In this teaching extract, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains that all happiness and suffering come from the mind. If we don't recognize that, we will have many problems, even if we have studied Buddhist philosophy and received many teachings. Rinpoche mentions Syria as one example of extreme suffering, and he says if there is no anger, there is no external enemy. Rinpoche advises that the essence of Buddhism is compassion for all sentient beings, and the purpose of establishing Dharma centers is to teach and practice compassion.
Read the video transcript below.
Your mind is creator of all, Compassion is the essence of the Buddha teachings
I think the first thing, whether you are looking for spiritual happiness, Dharma happiness, whether you are [looking for] inner happiness, not the ordinary [happiness] that you have had numberless times, not that one, the ordinary happiness that you had numberless times already, ha-ha, in this life without kind of from beginningless rebirths. Older students, I think the most important thing is every day, every day if you live the life with the basis that your mind is from where all the sufferings came, the six-realm sufferings, the six realms, the oceans of six-realm sufferings, the oceans of hell realm, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura, and asura [sufferings] came from your mind. All the happiness came from your mind. Your mind is the creator of everything. That is the most important thing. That is the most important thing.
So even the old students, you heard that but then you have to live the life with that recognition as the main basis. So I think, as it is the main basis, it helps unbelievably. Immediate, it helps to bring immediate peace and happiness in your heart, in your life. Even though it is really the basic thing but if you, even though old students who received many teachings, studied many subjects, but if you don't live in that philosophy, that basic understanding, so even though you studied so much philosophical subjects, Madhyamaka and this and that, Abhisamayalamkarika, this and that tantra subjects, so much, but if you think the creator is outside, not you, not your mind, happiness and problems are coming from outside, as long as you think [they are coming from] outside you are the same as people who never heard Dharma, who never studied Dharma, never heard Dharma. You are the same thing as the insects, what the insects, what the worms, what the insects think—that everything came from outside, not came from the mind, but from outside. So no difference from the worms, the insects.
Then you create problems. Then you create so much problems in your life, so much problems. Then you find an enemy, then you continuously find an enemy in the world. You find an enemy in your family. Everywhere you find an enemy. As you know from Bodhicaryavatara, [5:13] by wearing [leather], “If you are going to cover the whole earth by leather, there is not enough leather to cover the whole earth, but if you wear leather shoes, you cover your feet.” So wherever you walk, thorns don't go through. It is like you covered the whole earth by leather. You didn’t cover the whole earth, but it is like that. No thorn can go through [your feet] by wearing leather shoes. Like that, if you don't have anger, if you don't have anger, then you have no enemy outside. “If you don't have anger, you don't have an enemy outside.” You can’t find one anywhere.
In the Aptos house, in Aptos at the house we have a car that I put on the back side a label, on the back side a label in big writing, “No anger, no enemy.” So on the car that becomes a teaching, good advertising. It is the best advertising because so many wars, so many hundreds of thousands, thousands, get killed again and again, bah, bah, bah, so many people get [killed] by bombs. People escape. Then so many people escape, then the boat is full, then sinking in the ocean. They can’t do anything. They try to run away, bah, bah, bah. It is unbelievable, unbelievable.
The people in the world are suffering. Syria is one example. It originated, it came from one person’s not understanding that all came from his mind. Not understanding that the creator is one’s own mind, one who is influential to the people, their lives. Can you imagine it? Like millions and millions of people killed by one person who has power, who did not realize this. Your mind is the creator of everything, all the suffering and all the happiness. He didn’t realize that, so all is coming from outside. Millions and millions are killed. It happened from time to time. So that is an unbelievably important education to bring, even thinking in the world how to help the world, to bring peace and happiness in the world.
So therefore I think Dharma centers, establishing Dharma centers like Chenrezig Institute, like this, giving teachings, lamrim teachings, yes, but what it is all about is compassion. Teaching compassion, to practice compassion, to practice compassion with the sentient beings, with whom you practice compassion, with whom you generate compassion is sentient beings. That is the essence of Buddhism, the Buddha’s teachings—to generate compassion to every single, not only human beings, every single hell being, hungry ghost, animal, the tiniest [insect], big like whales living in the ocean, anybody, the worms living under the earth, also the tiniest flies which when you walk in the grass they run, jump away, tiny, all those. There are numberless universes so there are numberless human beings, numberless sura beings, asura beings.
Compassion to everyone—that is the essence of Buddhism. What differentiates it from others is that. So to everyone, any sentient being, to have compassion, to never give them up, to have compassion [for them]. So compassion, that means to not harm and on top of that, if you can, to benefit. The motivation is compassion. You understand the conduct, if you want to practice Buddhism, is to not harm sentient beings. And that came from the right view, the dependent arising, subtle dependent arising, which is unified with emptiness from its own side, and that is unified with the dependent arising. So that, it came from there. The conduct came from there—to not harm and to benefit sentient beings. So that is often what His Holiness says. So therefore, now you can see that teaching Buddhism, a course or just talking about Buddhism to somebody, to explain compassion is most important.
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