Lama Zopa Rinpoche continues his video teachings from Kopan Monastery in Nepal during the coronavirus pandemic.
This new video begins with a short powerful message from Geshe Ngawang Sangye, sharing Shantideva’s wisdom, from A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: “If a problem can be solved, what reason is there to be upset? If there is no possible solution, what use is there to being sad?” Geshe Sangye suggests that the way to combat mental and physical challenges produced from the lockdown is to remember that “every cloud has a silver lining” and many good things can be learned from staying indoors, such as preparing the mind to look for solutions to beat the coronavirus internally—including distancing ourselves from negative thoughts, not just from social situations.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche begins his teaching by explaining that through actualizing the path—especially wisdom directly realizing emptiness—one eliminates the subtle hallucination, the negative imprint left by delusion—this becomes totally purified. There is no more learning and one becomes enlightened.
What is the path? And how can we actualize it?
Rinpoche acknowledges that due to the coronavirus pandemic, so many people in the most affected countries are scared due to many people getting sick and dying. However, we can utilize anything, big or small—unfavorable things, undesirable things, and even pleasures and happiness in the life—all can be transformed into the path to enlightenment, not just short-term happiness—total cessation of gross and subtle mistakes of the mind, and the completion of realizations.
How can we use this crisis to get enlightened?
Rinpoche says we can. Right now, due to our obscured mind, we see the pandemic as a “crisis,” as difficult. We believe in it, we buy into the story of it. Like we are dreaming but don’t realize we are dreaming. We can transform this experience into the path to enlightenment, great liberation, peerless happiness—not just short-term happiness.
Rinpoche explains that this is how to make one’s life meaningful and not wasted, not “garbage.” Not just to benefit oneself, but also to benefit every single being in every realm. We make our life meaningful and cause ultimate happiness for them. This is being wise, using our lives to benefit others, and not wasting it on benefiting only ourselves.
We hold the wrong view that sentient beings—people and animals—are there to be used by us for our pleasure. However, Rinpoche explains, that by cherishing them, as we cherish ourselves, then we realize that all suffering comes from “I,” and all happiness comes from others.
If we want happiness, we have to create the cause for happiness and abandon the cause for suffering. We say we want happiness, and believe we want happiness, but we typically use our life in a way that creates suffering. However, we are so fortunate to have met the Dharma, to learn new methods for creating the cause for real happiness.
Every sentient being who is not free from samsara (suffering in rebirth, old age, sickness, death, and all the worldly pleasures that are also in the nature of suffering) needs to be liberated from the root of suffering: delusion and karma, and the ignorance that holds the “I” as truly existent.
With Dharma, one can continue and develop.
Rinpoche assures us that Buddha’s teachings contain no betrayal, no deception. Of course, when one is a beginner, it is important to examine and assess the teachings, and if one has the merit, one is able understand and discover the teachings and develop stable devotion. With no devotion, one analyzes, but without merit, no discovery comes, and one remains very skeptical. Rinpoche explains that in the West, we often are very clever, but don’t always have the merit to discover the teachings and instead focus our energies on short-term happiness in this life alone. To become enlightened, to cease all of the obscurations of the mind, and to come to all the realizations—what one needs to do is purify the mind and collect merit.
Rinpoche reminds us that Buddha’s holy name, the profound mantras, and prayers contain so much benefit. By reciting for yourself or for other sentient beings like animals, even on dead bones or hair of animals or people (including when one is eating meat), you can help purify the negative karma of that being.
In conclusion, Rinpoche made the strong point that there is nothing more beneficial to do with one’s life—job, family, extensive education, your own body—nothing else brings a more meaningful life than practicing Dharma.
We invite you to go deeper into the topics presented here in summary, plus many others, by watching Rinpoche’s video and reading the full transcript of Rinpoche’s teaching.
Watch Lama Zopa Rinopche’s teaching “Don’t Make Your Life Garbage and the Buddha’s Teachings Are Unbetraying”:
- Read the transcript of Rinpoche’s teaching “Don’t Make Your Life Garbage and the Buddha’s Teachings Are Unbetraying.”
- In this video, Rinpoche mentions several mantras, including Shayamuni Buddha’s name and mantra, that can be found on our “Mantras” page.
- Read Recognizing the False I (PDF, .epub, .mobi), a commentary written by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on and set of simple meditation techniques for identifying the object to be refuted— what Rinpoche calls “the false I”—during reflections on emptiness.
- In the dedication, Rinpoche recites the dedication verses from Nagarjuna’s Jewel Garland, v. 483–485.
Find more video teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche from Kopan Monastery during the COVID-19 crisis:
Practice advice from our teachers, Dharma study-from-home opportunities, and more can be found on the page “Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.
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When you recognize your problem comes from your concept or your concept is the problem, you don’t blame others.