Lam-rim Public Talk (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Guadalajara, Mexico, April 2008 (Archive #1700)

The following is a lam-rim teaching given by Rinpoche in Guadalajara, Mexico, on April 4, 2008. It includes commentary to part of Seven-Point Thought Transformation. The translation into Spanish is also included.

You can read an edited version of this talk, and also listen online to an 8-day series of teachings on the lam-rim that Rinpoche gave after this talk.

Public Talk: Lam-rim Part 1

I would like to express to all my brothers and sisters for coming here tonight, gathering here. Maybe to share a little bit of our experiences or for me to little bit chat with you.

So why we gathered here tonight and why I came here, why all of you gathered here, us gathered here is for happiness. It’s not for suffering, it’s for happiness. So basically the main talk is that from where the happiness comes and from where the difficulties of life comes. Then what to do. So basically the happiness of our life, the suffering, the happiness which we like, which we are looking for and the suffering which we do not like do not want to experience, it appears as if it’s coming from outside, but actually, reality, it’s totally other way, totally comes from one’s own mind. So it appears, when we do not have the education, especially education of mind, when we don’t have that, it appears the suffering, the difficulties of life coming from outside, not just from outside but coming only from outside. Maybe put this way, maybe I present this way, that nothing wrong with your mind, your mind is perfect. That yourself is perfect, the mind is perfect. So everything, whatever the life problem you have everything coming only from outside, from other people, only from other people, maybe some animals, from the place. So like that, so even the happiness only coming from outside, which is totally wrong. Only coming from outside—so that’s totally wrong. If you examine your life, your life experience, it’s totally against, opposite to your life experience. That kind of belief is totally opposite to your life experience, you discover. And also scientifically it’s totally wrong. That belief, you see.

So here I want to mention, in the meditation text, in the meditation instruction by the Omniscience, in the meditation instruction, yoga or meditation instruction, so this advice is so helpful. I just want to mention this right from the beginning, this will solve all the life problems: problems in the family, problems in business, problems or somebody who is meditating, the spiritual person meditating, want attainment of the path to the ultimate happiness, liberation, enlightenment, the full state of omniscience, peerless happiness, or just the mere liberation from the whole entire suffering and cause, the karma and delusion, so that meditator having difficulties in the life, obstacles. Anybody who is living any style of life, any obstacles you think you have, you believe you have, so I think this is a great answer: Put all the blames, in the Tibetan it says [Tibetan], Put all the blames, so whatever, any difficulty or whatever obstacle in the life we experience, put all the blames to one. [Tibetan] Put all the blames to one.

So the one, where’s that one? It’s outside, or in the ocean, or in the sky, or at home? Maybe home, maybe close to. [laughter] Or in the head? Or your brain or your fingers or your toes? So what is that one? So that is not others. So that is from where all the problem comes. In the business, all the obstacles there, and in the family life, relationship. Or you are trying to win the Olympics, maybe difficulties there, whatever. So there’s one from where all the problems come from. So putting all the blames to that one. So…. [pause]

I think she wants to expose her shoes (laughter). [Ven. Paloma: What?] You want to expose your shoes, I’m saying. [laughter]

So that is not others, that, not your positive thoughts, not your good heart, not your compassion, not your loving kindness, not your wisdom, so the ego, the selfish mind, self-cherishing thought. So this one. Put all the blames to one means this one. This one from where all the difficulties, all the problems, whatever lifestyle you live, all the problems come from that. Whenever the problem rises, difficulties rises, immediately put the blame to that—from where it came, from where the difficulties, obstacles arises from.

The minute when you do that practice, your problem that you believe, your problem, whether I have problem with this person, with the family or with the wife or with the husband, with the children, with the other friend, with whom you’re doing business—all that becomes nonexistent, not true. Before thinking only came from this, externally, never related to one’s own mind. So suddenly, before you believe, I have this so serious problem, something huge, even that inherently existent, exists from its own side. That never came from your own mind, nothing to do with your mind, I didn’t say “ego.” Nothing to do with your mind. So purely exists from its own side, something real one. So suddenly not there, doesn’t exist.

Then, the second advice by Omniscient One: [Tibetan] so, meditate, means make the mind familiar in our daily life kindness of everybody. It’s not talking about kindness of light or the kindness of the earth or kindness of the fire or kindness of a tree, kindness of a rock. It’s not saying that. It’s not talking those. So kindness of living beings. That means anybody who has got body and mind,  mind, anyone who has a mind. Any living being so practice kindness. Think, in daily life keep our mind in the, make familiar, keep our mind in the kindness, meditate on the kindness of all. From you towards others, every single living being, every single human being, every single animal. There are many other beings we don’t see it, like spirits, pretas, in Sanskrit, pretas, so much suffering of hunger and thirst, spirits. And there are worldly gods living in the high planets who have million, a hundred thousand, million times much more greater sense pleasures. Those devas who have also inner happiness derived through meditation. But still not free from suffering because not liberated from the cause of suffering which is inside not outside. The action, action which is called karma, motivated by disturbing thoughts, obscuring disturbing negative attitude, ignorance, anger, attachment and so forth.

So from you, the one person, towards everybody, all living beings then practice kindness. Kindness of everybody, not only your friend, not only whom you love, not only that, kindness of the stranger, kindness of the enemy, everybody. All the sentient beings come in three: friend, enemy, stranger, related to us, not everybody has friend, enemy, stranger. Related to us ordinary beings, then we have the friend, enemy, stranger. So all the living beings come in three, either friend, stranger, enemy. So kindness of every single friend, kindness of every single stranger, kindness of every single enemy. 

These two advices I think this is unbelievable. If we can practice this two advice, it’s unbelievable. Especially when you think of the kindness of others, your problem, difficulty is gone, again doesn’t exist. First put all the blame to one, the ego, the selfish mind. It’s not talking about, but shouldn’t think others self-cherishing mind, yourself. Don’t get mixed up. In our life, the day, the hour, the minute when your mind is, when your attitude is selfish, cherishing the I, only looking happiness for oneself, looking happiness only for yourself. That time, the minute when you cherish the I, there’s no happiness. Maybe there’s excitement due to hallucination, due to hallucinated mind. There’s excitement, so when your attachment or when your self-cherishing thought wins something.  Football, when you are playing soccer, you win the number or you are able to put the football into the gate. The gate person could not catch, then you are able to put, then you do with your hand. I don’t remember now, I remember this one. (laughter) Anyway, you do like this: very strong, very intense, very intense like that. (laughter) That’s basically like that but some people do a little bit different way. I think it depends on who wins. (laughter)

When I was watching TV, I see some very intensive face, so I thought maybe he’s angry. I thought he’s very angry because he’s not smiling, it’s very, as if he’s going to hit somebody. So sometimes I couldn’t understand, couldn’t tell exactly.

So sometimes there’s excitement but really in your heart if you question, really if there is inner peace, happiness or not—difficult to see inner happiness, peace is there. Very kind of tight mind. Very closed, very tight mind.

Anyway, when you cherish the I, the day, the hour, the minute and the seconds, suddenly you see many problems in your life when you cherish the I, because of that. You’re not happy with your family: Oh, they’re not praising me. Your husband, wife, or children, whatever friend—they are not praising me or not helping me. What your attachment, the hallucinated mind, thinking the object, perceiving or viewing the object in the wrong way, not according to the reality of the object.

There’s a view of attachment. When the anger arises, there is a view of anger. When attachment arises, there is a view of attachment. And when the ignorance arises, whenever ignorance on the object, ignorance has its own view that it apprehends, that it believes. And attachment has its own view projected and it believes. When anger rises, anger has its own view, then rises anger too.

So maybe I just mention the quotation what the great enlightened being, the great scholar Lama Tsongkhapa. [pause] “The concept holding the phenomena as truly existent, apprehending things as truly existent. The ignorance holding or apprehending the phenomena as truly existent.” So what it is saying is that I, action, object, phenomena, what exists is what is, it’s not saying nothing exists, it’s not saying that. If you believe nothing exists, then you are falling in nihilism. And if you, the way you apprehend the object, I, action, object, phenomena as inherently existent, something real one existing from its own side, if you believe in that, you are falling in another extreme, eternalism, which is totally wrong. So both sides are totally wrong. How the self, the I, and how the action, how the objects exist, the phenomena exist, neither nihilism nor eternalism. It exists in middle way view. And that’s the correct view of how things exist. Or what they are, how they exist.

So, things, I, action, objects, I, the self, the creator and the actions, object, phenomena, all exist, but they do not exist (laughter) inherently. (laughter) So see what you feel. I say beginning exist but then I said do not exist. So how you feel? When you hear doesn’t exist, how [do] you feel? Then afterwards I mentioned “inherently,” so how you feel? With each word, how you feel? To check that is very important.

So they exist but they are empty of inherently existing, empty of existing from their own side. They exist but they don’t have inherent existence or existing from its own side, existing by nature. That kind of real existence doesn’t have at all, even the slightest atom of that doesn’t exist. So they exist in mere name imputed by the mind. So therefore, what it is exactly the self, the I that we talk twenty-four hours, day and night, all the time: I want this, I want that, I want to do this, talking about present and the future of the I and the past what this I did. So all this, so the reality, what it is exactly so that is never, that is never the I what is appeared to our hallucinating mind and believed something  truly existent as I mentioned before.

This is a very big subject but to make it simple. Something inherently existent or existing from its own side by its nature, something not merely imputed by the mind. When we say, when we, in the daily life the way things appear, we believe real is this one. This one. So in reality, scientifically, through meditation, analysis, or scientifically, yogis or meditators, when you meditate, your mind do analysis, checking, analyzing to find out what it is exactly, what is exactly the I, the self, you–what it is exactly, to find that, discover the truth of the I, the truth of the self, the reality of that, that which is the truth. Like that, all the phenomena. So this is actually, actually this is great scientist, that’s inner scientist. Really analyzing through meditation. There’s so much learning, so much discovering with your mind. Your mind is full of, filled with the potential to be fully knowing, that can directly see all the past phenomena, no matter long it’s been, and at the same time can see all the future phenomena directly. And at the same time can see all the present phenomena directly. So your mind is full of potential to actualize the path, to remove all the suffering, to be liberated from all the problems and the cause of the suffering--your own action and result suffering, the karma, that which is the action motivated by delusion, the obscuring, disturbing, negative attitude (particularly, as I mentioned at the beginning, the ego, self-cherishing thought.) That you can completely, your mind can be transformed from that. All this from where all the suffering comes, all this cause, can be completely removed. Even including the cause of ignorance, anger, attachment, the delusions, the seed of delusion which is in the nature of negative imprint, so it can be completely removed, can be ceased by actualizing the remedy of the path. Your mind, your heart can be totally transformed into only the ultimate good heart seeking the happiness of only other sentient beings, who are numberless, everyone, no one is left out. There are six realms, the hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, and the different types of worldly gods, the suras, asuras.

Among the worldly gods, there are the form realm gods, formless realm gods. Form realm gods who realize the desire realm where we are, we are in the desire realm and there are worldly gods who are in the desire realm. So form realm gods they see all this desire realm only in the nature of suffering. Like for us some countries or some areas, full of disease and very dirty place, something that you dare not go there, you never want to go there, never want to be there, so total very unhygienic, full of disease, and so many people dying or many bad things happening. So like that, the form realm gods, that’s how they see the desire realm.

Then the formless realm they have total detachment, their mind is free from attachment, total detachment, grasping mind to form realm doesn’t have. See form realm only in the nature of suffering. Like you don’t want to, [laughter] sorry, I didn’t see the pen. My mistake, so I didn’t see this. So, the formless realm, total detachment to form realm, formless realm beings, like you don’t want to step, you don’t want to walk, without shoes, without clothing, you don’t want to walk on the thorn bush, so like that, something very unbearable. They have total detached mind to, yeah.

Then among the form[less] realms, there are four categories: the limitless space, limitless consciousness, nothingness and tip of samsara. For the fourth one, tip of samsara, the fourth devas who are all living in the tip of samsara so also realize the three other formless realms are only in the nature of suffering, except their own realm. Because there’s no higher realm of samsara to compare, how the tip of samsara is in the nature of suffering by comparing, by looking at the previous up one above better, which has more quality. So until they realize, these devas, these worldly gods, these formless beings, until they realize that this tip of samsara is only in the nature of suffering, as it is only in nature of suffering. You are not putting your beliefs on that, it’s only nature of suffering¬, not that; but you are realizing, discovering that it is only nature of suffering, as it is nature of only suffering. Until you see, total detachment to that and the wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, that can cease the defilements, disturbing-thought obscuration, able to remove even the cause of delusion, the seed, the negative imprint. So, until they achieve this attainment, when the karma finishes to be there, then again get reborn, there are six realms, so in one of the realms again, so then same as before, went there again. So like this. Then experiencing all the sufferings of each of those realms.

So what I was saying before, just I try to come back. [laughter]

Ven. Paloma: The kindness to all sentient beings [rest of sentence inaudible].
Rinpoche:  I see. Yeah, something like that. So anyway, what I’m saying? I’ve forgotten. All the talk came out. Now I’m lost. (laughter)

So anyway, so I was talking about how things appeared, how your mind believe. Something not merely, even though everything, even though what everything exists is what is merely imputed by mind but in our daily life appear, what is merely imputed by your mind appeared back as not merely imputed by mind and totally believed, entrusted by the wrong concept, the ignorance. First I put this way, by your concept, by your mind that it’s a hundred percent correct, it’s a hundred percent right. But the minute when you analyze, you can’t find at all what is believed a hundred percent right can’t find. You discover it’s empty. You can’t find that at all, what is, the way it’s appeared inherently existent, existing without being merely imputed by mind and believed by your mind it’s a hundred percent true. You discover, through analysis, through meditation, through analysis, if you check, you discover that is totally nonexistent. Right there from where it is appearing, it is totally nonexistent there. That is the very nature. When you see the I like that, that is the very nature of the I. You are seeing the ultimate nature of the I, the very truth of the I, you are seeing it. You are not seeing I doesn’t exist. No, not that. So exists but is empty. Exists, what you realize is it’s empty, totally empty. While you are seeing the I totally empty of existing from its own side, you are not seeing nonexistent but you see existent but something unbelievable, something extremely subtle phenomenon. Something extremely subtle. You are discovering how the I exists, what it is exactly. It’s like compared to your concept before, ignorance, how the ignorance believes and how it appeared to your hallucinated mind, that real I existing from its own side, not merely imputed by mind. Compared to that, so now what you see is like, it’s not nonexistent but like it doesn’t exist. Not nonexistent but like nonexistent compared to ?delusion. So something very, very extremely, the existence of the I, the self, something extremely subtle, fine. The borderline of existing I, existing self, not existing self is something unbelievably subtle. While the I is existing, that it’s empty. While it’s empty, it is existing. You are discovering the I unified of the two, emptiness and dependent arising. So this is the correct view, the middle way view.

With this wisdom, first you have the realization of this ultimate nature of the I, self, then after that, as a result then, so first you see the I as empty, that is the truth of the I, now you are realizing, you are seeing the truth of the I, okay? The very nature of the I, which is emptiness, okay? So this as a cause, as a result, then you see the truth for the all-obscuring mind. Previous one is truth for the absolute mind. Now you see as a result truth for the all-obscuring mind. Normally what is translated as conventional truth, but, however, kun tsob den pa, kun tsob kyi denpa. So kun tsob is ignorance. Kun is the ultimate nature of phenomena. So tsob is, for example, when you are writing or something, if the ink dropped on the book, then it obscures the letter, you can’t read. So like that it’s describing the function of this ignorance. So this ignorance it obscures you to see the emptiness of the phenomena. So that’s why, so obscuring all, kun tsob, so describing the function of your ignorance.

Then now the same time, the first one, truth for your wisdom for your absolute mind, absolute wisdom. Now the second one is as a result then you see the conventional truth, or the I exists, it’s not nonexistent, it exists in mere name imputed by mind.