Teachings from Guadalajara: Days 1 - 4 (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

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

Days 1-4 of an eight-day series of lam-rim teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Guadalajara, Mexico, in April, 2008.  You can listen to days 5-8 here.

You can also read an edited version of this series here, and listen online to the public talk that Rinpoche gave prior to this series.

Day 1: The Cause of Suffering Part 1

So, first I want to say, welcome, welcome to everybody. For coming here to do this, the course, retreat. So from my side, so I’m very happy to be here. So I hope you’re also happy to be here. [laughter] And I would like to thank very much for all the organizers here in Mexico, who put so much, put so much effort to happen this retreat. So all of you, anyone who put so much effort to, who helped to organize this and to invite me here, I’m not sure what I’m going to do here, so [laughter], we see what happens. [laughter] So I hope there’s some benefit, my coming here to join with you. [pause]

So, the purpose why we gathered here, [pause] it’s something what most people in the world do not do, do not think, do not do, can’t think, don’t do. So something which is extremely rare, something which is so precious, extremely precious, the most precious thing in the life, that most people in the world do not understand and do not see, do not practice, do the practice opposite, they practice, they practice the opposite. Not what it should be. They practice day and night, but what they get from that, what do they get from that? What do they get from that? If you think, if you look at, if you examine, it’s very sad. Very sad. Nothing. Nothing. And what they get is result is only suffering, only suffering. Only dissatisfactions, so that’s the very basic life, foundation, from that foundation then they get so much problems. From that foundation, dissatisfaction then get into so many problems, hundreds, thousands, from the dissatisfaction, so it leads to many, many problems in the life. So life goes like that and then one day the death happens. One day, because you’re, since we are born, since you are born under the control of karma and delusion, so then there’s death, which is caused by karma and delusion. Since you’re born totally without control, under the karma, totally being under the control of karma, the action that was done in the past motivated by the wrong concept, that which is called delusion, hallucinated mind, such as anger, attachment or ignorance. So of course, taking a human birth wasn’t caused by anger. Karma created by anger that only the, you don’t get deva, human rebirth, you get only the spirits or this preta, hell or animal, depending on how heavy it was. So that, this, of course, this birth is, this is a human birth, of course, so that did not come from anger. But it can come from attachment, not attachment grasping that life happiness, not from that attachment, that one is total nonvirtue. But the attachment which is, when I said that it can come from attachment, the attachment seeking future life happiness, that attachment. So in the past life, it was attachment to receive this present human body what we have received now.

So there can be attachment, attachment which is born from ignorance, so there can be that and there can be, of course, the very root, from where this birth came, caused, came or maybe we can say caused, the very root cause that is the ignorance. Ignorance, there are many different types of ignorance, so this ignorance not knowing the meaning of the selflessness, the selflessness of the person, selflessness of the aggregates. So the very nature, not knowing the very nature of the self, the I, the very nature of that, which is the emptiness. Not knowing that. Then as well as not knowing the ultimate nature of the aggregates, on which the I, the self, is labeled, merely imputed, so the base, the aggregates, the very nature of that, which is emptiness. So this, from this ignorance, this ignorance is the very root, ?also that.

So what I’m trying to say is, so born totally under the control of karma, the translation of that is “action,” the action and the result, the effect, the effect of the action. So that, and then, delusion, which motivate that. So, it’s born from the ignorance, you can say that, born from ignorance, the wrong concept apprehending the I in the wrong way, apprehending the self, I, that we always talk day and night, all the time, all the time talk, I, but apprehending it, apprehending I, which totally believe the I which doesn’t exist, I which is not there, I which doesn’t exist, I which is not there, totally believe I which is not there, doesn’t exist at all. So the problem is I which exists, which is merely imputed by the mind, which exists in mere name, so that is one which exists but you don’t see that, you don’t see that. Ignorance doesn’t see that. So what ignorance believe, what it apprehends is, the I is something which totally opposite, completely opposite to the reality, totally opposite to that one, which exists. Totally opposite to the one which exists. So the ignorance believes in that, hundred percent, hundred percent it’s true, it’s there. It is there, so hundred percent it’s there on these aggregates, association of body and mind, on these aggregates. On there aggregates, association of body and mind, I’m talking about the aggregates what we have, association of body and mind, or the association of the collection of the five, aggregates of form, feeling, cognition, compounding aggregates and the consciousness, so on this collection, there’s a real I there, so total trust, the ignorance entrusts to that, the way it’s appeared to the hallucinated mind, so the way it’s appeared and totally entrust to that it’s real, it’s true. Totally believe that there’s such an I in this body. Making it even more gross, on these aggregates there’s a real I…. [pause]

Just right now your mind merely imputed I. Just now your mind made the I, made up the I, just now your mind made up the self, the I, merely imputed the I just right now, but not being aware of that, not discovering that and, that it’s merely imputed by one’s own mind, not being aware of that and then, to our hallucinated mind it doesn’t appear back, it doesn’t appear, after the mere imputation by the mind it doesn’t appear back that it’s merely imputed by mind, it doesn’t appear back, according to the reality, to our hallucinated mind. This, we have the negative imprint on the, our mind is can say defiled by the negative imprint left by the concept, the wrong concept. While the I, self, is merely imputed by mind but holding on that as truly existent, holding on that not merely labeled by mind, holding on that not merely labeled by mind, not merely labeled by mind. So something truly existent or one, so that wrong concept, because there’s no such object as it believes, there’s no such thing, it’s totally nonexistent, empty. But the wisdom, the absolute wisdom, the wisdom sees that the I totally empty of existing not being merely labeled by mind. Totally existing, empty of total existence, existing not merely labeled by mind. Because it is merely imputed by mind, it sees that. Merely imputed by mind, exist in mere name.

So, [pause] I just give one example. So, before we sat down, we were standing,, I don’t know if we are sleeping. We were standing, before we sat down we were standing. So that time you believe, that time your mind label “I’m standing.” If somebody asks, or you ask or somebody asks what you’re doing, “I’m standing.” “I’m walking,” as the body is walking, the aggregates, the base, the aggregate of the body is walking, so “I’m walking.” “I’m standing.” So your mind label, no other reason at all, only reason is because the body, the aggregate of the body is walking, standing. [pause] So then, when the aggregates of body, now the aggregates of body is sitting, doing the action of sitting, so then, change the label, your mind doesn’t label “I’m standing” or “I’m walking.” So then you label “I’m sitting.” So you change you label, so depending on what your body is doing, so now you’re sitting down, then your mind label “I’m sitting.” If somebody asks you or if you’re thinking, so what are you doing now, “I’m sitting.”

So, then next, I don’t know when, but next, so when the body, the aggregate of the body when it stands again, then you change your label, your mind change the label, “I’m standing,” “I’m walking,” “I’m in bed.” [laughter] So when your body is in bed, then, yeah, “I’m laying down” or “I’m in bed.” So constantly, so you can see, twenty-four hours, constantly, your mind constantly label and constantly label the action of the, as well as the action of the I, constantly, your mind constantly label. Constantly merely impute, there’s a mere imputation by the mind, the mind constantly does mere imputation, constantly.

So then, not only relating to the body but also relating to the mind. Then you label “I” and “thinking this,” thinking this, thinking that, planning this, planning that. So your mind again merely imputed I, make up the label I, your mind, it just simply makes up the label I and then make up the label action of the I, thinking this, thinking that, thinking of the past, thinking of the present, thinking of the future, “I’m thinking of the past,” “I’m thinking of the present,” “I’m thinking of the future.” So, depending on what the mind experiences then your mind label I, I’m happy or I’m unhappy, so depending what the mind experiences. [pause]

Then, so this, constantly, the mind constantly label I, constantly, and then label the action, depending on what the body does, depending on what the mind does, depending on what the speech does. So all, so all the time mind busy like this constantly labeling I and the various, constantly label the actions, the actions also merely imputed by mind, constantly like that. [pause]

Then, when the consciousness took, when you consciousness took place on the fertilized egg in the mother’s womb, then imputed birth. Then when the consciousness separate, leave the body then label, then there’s mere imputation by the mind, death. [pause] So you can see what exactly the I is, self, it’s nothing other except what is merely imputed by the mind. Just that. Nothing other except what is merely imputed by the mind, so that’s it. So that’s what we have to meditate. What we need to concentrate on that. That very nature, that something unbelievable, unbelievable subtle. Unbelievable subtle. Unbelievable subtle what it is. It is not nihilism, it’s not nonexistent. Totally nonexistent, it’s not that. But unbelievable subtle. Unbelievable so subtle, so fine, what it is. So that’s unbelievable, I think the ?altar is ?dancing. [laughter] The [inaudible discussion among the students], given energy by the wind, then it ?dance. [laughter]

So like this, so this is what very precisely meditating on the, there are four schools of Buddhist philosophers, which happened in India during Buddha’s time. The four schools of Buddhist philosophers it happened because everybody don’t have the same level of mind, same level of intelligence, same level of merit, so that’s why the, defining what is I, defining what is self, so then these four schools happened, the four schools of Buddhist philosophers so that happened. So the actual one, the real one, the actual one, so that is what the I is, so that is the fourth, Madhyamika school, that has two, the Svatantrika and Prasangika school. So the Prasangika school, even the Madhaymika school Svatantrika, still has there’s mistakes in its view of what is the I, the very nature of the I, the ultimate nature of the I, still there’s mistakes, the way it’s appeared and the way it’s believed, there’s mistakes. So, but of course much subtler than the Vaibhashika school or Sautrantika school and the Mind Only school, yeah, must subtler.

So now the Madhaymika school, the second one, the Prasangika school, so what I was just now talking, what I was just talking now, before, that is according to Prasangika school view, how the self, the I, exists. That we twenty-four hours, constantly we think about or my mind label. So from the, not only from this morning, not only from the birth, birth of this life, even before that, before the birth of this life, from beginningless rebirth, the I, self, have been imputed by the mind, by your mind, that has been existing, continuity that has been existing from beginningless rebirth and which exists, the continuity of the I, self, which will exist, it exists when we achieve enlightenment, even after having achieved enlightenment, continuity of the self, the merely imputed by the mind, so always exists. It always exists, always exists. Always exists because the base on which the I is labeled, merely imputed, the consciousness, the aggregate of the consciousness, consciousness, from the body and the mind, the mind, there’s always continuity because there’s always continuity of mind. From life to life there’s always continuity of the mind. And even after enlightenment there’s continuity of the mind, the consciousness, which is also merely imputed by the mind. Okay? So then the self, which is merely imputed, because of that, so that exists, there’s always that existence, continuity of the self, I. But it exists in mere name, always in mere name, merely imputed by mind.

So, what it is this is exactly what the Prasangika school view, the Prasangika school explained, so exactly according to that, the reality what is the I, that which is a mere imputation, okay. And because of that, it’s totally empty. Totally empty of the real one existing from its own side, that which always appear to our hallucinated mind and that believing that, trusting that, all the time. So that’s the ignorance, that’s your ignorance.

So, what did I say? I’ve forgotten. [Ven. Paloma’s response is inaudible.] Alle, okay. That’s all right. That’s okay. [laughter] That’s correct. I didn’t know, suddenly I forgot what I said.

So this is not the only, I’m talking here just the I, the self, which is extremely important, unbelievable important, the discovering of this, meditating on this, realizing this, how that is the most important. So without this realization, without this wisdom actualize, then no, impossible, no way, whatever other realization you have, no way, sutra, tantra, whatever other realization you have, you have no way to be free from suffering, the oceans of suffering of samsara, you have no freedom at all, no opportunity, no freedom. Cannot be liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering at all, the oceans of human being sufferings, that suffering of all the problems of rebirth, so Lama Tsongkhapa explained under the five outlines, but it’s to give the broad idea, so easy to meditate. By putting in the outlines it makes very easy to meditate, to get the whole idea. So, it is explained in the teachings that for ordinary beings when the consciousness takes place on the fertilized egg, like you are jumped into hot boiled water or something, like that, then for ordinary beings taking birth. Not everybody who takes birth, there are holy beings who are totally free from delusion and karma by taking birth freely to benefit other sentient beings, they don’t suffer. Only happiness, they don’t have to suffer. So they have their view. Then the five outlines also of old age suffering, all the old age sufferings. Then the sicknesses, then the, yeah, worry, fears of meeting the undesirable object, and then, unable to find desirable object, friend and the, reputation, friend, however, food, clothing, whatever, all these things, so these are unable to find desirable object, and even after one has found but you could not get satisfaction, so that’s a huge suffering. So life constantly suffer, so there’s continual dissatisfaction, you can’t get satisfied. You can’t get satisfied so externally how much you seek, can’t achieve satisfaction, unless you practice Dharma. Only, unless you practice Dharma can’t get satisfaction, can’t have inner peace, happiness. So, constantly suffer. Then, the suffering of death. Then there’s suffering of aggregates, there’s, I think, five types of, I think, suffering of aggregates, so things like that. So anyway, this is just the rough, the basic idea, suffering of human beings.

So anyway, there’s oceans of samsaric, samsaric, oceans of human being sufferings. Oceans of sura, asura beings’ sufferings, okay. [pause] The devas, the worldly gods, the devas, the suras, asuras, their suffering, okay. Oceans of suffering of them. So, [pause] the five unbelievable, unbelievable, most unbearable suffering they have, five signs of death, five nearing signs of death, so that by karma, not through meditation, by karma, they hear sound from, due to their karma they hear a sound from the sky that they’re going to die after seven days, it says there. Then they see, not through the meditation but due to karma, then they can remember their past life, where they came from the life before the sura realm and then where they’re going to reincarnate, whether it’s hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, whatever, they see that. Then where they are, as I men-, they have hundreds thousands, millions of much greater sense pleasure, enjoyment there, so then they know that you have to leave from this, you have to separate all from this, so can’t imagine. So compared to that, when they see a human being, it’s, human realm, even the most developed country, it’s very, extremely primitive, it’s extremely primitive, full of disease and so many problems, so then kind of, yeah, totally disgusting, totally disgusting, so they see. So when they experience these five near signs of death, normally they don’t have dust on the body but that time they get dust on the body, I think they sweat and all this, so the flowers they don’t die but that time the flowers what they wear on their neck die, so things like that. So anyway, the friends, their girlfriends, their friends, anyway, so many of those friends then they don’t come near by when, it is said in the teachings that a very long stick, you put flower on top of the long stick, then you pass. You pass, they don’t come near by when you die. So anyway, these signs, so mentally their suffering is heavier than hell, the being’s physical suffering, mentioned that. So anyway, so you can see the mental state, where there’s, I mean, hundreds of thousands, millions, these sense pleasures, so much enjoyment, have to leave.

So anyway, yeah, then, so they always fight with the asuras, suras, asuras, for wealth and things, they always are fighting. Then, asuras normally always easy to get killed. So there are many, yeah, so much suffering, unbelievable suffering.

Then, the oceans of the suras, asuras, their sufferings, so from this ignorance. Not seeing the I, self, as it is, total wrong belief that I is something else, not merely labeled by mind, existing from its own side, something totally wrong, that which is appeared that way to the hallucinated mind then believed, entrust that true. So from this concept [a couple of words missed]. So first I finish this, this is just a very quick traveling, just very quick tour.

So all this caused or came from this ignorance, created by this ignorance but it’s just this wrong concept.