Freedom Is in Our Hands (Video)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Institut Vajra Yogini, Marzens, France (Archive #2101)

In this video extract, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains that everything comes from karma, so we can create suffering or happiness, enlightenment or hell. The teaching was given on May 30, 2019, during a one-month retreat at Institut Vajra Yogini in Marzens, France. Click here to watch the video, which is from the FPMT's Essential Extracts series, a selection of teaching excerpts on a range of topics.

Why does a car drop out of the sky and kill a certain person? Why are leaves and petals of a flower made a certain way? What decides the colors of a butterfly’s wings or the colors of a peacock’s tail? Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains that the answers to all these questions are karma, in particular, subtle karma. Because they come from karma, they come from the mind. Rinpoche says, “Because of that, we can create suffering, we can create happiness, we can create enlightenment, we can create hell. So we have freedom in our hands.” In short, we should use our understanding of the external world to understand how our mind has great freedom.

Read the video transcript below.

We dedicate for the world: Due to all the past, present, and future merits collected by me, all the three-time merits collected by numberless sentient beings and numberless buddhas, may the wars happening now and happening in the future be stopped immediately. All the disease, all the famines, dangers of fire, water, earth. Which place tornado? A tornado, a car killed the person, which place?

Student: America.

Rinpoche: In America a tornado happened. There is one area in America there is always tornado. Huh?

Student: Oklahoma.

Rinpoche: Some part, always, always [tornadoes.] So anyway, a tornado happened. A man was sleeping and a tornado happened. His car, the tornado pushed it up in the sky and then it dropped on him. He was sleeping and it killed him. The explanation of that—karma! The explanation is karma! He has the karma to be killed by his car, his car bring up [in the air] by a tornado, bring up. Sssssh. What he did in a past life; so it happened like that. Unbelievable, most unbelievable, the karma. When karma is created the result happens, like that. There were several other stories. Who decides the flower grows like this? Who decides? God?

Student: Karma.

Rinpoche: Karma is what? Karma is like space? What is karma? Who decides this flower is like this? Here like this, the shape like this, who decides? To grow like this? The world has a beginning, and this grows like this, this grows like this. Look, the leaves, the size, the design, who decides? It is very interesting. Everything we see has an explanation, has a reason. It is karma, yes, but I think subtle karma, all deciding.

What is the cause of this? This flower has so much shape here, leaves here. Why? Why this? Why? Who decides? Oh, karma. Oh, mind. Mind, whose mind? We who see this, it is connected to our mind. We who see this, not the ants, not the ants’ karma. Not the ants in Tibet. Not the ants in Africa! Who decides this? It is very interesting. Look, it is very interesting. Wherever you look, it is very interesting. Wherever you look, outside, the trees, it is very interesting. Who makes the shape? You understand? That is a big understanding. Just look at this—who decides? Karma. The shape, who decides, it is subtle karma.

The butterflies, the many different colors, what is the cause, is subtle karma. As is mentioned [in the texts], the peacock’s feathers, the different colors, that depends on subtle karma. It is amazing. Wherever you look, why? The shape, why? You understand? It all came from karma. It all came from karma, mind. So that means mind. Because of that, we can create suffering, we can create happiness, we can create enlightenment, we can create hell. So we have freedom in our hands. We have freedom in our hands. Do you understand?

OK, tonight that is all. You should understand. You should use the outside to understand that means we have the freedom to achieve enlightenment. By seeing outside, all these things, we have the freedom to achieve enlightenment. You should use it for that, to understand how your mind has great freedom. It came from your mind. You understand? OK, that’s it, thank you. I don't want to scream again. I think my voice finished. I ran out of my voice.

Click here to watch the video. To browse more video extracts from the series, visit Lama Zopa Rinpoche Essential Extracts webpage.