Lama Thubten Yeshe Quotes



Our grabbing ego made this body manifest, come out. However, instead of looking at it negatively, we should regard it as precious. We know that our body is complicated, but from the Dharma point of view, instead of putting ourselves down with self-pity, we should appreciate and take advantage of it. We should use it in a good way.

The mental pollution of misconceptions is far more dangerous than drugs. Wrong ideas and faulty practice get deeply rooted in your mind, build up during your life, and accompany your mind into the next one. That is much more dangerous than some physical substance.

Don’t forget that the starving person preoccupied by hunger and the person obsessing over what to buy next at the supermarket are basically the same. Mentally, rich and poor are equally disturbed, and, fundamentally, one is as unhappy as the other.

The reason we are unhappy is because we have extreme craving for sense objects – samsaric objects – and we grasp at them. We are seeking to solve our problems, but we are not seeking in the right place. The right place is our ego-grasping.

Right understanding is the only solution to both physical and mental problems. You should always check very carefully how you’re expending your energy: will it make you happy or not? That’s a big responsibility, don’t you think? It’s your choice: the path of wisdom or the path of ignorance.

Basically, the human mind is mostly unconscious, ignorant, and gets so preoccupied with new experiences, that it forgets the old ones. Review the past month: exactly what happened, precisely what feelings did you have, every day? You can’t remember, can you? But if you practice this slowly, slowly, continuously checking within your mind, eventually, you’ll be able to remember more and more of your previous experiences.

Actions that give harm to other sentient beings aren’t those of a bodhisattva. In Buddhism, there’s no such thing as a holy war. You have to understand this. It’s impossible to equalize everybody on earth through force.

True religion should be the pursuit of self-realization, not an exercise in the accumulation of facts.

Most of the time our grasping at and craving for worldly pleasure does not give us satisfaction. It leads to more dissatisfaction and to psychologically crazier reactions.

Your up and down emotions are like clouds in the sky; beyond them, the real, basic human nature is clear and pure.

From the Buddhist point of view, attachment for something means that it’s very difficult for us to separate from it. We have a very strong attachment – strong like iron – for the things we think of as being very good. We need to learn to be flexible.

Buddhism is not saying that objects have no beauty whatsoever. They do have beauty. The craving mind, however, projects onto an object something that is beyond the relative level, which has nothing to do with that object. That mind is hallucinating, deluded and holding the wrong entity.

Buddhist meditation doesn’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. Simply observing how your mind is responding to the sense world can be a really perfect meditation and bring a perfect result.

Over and over again our experiences prove that it is our mental outlook that is fundamentally responsible for whether we are successful or unsuccessful, healthy or ill, attractive or ugly, happy or depressed.

Many times we mix our compassion with attachment. We begin with compassion, but after some time, attachment mixes in and then it becomes an attachment trip.

Renunciation of samsara is not only the business of monks and nuns. Whoever is seeking liberation or enlightenment needs renunciation of samsara.

We should train ourselves not to become engrossed in any of the thoughts continuously arising in our mind. Our consciousness is like a vast ocean with plenty of space for thoughts and emotions to swim about and we should not allow our attention to be distracted by any of them.

In my mind, one of the beauties of Buddhism is that it offers us a practical training for our mind. It does not say, ‘Bodhicitta is fantastic because Buddha said so!’ Instead, it gives us the methods for developing such an attitude and we can then see for ourselves whether it works or not, whether it is fantastic or not.

If your daily life is tremendously involved in emotions, you are completely driven by them and psychologically tired. In other words, our physical emotions get too involved and we don’t understand the functioning of our six sense consciousnesses.

If we want to understand how we are ordinarily misled by our false projections and how we break free from their influence, it is helpful to think of the analogy of our dream experiences. When we wake up in the morning, where are all the people we were just dreaming about? Where did they come from? And where did they go? Are they real or not?

Problems come when you are not living in a natural state of mind. Then, no matter what you are doing, your mind will be on something else. You are supposed to be cleaning your house, but your mind is thinking about going to the beach and eating ice cream. That is when you run into difficulties.

You can see that some people’s relationships are reasonable. Therefore, they last a long time. If people’s relationships start off extreme, how can they last? You know from the beginning they cannot last. Balance is so important.

The purpose of meditation is not to reach nirvana and then disappear. If that was the case, it would better that you manifested as a flower!

Be wise. Treat yourself, your mind, sympathetically, with loving kindness. If you are gentle with yourself, you will become gentle with others.

Our problem is that inside us there’s a mind going, ‘Impossible, impossible, impossible. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’ We have to banish that mind from this solar system. Anything is possible; everything is possible. Sometimes you feel that your dreams are impossible, but they’re not. Human beings have great potential; they can do anything. The power of the mind is incredible, limitless.

Manjushri Institute, 1977, Currently unpublished
Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive

My approach is to expose your ego so that you can see it for what it is. Therefore, I try to provoke your ego. There’s nothing diplomatic about this tactic. We’ve been diplomatic for countless lives, always trying to avoid confrontation, never meeting our problems face to face. That’s not my style. I like to meet problems head on and that’s what I want you to do, too.

You must recognize that your real enemy, the thief who steals your happiness, is the inner thief, the one inside your mind – the one you have cherished since beginningless time. Therefore, make the strong determination to throw him out and never to let him back in.

Ego, Attachmnet and Liberation

Buddhist meditation doesn’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. Simply observing how your mind is responding to the sense world can be a really perfect meditation and bring a perfect result.

Don’t think of Buddhism as some kind of narrow, closed-minded belief system. It isn’t. Buddhist doctrine is not a historical fabrication derived through imagination and mental speculation, but an accurate psychological explanation of the actual nature of the mind.

Faith alone never stops problems; understanding knowledge-wisdom always does. Lord Buddha himself said that belief in Buddha was dangerous; that instead of just believing in something, people should use their minds to try to discover their own true nature.

It is important to understand that true practice is something we do from moment to moment, from day to day. We do whatever we can, with whatever wisdom we have, and dedicate it all to the benefit of others. We just live our life simply, to the best of our ability.

You don’t need to obsess over the attainment of future realizations. As long as you act in the present with as much understanding as you possibly can, you’ll realize everlasting peace in no time at all.

In Buddhism, we are not particularly interested in the quest for intellectual knowledge alone. We are much more interested in understanding what’s happening here and now, in comprehending our present experience, what we are at this very moment, our fundamental nature.

The essence of the guru is wisdom: the perfectly clear and radiant state of mind in which bliss and the realization of emptiness are inseparably unified.

Your whole life is controlled by karma, you live within the energy field of karma. Your energy interacts with another energy, then another, and another. That’s how your entire life unfolds. Physically, mentally, it’s all karma.

According to the Buddhist view, there is no human problem that cannot be solved by human beings.

Meditation is not on the level of the object, but on that of the subject. You are the business of your meditation.

No matter whether you are a believer or a non-believer, religious or not religious, a Christian, Hindu, or a scientist, black or white, an Easterner or a Westerner, the most important thing to know is your own mind and how it works.

Realize that the nature of your mind is different from that of the flesh and bone of your physical body. Your mind is like a mirror, reflecting everything without discrimination. If you have understanding-wisdom, you can control the kind of reflection that you allow into the mirror of your mind.

Karma is your experiences of body and mind. The word itself is Sanskrit; it means cause and effect. Your experiences of mental and physical happiness are the effects of certain causes, but those effects themselves become the cause of future results. One action produces a reaction; that is karma.

I hope that you understand what the word ‘spiritual’ really means. It means to search for – to investigate – the true nature of the mind. There’s nothing spiritual outside. My rosary isn’t spiritual; my robes aren’t spiritual. Spiritual means the mind and spiritual people are those who seek its nature.

Superficial observation of the sense world might lead you to believe that people’s problems are different, but if you check more deeply, you will see that fundamentally, they are the same. What makes people’s problems appear unique is their different interpretation of their experiences.

If you know the psychological nature of your own mind, depression is spontaneously dispelled; instead of being enemies and strangers, all living beings become your friends. The narrow mind rejects; wisdom accepts. Check your own mind to see whether or not this is true.

It’s the foggy mind, the mind that’s attracted to an object and paints a distorted projection onto it, that makes you suffer. That’s all. It’s really quite simple.

When I talk of being detached, what I mean is to be simpler, more easy-going. Detachment doesn’t mean totally renouncing everything. It means that you loosen your grip and be more relaxed.

Our desires are not limited to the things we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Our mind runs after ideas as greedily as our tongue hungers for tastes.

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it’s worthwhile.

If you don’t know your own psychology, you might ignore what’s going on in your mind until it breaks down and you go completely crazy.

I encourage people not to express their anger, not to let it out. Instead, I have people try to understand why they get angry, what causes it and how it arises. When you realize these things, instead of manifesting externally, your anger digests itself. In the West, some people believe that you get rid of your anger by expressing it, that you finish it by letting it out. Actually, in this case what happens is that you leave an imprint in your mind to get angry again.

Superficial observation of the sense world might lead you to believe that people’s problems are different, but if you check more deeply, you will see that fundamentally, they are the same. What makes people’s problems appear unique is their different interpretation of their experiences.

We hear religious people talk a lot about morality. What is morality? Morality is the wisdom that understands the nature of the mind. The mind that understands its own nature automatically becomes moral, or positive; and the actions motivated by such a mind also become positive. That’s what we call morality. The basic nature of the narrow mind is ignorance; therefore the narrow mind is negative.

Without understanding how your inner nature evolves, how can you possibly discover eternal happiness? Where is eternal happiness? It’s not in the sky or in the jungle; you won’t find it in the air or under the ground. Everlasting happiness is within you, within your psyche, your consciousness, your mind. That’s why it’s important that you investigate the nature of your own mind.

By eliminating the self-pitying imagination of ego, you go beyond fear. All fear and other self-pitying emotions come from holding a self-pitying image of yourself.

When ordinary people die they are out of control. Because they have not trained themselves during their life, they are overwhelmed by the experience of death and bewildered as their bodily elements go out of balance and cease to function harmoniously.

Look at modern society. Many people put themselves down; that’s their worst problem. You can see this everywhere in the world; people put limitations on themselves, on their own reality.

When Lord Buddha spoke about suffering, he wasn’t referring simply to superficial problems like illness and injury, but to the fact that the dissatisfied nature of the mind itself is suffering.

When a strong wind blows, the clouds vanish and blue sky appears. Similarly, when the powerful wisdom that understand the nature of the mind arises, the dark clouds of ego disappear.

Buddhism is not at all a tactful religion, always trying to avoid giving offense. Buddhism addresses precisely what you are and what your mind is doing in the here and now. That’s what makes it so interesting.

One of the hallmarks of Buddhism is that you can’t say that everybody should do this, everybody should be like that; it depends on the individual.

You can see from your own life experiences how the environment can affect you. When you’re among peaceful, generous, happy people, you’re inclined to feel happy and peaceful yourself. When you’re among angry, aggressive people, you tend to become like them. The human mind is like a mirror. Therefore, it is very important to be conscious of your surroundings and how they affect your mind.