Teachings from Guadalajara: Days 5 - 8 (Audio and Unedited Transcript)

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

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

[Short mandala offering] 

Maybe just one question. Yes, go on, yes.

Student: Rinpoche, he would like to know which ceremony did you make down there.

Rinpoche: That’s, the practice, making charity, drink, nectar, what you give is water, but actually, by reciting the mantra, that transforms, for the pretas, the hungry ghosts, to see nectar, and so, not only that it purifies their negative karma, they find drink, and stops their suffering, most unbearable suffering of hunger and thirst. So, not only that, the one greatest gift for them, at this time that is, as they are born as hungry ghosts, spirits, so, not only purify their negative karma, that’s one thing, but then it causes them to get a higher rebirth, either deva or human rebirth, so, and then it’s possible that, then, can’t say everybody but some may be possible, meet Dharma, so, so that’s the, I think, that’s the best gift for them.

So, the six realms’ sentient beings, so there’s the hungry ghosts, one, from the six realms, one. So their heaviest suffering is hunger and thirst, so, due to their past heavy negative karma, they don’t get food, even a spoon of food, they don’t get, for hundreds of years, thousands of years, even ten thousand years they don’t find, even a spoon of food, and they don’t find drink for so long, even a mouthful of water, they can’t find, on the ground, even a mark of water, dampness they don’t find.

So, and then the place, how they see their place, for us human beings, a beautiful place, a nice place, gardens or trees or nice, like this, but, this is our view, this is our view. Their view, in their view they don’t see these things. In their view, like brass, when the brass is burned by hot sun, it becomes so hot, so hot, so like that, they, hungry ghosts, pretas, I mean, even the same place where human beings, us, we see a very beautiful place, like this, nice, but, at the same place, they don’t see that, because what we see is according to our, what we see, nice, green and a lot of plants, so nice, that’s a production of our good karma, done in the past. Then what they see is, how they see the place is a production of their negative karma from the past, so totally different.

Then similar, for even for human beings, some even weather or, find very hot, very sweet and very hot, but at the same time, some other human beings they don’t find that much hot, this happens, either in the house or in the outside, find different. So for somebody, pleasant, for somebody it’s unpleasant, it’s a production of their past negative karma, so even for human beings, different experiences. So, I mean, yeah, for many people, as I mentioned before, one person, how they look at it they see different, not everybody has the same view of the person. That one person, when one hundred people or two hundred people, a thousand people look at that one person, they have different view, so, same, place, country, or some, even a place, same, different view, for some find very beautiful, incredibly beautiful, for some, very boring or very not interested, so, anyway different.

So how you see, so, it’s according to your own mind, according to your own, the, I mean, one thing is as I’ve been mentioning the, what kind of concept, what kind of mind you, thought you generate when you see the object, depends on that, depends on that, in this moment how you see the object, depends on this moment, the mind, the way of thinking, but basically, as I mentioned before, karma, the past karma.

So, anyway, for them, even the place, unbelievable, so hot, like copper burned in the hot sun, ground like that, then, so very unpleasant, so anyway, so forth, like that.

So, anyway, very unpleasant, so they, pretas, they, so due to some past heavy karma, could not find even a spoon of food for hundred, thousands of years, and even a drop of water, can’t find for so long,. So and their bodies, it’s just most unbearable, I mean so pitiful, terrible, so, they, like, their limbs are very dry, kind of like dry wood, tiny. Then, their bellies is like mountains, like huge mountains, like huge valley, huge, like huge mountains, huge, unbelievable, due to past negative karma, so huge, and then their necks are so tiny, and, so, that’s, so they, so their sufferings, so the majority, the suffering hunger, thirst, the heaviest suffering of that. Then they go to look for food, and, so the, like a very old person, walking, very heavy to carry the body, so, lost power of the body, so difficult, so like that, unbelievable, unbelievable suffering to walk.

And then there’s karmic guardians, yamas in the path, so they block them to go to find food. So they see very far there’s a waterfall or think there’s water there or something they see from very far, so at least, so finally after so long, they get there, when they reach there, then that’s very successful able to reach there, after all this, then, with all this tiredness, all these obstacles with yamas, the karmic guardians block and all that, then, so heavy because difficult to walk, carrying the body, the nature, like the example of the old men very difficult, they, like that, walk, their bodies become, so many problems. So, anyway, finally even they reach there, suddenly there’s no water, after so long, when they reach there, there’s no water, nothing, nothing, it’s dry, or the water filled with the, lots of dirt, mud, or garbage, then you see pus and blood, like that, totally change, like that. So, then, so much disappointment, unbelievable disappointment, tiredness, exhaustion, then disappointment, unbelievable.

So, then, there are pretas who have, general pretas and there are pretas who [Tibetan], the flames coming from the mouth. I don’t know whether you see here but, in India, at Buxa, where I lived eight years, where 1,500, who wanted to continue their studies where they, at that place, so you see at nighttime in the forest, so at nighttime you see monks are in the courtyard, outside there’s a place where they debate, do prayer and debate, the philosophy, so at nighttime you see in the forest in the mountains, you see many flames going this way or that way, quite often. And then, one time, I’m not sure whether they’re the same or not, but when I was traveling at nighttime, so there was light, there was light around the tree, so you might think there’s somebody there, but then when you reach that tree, the light around the tree, went a little bit back and forth, so you don’t see anything. So, that’s quite common the flames at nighttime, quite a few flames you see in the forest, going. I think, anyway, in India I think sometimes you see also on the ground. So, anyway, so there’s one type of preta like this.

So the, then there’s even much more suffering preta, who, so them, the general preta their mouth is like the needle of the eye, so tiny, the mouth is so tiny, belly is unbelievable, huge like mountain, then the, like needle, like eye of a needle, the mouth. So the, so difficult to go through, and if you do find some food or something, difficult to go through. Then, even for some pretas, those who have even much more suffering, that is the one whose throat is knotted up, knotted up two times, three times, small, like that, knotted up, so, even a drop went inside, even a tiny drop, even in case went inside, it is difficult to reach the stomach because of this knot, just unimaginable. So, at least even if it went, in case even if it went, then, when in the stomach it burns, like you put a kerosene lantern and put a match, it will burn, so, it becomes only suffering. So these are the most heavy suffering of the pretas, who has the neck knotted up.

So, so the general suffering like that, and particular suffering the food obscuration, then, outer obscurations, food obscuration, inner obscuration. Inner obscurations means it doesn’t go inside, cannot go in, and even went inside becomes suffering, so much. Maybe outer obscuration, all this blocking, to get the food, many obstacles to get food. Then inner, food obscuration is the food doesn’t, when you actually, when you reach there, so, the food disappeared, so, or the drink disappeared, or the drink becomes pus or blood or mess. So most unbearable suffering, they have.

So, therefore, Buddha is so kind, so compassionate, made, Buddha taught these methods, how to help them. So there’s a special mantra, this mantra is unbelievable, wish-fulfilling for them, unbelievable, so the mantra has that power. So you chant the mantra, you make the water charity to them, so, so yourself, Compassion Buddha, Chenrezig, with that meditation then you, so that’s the practice, supposed to do, like that. So then from Chenrezig’s hand, the water, nectar flow down then you chant this mantra, then that mantra has power that they receive nectar, so, that they are able to get, without any obstacles, able to get, able to drink, and it purifies their negative karma, and then it causes them to have a higher rebirth, it stops their suffering and, not only that, stop that rebirth and get a higher rebirth. So that’s unbelievable gift for them, get a higher rebirth. So from that, change from that, you free them from those unbelievable, heavy sufferings.

So, I mean, for us, even to do fasting for Dharma practice, for purify your negative karma, collect extensive merits, to achieve liberation, to achieve enlightenment, to fast, to not eat food and drink, like nyung-nä’s, so however, I mean, even just two days, I mean the nyung-nä, the Compassion Buddha’s, the first day, there’s one meal, the second day there’s nothing, no drink, no food, no drink, nothing, just one day, just one day nothing, so even that, it’s for happiness, for ultimate happiness, to achieve liberation from samsara, and then full enlightenment for sentient beings. Now this one, not eating, not drinking, even this one day or half-day or whatever, so, that’s for the happiness of all sentient beings, for the happiness of the numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, hungry ghosts, numberless hungry ghosts, human beings, sura, asura, intermediate state beings, all the numberless sentient beings, free them from all the suffering and causes and bring them to enlightenment, so it’s for that. The main goal of the nyung-nä, doing the practice of nyung-nä, the Compassion Buddha, two days, the retreat, which involves fasting, I mean, the first day there’s one meal, and you can drink, only the second day you can’t drink, not even a drop of water, and some lamas or some people then they don’t even swallow the spit, they collect in a bottle, and even the spit they throw, they don’t swallow, there’s some people do like that also.

Anyway, so this is to not, to purify all your past negative karmas, the negative karmas that cause to be born in the lower realms, numberless negative karmas collected from beginningless rebirth, to purify, that which causes to experience, to be reborn in the lower realms and to experience those most unbearable sufferings. But even to benefit for sentient beings, find it very difficult to do this practice. So anyway, to, even one day to live without drink, without eating, find it very hard, like that, even it’s for Dharma practice, so which is only benefiting to purify your, unbelievable, the past, so much negative karma gets purified, so that you don’t have to experience the lower realm sufferings, those most unbearable sufferings, so many eons of those negative karmas.

So if you do one time nyung-nä, the Compassion Buddha, the two days retreat, nyung-nä, then, general benefit is 50,000 eons of negative karma gets purified, 50,000 eons to be born in the lower realms and suffer hell, hungry ghosts, animals, those most unbearable, most unbearable sufferings, so get purified. But of course, not just that, it all depends on how you do nyung-nä. So if you do with strong loving kindness, compassion towards sentient beings, so, bodhicitta, like that, and then it’s unbelievable, even much more than that.

So, there’s recitation of OM MANI PADME HUM, most powerful, skies of merits you collect, limitless skies of merit you collect, it’s just amazing, powerful purification, so just like that. Then taking the Eight Mahayana Precepts, that’s another unbelievable powerful, that makes life unbelievably rich, meaningful, so unbelievable benefit for sentient beings, for numberless sentient beings, because you take the Eight Mahayana Precepts with that motivation, motivation of bodhicitta, so benefit to numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras, asuras, everybody, including your enemy, not only friend, enemy, stranger, it includes everybody.

So, then benefit so much in this world, this world where you are, and the country where you are, so much benefit, so much benefit for the economic, and if you live in the vows, there’s so much benefit to the entire country, the rains to come at right time and then things grows well, and no obstacles, no animals eating or, so much rain destroyed them, without this, so, everything goes smoothly, fruitful. So, people have plenty of food, however, it helps so much economic, like that, and so the benefit.

So since I’m talking here, anyway, so I take the opportunity, so there happened four harmonious, it’s called ?tun pa pun shi, four harmonious brotherhood so four animals, so first is elephant, then, next one is a monkey, on top of that a rabbit, other one is a bird, so the four harmonious brothers, brotherhood, okay. So like that. So, one, I think it’s in the, a long time ago, must be in India, I think, so there’s one country there, unbelievable the economic developed, so, plenty of food, everything, all the crops grow well, so much, and rains come at the right time, so made life so easy, for the people in that country.

So then the king thought, Oh, I did. Because of me, I did. And the ministers thought, I did, so many people think, I did, each person thought, I did. So then they all got together, so everyone thought, I did, because of me.

So then one minister suggested that go in the forest, ask the sage. So, they all went to this sage, to meet the sage, and the sage said, “It’s none of you,” the development is none of you. “It’s because of the four harmonious brothers, four harmonious brothers lived in the, these four animals live in the jungles.” The elephant lived in the five vows, the five lay vows, and spread to other animals and then the monkey lived in the five vows, so spread to, teach other monkeys, then the rabbit also lived in the five vows, and spread to other rabbits, and then the bird also lived in the five vows and spread to other birds, teach, caused many others to practice the five lay vows, the five precepts.” So, because of that, then the, there’s so much the economic development happened, so the sage who was clairvoyant, explained that.

So, what happened was, I think the bird is the embodiment of Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, then those are the Buddha’s attendants. Ananda is one, then one is [Shariputra], so I don’t remember the names, I don’t remember the names exactly.1

So, then in the form of animals, then they teach other animals the five lay vows. So the country really developed and also, not only that, respected each other. The younger respected the elder ones, so each of those spread out this way as well, respecting each other. So that’s respecting each other, so that is part of good conduct, that benefits, brings peace, harmony, so many good things from that, respecting each other.

So, anyway, so like that, so, the references, but actually you come to know from the vows, from each of the vows you come to know the effect what comes out from each of the vows, you come to know.

So now go back. So basically, some very heavy negative karma, the miserliness, attachment, miserliness, not practicing giving to others, generosity, not practicing generosity, so much stingy, it’s the result of that.

So, therefore, here, first, the first water, that’s for general pretas. Then there’s the second water, that’s for who has more suffering, flames coming out, for them, [Tibetan] the water charity for them. Third, is for the most suffering, with the two or three knots, for them. So we don’t see, but those people who can see, it’s like a forest, the hungry ghosts, the number of hungry ghosts, human beings, number of human beings is nothing, nothing, so how there are those beings, so, like a forest, so it’s just unbelievable, unimaginable number. So, it has unbelievable, tremendous, unbelievable benefit for them. So it helps unbelievable number of them, so like that. So there’s also different mantras, those mantras is due to Buddha’s compassion, the Buddha has ten powers, inconceivable qualities so the Buddha can make a mantra which has all the power, so easy, they can find the drink, food. So, the other part is the food, there are three types of food I give. So for them, I give just, even you give just, even you yourself don’t have food, however, I think some monasteries, some I saw, maybe Chinese monasteries, anyway, in the bowl, in a small bowl, a few grains or something that, however, anyway, however, even what you give is very small, but this mantra makes them to see, I mean, like a city, like an ocean or a city, the drink is like ocean, I mean it’s unbelievable that mantra has that power to, for them to see, not only to find food but so much. So, unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable benefit for them, incredible.

So, that’s it. Now six o’clock.

So it’s good to learn these things, this is what you can do, what you can benefit so much unbelievable, so much what you can benefit to them, those different beings who have unbelievable suffering, compared, human beings’ nothing, suffering is nothing. So, this is a very simple practice, you just have to know the mantras, it’s nothing, so, but benefit is like ocean, what they get is unbelievable, so it’s very, very good, so due to Buddha’s compassion, the kindness, compassion, so that makes so easy to help, okay, vast, drink like ocean, nectar, and the food.

So I’ll stop here. So, after food then maybe we’ll, I don’t know, maybe we’ll go for a walk, from here to Lhasa , then come back tomorrow . Anyway, since we are going through some topics on emptiness meditation, it happened, normally you teach, normally that subject comes at the very end of the lam-rim teaching, like Lamrim ChenMo, one month teaching, then, only at the end, it comes, that subject. But here, I think I become crazy. So the very last teaching become the first teaching .

Yeah, that’s it. So there are many practices like this, that are very good, very simple, but unbelievable benefit, so it’s good for you to, making charity to the general pretas, then that, then making charity to one preta, flames in the mouth, making charity to them, far more greater merit, far more greater merit than making charity to all the general pretas. Now giving one drop of water to the preta who has knots, knotted up, giving one drop of water, they can receive one drop of water, by the mantras, so, the benefit is, merits you collect is unbelievable, than making charity of water to all the pretas who have flames coming from their mouths, so merit wise.

But that wasn’t the, that isn’t the, the reason why I do water, that merit wasn’t, that’s not my main focus. My main focus is because of their unbelievable suffering so that’s the main reason, not the merit.

Okay, so thank you.

Jang chhub sem chhog rin po chhe ….

[Group chants short mandala offering.]


1  Read more about the four harmonious friends in Mandala magazine, January 2014 edition. [Return to text]