E-letter No. 61: June 2008

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
London, England 1975 (Archive #169)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you for receiving and reading our monthly e-letter. If appropriate, please share it with your friends.

Support for the Dharma
Thank you so much for your interest in the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. And we are especially grateful for the financial support we receive from you—without it we couldn’t do what we do: spread the Dharma around the world and perhaps beyond for the sake of all sentient beings.

We recently sent out an appeal for funds for a reprint of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Daily Purification, his short Vajrasattva practice. Your response was wonderful, we exceeded our goal very quickly, and we thank all those who responded very much. We will also be in touch with you individually. Thank you.

In the meantime, we continue to seek funds for Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s amazing The Heart of the Path. We offer sincere thanks to all those who have already contributed to this wonderful book.

Projects in Progress
Just to give you an idea of what we’re working on here: our next three books will be reprints of Lama Yeshe’s Essence of Tibetan Buddhism and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Daily Purification and Virtue & Reality. Then there are two seminars—coincidentally the first and last teachings Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave together in Europe—one in London in 1975, the other in Geneva in 1983: both will be made available as free books and on DVD.

Then, of course, there’s Lama Zopa Rinpoche's The Heart of the Path. We’re also going to publish Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Teachings from the Medicine Buddha Retreat, which was held at Land of Medicine Buddha, 2001; this will be a large book in the style of Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat. Finally, we’ll soon be starting work on the official biography of Lama Yeshe, Big Love, which has been almost twenty years in the making. Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to do all this.

LYWA and FPMT Membership Programs
We have just posted an excerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s forthcoming Teachings from the Medicine Buddha Retreat in our Members' Area. If you are not a member, or would like more information about the program, you can visit our Membership page. We greatly appreciate the support all of our new and continuing Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive Members. We have welcomed 11 new members since April of this year, and now have nearly 500 members in our program.

Recently, the International Office of our worldwide organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), launched a new membership program to help support their extensive programs and charitable projects. Please see their website for more information about this program. Starting in October the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive will sponsor one year of FPMT Membership for new LYWA Members.

What's New from the Archive
Listen online to Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving a Sanghata Sutra commentary and lung at Shakyamuni Center in Taiwan in 2007. As always, you can listen to this and many other teachings on our Online Recordings page.

We have also posted additions to Rinpoche's Online Advice Book in the Dharma Work and Sangha section: read many new advices regarding Ordination, new Sangha Practice Advice, and Other Advice for Sangha.

With Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Colorado
Earlier this month, Wendy Cook and I attended Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings in Crestone, CO, which is an amazing place. There are many Dharma centers there, at least three stupas (that we visited) and a somewhat Tibet-like ambience. It’s quite dry, at 8,000 feet, and has a range of snow mountains behind the town.

As we were bidding farewell to Rinpoche, he reached into the passenger side of his car and peeled off from the door jamb a couple of nadas that he had shaped out of chewing gum. I can only assume that he’d placed them there during the long drive from Aptos, California. Who knew Rinpoche chewed gum? Rinpoche told me to put them up in the trees somewhere, so, as you can see, I did.

Thank you again for your kind interest in what we do. Please share this e-letter with your friends, Dharma center mailing list…wherever!

And, as ever, we leave you with a previously unpublished teaching, this one by Lama Yeshe.

Much love,
Nick Ribush

Answers Are Already in Your Mind

Lama Yeshe gardening, 1983. Photo: Jon Landaw. Whenever human problems arise, instead of getting nervous and worried, you’d be better off meditating and checking up. Meditation functions like a computer. Whenever regular people have a problem they turn to their computer for answers. Similarly, when meditators have a problem they meditate. And through meditation they get answers. The answers are there; the answers are there. The calm, clear mind gives knowledge-wisdom the space to come up with an answer. The foggy mind is an obstacle; it makes answers invisible. So meditation is really the best way to check up and find solutions to your problems.

We often think we get answers through question-and-answer sessions and that’s true up to a point; certain things can be answered that way. But if you’re unaware, even if the lama gives a worthwhile answer, it doesn’t really register; it goes right over your head. That’s because your questioning is not serious. When you want to question something deeply and meditate on it seriously, when the answer comes, it’s so powerful. In other words, you become the answer; you become that knowledge rather than its remaining superficial.

Many times somebody asks you a question and you reply, “This, this, this….” We don’t consider that to be true knowledge. You might have a little wisdom but we don’t call that knowledge.

So it’s very worthwhile to meditate; meditation gives you the answers you want; meditation is your internal computer. Answers you discover for yourself through meditation are much more meaningful, much deeper, than those you get from somebody else’s replies to your questions. You ask somebody, “Please could you tell me blah, blah, blah”; the other person says, “Blah, blah, blah”; you think “OK, that’s good.” Then another problem occupies your mind because you don’t have the penetrative concentration to cut through the fog of your confusion. That’s why I always say that human beings are so powerful. Potentially, we have fantastic energy; we just have to use it in the most professional way.

Therefore every human being has a beautiful quality. If we look at only people’s superficial external appearance we will never find true beauty but if we look at the deeper human qualities—what people can do, the positive actions they can create and the power of the human mind—we will see everybody as beautiful. In fact, all universal living beings have some beautiful qualities.

If everything that exists in the world appears beautiful to you, there’s no way that the miserable mind can arise within you. The miserable mind perceives a foggy view. The subject, the mind, relies, or depends, on the object. Transforming the external world into beauty prevents the ugly mind from arising. It has no space.

So I think it’s really worthwhile that you people are seeking internal happiness and a joyful life through having realized that if you search for happiness in only the superficial sense world it can never be found. You’re convinced of this, not “Maybe, maybe.” You have to make that decision. If you mind still harbors the doubt, “Maybe the supermarket really does contain everything I need,” your meditation will be no good and you won’t get any realizations.

Also, you shouldn’t spend your life on useless pursuits. For example, there’s so much garbage on television; when you watch it your unconscious mind automatically takes up that garbage reflection. So you have to have the discriminating wisdom that assesses whether what you’re doing is worthwhile or not.

I’m not saying that television itself is bad. I’m saying that, according to your mind, you have to check up whether what you’re watching is useful or garbage. Does it become wisdom or does it lead to the completely concrete attachment that causes conflict in your mind? Check up. This is really worthwhile. Actually, you’d be much better off watching the internal television of your mind.

Regular TV is so boring; the same programs on the same topics over and over again. You don’t want to watch. But when you watch your mind, it’s incredible; it’s much more interesting. There’s always something new; every experience is new, if you check up.

This is really true. I’m not exaggerating. Every moment of mind function is interesting. If you meditate every day and check your mind for ten or twenty minutes, it’s so worthwhile.

Often in Tibet, after listening to lamrim teachings and receiving a clean clear intellectual understanding, people would go into retreat to put the teachings into action; they’d experiment to see if what the lama said really works or not. They would seriously check up. Of course, Western life is so busy that you don’t have time to do long retreats, but if every now and then you could spend a two- or three-day weekend in strict meditation it would be so powerful and most worthwhile.

Lama Yeshe gave this teaching 21 September 1975 at Royal Holloway College, Surrey, England. Edited from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive by Nicholas Ribush.