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Lama Zopa Rinpoche upon arriving in Sarnath, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche upon arriving in Sarnath, India, March 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

A new post on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive features Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice on purifying past karma. Rinpoche responds to a letter from a student diagnosed with breast cancer at length. Here’s an excerpt:

“… Even this life’s problems come from the wrong concept and wrong action. This life’s happiness also comes from the right concept, the correct way of thinking, and correct actions, pure actions. From that, inner happiness comes. So even this hour’s happiness, right now, if we think in a positive way, then we have happiness, but if we think in a negative way, then we have suffering. Even the person who got angry towards us in the past, who gave us harm in the past, who we regard as an enemy, maybe first we cherished that person and now we have renounced him. Maybe in the beginning we were attached and now totally the opposite.

“In the beginning we thought that person was the same as a holy being, a bodhisattva or buddha, or even just a good human being, then when he gets angry with us, provokes us, harms us, or even tries to kill us, we see him as an enemy. Actually we should see him as the most kind person; this person who is our enemy is our teacher of patience, for us to learn patience. Maybe we do meditation on patience, but here, this person is our practical teacher. We can do the action meditation of patience with him, so we have the opportunity to use him and to see him as most kind – kinder than someone who gives us a hundred thousand dollars. Just giving us a hundred thousand dollars, that alone doesn’t help us to be free, to have a happy death or to stop us being reincarnated in the hell realms or as a hungry ghost or animal.

“If we practice patience towards the person who is angry at us, who harms us, by thinking how extremely kind he is, then we don’t get reborn in the lower realms as a hell being, hungry ghost or animal. Also the enemy actually gives us the opportunity to create the cause for good rebirth and for our next life to be born as a deva or higher. Then also that person becomes the cause to cease all of our sufferings and to achieve ultimate happiness, full enlightenment, peerless happiness for sentient beings and to be able to free the numberless sentient beings from each realm from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to omniscience, ultimate happiness and full enlightenment. …”

Read the entire letter “Purifying Past Karma” online from the Archive’s “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Online Advice Book.”

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.