Posts Tagged "depression"

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing an incense puja at Kachoe Dechen Ling, California, US, May 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing an incense puja at Kachoe Dechen Ling, Aptos, California, US, May 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

In a recent post on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, you can read Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice on how to transform depression into the path of enlightenment:

“Depression can be a good thing, because it is a sign of purification, of having practiced Dharma.

“There are different levels of how negative karma is purified. With the first level, you never experience the suffering results of your actions. With the second level, you experience these results, but rather than experiencing the suffering result of the negative action for many eons in the lower realms – the hell, hungry ghost or animal realms – instead, the result manifests in this life in the form of some problem, such as depression, a toothache or headache, or being criticized by people and so forth. Unbelievably negative karma manifests as just this problem or even as bad dreams or nightmares; often in the form of sickness, failure in business, or some disaster in your family or in your relationships – other people treating you badly or abusing you; and also in the form of depression.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing incense puja at Kachoe Dechen Ling, California, US, June 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing incense puja at Kachoe Dechen Ling, Aptos, California, US, May 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

“This way you never have to experience the heavy suffering for an incredible length of time, therefore, experiencing this depression is a positive thing. This can be related to whatever problems you have, so you feel positive and happy about them. You should understand all the rest of your problems, whatever you have, in this same way.

“Then there’s the next level of purifying karma. By experiencing this [suffering result] now, you don’t have to be reborn in the lower realms, or maybe for a very short time and the suffering is very light. For example, when you throw a stone on a rock, it hits in one second, like snapping your fingers. Similarly, in that way, all those heavy sufferings for a great length of time are finished instead, by experiencing this suffering now. If you compare that to the experience of heavy suffering for an incredible length of time, it’s very positive, very good. It’s fantastic!

“There’s no question that the problems experienced in the human realm are an incredibly great comfort, even a pleasure, compared to those extremely heavy sufferings in the hell, hungry ghost and animal realms. So now that negative karma that we don’t have to experience is really fantastic. …”

You can read the complete post “Advice on Transforming Depression,” part of “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book,” on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

A stupa surrounded by tsa-tsas at Kachoe Dechen Ling, California, June 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

A stupa surrounded by tsa-tsas at Kachoe Dechen Ling, Aptos, California, May 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an organization dedicated to preserving Mahayana Buddhism through offering the Buddha’s authentic teachings and to facilitating reflection, meditation, practice and the opportunity to actualize and directly experience the Buddha’s teachings. Sign up to receive news and updates.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche replied to a student who had concerns about health and having given back their ordinations vows, which led to them feeling very isolated and depressed and being unable to study or practice:

“If you can study lam-rim, that should be the main teaching – just like the wandering ascetics, the monks whose only belonging is the Lamrim Chenmo. They don’t have anything else, don’t carry anything but the lam-rim, so like that. So that is the main one to study, to meditate on – the lam-rim. You have to actualize this, otherwise we will suffer. Without realizations on guru devotion, renunciation, bodhichitta, right view and particularly tantra, you will be suffering in samsara endlessly. Do you want to do that? I don’t think so.

You should know it’s not just practice for this lifetime. The practice becomes preparation for all your lives, so eons, eons, eons, all your future lives, to go to a pure land, then enlightenment, to be free from samsara, enlightenment and then to benefit all sentient beings and enlighten them. Don’t think you are alone.” …

Read the full advice

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