How to Practice Dharma Book

Teachings on the Eight Worldly Dharmas

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Edited by Gordon McDougall

FPMT Lineage Series

FPMT Lineage is a series of books of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment (lamrim) drawn from his four decades of discourses on the topic based on his own textbook, The Wish-fulfilling Golden Sun, and several traditional lamrim texts and in general arranged according to the outline of Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. This series will be the most extensive contemporary lamrim commentary available and comprises the essence of the FPMT’s education program.

This book deals with the eight worldly dharmas, essentially, how craving desire and attachment cause us to create problems and suffering and how to abandon these negative minds in order to find perfect peace and happiness.

"Buddhism is a house full of treasures—practices for gaining the happiness of future lives, the bliss of liberation and the supreme happiness of enlightenment—but knowing the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma is the key that opens the door to all those treasures. No matter how much we know about emptiness, the chakras or controlling our vital energy through kundalini yoga, it’s all pointless without this crucial understanding of how to practice Dharma, how to correct our actions. There are vast numbers of people who delude themselves and waste their entire life studying the most esoteric aspects of Buddhism but never understand the most fundamental point, the distinction between Dharma and non-Dharma.

"It is very easy to do Dharma activities such as reciting mantras, saying prayers, making offerings and things like that with the thought of the eight worldly dharmas. That happens. But in reality, the holy Dharma, which includes all these activities, actually means renouncing this life. Therefore holy Dharma and worldly dharma can never be done together. Nobody can do these two things—renounce this life and seek the happiness of this life with the eight worldly dharmas—at once. We can do one and then the other but never both together in the one mind at the same time."
      —Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Reader Feedback

From Janice D Willis, Professor of Religion, Wesleyan University

"Thank you! My copy of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's book, How to Practice Dharma, arrived at my office address yesterday. It is simply beautiful—from the gorgeous photograph of Rinpoche that graces the cover to the stellar glossary in the back! A real triumph!

"I can hear Lama Zopa's early discourses at Kopan: 'If you mix Dharma with worldly dharma, then it is not Dharma' How wonderful to have this precious teaching—to hold in one's hands and to take to heart. Thank you and  LYWA for your great work!"

From a letter written by a student to Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

I had read about the eight worldly dharmas before, numerous times, but it never really impacted on me like it did while reading your book. I wept and wept with the knowledge that after all these years of trying to learn the Dharma and thinking that I was making some progress practicing Dharma, in reality, I have never really practiced Dharma without the eight worldly dharmas controlling me. That awareness makes me cry now while writing to you. So much time has been wasted.

I scotch-taped notes on my computer, phone, water jug, food pantry—and while I am writing to you, I am thinking of other ideas to place the post-its—with the word ‘motivation’ to remind me to check my ‘true motivation.’ I have written on a note card a prayer from your book that I say before I drive my car, before I read my holy Dharma books and before I begin my morning practice and night practice. I am eternally grateful for you taking the time to write that book, for without it, I would have continued doing what I have always done, and wasted my entire life unknowingly.

You can read Rinpoche's reply to this student's letter here.

Order a print copy by clicking the Add to Cart button on this page. You can also read excerpts from this book online and access links to translations, download a PDF, order the audiobook from, listen for free on Google Play or listen on YouTube, or visit your favorite ebook vendor using the links below. LYWA Members can download the ebook for free.

FPMT Centers: Place an order for your center by sending an email to [email protected] and we will invoice you for your shipping charges which you can then pay online.




Google Play



Smashwords is accessible worldwide and offers the full range of ebook formats including Kindle. You can also access LYWA titles through the ebook subscription service Scribd.


Members have exclusive access to the entire LYWA library of books in digital format. Read more about LYWA Membership and its benefits here.

Click on the relevant icon below to download the file. The ebook versions are freely available for Members in pdf, mobi and epub formats. Note that the mobi version works with Kindle readers and the epub version is compatible with Apple devices and many other readers. Members can also listen online to the MP3 audiobook or download the file and listen offline on any MP3 player, with a choice of two narration styles.

For Kindle

For Apple


MP3: Female narrator

MP3: Male narrator

ISBN 9781891868283 9781891868269