Easter Retreat 2016 - Third Talk

Question & Answer Session

Good afternoon everybody.  I feel overwhelmingly joyful today because so many of you decided it is time for you to change your life for the better.  I think you've made a very good decision.

Someone wrote a question but unfortunately my eyes can't read this one.  So if anybody wants to ask me anything, I will answer.

Q.1 Dear Lama Yeshe, what is the experience in meditation of a Rinpoche's mind?  And please could you explain what is mind?

Normally it is a mistake for you to ask any teacher this type of question because they could fool you.  So, I as a Lama I will never tell my experience of my mind.   That is not even useful to you.  Wanting to know about mind is very good, because nobody actually knows what mind is, because it doesn't have shape, colour or form.   We can't say it is out there and we can't say it is in here.  So, mind is something beyond anything one can explain, but if you really want to do more investigation, the best thing you can do is what I’ve been talking about very regularly.  

The source of your thoughts, the source of your upheaval, the source of your emotions, is called mind.  It is not your flesh, it is not your bone.  The mind is beyond that.  We have a prayer that says: we can't say it is there because the Buddha hasn't seen it; we can't say it is not there because it is the source of everything.  It’s the source of good and bad, of all our upheaval, but it is something even your most brainy scientists with all their gadgets, their billions of dollars’ worth of machines, are not able to see - because they need to use their mind to look at mind, see.  

When we say the quality of mind is so special it means that mind is actually able to look at mind.  Nothing else like this exists, and even when we say that people have a lot of brains, or are very intelligent, and all the investigation, all the computers, all the things they do, it is still the manifestation of your mind.  So, they will never find other types of mind and if any scientist, or any human being, ever finds the mind it would change everything.  That is because mind is beyond our ability to find. 

Saying it doesn't exist means that all we can say is that cause and effect exists.  If we look into the Buddhist teaching about cause and effect, we can see that, say in one family, there is the same father, the same mother, but if there are a few children some of them have no problems and are physically well, mentally sound, but some of them are physically not well and mentally not sound.  So what is this supposed to come from?  Even if we have the same parents, every human being, every one of us has our so called ‘karmic baggage’.  So, according to Buddhism, we say that whatever you go through, for everyone one of us, that seed was planted a previous life.  Now whatever we are doing we are planting seeds for the next life and that is why it is very important to recognise this and do whatever we can to plant the right seeds. 

So, instead of having hatred you should have love and care.  This is the sort of thing that every teaching says: that whatever we are going through, good or bad, the seed has already been planted in a previous life.  For example, I was born in Tibet, and I never envisioned seeing white people in my life.  I didn't even know there was a place on the Earth that was a white people's place.  Then, all of you, you never even in your wildest dreams thought you were going to come here for the Easter Course and meet this crazy Lama. 

It happens because it is certain we have a karmic sort of connection, we met in a previous life and now it is like rekindling this.  This is what Buddha's teaching says. 

Everybody says I am going to plan my life.  And who wants to plan a life of failure?  Everybody wants to have a wonderful life, a successful life, with a good family, maybe children and a big castle!  We can plan everything but nothing happens that way.  Some people want to be very, very wealthy but they don’t get so much money.  Some people don't know why money comes to them without even trying.  There are many people who are poor who become very, very wealthy.  There are many people who are very wealthy through their parents but later in their life they become poor. 

So this is what we call what was planted in our previous lives.  Especially maybe we can plan day to day, what we want to do but even that doesn't become successful because, say if you decide that you want to take a certain train, sometimes due to rain or whatever, the train doesn't go.  No clever planning, no clever thinking, can ever make us successful.  It is all about whatever we have planted in our previous life. 

So, that is why in Buddhism we say you have to learn to be a generous human being.  That means when you have things, if you learn to give and share with other human beings then you are planting the right seeds to become a very well off person.  There are many very wealthy people who are so cunning, so miserly, and according to Buddhism we say that in the next life they will be born as hungry ghosts.  Because, they never use their good fortune or wealth for other people's benefit.  Some are so uptight they don’t even manage to use whatever they have for themselves. 

I did hear a long time ago about a very wealthy person who couldn't even manage to use toilet paper properly, they were so miserly.  They thought they were wasting, see?  Never become miserly.  Buddhist Lamas always say if you’ve got something and you give it all away, you’ll get triple back, people give you more.  When we built this temple we didn't start with a lot of money.  We didn't even have enough money to start the project but we had a strong belief that if we have the right motivation, wanting to do something to benefit humanity in our own mind, we will never be short of anything, money will come, people will come.  So, you can see for yourself what happened! 

Samye Ling is not clever in making money, we never had professional people raising or saving money, but Samye Ling always has a very big heart.  Also we have a very good vision, we say everything is possible.  There is nothing that is not possible, if it is for the benefit of all beings.  If it is only for your own benefit then it could be very difficult.  If it is only going to be for your own benefit, who is going to help you?  Why should they help you?  Everybody wants to be helped, but if it is for the benefit of everybody then it is possible. 

My own mind experience I can't explain because I have a Lama’s vow saying a Lama cannot pretend to be anything other than an ordinary person.  That is vinaya.  And if anyone promotes themselves and says they have all this, then it is breaking the vinaya.  If you ask people this and they explain to you they have everything I think you should be very careful. 

And then as far as mind is concerned, you will never be able to pinpoint where the mind is because flesh, skin, bones, marrow, every piece has a name but there is nothing there called mind.  For example, if you watch people who say that they are not afraid of death, that there's no death, some of those are so fearful when they die.  So then what we call the mind is truly experiencing fear, although when they were alive they didn't believe there was such a thing as death.  So, mind is not something that anybody can explain, but you should be assured that without mind you cannot think.  Without mind you won't be alive.  Yes, so a question like this is ok.  Anybody want to ask me anything about meditation? 

Q.2  Are there are foods that can disturb your mind?

Definitely, because we have five senses.  Like some people say if they are very emotional, angry, they've found if they stop eating anything to do with sugar, it goes away.  If you eat a lot of sugar it sometimes makes you very temperamental, very angry or very uptight.  If you have these short-comings you have to examine yourself and see what sort of eating or drinking makes you not want to be temperamental or angry.  So this is something we can do in meditation, we sit and analyse what makes us angry or very tense or uptight. 

Buddhist teaching always says don't consume alcohol because sometimes it makes very nice calm, kind people crazy, and they get very angry.  Also if you have a secret that you don't want to tell anybody, if you get drunk you will spill it all out.  So, drinking has bad consequences.  You will tell everything you really don't want to tell anybody.  You get angry because some people can't handle alcohol.  There are two types of people, some people if you give them a lot to drink they just go to sleep.  Alcohol makes them more sleepy, more gentle.  Some people, just the slightest amount of alcohol makes them very temperamental, argumentative, very difficult to get along with.  So in Buddhism we say whatever makes you a bad person you should stop that, give up those things. 

Q.3   When in meditation you're not experiencing thoughts or feeling but something to do with the imagination, something to do with colours and patterns, or imaginary realms, should you engage with them or consider them like thoughts and feelings?

They’re all the same.  It doesn't matter, whatever you think, you need to let it go.  Say you are a beginner or you’re very focused on the object and you start to see different colours, rainbow colours.  Some people with a strong imagination will think they’re having a wonderful rainbow experience, but that's a disaster.  Better not go with that, see?  So, if you see colours, relax.  Anything, any experience, feeling, imagination, whatever it is, you must learn to let it go.  I've been teaching you from 36 years of meditation experience and if you use those different methods it will take you a long, long time and get you nowhere.  But, the method I've been giving you is an absolutely direct way to find peace.  Normally we all look for inner peace but if you have aggression, jealousy, anger, envy or pride, they will make you lose that inner peace.  When the sea is very calm and a very big wave comes, it throws everything.  Just like you may find every now and then, you have a very calm mind like the sea without any waves, but then one major poison comes like one major wave, so that throws you all over the place. 

So, if you want to do a good, proper job, you have to somehow transform these so-called five poisons into five wisdoms, then there will never be any waves.  And when I say don't get stuck in the past and don't bring in the future, that means every chaos, every busyness based on the past and future.  If you succeed in not bringing the future and not following the past then 99% of your chaotic mind is gone.  Yes.  No thought of the past or future then what could there be?  Now.  We are in this warm place, a good place, having a good experience.  That's all you can think isn't it?  This is the best method. 

If you just relax back and decide that you don't really want to do anything, learn to leave everything alone, then there is no resistance.  When there is no resistance and you’re not feeding and not following, then it completely subsides by itself and no effort is necessary.  Except being in the present moment.

Q.4  Is there an idea of a collective mind?

No.  What we call collective karma or collective mind means interconnectedness.  Interconnectedness means whatever one does affects other people so if you have very difficult people together they affect everybody else.  Or if you have very nice people it affects other people.  What happens in one part of the world affects other parts of the world.  That's called interconnectedness.  But we can't actually say that all mind is the same because as I said if mind hasn't been found or seen, then we can't say mind is the same.  But I think when we say Dharmakaya, the highest level of realisation, at that level there is no two there is oneness, everything is oneness, like limitless space, there isn’t two spaces.  Can't have two space.

Q.5 Can you meditate whilst doing something like cleaning or just sitting?  Is it better to sit?

If you have mindfulness, awareness, you can meditate cleaning toilets.  You can meditate cooking.  It’s not that meditation is only sitting, no.  Meditation means you are with your awareness.  All the time.  I am cleaning.  I am cooking.  I am talking.  If you are doing this then you are in the highest form of meditation.  But unfortunately we never succeed with this.  The minute you start you got lost, you don't know what you have been thinking, you have no clue.  The highest level of meditation means we have been able to establish a wonderful habit of awareness or mindfulness.  Being aware of wherever we are for twenty four hours a day is called the highest level.  There is nothing more to meditate.  You are never separated.  You are always there.  Ok?

Q.6 She was asking whether conscious meditation can protect you from your karmic effects in the future?

When we are talking about karma, in Buddhism then we are talking about relative and ultimate.  Relative exists because there is me, you, good, bad, right, wrong and that is the type of state of mind where we have karma.  If you go beyond this and you truly understand the nature of emptiness, karma doesn't exist, see?  Karma is relative.  So, if you think you are going to be a very good meditator and completely focus on what you are doing then that is also not meditation because then you will do more mistakes than anything.  If you are too concentrated then you are looking, but you don't see anybody, you don’t have awareness of everywhere.  You have to be aware of what you are doing but also aware of everything that is happening around you.  It must be that way otherwise if you are so focused, but nothing else is registering, that is no good.  Ok?  That is where you can make a really big mistake.

Q.7 What do you think of meditation that uses a mantra to tame the mind?

I think it is very good.  But if you can mediate using the method that I have given you then it is not necessary to use any method or mantra, or even visualisation.  But if you try to meditate the way that I have suggested, and you can't manage, then your mind requires something to play around with, so mantra is a very good next option.  Normally we say samsara means like being in the ocean, a big, big ocean.  To cross this we need some form of transportation.  That is like using methods and mantra is a good method. 

But if you have higher realisation you can see there is no ocean, there is no me, so, you can see that there is no need for any transportation.  So it is like there are two levels.  People's minds have two levels of practice see?  So, mantra and visualisation are very good if you have a very active, engaging mind and you find it impossible to sit there thinking nothing, doing nothing.  So, engaging with a mantra is very good. 

But then I said that anything you do practicing Buddhism or meditation, always remember I am doing all this to become a better person, a compassionate person for the benefit of all mother sentient beings.  You have to think this again and again.  Otherwise if you forget those principles then you will not get anywhere.

Q.8 Is it possible to use meditation when someone is actually experiencing anger or fear?  I often get a lot of fear and it is hard when I am meditating because it is very strong. So how to calm it down?  How to use meditation as a tool to calm everything.

It is not meant to be like this.  First of all, when you are meditating, whenever the fear comes up you should actually go into the fear.  Where is the fear? Where is the fear from?  So, not trying to run away but actually go into it.  But sometimes when you are meditating you experience something and the best way to overcome it is to tune into it.  If it is noise you tune yourself into the noise so that you and the noise become oneness.  So even this fear of whatever you’re afraid of, if you just tune into that then it won't be you who is experiencing the fear.  So going into it is the solution.  Ok?

I am going to give you a little more instruction before we start meditation.  So, every meditator has two major obstacles.  One, those of you who are a little bit excited or a little light-headed or you're not comfortable with so many people, you’re very tense, you can't manage to meditate, you have so much energy.  If you have that sort of experience, completely relax physically.  No more effort should be made.  Physically relax, mentally relax.  Also you know that just before you fall asleep you feel very heavy, so you make yourself heavy by looking down to the ground.  That will bring the energy down so somehow you can manage to meditate properly - that's called bringing the high energy down to the ground.  In that way you should meditate. 

Some of you have a little ability to meditate or you don't have a lot of chaotic thought going on but the minute you start to meditate then you start nodding, yes.  That is a sign that your mind is a little bit peaceful but you feel that it is like taking a little respite.  You know when you’re so tired you sort of rest?  But according to the Dalai Lama if you meditate like this you will be born in the animal realm. 

So, if you feel that the minute you come to the meditation room, then you have to think that you’ve been sleeping for many lifetimes.  And during a meditation of 10 or 15 minutes, you haven't come there to sleep.  Also, if you feel sleepy, what you need is have proper posture.  Really, really, have a very straight posture.  Then look upwards like this (gazes upwards).  This will wake you up completely. 

Every meditator needs to use these two methods regularly because either we go through being dozy or else we find it difficult to start our meditation because somehow we are so light or tense.  So, these two methods should be remembered all the time, so whenever you meditate, whatever your state of mind, you know what methods you should use. 

Those of you who have a very imaginative mind and know a little bit about prana and nadi, uma, roma, changma, stop experiencing your mind or prana-nadi as you get into big difficulties.

People who are tense or who have a problem, if you sit and think that you want to have an experience, to channel your energy, then when you do that it gets out of control.  If you are like that, don't stay focussed within yourself because it will make things more difficult.  Just engage your mind focussing outwardly.  If you do that, in that moment, the body gets some chance to relax. 

And never think that you can read books to find out how to experiment with energy channelling, uma, roma, changma.  That will get you into very big problems.  It can also be the cause of bad dreams.  So, keep away from that. 

Just keep stable, come out of it.  Instead of looking into yourself experiment with visualising an object or reciting a mantra, don’t play with your energy.  It's not good for any of you. 

So remember, if you have no more poison in your mind, then wherever you go you will be calm or quiet.  But if we have a lot of poison, it doesn't matter how much we try to meditate, still the big waves will come and unbalance us.  So, it’s better to deal with the poison first. 

When you meditate you can say I meditate for the benefit of all sentient beings.  Some people who you are learning to meditate at home, find their children are running around or someone is doing cleaning or someone is banging the door, then they really get mad and think how can I learn to meditate with this? They are the root of my problem.  But that means that instead of finding inner peace they create a major obstacle.  So, if your children are running around just accept that they are going around and go back to your meditation.  Or if your partner is making a noise, accept that and go back to your meditation.  Never, ever see them as a problem for your inner peace. 

The problem for your inner peace is your own judgemental mind.  So, stop judging and appreciate their noise, appreciate their hard work, that they are giving you the opportunity to sit there and meditate.  You should be appreciating, not blaming them for you not being able to meditate.  So whatever happens, never, never judge and blame anybody, just come back to where you are.  Come back to where you are.  And if there is a lot of noise, really a lot of noise you focus your mind into the noise so the noise and you becomes oneness.  I'm talking with a lot of experience, I can meditate in the middle of the busiest city in the world and still it won't bother me because I’ve been through all this.  I had to go through a lot of this so now I never look for a quiet place, it's all in the mind.  Ok? 

Q.9  When you say to go into the fear or whatever arises, is there a way to explain how you do that with actually engaging with the mind?

That fear also comes from the mind.  The one who is observing is also coming from the mind.  You don't have two minds so if you really want to know where this fear comes from, it doesn't have a different source.  And where does this observer of the mind come from, is it a different source?  If you truly look, it all comes from one source.  So, instead of giving into the fear, tune the mind into the fear and then it is gone.  Does it make sense?  Did I say the right thing? 

This is very complicated see?  Because we are talking about all coming from one thing called mind.  Fear comes from the mind.  This observing mind also comes from the mind.  If you turn it around, instead of being fearful of what's coming, you look into the fear, then you won't see it anymore.  The observer and whatever you are observing becomes oneness.  Hmmm!  You try! 

Anything else?  Otherwise we will do, meditation - you are very lucky, there is less than 20 minutes left for meditation!  Before I would do 2 hours straight meditation.  Then when I went to different Dharma centres, they asked me, 'Lama Yeshe please don't sit so long or you will frighten everybody.  Can you talk more?'  So I said, can you invite the Lamas who can talk, and let this Lama who can meditate, meditate!  So to learn meditation you should come to me and I will teach to do you many hours of meditation! 

If you want to go to Lama who can talk, they are called Khenpo, that means like a professor.  What they say is, 'This tree has one trunk and it has 1,000 branches and of these 1,000 branches some go this way, some go that way.'  And then for the whole hour they talk about the leaves and branches and size and then after many weeks, they say it all came from one tree, one branch.  Yes.  So, this why you could waste many, many hours of listening about how wonderful this tree is, its beautiful branches that go this way and that way, it's all wonderful, nice.  You sit there so entertained, one hour, two hours, no problem, because your ears get bombarded!

Then when people like me ask you do you have anything to ask you shut your mouth!  We have one teacher who comes here and almost the whole session he gets people to talk to him.  Yes.  Almost every session is question and answer.  And we have one teacher who will explain, what Madyamaka says, what this says, what this teacher says, what that other teacher says so you will be so fully entertained by the time you go out you might be thinking, 'Actually I know better Dharma than anybody else.'  Then what happens is you can't even solve the smallest problem you have. 

Dharma means knowing how to solve your problems.  Dharma means becoming a better person.  Just like really eating food takes away your hunger.  Yes.  If you don't eat your food you will always be hungry.  Accumulating lots of food, and never eating, will never free you from hunger.  So, Dharma means practice, practice, practice.  Then you say, 'Ok, now I start to trust.  I know how to deal with my emotions, my anxiety, my difficulties’.  When you practice a lot, and you can solve problems then 100% trust comes.  Confidence comes with this. 

If you don't practice, but you listen to all the Dharma, most the time you have no trust, you have no belief.  You just say, 'Could be true, could be not true.'  Because you’ve never experienced it.  So, meditation is important.  Checking motivation every day is important. 

Every day think you want to be a good person.  Then during the whole day remember to keep your mind calm.  Keep your mind engaged in the most positive way possible, always wanting to be a very caring human being.  Remembering this is a much better food than not bothering to think of it and as soon as you get up being a very anxious person, and spending the whole day with anxiety. 

Or if you are a very angry person then it gets worse and worse during the whole day.  So motivate yourself from the very beginning of the morning.  And try to remember to maintain that idea during the whole day again and again, then you will make life much more meaningful. 

Now we are going to meditate.  Physically relax, mentally relax.  Come to be in the present moment and if you can't manage to do this, if you have an artistic mind, visualise an object and if you don't have that artistic mind then count your breaths.  You don't need more yet.  Ok?



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