Nourishing Our Loving Kindness Wisdom Energy

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy (Archive #064)

Lama Yeshe discusses the profound yoga method of Gyalwa Gyatso in this excerpt from a commentary given at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Italy, in September 1983. Edited by Constance Miller.

Lama Yeshe in the villetta, Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, 1983.
Projections: positive and negative

When we have developed our own inner purity, great compassion, and great love, then we can also see a pure reflection and loving kindness in others. If we don’t have these qualities inside, then we see everyone else as ugly. Whatever we see every day in outer reality actually comes from our own inner reality, which we then project onto outer reality.

Now, what is Gyalwa Gyatso? It is an archetypal or inner image that is universal loving kindness energy manifesting as Gyalwa Gyatso and his consort. It is father white radiating light and mother red radiating light. The Buddha knows what kind of archetype to manifest for us to identify with.

Most young people today have lost their identities. They cannot identify themselves as anything, so they try to identify with different trips, cannot find an identity there, and then are lost. Disturbed, they lead meaningless lives doing anything they want to do. Such things are happening in this world. From the moment these people were born until now, they have tried to emanate in many different ways. They have emanated as hippies and movie stars and in terrorist, governmental, and capitalist styles. They have tried almost everything, only to discover in the end that whatever they have tried to identify with is illusion, not reality.

Identifying with loving kindness wisdom energy

These trips are good examples. From an outer, philosophical point of view you can see the concrete concept of “I” trying to identify: “I this, this, this.” But “this” is not what you found you were. Now you know you have loving kindness wisdom energy. You should identify with and trust it instead of trusting outer projections. But loving kindness wisdom energy has to be fertilized, guarded, and tended well, like a garden. It needs to be nourished and developed as the deity Gyalwa Gyatso.

Westerners have an especially heavy blanket of concepts and build up innumerable projections. Already, you have almost a concentration camp projection within you. One iron bar, then the next iron bar, then another: there are so many. In order to break these projections, you need profound method and wisdom. You need to clothe yourself in the finest image: the union of great compassion and nonduality. This is your identity—your identity and your reality. You should wear this image and break your limited, closed projections.

It is logical to practice such a profound yoga method, because in this twentieth century world there is much hatred, disunity, and conflict. People are fighting for material possessions, are trying to conquer each other—you can see everywhere this going on—never feeling love for one another. It is incredible. Sometimes, even with your friend whom you love, when you are both angry, you don’t feel your friend’s love. Since we understand how much the world—each individual and mankind as a whole—needs peace and love, we can see how worthwhile it is to practice this method. There is no hesitation, no philosophical difficulty.

When we talk about loving kindness, we are just using words. Words do not help. We know the words, but we don’t actively energize loving-kindness into our nervous system. This yoga method unifies loving kindness with our nervous system. That is what we need and why, at this time, I ask you not to throw away the energy and time of His Holiness. We should try to practice, then at least we will not be lying to ourselves. We will be doing something worthwhile. That is the reason we are conducting this retreat.

Selfish love vs. Chenrezig’s pure compassion

You can see the effectiveness of true love and compassion, and you can develop them by practicing transformation. You can see, for example, that selfish love can be good or bad. It has both qualities. The good quality of selfish love and motivation, comes from mental projection, from grasping at others: your family, husband, wife, or nationality. This may be selfish love, but because of it you are giving and sharing something. You give to your brother, your sister, your husband or wife thinking, “Because they are my relatives, because we Italian people are the same, eating pizza, I have an obligation to give them what I can.”

Selfish love also has the manipulative power to transform you into a better, warmer person. Men say, “Oh, I am not a bad man. I take care of twenty children and my wife. I send them to school, give them good food, and I love them. They have a good home, and I do everything I can for them. Because I do this, when I die, I shall die happy, satisfied.” There is satisfaction in this. The motivation may be selfish, but the actions bring benefit to others, and so a kind of transformation takes place.

Do you understand? Selfish love has power to give, to serve, but pure love, pure compassion, serves in a much more profound, more dedicated way than selfish love. By practicing the profound yoga tantra method of Gyalwa Gyatso—the pure vision of the Dalai Lama—we are trying to emphasize a mental exercise to eliminate the selfish mind and to develop pure love as much as possible. We need this method badly in order to have pure vision, and we can have it. There is no doubt about this.

I, myself, wanted to ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Gyalwa Gyatso initiation, because this practice is good for me too. I also need to destroy my selfishness. Therefore, I have great devotion to Gyalwa Gyatso. So now we are all practicing together, and we are fortunate indeed for this opportunity.

There are many deities, but with Chenrezig it is much easier to have strong faith and comprehension. Because of Chenrezig’s compassion, until recently the Tibetan people lived peacefully. They did not make weapons, even though they knew that outside Tibet there were plenty of weapons. When the Chinese took over their country, the Tibetans didn’t have any machine guns and so didn’t shoot anyone. In that way Tibetans were lucky.

Westerners are unlucky. Many Western tourists say, “Tibetan people are nice. They talk about nice things.” I believe that it is only because of the manifestation of Chenrezig—the Dalai Lama—that there is something nice about Tibetans. If there were no Chenrezig, then Tibetans would be the same as everyone else. Unfortunately. In the beginning, when Buddhism was first brought to Tibet, Chenrezig came. He manifested again and again. That is the only reason why people can say there is something good about the Tibetans. Otherwise, what? Otherwise I wouldn’t believe them. Maybe they’re joking!