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Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching into the evening on Vulture's Peak, Bihar, India, February 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching into the evening on Vulture’s Peak, Bihar, India, February 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive makes available transcripts of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings at the annual month-long Kopan courses going back to the first years of the course. The following is an excerpt from the 15th Kopan course, given in 1982. Here Rinpoche offers instruction on the Heart Sutra:

“It says in the Heart Sutra, ‘There is no this and that,’ saying so many ‘no’s.’ Sometimes when you meditate like this, sometimes meditate that yourself, the ‘I,’ the listener to the teaching, and the aggregates, the general and particular aggregates and the objects of the senses, are merely labeled. And then sometimes, as you hear the words, look at them. As you hear the words, whatever appears to your ‘I,’ your aggregates, your parts – the eyes, nose, those parts – without the mind wandering, as you hear the words, look at the appearance of your own particular aggregates, your own object of the senses. Also, you can think of others. Think where it says ‘no,’ ‘no,’ ‘no;’ apply that to this – on the thing that appears to your mind, apply the word ‘no.’

“Think, ‘All this is illusory.’ Like when you have taken LSD, you get visions of mandalas or going to the planets, and then at the same time the mind is aware that it is not real, it is just a hallucination. Similarly, while you are dreaming, at the same time, you are conscious of the dream, you recognized that this is a dream. Similar to this. At least you can meditate sometimes in this way.

“Then each time you do like this, it plants seeds, and the mind gets trained and can soon realize the meaning of emptiness, the absolute nature, the emptiness that is so much emphasized in Buddhadharma. It is emphasized so much how important it is to realize – there are so many volumes of teachings that explain about it in detail. There are the root texts and so many commentaries written by many realized lamas and by Indian pandits. So, soon that experience comes. What is in the books, what you talk about in the teachings, what you meditate on, becomes real. In other words, it becomes reality. Now it is just words, you know, imitating – when we are meditating, we are imitating, just repeating the words. It is like this in reality, but we don’t see it in this way. So now, one doesn’t see it as a reality for one’s own mind, as a kind of philosophy, but something that you cannot feel, or something that has no relation to the fact of existence. However, at that time, when the understanding and experience comes in your mind, it becomes normal reality, it becomes reality for your mind. Then in this way, one can be swiftly liberated from all the true suffering and the true cause of suffering.”

Visit the Archive to read the complete transcript.

Learn more about Lama Zopa Rinpoche, spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), and Rinpoche’s vision for a better world. Sign up to receive news and updates.