Easter Retreat 2016 - Fourth Talk

Good morning.  All of you are looking really settled, you look a very joyful bunch of people.  I do hope that you manage to go home with more confidence than before. 

There are a few questions that have been left here, so I’ll answer them, then I would like to make a programme for all of you to use when you go home.  If you are able to follow this programme it will change you for the better.  If you don't practice and don’t follow the programme then nothing is going to change you, ok?  So, I think I already said, when you go home, think 'I have a choice.'  Always remember 'I have a choice.'  No one can make that difference for you except yourself. 

Then, much though you like to be nice and good and kind, somehow you have a very bad tendency of beating yourself up.  That is self-defeating.  It doesn't do any good for anybody.  So stop self-bashing.  It will never do you any good.  If you are already feeling bad then why are you beating yourself up? 

(Rinpoche reads the first question). This is easy....

Becoming attached to the Lama is nonsense.  You should never be attached to a Lama.  Devotion means learning to trust a teacher.  I think you don't have devotion.  Developing devotion means finding someone who you learn to really trust, and you follow their guidance.  If you have found a Teacher or Lama you can 100% rely on, that is the beginning of devotion.  You follow their explanations and practice, and when inner change takes place then you have an emotion like gratitude, appreciation of that person’s help, because it has changed you forever.  Devotion will come slowly.  Attachment means you like a Lama and chase them around.  That is nonsense, give that up.  You should never chase round after teachers.  That will never do you any good.

Second Question: Dear Lama, could you explain what is positive as opposed to stupidity, madness? 

I don't know, am I reading right?  See, you don't think of my age!  I'm 75!  You write such funny letters and I have to read this.  So, you should know what is positive.  A positive person means someone who is very easy to talk to, someone who is very comfortable to be with, someone who is never judgmental, never critical, you feel so happy to be with that person.  That is called positive. 

Stupid means to anything that's good, you say 'Oh no!'  Anything that is the right way, you say 'Oh no!'  Everything is 'Oh no!' or else, 'It's stupid!'  Anyone who always call things stupid, keep away from that person. 

Someone who is positive and joyful, you don't even know them but when you see them it makes you feel happy, makes you feel more comfortable.  A good person is never judgmental.  It's nobody’s business to judge anybody.  Ok? 

Except of course if there is a big group of people who meditate together with the vision and prayer to create world peace and harmony who say they will not be part of this destructive humanity.  Always think we are not going to take part in destroying humanity and planet Earth. We should not separate people and planet Earth.  Planet Earth is the biggest mother of all the mothers. 

Whatever comes out of earth we consume, so, if we pollute every river, we can't drink, or if you drink it hurts your belly or it doesn't do you any good.  And if we pollute the soil, then everything we grow instead of giving you the nutrition you need it harms you.

In Europe now, everything is about appearance, there is no depth.  It is only skin-deep, there is no deep wisdom.  People always think everything has to look nice: when you go to shops, all the apples have to be similar.  I was in South Africa recently and I met a big, big farmer who sells grapefruit and peaches to Marks & Spencer.  Unless all the fruit is absolutely perfect, they say it is not up to their standard, and it has to be thrown away.  That's how much wastage there is.  We never think about the taste or nutritiousness of the food, we just totally think about how it looks, so you can have a very nice looking big apple but it may not be nutritious.  I read that sometimes when you eat American long grain rice it’s like you are eating plastic!  Stop looking for what looks nice.  Look for what will give you more health. 

A wholesome person means not only helping yourself to become a better person, also caring about planet Earth, because we are responsible.  And I assure you, climate is changing.  Many people, powerful people are saying nothing is changing but I saw that around the North Pole, polar bears will soon have nowhere to land because all the ice and snow are melting so the bears are drowning because there’s nowhere for them to walk. 

When there is heavy rain, some of the beautiful houses you have are flooded, your rooms and your house are destroyed and no insurance people want to take care of you.  It is our responsibility, we are the ones who have been messing round not accepting we are responsible, that we are polluting this.  We are just completely ignorant because we want to make money. 

So, it is time for cycling.  Some of you are very healthy so use a bicycle instead of a big car.  Don’t consume energy. 

This is why I say Buddhism is so wonderful.  You don't tell everybody what they have to do, you start with yourself first, make sure that you are very concerned about the environment.  And I assure you that many parts of the world will fall into the sea; I saw in America some people have most beautiful expensive houses near the sea, but now they have to move because the sea is rising. 

In Norfolk in England we used to have a Centre that was quite far away from the cliffs but now nobody wants to buy any property there because the cliffs are falling into the sea. 

Also, wherever you go, most water is not fit to drink anymore.  Factories discharge everything into the rivers and cause pollution.  India is doing same thing and very soon they will have the biggest population in the world, and the people will have no water to drink. 

Maybe some of the major countries wouldn't mind losing millions of population, maybe they can't feed them all - I don't know the philosophy of why they are so determined not to accept responsibility. 

You are all highly educated and I would like all of you, before you tell other people to change, to change your own way of life.  Yes, and I said I would give you some homework to do since you are all going to be my joyful club members.  But it's not compulsory, I'm not going to chase you.  If you decide you don’t want to do it, it is your choice.  But you will have few friends round if you really never have any feeling of joy, if any conversation is misery and suffering, and you talk nothing but negativities.  It is depressing.  Just learn to talk something beautiful, wonderful, nice.  It makes you feel better. 

I found most of you are very good meditators, because you already meditated with me for one hour so there is no reason why you can't meditate regularly for an hour.  Maybe you think that is too much or you think you don’t have time.  But you have time to party, you have time for socialising or drinking alcohol or dancing - and then come back so late with a headache then you sleep late and can't get up early, so you can never change your lifestyle.  You should stop doing this. 

You should learn to sleep one hour less every day, to get up earlier.  If you are studying or you have a job, whatever you are doing, get up one hour before you have to start anything.  Don’t just jump out of bed and wipe your face, grab a coffee and run....that's a bad start. 

So, my homework is I would like all of you to get up 15 minutes early - now I'm really being so kind, I’ve even reduced from 1 hour to 15 minutes, so you cannot have any excuse!  So, you meditate for 15 minutes.  Sit down and say ‘I really want to be mindful of what I think today.  I want to engage from the very moment the day begins with the positive’.  Think, I'm very fortunate to have a job to go to, or I'm so fortunate that I'm going to study, just think something really positive and try to remember that positiveness during the day wherever you are. 

If you are driving in the car have something in front of you to remind you to be positive or if you are in the office always have something there to remind you to be positive.  Then at lunchtime, 5 minutes mindfulness meditation: think, have I managed to remember what change I was going to have in my life?  Then keep on bringing awareness into your job or profession wherever you are.  Come home, prepare your food.  If you have children look after them.  Just don't throw them in front of the television.  Build a new habit.  Just have nice food and take them to the park.  Say we are going to go and watch the birds.  Have a new way of bringing up your family because it could save you your eyesight and the children will have a better habit of appreciating the environment.  So start to appreciate what we have. 

Then remember to have gratitude, appreciation for all the things you have.  None of you think that way.  All of you may have everything but you think only about what you want more or what you need more.  That's wrong.  Think of what you have first. 

Then your homework: 15 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there and before you go to bed 15 more minutes of calming the mind.  Don't go to bed with a stressed head thinking I'm so stressed, I'm worried about what's going on with my job, what's going wrong with my family.  That's not the way to improve.  You meditate to calm your mind and tell yourself that even if you have a problem with your family, calming your mind and having a wisdom mind can resolve the problem.  Having a stressed mind, a worried mind, will not resolve the problem. 

So, I would like you to do 15 minutes early in the morning and 15 minutes before you go to bed.  Even going to bed you have to think how to relax, how to be calm so you can have a really good night's sleep.  And if you don't do that and next day you have a very difficult day then all day you will feel stressed. 

So now I'm making you all a very easy programme.  Whether you are Buddhist or non-Buddhist you can all change your thinking.  Number one, we say we are all suffering because we see everything as solid and so real.  But if we have a good knowledge, like there is in Buddhist teaching, we see that nothing is actually real.  It is nothing more than drama.  It is nothing more than a dream.  In a dream you see everything happening but when you wake up, you're still safe. 

So we say it’s like a dream, but then we have compassion, because nobody seems to be getting it.  Compassion normally means when you really see someone’s suffering.  They are suffering so much, they go through so much pain and you have this really aching pain seeing this happening, because you see that they are responsible for their own solidity.  When we can't bear to see anybody suffering in such a way, when you feel it from the bottom of your heart, it is called compassion. 

So, this is what you have to think, the minute you start your morning meditation you want to have this compassion.  Compassion is like a field.  Normally you have to read many texts and go through many explanations but I sort of condense it so it will be easy. 

We have what we call mind poisons.  One kind of mind poison is ‘ngak sem’ in Tibetan, that means when you see someone has something very special and you feel covetousness.  You should never have this covetousness.  If you allow it to arise in your mind it is a major poison.  So if you see someone has a very special thing you desire, you should rejoice for them having it.  That is the opposite of covetousness. 

Then there is ‘nö sem’ and that means when we have a very negative frame of mind.  We have the idea that we want to see somebody get hurt or we would like to hurt somebody.  That is a mind poison.  So, if ever this thought arises, don't allow that.  Instead of thinking that you want to hurt or you want other people to suffer or you want other people to be a failure, you think how you would like other people to be successful, to be joyful.  This is the opposite of the mind poison. You find ways to change it around because you want to be free.  Wishing to hurt other people, wishing to see other people suffering will never benefit you.  You will suffer. 

So, instead of wishing to hurt or cause suffering, you always think of how you are going to help people, to free them.  You think of their fulfilment. 

Then there is ‘lokpa tawa’ and that means saying things like there's no religion, there's no good, you shouldn't believe in good things, there's no God, there's no Buddha.  You should be what you want to be: if you want to kill, you should kill people; or if you want to shout, you should shout at people; or if you want to lie, you should lie.  This is a really awful seed to plant, an awful state of mind.  So, you should never allow your mind to think that way.  Always learn to follow what we call a well-tested path of believing that we can help ourselves, we could become a better person.  We can all do better than always being negative, see?  It is not impossible. 

It is not right to always say no, no, no.  Stop saying this no.  Say yes, yes, yes, ok?  This is good news.  These are your mind poisons and this is how you are going to change.  This is like really planting the right seeds in your mind. 

Then, you can really improve your speech.  If you have a tendency to tell little lies here, little lies there it is not good for you because nobody will ever trust you.  Why not learn to change now because you want to be a better person?  Your imperfect speech, you want to turn into perfect speech.  So you know yourself how often you tell lies.  So, whenever this habit comes you say no, and learn to speak the truth.  You change, you weed out the lying part and plant the truth. 

Then many of you are very fond of gossiping.  You like socialising, having coffee, tea drinking, partying, but the only thing you manage to do is gossip and talk about other people's failures, their marriage breaking up, or losing their job.  Or you come between friends or couples and say, oh he is not good for you, she is not good for you, or he is saying bad things about you, she is saying that about you.  This is very bad so you should it give up. 

Instead always do healing.  If you see very good friends falling apart because they have a wrong view of each other, what you can do is say look your girlfriend is saying very nice thing about you; or your boyfriend is saying really nice things about you; you two can be good to each other.  If you have the idea of bringing people together that’s called positive, see?  Not trying to break them up, but helping them come together. 

Then many people when they are not happy, when they feel insecure, are like a terrier, like a tiny dog, when it sees a big, big, big dog.  They say arr-arr-arr-arr!  So, when people are very insecure or unhappy they show a lot of anger and shout.  So, stop shouting.  Even if you feel angry, sit down and think, why I am angry?  Is this shouting going to achieve my goal?  No!  So, you should never express anything in harsh language to anybody. 

But if someone is what you call a smooth talker, if someone is very gentle, can talk nicely, it really makes you feel good, doesn't it?  So, you learn this new way of improving all these are weakness, so instead of shouting to achieve your goal you learn to use the right and appropriate language to achieve your goal.  Use gentle and soft language. 

And ‘nga chal’ means ‘meaningless’.  Often when I ask my students if they have been practicing, they say, I didn't have the time as I'm so busy.  But I find that they were speaking to someone 2 hours ago and they’re still talking.  This is called useless chattering about nothing, with no substance, just for the sake of talking.  That is a total waste.  You should write down how often, how much time you waste chatting.  So, you should give up that.  And instead you meditate, calm your mind. 

You say, I'm wasting time talking nonsense and I should use that time for calming my mind.  Buddha's teaching is all about becoming a better person.  So, I ask you if you have imperfect thinking, imperfect speech, or if you are physically imperfect which means being very fond of killing or taking life.  Buddha says if you are killing or taking any form of life, it shortens your life.  So the Buddhist way is that instead of taking any life you learn to give life.  Like protecting life.  You give life.  This is a noble goal.  So, you change from enjoying killing animals or hurting animals or people.  Give that up.  You should have no joy in hurting even the tiniest animals because they feel the pain, see?  They feel the pain. 

I see these little lambs.  When the time comes for the farmer to take them away for slaughter for two, three days, the mother is crying, looking for her baby.  You look at the cows when they separate the mother from her calf, tears come.  In Europe you have this idea that God has given the animals to you, so you don't actually have any feeling for them and that is very, very wrong.  It is totally wrong to treat animals badly.  So, always remember if you have any tendencies of not respecting any form of life or of wanting to hurt or hunt or kill, you should not participate.  You should learn to liberate animals, give them freedom, give them life. 

Then another physical problem is that people sometimes have a very loose hand.  We call this taking what is not given to you.  Don't help yourself if it is not given to you.  Wise teaching says if you are left in somebody's house with many beautiful objects, even if your head is thinking something, you must hold your two hands together, so you won't be doing anything wrong, see?  So, this is how you can help yourself. 

If you manage to steal or take some money, you will never be rich, you will be poor.  The minute you manage to get something you will lose more than you got, so what you pinched, what you took will not make you wealthy or rich or happy because you will have to run for your life.  So, better help yourself.  Never take anything which is not given to you. 

Instead of taking anything you should develop the habit of giving things, sharing the things you have.  Then mentally you feel wealthier.  Then also in your life you will become wealthy because things just come your way.  I'm so wealthy, I have so many shoes, I don't know what to do with all these shoes.  If I think of shoes, people give me shoes.  If I think of a jacket, I get a jacket.  So, I'm stopping thinking anything, I don't even want to think I need anything.  So, if you learn to give, it comes back to you. 

‘Mitsang chö’ means if you have boyfriend or girlfriend, a partner, a relationship, it is always wise to stick with that person.  Don’t look for an opportunity to be with other people because that is the beginning of the failure of your relationship.  So, people who have a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend you should be totally loyal to each other so nobody needs to have doubt.  If you make a commitment say I will not mess around, I will be loyal to you. 

And if you don't do that and you are looking for any opportunity you find, I assure you, if you cheat your partner, you never feel good.  You’ve been lying, you’ve been cheating someone you cared for.  And now I tell you exactly what to do if you have done something like this: confess in your mind.  Say, I am so ignorant, I will not do this again.  I know what I have to do – be loyal to my partner.  It will save your marriage, your relationship.  And also you won't have to feel guilt, see?  You won’t feel guilty. 

You should have the feeling of being fortunate to have someone as your partner, otherwise when things go well, then you forget and you give in to temptation, then once you cheat your partner, I assure you, nothing is going to change it, because you feel so bad.  You did something wrong which you did not mean.

In the Christian tradition you say till death us do part.  You make that promise, you do a church service, that only death is going to separate.  And if it doesn't happen and you try to mess around, it’s no good. 

This is the homework, these are the changes.  I suggest that all of you put this into action.  And I assure you your life will change forever.  There will be satisfaction, there will be joy.  You will feel, I am trustworthy, I'm a good human being.  I think about other people, I care about other people.  But to achieve this you need a good sound mind, see?  If you don't have a good sound mind, I can see some are really so confused, they don't know where they are anymore.  They don't know what is right from what is wrong.  So, that is why things are not as good as should be. 

An all-round good human being means someone who does the things I’m asking all of you to do in your life.  It doesn't mean you are Buddhist, it means you are going to be taking part in civilization to prolong this planet Earth, so we have some sort of future for humanity, see?  And if we do not do anything to change our self, we are ignorant and we have no hope now.  The world is finished. 

You have to think, still there is time, still we can do something to change things for the better.  I hear from hundreds of you.  Every one of you has a home, family and friends, so go home and become a nice caring person, a more tolerant person, and all your family will benefit. 

Before I used to have many monks and nuns, then some parents were very angry with me saying, Lama Yeshe is taking my boy, my girl away.  But gradually they found that the girl and boy were better than ever before, so the parents joined with them.  Now, I’ve lost the boy and the girl but the parents are still with me.  The parents are still thinking Lama Yeshe is alright.  The young ones think I’m so young, I haven't messed around enough.  I hear many people say I don't have enough experience.  I say, ok what you are saying is that you haven’t had enough suffering! 

So, there are many people come to Samye Ling when they are young and then they go away, then after 20 years, after 30 years, they come back saying I have a family, but now everything's gone.  Then it’s too late.  Even if you are young, even if you want to have a different life style out there, and find a partner, find a job, you will still need all these good qualities, see?  If you don't have this quality I am talking about, you have no chance of achieving anything you dream of. 

You shouldn't be that person anymore, so the foundation for family, the foundation for your job, for everything, even spirituality, is a good sound mind and good habit.  It's habit.  So, we try to give up bad habits and bring good habits.  If you succeed with this, instead of always zooming, thinking of what you don't have, always remember all the things that you have.  Even a nice cup of tea is a cause for joy, see?  Yes!  A warm breakfast, a warm room.  You should be feeling good. 

If you had to sleep in a tent, you couldn't even last for one night.  There are millions of refugees in tents and they are in the mud, there is not even a lavatory, there's no food, or no warm food.  Think about that.  Do you ever think about that?  Many people don't know what they have, so they go to India and come back totally shocked.  So, if you think you don't know what pain is, you don't know what suffering is, go to see all these refugee people.  What do they have?  All they have is fear, not knowing where they are going, not knowing where they will end up. 

Look at the mothers holding two, three children, in the rain or snow or mud, with no place to go, with no warm food, no security.  I’ve even been told that the United Nations who are supposed to be looking after them, abuse young children.  One misfortune after another misfortune.  You should be thinking I am so fortunate I am not in that camp.  There are so many reasons to be joyful. 

That is why I have appreciation because I went through most of this, so that is why I know what suffering is.  I know what hunger is, I know what fear is.  So, this gives me total confidence and freedom. 

You have to be creative.  I would like all of you to be so creative about how to liberate yourself, how to free yourself from misery and suffering.  There is no fun being in that place so think how fortunate you are.  This requires reflection, thinking, meditation, otherwise you remember nothing and that’s not useful so: meditation, meditation, meditation, remembering, remembering, remembering!  Find something to remind you. 

I would like you to remember me, saying I’ve never seen such a crazy person in my life!  They say if you want to see the crazy person go to Samye Ling, and that's me!  Yes, I am crazy because I am overwhelmingly joyful, see?  I can't help myself, not to be crazy.  I'm not only crazy here, I am crazy everywhere I go.  Yes.  It's because of joy.  I have no insecurity problem, if somebody shouts at me in the street, I say oh very nice.  And if somebody says, 'Salamalakhum' I say 'Salamalakhum'.  Yes! 

I'm not joking.  It is my deliberate effort not even to remember telephone numbers.  Once I was stuck in Manchester Airport, I was meant to be picked up by another monk and he doesn't seem to show up.  I have no telephone, so I don't know whether he has checked in or out.  I was sitting there happily, then this young guy who worked in the airport came and he was so nice, he used his mobile telephone to find out where my friend was.  That’s what happens when you don't have a telephone and you don't remember anything, so now I travel with some telephone numbers so I can ask other people to call.  But I have joy doing this, see?  Because I don't have to think I have to remember a number.  I only have to remember to always be a good and joyful person whatever comes. 

Even young children like my beard so much, so I do this (shakes beard) and even on the airplane when somebody is crying, I do this (shakes beard), and they stop crying, see?  I think mothers get really relieved if they’re having coffee and I shake my beard at their very, very naughty young girl and she gets quiet.  So, this is very useful, see? 

So my message to all of you is: try to be happy.  I want all of you to be happy and you can giggle here now, so why can't you giggle in your home?  Why can't you giggle in your office?  Think about this.  This is my message: joy, joy, joy.  It doesn't cost you anything, there is no surcharge.  No ‘Guru Yoga’, you don't have to polish my shoes.  You don't have to bow down to my feet.  This Lama doesn't like any Guru Yoga! 

Anywhere I go in the world, my number one principal is, I carry what I need myself, I never allow anybody to carry my luggage.  If insist that if I want something I carry it.  So, I reduce my needs so if I travel to many parts of the world for two weeks, I have a tiny bag, there is nothing much there.  And Ryanair suits me very well, so, whoever is inviting me doesn't have to pay a fortune.  So, everything is a win, win situation. 

I’ve seen some with such a heavy bag in a subway, trying to carry all this baggage.  I'm thinking, why do they need all this?  Why do you want all this?  Simplicity means no pain, no suffering.  It’s cheap, easy, and you can keep yourself healthy, strong, joyful. 

So, I think I've been saying more than I need to say, I’ve given you all homework. 

We will do 10 minutes of meditation because we shouldn't finish the course without meditation.  The method I am giving you is a very supreme method.  Even if it takes 20 years it is still worth trying it.  For me, even if it takes many lifetimes I think it is still worthwhile because it is such a profound method.  We'll do 10 minutes of joyful meditation.  Guru energy is really, really positive.  Even if you can't meditate, be positive.  That's called positive energy.  Say I want to be a compassionate person, I want to be a good person.  I'm going out there to show other people we can all be joyful.  We can achieve all the things we need to change to turn our lifestyles round. 

The Buddhist principle is to be everybody's friend, not to have any enemy.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Meditation means simple acceptance.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Only the impossible is worth doing.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit to others, no matter how small, we should do it.
Chamgon Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Freedom is not something you look for outside of yourself. Freedom is within you.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Hasten slowly, you will soon arrive.
Jetsun Milarepa
It doesn’t matter whatever comes, stop judging and it won’t bother you.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Whatever obstacles arise, if you deal with them through kindness without trying to escape then you have real freedom.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
To tame ourselves is the only way we can change and improve the world.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Strive always to be as kind, gentle and caring as possible towards all forms of sentient life.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Every sentient being is equal to the Buddha.
Chamgon Kentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Wherever and whenever we can, we should develop compassion at once.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Reminding ourselves of how others suffer and mentally putting ourselves in their place, will help awaken our compassion.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche