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

We have also posted several short excerpts from Kopan Course No. 39 for you to enjoy. Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches that Dharma is the best psychology and advises that we need to make continual effort for a long time in order to achieve liberation and enlightenment. Rinpoche also discusses how we create ignorance, the root of samsara, and the shortcomings of the self-cherishing thought.

You can read these teachings online or download a PDF of the entire course. You can also read an excerpt from this course in our monthly teaching below.

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:

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

In closing, please be sure to read this month's FPMT news, if you haven't already. It details the advice given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the swift return of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, among other relevant news and tributes to Rinpoche.

We'd also like to leave you with an extended mantra mix of Lama Zopa Rinpoche reciting a variety of holy Dharma. It now includes the recitation of Chanting the Names of Noble Manjushri. This nearly 24-hour mix can be played for the benefit of your pets as well as all beings who have the ears to hear.

As always, thank you so much for all your interest in LYWA, and continue on to read this month's teaching from Rinpoche on The Need for Power.

Big love,

Nick Ribush


Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Fair Lawn, New Jersey, USA, 1974. Photo: Lynda Millspaugh.As I said that first night, when we are free from worldly concern, which is full of expectations, we have great peace. [As a worldly person], when we experience these four undesirable objects our life is up and down. When we meet those four desirable objects, there is attachment, grasping onto them, and when we encounter the opposite, there is dislike. We are unhappy and sometimes anger and those other negative thoughts arise.

When we are not practicing Dharma, that means our mind is the friend of the eight worldly dharmas. We become a friend to the attachment clinging to this life. We develop that, we become a friend with it, supporting it. We become a slave of the attachment clinging to this life. We constantly follow it day and night, as if we are oneness with it. Anyway, these are just different ways of expressing it.

Sometimes in the West, people think that if we don’t have attachment, we don’t have a life! Without attachment how can we survive? There is no life! How can we live without attachment? We can understand that this kind of thinking is because people don’t have the real education of the mind, how the mind creates happiness and creates suffering. The whole thing is about the mind. Their education is very limited in that.

I think the full explanation of the mind is only in Buddhism. Lama Yeshe, the great master, who is kinder than all the three-time buddhas, said that just by learning the sutras, we don’t get the full understanding of the mind. Only if we learn tantra can we learn very extensively about the mind, especially the subtle part of the mind. Then, we get the whole idea of the mind, not just what is explained in the sutra teachings, which are [comparatively] gross, only explaining some parts. Lama used to say that only by learning tantra do we learn everything about the mind, especially the very extensive teachings on the subtle mind.

Due to limitation of actual knowledge of mind, or (you can say) the lack of Dharma understanding, because of that, people live their life with attachment day and night, all the time. So of course, they will explain that without attachment there cannot be a life, it is impossible to survive. It is like without attachment you have no mind, you are dead. You are dead without attachment; you have no mind! You’re a zombie! I am just joking.

… As I mentioned the first night, this attachment clinging to this life, the eight worldly dharmas, the eight worldly concerns, this attachment is the foundation of all our life’s problems. On that first night I gave some idea of how all our problems come from that; they are based on that.

Countries try to take over other countries based on attachment. When they can’t get them, they make war, killing many millions of the people in the other countries. This is because of attachment. Killing many millions of people who do not have blonde hair or blue eyes. All those other people were killed, right? It’s similar to that, to killing those who don’t have blue eyes and blonde hair or blowing hairs! All this is due to the attachment.

In the world, wanting power especially comes from attachment. Starting with the power of an individual person who wants control, then the leader who wants more power, more control, who wants to control other countries, the whole world. They end up killing so many people, making so many people suffer, torturing them. On TV it was shown that during Hitler’s time so many babies were thrown in the fire. And this is without talking about the animals killed.

Usually the number is only about human beings; the animals are never counted. Like in the water, when you throw bombs that explode in the ocean, numberless fish are killed, the water is polluted. And then of course on the land, the numberless other beings, the animals, are not counted; it is normally just human beings. They not only kill the people of other countries, they also kill their own people. Numberless lives are lost because of that.

This project of controlling another country or making war with another country originally came from attachment. When people don’t get what they want in a political way, they use violence, weapons.

This teaching is excerpted from Kopan Course 39, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal in November-December 2006. Lightly edited by Gordon McDougall. You can find the entire teaching here on our website.