Integrating What You've Heard (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Kopan Monastery, Nepal 1972 (Archive #711)

In the early 70s, Lama Yeshe used to give Sunday afternoon lectures at Kopan Monastery and people would come from where they were staying in the immediate vicinity (very few people were able to stay at Kopan at the time) or Kathmandu. If any of these were recorded, as far as we know, none of the recordings have survived…except this one. This is the earliest recorded Lama Yeshe teaching by at least two years.

Below is the unedited transcript that you can follow while listening to the audio. You can read the edited transcript here.

Lama Yeshe at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1971. Photo: Fred von Allmen.

Student and Lama, long time we spent together. And you people listen and Lama Tsongkhapa, individual problems, and also fundamental, fundamental. So, we spent long time, by month, month, we must have conclusion those all reading and listening and those things, to make conclusion, or integrate within yourself.

When we talk about, we listen intellectually, OK, when Lama’s words listening, “Oh this is true, that is true, true,” but, experience and to actualize is something else. So, therefore, to experiment as your intellectual knowledge wisdom said, as Lama said, is [it in] reality existent or not, to experiment is very important.

Otherwise, words saying, we understand the happy and unhappy and peaceful, those things are not dependent outside condition; it is only dependent interpretation of our wrong conception mind. We saying this conclusion way but really it means we still believing as ego says, ego wrong conception mind says. That means, our words saying is, we don’t realize, we not following our intellectual understanding wisdom.

Just like that: this [bowl] is wood and putting, we putting the outside golden. Outside we sees golden but inside wood, so we, our intellectual understanding like that; putting just here little bit golden and not actualizing inside, not understanding better, really. Still believing outside the principal, believing external power of ego’s interpretation.

You see, what is wrong, that is, what is wrong, still we understand the intellectual knowledge wisdom says, “Hmm, no, that’s not right.” All these phenomena, what we perceive, what these things relationship is, dependent our own, the interpretation of our own mind. We say, but real, we don’t understand. We don’t. We don’t have this realization, not yet. Therefore, sometimes, experiment within yourself, without listen, without reading.

That’s reason retreat is very important. The science giving experiment, external putting, outside looking: how they comes, this is working outside phenomena, but we introspection, looking inside penetrately, and inside experimenting.

So, I think you people has intellectual understanding is enough, but not realization, the actualizing is not yet. So therefore, sometimes the principal completely putting, “Now yes, I understand that, my old habit, countless lives is, I don’t want to go this way, and I don’t want following this wrong conception interpretation.” Completely acting as your intellectual understanding, experimenting, then you effect your mind.

Otherwise, there is many words, when talk about each other, then, there is, trouble comes, then becomes berserk. Same thing. That not changing, and then the same thing. No matter who is in the cave or who is…I don’t know…who is lama or who is yogi or who is…I don’t know who is. Thinking arrogant, “I am special,” but when the again difficult time comes, something, then becomes completely depressed down. You see? That is showing, not understanding, that’s all.

So, the many Mahayana, ancient Mahayana, in India and Nepal and Tibet, lama, first they listen, they study, deep, deep, deep study, same time they meditate. Then after they stop listening, these things, they completely go without anything see with people, looking completely inside, experimenting the inner realization. So therefore, you people also, necessary to do these kind of things; necessary, these kinds of things to do.

Always listening, listening, listening, listening, listening, listening, listening, there, there, collecting words but not integrating anything, not giving any realization, then what is purpose? You not learning from me language, example. You people know English better than me. So you not looking, listening, collecting words. Not believe words says, is words listening, words know is important to give you realization, that is, that’s wrong conception.

As long you understand to integrate, all understanding putting within your experiment. When you get this experiment, experience and realization, then you need another, another to go farther than that. Without by step, step going, impossible; collecting words, higher words, the action is completely underneath earth. Words is collecting to fly on the moon, words, doesn’t mean we fly on the moon. We are underneath, here earth. The same thing, we are arrogant mind looking special Lama words using, oh, higher realization, something like that. There’s no help like that by words. Without your understanding, without actualizing yourself, without integrate yourself…

We think we learn from people. We think we learn from people: “I spent with him, I spent with her, and I learned lots of from her, I learned lot of from him.” What learn? I don’t think so learn from him, from her, spend. Learn yourself, what your mind say. There is there, everything’s there. All, example, all universal people’s thought is within you, so, so you learn from your mind. His expression is inside my mind already, if you listen what my mind says. If you listen yourself, your mind says, exactly same thing his expression is already here. So, we say, “learning from him, he’s something like that,” I don’t think so, really that, truly you learning inside. You listen inside your mind, checking yourself, this way you can learn and you can give solution your inner problem. But, I think by looking, looking, I don’t think so, so much beneficial always without looking inside, listening, listening, watching, watching outside, that’s still extroversion.

You see, check up, example, why you cannot stay one week without meeting other people, conversation? No, check up. What difficult, why? Who make you difficult? Difficulty is inside mind.

So, really, should be realizing all these phenomena, the happy or peaceful or these things, bad or good, everything is completely dependent on individual interpretation of individual wrong conception mind. If you realize beyond words, you really can give your inner problem solution.

So, always, I think, Lama talk is not necessary. I think there is, old student is, that’s enough; they have understanding, intellectual. I hope they experiment by actualizing within your inner phenomena.

So I think from this Sunday until February 28th, there is no individual listen. 28th of February, then beginning Lama Zopa gives meditation course, one month. If it is useful, beneficial, next Sunday, beginning next Sunday, there is practical Mahayana philosophical discussion from two afternoon, through two, from two maybe three. If there is benefit without Lama, the student together discussion. After the discussion ended, there is conclusion disagreeable, as complicate comes, and Monday afternoon, one hours, Lama gives answer time—if this is valuable.

But what reason I stop you, you people beautiful people, I like to spend with you people. But there is the Center duty, one thing is. This make interruption, and then you people disappointed, I think maybe, and it’s not so much valuable at the time. So…and also, maybe two months Lama also in the morning and afternoon maybe have time more to retreat, and day is looking there, how Center is going, outside. So, there are many reasons to stop these things. So, I hope you people are not angry with me.

I think if, next time, next week, Sunday is going discussion, the subject is about: What is Dharma? What is samsara? Why come around samsara? Why around beings comes? That means why we born, why we here, in this earth? What reason we die? What cause die? What cause comes? There’s twelve changes, twelve linkages, linked, so how come, how go? Those things, I think, necessary to understand. That not talk about outside these things; this talk about inner expression.

Without knowing those things within yourself expressed, I don’t think so you can go beyond the wrong conception mind. And those things, you people who is going come, read about, think about, then each other give question, with compassion. Discussion, debate means, doesn’t mean, “I understand, you don’t know,” sort of. Not like that. Compassion with Dharma friend, if I don’t know [when] somebody give me question, and I’m thinking, I cannot answer, I give, what I think is I answer. If that not satisfaction answer, OK, better this way. If I give wrong way, you say, “This, this, this; this is this, this.” You explain. So this way, more sure, more definite understanding; not like yo-yo. I don’t know yo-yo. Most time our knowledge are yo-yo. Student say, “Yes”; tomorrow somebody goes, “Oh, no.” Like that. That really, that is problem.

Mahayana Buddhism doctrine, doctrine philosophical, is just like diamond, diamond: indestructible. But our inside doctrine is just like yo-yo, our understanding. The doctrine means inside; doctrine doesn’t mean outside play, in the book. Doctrine is inside understanding. If really you understanding this doctrine, then really, you have more make sense within yourself.

We just like yo-yo means, I tell you why yo-yo. Somebody says, “Blah, blah, blah, blah”; “Oh, very nice.” Then somebody says, “No, this is like blah, blah, blah, blah, like that”; “Oh, this is so nice.”

Everything is you have interesting, that just confused. Somebody says, “Yes”; “OK, that, that is yes.” Somebody says, “No, blah, blah, blah.” This all put idea you think right, that means you see, the…somebody says, “Yes,” but somebody says, “Reject, blah, blah, blah, blah, reason something,” and every day says interesting, “Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes.” Why? Impossible. One doesn’t, opposite two, opposite two cannot right be, but your, you have no ability, your own knowledge wisdom, you are weak, so somebody says, “Put here; and this, this, this, because that, that, that,” “Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes.” Somebody, “No, no because this, this, this, that, that, that, that,” “Yes, yes, yes,” and you have nothing; nothing real understanding true nature. Really you don’t have exactly understanding doctrine within you, so that’s reason we become yo-yo. So, we not sure. That reason we become, some says, “Oh, interesting, yes, Dharma is interesting, and then somebody little trouble, “Oh, Dharma is complicate.” You see what I mean? You understand what I mean? I don’t know, maybe; maybe not right words. Better another words!

OK, so, you see? We really, that means we don’t understand, we don’t understand.

I have experience; I become like that. We have group talk about; you ask exactly one people who really who understand who tell you, tung! tung! tung! exactly. Just like, who has no, just like yo-yo, “Maybe this,” like that, and then somebody give you bam! and somebody give…he has no, his method, just somebody put here, “Uh, maybe this, maybe, maybe this,” but who really understand, who have perfect…one philosophical debatement, he always bam! bam!, right. You see, we don’t have this; we don’t have strong knowledge wisdom understanding.

Philosophical, the Dharma philosophical means, not saying only idea. Therefore, I saying practical, the doctrine philosophical Mahayana Buddhism is within you. About consciousness, conception, not just outside plant, “This tree is that, that, that, that.” That doesn’t effect. By understanding practical Mahayana Buddhism effective your mind and better understand, brings more stronger.

I tell you why, maybe, I think you people know. Before any country there is much religious expression and religious doctrine but finally people don’t understand because inner doctrine. But they can see material doctrine, materialistic doctrine, they can see, five sense, without anybody teach. I can see, some people work, he get money and he get job. When get job I can see he get money, and he has house, he has these things, I can see without expressed, blah, blah, blah. I can see that.

So, nowaday, materialistic people, they understand the materialistic philosophical, so they become interesting material way. You see? That’s all. Because the inside understanding, the philosophy or material, materiality is more stronger than spiritual philosophy or doctrine. So, they becomes materialistic. You see? Evolution human mind, like that. Simple.

So simple. So simple. When you work you get material. You create something, you get material, it’s so simple. You not need somebody teach you, “Oh that yes, you need this, you do this, do this get.” You don’t need; everybody know. Even, almost silly, they teach in the school. Automatically knows: you have job, you have something, something, these things. This is materialism philosophical, or their doctrine, their conception.

You see? Now how strong this? No, how strong, not looking outside, how strong your mind, how strong, your mind how strong; your philosophical materialism is how strong? Check up.

Everybody has doctrine. Not think, “I don’t have philosophical, I don’t have doctrine.” Your conception is your doctrine, your philosophical. Idea to go, better to go hotel than cook inside dinner your room, that’s better because blah, blah, blah, blah, that is doctrine, that is doctrine, that is philosophy, example small way. In your mind check up, “Oh, tonight I go better hotel something, blah, blah, blah, than cooking myself my room,” that is also philosophy. Small doctrine. Doctrine doesn’t mean big something idea, sort of.

So, therefore, then…all this is, most becomes materialistic. Because materialistic doctrine is so strong explosion. And so easily understand. You sell this is you get money. You sell this table you get money. That is doctrine. So easy. Not necessary to show you I talk so much. Everybody know that.

You see now? I know you people understand something, but really not realizing, not actualizing, not show why, how, what? So, philosophical, philosophical discussion, why, how, reason, count, looking, thinking, so deeper, skillful way, and give you great understanding.

Example, I tell you, so simple. You people go in your home and mother’s doctrine is way of stay, mother’s piece, house, how is, that is mother’s doctrine. Mother says, “No, I don’t want to change, my son, excuse me. I like this, this way put, this way put; I like this,” those things. That is her philosophy, her doctrine.

Somebody say, “I don’t believe you any more spiritual, life or these things. You says because there is happy and unhappy, these things depend interpretation of your own mind, no.” Then how you can say? What you have conclusion, what you have rational logical example?

Then you say, “Oh, I think so, Lama said so, ahhh…” like that, you go like that. That means nothing; that means nothing. You give me, you give me how, why.

“Happy is not outside…not inside, suffering is outside, happiness is outside. Every phenomena shapes, color is not dependent on the mind; it itself comes there, outside there existent. You make, you can see.” Something like that. If somebody says, how you say? If really you realize, you can tell him. If you really you realize, you can tell him without emotional, like that. You can express, slowly, make him understanding. But your mind is yo-yo, then come down: “Ah, maybe really true, maybe really true.” Then finished spiritual, your inside feeling. You see really, yes. Check up, if you people are intelligent. That’s all people’s mind change, you see?

You see? In this earth, I think you see thousand doctrine; maybe more than thousand, maybe million doctrine, million doctrine, different doctrine.

Anyway, maybe not important. Example, Chinese, putting Tibetan, when they torture, putting the, inside room, “You believing God, and you believing there is something Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and you stay there,” putting them prisoner and not give even food, they say, “Oh, give you, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha food. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha give you clothes.” Contradicting this, this way, by philosophic this way saying (?). Example, small people, many people, think, “Right, right, there is no existence spiritual, there’s no existent Buddhadharma. When I stay prisoner Buddha didn’t bring food, Buddha didn’t bring clothes. Right.” The many people think immediately. But Buddha’s teaching doesn’t say, “I give you food.” Huh! You know what I means. Yes, many…and after many Tibetan people, some lay people, they think, “Oh, no, there’s no Buddha and Dharma existent.” They really think…by giving wrong doctrine: “If you do this, say this, because this.” The wrong philosophy, wrong logical. Try to destroying diamond, this thing, but his inside no understanding make destroy his teaching.

Yeah. So many people think, not understanding, really not realizing before then, yes, I think so. So, because his understanding is “Buddha gives food, Buddha gives this, Buddha gives problem, everything,” sort of, he don’t understanding exactly the nature this doctrine. So somebody say, “No, it’s not. You stay these things and they didn’t give you something,” something is wrong logical, he get like, “Oh, yes, yes, yes, what he says is right.” So then finished his…his says is finished, his thought is finished, his conception is finished, his feeling is finished. That is why conflict is; no understanding.

The same thing you people. Now this Kopan have, and stay with Lama, and really something bother you [muttering to himself]…make yourself overestimate, sort of, make so much, “Yeah, I….” Then, you change, condition change, “Hmm, oh…maybe, maybe…” then becomes water…again. That means you don’t have understanding with rational logical, this is the diamond philosophy or diamond doctrine…. Not think philosophy means just conversation, as Western people teach. Philosophy means, doctrine means, something, “This this, this this, this this, this this,” only thinking, just go like that, like that, that problem. But how effect, how effect, “If this say, then this,” this is this, how effect for the mind. What result, what stops, what brings?

So I think deep understanding is very, very important. And also the practical Mahayana philosophical is, is not just something expresses outside phenomena…just…. Everything is linked into your better understanding…so… I not saying you people do, but if interesting, what you doing. I not say; I don’t care. But you see, I am saying not become real. I know you people something understand, something discover; but many things intellectual not yet realization, therefore, I think you need something more.

So, next subject is that one. Then next, next subject is decided after this Sunday. That’s all, thank you so much. If you have some question, can give question.

Olivia. Isn’t that also very much dependent on good karma, understanding?

Lama. Of course, good karma means you work for understanding. Without working your effort, there is no understanding. Understanding doesn’t come like that. ? understanding sky, not come, dear. Understanding your own effort, yes. Very necessary. OK. Your own effort, remember? So much you have meditate, meditating OK? Thank you. That reason Olivia is smiling, happy. Without Olivia’s effort, there is no Olivia become happy, there’s no Olivia relaxed, isn’t it? Clear. You more understanding, you more relaxed, you more be happy. Definitely.

Olivia. I think it has more to do with Buddha than with me.

Lama. Hmm?

Olivia. I think it has more to do with Buddha than with me…my understanding.

Lama. Yes, but your understanding, Buddha’s quality within yourself, and you becomes peaceful. Of course, Buddha to do, to do, because you discover something through Buddha’s teaching, something to do Buddha’s teaching, yes…something to do with Buddha, maybe, that’s we can say. But that doesn’t mean that Buddha gives you bam! like that. You understand? Oh, easily, sure…OK, thank you.

Yeah, many being who get great solution their own problem and reach everlasting peaceful realization is, comes from, by practicing Lord Buddha’s teaching, is to do Buddha’s, to do Buddha. Lord Buddha is passed 2,500 years ago, now, his psychic power is now still existent all over the world, isn’t it? His psychic power. We enjoy; we, even now we are enjoy something, “Oh wonderful, yes.” Something. Received his power, his psychic power, one thing, we enjoy many, these things. But we should know, one thing is your understanding. Example, Kathmandu there is special cake, yes? You want cake, cake, cake, cake, cake, cake, cake…doesn’t get here [smack, smack, mouth]. Be practical, take money to go there, bam! bring cake. Bring here, cake. I’m joking! So, so, very good.

You see? Example, you, this house, cold house is you enjoy. I am happy; you people living this house. This depend your—just small example—depend your own mind. You can be more…you can live more material comfortable, bathroom and, you can live, but you make, your mind make, “Oh, I’m much happier here, than I have everything.” You see? That’s you discover. Your peaceful happiness mind is not dependent luxury house, isn’t it? You discover; nobody tell you this is good, sort of. Even you tell, you don’t understand: “Hmm, I don’t care.” Nobody cannot put this situation. But understanding you satisfied, this for Nepalese house, friends, enjoy, simple food. Isn’t it? I think so. I see you here like that.

Olivia. I think the essential things are here in Kopan.

Lama. Thank you so much. If there are not questions…

Steve. I have one question. [Yes, thank you.] You had mentioned that one can’t learn, or whatever anyone can tell oneself, you already know, inside. [I not following completely.] You had said that whatever you can hear from someone else, whatever someone else has said…

Lama. Yes, you can hear, your psyche says, yes, right, yes, yes. But of course, you must have way of listen as your mind says, as your psyche say. You listen, you have, not saying, way, way of, how, way of listen, how listen. Lord Buddha write about airplane and the rocket but he didn’t go and learn school these things. You agree? [Sure.] So simple. He write about everything.

Olivia. Excuse me. Many times you mention that Lord Buddha said this and he said that, he said that. [Yes.] But we don’t have those translations, is that only…?

Lama. You want translation? If you need translation, you brings hundred writers, then I bring these books, we can translate. We have this book, all how to make, these things. He write medicine; he write about these chemical things, how to work, and these things. There’s no even existent in this earth that time, isn’t it? 2,500 years ago. You see? So how he is? He listen his voice, he can see, he can imagine in this earth can be existent certain times, completely he can see. He see is much better than we looking each other now, now, present time.

Q. Excuse me Lama, I have a question. [Yes? Thank you.] You say about answering questions with compassion so that you can help people who don’t understand something that you know you understand. [Yes, that’s very good, yes. Want compassion? You want compassion?] How to develop compassion with understanding…I mean, I know the answer is understanding…

Lama. Yes, yes, very good, good, good question, that’s good. The compassion develop means, all in this earth, human problem, is comes from the ignorant mind. Therefore, we each other, to better understanding, I wish, I wish my understanding is to put others. So this way, thinking each other, to reach, willing to reach beyond ignorant, having great compassion, by understanding coarse ignorant make confusion, brings individual or…everything. So this way discover is so good, very good. Most time we discover about external phenomena, ego’s object. To really discover about liberation, everlasting peaceful subject is more benefit, more benefits, not involved in ego. You see? In this way you can learn also patient, patient. Somebody says, “You not right because this, this, this, this…” somebody say. You, you develop, somebody says, “Not right,” always have doom! pam! Somebody says, “You not right,” then…ego’s personality, “I always right.” You see? You understand what I means? I’m not saying you have ego, but you see ego’s personality is like that. I think, I think, intelligent, Jim is, Jim is become… OK? It’s really helps; for me helps.

Q. What is best method to do this, since I still have ego? Is best method to say anyway, even though ego is involved, or to keep quiet until ego is not involved?

Lama. No, no, no. Better trying to be really compassion yourself, compassion other who are talking. Not necessarily show “You are my compassion object,” sort of, to show. No, not like that. You can be like that, not right, not right, but inside is you are really compassion.

Now question is finishing? Thank you, thank you so much, thank you.