Kadampa Teachings (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India; 26 December 2003 - 02 January 2004 (Archive #1470)

Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave these teachings at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, in December 2003. There were seven days of teachings; days 1 through 4 are included here. You can listen to the remaining days here.

During these four days Rinpoche covered various lamrim topics and gave an oral transmission of Atisha's Jewel Garland and began to give commentary on it. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geneva, Switzerland,1983. Photo: Ueli Minder.
Day One: The cause of problems

We’re going to visualize Avalokiteshvara, embodiment of all the buddhas’ compassion, and then that is all the guru, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, with that visualization, we’re going to practice the seven limbs, which collects extensive merit, which is necessary condition to actualize the path to enlightenment and purify the defilements, negative karma, that which is the obstacle to generate realizations of the path to enlightenment, and then which makes to, the merits that which are collected, also makes to increase. Then mandala offering and then request to actualize, particular to actualize bodhicitta.

[Rinpoche leads slow chanting of seven-limb prayer in Tibetan, with long pause for rejoicing; short mandala]

Guru Avalokiteshvara, please grant me blessings that my mind become Dharma and Dharma become the path and to not occur any obstacles to the path, to actualize the path. Particularly to generate the letting go I, cherishing the numberless mother sentient beings without leaving out even one, each and every single sentient being. From now on, whatever action I do, whatever life I experience, happy, unhappy, healthy, unhealthy, in other words, having sicknesses or not having sicknesses, having cancer or not having cancer, having AIDS or not having AIDS, so forth, poor or rich, gain or loss, receiving criticism or receiving praise, bad reputation or good reputation, alive or experiencing death, even born in the hell realms, whatever experience happens in my life, from now on, whatever action I do from now on, may it become, may all this become most beneficial, that which causes all sentient beings to achieve enlightenment as quick as possible, by myself becoming enlightened. [pause] To become the cause, to become only the cause, offering the greatest benefit to all the living beings, to become only the cause of offering greatest benefit to all the living beings.


Now, so there’s a few requests.

“The sublime exalted one, the Compassionate Eye Looking, treasure of great compassion, with surrounding, the entourage, please pay attention to me. Please liberate myself, and the father and mother, the six types of beings, six realm sentient beings, quickly from the samsara, oceans of samsara. Please grant me blessings to generate, to quickly generate the peerless thought of enlightenment, the very extensive, the profound path, and peerless thought of enlightenment, the bodhicitta, within myself, in the hearts of all the sentient beings. The negative karmas, the delusions and karma collected from beginningless rebirth by myself and sentient beings, please purify with your compassionate water. Please stretch out your compassionate hand, lead myself, the transmigratory beings, in the blissful field, in the pure land. Amitabha Buddha and Compassion Buddha, the Compassionate Eye Looking One, be my virtuous friend in all our lifetimes, my virtuous friend of us in all our lifetimes and quickly place us or bring us in full enlightenment, in the state of full enlightenment.”

Can you read the Eight Verses? [Group reads the Eight Verses in English]

[sang gye cho dang.... (3x)]

Good afternoon to everyone. So miraculously we are here, miraculous, miracle, miraculously we are here at Bodhgaya, where Buddha, where our kind compassionate Guru Shakyamuni Buddha has shown the holy deed, achieved enlightenment. And where the one thousand buddhas of this fortunate eon and also three other buddhas, the Kashyapa before, and then other one I think might be ?Ksitigarbha, I’m not a hundred percent sure, the first one. Where they have shown the holy deed, from the twelve holy deeds, achieved enlightenment, and then where the rest of the buddhas, from one thousand, where they will show holy deed, achieved enlightenment, at this the most holy place in the world. Most precious, holy place.

So we gathered, from where, whichever country from where we came, from wherever we were before, from there we gathered here for a good purpose, not for cookies, not for chai. Not just, I should add one more word, not just, not just for chai. Not just for chai and cookies. Anyway, not just to fill up the chai shops. I’m joking! Anyway, and pizza shops. If there is, anyway.

However, so we came here to, good cause, for a good purpose, to receive blessing from the place, from the holy objects, so that we can develop, so that we can generate realization from guru devotion up to enlightenment, especially bodhicitta, in this life. So, why? To benefit for other sentient beings. To be able to help other sentient beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them in peerless happiness, the full enlightenment, to be able to help others. [pause]

So, our life or the purpose that we have taken this most precious human body, this is not just obtaining happiness for oneself, this is not just to eliminate only one’s own suffering, this is to benefit, to be useful for other sentient beings. So, as far as benefiting for other sentient beings, so as I often say, causing happiness of this life towards other sentient beings, those who are homeless, giving aid, giving home or who are sick, giving medicine to have a healthy body and mind, those who have no means of living, then giving food and drinks, as well as giving education, those who don’t have education, and so forth, like this, causing comfort, happiness of this life towards others, that’s one. There’s a great need of these things, there’s a great need in others’ lives, very important help, but just this alone, just only material help to other sentient beings, that alone doesn’t really solve their problems. The problem is coming from their mind, not coming from outside, it’s coming from their mind. Mistakeful way of thinking, wrong way of thinking, the delusion and karma motivated, the action motivated by the delusion, so their problems, the life problems, dying of starvation, all these sicknesses, war, famine, torture, poverty, dangers of earthquakes, dangers of fire, like that happens in United States, one after another, sometimes two together, one see, another state happening so much fire, than another state happening fire, sometimes happening two, two happening at the same time, dangerous fire in different states, even just in the United States. So, again and again happening. Even the government can’t control, with all the airplanes, with all the things what they have, with all the people called [Ven. Roger: Fire-fighters] fire-fighters, fire-fighters, with all the fire-fighters cannot stop. And always danger of water flood, losing so many billions of dollars, things, buildings and so forth, so many things, the people lose.

Then, maybe last year there was huge fire happened in Australia, it took three months, I think, could not stop. So after some time I sent some suggestions that, to the Centers where there are geshes, to do Medicine Buddha puja. So I don’t know whether it happened or not happened, whether it’s coincidence, whether actually the Medicine Buddha pujas were done or not, however, it stopped around that time. Haven’t heard whether they have done Medicine Buddha puja or not, however, offered the suggestion.

So, and in the United States, there’s some parts of the states, there’s also dangers of, there’s always a problem of wind, tornado, some parts of the States, there’s always danger. So within one hour the whole town is totally blown away, everything become pieces. It becomes so terrifying, when it’s happening, very powerful wind and black cloud or whatever it is completely covered the area, the space, the sky, with all the sound, it’s incredibly terrifying, so happening this again and again in certain parts of the States. Another way it means that some people have to face this again and again, have to experience such condition.

However, so all these things, it’s not coming from outside, coming from their own mind, people who are experiencing, people, animals, who are experiencing these problems, so came from their own mind, their own karma, as mentioned, in Tibetan, sem jung sempa, that’s the definition of the karma. The intention that which accompanies always with the principal consciousness, ______ sem, in five similarities: time, object, aspect, the essence, or ?substances of the essence. [pause] So this mental factor, intention, from the five mental factors that always accompany the principal consciousness.

So, comes from their karma, from their intention, so there’s negative intention and positive intention, so karma, so all these things, all these problems came from their own negative intention. Then that is motivated by the disturbing thought, delusion, their mind delusion. So that’s the main cause is their own mind, the karma and delusions. So therefore, without doing something, some change the cause of the problem, which is within them, which is their own mind, without some change to that it can happen again and again, these problems will rise again and again, they will have to face, they will have to experience again and again, until they do something with their own mind, until they change that cause, until they purify the karma and delusion, cause of these problems, until they purify, until they live in ethical life, until they practice morality abstaining from these negative karmas, until they change their mind, until they do something with their mind, the external support alone cannot solve their problems.

Even the poisonous plant that is outside above the ground, even that is cut, how many times you cut, the seed in the ground, poisonous seed or the root is in the ground, so it’ll grow again and again. So similar. Once the karmic result is experienced it’s not easy to prevent, one has to experience that, once it is experienced out, it is not easy to prevent. One has to experience until the karma finishes, until one purifies, until one lives in the morality abstaining from those, until there’s a change in the action, stop continuing creating the same cause, cause of these problems, stop these negative karmas.

So therefore, more important service than that, causing the happiness of this life towards others, more important service is to cause happiness of all the coming lives, happiness of all the future lives, the sentient beings, causing the happiness of all the coming future lives towards the sentient beings, so this becomes much more important than the previous one, even though there’s a great need, causing the happiness of this life towards others, even though there’s great need, there’s definitely need and should help, but that alone it doesn’t really solve their problem, so need, more important service, need, cause them to have happiness of all the coming future lives. Oneself, yourself, oneself cause happiness of all the coming future lives to the sentient beings, for them to have happiness in all their coming future lives, so oneself need to cause that, to offer that service.

And that can happen only if you give them education of Dharma, that has to come from, happiness of all the coming future lives has to come from their virtuous action and their positive thought, the pure mind, that which is Dharma, unstained by ignorance, anger, attachment.

[Power goes off] So same, light also came from the mind, Dharma it’s also came from the mind. It’s the same. Even though it’s dependent on external conditions, but the main cause is the karma. [Power comes back on] Now the karma changed.

So, because it has, there’s external conditions, it is causative phenomena, dependent on cause and conditions, for example, the pleasure that we have light, and then discomfort of the darkness, so it has external conditions, the causative phenomena they exist by depending on cause and conditions. [pause] So usually in the world, people, the majority of the people in the world, they are not aware of the cause, that there’s a cause, they learn the conditions, maybe they learn the conditions, they know the conditions from where the sickness comes or the problem rises, maybe they are aware of the conditions but because of the lack of the knowledge of the cause, so they believe the condition, the external condition is the cause, it’s the main cause of happiness and the main cause of the suffering, so this is what normally the majority of the people in the world, what they believe, lack of understanding the mind, what is the mind, lack of understanding that; lack of understanding karma, that the suffering comes from the karma and delusion, delusion comes from negative imprint left on the mental continuum by the past delusions, unable to recognize, unable to realize how your own suffering comes from your own mental factor, the intention, the karma, and the delusions and the negative imprint left on the mental continuum by the past negative actions, by the past delusions. And happiness coming from one’s own mind, the positive intention, karma and the positive imprint left by the past virtuous action, by the past virtuous thought. So lack of understanding Dharma, and then the conditions, which are known, then believed as the main cause. So therefore, believed happiness is coming from outside, suffering is coming from the outside. Nothing to do with oneself. Nothing to do with one’s own mind, nothing to do with one’s own attitude, so having totally wrong view where the happiness comes from, from where the suffering comes.

Or one has intellectual understanding that suffering is coming from one’s own mind, happiness is coming from one’s own mind, one has the intellectual understanding, but in your daily life, you have intellectual understanding but in your daily life, doesn’t remember. When the problem actually comes, when you encounter the problem, the day or hour when you encounter problems, you don’t remember that. In that time you don’t remember. Same as other people in the world who doesn’t know anything Dharma, who doesn’t have any idea of Dharma, meditation, it’s exactly the same, when you encounter the problem, totally believe it’s coming from outside, condition as the main cause and similar to, you don’t believe and even intellectually one doesn’t believe in god, creator, outside, but in the daily life, when we encounter problems, the creator of your problem is somebody else, there’s other person, your problem came from the other person, creator is the other person. Even though you don’t label “god,” but you blame or you point somebody else, somebody else is the creator of your problems, so basically here believe in creator, relating to one’s own daily life problems, even one doesn’t believe the world is created by God, even one doesn’t follow that tradition, but in the daily life there’s, it comes down to that point, similar belief, in our daily life when we’re not aware.

So intellectually even one doesn’t believe, but in the daily life, there’s similar belief, my problem is not came from me, it came from the other person, like that, whatever difficulties or suffering one experiences, particular relationship problems, so forth. So that time we don’t remember Dharma. That time we don’t remember you are the creator, don’t remember the basic Buddhist philosophy, very basic foundation of Buddha’s teaching, basic philosophy, that everything, happiness or suffering, the doer is oneself, the creator is one’s own mind. One who creates enlightenment is one’s own positive mind. One who creates the terrifying hell, the terrifying unbearable hell is also one’s own mind. Today’s problem, this hour’s, problem what one experiences in this hour, this minute, this second, is one’s own mind, it is one’s own mind, it came from one’s own mind, mistaken way of thinking. Instead of, in that minute, second, if you change your object of mind, instead of the I, then change into others, cherishing others, so object of cherishing, instead of I, others. The hour, the minute, the second, when we change the object of cherishing from I to others, the minute when you do that, your problem doesn’t exist. There’s no problem in the life the minute when you do that. The minute you change the object of cherishing. The minute before, the second before, cherishing I, you find problem, you see problem, and this attitude itself is the problem, the unhappy mind.

[Power goes again.] I think better to meditate on clear light. Since it’s dark outside, meditate on clear light inside.