E-letter No. 97: June 2011

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Archive #1257)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe, Lake Arrowhead, 1975. Photo: Carol Royce-Wilder.

Dear LYWA friends and supporters,

Welcome to this month’s LYWA e-letter. Thank you so much for your interest in our work. Please share it with anybody else you think might be interested.

Since our last e-letter, Rinpoche decided it would be better for him to return to Kopan Monastery in Nepal, so he’s now there, continuing his rehab. You can follow Rinpoche’s progress here.

A long life puja was offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan on June 10th. The main lamas attending the puja were Dhakpa Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche, Serkong Dorje Chang, Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup, Khadro la and Lhatsung Rinpoche.

LYWA's Ven. Kunsang, who travels with Rinpoche recording his teachings for us, sent us this recent photo from Kopan.

We continue to dedicate the merit of our practices and work to Rinpoche's full recovery.

Chocolate and Big Love

\"Last month we sent all our LYWA members Wisdom Publications’ new Lama Yeshe book, When the Chocolate Runs Out, which we co-edited with them. One of our members said:

"How did you know that When the Chocolate Runs Out was exactly what I needed at this time of my life? Without getting too personal or lengthy, I will just say that the teachings in this book were exactly what my partner and I needed to assist in healing from the most heart-breaking time of our lives. We read it out loud to each other. Although my partner of eighteen years is quite new to the Dharma, she was so ready for this teaching, and words cannot express our intense gratitude for receiving this incredible book at exactly the moment we needed it most.... Please keep publishing these amazing books. Many thanks."

Another said: "What a profound and beautiful book you sent to me. By profession I am an artist so immediately I was delighted by the presentation of this treasure: The typeface, colors and layout are exquisite. The size is perfect for my purse and now I carry this inspiring book around as a reminder what to do when my 'chocolate runs out.'"

So, when you become an LYWA member you will get such great treasures of wisdom from Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche sent to you automatically and free of charge! Become a member this month and we'll send you your own copy of Chocolate as a thank you.

We used the occasion of sending out this book to remind you that our editorial work on the monumental Lama Yeshe biography, Big Love, is finally drawing to a close and that we still need $35,000 to see it through. Many of you responded to our appeal and we thank all you generous donors most sincerely for your kindness. That’s wonderful! However, we still need $25,000 so please contribute now at www.LamaYeshe.com/BigLove so that we can bring this mammoth project to a beautiful conclusion as soon as possible. Thank you so much.

LYWA Books as eBooks













In recent months we've noticed that our eBooks are rapidly growing in popularity! We now distribute about 1000 copies of our books per month via Kindle alone. In addition to Amazon, you can find our eBooks on Apple's iTunes and iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, GoogleBooks, Sony Reader, Smashwords, Diesel and more.

To make it easier to find the book you're looking for, visit our online store, where we have added direct links to the eBook version of each book for each seller, as we have done for our latest free book, Life, Death and After Death. Also note that the eBook version of books we have for sale are 50% off the cover price.

Even if you don't have an eBook reader, you can always download a pdf version of any of our free books from our website, or read them online, all for free.

What's New On Our Website

Lama Yeshe visiting a daffodil farm near Melbourne, Australia, 1976. View amazing photos from 1976 in our Online Image Gallery. This series includes photos of Lama Zopa Rinpoche painting the Tara statue at Kopan Monastery, group pictures of those ordained that year and the lamas' visit to Chenrezig Institute in Australia. There are many more from 1976 so there will be more albums to come.

Listen online to Lama Zopa Rinpoche's lamrim teachings given in Brisbane Australia in 2006. Although the teaching event was titled "Eight Verses of Mind Training" Rinpoche never did give commentary on that text. Instead he taught on various lamrim topics such as stories of Asanga, samsara, and guru devotion.

Read a number of new advices added to Rinpoche's Online Advice Book in the section on advices for those with Cancer. You can see a list of all new advices added in June here, or use the box on the right-hand side of every Advice Book page to see the list of newly added advices for any month in the past couple of years.


As you know, the Archive is an affiliate of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, which was founded in 1975 by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and we archive and publish the teachings of these great, enlightened pioneering teachers. A great way to get involved with the FPMT and its amazing activities is to become a Friend of FPMT. Among the many benefits is that you get the FPMT’s quarterly journal, Mandala Magazine. One of the regular features of Mandala is its "Road to Kopan" series, in which students tell their stories of how they got to Kopan, met Lamas Yeshe and Zopa Rinpoche and got involved with the FPMT.

As it happens, this issue’s "Road" story is mine. Check it out! And coincidentally, my partner at the time, Marie Obst (Ven. Yeshe Khadro), director of the FPMT’s Karuna Hospice in Brisbane, was recently interviewed by her local paper and mentions her story of our road to Kopan.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with Wendy Cook and Nicholas Ribush, Massachusetts, USA, Sept. 2010. By further coincidence (this is getting scary), the current print edition of Mandala also contains a short article by my wife, LYWA’s assistant director, yoga teacher Wendy Cook, entitled "Move, Breathe and Be Kind," extracted from a longer version found on the Mandala website. The photos were taken at LYWA’s beautiful house, where Lama Zopa Rinpoche had visited last September.

The Future is Now

The future buddha, Maitreya, came to LYWA last week, courtesy of the Maitreya Project.

It was the great wish of Lama Yeshe and remains the great wish of Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche to build a large version of this magnificent statue in India, and work toward fulfilling their holy wishes continues apace. All details are on the Project’s website.

Maitreya statue at LYWA premises. As you can see, this life-size replica Maitreya statue looks amazing in the LYWA library/shrine room!

The Maitreya Project is making these statues available to all. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has recommended that each FPMT center get one of these statues, but many individuals have also done so, as you can see from the quotes on the statue link. We highly recommend it, too!

We leave you this month with a newly-edited excerpt from Kopan Course 33 from 2000 on the kindness of the mother. We are working steadily to post every Kopan course since the 3rd course in 1972, when the teachings first began being recorded. We have 16 out of the 34 available courses posted.

Thank you again for all your kind support of our work.

Much love,
Nick Ribush

This Month's Teaching: The Kindness of the Mother

Lama Zopa Rinpoche painting Tara at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1976. Photo: Peter Iseli.There are two meditation techniques to develop bodhicitta. One is developing altruism to achieve enlightenment through the seven-point technique of Mahayana cause and effect. Based on the realization of equanimity—how all sentient beings are equal to us—we reflect on how all sentient beings have been our mother and how kind they have been. Then we determine to repay the kindness and we develop affectionate loving kindness, like the love that a mother feels for her beloved child that she’s cherished so much in her heart.

Affectionate loving kindness means generating that kind of love towards every single sentient being without discrimination. The Tibetan term for that feeling in our heart is yi-ong jam-pa. It’s similar to saying “most dear.” We generate love exactly like that towards every single sentient being, even towards the people who abuse us, even towards those we call enemy. We generate that love to every sentient being in the six realms without discrimination, not only to human beings. Affectionate loving kindness is feeling that every sentient being is most dear.

We see the sentient beings who are the object of our meditation as beautiful. Their beauty is not physical—they can be totally ugly, most horrible—but we see that person as beautiful, because we have meditated on their kindness before. That person has shown kindness to us from beginningless rebirths, by being our mother.

If the person who has been most kind in this life is our father, then we can use the father for this meditation. If it’s easier to meditate on the kindness of the father, think that all sentient beings have been our father. We can see that every sentient being has been kind exactly like this, numberless times from beginningless rebirths. If our father is the one who has been most kind to us, we can try to generate the same feeling towards all sentient beings and that helps us to repay their kindness, by seeing our father’s beauty when we look at all sentient beings. Or if we use the mother or somebody else that we feel is most kind, similarly, think that everybody has shown us that kindness.

It’s not made up. This is according to reality and it has been like this from countless rebirths for every sentient being. So then, we can see the beauty in every sentient being. As I mentioned, even a person who is physically ugly, terrible ugly, when we think of the kindness of that person then we feel affectionate love and in view of that affection we see their beauty. It has nothing to do with physical beauty.

So the mother is used in the texts because she gave us life, when our consciousness took place on the fertilized egg. She took care of us for nine months in the womb, where our consciousness took place. We were born from our mother, we came out from her body, and that in itself is an unbelievable kindness. Even if that was the only thing she did—even if she did nothing after that—that in itself is an unbelievable kindness. She didn’t have an abortion or think more about her own comfort and making her own life easier. She gave up her freedom and she chose to take care of us, even though it made her life uncomfortable or uneasy.

Think that if she hadn’t taken care of us, we wouldn’t have this precious human body. Not only that, we wouldn’t have these human pleasures. Not only that, but the most precious thing is to meet Dharma and practice and learn Dharma, so we can be free from samsara. The Dharma, which is the Buddha’s teaching, is the only thing that has the means, that has the complete path to liberate us from samsara and, not only that, to achieve enlightenment so we can liberate numberless sentient beings from all the sufferings and causes, and bring them to enlightenment. It allows us to bring infinite benefit to sentient beings. We can think that all this came from the mother’s kindness. We have all these opportunities due to the mother’s kindness.

Even if all our mother ever did for us was give birth, then she gave us to somebody else to take care of us. Even if somebody else raised us, and we think, “Oh, my mother’s abandoned me. My mother is terrible. Somebody else took care of me and that’s totally bad. My mother is totally bad.” We see the kindness of the person who’s raised us, but we don’t see the kindness of our mother. We don’t see that all these opportunities that we have now come from the mother—not only temporal pleasure and comforts, but all these unbelievable chances to practice Dharma, as I mentioned before. This would all be impossible if she hadn’t taken care of us in the womb.

By now, we could be in the hell realm. We could be a fish in the water, caught in the fisherman’s net, or whatever. By now, we could be a worm eaten by a bird, cut in pieces. We could be in the mouth, in the beaks of those big birds on the beach, in the ocean. They have these huge beaks. Pelicans. They have long beaks and are very terrifying. They somehow swallow the fish whole and keep it down. So, anyway, we could be there by now, we could be in that mouth.

Anyway, you never know. We could be a mosquito, disturbing people and annoying people. You never know. We could be a crocodile, with a very long mouth and teeth hanging here, such an unbelievable body. We could be like that in the mud. Or we could be that big animal that lives in the mud, a rhinoceros. A rhinoceros or a hippopotamus. A hiponomas or happyinomas. We could be anything, we wouldn’t have this chance.

When we think like that, even if all she did was just keep us for nine months in the womb, taking care of us and giving birth, that is unbelievable. Just that is unbelievable. Due to that, all these things happen. It’s the cause of all this unbelievable, incredible opportunity we have now. It’s all come from her unbelievable kindness, because she took care of us in the womb and gave birth to us. Now having the opportunity to practice Dharma came from her, from her kindness. It’s dependent on her. Just as the fruit that we enjoy depends on the seed that was planted, this is the same. All these incredible comforts and pleasures that we have and the most fascinating thing that is a miracle—having the opportunity to practice Dharma to achieve all the happiness of future lives and liberation from samsara and enlightenment—it all depends on her taking care of us and giving birth to us, giving us a human body.

We cannot repay even this life’s kindness, without thinking that she has been our mother in numberless past lives, giving us not only temporary happiness but the opportunity to practice Dharma. Without thinking about that, just thinking about her kindness in this life, even if we sacrifice all our lives for her, if we give up our lives equaling the number of atoms on this earth for her, if we sacrifice that many lives for her, still it’s nothing. We cannot repay her kindness, because she gave us this incredible opportunity. Sacrificing our own life for her is nothing, we cannot repay her kindness.

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave this teaching at the 33rd Kopan Course held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 2000. This teaching is an edited excerpt from Lecture Seven of the course.