The First Clear Step

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal (Archive #443)

Lama Thubten Yeshe gave this teaching at Kopan Course No. 7, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in Nov-Dec, 1974. This discourse on 14 November 1974 is one of four teachings given to new students by Lama Yeshe at the course. A lightly edited transcript was first published as a booklet by Manjushri Institute for Wisdom Culture, England, in 1977. Second edit by Nicholas Ribush in Oct. 2022 includes new material, now published in the LYWA book Knowledge-Wisdom: The Peaceful Path the Liberation.

Lama Yeshe teaching in the gompa at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1974. Photo: Ursula Bernis.

From Lama’s point of view, Buddhism is about you. The subject of this meditation course is not Lama—Lama is not interested in talking about Lama—the subject of this meditation course is you; this course is about you. So, learning Buddhism—learning about yourself—is that simple. It really is such a simple thing.

And Lama is not trying to be mystical, as written in some books, saying, “I am a magic Lama.” We don’t try to teach you that way. Actually, we don’t need to show you how to make magic—your mind is already magic, isn’t it? We’ve always made magic: for countless lives, and even from the time of our birth until now, we’ve been making magic, cheating ourselves. Nobody else has had to teach us—we’ve taught ourselves to cheat ourselves.

Our schizophrenic mind always blames others for our problems. From its point of view, “He’s causing my problems, she’s causing my problems, my parents are causing my problems, this society is causing my problems.” From Lama’s point of view, these are completely wrong conceptions; this way of thinking is schizophrenic; this is mental disease. With these wrong beliefs, misconceptions, you will never be able to solve problems.

We often think, “This is negative; that is negative.” But we have a wrong conception about what causes negativity, and the problems we experience are reactions to this wrong conception.

Therefore, you have to determine that during this meditation course you are going to realize completely that the problem is your misconceptions and that the blame definitely does not lie with others.

We always think, “He causes my problems, she causes my problems,” because our mind is not integrated. Our mind is split, so we always blame this and that. We don’t have straight understanding, right understanding, right view, right wisdom—that’s why we’re always confused. So this time you have to decide clearly what really makes you happy and joyful and your life meaningful, and what makes you unhappy, sorrowful and depressed. If you come to this conclusion then your meditation course will have been worthwhile.

Don’t think that meditation means simply sitting still trying to concentrate on only one thing. It’s not just that—that’s not nearly enough. If it were, that would mean that when you went back down to Kathmandu your concentration would disappear and, being left without wisdom, there would be no benefit from having taken the meditation course. Rather, you should have great determination to develop discriminating wisdom by understanding perfectly clearly—at least intellectually—what really causes problems. In this way, even when you are not sitting cross-legged, trying to concentrate, but walking down a Kathmandu street or back in the West, you have something to hold onto, something that allows you to judge how your mind is interpreting things—you are aware.

Otherwise, if you don’t have at least some intellectual method, how can you check yourself? There is no other way you can check to see if your mind is on some illusory, samsaric trip, full of wrong conceptions, or perceiving the right view. Without this, how can you know?

Why is it that many people say, “I’ve been meditating two years, six years, more . . . but I’m nowhere. I’ve gained nothing”? It’s because they don’t have understanding knowledge-wisdom; they cannot discriminate between right actions and wrong; they can’t see.

Maybe you can say intellectually, “Oh, what is right? What is wrong? Right and wrong are the same thing.” I’m sure many people in the West say, “Oh, what’s right? What’s the use of saying this, Lama? It’s all the same thing. Samsara is the same as nirvana.” But this is a wrong conception; everything is mixed up. Those people cannot discriminate between what is reality and what is false, and all they are doing is using the terminology of Dharma wisdom in the wrong way.

Of course, in absolute terms the ultimate reality of right and wrong, or samsara and nirvana, is the same thing. But when somebody makes you agitated or angry and you get red in the face and start to tremble, can you really say that your peacefulness and your anger are the same thing? That example shows you reality, and you should not get hung up on some intellectual point of view that is way up in the sky, while you are stuck down on the earth all tied up by that. It does not help because the words you say are not true.

If somebody says to you, “Oh you are such a bad person,” and someone else says, “Oh you are so good,” it should never affect your mind. Good and bad come from within you and other people cannot make you good or bad. You have to realize this, and once you have you cannot be moved by what people say.

If somebody tells you how good you are and you grasp at it, “Yes, yes, yes,” and somebody else tells you how bad you are and you get depressed, “No, no, no,” it shows that the words you say, “Good and bad are the same thing,” are mere intellectual garbage rather than a realization of reality. If you had really realized reality it would be reflected in your actions, which would not be in conflict with your words, and whatever situation you were in, it would not matter—your mind would not be moved and you would always be in control.

We usually think that our point of view is correct. Yet if somebody comes along and says, “You’re completely wrong,” we get nervous because we pick up on his opinion—and that’s all it is—and believe what we are doing is wrong. His opinion alone makes us freak out. So, our becoming agitated and freaked out does not come from absolute reality, does it? All we have picked up on is the relative idea, yet we become confused and upset. This shows how we are, how our relative mind functions in normal, everyday life.

Checking such experiences is much more interesting than talking a lot about some philosophical point of view, some higher subject. That isn’t interesting; it does not help us because it is merely intellectual, it is still an idea. So why do you get angry? Your anger is not an idea! Your jealousy is not an idea!

And also, you should know that Buddhism is not a diplomatic religion. Lamas are not diplomatic people! Without hesitation, Lama will tell you about dirty things and kaka. It’s true!

We always talk diplomatically, saying, “Oh, you’re nice, you’re nice,” or “How are you today?” and so on. Of course, this is necessary in everyday life when we contact other human beings; being respectful to others is worthwhile. But when talking about the truth, Dharma wisdom, being diplomatically nice cannot help. You have to check up the nature of negativity; you have to check up the nature of positivity. You should check up every day. But I’m sure you people—all European people—always want to see only the positive things in life, while hiding the negative things under your sweater.

But this is not the character of Lord Buddha. This is not the character of Buddhism. Really! Buddhism tells you exactly the way you think, the way you lead your daily life. Therefore, when you really communicate with Lama or with a Dharma book or whatever, you can correct your actions. It is fantastic for your mind—you can solve your schizophrenic mental problems. And then, whether others tell you that you are right or wrong, it does not matter. Your being right or wrong does not depend upon what other people say.

So you can see how much we suffer from schizophrenic mental disease. Somebody tells you that you’re good: “Oh yes, yes—I’m good,” you’re up. Somebody tells you that you’re bad: “Oh no, no—I’m bad,” you’re down. So that’s really our mind’s nature. That mind is samsara. Lama thinks that is samsara. Lord Buddha thinks that is samsara.

hat I’m saying is that you should have perfect determination, knowing that understanding knowledge-wisdom is the only solution to problems, the only source of happiness and joy. That is what we call Dharma. Understanding wisdom is Dharma. Dharma is not this robe. And actual Dharma has nothing whatsoever to do with the culture of a particular country: it is not the culture of Western people; it is not the culture of Eastern people. Culture is the point of view of the ordinary people, the unwise majority who spend their whole time grasping at sense pleasures with attachment. Dharma wisdom has nothing whatsoever to do with the point of view of the foolish common people. Perhaps you could say that your understanding knowledge-wisdom is your own culture.

Lama does not discriminate in favour of Eastern culture. Just try to interpret the nature of your own mind, the nature of your own motivation. When you come to the conclusion that understanding knowledge-wisdom alone can make your life happy, joyful and meaningful, and that that is the only solution to problems, you will no longer hold the common view that, “As long as I have ice cream, I’ll be happy; if I can’t get ice cream, I’ll be unhappy.” I mean, this is just an example, but we always think this way, don’t we? It’s a wrong conception, a wrong conception.

You know the Western way of life. Since you were born, your parents have been teaching you what are the best things to eat, how to be healthy and, especially, how to show that you are good. Everything is for show, for showing others how good you are, for ego. So your mind also grows that way. You think, “I should have good things. Comfortable property, a comfortable house, a comfortable wife, a comfortable husband. Perfect this, this, this. . . .” So much dreaming! You check this up—it’s not just Lama’s words, you know. You check up.

Check your own life’s experiences. Once you might have dreamed, “If I could only get this, I’d be happy, perfectly happy.” You decided something like that. So you got what you wanted but two or three days later, “Oh, if only I had that, then I’d be happy.” Such experiences accumulate because the wrong-conception mind, believing incorrectly, always functions in this way. The constant craving, “I want this, I want that,” can never finish. Desire is unlimited.

Of course, in the West the great explosion of material makes people think, “Ah, I can feed my desire. As long as I have money, I can buy everything and satisfy myself.” You think like that, but it’s a wrong conception; it’s not true. How can you satisfy desire by feeding it? The philosophical or psychological point of view of Lord Buddha is that this is impossible—desire is unlimited and there is no way that you will be satisfied by feeding it with objects of desire. Impossible! Impossible! You check up now—we can debate it.

So you can really see, to make your life meaningful, to satisfy your mind, the only solution is Dharma knowledge--wisdom—understanding your own psychological nature. That is what makes you really happy; that makes you controlled. It’s natural.

But perhaps you people think that being happy through control is pretending—a pretence by religious people. But it’s not pretending; it is natural. You check up now, your experience of these first seven days of the meditation course. Just one hour’s good meditation and good concentration in the morning and the whole day goes so smoothly. Just one hour’s meditational experience and for all the hours of the day you can be healthy and happy, communicating with others well instead of nervously. So this is your own experience—experience, not just an idea. That’s much better, isn’t it?

You know—after one hour you can control your mind and be happy, just naturally. From Lama’s point of view this is much more realistic than saying, “Everything is the same thing; I don’t want to hear that it is not.” That’s just an idea. An idea is not realistic. Realistic means action; your action. For instance, your present action of checking is more realistic. Although relative; of course, it’s still relative.

So you see, through your own small experience, the experience of your morning meditation, you can discover that your life—your body and mind—can progress continuously until you discover everlasting, blissful peace within your mind. You don’t discover it with intellect or through Lama’s words but through your own experience.

It’s so logical. If meditating for a short time in the morning gives you the control to be evenly happy all day, instead of up and down, then by keeping this meditation up for a year, you can be peaceful for two or three years. That peaceful mind can be developed continuously until you become everlastingly peaceful, joyful and understanding with people. I mean, you can see this possibility; that’s what Lama’s talking about.

I think it is most worthwhile that each morning you people put much effort into sitting here in this unusual position, with pain in your knees. You have some understanding to do this; it is meaningful. It is action rather than hypocritical talk about Dharma or religion.

Dharma, or religion, is not merely philosophy, doctrine or ideas; it is not just words. When you put Dharma into action you can feel, “My life is hopeful, meaningful.” But if you don’t put it into action, if you keep only the idea of it in your mind, you become depressed. Then you think, “Oh, I’m hopeless. I cannot do that. My life is not meaningful.”

You don’t put the idea into action, so you think like this. But if you do, you will know it’s really worthwhile, because you can see the result within you. You can see your karma—acting with such wisdom brings such a good result—through your own experience. Then you can say, “Ah, I think my life is hopeful and useful; it can be meaningful.” Then you can solve problems and eradicate depression.

You’re often up and down; you’re always saying, “Oh, I’m hopeless.” This is hypocritical. You talk about Dharma, but don’t act. You don’t actualize. You’re not integrating your life with Dharma. Therefore, you get depressed.

You might think that Dharma, or religion, is just an idea, but it is not. Therefore, we make rules for you to observe while you are at this course. Those rules are to help you—it’s not that Lama is on some power trip! They’re useful, very useful, really useful. You see, Lord Buddha’s psychological treatment of the patient is not wrathful. We don’t put you in jail. Instead, we put your mind into an atmosphere of discipline. That is Lord Buddha’s treatment, psychology. The environment created by mental rules is our mental hospital.

Of course, you people are mentally healthy; I’m joking when I say “mental hospital.” But we can interpret the rules in such a way. Still, you need to check up continuously and develop by realizing your own mental attitude, which is not the approach of Western psychologists. The way psychiatrists tend to interpret problems only increases the patient’s superstitious mind instead of decreasing it.

For example, telling a person their suffering experience is the result of something their mother said or did during their childhood only produces more problems. It makes them angry with their parents, which merely makes them sicker. These are wrong interpretations. Instead of trying to get you to understand your own nature, they use different methods. Buddhist methods of psychological treatment and those of the West are not the same. But that’s just for now—who knows how it will be in the future? Western psychologists often take something from here, something from there and then put it into Western terminology, so you can guess how it might go.

However, this meditation course is not easy—we know it is not easy. Why? Because Lama wants you to become the perfect psychologist, fully knowing your own and others’ mind. But for you to become a psychologist through Lord Buddha’s method takes time; and the process itself is difficult. We understand that it really is not easy, and you too should understand this point. I mean, how many years does it take for a Western student to become a psychologist? And we have only a month to make you a psychologist, to make you perfectly healthy mentally, understanding what you are, how you are. That’s all we’re trying to do, but it’s a lot, isn’t it? I think so! I think it is a lot. But worthwhile.

It is possible, you know. For someone who has wisdom and can put it all together, it is possible to quickly discover all this instead of always running from one place to another, thinking, “Oh, this place is no good,” going somewhere else, and then leaving that place for yet another. One day playing with monkeys, then, “Oh, monkeys are no good,” then playing with dogs. Then, “Oh, cats are not good,” and then another something.

This is not like that. This school, or whatever you want to call it, is not only for learning ideas. Here, at the same time you receive ideas you put them into action. Action! Action! That’s the way you learn. Learning with action is much more difficult than learning from university professors. Putting ideas into action is much more difficult than just talking about them.

Anyway, that’s enough. Instead of my continuing to talk, perhaps it’s better that I try to answer a few questions. Do you have any?

Q. How do we keep our attention on what we’re thinking and doing when we’re not angry? Anger draws attention to the mind, but how do we maintain mindfulness during normal times, at times when we’re not angry?

Lama. That’s a good question. Actually, anger arises from misconceptions, wrong conceptions. It comes from a mistaken mind. As I said before, it’s a mistake to think that it’s others that make you attracted or agitated. You yourself are responsible for what happens in your own mind. Blaming this and that on other people or things instead of yourself always brings problems and just makes you an angry person.

It’s good to understand the nature of anger. It’s a very strong emotion; it’s like a nail. If you stick a nail into yourself, you automatically feel pain. Craving desire is not like a nail. It creeps up on you slowly. Anger is wrathful, so you can see it easily. You can’t see desire; it’s sneaky, very difficult to recognize. Anger is easy to recognize, firstly because it’s painful but also because it’s stronger than attachment. Its function is to destroy; it’s like atomic energy. Atomic energy is automatically destructive. Anger is like that—it automatically destroys.

For example, say you have a partner and you’ve decided to live together to help each other, share experiences and so forth. You stay together peacefully for years, but then, one day, one of you gets really angry and it’s over, as if all those years never happened. Completely finished. So anger has both obvious results that we can see from the outside and also a tremendous effect within us. It almost creates another world within. It makes us extremely upset. Just one episode of anger can dramatically change our life.

If I explain anger from the religious point of view it can be difficult to understand, but if you harbor anger within, your state of mind becomes like that of a snake or some other fearful animal. That’s the result anger brings. So, when Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains that we have a precious human rebirth, we have to understand that to mean that this is our opportunity to actualize Dharma knowledge-wisdom and destroy anger completely. That’s the Buddhist point of view; that’s why lamas explain the perfect human rebirth. Is that idea too much for you? It’s true, though. Each time you get angry you’re taking rebirth as a snake, tiger or some other kind of angry-aspect animal. Like a scorpion, whose nature is anger. Whenever you touch a scorpion, it lashes out. If we get bitten by a snake, we think that we caused it to happen but that’s not necessarily so. Snakes are angry by nature; if we accumulate anger in our mind, we become like that. Physically we may appear to be human but mentally we can be like a snake. Similarly, at other times we can have the mentality of a dog or a cow. We can act like animals. So we have to be careful. If we take advantage of the opportunity that this perfect human rebirth gives us to gain knowledge-wisdom, our life will be worthwhile.

Actually, anger is so easy to control. We think it’s difficult but in fact it’s easy. So easy. Absolutely. In the morning, we generate the strong determination not to get angry: “I’m not going to get angry today. I’m going to remain completely aware of my emotions.” Say that we’re successful, and for that one day we control our anger. Fantastic! When you go to bed that night you can look at yourself and say, “Good boy, good girl, today you didn’t get angry. You’re such a good person.” So, for that one day you’re a good person. The next day, make the determination to continue being a good person. It’s true. Doing that is the lamas’ experience. Tibetan lamas experiment in that way. It isn’t just leaping to some fantastic theoretical idea; it’s not a hallucination. It’s wisdom, isn’t it? It’s logical: if you can control your anger for one day, why not the next? If you can control your anger for two days, why not five? If for one week, why not two? If for one month, why not two? If for two months, why not a year? If we practice incrementally like that, it’s so easy. It’s so logical and scientific. And it’s not something that you just have to believe; it’s experience.

Also, you can see, angry people have so much pain that they become thin. Anger makes people thin. It makes their nervous system completely tight. Check up. When you’re angry, your nervous system is so tight that you feel pain, which is a function of anger. Then, other people fear you. They understand your temperament and are afraid to be around you; they feel, “Maybe I’ll make a mistake when I’m with him.” It’s the nature of anger to destroy the pleasure and happiness of yourself and others. Therefore, there’s no reason for you to let anger persist or to think that other sentient beings cause your problems. Neither is worthwhile.

Q. You can feel anger; it’s easy to see. But how about recognizing and controlling desire, since it’s so sneaky?

Lama. Yes, you need much experience to understand desire. To be aware of it you have to understand how your mind interprets your conceptions; how your mind interprets phenomena as good or bad. Then you can understand desire. Desire can come from ideas, human beings, animals, colors and so forth. In fact, practically any object can produce desire. All universal phenomena are objects of desire.

Now, we usually think that desire is something nice. Everybody thinks desire is good. But it’s not. Furthermore, desire is not necessary, so be careful with it. Watch how your mind interprets things as good or bad. That way you can understand desire. It’s difficult, because within desire lies a mixture of a little reality and a little totally wrong conception, and it’s very difficult to separate the two. If you are constantly aware of how you interpret the sense world, you can control desire. By knowing how desire perceives objects, you can tell if you’re overestimating or underestimating the object. Most of the time, the nature of desire is to overestimate the object rather than seeing its real nature.

Q. I talk to myself a lot. Does that prevent me from understanding the outside world?

Lama. Well, you should probably stop doing that. Inner conversations happen because for countless lives you have developed your ego’s conception of the self-I. What is your name? [Daniel.] OK, so you have your ego’s conception of Daniel; the self-idea of Daniel: “I am this.” You build up a universal Daniel through conversations based on that: “This is me.” When that collapses through checking with introspective knowledge-wisdom, through cutting the universal idea of the “I,” then you know your reality. Then there’s no problem. Beautiful. Thank you so much.

Q. I was wondering about the use of karma in the life. It seems we are continually being used to work out each other’s karma and are also working on ourselves. Most of us will be going back to the West, won’t be taking robes and will be living an everyday life. And while we will also be working on ourselves Dharmically, at the same time we’ll have to keep checking on the reality of the world. It seems there’s a twofold approach. The first is a bottom-up approach, where we sit and do puja and send out mantras and hope that the energy filters up to the sentient beings’ universal mind. But is there a possibility of a second, top-down approach, where we could take, say, one hundred and fifty highly evolved beings, not necessarily completely conscious, and choose people who seem to be controllers of this particular planet, and through something like dream telepathy, knowing sentient beings’ sleeping schedule, when their defenses are down, could we send in positive precepts such as . . .

Lama. Yes, it’s possible; sure. Now, you’ve mentioned several subjects that would be good for us to talk about. I’m very happy. First of all, we’re not trying to make everybody monks and nuns. You can’t make that generalization. We’re not interested in that. What we are interested in is trying to help you understand your nature. That’s why I said at the beginning, no matter if you come from the West or the East, knowing your own nature is your own culture, isn’t it? Western or Eastern cultures are not what I’m talking about when I talk about misconceptions. Misconceptions are in the mind. So, you don’t need to change your appearance. We’re not interested in your changing your clothes or shaving your head. That would not be the real cutting. Cutting your hair doesn’t mean you’re cutting your misconceptions. I’m joking! Therefore, be careful, really. You should know that we’re not pushing you to change outwardly. Laypeople can practice Dharma perfectly. There’s no distinction.

But still, even if you go back to the West, you still have to check up. You must understand what your mandala is, what kind of atmosphere you need to practice Dharma. You definitely have to check up on that. You think that living in the West means that you’re always immersed in a confused situation. That’s not necessarily true. You can also live a monastic life in the West. You can create any kind of situation there. It’s possible. Who stops you from living in a peaceful place, from having good friends and things like that? You don’t have to follow all Western customs just because you’re there, just as it’s not necessary to feel that when you see people in Kathmandu drinking wine that you have to drink wine as well. You must, however, understand the way society is. You really have to know that.

Putting Western life and Dharma wisdom together doesn’t need to cause conflict. That’s why I began by saying that wisdom—understanding your own nature—is neither Eastern nor Western culture. We think that belonging to a Western culture means having a samsaric point of view. We think that Coca-Cola and cake are Western culture, that they have nothing to do with wisdom. But wisdom is understanding the nature of Coca-Cola. No matter whether you are Eastern or Western, that is wisdom.

Q. When we go back to the West, would it be good to spread the Dharma by telling others about it or should we concentrate on ourselves?

Lama. That’s another good question. Very good understanding. Beautiful, dear. If, from your own experience, you get a clear vision, clean clear understanding-wisdom about how to solve a certain problem, and if the situation arises where somebody asks you about that problem, then you can talk. But if you just go up to somebody on the street and say, “Hey, come here—you should be worrying about death. Come here, I’ll give you something,” that’s not wise.
This question is beautiful. I’m not saying you would do this, but I’m saying that Western people are too emotional. Wisdom is not emotional. So, you should be wise. Buddhism never says emotionally to people in the street, “Oh, you’re suffering. Come here, I’ll give you food, I’ll give you religion.” No! It’s not necessary to do that. That is too emotional.

But say your friends come to visit you and they’re interested in what you’ve been doing—they’ve been watching your actions and talking about you—and the time comes when they ask you about your travels or about what you’ve been studying, then, at that time, according to your understanding and Dharma knowledge, you slowly, slowly explain. Don’t talk too much; just slowly explain according to their ability to digest wisdom. That way is very good. Quietly do your own thing and wait for them to start asking questions.

I’m very happy you asked this question because we don’t give these meditation courses to make people become Buddhists. Why should we care if you become Buddhist or not? We care about you; we want you to be happy; we want to reach beyond wrong conceptions, beyond schizophrenic disease. As long as you are happy, the energy we have expended together becomes worthwhile.

And especially, when you go back home, you shouldn’t say to your parents, “I’ve found my religion.” Then your religion is gone. That you shouldn’t do. You should respect what your country’s religion is doing. I’m sure, from my own experience, that the more our students understand Buddhism and Dharma wisdom, the more they understand and respect their own religion. That’s beautiful. That’s better than rejecting your country’s religion and saying, “I’ve found a new thing.” You shouldn’t act that way.

Q. How is it possible for us, with our limited minds and understanding of Dharma, to decide which teacher in the West is best to study with? How can one judge a guru? How to know who is the wisest person?

Lama. Good, that’s good. If you are really, sincerely searching and seeking, and if you are checking that what you want is complete freedom—inner freedom, inner liberation—then according to what you want, you need to check up to see who has that kind of realization, who can give you that. You don’t check up by thinking, “He’s a nice man; his face is nice. He’s handsome,” or, “He’s not handsome.” You know what I mean. That’s not the way to check.

Or, you might think, “Maybe he’ll show some magic. That’d be good.” Don’t check that way. We say, when you are searching for a guru, don’t check who makes magic. Magic is not necessary. And don’t search for someone who has telepathic powers. Telepathic power is something even birds have. Vultures have this power; they can sense a dead body from a hundred miles away. You can see this.

Actually, the Mahayana texts mention that that kind of guru is not interesting. When you feel that you have found a teacher who is really realistic, who actualizes what you want, you can accept that person. Checking very carefully is the wisest way to find your guru. For example, many ancient Mahayana pandits and disciples would check a lama out for twelve years. One disciple checked on a lama for twelve years and finally told him, “I’ve been checking for twelve years whether you’d be good for me and now I realize that you are indeed my guru. Please explain the teachings to me.” Then the lama said, “OK, you’ve been checking me for twelve years; now I’m going to check you for twelve years. Then perhaps I’ll give you teachings.”

It’s true. Careful checking is more realistic. But we Westerners don’t really check. Somebody talks about this or that and we’re curious, but we’re not curious about wisdom or the path to liberation, are we? We’re always curious about samsaric things, but when it comes to Dharma, not so much.

That’s why you should be careful. Be careful, really. Be careful about who you choose to follow. It is very dangerous; we Tibetan lamas think this can be a very dangerous thing. We think that choosing the right guru is something you have to be very careful about. It’s not a normal thing, such as having lunch. This is your whole life we’re talking about. If you choose the wrong guru, a teacher spouting wrong conceptions, you’ll waste your life and have misconceptions for countless lives. Therefore, be really careful. Be careful.

Once, in ancient India, a man searching for a guru saw someone who looked like a sadhu sitting in the jungle. He told the seeker, “If you want realizations, bring me a rosary made from a thousand fingers. Then I’ll give you liberation.” So the seeker, who became known as Angulimala [Finger Rosary] believed what the sadhu said and killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people and made a rosary of their fingers. Anyway, it’s a longer story that tells how the Buddha eventually saved him, but it really happened. It’s not just a dream world I’m taking about. The conclusion is that misconceptions are the most dangerous things in the world.

Since this world began, everybody has wanted happiness and has shunned unhappiness. But everybody searches in their own way. Even the butchers of Kathmandu kill animals and sell their meat in their quest for happiness. The search for happiness is a psychological thing. Take war, for example. Countries fight each other because they think that’s the best way to make themselves happy. Check up; wisely check up.

Thank you so much. I can come again, sure, dear, continually. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m very happy. Excuse me. Thank you.