Kopan Course No. 25 (1992)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1992 (Archive #944)

These transcripts are of teachings given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the Twenty-Fifth Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in 1992. Lightly edited by Gordon McDougall.

You may also download the entire contents of these teachings in a pdf file.

Kopan Course No. 25 Index Page

The Index Page provides an outline of the topics discussed in each of the lectures. 


Lecture 1

  • Introduction
  • Biography of Atisha
  • Lam-rim texts
  • All happiness and suffering come from the mind
  • The suffering of change
  • Dharma is the cause of happiness
  • Dealing with a person who harms you
  • Everything comes from the mind

Lecture 2

  • The dissatisfied mind of desire
  • How the mind labels
  • Everything comes from the mind
  • The need for compassion
  • Problems are labeled by the mind
  • Mind is the creator of everything

Lecture 3

  • The base and the label
  • Subtle dependent arising
  • Guru devotion and dependent arising
  • Searching for the I
  • Everything comes from the mind  

Lecture 4

  • Emptiness
  • The truly-existing I
  • The difference between the base and the label
  • Where the concept of true existence comes from
  • Perfect human rebirth
  • Hallucinations
  • The importance of practicing Dharma


Lecture 5

  • Questions and answers
  • How things exist
  • Dependent arising
  • Emptiness cuts to the root of samsara
  • Emptiness and dependent arising
  • Universal responsibility 

Lecture 6

  • Searching for the I
  • The five aggregates
  • Subtle dependent arising
  • Enlightenment
  • The paths within Buddhism
  • Compassion
  • The power of the Buddha
  • The actions of bodhisattvas
  • The qualities of the Buddha
  • Compassion
  • The aggregates are not the I
  • Searching for the truly-existing I  

Lecture 7

  • The purpose of life
  • The perfect human rebirth
  • The kindness of the mother
  • Repaying the kindness
  • All happiness comes from others
  • The purpose of life  

Lecture 8

  • The aim of a spiritual practice
  • The mind does not exist from its own side
  • Because of buddha nature we have the opportunity to help others
  • Compassion


Lecture 9

  • Emptiness
  • The eight types of suffering
  • Guru devotion and emptiness
  • The truly-existing I as the object of refutation
  • Losing the I
  • The continuation of the consciousness  

Lecture 10

  • Realizing emptiness
  • The sufferings of samsara
  • The Tibetan monastic structure
  • The suffering of the god realms
  • The fortune of being born in the southern continent  

Lecture 11

  • The kindness of others
  • Compassion
  • Immeasurable compassion
  • Guru devotion
  • The meaning of Dharma 

Lecture 11(a)
Tara Commentary and Motivation

  • The power of the Tara practice
  • The power of Tara (no outside Yama)
  • The power of Tara (victory of the maras)
  • The power of Tara (the absolute guru)
  • The meaning of the Tara mantra
  • The benefits of the Tara practice  

Lecture 12

  • The purpose of life
  • Helping others
  • The three scopes
  • The three realms: the form realm
  • The three realms: the formless realm
  • The middle scope being


Lecture 13

  • The middle scope being (cont.)
  • The middle scope being (not seeing samsara as a pleasure park)
  • The five paths
  • How to practice Dharma
  • Pervasive compounding suffering
  • The suffering of change
  • Samsara is not a pleasure park
  • The general sufferings of samsara
  • The evolution of samsara
  • Being yourself  

Lecture 14

  • The eight Mahayana precepts
  • The suffering of samsara
  • An explanation of the precepts prayer
  • An explanation of the precepts prayer (nonvirtue depends on motivation)
  • An explanation of the precepts prayer (sitting on high thrones)
  • An explanation of the precepts prayer (not eating at inappropriate times)
  • Dedication
  • The benefits of taking precepts
  • Dedication  

Lecture 15

  • The three scopes
  • An overview of the Guru Puja
  • The eight worldly dharmas
  • Dealing with criticism (by remembering emptiness)
  • Dealing with criticism (by generating compassion)
  • Getsul Tsimbulwa’s story
  • Asanga’s story
  • The benefits of problems
  • Letting go of attachment
  • Letting go of expectations
  • Compassion for the enemy
  • Dedication  

Lecture 16

  • The eight worldly dharmas
  • The shortcomings of samsara
  • Karma (experiencing the result similar to the cause)
  • The eight worldly dharmas stops us practicing Dharma
  • Remembering death


Lecture 17

  • The eight worldly dharmas bring all problems
  • “It’s better to practice Dharma” (Dromtömpa’s story)
  • Remembering impermanence and death
  • Dedicating a cup of tea
  • The appearance of true existence
  • The importance of purification
  • Practicing Dharma eliminates concern for this life
  • Rinpoche’s life story: Rolwaling
  • Rinpoche’s life story: after Tibet  

Lecture 18

  • The three scopes
  • The higher scope and bodhicitta
  • We must train in the whole lam-rim
  • The nature of samsara
  • The three types of worldly dharma
  • The evolution of human beings
  • The five degenerations
  • The degeneration of life
  • Virtue and nonvirtue depend on motivation
  • Discriminating what is Dharma and what is not Dharma
  • Remembering impermanence and death  

Lecture 19

  • Renunciation
  • Khunu Lama Rinpoche
  • Seeing the body as dirty  

Lecture 20

  • The suffering of samsara
  • Karma: nothing is definite in samsara
  • Karma: not seeing is no proof that karma doesn’t work
  • Realizing how fortunate we are
  • Rinpoche’s teaching style
  • How to listen to the teachings
  • Refuge
  • Mahayana refuge
  • Karma: good luck means good karma
  • How to accumulate merit
  • The fly on the cow dung
  • Refuge: how it creates extensive merit
  • Refuge protects from the lower realms
  • Refuge leads to enlightenment
  • The prostration mudra
  • Taking refuge in the Triple Gem (the ceremony)
  • Refuge precepts


Lecture 21

  • Understanding the Dharma
  • Dealing with anger
  • Bodhicitta: the seven points of cause and effect
  • The benefits of patience
  • The importance of the three principal aspects of the path
  • The importance of motivation
  • The benefits of light offerings
  • How to make light offerings
  • The benefits of offering to the FPMT  

Lecture 22

  • The dangers of clinging to this life
  • The early days of the FPMT
  • Zina
  • The three principal aspects of the path are needed even for tantra  

Lecture 23

  • Lama Yeshe’s story
  • Kari Rinpoche
  • Zina dies
  • The three principal aspects of the path : your wisdom is your guide
  • Understanding the lam-rim is preferable to having clairvoyance
  • There is no happiness in samsara
  • The wheel-turning king
  • How devotion can heal: Tony Wong’s story
  • Only Dharma can help at the time of death
  • The lam-rim definitely leads to enlightenment
  • Healing helps the symptoms; Dharma helps the cause
  • Motivation for the oral transmission of the Essence of Nectar  

Lecture 24  

  • Question and answer: how things exist
  • Three ways of knowing
  • Reincarnation
  • The Buddha explained very hidden objects
  • Why we can trust the Buddha


Lecture 25

  • Asanga and the maggoty dog
  • Getsul Tsimbulwa
  • Renunciation
  • The benefits of meditating on impermanence and death
  • The meaning of “self-supporting”
  • Impermanence and death: purifying negative karma
  • The definition of negative karma
  • Signs at death of future rebirth in the lower realms
  • The sense of permanence tricks us
  • Death can come at any time
  • Dying with a good heart
  • Renunciation
  • We can trust the Dharma  

Lecture 26

  • The cause of happiness
  • The third path: “heat” and “tip”
  • The third path: the Prasangika way of analysis
  • The third path: heresy
  • The third path: a good heart saves from the lower realms
  • The third path: the kind of death experienced depends on the mind
  • The four suffering results
  • Guru devotion  

Lecture 27

  • The mind qualified to take refuge
  • Labeling
  • Labeling long and short
  • Labeling here and there
  • Labeling me and other
  • The importance of understanding emptiness
  • Wisdom cuts delusions
  • Refuge
  • Suffering
  • The suffering of taking an animal rebirth
  • Bodhicitta  

Lecture 28

  • Requesting prayers to the lineage lamas
  • Manjushri’s advice to Lama Tsongkhapa
  • Lam-rim needs to be experienced in the heart
  • Everything comes from the mind
  • What is mind?
  • Reincarnation stories
  • Meditating on lam-rim
  • Perfect human rebirth
  • Oral transmission
  • The kindness of the guru
  • Vajrasattva


Lecture 29

  • The purpose of chanting
  • What helps and hinders at the time of death
  • The old monk and his butter tea
  • Craving and grasping block a good rebirth
  • Life without Dharma
  • Training the mind in the lam-rim
  • Only tantra gives complete knowledge about the mind
  • The importance of learning about death
  • Thubten Sherab’s story
  • Happiness and unhappiness
  • Tibetans in Switzerland
  • Helping the dying
  • FPMT hospices
  • Vajrasattva
  • Dedication  

Lecture 30

  • Everything comes from the mind
  • Labeling the scarecrow as a person
  • Labeling Kathmandu
  • The I is not the aggregates
  • Dependent arising
  • A valid base is also needed
  • The story of the man with no head
  • Mind is not the brain
  • Radio interviews in Adelaide
  • The base, the label and the mind
  • The parts of the table are not the table
  • Labeling the “A”
  • Labeling woman, table, car
  • The object of refutation
  • The valid base and the red light  

Lecture 31

  • The mind as creator
  • Labeling friend, enemy, good bad
  • The view of the self-cherishing thought
  • The view of bodhicitta
  • Views creates appearances  

Lecture 32

  • Dependent arising
  • Searching for the formally labeled table
  • The danger of nihilism
  • Dependent arising
  • Searching for the table
  • Searching for the book
  • The need to meditate on the lower realms
  • Renunciation and reflecting on the sufferings of samsara
  • Karma
  • The hells


Lecture 33

  • Tantric rituals are more than devotion
  • The valid base
  • The valid mind
  • The obscuring mind  

Lecture 34

  • How the Buddha and the Sangha guide
  • The Buddha’s past lives
  • The actions of the bodhisattvas
  • How the Buddha guides
  • Geshe Jampa Wangdu
  • Thogme Zangpo and the thieves
  • The Sangha as objects of refuge
  • How negative karma increases