Kopan Course No. 12 (1979)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kathmandu, Nepal November 1979 (Archive #350)

The following is a transcript of teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Twelfth Kopan Meditation Course. Included is a commentary on Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara (A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life). The transcript also includes a lecture by Lama Thubten Yeshe and the "Question and Answer" session that followed this lecture. Read an edited excerpt from Lama's lecture here. You may also download the entire contents of these teachings in a pdf file.

Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, New Zealand, June 1975.
Kopan Course No. 12 Index Page

The Index Page provides an outline of the topics discussed in each of the lectures. Click on the headings below to go directly to a particular lecture.


Lecture 1

  • The purpose of reciting prayers and practices
  • Mind is the creator of happiness and suffering
  • Compassion and bodhicitta

Lecture 2

  • Preparatory practices to develop bodhicitta
  • Continuity of consciousness and the definition of death
  • Three divisions of impermanent phenomena
  • Consciousness
  • Existence of past and future lives

Lecture 3

  • Reincarnation
  • Karma
  • Consciousness, delusions and samsara are beginningless
  • Possible to end samsara

Lecture 4

  • Samsara is suffering
  • Need to break the continuity of the aggregates
  • Suffering of the six realms
  • Even arhats cannot do the work of Buddha
  • The kindness of the mother

Lecture 5

  • Meditation on sentient beings as one’s mother
  • Meditation on the kindness of the mother
  • Meditation on the kindness of all sentient beings as the mother

Lecture 6

  • The suffering of mother sentient beings
  • Meditation on the four immeasurables
  • Buddha’s perfect power, omniscience and compassion
  • Generating bodhicitta

Lecture 7

  • Three levels of refuge
  • Levels of motivation
  • Meditation on the great will, bodhicitta
  • Consciousness has no beginning or end
  • Samsara can be finished
  • Renunciation and entering the path of merit
  • Five paths to nirvana

Lecture 8

  • How delusions can be removed, emptiness
  • The Mahayana five paths
  • Enlightenment, the four kayas
  • Quality and lineage of the lam-rim  


Lecture 9

  • Meditation on the four immeasurables
  • Lineages of the lam-rim
  • Three ways of giving commentaries
  • How to practice lam-rim as a householder

Lecture 10

  • How to listen and meditate on the lam-rim
  • lam-rim commentary has four basic outlines
  • Story of Lama Atisha
  • The three Kadampa lineages
  • Four qualities of the lam-rim

Lecture 11

  • No contradiction in the Buddha’s various teachings
  • Buddha’s teachings cannot be changed
  • Negative karma of discriminating Dharma

Lecture 12

  • Importance of motivating each day
  • Buddha taught to suit various levels of mind
  • Three particular qualities of the lam-rim

Lecture 13

  • Important to understand and practice the complete lam-rim
  • How to listen to and explain the Buddhadharma
  • Worldly friends are unreliable

Lecture 14

  • Visualization for reciting the refuge prayer
  • Training the mind in strong motivation
  • Benefits of extensively listening to Dharma
  • How to plan your daily lam-rim meditations
  • Why lamas listen again and again to lam-rim teachings
  • Second outline: respecting the Dharma and teacher
  • Five points of listening to the teachings
  • Serkong Rinpoche


Lecture 15

  • Taking refuge in Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
  • Third outline, how to explain the Dharma
  • Six recognitions

Lecture 16

  • The four immeasurables
  • Listening to and understanding the Dharma
  • Tsenshap Serkong Rinpoche and Serkong Dorje Chang

Lecture 17

  • Need to practice continuously for a long time
  • The six recognitions
  • Dharma is the mirror of the mind
  • Prince Moon and Sudhasa’s son

Lecture 18

  • Listening to the Dharma
  • Explaining the Dharma, four outlines
  • The importance of dedicating merits

Lecture 19

  • Importance of guru devotion
  • Six preparatory practices
  • What to do in the meditation session and break times
  • Yoga of sleeping

Lecture 20

  • Refuge prayer with visualization
  • Everything is created by the mind and karma
  • Taking care of one’s own mind
  • Creating karma with powerful objects, the Triple Gem and parents
  • The importance of each day’s attitude
  • The four motivations  


Lecture 21

  • The outlines on how to follow the guru
  • Meditation on the perfect human rebirth, eight freedoms and ten richnesses

Lecture 22

  • Meditation on the ten richnesses

Lecture 23

  • Precepts: Mahayana ordination
  • Getting a general understanding of the lam-rim outline
  • The fundamental realization: refuge and karma
  • Meditating on the eight freedoms and ten richnesses
  • The three advantages of the perfect human rebirth
  • The pure lands

Lecture 24

  • Advantages of the perfect human rebirth
  • How it is possible to attain nirvana and enlightenment
  • The great yogi, Milarepa
  • One can achieve anything with this perfect human body
  • Bearing hardships for Dharma

Lecture 25

  • Mahayana Precepts
  • How infinite merit is accumulated
  • Generating faith in Buddha’s teachings
  • Relating to the Dharma
  • Meditation on the preciousness of the perfect human rebirth

Lecture 26

  • The four wrong conceptions, clinging to the four attachments
  • The preciousness of the perfect human rebirth
  • Making this human life meaningful
  • How to practice the path to enlightenment
  • The importance of bodhicitta  


Lecture 27

  • The path of the middle capable being
  • How samsara is created by karma and disturbing unsubdued mind
  • The root and secondary delusions
  • The nature of attachment, binding us to samsara

Lecture 28

  • Should not be complacent
  • Karma, shortcomings of heresy and anger
  • The difference in numbers of humans and creatures
  • Watch the daily attitude

Lecture 29

  • Meditation remedies to attachment
  • Shortcomings of desire and attachment
  • Shantideva’s advice on giving up attachment to the body

Lecture 30

  • Having a meaningful attitude
  • Samsaric works are never finished
  • Dharma work has an end: enlightenment
  • The evil thought of the eight worldly dharmas

Lecture 31

  • Remedies to attachment to others’ bodies

Lecture 32

  • The evil thought of worldly dharma

Lecture 33

  • Shantideva’s reasoning, techniques to control attachment
  • Reading from Bodhicaryavatara, Meditation chapter
  • How to meditate on the remedies to attachment
  • Controlling attachment to food
  • Renunciation is in the mind
  • Anger


Lecture 34

  • Mahayana Precepts
  • Death can happen at any time
  • The evil thought of worldly dharma
  • Holy Dharma and worldly dharma cannot be mixed
  • Holy Dharma is defined by renunciation

Lecture 35

  • Shortcomings of anger
  • Importance of controlling anger and developing patience
  • Geshe Chengawa’s four methods for controlling anger
  • Gen Jampa Wangdu’s story

Lecture 36

  • The shortcomings of the evil thought of worldly dharma
  • How the eight worldly dharmas disturb our happiness

Lecture 37

  • Geshe Chengawa’s four methods for controlling anger
  • Seeing the enemy as guru and oneself as disciple
  • Seeing everything as a dream
  • Pride

Lecture 38

  • The eight worldly dharmas
  • Verses by the Tibetan yogi, Drokun Tsangba Gyadu
  • Renouncing the eight worldly dharmas brings happiness
  • Ten innermost jewels of the Kadampas
  • The four reliances

Lecture 39

  • Overcoming pride
  • Ignorance or unknowing
  • Doubt
  • Five wrong views
  • The view of the changeable


Lecture 40

  • The ten innermost jewels of the Kadampas
  • The four reliances
  • The meaning of “living in an isolated place”
  • How ascetic yogis live
  • The three vajras

Lecture 41

  • The view of the changeable
  • The extreme views of eternalism and nihilism
  • Refuting a creator god
  • Deluded beliefs
  • Ignorance and the truly-existent “I”

Lecture 42

  • Attachment
  • “Taking the essence” retreat
  • The ten innermost jewels

Lecture 43

  • The disadvantages of disturbing unsubdued mind
  • The importance of controlling delusions
  • Karma

Lecture 44: Lama Thubten Yeshe

  • Our nature is pure
  • Attachment can be positive or negative
  • Eight worldly dharmas can be positive or negative
  • Have to overcome attachment slowly
  • Practice of bodhicitta
  • Renouncing grasping at temporary pleasures
  • Necessary to have wisdom
  • Question and answer


Lecture 45

  • Mahayana Precepts
  • This perfect human rebirth is very rare and short
  • Time of death is uncertain
  • Death is definite
  • The ten innermost jewels: receiving the line of the devas
  • Importance of realizing impermanence and death
  • Dying, transference of consciousness

Lecture 46

  • What to practice at the time of death
  • The practice of giving and taking
  • The experience of dying
  • Intermediate stage
  • The twelve links

Lecture 47

  • The right view
  • Merely labeled I, body and mind
  • Recognizing the object of refutation
  • The four analyses, a concise meditation

Chenrezig Initiation

  • Motivation
  • Pervasive compounded suffering
  • Disadvantages of self-cherishing
  • All happiness comes from bodhicitta
  • The preciousness of each sentient being
  • The six-syllable mantra
  • Story of Gelongma Palmo