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Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a khata to a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on His Holiness' birthday, Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, UK, July 6, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a khata to a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on His Holiness’ birthday, Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, UK, July 6, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

More than 200 people attended the teachings organized by Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds. According to Ven. Roger Kunsang, “Rinpoche’s teachings were stressing the importance of emptiness.”

“We ordinary beings who haven’t realized emptiness don’t see things as similar to illusions,” Rinpoche told Ven. Thubten Chodron during an interview in 2005. “We don’t realize that things are merely labeled by mind and exist by mere name. Generally speaking, we don’t see the mere appearance of the I until we become enlightened, because whenever our mind merely imputes something, the next second the negative imprint left on the mental continuum by previous ignorance projects true existence. In the first moment, the I is imputed; in the next it appears back to us as real, as truly existent, as not merely labeled by mind.

“Until we achieve enlightenment we have this appearance of true existence. Except for the meditative equipoise on emptiness of an arya, all other consciousnesses of sentient beings have the appearance of true existence. During an arya’s meditative equipoise on emptiness things don’t appear truly existent. It is without the dualistic view (in two senses, first) not only is there no appearance of true existence, but there is no appearance of subject and object. This wisdom mind and its object are inseparable, like water put in water. The arya’s meditative equipoise on emptiness hasn’t completely eliminated the dualistic view from the person’s mindstream forever, but it has absorbed it temporarily. That is how the wisdom meditates on emptiness. It realizes emptiness directly, becoming inseparable from emptiness. …”

You can read more from the “Interview on Emptiness” on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Video recordings of Rinpoche’s teachings in Leeds, UK, are available at: https://new.livestream.com/FPMT/uk/.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche at long life puja for Geshe Sopa Rinpoche at Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at long life puja for Geshe Sopa Rinpoche at Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

“[T]here’s no outside enemy. There’s a reason why people give harm to us, get angry with us or criticize us. There’s a reason, there’s a cause for that, and that cause is our mind,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche instructed. “For anybody, in any situation, even if a mosquito is biting us, the cause is our mind – attachment, anger, and of course no question about the root, ignorance. There’s no question, that’s the root. Ignorance – the concept holding things, the I and the aggregates as truly existent, which means the self-cherishing thought – that’s the real root.

“In the past we harmed others with these negative thoughts. We made mistakes, we did unrighteous actions and harmed others. What is happening now is the result of that. This mosquito biting us, that person who doesn’t like us even from the first time he saw us, that person who scolds us, even that unknown person who gets angry at us though we’ve never met before – all these things are just results, just creations of this mind. They are caused by this mind, by these negative thoughts, especially the self-cherishing thought.

“Actually, all these things are just like tools used by the people who are angry at us or who criticize us. All these things are like tools. The real enemy is our own self-cherishing thought, this ego, this ignorance, which causes anger, attachment and these delusions. The other things are like tools, like the stick that an angry person beats us with. The real reason is our own negative thought.

“It is very helpful to remember this when somebody is angry with us, scolding us or talking about our mistakes. If we can remember this at that time; that the situation is a tool, used by these negative thoughts. This is happening now because in the past we harmed that person, we did some wrong action to that person. The harm they are doing now is just a tool. The main enemy is our own negative mind.”

From Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teaching “Don’t Get Angry at the Stick,” given at Kopan Monastery in 2008 and recently posted on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche teachings at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, June 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teachings at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, June 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

“After waking up in the morning, the first thing to do is to feel happy that you haven’t died yet,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught at Osel Shen Phen Ling, an FPMT center in Missoula, Montana, US, on August 31, 1997. This teaching, given prior to a White Tara initiation, has recently been posted on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. “‘Even last night, many people in this world died. This morning, they are no longer human beings with the opportunity to practice Dharma. So far, I haven’t died. I didn’t die last night. This is a miracle! Life is full of so many obstacles – the inner obstacles of afflictive thoughts – the 84,000 delusions that shorten our lifespan and cause death – and the external obstacles of many sicknesses and dangers. I’m so fortunate to still have this opportunity to practice Dharma.’

“The meaning and purpose of your life is to be useful and bring happiness to other beings. We have this responsibility. Why do we have this universal responsibility for the happiness of all living beings? Because if we have compassion, then we won’t harm sentient beings and they will only feel peace and happiness in our presence. It all depends on what we do with our mind. If we don’t have compassion then we are only concerned about ourselves and our own happiness, due to thoughts of self-cherishing, anger, and other negative emotions that cause us to harm other living beings, directly or indirectly, from life to life. Therefore, we have full responsibility for the happiness of all beings. (Include people in your family, people who you work with, friends, enemies, and then all sentient beings. Feel this purpose of your life and your universal responsibility first thing in the morning before doing anything else. This is very important.)

“Think to yourself, ‘I have a perfect human body; I’ve met my guru who guides me on the path to enlightenment; and I’ve met the Buddhadharma, which explains the path and methods, the causes of happiness and of suffering, what is liberation and what is samsara, what is real happiness and peace and what is illusory happiness. I’m extremely fortunate!’ Rejoice – feel very happy and appreciative. Then think, ‘Therefore, I’m going to practice sutra and tantra as much as possible on the basis of correct guru devotion.’…”

Visit the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive to read the entire teaching “The Meaning and Purpose of Life,” which covers reasons for taking White Tara initiation, universal responsibility and advice on making life most beneficial.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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"Lama Zopa Rinpoche leaving the house where he was staying in London, next day was the flight London to the USA. ... Rinpoche is gesturing how much he enjoyed staying there and thanking the kind family who offered their house," share Ven. Roger Kunsang, London, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

“Lama Zopa Rinpoche leaving the house where he was staying in London, next day was the flight London to the USA. … Rinpoche is gesturing how much he enjoyed staying there and thanking the kind family who offered their house,” shares Ven. Roger Kunsang, London, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

New photo albums have been added to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Photo Gallery, where you can see Rinpoche in action as he travels around the world. Since April, we’ve added seven new albums.

Rinpoche visited Buddha Amitabha Pure Land in Washington State and Maitripa College and FPMT International Office in Portland, Oregon, in April. Rinpoche taught at Kadampa Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and then led the Light of the Path retreat in May. He then visited Kachoe Dechen Ling in Aptos, California, which included trips to the beach and Land of Medicine Buddha.

Rinpoche spent most of June at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) in Pomaia, Italy. The Italy photo album includes beautiful photos of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to ILTK and Livorno. Then in July, Rinpoche traveled to Leeds and London, UK.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering His Holiness the Dalai Lama a khata, Livorno, Italy, June 15, 2014. Photo by Olivier Adam.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offering a khata to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Livorno, Italy, June 15, 2014. Photo by Olivier Adam.

Remember to check the Lama Zopa Rinpoche Photo Gallery for new photo albums as Rinpoche continues his tireless travels to benefit all beings everywhere.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering body, speech and mind mandala to Geshe Sopa Rinpoche during the long life puja for Geshe Sopa, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering body, speech and mind mandala to Geshe Sopa Rinpoche during the long life puja for Geshe Sopa, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Over the weekend, Lama Zopa Rinpoche departed from London after a successful series of teachings and initiations. Rinpoche traveled to Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, where he attended a long life puja offered to Geshe Lhundub Sopa Rinpoche. Jangtse Chöje Losang Tenzin Rinpoche, several other geshes, Sangha and lay students, both Tibetan and Western, were also in attendance.

Long life puja for Geshe Sopa Rinpoche at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Long life puja for Geshe Sopa Rinpoche at Deer Park Buddhist Center in Oregon, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Geshe Sopa Rinpoche has led an extraordinary life. Born in 1923 in Tsang, Tibet, to farmers, he eventually became an accomplished scholar at Sera Je Monastery in Lhasa, where he taught many important future teachers, including Lama Yeshe and Jangtse Chöje.

Geshe Sopa Rinpoche during long life puja, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Geshe Sopa Rinpoche during long life puja, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

In March 1959, Geshe Sopa Rinpoche fled Tibet and went into exile in India. In the early 1960s, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent Geshe Sopa Rinpoche to the United States. He joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967 and trained many prominent scholars of Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time, he continued to serve as a teacher for Tibetan teachers, including Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Yangsi Rinpoche. Deer Park Buddhist Center, which Geshe Sopa Rinpoche founded, hosted the first Kalachakra initiation given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the West in 1981. 

Geshe Sopa Rinpoche is now 93 years old and quite frail. “Geshe-la is not talking anymore and always has his eyes closed,” shared Ven. Roger Kunsang, Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s assistant. “Geshe-la seems to be constantly in meditation.” During Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s visit to Deer Park, he did prayers with Geshe-la.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing prayers with Geshe Sopa Rinopche, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche doing prayers with Geshe Sopa Rinopche, Deer Park Buddhist Center, Wisconsin, US, July 20, 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

In 2012, Wisdom Publications released Geshe Sopa Rinpoche’s autobiography, Like a Waking Dream. In it, Geshe Sopa shares detailed memories of his youth and early days in the Tibetan monastic system and offers a first-hand perspective on exile and establishing Tibetan Buddhism in the West. In coordination with the publication of the autobiography, Mandala published remembrances and essays by more than a dozen students of Geshe Sopa.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche circumambulating the stupa at Harewood House Gardens, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche circumambulating the stupa at Harewood House Gardens, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

While in Leeds, UK, in early July, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and members of Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds visited the stupa located in the Himalayan Garden on the Harewood House estate. Rinpoche made sure to circumambulate the stupa while visiting.

“Every day, when sentient beings see stupas and statues, this plants the seed of enlightenment. It is said that even dreaming of a stupa plants the seed of enlightenment. This is mainly due to the power of the holy object,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche instructs in “The Incredible Blessings and Benefits of Holy Objects.”

Rinpoche has offered much advice on practices concerning stupas. FPMT Education Services has created a webpage dedicated to sharing this advice on stupas, which includes “Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Advice for Circumambulation” and a translation of “Padmasambhava’s Instruction on Offerings to Stupas.” 

Video recordings of Rinpoche’s teachings in Leeds, UK, are available at:

https://new.livestream.com/FPMT/uk/

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing the penguins at the gardens of Harewood House, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing the penguins in the Bird Garden of Harewood House, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

“It is extremely important that we make an effort to lead a spiritual life while, as human beings, we have the opportunity to pursue inner methods that bring peace of mind,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche instructed in the teaching “In Search of a Meaningful Life,” given at Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre in 1979.

“It is common experience that happiness does not arise from external factors alone,” Rinpoche continued. “If we check carefully into our own daily lives, we will easily see that this is true. In addition to external factors, there are also inner factors that come into play to establish happiness within us.

A penguin at Harewood House's Bird Gardens, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

A penguin at Harewood House’s Bird Gardens, Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

“If external development were all it took to produce lasting peace within us, then those who were rich in material possessions would have more peace and happiness while those who were poor would have less. But life is not always like this. There are many happy people with few riches and many wealthy people who are very unhappy.

“In India, for example, there are many pandits, highly realized yogis and even simple Dharma practitioners who live humble lives but have great peace of mind. The more they have renounced the unsubdued mind, the greater is their peace; the more they have renounced self-cherishing, anger, ignorance, attachment and so forth, the greater is their happiness.

“Great masters such as the Indian pandit Naropa and the Tibetan yogi Jetsün Milarepa owned nothing yet had incredible peace of mind. They were able to renounce the unsubdued mind, the source of all problems, and thus transcended all suffering. By actualizing the path to enlightenment they achieved a superior happiness. Thus, even though they often had to go days without food – the great yogi Milarepa lived for years in a cave subsisting only on wild nettles – they rank among the happiest people on Earth. Because they abandoned the three poisonous minds of ignorance, attachment and anger, their peace and happiness was indeed great. The more they renounced the unsubdued mind, the greater was their peace. …”

Read the entire teaching “In Search of a Meaningful Life” on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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We invite you into the July FPMT International Office e-news

In this month’s e-news, you can:

 …and more!

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Leeds, UK.  July 2014.  Photo by Ven Thubten Kunsang

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Leeds, UK. July 2014. Photo by Ven Thubten Kunsang

 

 

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche gave a talk to the recent European Regional Meeting in Italy which included this teaching on the benefits of offering service to the guru. We invite you to read the edited transcript of Rinpoche’s talk and watch Rinpoche giving this teaching on video.

An excerpt from the talk follows:

“Our reason to be here in Italy, at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, where the director, the SPC [spiritual program coordinator], all the staff here, with FPMT Italy arranged to receive His Holiness to give all the different teachings. Everything went so well. Unbelievable, unbelievable accomplishment, service. Wow. People have really enjoyed. The happiness they normally achieve is just external, sensual, attachment, just like that, nothing new, just the same story, from beginningless rebirths. His Holiness is sooo extremely pleased. It went extremely well, and so I want to say from my heart, billions, zillions, trillions, numberless thanks! Billions, zillions, trillions, numberless thanks! It’s really wonderful, the best accomplishment, as an individual and as an organization.

“So of course, body and mind is under the control of karma and delusion, in the nature of suffering, so of course [we have] tiredness, feel worn out – these things happen. During beginningless rebirths we did not achieve liberation from samsara; we created the cause of these contaminated aggregates. But what I want to tell you, what you have to understand, is that many eons of negative karma have been purified. Sooo many eons of negative karma, heavy negative karma has been purified through bearing much hardship, serving the teachings of the Buddha, sentient beings, the guru, or Compassion Buddha. Sooo many eons, from beginningless rebirths, so many years of negative karma is purified. You have to understand, you have to rejoice about that. So the more you feel difficulty, the more you feel tiredness, whatever happens – oh, it’s great purification.”

Read in full

 

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Lama Zopa Rinpche at a garden in Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpche at a garden in Leeds, UK, July 2014. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.

“The four undesirable things [of the eight worldly dharmas] are suffering, not receiving material things, uninteresting words and a bad reputation,” Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught at the 14th Kopan Course in 1981. “We wish to avoid these four undesirable objects, for ourselves or for our friends and relatives. We wish for the opposite of these four undesirable things –happiness, receiving material things, sweet words, and a good reputation for ourselves, our friends and relatives. But what we wish for the enemy is the complete opposite – we wish that they receive the four undesirable things and do not receive the four desirable things. We seek the eight worldly dharmas for ourselves, our relatives and our friends.

“Practicing patience with the four undesirable things is like this. Whenever we meet suffering, we must practice patience. When somebody treats us badly and doesn’t give us material help, we must practice patience. When somebody insults us, we must practice patience. When somebody gives us a bad reputation, we must practice patience. When we meet these four undesirable things, we must practice patience. When the four undesirable things happen to our friends and relatives, we must also practice patience. When somebody harms our close friends and relatives and when they suffer, then we must also practice patience. When material help is not given to our friends and relatives, we must practice patience with that person who doesn’t help them. We must also practice patience with those who insult our friends and relatives, and give them a bad reputation. 

“When our enemy is happy, or when somebody causes our enemy to receive perfections and to be happy, it is unbearable. It is unbearable that our enemy is happy. We dislike that our enemy is happy, comfortable and doesn’t have problems. However, when somebody makes our enemy happy, we must practice patience. Because we dislike that, again we must practice patience.

“When our enemy receives material offerings, again we must practice patience. If we don’t practice patience, we become jealous and when we see or hear that, we become very confused and unhappy. So, again, we must practice patience when we see that our enemy has received material things. …”

You can read the complete edited teaching “Practicing Patience with Our Enemy” on the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. 

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s homepage. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche via email, sign up to Lama Zopa Rinpoche News.

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