Mahamudra Teachings and Medicine Buddha Teachings (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Crestone, CO USA June 2008 (Archive #1711)

These teachings were given in June 2008 at the White Eagle Conference Center in Crestone, Colorado. Included is the oral transmission of the First Panchen Lama's Root Text for the Precious Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra.

You can also listen to the Chinese translation of the teachings here. Read the edited transcripts of these teachings here.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, 2000. Photo: Brian Halterman.
Day One Part A: Searching for the I; Why We Suffer; Why We Need to Practice Dharma

[Students chant Shakyamuni Buddha’s mantra.]

So, first I want to say, good afternoon.

So, since whatever is happening in the world, it is dependent arising, it is dependent arising, so, there must be some reason why we gathered here, and, however, to, the little drop from the ocean of Dharma, so little drop, little understanding, so, that I have, then to, to share, how to say, maybe to benefit each other, so….

However, we have received a precious human rebirth at this time, that which is extremely rare to find, to achieve, because the cause is extremely difficult to create, the cause, us to have this precious human body, this time, the cause is extremely difficult to create. So, therefore, but this time we have achieved this, that, you can achieve any happiness you wish for yourself, not just only happiness of this life, that, even the ants they are very expert, even the ants, those small, precious, the small, precious sentient beings, the small, precious sentient beings, the ants, they are very expert in achieving the happiness of this life. And the mouse, they are very expert in achieving happiness of this life. Even those tiny insects, they are very clever in achieving, to achieve happiness of this life. So, so that is not, so achieving happiness of this life is not special, it’s not a special capacity of human being, it’s not special capacity of human being, because those non-human beings can, they are very expert, they are very clever to achieve, so, it’s not a special quality of human being, how much we can achieve happiness of this life.

So, the special capacity that we have as human beings, by having this precious human body, that is to achieve happiness beyond from this life, happiness of all the future lives. So here, just this life, I mean the one before happiness of just this life, and the very, very short-term happiness, so, now, achieving happiness of all the future lives, all the coming future lives, to have happiness.

So, a person who’s only, who’s thinking, who’s only seeking the happiness of just today, just only today, not thinking to achieve happiness tomorrow, day after tomorrow, all the coming months, all the coming weeks, months, years, not thinking, not preparing happiness for all those, only preparing happiness just today, so, and then, then get into trouble, when it comes tomorrow, or day after tomorrow, the next weeks, months, and years. So anyway, so like that, it’s very clear, so that’s very foolish, very foolish, very unintelligent.

So similar, like that, so, so we have this capacity, this human body has all this potential, capacity to achieve happiness in all the coming future lives, okay. Until we break this circle of death and rebirth, by ceasing the cause not from outside, but from one’s own mind, the cycle, the suffering, rebirth and suffering of death, the circle, the circle, came from the mind, caused by the mind, the wrong concept, hallucinated mind, impure mind, delusion, and its action, karma, caused. So, until that, then you have to die and reborn, continuously, so all the happiness in all those lives, so to have happiness, this human body has the potential, say, gives us opportunity to achieve happiness in all those lives.

Then, on top of that, then ultimate happiness, the cessation of the suffering, the true suffering, the suffering rebirth, old age, sicknesses, death, so forth, suffering, worry, fear, meeting the undesirable objects, unable to find desirable objects, worry, fears of that, all those sufferings, sufferings of desire, sufferings of mind, sufferings of desire, the hallucinated mind. [pause] So, one exaggerates the object: this is beautiful, this is nice, this and this, then attachment arises, it clings, grasps on that. So like that, wrong concept which is built, which belief is grasping, built on the basis of the object of ignorance, ignorance. So there are many, many different types of ignorance, but here I’m talking the ignorance, the king of the delusion, the ignorance, from where all the sufferings came, from where all the sufferings come, physical and mental suffering, so everything, so all the, from where all the delusions come, the action, karma, so the ignorance, so, that which is unknowing mind, unknowing, what is the I, what is self, we talk I, self, twenty-four hours, even one day, twenty-four hours, from birth until death, we talk, every time, one talk, one think, I, self. Then, like that, from, even life before this, even life before this, there was concept, there was ignorance, not just concept of I, but the ignorance, the, wrong concept, even, it exists even before the birth of this life, even before conception, it exists, the wrong concept of the I. [pause]

So, while there’s no such I, a real I in the sense existing from its own side, not merely labeled by the mind, while such an I, while there’s no such I, while such an I is totally nonexistent, not there, totally empty there, but believed there’s such a real I, in the sense existing from its own side, not merely labeled by mind, so, wrong concept holding that.

So, anyway, however, so it exists, there was this continuity of this ignorance exists in the life before this and then, even just before the birth, before the conception, then, like that, it didn’t, continuity of this, this ignorance, beginningless, so like that.

So, however, from beginningless, one has been thinking, constantly thinking of the I, but however, not knowing what it is exactly, not knowing what it is exactly, but if you look for, can’t find, if you look, expressing in a very gross way, if you look within yourself, can’t find, if you look for, can’t find.

Here, there’s five aggregates, aggregates of form, feeling, cognition, compounding aggregates, consciousness, nothing is the I, and you can’t find I, the self on this, from the tip of the hairs, down to the toes, nowhere, no way you can find the I, so like that. So, can’t find, can’t find the self, the I which exists, which is merely labeled by mind, can’t find even that, which does meditation, which creates the cause of suffering, which creates the cause of happiness, that I, I who wants to achieve happiness, who do not want to suffer, who wants to achieve liberation, who wants to achieve the peerless happiness, enlightenment, that I which is merely imputed by mind, or even which exists, but can’t find on this, nowhere, nothing of this is I, nowhere you can find this I on this.

So, no question, the false I, no question about the false I, expressing in a very gross way, inside of this body, there’s this I, inside this body there’s this I, hundred percent believed, hundred percent this, it’s inside this body, this I, or, anyway. Then, particularly, not believing this I, not believing that there’s I in the toes or in your fingers or in your brain, or in your nose, or, so, anyway, but, general belief, constantly we have that is inside the, not in the belly, not in the head, but somewhere in the, somewhere here in the chest, somewhere. But if you look for, but if you look for, exactly where it is, if you look for, can’t find, nowhere you can find, where is it, can’t find.

So the, so it’s like that, so, when you look for, can’t find, like, so when you don’t find, when you do not find a million dollars in your purse, in the purse, not in the pores, sorry, I made a mistake, in the purse, I don’t mean pores, but purse, in the purse, in the purse, in the purse not in the pores, in your money purse, could not find one million dollars when you look for, you can’t find. So, anyway, that’s the definition, it doesn’t exist, the million dollars doesn’t exist in your purse, so like that, anyway.

So, anyway, so that proves that’s not true, so that proves this is not true at all. So if it’s true, when you look for, it should become more and more clear; the more you look it should be more clear, you should find it, when you look you should find, you should find more clear, the more you look, but that doesn’t happen.

So, however, that’s, that is extremely essential, extremely essential discovery. So, in this life, while we have this precious human body, we should have that realization, we should have that discovery, the realizing the ultimate reality, the truth of the I. [pause]

So when you do not look for, when you do not examine, looks like it’s there, but when you look for, when you examine, don’t find. So, so it appeared, to the hallucinated mind, as it exists, it appeared, but when you search, when you examine, whether it really exists, whether it’s really there, can’t find, so that, [pause]] that is, this is, this appearance, the way it’s appeared, the I the way it’s appeared is total, the way it’s appeared is a total hallucination, that this is totally false, this total false I.

So, however, so this wrong concept, hundred percent, without doubt, hundred percent believing that there is a real I there, holding on that, there’s a real I there, hundred percent believe, as it appeared.

So why, why we are born this time, why we are born with suffering, why we are not born with total liberation, the ultimate happiness, devoid of all these sufferings, and all these problems and cause, all these wrong concepts, delusion, action, karma, without all this. Why we are born, why we are born with this, why we are not born, without this, so, ultimate happiness? Why?

Why are we born with a body which is nature of suffering? Why are we born with a mind which is nature of suffering, experience so many problems, the body and the mind. So that’s due to this ignorance, due to this ignorance, not knowing the ultimate reality of the I, ultimate truth of the I, not knowing that this I is empty, not empty in the sense, nihilism, doesn’t exist, but empty of the false I. I is not empty of I, but I is empty of the false I, that which is not merely labeled by mind, existing from its own side, all that, empty of that, that one, that one has been grasping, entrusting to that, or holding on that from, not only from this morning, not only from birth, from beginningless rebirth. So that’s why we are born with suffering, why we are born, from, even in the mother’s womb, conception time, why we are born with suffering. So, because you can’t remember, but of course, even you can’t remember, even you can’t see clearly that your consciousness took place on the fertilized egg in your mother’s womb, and about nine months, more or less, or however, in your mother’s womb, the physical body developed, all those changes each week, as a week goes, however, so most people can’t remember. Of course you can’t say, I was not born, because you don’t remember, you can’t say, oh, I wasn’t born in my mother’s womb; I was born only when I remember, I remember, I remember only, I was born when I remember myself, the childhood time, the very first time. So, anyway, can’t say that, so, you can’t leave the definition whether it exists or not up to your belief, can’t ?use that.

So, however like that, so now, if you go beyond, then, of course, you can’t remember beyond from the birth, beyond from the conception, beyond from that, of course, so most people can’t remember, mother’s womb, being in mother’s womb. It’s true but, you can’t say no, it would be silly, you’re fooling, then you become silly, you’re fooling yourself. So, like that. So, if you don’t remember, then how can you remember, life before that.

So however, here the conclusion, then, this ignorance, due to this ignorance, we haven’t removed this ignorance in the past, in the past life, we haven’t removed, we haven’t abandoned or eliminated by actualizing the remedy path, in our mental continuum, so didn’t get done that.

So, however, what it’s saying is due to ignorance, because did not get eliminated, ceased completely by actualizing the remedy path, which is your own mind, so, because of that, then, have been experiencing suffering, so always born with suffering, with problems, like this life, so then from beginningless rebirth, like that.

So then, now, so now what I’m going to say is, so achieve ultimate happiness, okay, with this body, can achieve ultimate happiness, so that total cessation of the true suffering, all this, the oceans of samsaric sufferings, the oceans of human beings’ problems, sufferings, oceans of hell beings’ suffering, hungry ghosts’ sufferings, animal sufferings, then those worldly gods, suras, asuras, oceans of all those sufferings, and by ceasing the cause, karma and delusion, so that.

Then, not only that, then, with this human body we can cease the, even the, say, subtle defilements, left by this ignorance, concept holding such as the I, aggregates, truly existent, while they are not, while they are empty of that. So the state of mind that, perfected with all the qualities of cessation, not only all the sufferings but the cause, and even the subtle negative imprint, which mainly interferes to achieve the fully knowing mind, the state of omniscience, so, and then, state of mind which is completed in all the qualities of realizations, in all the qualities, ?and qualities of realizations, okay, so this peerless happiness, full enlightenment.

So, therefore, not only that, then with that, you can liberate numberless hell beings from the oceans of the samsaric suffering, you can liberate numberless hungry ghosts from the oceans of samsaric suffering, you can liberate numberless animals from the animal realm, numberless animals from the oceans of samsaric suffering, you can liberate the numberless human beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering, and you can liberate numberless worldly gods, suras, asuras from the oceans of samsaric suffering, as well as intermediate state beings, numberless intermediate state beings, you can liberate from the oceans of samsaric sufferings.

Not only that, cause them ultimate happiness, but not only that, you are able to bring numberless sentient beings from each realm to full enlightenment.

So therefore, so this that you liberate, that you bring numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, intermediate state beings, numberless beings from each realm, to full enlightenment, so, the peerless happiness, cessation of all the mistakes, complete, having all the, perfected in all the qualities, so this, so this is our project, this is our project, this is the meaning of our life, this is the one what you should live for, your life to live for.

So, can imagine that when, if your goal, if your, your goal, by having this in your heart, this goal, purpose, purpose of living or life, this in your heart, there’s joyfulness all the time, joyfulness in your heart, joyfulness in your life all the time. There’s no greater, what is there greater happiness than this in the life? There is no other, there is no greater happiness than this in the life. This is the best life, this is the most exciting life. Then all the problems, all other problems gone, all the problems, say, depression, depression, yourself, feeling yourself down, all the, how to say, I’ve forgotten the name, low self-esteem, anyway, so low self-esteem. Anyway the, so you see, if you live your life, with the attachment, with the, just with the attachment, the, I mean, same as animals, same, insects, attachment, just only attachment to this life, clinging this life, clinging, this life’s happiness, for oneself, so, just, so, so the, way of living life, with that mind, so, if it happened this way, then it brings so many problems, it brings so many problems, every day, month and years, so many problems, so many unhappiness, so much, life is full, it makes life full of unhappiness. So then, because of that, then anger, jealousy, because of attachment then, anger, jealousy, so many other, the sicknesses of the mind, the delusion, so many rises, then, then life is tortured, so yourself is tortured, constantly tortured by jealousy, by pride, by anger, by this, so many, constantly you are tortured, torture yourself, like that, then, especially by, basic one is attachment, then the, then selfish mind, the big one, the selfish mind, torture you constantly, never give you any peace, never give you any peace, constantly torture, and gives so much harm, it causes to create negative action, unhealthy action, unhealthy action, negative action, nonvirtuous action, so, non-Dharma action, so much, then harms you so much, then harms others, so many sentient beings, so many sentient beings it harms, so that, even in this life, so much, so no question about past lives and future lives, like that.

Anyway, so, so anyway, just brief, there’s so much problems one creates with ignorance, with that ignorance, with selfish mind, with the attachment, desire, so it’s, then constantly one suffers, constantly. So doesn’t allow to experience the real happiness, doesn’t allow to experience, real happiness, true happiness, ultimate happiness, doesn’t allow, so like that.

So, but, but if we have that goal in our heart, to liberate, to benefit others, to liberate numberless beings in each realm from all the suffering and causes and bring them to full enlightenment, if we have that in our heart, then, if you’re living life with that, while you are meditating, while you are studying Dharma, while you are working, doing job, while you are driving car, while you are doing job, same, whatever you are doing, that goal, that pure mind. Then, you see, you have constant joy and happiness, in the life. There’s nothing to be scared of or something, however, so much of the life problems gone. You don’t, say, you don’t need to suffer, so much of the life problem, you don’t ?need ?to experience, so you become free, you become free, because by your motivation of your life, living in this, making your life meaningful every day, meaningful every day, every hour, every minute, every second, not only your family, to every living being, not only human beings, all the animals, all the insects, every single animal, insects, worms, ants, or the tiniest insects that you see only through a machine, cannot see by eye, but you only through microscope, so, what you are doing, with that mind you benefit to everybody, benefit to every single insect, every single, those tiny beings which you can only see through a microscope. Then every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, to everybody, and suras, asuras, anybody who is suffering, whose mind is obscured, you are benefiting every day, every hour, every minute, second, with your body, speech, and mind, with this motivation, with your body, speech, and mind you are doing, beneficial for them, to cause happiness to everybody, happiness of this life, happiness of future lives, for them, happiness in all their future lives, then ultimate happiness, total, the liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering and causes, okay, and you benefit them to achieve enlightenment, so like that.

So therefore, now, so what I’m saying is, so all those, like the mountains of problems, the mountain has many atoms, okay, so mountains of problems, all these problems to do with those minds, to do with all those sicknesses of the mind, this anger, attachment, all these, so many, because you made yourself free from all this, you made yourself by abiding in this, this most exciting, most wonderful, best, most healthy mind, the attitude, to liberate numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering, bring them in full enlightenment. So therefore, you are free from all those problems, because you freed yourself, mind, because you’re living your life, your motivation in this, so, those other delusions, do not rise, your mind does not get under the control of them, so you don’t create karma. So, however, free from all, so, you liberate yourself, say, liberate or the, you’re free from all these problems, unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable problems, that you cause yourself, you cause others.

So therefore, now, conclusion, then conclusion, okay is, full of conclusions, now, so this, how long we’re going to have this precious human body, how many days, how many hours, minutes, seconds, we will have this, not sure, but however, it’s a very short time, so it’s time to do the best in your life, this is the time to do the best in your life, so, without fooling oneself, without cheating oneself.

Hsieh, hsieh [thank you].

So, basically, why we need to practice Dharma, why we need to practice meditation, so, actually what I explained just before, all those are the reasons, but even a non-believer, who doesn’t believe in reincarnation, karma, who believe only one life, but since that person especially wants to live, doesn’t want to die, even though believe one life, but the desire is doesn’t want to die, wants to live, so, anyway that tells something, that tells something, okay. So even that person needs to practice meditation, needs to practice Dharma, even that person who doesn’t believe reincarnation, reincarnation, that there’s a past life, that there will be future lives, I mean, that there’s a future life, who doesn’t believe, but still needs to practice meditation, needs to practice Dharma, needs to make, way of your living the life or, the way you think, the motivation of life, need to be better, need to be better, otherwise, you suffer, constantly you suffer, with your selfish mind, with anger, with attachment, with all this, you constantly suffer in life.

So, so since you don’t want, so since your goal of life is, since it’s not to enjoy the problems, your goal of your life is not to enjoy the problems, your goal of life is to not experience problems, to enjoy the problems, that’s okay but to not experience problems, so, still that is your desire, to not experience problems, so since it’s that, then meditate, need to meditate, need to meditate, this is just a different name, practice Dharma, like that, transform your mind into positive thoughts, healthy mind, not disturbing mind, not disturbing but the opposite of that, bringing peace to your heart. You need to transform the mind into that, so that you don’t experience disturbances, you don’t receive disturbances, instead of that, peace, happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in the life, so like that.

So basically the person, even though believe it’s only one life, but the basic wish that person has is to receive only benefit, peace, and to not receive harm. So then, to not receive harm from others, I mean, even for that, to not receive harm from others, even for that, then, that’s a result of, that is a result of your own disturbing thoughts, you generate disturbing thoughts, you follow that, so then, then harm, then, you harm others, disturb others, then you receive harm back from others. So, basically like that.

So therefore, to not receive harm from others, so you need to train your mind or you need to change your mind from disturbing thoughts, that which harms to you and harms others, from that into the positive attitude, that which result only brings peace to you and others. So, to receive only benefit, help from others, not to receive harm from others, so that depends on your, that depends on how you think of others, your attitude to, how you look at others, how you think of others, it depends on that. So, if it’s positive, then, if it’s loving kindness, compassion, contentment, in other words renunciation of the harmful thoughts, desire and so forth, renunciation of that, in other words, contentment, so that positive mind, so, and wisdom, so the, opposite, the wisdom, which is the antidote to the ignorance, the wisdom which talked before. So, then, with this, so with this positive thought, you do only positive actions, see, healthy actions, say, benefiting others, which becomes Dharma, at least you don’t harm others, even there’s no benefit, but there’s no harm to others, you don’t harm. So, then, however, so when you do good to others, benefit others, then, as a result, effect of that, you receive help, benefit from, to your life, from others, so like that.