Kopan Course No. 50 (2017)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Kopan Monastery, Nepal (Archive #2065)

These teachings were given by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at the 50th Kopan Meditation Course, held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, in December 2017. Transcribed and lightly edited by Ven. Joan Nicell. Second edit by Gordon McDougall.

The edited transcript is freely available for download as a PDF file. You can also visit FPMT Video Resources to watch video extracts of these teachings, or listen to MP3 audio files, available here.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Boudha Stupa, Nepal, 2017. Photo: Bill Kane.
Kopan Course No. 50 Index Page

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

Lecture 1: The Essence of Dharma
December 5, 2017
  • You Are Here to Bring Happiness to Every Being
    • All problems come from self-cherishing
    • Unless you exchange self for others you cannot attain enlightenment
    • Happiness and suffering come from the mind
  • Cherishing Others Is the Essence of the Dharma, the Reason You Are Here
    • Kopan’s fifty courses happened because Rinpoche read Yeshe Gyaltsen’s Book
  • Happiness Follows Us Like a Shadow
    • Learn to recognize negative karma and avoid it
    • Perception, inference and very hidden phenomena
    • With problems don’t blame external phenomena
  • Dedications
Lecture 2: Subdue the Mind
December 6, 2017
  • Meditation Is More than Closing the Eyes
    • You need to be free from the eight worldly dharmas
    • You need to be free from grasping and self-cherishing
  • Freedom from the Eight Worldly Dharmas Is Pure Dharma Practice
    • The happiest life is when you practice bodhicitta
  • Subdue the Mind
    • Like a star
  • Dedication
  • The Beauty of an Object Comes from the Mind
  • Dedications
Lecture 3: Understanding Karma
December 7, 2017
  • This Perfect Human Rebirth
  • The Suffering Results of Killing
    • Rinpoche’s early life
    • The four results of killing (continued)
    • Recognize you are harmed because you harmed others in the past
  • Dedications
Lecture 4: The Four Clingings
December 8, 2017
  • Attachment Obscures Conventional and Ultimate Truth
    • The four clingings
    • Whether an action is Dharma or not depends on the motivation
    • Holding on to the I as truly existing
    • Geshe Ben Gungyal breaks his attachment to this life
    • Rinpoche first reads Opening the Door of Dharma
    • “My karma persuaded me”
    • The lamrim is the remedy to self-cherishing (Gen Jampa Wangdu)
  • Taking the Pain of Others
  • Dedications
Lecture 5: Guru Devotion
December 9, 2017
  • The Ignorance of Believing in a Truly Existing I
    • The four schools’ view of how the I exists
  • Guru Devotion
    • Understanding emptiness needs great merit and strong guru devotion
    • Serkong Dorje Chang: If the guru is sitting, think the Buddha is sitting
    • Following the guru’s advice is the quickest way to attain enlightenment
    • The guru is the magnifying glass allowing us to receive blessings
    • The ox with the blue horns (pleasing the guru)
  • The Emptiness of the Z
  • Dedications
Lecture 6: The Faults of Self-Cherishing
December 10, 2017
  • The Graduated Paths of the Middle and Higher Capable Beings: Motivation for the Eight Mahayana Precepts
  • Exchanging Ourselves with Others
  • Contemplate the Faults of Self-Cherishing
    • The messages on Rinpoche’s car
    • The faults of self-cherishing (continued): Give your problems back to your self-cherishing
    • What greater happiness do you need than helping sentient beings?
    • Cherishing the enemy
  • Dedications
Lecture 7: Emptiness, Dependent Arising and Tonglen
December 11, 2017
  • Things Exist in Mere Name
    • The emptiness of money
    • Emptiness and dependent arising
    • The hallucination we believe in
  • Tonglen
    • The wish to take others’ suffering
    • Cherishing all beings more than ourselves
Lecture 8: Tonglen Meditation
December 11, 2017, Late Evening
  • Questions and Answers
  • Tonglen
    • You create infinite merit
Lecture 9: How to Correctly Follow the Guru
December 12, 2017
  • The Five Degenerations
  • Even Understanding the Dharma Without Practicing Helps
    • The Buddha manifests in many forms
  • We Need a Guru for Enlightenment
    • Check well before you take a guru
    • The eight benefits of guru devotion
Lecture 10: Refuge Ceremony
December 13, 2017
  • Refuge Ceremony
    • Swayambhunath
  • The Benefits of Prostrations
    • We practice the three higher trainings for every sentient being
    • The benefits of prostration (continued)
    • The correct way to prostrate
  • Helping Animals
  • Refuge: What to Abandon and What to Practice
  • Refuge Ceremony
  • Dedications
Lecture 11: THe Seven-Limb Prayer
December 14, 2017
  • The Seven-Limb Prayer
Lecture 12: Vajrasattva Jenang
December 15, 2017
  • Preliminary to the Vajrasattva Jenang
    • Quicker and quicker
    • The three protectors in Tsongkhapa’s tradition
    • The power of compassion to purify
    • The early days of Kopan
    • Loving kindness and giving our body