Ultimate Wisdom: Actualizing the Path to Cessation

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Pomaia, Italy (Archive #1961)

In this teaching, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises that the realization of emptiness is the most important goal in our life, so that we can cease suffering and its cause, delusion and karma. This teaching was given at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, on June 28, 2014. Lightly edited by Sandra Smith.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Italy.  Photo by Piero Sirianni.

Good morning to everybody. I’m very happy to meet you. So we all met today, but it didn’t happen without cause and conditions; it just didn’t happen by itself. It depended on many cause and conditions; it is causative phenomena. Not only did we create the cause to meet each other this time, but we created the cause to meet each other in the past lives, in many past lives. I created and you created the cause in the past lives. You have made prayers and in the past lives I made prayers. So, we meet today.

I’m sure many of you, I’m quite sure we met many times in this life, and then for some others, it’s the first time in this life, but we met in a past life. It doesn’t need to be as a human being, it could be different, a different shape; you had different shape, I had different body….

So it’s very interesting. Of course, those who have omniscient mind, and those who have a fully developed mind, knowledge, can see directly, very clearly, all the past, what happened, phenomena, and what will happen in the future, everything. And those who have clairvoyance—not omniscient mind, but clairvoyance, some deep clairvoyance—then maybe you can tell why we have met together here today, those causes, those karmas.

Before the talk, we’ll do some meditation and prayer. Here, what we’re doing, what we’re going to reflect on and what we’re going to try to discover, to realize, is not an ordinary thing. It’s ultimate reality and it’s a very deep thing, not just something ordinary.

The Most Important Thing in Our Life

Therefore, this is mainly to develop our mind. This is really the most important thing in our life, the most important discovery, the most important thing to realize, to fully develop our mind, to become free from the oceans of suffering of samsara by ceasing the cause, karma and delusion.

Not even the trace of the delusions [remains], not even the negative imprint of delusions. The disturbing thoughts are ceased and then our mind is fully developed. There’s no ignorance at all and not even the trace of that ignorance, so we have totally purified the mind and fully developed in the realizations, so to go to that.

This is most exciting; this is real excitement. There’s normally external excitement, but this is real, worthwhile to be excited about. This is the real thing in our life, which we have never experienced before from beginningless rebirth—not only in this life but from beginningless rebirths, we never had that experience; it’s something new.

Usually in the world, any suffering, any sicknesses, any suffering, any pleasure, any excitement in the world is nothing new; it’s been experienced numberless times from beginningless rebirths. Even if we get a billion dollars, I don’t know, by winning the lottery, or even if we climb Mount Everest or whatever we do, going to the moon, whatever, we have done this numberless times in the past lives. That’s nothing new, that’s nothing, that’s nothing.

The Three Realms

The three samsaric realms are the desire realm, the form realm and the formless realm. In the desire realm there are different external pleasures, objects of the five senses, external pleasures; we are looking for external pleasures.

In the form realm [we can achieve] inner pleasures through meditation. So we have achieved calm abiding meditation, shinä, numberless times, even that, in the past lives when we were born in the form realm, as a deva, in the form realm.

Then the formless realm devas, we were born numberless times even as those. Having attained inner pleasure, inner happiness derived through meditation, firm contemplation, four levels of firm contemplation, samten zhi, then after that, if we’re bored with that, then we are born in the formless realm.

Even that pleasure derived through meditation, we become bored with that, and then we are born in the formless realm, so there is infinite sky, infinite consciousness, nothingness, then the tip of the samsara. We were born there numberless times. Even the highest realm in samsara, the tip of the samsara, we were born there numberless times, numberless times. In samsara the most excitement would be that, with those things—not what all people in the world would do, which is nothing interesting.

I mean, for people whose mind has very limited experience about past and future lives, for them that’s very exciting, but compared to what we already experienced in past lives, it’s nothing. That’s not free, not liberated from the cause of the suffering, delusion and karma. Then, because of that, we finish the karma to be in that realm, and then again we experience other karma to be in the desire realm, the form realm, so like that, numberless times. That’s the reality.

[Sound of birds and of dogs fighting outside] This shows sentient beings’ suffering, the shortcomings of ignorance, anger, attachment, even from that small example. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we are gathered here, to remove that, to be free from that. That’s a very small example of the delusion, the shortcomings of delusion.

The biggest country’s war or the world wars, global war or incredible world war, where millions of people die or are tortured—it’s unbelievable, unbelievable. So anyway, not only those in the human realm, but numberless other beings in other realms [suffer] as well.

The ones who have the heaviest, heaviest suffering [are the hell beings.] All the human beings’ problems, all the suffering put together, even that is great pleasure compared to those who have the largest or greatest suffering, the hell beings. Those who have the greatest suffering are hell beings. Compared to their suffering, all the human beings’ problems put together are nothing, they are a great pleasure. How much human beings have suffering is nothing, it is a great pleasure compared to those hell beings.

There is the other animals’ suffering, the other hungry ghosts’ suffering, the other realms, it’s unbelievable, unbelievable, but the very heaviest ones, those who have the heaviest suffering are the hell beings. Then there is also the suffering of suras, asuras and the other beings.

Prayers to Bless the Mind

Now we will recite [prayers] to bless our mind. Somebody who has ceased the obscurations and completed the mind in the realizations, then to bless our mind to be able to develop and to benefit oneself and others in this world, and to benefit numberless living beings—the numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, suras, asuras, intermediate stage beings—to benefit everyone. To be able to benefit them, to free them from suffering, the oceans of suffering of samsara, and then to cause not only temporary happiness, but ultimate happiness, totally free forever from the oceans of suffering of samsara, and then to attain peerless happiness, sang gye, the total cessation of the obscurations, and to fully develop the qualities. So now we’ll do praise to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and so forth.

Do you have the Heart Sutra? [Students answer, yes.]

[Prayers, starting with Praise to Shakyamuni Buddha]

A star, a defective view, a butter lamp flame,
An illusion, a dew drop, a water bubble,
A dream, lightning, a cloud:
See all causative phenomena like this.

I have a new style. I began this during my teaching—the prayer is same, but this is the meditation that the Buddha mentioned at the end of the Diamond Cutter Sutra.

[Rinpoche recites the above verse in Tibetan]

The purpose of reciting any prayer, any teaching, is to meditate. The main thing is to remember the meaning, not just to recite, not just to play a tape recorder—not tape recorder, but the tape recorder here, [Rinpoche points to his mouth] the tape recorder is the mouth—and not thinking of the meaning. [Laughter]

Since I’m talking about the prayer, when you do the prayer, it’s very important as much as possible, not just the mouth reciting [the words] but to think of the meaning. Even if we don’t understand, still think of the meaning. It’s very meaningful.

We must think of the meaning, because if our mind is distracted, then we become like a tape recorder and it’s difficult to leave the imprint, positive imprint. So we must think about this subject, even if we don’t understand, but keep the mind on that, then it can leave the imprint on the mind, to make preparation, great, great, great preparation. Even if we don’t know, it leaves an imprint on the mind.

So then later we become expert in the subject. Due to that cause, then later, as a result, we become expert in that subject, either in this life or in future, in the next lives. Then we put it into practice, so then we achieve realizations. So what the text says, we have in the heart.

Of course, it ceases the obscurations, the disturbing-thought obscurations, nyön drib, and the fully knowing obscurations, she drib, then we actualize higher and higher paths, so like that. Then we achieve sang gye, the total elimination of the obscurations and completion of all the realizations. Then we are able to offer, we are able to do perfect works for sentient beings without the slightest mistakes. We’re able to offer service to others perfectly, without the slightest mistakes, serving others, numberless sentient beings, everyone.

That’s the main goal of our life, our listening, reflecting, meditation, everything. That’s why we meditate, why we learn Dharma, why we live the life, why we eat food, why we sleep, when we’re sick, why we eat medicine, why we look for a cure, everything is for that. So everything is for that.

It’s fantastic, wow, wow, wow, for numberless sentient beings, wow, wow, wow. That’s the most excitement in our life, the most excitement, the greatest happiness. We live the life for others, we experience problems for others, we die for others, so everything—relationship problems, death, even the death experience is for others, everything. It’s fantastic, that’s the most exciting thing.

So to be able to do that, to be able to achieve that, we pacify obstacles and we do the Heart Sutra.

If you know emptiness, if you know ultimate reality, shunyata, if you meditate, then effortlessly listen, these most worthwhile words help to actualize that goal. So please meditate.

Kar ma rab rib mar me dang

The first verse, so there are stars, but due to the brightness of the sun, we don’t see the stars. Only when the sun goes away, then we see the stars.

Emptiness Only: tong pa nyi

Generally it’s like this for us ordinary beings. Ultimate reality, emptiness, tong pa nyi, emptiness only, tong pa nyi. Nyi cuts the ordinary emptiness.

Here in this tent we don’t have a billion dollars or [we don’t have it] in the hand now, so not that—that is ordinary emptiness. When our stomach is empty of food, that’s ordinary emptiness; the stomach’s empty, that’s ordinary emptiness. The mug is upside down, there’s no tea, so that’s ordinary emptiness. Nyi cuts ordinary emptiness.

Emptiness, in Tibetan, tong pa nyi, means that emptiness is something very specific, something very specific. Not any of this, for example, in this tent there’s no snow lion, there’s no elephant in this tent, there’s no elephant, there’s no snow lion, no snow lion or mud lion, so empty, empty. That’s ordinary emptiness. So nyi cuts that.

Of course, in English “emptiness” depends on the context, the words and the context, how we use it. Now it has been used for so many years, and people who have learned lamrim know what it means.

While it is existing, for example, I, while it is existing, it is empty from its own side. While it’s existing, it’s empty. So nyi cuts ordinary emptiness, the I not existing; the emptiness, it cuts nihilism, it cuts that. While the I is existing, it is empty—that one, it shows that.

So non-truly existent, as it appears to us that way, and it does not exist from its own side, existing by itself. [Tibetan] So that, while it is existing [conventionally]. This emptiness doesn’t contradict dependent arising; it doesn’t contradict, it helps, it supports the [conventional] existence. So this particular emptiness, it supports that, it helps us to understand that’s existing, it’s dependent arising.

Understanding dependent arising helps us to realize it’s empty. Unified, existence, emptiness unified, there’s no separation, unified. There’s no dependent arising without emptiness and there’s no emptiness without dependent arising.

Specifically, that is the most important thing to learn, and that wisdom is ultimate wisdom. Among all the wisdoms, understanding, the most important is ultimate wisdom.

So that is exactly opposite to ignorance; only that is able to eliminate the ignorance directly. Not even bodhicitta, not even bodhicitta realization can do that. Even if we achieve tantric realization, it cannot cease directly the root of samsara, the root of all the suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness and death, all those sufferings.

The second level of suffering is all the temporary samsaric pleasures, which are only suffering, but we label them “pleasure.” So we label “pleasure,” and then, we forgot that. Just right now in this minute, this second, we labeled “pleasure,” but the next second we forgot, we don’t recognize that, and then it appears as pleasure from its own side. It is a hallucination, it totally doesn’t exist; it’s not like that in reality, it’s the same as a dream, the same as an illusion, the same as a mirage, there are many other [examples]. It’s a hallucination, like that.

So then the mind believes in that, and thinks it’s real, true. Then on that basis, that’s ignorance, on that basis, we think, “Oh, it’s really true!” True means existing from its own side. Just now our mind produced, projected, labeled the phenomena, but we do not recognize that.

Then on that basis, attachment arises, and due to that, anger arises, and all the rest of the delusions arise. All the delusions are false, a false mind; all the delusions are a false mind, all the views of the delusions are false. This basic false appearance, it didn’t exist from its own side at all. It has never been, it never, never happened, it has never been before. It’s totally opposite to reality; in reality it’s empty. In reality it is empty of existing from its own side, that’s the emptiness, tong pa nyi.

So this is what eliminates ignorance, which is the basis of all the ignorance, anger, attachment, all the delusions and karma, then it creates samsara. The result is samsara. Already it has caused us to [suffer] numberless times from beginningless rebirths, endlessly in samsara. We have to suffer in the six realms, with unbelievable, unbelievable suffering.

You can see all that, the whole entire samsara, the six-realm sufferings. Can you imagine? Can you imagine human beings’ problems? Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

We Never Find Satisfaction in Samsara

By summarizing, what I mentioned, there are these four: the suffering of rebirth, old age, sickness, death, then meeting the undesirable objects and separating from the desirable objects. Even if we find a desirable object, we can never find satisfaction, no matter how much we try, how much we try, how much we try again, try again, try again, we never find satisfaction. We want to find satisfaction, but we can never find satisfaction no matter how much we tried in the world. Even the billionaires, zillionaires, trillionaires, those people, how much they try.

In Bombay, one Indian man who was a billionaire built a house, and because he had money, he thought what pleasure to get in the world. So then he built a house. I don’t know how many towers, it was a very, very, very high tower house in Bombay. It’s, I don’t know, thirty, sixty or seventy stories, or something like that. Then on top of that there was a swimming pool, a restaurant and all that.

So then a feng shui person came and said, “This is no good for the family.” Then they had to move the family from the sixtieth or seventieth tower on top, I heard. Anyway, the feng shui man came and said it was harmful to their life, so the family had to move.

Anyway, what I was saying? So they tried anything that they could do to get satisfaction in the world, they tried so much, so much, so much, whatever they could do, but they couldn’t get satisfaction. Friends, and then whatever material things they tried to collect, tried to get, I don’t know what other things, pleasure for the five senses, as His Holiness says. But the mind, the sixth [consciousness], the mind was always dissatisfied, having the biggest suffering, dissatisfied and always in suffering, big suffering, so much depression.

Then the more wealth, the more miserliness. The more wealth, the more miserliness, that also happens, so much. There is so much suffering which when we’re not rich, we don’t have those problems, like fear of being attacked, fear of being kidnapped by other people, or the government or other people taking away our material things. So many, so many, so many problems.

So many problems, so many worries, unbelievable worry, fear, and then so much worry, fear of becoming weak, of losing wealth, power, losing that. Another one is getting more wealth, then there is so much worry, fear. Also I think it’s similar for many people who are singers or actresses, I heard that they have so much worry, fear that others will become more famous than them, so much fear of competition, so much fear, so much worry.

Here I’m talking about the human suffering, the second level of suffering of samsara, the suffering of change. I’m talking about the suffering of pain and the suffering of change. Maybe I’ll just introduce now, Lama Tsongkhapa explained in the Lamrim Chenmo, for example, if we are burned by the sun, our body is burned by the hot sun, then we go in the water. This example is to understand how samsaric pleasures are in the nature of suffering, how the temporary pleasures are in the nature of suffering. Lama Tsongkhapa explained this in Lamrim Chenmo.

When we get in the water, we are feeling cool, and at that time we may have pleasure. Another suffering stopped from being great, and another suffering, the cold, coldness started from small. So that feeling called pleasure; our mind labels that suffering “pleasure.”

What we label pleasure is only suffering, only suffering. Another suffering stopped from being great, then another suffering began from small, that feeling. So then as we stay longer in the water, then coldness, and then that pleasure doesn’t last. Then the cold suffering, the second suffering becomes greater and greater, unbearable. Then later that becomes the suffering of pain.

It’s similar with food. When our stomach is empty, when we are hungry, we eat food. With the first spoonful of food, we feel pleasure; it’s similar with thirst, drink, so we feel pleasure, of course we feel pleasure, but that’s our mind merely labeling pleasure, that feeling which stopped great hunger or thirst. Then we feel discomfort, but the discomfort of drinking or eating started small, so we don’t recognize it. It’s small, so we don’t recognize it, so that feeling, then our mind calls it “pleasure.”

Ignorance: The King of the Delusions

Of course, in our daily life, our mind always labels, but we always believe it’s coming from its own side, always, day and night, always, not only in this life, we begin from beginningless rebirth with this ignorance, the wrong concept, total hallucination, the king of the delusions. That’s why ignorance, ignorance holding the I as truly existent, that ignorance is called the “king of the delusions.”

Anyway, our mind always creates, it’s all the time creating, not only the label, merely labeling all the time, day and night. We always believe it never came from our mind right now, this minute, this second, but we always believe it came from its own side, that it never came from our mind. We believe it truly exists from its own side, it exists from its own side, it exists by itself, all the time, but it is a total hallucination.

Like this, even, for example, eating and drinking, everything we experience, so all the rest of the samsaric pleasures, the temporary pleasures, are like that. So on the feeling which is suffering, then our mind merely imputes pleasure.

We have total—can you imagine—unbelievable illusion, hallucinated appearance. Wow, wow, wow, wow. We are living here in illusion. The tent existing from its own side, the light, the bright light existing from its own side, the light truly existing from its own side, the tent existing, the floor existing from its own side, I existing from its own side, everything we looked at before, we see it as existing from its own side, existing from its own side, even though our mind is constantly labeling , it is merely imputed.

So anything—this brocade, the mind is constantly labeling but we see it as existing from its own side, anything; the flower, so anything, whatever, so form, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects and objects of the sixth sense, the mind—all are merely labeled by the mind, all came from mind, not just came from mind, labeled by mind, but merely labeled by mind. Whatever we look at, whatever we hear, whatever we smell, whatever we taste, it all came from our mind—not labeled, but merely labeled by mind, it all came from our mind.

That’s the reality, but the way things appear to us is all hallucination, like a dream, like an illusion, like a magician person who used some substance, a mantra or substance, and then made all the audience hallucinate—they can manifest a city or they can illusion all kinds of things, like a diamond, a jewel palace, a golden elephant or whatever, all kinds of things.

It’s similar here, the ignorance holding the I, holding things as truly existent, this ignorance leaves imprints on the mind, it leaves imprints on the mind, which then projects. All this, what we see, what appears, what we see is depending on how things appear; how they appear depends on that appearance projected by the negative imprint on the mind left by ignorance. Not just all ignorance, but that particular ignorance, holding the I and things as truly existent, so like this.

Also sound, what we hear, what we think is how it appears, and how sound appears, that is a projection of our concepts, left by the imprints, imprints left by the past ignorance.

Also smell, how we think of smell, how we discriminate smell, and how it appears, how it appears, that is a projection of our ignorance, our own ignorance. So the negative imprint left on the mind and how it projects that truly existent smell.

Similarly, taste and tangible objects, same. So what you see, how things appear depends on the projection of the negative imprint left by the ignorance, so like this. So we’re living in a total, total hallucination, like this.

This is the basis from where attachment comes. So the object that we get attached to [Rinpoche snaps fingers] doesn’t exist. An important meditation is where the attachment comes from. What we get attached to, the basis is not there. So the object, what we are attached to, is not true, it is false, it is not there.

So same thing, anger. We get angry, [but the object] is not there in reality. On the basis of I, the hallucination, then we get angry. On the basis of that, then we get angry, but it’s not there. So ignorance, anger, attachment, and so forth, many other delusions, false concepts.

[Rinpoche drinks tea]

I should dedicate Tibetan tea for everybody! [Laughter]

This is a very, very, very important meditation in our daily life: how delusion is a false mind. It’s so important. Then we don’t follow that, we don’t have that hallucination.

We’re completely cheated, we are completely cheated, unbelievable, we’re cheated by our mind, by delusion, by ignorance. We’re totally cheated day and night, all the time from beginningless rebirth, cheated, it cheats us, and that’s why we’re still not free from suffering. Not only the suffering of pain, but the suffering of rebirth, the suffering of old age, the suffering of sickness, the suffering of death.

We can be free because the mind is not oneness with the delusion. So the mind is not oneness with the delusion. The cloth which becomes dirty can be washed because cloth is not oneness with dirt, not oneness with the dirt. If it’s oneness with the dirt, then dirt cannot be washed from dirt, but the dirt can be washed from the cloth.

That’s why, because the mind is not oneness with ignorance, anger, attachment, holding the I and so forth, the phenomena, as truly existent. So it’s not oneness with that ignorance; it’s not oneness with the self-cherishing thought; it’s not oneness; it’s temporarily covered, but it’s not oneness.

That’s why the mind can cease, can be separated from all those other false concepts which have become the cause of suffering, they can be ceased.

The mind can become fully enlightened or fully, completely pure, dharmakaya, the holy mind of a buddha, it can become that. So we can become a buddha, we can fully become a buddha, and our mind can become dharmakaya.

When the obscurations are there, we are temporarily obscured, and when they are there, we are sentient beings. But when the obscurations are gone, we are a buddha.

Now to end, sorry, soon now to end. [Rinpoche laughs] Not only we didn’t achieve ultimate happiness, total freedom from the suffering of pain, we didn’t achieve that, and not only that, but we haven’t achieved total freedom from the suffering of change, as I explained before.

It doesn’t last—whatever samsaric pleasure we try, nothing lasts, nothing lasts. It stops, it doesn’t last; it stops and becomes the suffering of pain. Oh, then it doesn’t last. Any samsaric pleasure, any temporary pleasure doesn’t last.

The other thing, the samsaric pleasure doesn’t increase, but Dharma happiness, if we practice Dharma, meditation, Dharma practice, then the happiness of Dharma, there’s a continuity, it’s increasing. Then when we have achieved the state of omniscient mind, at that time, we have completed Dharma happiness. If we can begin, if we continue, it increases and we can complete it, there’s an end! Like that, the temporary samsaric pleasure never increases.

We think sleeping is incredible pleasure. Then we sleep not only at night-time, but during the daytime we also sleep. We sleep day and night, day and night we sleep, then we get bored, then it becomes disgusting for us. If we continuously sleep, not only sleeping at night-time, but, “Oh it’s so good. Oh I had such a good sleep,” then we sleep, in the daytime we also sleep, and then at night-time we sleep, but then we get bored, and then it becomes disgusting, so like that, any pleasure. [Rinpoche laughs]

Ice cream, so it’s OK to eat ice cream, I mean, from time to time, but if we eat ice cream in the morning, for breakfast, ice cream, then for lunch, ice cream, then for dinner, ice cream, and we eat ice cream in-between, in the middle of the night, ice cream. We think, “Oh, ice cream is so good!” but if we continuously eat ice cream, after some time we get bored and then we really hate ice cream, like that. [Laughter]

There’s no continuing lasting pleasure, and there’s no increasing, you see?

Maybe most people don’t know this, but I think maybe momos came from China. I think, they are not particularly a Tibetan thing. Tibetans have tsampa and pak, and they eat momos. So if we enjoy momos very much, and then we eat momos in the morning, for breakfast momos, momos at night, momos for dinner, but if we eat them every day then probably the next day we get bored, it becomes disgusting, we are bored.

For anything it’s like that, the pleasure does not continue, and there’s no increasing—day by day eating more and more, then the next day, great bliss, and the third day, unbelievable pleasure—increasing like that doesn’t happen.

Pervasive Compounding Suffering

Anyway, that’s just a simple, rough introduction, and then those two sufferings came from the foundation—pervasive compounding suffering—in Tibetan, khyab pa du je kyi dug ngäl, pervasive compounding suffering.

As His Holiness often mentions, the aggregates, our aggregates, the aggregates of form, feeling, cognition, compounding aggregates, consciousness, so there are five aggregates we have at the moment; at the moment we have five.

We are under the control of karma and delusion, and because of that, [the aggregates] are pervaded by suffering. And not only that, these aggregates, the contaminated seed of delusion, so by that reason, they are pervaded by suffering.

A simple example: after we do some prayers or work physically or do something, then we get tired, exhausted. That happens because these aggregates are under the control of karma and delusion, these aggregates, the contaminated seed of delusions.

This is the nature of being in samsara, of being under the control of karma and delusion, this is nature of it. Then all the sicknesses, the 424 diseases or whatever, then the spirit possession, how we receive harm from the 360 spirits, we receive harm. Then the interferers, the 84,000 interferers, we receive harm from them.

If we’re not under the control of karma and delusion, we don’t experience this suffering. But because we’re under its control, we’re not even free from the cause of suffering, karma and delusion, because we haven’t actualized the path, so we experience all these things.

Even when we sleep or when we walk, if we’re not careful, discomfort or pain arises. Even when we press our skin like this, we feel pain. I use the example as a reason why there’s reincarnation, past and future lives, reincarnation. That itself proves, even that pain is because we are under the control of karma and delusion.

So then pervasive compounding suffering. There’s a continuity of the mind from hour to hour, minute by minute; there’s a continuity of consciousness second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year, and similar like that from life to life; there’s a continuity of consciousness from life to life. So like that from beginningless rebirth, this consciousness, this continuity is from beginningless rebirth.

That carries karma, that carries the imprints of karma, action, and also, we experience suffering, compounding suffering of this life, and then that experience creates suffering of our future life, it compounds the suffering of our future life, our future rebirth.

We don’t have realizations of guru devotion or renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness, even the common foundation, we don’t have those realizations. I’m talking about those who don’t have the realizations, but I’m not talking about all of us here, that we don’t have realizations, I’m not talking about that. So, neither that nor when our mind is not even in the meditation on renunciation, bodhicitta, emptiness.

When our mind is in the meditation or [practicing] guru devotion, then our mind is protected. Our mind is protected. When our mind is not in the meditation at all, then there’s no protection.

There’s a continuity of consciousness from the past. Every day we meet objects—desirable, undesirable, indifferent. If it’s desirable, then attachment arises; if it’s undesirable, anger arises; then ignorance arises, so like that, after the projection from the ignorance, of true existence, which projected after the mind merely imputed phenomena.

Then this motivated karma with those minds, this motivated karma, which leaves an imprint in the mind, then that produces our future life’s rebirth, our future life’s suffering. So it compounds this life’s suffering and as I explained, it compounds our future life’s suffering.

Pervasive compounding suffering is the foundation of the other two sufferings: the suffering of pain and the suffering of change.

This is the main suffering for Buddhists to recognize as suffering and to generate the thought to be free from that. If we become free from that, when we have the thought to renounce this, and the effortless realization, then we enter the path to liberation, without bodhicitta, the path to liberation.

With bodhicitta, then we enter the Mahayana path, and the result is to achieve enlightenment, full enlightenment, the state of omniscient mind. Otherwise, it’s just only for oneself, liberation from the ocean of samsara.

If we’re liberated from this, then for sure we’re also liberated from the suffering of pain and the suffering of change, like that. So this is particularly Buddhists and also Hindus, they’re able to be free from the suffering of pain and the suffering of change.

The Formless Realms

For example, for Hindus, by actualizing shinä, calm abiding, the four firm contemplations, they are reborn in the form realm, and they can actualize the four firm contemplations, samten zhi,but then they are bored, even with the inner happiness derived through meditation. Then they get reborn in the formless realm: infinite sky, infinite consciousness, nothingness, and the tip of samsara. So they achieve up to the three formless realms, they achieve that. Only the last one, the tip of samsara, Hindus can’t achieve that.

The way they look at the nature of suffering is the next stage, by comparison, the next stage is better, more peace, and then looking at the stage where they achieve [freedom from] suffering. I’m talking generally, but like that, by comparing, then they go up.

After the tip of samsara, there’s no other higher realm to compare to, they don’t have, so the tip of samsara is the last one. They could never achieve, they could never be free forever from that realm, the tip of the samsara. So they can never achieve renunciation of that, to realize how that is in nature of suffering. So there’s no other higher realm to compare to, in order to realize this is in the nature of suffering.

So that’s for Hindus, also we can achieve that. After being in the tip of the samsara, we abide there as long as we have karma. Then when the karma is finished, we have to be reborn in the lower realm or the desire realm, the form realm, or the human, lower realm, like that, again and again.

It is mentioned that at that time the delusions become very subtle. Nine rounds are to be removed: there are the great delusions, three rounds are removed, and then the middle delusions, three are removed, and then the delusions become small—of the nine rounds, the small ones. The delusions are so small you feel like you don’t have delusion.

Maybe they think they have achieved nirvana. Actually, they haven’t achieved nirvana, so when the karma’s finished, when they see they have to be reborn again, then sometimes they get heresy. They think maybe liberation doesn’t exist and they get heresy, and then that heresy causes them to be reborn in the hell realms, so like that. Like that also happens.

The Buddhists’ specific suffering is pervasive compounding suffering. There are quotations by Panchen Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen, but I don’t know them by heart. So this is specifically what we have to realize is the nature of suffering. If we become free from this, then we become free from the two other sufferings forever. Then we achieve the ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, nirvana, the sorrowless state, so that means becoming free from this pervasive compounding suffering.

So now to achieve this ultimate happiness we have to realize this, to get ultimate happiness which we never achieved before from beginningless rebirths, which we never achieved, to achieve this forever—not just for a few days, a few months or weeks, then back in suffering, not like that. Not like an elephant which goes in the sand, and then becomes very dusty, then goes in the water again and again. Not like that, so not like washing our body, not like that. [Rinpoche laughs]

So for that, we have to realize that suffering. In order to achieve ultimate happiness, we have to recognize or realize that suffering which we should be free from.

That happiness is what we are looking for, to not make mistakes. And suffering is what we should be free from, to not make mistakes. So it’s like that. It’s very important, a very important matter.

Thank you very much. Thank you very much, thank you very much. I think we’ll stop here for lunch.


Due to all the past, present, future merits collected by me, the three-time merits collected by others, by sentient beings, by numberless buddhas, may bodhicitta, the most precious thought of enlightenment, be generated in the hearts of the six-realm sentient beings, particularly in the hearts of everybody in this world, not only human beings, but all the living beings in this world.

And then especially in the hearts of all the students, benefactors and volunteers working at the center, and in the hearts of all those who rely upon me, whom I promised to pray for, whose names are given to me, and especially all of us here, including our family members, without delaying even a second, and the bodhicitta which is generated in others’ hearts, may it increase.

Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, the three-time merits collected by numberless sentient beings, numberless buddhas, who exist but do not exist from their own side, that which is totally empty, may the I who exists, but does not exist from its own side, who is totally empty, achieve the peerless happiness, the state of omniscient mind, which exists but does not exist from its own side, which is totally empty, lead all the sentient beings, who exist but do not exist from their own side, who are totally empty, to the peerless happiness, the state of omniscient mind, which does not exist from its own side, which is totally empty, by myself alone, who exists, but does not exist from its own side, who is totally empty.

[Chanting more end of day dedication prayers]

Thank you very much, and please enjoy lunch.