The Purpose of Retreat Is to Subdue Our Mind (Video)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Bendigo, Australia (Archive #2072)

In this video extract, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises students to make the retreat most beneficial by striving to subdue the mind. This teaching was given on April 1, 2018, at a retreat held at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Bendigo, Australia, in April-May 2018. You can watch the video and read along with the transcript overlay on the FPMT YouTube channel or alternatively, you can watch the video only. The video is from the FPMT's Essential Extracts series, which is a selection of important teaching excerpts on a range of topics.

Rinpoche quotes Lama Yeshe, saying that the benefit of not being dead is to be able to meet again. Yet, death can strike any time and in the next moment we could be in any of the six realms. So it is important to make the retreat most beneficial and in order to do that we should strive to subdue our mind. By subduing the mind, we can become free from the negative thoughts which produce suffering and we can transform our mind into a positive mind, a healthy mind, which produces all the happiness up to enlightenment.

Read the video transcript below.


I want to say this, as our kind, compassionate, kind, compassionate Lama Yeshe says to his friends, monks: “That benefit of not being dead is to meet again.” Ha ha. “The benefit of not being dead is to meet again.” That has great meaning.

Now we are in Australia. Now we are in Australia, Bendigo. But soon we can be anywhere in the six realms. In the six realms we can be anywhere. You never know where you will be, never know. Even tomorrow where you will be, even tomorrow where you will be, no idea. Where I will be even tonight, it is like that. In reality it is like that. Now we met, we are together here in Brisbane, not Brisbane, Bendigo, inside the Stupa of Enlightenment, is it right? Is that the name? What is the name?

Ian Green: Universal Compassion.

Rinpoche: Oh, Universal Compassion. It is amazing. Due to karma, we are gathered here, we met here, just that, now. So sooner or later, everybody will be anywhere. Everybody will be anywhere, in the six realms, anywhere.

So I think, the purpose we are gathered here is to take care of the mind. To take care of yourself, to take care of ourselves is the purpose of gathering here. Without subduing oneself, you can’t subdue others. Without subduing one’s own mind, oneself, one person, without subduing that we can’t subdue others who are numberless, who are numberless. We can’t help, can’t subdue others. So for that we are gathered here. So there is a very important reason, a most important purpose of gathering here. So not just a gathering of tourists, it is not like that. The most important, the most important reason why we are gathered here, why we meet each other, so it is mainly to subdue the mind, that which creates all the sufferings, the oceans of six-realm sufferings. All that.

We are here, in particular, [to subdue the mind that creates] the oceans of human sufferings, which creates rebirth, which creates death, which creates sicknesses, which creates old age, all that, the suffering of pain and the suffering of change, all those samsaric pleasures, temporary pleasures, which create the second suffering, and then the third suffering, pervasive compounding suffering, from where the two other sufferings arise—every single problem, every single problem. And then every single happiness, temporary happiness, ultimate happiness, temporary happiness, happiness of this life, happiness of future lives and ultimate happiness, the blissful state of peace, liberation from the oceans of samsaric sufferings, and ultimate happiness, peerless happiness, the total cessation of obscurations, gross and subtle, and the total, the completion of realizations, come from the mind.

So this mind, not the mind in the sky but, as I mentioned before, one’s own mind to take care, to look after, to take care, to develop, to fully develop, to not cheat your mind, to not cheat your mind by yourself, by ourselves, our mind cheated by ourselves, to not cheat. We have been cheating from beginningless rebirths, your own mind. You have been cheating yourself from beginningless rebirths. Not only from this morning, not only from birth—from beginningless rebirths. So opposite to that—to not cheat. So that is the correct way to achieve all the happiness up to buddhahood. So, “I’m here to subdue my own mind.” You are here to subdue your own mind. So that is the main concentration, main job, main work, main practice. It is for that.

The kind, compassionate Buddha has revealed unmistaken [teachings]. As His Holiness Sakya Trizin says, not every single teaching of the Buddha, the 84,000 teachings is not every single teaching that the Buddha taught. That is in general, much of the teachings, he didn’t count every single teaching taught by the Buddha in that number. However, Lesser Vehicle teachings, all included in the Lesser Vehicle teachings and the Paramitayana teachings, sutra, Mahayana teachings of sutra and Mahayana teachings of tantra, by including those three, unbelievable, unbelievable methods within those three. Can you imagine? Can you imagine? All that is to take care, to take care of yourself, your mind. To overcome, to be free from, the negative thoughts which produce suffering, and then to transform the mind into a positive mind, a healthy mind, which produces all the happiness up to enlightenment.

Click here to watch the video and read along with the transcript overlay, or alternatively, you can watch the video without the transcript. To browse more video extracts from the series, visit Lama Zopa Rinpoche Essential Extracts webpage.