Meditation Talks - Christmas 2012

by Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche

I am supposed to be talking about meditation. I know when I am supposed to be giving you so much joy, I am giving you so much pain. But I have decided to change my way of relating to you. Today is our first session so I will not make you sit a long time. I will talk, talk, talk, and entertain your mind. It is supposed to be wisdom I am talking about – I am supposed to have wisdom, and yet I didn’t even know what I was due to talk about today!  My message to all of you is happiness and joy.  As human beings we should be able to make the right choice. So today we will talk about right circumstances, right conditions.

In this part of the world you are taught something different from what I was taught in Tibet.  When I was growing up we were told you can only find inner peace and happiness when you forget your own ego and pride and work for the benefit of all other mother sentient beings.  If you can do this, you are going to find inner peace and happiness.  You are taught you are to do everything for yourself, it is all to do with selfishness.  You have to be the best in everything.  You start in the kindergarten, even little girls look at each other to see who is the more beautiful.  And if you are not the most beautiful jealousy starts.  It is a bad foundation, jealousy.  It may be someone who can learn better than you.  You are forced to believe by your parents and teacher that if you are a slow learner you don’t have the brain to be what you have to be – you don’t have enough. So some of you are constantly reminded of how bad you are, not good enough for anything.

Others feel such arrogance, such pride, but this is how you are brought up.  We were taught in Tibet that if someone is more beautiful than you, you should rejoice in that person’s beauty.  Someone is better looking than you because they have accumulated more merit.  There is good wisdom in this, because when you take this approach you don’t suffer any more, you don’t feel the pain of jealousy.  

That is how wisdom plays games.  If you allow your ignorant mind to take over, to let jealousy take over, you will have a depressed mind, thinking you are no good.  This person is better than me so I don’t like them.  This does not improve your situation at all.  But rejoicing in someone else’s good looks, or their success, you can maintain your ground, stability, calmness.  I know there are a lot of people going around saying I am doing this healing exercise, this yoga exercise, this meditation technique.  But if you get in touch with this basic mind, this good mind – we don’t have to call it Buddha mind – if you have a judgemental mind you demand to know why Buddha?  So maybe we can say innate mind, that we all have.  Examine yourself every moment of your life.  There are times when you could be kind, there are times when you could be more forgiving, generous, a better person.  That is your good mind.  But every now and again that monster gets in there, and takes you over.  We can see why you have such difficulty meditating because you think if you have this very busy mind, you are very intelligent – people don’t like the idea of ‘simple mind’.  They think it means you can’t think properly.  You think a busy mind means intelligence, but it means your mind is like a motorway.  You don’t have a clue what you are thinking, it is jumping all over the place.  If mind says it wants to meditate, you can’t sit there for five seconds without wanting to do something else, then something else, then something else.  You keep on jumping, keep on jumping.

When you are very young you think the days are so long, but that kind of mind is very free.  At our age the days are flying by, so why do we waste them in worry.  We don’t need to be leading a competitive stressed lifestyle.  Stressed, depressed, unhappy.  What is the good?  What is the point?  Whether you are a student, in business or raising a family, this is meant to enrich your life, make you a stable, kind, forgiving person.  If we manage to make our life nothing more than stressed, unforgiving and judgemental, those are the bad qualities you are meant to give up.

You talk about Lama Yeshe, I was doing exactly what you are doing, and I thought I was doing so well.  But I never found lasting happiness because if I learned to drink alcohol, maybe I got a little high, but in the morning a big, big headache.  There is more headache than benefit.  By the time you have emptied your pockets – what are you doing?  No more alcohol, no more headaches.  You think you are doing so well, and want to go to a party.  English people especially can’t drink properly, they get drunk and fight.  There are two kinds of drinkers, one lot can drink a lot and stay calm and be mellow, but if you have a lose tonguem under the influence of alcohol you will tell everybody all the things you never want to tell anybody!  You disgrace yourselves.  So many people who are usually very kind, gentle, nice – the minute they have alcohol in them they turn into a monster, fighting, shouting, throwing things.  Why do it then, you think you are escaping from mental torture, but you are creating worse mental torture for yourselves.  

Every human being, Buddhist or non-Buddhist needs to create this right foundation, loving kindness, forgiveness and tolerance.  If we don’t have these qualities, not much is going to change, therefore when we wake up every morning, we have different habits.  Not many people actually want to get up because you sleep so late.  Getting up is a big struggle and you feel you don’t want to get up.  This is the wrong information to be feeding yourself. You won’t have a nice day because you have accepted the feeling that it is going to be bad day.  If you are going to work, you don’t give yourself time to eat breakfast so you go with an empty stomach, or you go with an enormous coffee on the subway. This is wrong.

You have to start right, you see. Get up one hour earlier, and go to bed one hour earlier. But many of you believe that if you don’t get a certain amount of sleep things will fall apart. That is also wrong. Some people don’t need sleep if their mind is straight. I experienced this in my 49 day second dark retreat. I had no sleep at all for several days.  And I came out mentally sound.  In some ways I know I am completely crazy, but that is how it is!  We are proud of our lineage - our founder was crazy and I am following in his path.  But my craziness is a harmless craziness, I will do no harm.  I will do no harm to anybody or to myself.

People tell me it is easy for me to say these things, but it is real for us. So I ask how is it real?  Like a bull with horns, legs and a body?   But if it has no form, no shape, no colour then how in the world can intelligent people say it is real.  You will only say it is real if you can touch, or see or hear or feel – that is called intelligent. Don’t believe your feelings are so real.  We create feelings, so today we are going to create positive feelings even if you have this feeling of being upset and depressed, and if somebody is talking about happiness you feel bad.  Forget about this.  It will be a challenge, become crazy like me for an hour or so.  You have nothing to lose. How we make a decision in our mind brings mindfulness.  Mindfulness tells us right information. Wrong information gives wrong thought.  Mostly when you are so busy with all the pressures and commitments of samsara, firstly you struggle to remember, and secondly you don’t feed the right information. All your samsaric information is wrong information, so you get right information from me, as a Buddhist, two and a half thousand years old and the information is as fresh as ever.  

I go around the world and people say they have no problem with what I say even though I have no religion.  Buddha is talking about mind. We have that innate goodness as a human being. We are intelligent enough, we have inner wisdom to use that potential properly and positively, so we benefit and so does everyone else.

So we need to learn to meditate. People say they meditate when they feel good, but I can’t when I feel bad.  That is wrong.  Feeling good you should meditate, feeling bad - extra meditation. You don’t think ‘When I was meditating and I felt good I gave up and jumped back to samsara, so the bad feeling came again.’  If you don’t want to be caught by this, meditate all the time.  Through meditation I have reached this place.  You all say to me that I don’t know what pressures you have, family, jobs and all this, then meditation is your lowest priority.  If you want to have a strong foundation, do well in your job, do well in family life, you need to learn to meditate – it is the foundation of everything.  To become kinder, more gentle, more caring you must meditate.  

If you  go around saying you are a Buddhist, but doing everything wrong, you are not a good Buddhist.  That is a bad Buddhist.  Even if you are a non-Buddhist who does the right thing, engaging mentally, physically, verbally for the benefit of others, you are better than many Buddhists themselves.  That quality we all need, and should have if we are going to have a  successful family.  You can’t have harmonious family relationships if you are stressed, unhappy, projecting, always negating each other.  Through your commitment and meditation that remembers that relationship is a mutual need.  Sharing, not blaming each other.  With compromise there is usefulness in having a relationship.  If it is just a place of fighting, arguing, stress, there is no point in having a relationship.  No good will come of it.  You had better become a monk!  If you have a lack of wisdom.  You are told you will be miserable alone, you need a partner.  I don’t have a partner and I am joyful.  Everyone says they are not happy because they don’t have a partner, their life has no meaning, but partners give all sorts of suffering and we still don’t want to give it up.  For what good reasons?

You tell me we are above the animals because we can think and everything we do is thought.  So you feel good about yourself as a human being; not only do I have a roof over my head and clothe myself and feed myself, but I can do something for others who don’t have my opportunities.  Don’t become so greedy.  Learn to give and share, you don’t have to have money, you can give time to teach others how to manage their life better.  Selfishness will never ever make your life successful, meaningful or joyful.  If you give in to greediness, ignorance, then the more you have the more you want.  And then when you have accumulated everything then you have to leave this physical body, and everything accumulated will give you suffering because you couldn’t bear to give it to your relatives and friends.  If something happens to you, you cannot take it with you.  We need to create the right conditions.

If you have a bad habit that causes you physical sickness or a mental problem, it is caused by the wrong types of friendship.  You should give up those friends because you are not helping them and they are not helping you.  A good friend is someone who can help you become a positive, generous person, someone who can help you find the right way, not always pulling you down or judging you.  So if you have any intelligence left in your head, chose the right friends, right motivation.  Everyone’s motivation is to be kinder, be nicer.  Because that is what we want from people.  Buddha says everyone has been our parents, but in the new world order parents are not the most popular.  But that is not their choice.  World has become so unstable and uncaring because everyone blames their parents.  But that blaming is never going to improve our situation.  In Buddhism we say that blaming now will show in our next life and what we are going through now is a result of our previous karma.  Whatever we do now affects our next life so we recommend everyone, we can see clearly, even a simple instant, if you can think something positive there will be a positive response, if you let your negative mind take over the result is negative.  Mind creates emotion, feelings, it is mind you need to learn to work with.  Some of you come from a Christian background and say it is not mind but God that is fixing up everything, you really have to have an unconditional belief in what God says; then God works.  If you are doubtful then you say there is nothing we can do, God is the creator, it is like saying I am lazy and don’t want to take responsibility, I’ll leave it up to God.  We should take responsibility.  We accept the totality of if we are good or bad, then we say it is up to God, but there is this inner wish to change for better, which means you don’t have this unconditional belief.  So the only way you can make this change is working with your own mind.  I am always telling everyone that whatever religion you follow or none, never argue in the name of religion.

I’m a lama, suppose I was to come into some unbelievers with some argument.  I say Buddha says this, and someone says I don’t believe it.  I am not supposed to be arguing.  We say there is no point in arguing with stupid people, so if someone is arguing, I say thank you, we will keep our own ideas and not argue.  Not arguing is useful in families, arguing has no meaning.  We all argue about George Bush, and say justice must be done and this big axe is hanging over your head and someone is judging everything you say.  No – your right is not my right.  We all have different ideas about good and bad and right and wrong.  So engage in non-judgemental mind.  Don’t judge other people and don’t judge yourself.  If you say Lama Yeshe says I have to be a positive and good person, and I put in some effort, you don’t come back saying I am going to be nasty and judgemental.  You sit here and say Lama Yeshe says I have to be a positive person. Your friends will say what are you trying to do?  You say ‘oh, you are here again, come and sit with me.’  With that tone, the argument has stopped.  But if you say ‘I am in the temple, these thoughts should not be in here, I am not a good person’, your own judgement on your own thought is creating pain and suffering. That is why there is no good, no bad, no right, no wrong involved when you have this impartial, non-judgemental mind, sitting here now.  

Because in the next session you will be doing meditation, so I will say something about meditation.  Here now is very important.  First, people have this idea that when you come to meditation you have something to do.  Meditation means I will have a wonderful peaceful, tranquil mind.  That is expectation.  None of this is meditation.  You come here, to the right place, learn to physically relax, mentally relax, just here, now.  So when some friend comes up from the past, don’t push, don’t get mixed up, get entangled.  If you just notice the friend is there, no fighting, no pushing.  Do we have to suppress?  How can you suppress someone that isn’t there?  That’s why you fail at the start – there is nothing to suppress except the thought that the friend is talking there, nagging there.  Just know that it is there.  Here, now.  

Then because of the way the mind is, we start to think about the future.  When this lama has finished talking his nonsense we can go and do what we want.  Don’t lead the future.  If you let your mind go in that direction you will be planning your whole life.  That’s a waste.  We cannot plan our lives just sitting here.  We all plan our lives, but how many can say they have the perfect life style?  No – karma dictates.  So what you need is to have a compassionate mind.  Just remember – here, now.  Here is perfect, the temperature is good, beautiful temple.  Then the nagging mind says I don’t like the colour of the painting, or I don’t like all the deities.  You don’t come here to judge that, you come here to work on your mind.  You don’t have to take the deities with you.  So why are you getting involved in judgement – I don’t like these crazy things, I like a simple mind.  You are creating a crazy mind just thinking these things.  You have to learn to leave everything alone.  If you do then there is a better form of energy.  If you don’t get involved, the energy subsides of itself.  No need to do anything, just acknowledge whatever is there, and it will go of itself.  Subsiding, like a balloon, empty.  If you get involved, the balloon just gets bigger, bigger, bigger.  So meditation is simple.  This is the ways and means for once in your life  to be calm, peaceful, reflective and physically aware of your own form, aware of what you are thinking, not trying to stop, or be judgemental.  

One day that sort of experience and understanding you can bring into your everyday life.  Perhaps to the office.  A lot of people have difficulty going to the office, perhaps they don’t get on with somebody or think they are going to have a hard time, I don’t like this person or that boss.  Instead if you go with a calm mind and no expectation of bad treatment, perhaps that very moment you will be freed.  If you go with a paranoid mind thinking that you won’t be allowed to do your thing, and you will be told off, and make your life miserable, you need never to lead that kind of life style.   You need to lead a life of confidence, confidence in your own mind, confident that you are capable of making the right choice, so you can lead a meaningful life.  That is what we do, we commit to our many lifetimes.  If I am bad now, I hope I will be good in the next life.  Next life?  What’s the big deal?  You people are so impatient, you only count hours and minutes.  You meditate five or ten minutes and ask how is it changing me?  It is not going to change like instant coffee!  Impatience is a failure.  To acknowledge our existence we have to feed ourselves everyday.  We have to feed our mind every moment positive information, loving, kindness, patience, tolerance.  Just keep on remembering that.  As many times as possible.  That is mindfulness meditation. I must lose the old habit of thinking, then believing in it.  Now I am going to choose what thinking I am going to do, for the benefit of all beings.  

We live in a small world.  Whatever we do affects everyone else out there.  So if this small group, if we manage to become a decent human being with a stable mind with loving kindness and forgiveness, all your friends will be touched by that connection.  We can change the world.  We say we are going round the world trying to change it.  If you can’t change yourself, how are you going to change the world for the better?  My example is if someone is drowning in the sea like me because I never know how to swim, we have a lifeguard with skills and the right equipment to come and pick me up.  He can do it, he can save my life.  But if this person does not know how to swim and has no equipment, we will drown together.  So if we care about the world, it is us who has to change, from our own mind, and thinking and our activities.  If you are going home and using gallons of hot water, using unnecessary energy, mindfulness needs to work all the time whatever we are doing.  Then you are changing the world for better. 

Before the Chinese came to Tibet, the lamas were the environmentalists.  We had forest managers because the monasteries would never allow anyone to cut down trees or even move big logs around, or kill animals unless it was necessary.  This is how Buddhists work.  Those animals out there have been our parents in many lifetimes.  So we have to treat then equally, not behave as though someone has given them to us to indulge ourselves.  We need to take care of them.  Mindfulness is very important, mindfulness of what you are thinking.  Environmental mindfulness is weeding your own weeds out.  The inner environment – what do we have to weed out?  Anger, envy, jealousy, pride, ego – all these poisons must be weeded out because it spoils your life.  What we have to plant is loving kindness, joy, forgiveness, taking and giving.  It is easy.  If we learn to do this the world will be a better place.  

When I was in Miami this very rich Russian guy asked me if I could make all religions one.  Religion should not be a clash of my religion against your religion.  If someone could unify it, what humanity needs is stable, wise, kind human beings, willing to work for the benefit of all impartially not just for the rich.  That is why we must learn to help other people.  Many times we see the disasters all over the world, and Europe is generous, giving some money here or there, but I don’t think it is going on the right course.  Say it is managed by a highly paid professional from Europe, then more money goes in their pocket.  Secondly, corrupt governments take some, so very little goes to the needy.  We need to teach them how to cultivate their own food, and have enough education to take good care of their lives.  If you feed them, they will never be self-sufficient, because you cannot make people not be hungry.  It is only a temporary solution.  A long term solution is to teach them to help themselves, and we need to have enough wisdom to do that.  I ask if Europe is so wealthy we can have a very good life style without having to give up anything.  You can lead a very comfortable life style and still help others around the world.  Billions in the bank doesn’t help.  Build schools, and teach the people the right way so they don’t keep on killing people.  If someone kills your family you take revenge after revenge.  If you teach them the key to everything is kindness and working together for the benefit of all beings.  

Sometimes the lamas did believe in a form of communism, the Buddha said we should share our wealth so everyone has equal opportunity, everyone has something to eat and to wear, but reality is everything is karma, and we must work with and enrich our own karma, not selfishly but for the benefit of all beings.  

There are three schools in Buddhism to suit different mentalities.  Some people cannot imagine working to benefit all beings, it is narrow  minded.  It is like someone in business saying I can’t have a bigger business.  It is so small, I can borrow £20.  If you are going to borrow, borrow £1,000,000 – like me – it is easier!  Think if I am going to do many hours of meditation why should I narrow down my intention to just my own advantage?  Why not meditate for the benefit of all sentient beings?  American people say they know everything, they can do everything.  If you say that, nothing can stop you.  If you say you don’t know anything, you can’t do anything, how are you going to achieve anything?  

There is nothing wrong if your goal is the benefit of others, you can have ambition as big as the sky.  If your ambition is for your self, then better not to do it or you will get into difficulties.  Remember your motivation.  If I have big ambitions for Samye Ling, then it is not for me, it is for the benefit of all Samye Ling.  I have been here 40 years and have seen many people benefit.  Nothing can actually go wrong.  If I was doing it for myself everything can go wrong.
Talk 2

I hope you remembered to be happy, mindful – a weekend is short so the only benefit is if you can relax and be happy wherever you are.  We are going to meditate, but we have to think what the goal of meditation is.  Meditation is to enrich our life, to help us, to remind us we can be a good human being, do many good things.  We must remember always to engage mentally with positive things, not in selfishness.  Whatever you think is positive, useful, building up a completely new habit.  Normally nobody ever bothers to change whatever emotion arises.  You think that is who you are.  So you make no effort to change it.  You can change it.  Anxiety or emotion or thought or feeling, you pick up from some friend or influence and it gets stuck in our head.  So we need to use mindfulness meditation to remember that every thought could be a selected thought.  With right thinking we won’t get into so many emotional difficulties.   An emotion does not appear just like that, it takes some kind of instinct, some kind of challenge to create this emotion.  We should always be safeguarding our mind, learning how to engage positively.  Whatever good or bad is for you the blessing of Buddha.

If I go out there and it is raining I say ‘it’s wonderful, it’s raining!’  I wouldn’t say it is awful because it is raining. If I go out and it is sunny I say it is wonderful.  Snow, rain or sunshine, they all have a good side.  If you can use that kind of thinking towards people – some of our friends may not be so good, they may teach us bad habits.  Only a few people can teach us good habits.  People encourage you to smoke, then you have to buy your own, once you have the habit.  If you are not a drinker, you think you can’t go to a party because they will think I am weird not to drink.  There are a hundred nice things to drink, tea, coffee, juice but you think you have to drink, then you start drinking too much.  The yogi way is the people who put you off, you never go near them, you just run away.  You never learn any bad habits.  They can’t harm you because you know what they are going to do or say to you, so they are good teachers for you.  If you have a lot of friends who talk nothing but gossip, if you don’t gossip with them they reject you, so you learn to gossip.  So always remember to trust in your own innate goodness, engage positively.  Use meditation to improve your situation so you can remember.

Some people never take responsibility for what they say, just speak from habit and never think of the consequences.  If you lie, then you can’t stop saying painful things, a bad habit.  We need to learn to meditate, to learn that talking garbage is never going to improve your image.  You want people to like you, to trust you, to listen to you, but if you can only gossip and lie, all your talking is wasted, and won’t bring you respect.  Why should they listen to you because everything you say is rubbish.  So we need to remind ourselves that speech is very powerful, rightly used it can bring so much happiness and benefit, so why not respect that potential and preserve it and use meditation so whenever you feel you need to speak you can choose what you want to say.  What do you want to achieve?  You want people to listen to you, give you respect, you must speak the truth.  But our untrained mind keeps on old habits and we never think of the consequences.  If we want to improve and enrich our everyday life we have to be careful of what we think and say.

Also the body is the slave of the mind.  Whatever the mind thinks needs to be done, the body does it.  A perfect body, speech and mind.  The mind is hardest to change and improve because it is more powerful and so comes last.  We have to deal with the physical form first, and say ok, number one priority from today onwards, through mindful meditation, and my commitment to improve my life I will engage my physical form in virtuous positive ways.  Use it to help other people, not to beat them up.  Learn to give other people things, not to take other people’s things.  Mind thinks, but body acts first, that is why we have to work hard to improve our body.  Wisdom says if you are alone in your friend’s house you keep your hands together so you don’t start taking things from your friend’s house.  Then you have no chance of borrowing something – you could do many wrong things if you are alone.  This is good advice.  Number two when you are among many people, keep your mouth closed.  Then no-one can say you said something painful or harmful.  If you are among people who like to harm other people, the safest think you can do is to keep your mouth shut.  This is useful advice, if you are the sort of person who has to join in when people are arguing.

We meditate because our mind is busy with all the things we want to accomplish, all the things we haven’t accomplished, you have no time to remember what is good and bad any more.  When you learn to meditate the chaos subsides and the cloud will gradually disappear, so you will see the clear blue sky.  The sky was always there, always clear, but some of us will never manage to see the sky without clouds, rain and wind.  So we need to calm, relax and create inner peace.  When you have no aggression, anger, jealousy you are already calm.  With this comes inner joy.  There is nothing wrong with being joyful.  We work hard with jobs, family, friends.  Everything is there to bring happiness and joy.  So no-one will say they don’t want happiness.  Joy doesn’t just come because we manage to calm our minds.  Joy comes from feeding the right information, like rejoicing because you stop thinking negative thoughts, talking negatively and acting negatively.  You will be happy because you managed to do something good.  Mostly we say first something painful, recognise it, and feel remorseful – I am bad, no good’.  What use is it to say this all your life, and yet do the same thing again and again.  

In Buddhism we say if you have done something wrong, first accept that you didn’t do a good thing, and say from the bottom of your heart that you are never going to do that thing again.  Make sure that in future you will never do that again.  That changes you for the better.  Some people never do that.  If you feel more and more remorseful you can end up doing more negativity.  Then there is more remorse, then you think God is punishing me. Why do you do that?  Why blame God?  It is you, He didn’t tell you to do that.  When I see Christ, how he went to sacrifice his life to save his friends.  That is Bodhisattva activity.  You give your life to save other people’s lives.  That is why he is special, but not from saying I suffered, so you must all suffer.  He suffered for us, and gave his life for us.  That make sense.   But if someone says I suffer so you all have to suffer, that is totally wrong. You should not need to feel that if you believe in that idea.  It makes no sense.

Always remember that we are responsible. If I say something wrong I cannot blame God.  Cause and effect is easy.  People think Buddhist karma – I don’t like it.  It is not pick and choose.  Karma means if you punch somebody they punch you back straight away.  That is instant karma.  If someone big and strong punches you, think is it useful to punch him back?  Or do I need to punch him back?  And you might think for a long time.  But if we are all very weak or critical or judgemental, if someone says something critical or judgemental, we want to say it back three times more or worse.  If someone hits you, you want to do worse.  That is instant karma because we lost our stability and wisdom.   Karma is happening every moment of our life so how can we escape from accepting and respecting it.  If you can do something useful or positive, something useful will result.  If you do something negative sooner or later something negative is going to happen.  Karma is useful to remind us that our thinking, speech and action have consequences.  So we must be careful of what we say, think or do.  

Now meditation – my way is unique, so all of you physically and mentally sit and relax.  If you have been meditating all your life this method is very good, and if you are a newcomer to meditation, it also works.  When you are physically and mentally relaxed, just be here now, present.  When emotion or negativity arises, don’t challenge, just leave it alone, and it will never stay there too long.  If you don’t get involved, your feeling, anxiety, emotion will be like a bubble in the river.  When the river flows the bubble forms, but breaks down instantly.  If your thought, your anxiety did not manage to engage you, so it will just dissolve itself, you don’t have to do anything.  Most of you will find this the most difficult thing you have done in your life because most of your life you have been too busy and intelligent.  Now you are told you can’t be that way, so you think now what?  What?  There isn’t what? What? So leave it alone.  Your mind will want something to do, but if your mind is irritating you that way, focus your eyes down and watch your breathing.  Breathing is something you don’t have to look at, it is part of your life, so feel the breathing in and out, count 1 mentally, in and out, mentally count 2.  Then your mind is fully occupied with the counting, gently without force.  Then come back to meditating here, now. 

Talk 3

Any questions about meditation or mind?  

Yes – how did you do yesterday?  

Q.  I  have problems with the visualisation.

A.  I think if you are Tibetan Buddhist, you can be easy with your mind, visualisation is easy.  But if you find you want to meditate and visualisation is difficult, you don’t have to do it.  We only visualise because our mind is busy and we can’t meditate.  So we give the mind a useful occupation.  If you stay in the shrine room and your mind is jumping everywhere, we recommend you look at the Buddha statue, at the bottom where the lotus is.  Gradually focus on the crossed legs then the arms, just focus your mind.  That is visualisation.  You will get used to the idea.  If you look at movies sometimes an image comes into your mind.  You will find sometimes a very clear image of the subject comes into the mind.  As we are trying to visualise Chenrezi or Tara or any deity we should have a clear picture in our mind, to engage with it fully.  But with shine visualisation is not necessary.  Just focus your mind on a breathing exercise or focus on some simple object in front of you.  There are very many methods.

Q. It is a very common problem today.  If you are depressed should you meditate?

A. If you are very depressed it is not the time to meditate. You will never succeed. If you are in an overwhelming depression it will take over.  The first thing I would say is to run up the hill top or garden, eat good food, do exercise, listen to the birds singing.  Do anything to take your mind from this feeling of depression.  Research at Oxford and American universities into depression is saying all this raw energy is caused by stress and wrong food.  Now they say mindfulness is key to this, so everywhere now you can get funding from the NHS to go to a mindfulness course, as they can see the benefit of this practice.  Buddhism says if someone is not mentally well, that is wrong.  If there is no mind how can there be a mental problem.  You should become Buddhist!  No mind to be mentally unwell. It sounds so bad, mentally ill, but it is not really true.  All the scientists looking for the mind and they can’t find it.  If they do the whole human race can be changed.  So there is not much we can do.  It is a bad label, it is just a bad habit.  When you feel low, not positive, not energetic, a doctor says there is something wrong with your mind.  So you call your self mentally unwell.  But it is really strong, weak or negative energy, so I emphasise being positive, strong and do not allow yourself to be stressed or enslaved by your needs.  We are human beings so we should not be enslaved by our ego needs.  If you have a decent car, then you need bigger and better car, and then maybe three or four cars, so you build stress.  If you work so many hours a day.  People come and say I am going to get a promotion and nothing is going to stop me, then I think of all the stress.  Once you get that top position you are already going to fall apart.  Top position means working double the usual hours, extra to maintain the position.  So you have no time with your family, so you compromise with your family.  You have no time to spend with your children so you can make money or become famous. So you will compromise the foundation of your life, your family. Young people come to me and say their parents don’t have time for them.  Even animals need parents to coach them.  Busy parents, the children only have one parent, and they have to work, so the children don’t get proper food, they have no role model, and they watch bad DVDs to keep them quiet.  Nobody knows how to clean or cook any more.  There is no family warmth.  In India or China they have these big big families, uncles, aunties, grannies, the lot. If half work, half stay home and look after the children.  Nobody will know how to care for each other.  I hear six year olds saying they are afraid of growing up.  They shouldn’t be.  They are told not to talk to strangers, don’t trust anybody.  There is no proper upbringing, no social freedom.  They are given fear all the time.  Children should be looked after properly, and then they will look after you.  If you don’t pass that lineage on, then that is why so many old people don’t want to be old.  Their children have work, and they are lonely.  And even the worst, an old people’s home.  If every family started to look after their parents, things would be much better.  If it is your own parent you will not mistreat them.  People run health care businesses as business.  Nurses are told they can only have 25 minutes per person.  Some people are so sick that is not long enough to make sure they are clean.  People only want to make money.  If it is your family, you can care for them, they will be safer and happier because they are cared for.  We are all going to get old one day, so looking after each other is important.  So I suggest all of you think of your parents because we are all going to get old, if we don’t care for them why should they care for us.  There is huge expense and shortage of doctors.  And even in hospitals there is not enough time, and the patients don’t get proper care, and then they want to beat up the doctors. There is a lot of abuse to doctors and nurses, because there are so few.  So we must all take care of our own people.  I encourage my ex-nuns and monks to take up right livelihood, we must go out there and do a caring job.  You get paid but you can give a real service, you can be kind and give what they need.  WE have to never give in to thinking we are not mentally well.  WE are all well, after three years you say you are free.  That is the result of meditation.

Question inaudible

A. Parents must care for children properly making sure they grow up confident and happy.  Then you teach them how to take care of their ageing parents.  European life style is like birds, eggs hatch and chicks fly and finish!  As soon as children are 18 they are kicked out.  If you are going to teach them, not until they are 30 or 40 and still at home.  I think the colder the climate the colder the heart.  I go to Spain and Italy and it is much more laid back. Even the health and safety – they don’t mind what Brussels is saying.  In the north they do even worse.  In Barcelona one day a guy on top of a building is laying bricks.  He has a cigarette here, a shovel here, and a little cement here.  There is nothing to hold on to, nowhere for his stuff.  I was told I could not go in a trench without a hard hat!  We make our own stress here, we should be more laid back.  We save our own lives, not being told all the time what to do.  An Italian son or daughter will keep their parents as long as they want to stay home.  So you teach children how to take good care of their parents.  This way in the future we will have a better standard of life.  If we leave it to Social Security we will all be losers.

We will do meditation.  We have to feed the right information, we should never become selfish.  If you learn to meditate, to have a calm and tranquil mind, then go home and try to learn to meditate.  Then your family, children, dog,. make a noise all the time, then you say you can’t meditate because the dog is barking all the time.  My wife is cleaning, or my man is hammering, lots of reasons why you can’t meditate. A good meditator can meditate anywhere, noise or no noise.  We cannot escape to a place with no noise.  Even if you built a sound proof place your inner noise will give you a hard time.  If you really want to learn to meditate properly, just sit where you are.  If somebody is making a noise, tune your mind into that noise, then that noise you are hearing and the meditation become one, so there is no conflict.  You can meditate anywhere then because the noise is no longer your problem.  Otherwise every noise is your enemy.   You are running away from noise because you can’t find inner peace.  When you can’t find quiet, just meditate anywhere.

Also if you are a beginner, learning in a group like this, you sit for 30 minutes because your ego will not let you stop whatever pain you are in or what is going on in your head, you want someone else to be the first one to leave.  When you start you think you are going to be meditating, then I see someone sit like this, then like this, or doing yoga exercise, and gradually you work out.  You learn from group meditation.  You realise that if you can sit 30 minutes with Lama Yeshe then you can sit 30 minutes at home.  So don’t give up easily.  Everything is building a habit.  Learn first in a group, there is group energy.  Everyone here wants inner peace for the benefit of all sentient beings.  And once you can do this a few times, you think it is not as painful as you think.  It is useful to meditate in a group, but sometimes you think someone is bothering you.  You don’t like somebody moving or sneezing.  Don’t think you are sitting with many people.  Just sit there and meditate.  

During this meditation don’t do any visualisation, but if your mind is crazy pick up any object, during 10 or 20 minutes, try to engage totally with this object.  Before that your mind is everywhere, past, present, future.  Now you are somehow fully engaging in that chosen object.  You focus on it.  Some people  get busy by seeing things, so as a beginner you can close your eyes.  If your mind gets busy by hearing then tune your mind into the sound instead of being bothered by it.  Some people are very fond of music, so when they become tuned into the music, you become one with it.  That is what you have to achieve.  So instead of rejecting whatever it is, you just tune into it.  It becomes one with the mind.  Everything is mind.  The mind is involved with everything.  So use whatever comes to support and help you to meditate.  But never give up.  Every teacher says meditate to bring benefit to all sentient beings.  This is our whole purpose.  If this is your goal, you will gradually be able to achieve it.  

Talk 4

Good morning everybody, today is cleansing, total washout.  Have you seen the beauty of the river, it gets wild and has a beauty.  A sign we are doing well here.  Does anyone want to ask me anything?  But I thought today I will make sure you all go home with a programme, then you can’t say you didn’t know what you were meant to be doing, so you have time for practice for your benefit and the benefit of others, I will give a really easy practice programme for you to take home.

The reason why you may be thinking this lama is always talking such garbage, I will try to learn your way of life.  If you go to some talk by a lama who has been a lama all his life, you may be will not get anything, their teaching is so highly profound.  Most of you may not actually get it.  So because this is a crazy lama he is trying to talk at your standard, making it simple.  That is what I decided when I became a lama.  I thought lamas are at the top of Mount Everest and you are at the bottom.  There is a gap and I thought I can fill that gap by making everything simple.  That is the essence of all Buddha’s teaching, however complicated the teaching, the root of everything is a strong foundation and a lot of forgiveness.  When I see a lot of you, there is no forgiveness.  You say you have been hurt so badly for no good reason.  How wrong that is. There is a good reason why you have been so hurt – because of your own attachment, your own clinging.  Because of your own grasping, expectation.  If you come here with no expectation from me, I can’t hurt you because you don’t expect anything from me.  If you have a strong expectation I could hurt you.

I think there are two types of pain.  First from normal people, just normal aggression.  If they punch you, as in boxing, it can give you a temporary pain, but they cannot hurt you inside.  Who can hurt you inside?  Your beloved parents, your beloved partners, you have so much loving and caring, giving up your life to this person, how could he hurt me?  It is because of your expectation.  Yesterday this guy was asking me -  some parents when they get distressed and emotional, they don’t know what to do exept beat up their children or beat up their partner.  You can’t just blame them saying it is their fault.  Maybe they received the same treatment from their parents.  I call it a bad lineage.  If your parents were alcoholic or not mentally well, or sometimes nice but when they get in a bad mood they can abuse their children – it is not their fault.  If you are some of those children who suffered badly from your parents, instead of getting upset and asking how could my mother or father treat me like that, you must feel very sorry for them because they must have suffered.  If they are in a good state of mind and capable, they will never do what they did to their children.  So you must feel sorry for them.  If you feel sorry for them, then there is an easy way to forgive, because they must have suffered as I am suffering from them now.  So I must forgive them.  

But some people don’t feel able to forgive and say it is impossible, it is my parents.  Then you are already saying it is impossible, you can’t forgive.  When you were young they didn’t help you as much as you expected them to, but now you are grown up, you don’t need this help, so why carry this pain all the way? It is time to let go.  I read a book, it all about mothers, how the mother sentient beings are the most important, and you wouldn’t like them to suffer so if you could suffer for them you should.  With the right information you know what to do.  Those of you who have bad family lineage, just do exactly what I say and you will be freed from this ongoing unnecessary pain and suffering and you are not blaming them any more.  It is self liberation.  You are liberating yourself saying I am very sorry for them, they must have gone through a lot of suffering.  And maybe when I get into a bad mood I behave no better than my parents.  So how can I blame them.  If you can do that, you can forget and forgive.

The second cause of hurt is relationships.  This is called a civilised country and we have freedom – what is freedom?  You have physical freedom for wherever you want to go, and verbal freedom to maybe abuse others, but in fact you have no mental freedom.  If you have mental freedom it means you can apply Buddha’s teaching, you can have as many relationships as you want with no pain.  If your partner falls for some nice person, you should rejoice.  If you don’t get stressed and stay happy you can get an even nicer person coming to you because your foundation did not get shaky. If you think you think you want this true mental freedom and have everlasting joy and happiness, that means learning to let go.  If you think that means giving up on having partners, no.  It is based on mutual understanding.  If you are not a monk or nun it is normal to have a relationship, but best based on being unconditional.  If you can apply this simple thing, then maybe you don’t have to go to a psychiatrist or a therapist.  It is all the people who have this need, thinking they have mental problems  based on this heart feeling, very painful.  If you can renounce this, then don’t think that lama is saying we are not going to have this feeling of togetherness and harmony with a partner.  No, Buddhism is saying we need to have this feeling of loving and kindness with emptiness. 

When this is understood, it is unconditional.  If you don’t understand then you could become very selfish, not connected to anything.  But then there is no wisdom.  So if we all become people with not such a strong judgemental mind, not able to forgive, then we will be very free.  That is what you have to achieve, inner freedom.  My government, my queen cannot give me this freedom, only I can give myself this inner freedom.  So whatever pain you are experiencing, holding on to, every time you get weak, this feeling of someone hurting you, someone knocking you down, this means you are carrying this burden.  Now it is time to let go.  Wisdom says you had this bad experience many years ago, and now you can’t let go.  Every time you have a bad experience now you bring it back again.  That’s no use.  It is not happening now, it is you who is making it happen now by holding on to it.  If you can make this change you will be 100% better, you will find some sense of meaning in your life.  You will no longer have this dark side of you which always breaks down.  It is very good to think we can go to psychiatrists or therapists, like we go to the doctor, we get medication which is good for one thing, but bad for twenty things.  If you take this it might be bad for your liver and kidneys.  Well, I already have bad liver and kidneys!  So why am I taking this?  You have to depend on your own mind.  The medicine is in you.  Just be this positive, kinder human being.  The essence of emptiness and loving kindness means if someone is suffering, then I can be kind, because they haven’t understood this message properly.

But I am also practical.  Sometimes loving and compassion should not be a torment.  People who only believe in this life, think they have to achieve everything in this life.  Sometimes they don’t bother because if there is only this life, putting in too much effort is not useful because life is gone like that.  But I believe in many lives, so those people who I am able to help and who also trust me I am unconditionally willing to help them.  But those most complicated people who can’t relate tome, and I can’t relate to them, I am able to tick them off, and say maybe they aren’t ready yet.  Like Samye Ling.  People think Lama is so holy, holy, holy, never wrong, so kind.  Sometimes you will see I am crazy, shouting at people.  But in my wisdom, if people get it right I am very kind, very gentle.  If people don’t get it, I am willing to shout. I have taken a vow, and if I see in front of me someone deliberately getting it wrong, doing wrong things, then wanting to be a good lama, if I stop shouting and stop seeing I am violating my vow.  So to keep my vow I am not going to tolerate it if someone is doing something wrong. It is my duty to shout and say wake up from your neurosis.  If you have many friends and you see them telling lies, stealing money, cheating people, you allow them to continue, they are going to prison or something harmful.  As a good friend your duty is to tell them what they are doing is wrong.  You should not steal, you should not lie.  A good friend doesn’t mean you allow them to do everything wanting not to hurt people.  You should have enough wisdom to tell them what they are doing is not good or right.  If they change or not, it is up to them.  I can’t liberate people if they don’t want to be liberated.  That is why Chenrezi in his compassion, always has tears in his eyes because he feel so sorry for ignorant people like us, getting deeper and deeper into Samsara.  Like when you get stuck in mud, and eventually your head goes under and you cannot get out.  So he feels sorry, but he cannot force you to be liberated.  Nobody can force you. Buddhism is not about forcing.  If someone gives you a hand, then even if you lose your life, you give your hand because this person wants to be helped.

People ask why all beings are not enlightened.  How can they be, most people don’t believe in karma, few people have genuine faith and belief.  For it to work you have to have belief.  In centres in Europe now where there are people with similar symptoms, they are giving some people medicine, and some only think they are getting medicine.  But the ones who are not getting medicine are getting better as well as the ones who are getting medicine.  That shows that everything is in the mind.  Professor Williams from Oxford, the famous mindfulness guy, says that practising mindfulness can even cure cancer and diseases.  I asked him how it worked and he was telling me exactly what the Buddha told everyone saying that when you reach a state of mind when there is no grasping is where the curing starts.  Now, mindfulness people, therapists and psychiatrists, are promoting this in every corner of the world, saying it does work.  It has to do with the mind.

We believe that everything changes. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with belief.  We are intelligent, and belief means that you can take what is there to take.  You don’t have to take it, if you don’t want to.  So any deeper emotional problems, sickness, forgiveness.  Find one hundred ways to forgive.  Don’t find one hundred ways to suffer like some clever people do.  How clever some people are!  If you are wise think of one hundred reasons why you should forgive because you want to be free.

My talk is to help increase calmness, stability, peace of mind, and forgiveness.  Now I will give you a programme.  As soon as you wake up think how wonderful it is that you are alive.  Then when you feel good you learn to meditate 15 minutes for everybody.  Simple calming, reflecting, relaxing.  Then when you start studying or working, whatever you have to do, bring the mindfulness with you.  Remember I am here driving a car, I am here cooking, I am going to my work.  Those of you who are afraid of going to work or going to your computer, as soon as you start have something on the screen to remind you to be a positive human being.  You don’t have to let people know what you are doing.  Just have something to remind you of mindfulness, being kind, and strong and honest.  And when you are eating food, remember food is a cause of celebration.  

As many people lack self confidence you should think I am a deity, Chenrezi, Guru Rinpoche, or whoever you choose.  But think that everyone else is as well otherwise you start looking down on all these poor people, as you are Chenrezi!  If I am Chenrezi then every life form is Chenrezi.  Then you never judge, or look down on people.  When you are eating and drinking offer it to the deity and whoever  is responsible for your good fortune, dedicate for other human beings.  

Then remember what you are thinking.  Think something useful or meaningful.  Don’t think how you are going to cheat other people, think how you are going to help other people.  Think how you are going to help people.  Don’t think how you are going to lie, think how to tell the truth. Don’t think about beating somebody, but about helping somebody. This thinking continues.  If you remember coming home, after supper, think how many times a day you were able to be mindful, how much change you could make.  Be your own teacher.  Maybe count how many times you had negative thoughts the first day.  See if the second day you can do one less negative thought, third day two less. That is progress, it is not easy.  As you see progress, it will give you confidence.  If you can think after supper did I do the things I wanted to do today.  

And as you go to sleep, don’t just go to sleep with desiring thoughts, think something pure, clean and perfect.  That way your sleep will be more meaningful and with better dreams.  Sleep is also then progressing change.  Not just going to sleep, but going to sleep with a pure mind. Sleep is practising, eating is practising.  That is called accumulation of merit.  Bring your mindfulness to every footstep.  This is another way of accumulating merit.  Not just walking in a crazy way.  That is where the mindfulness comes.  Use it again for speech, if I must speak I will speak the truth, like reciting a mantra.  So whatever communication you make, think you are saying om mani pemi hung or on vajra satva hung.  So everything becomes dharma practice.  You can speak normal language, it doesn’t matter because the mind knows it is the sound of mantra.  The good thing about the sound of mantra, is that if your partner is saying the wrong thing to you, shouting at you and telling you you are no good, if you remember it is the sound of mantra you won’t get upset.  If you can hear your own words as mantra, mantra means pure, then other people’s words will also be mantras.  

The best information for you is if someone is very angry and upset, you should visualise this person as a chunk of ice, a sculpture of ice.  You should sit and send a beam of warm light, kindness and forgiveness light, then the ice will melt down.  If you return anger with anger it will get worse, angry people need someone to feed their anger.  Never show anger to anger if you are wise.  If someone is shouting at you, look at their face and ask what did you do wrong.  If you don’t challenge, they won’t know what to do with you.  Normally you jump or kick, but for the first time in your life, you say what is wrong with my friend.  Then the anger is subdued because you didn’t feed it.  The opposite of anger is loving kindness. Show that and you will get the result you want.  If you can do this every day, if you can have patience – many of you after ten years of studying you have a big diploma, you have finished your studying.  You say you have something to show.  Buddhism says there is no time limit, there is life after life.  It is as slippery as a jell fish, you can’t leave it alone, you must be on it 24 hours a day.  Be kind, be generous, morning, evening, sleeping becomes practice, eating, walking, getting up is practice.  Then if someone says where is your enlightenment, if this change is achieved, this is your enlightenment.  

If you have no grasping mind, no anger, only loving kindness and forgiveness, then every thing you do is for the benefit of all sentient beings, all is well.  Kindness is essential, honesty is essential, forgiveness is essential.  Many of you are good at helping other people but are not able to look after yourselves.  It is important to look after yourself, you are the source, if you are joyful, then helping is good.  But if you are unhappy and not confident, then helping is another way of escaping from yourself.  You want to help others so you don’t have to be with yourself.  You are so weak and drained, all the emotion will come up and you will think you have been helping everybody and nobody is helping you.  That is wrong, you should help yourself first.  Then think of other people.  If you can remember, try this for six months.  15 minutes meditation morning and afternoon.  After six months increase it to half an hour each time.  Worldly people who have professional jobs and a lot of commitment, if they can meditate two hours in one sitting, you can cope with any challenge the world can throw at you.  So that is your challenge, one day you will sit two hours in one sitting.  It is easy, just a question of building a habit.  

When I first learned to meditate, even fifteen minutes was a torment.  So much difficulty, so much torpor because I had picked up so much garbage on the way.  Now happily can say my two and a half hours of meditation was finished before 5.a.m.  I have taken care of my mind already.  It is possible.  The mind transforms.  You never need to force yourself.  Gradually learn to meditate more hours, then the benefit will come to you.  You will have wisdom.  Many people know what is good and bad but don’t use it at the right time, then it is useless.  If you can learn to use it at the right times, it can solve all our problems.  We need mindfulness all the time.  If someone is angry, before you would react quickly, you mindfulness will tell you calm down and realise it is not necessary to react quickly.  Then you see everything is possible.  But it requires commitment and meditation.

I have been generous to all of you, I sat for two hours when I first came in here and many people walked out I think.  All over the world people say Lama Yeshe talk more, but if we talk all the time, how are we going to learn to meditate and where is the benefit going to come?  So I said I will be the bad lama and give suffering.  The good lama can give you entertainment.  When someone is talking and the time goes quickly.  Meditation is more difficult.  Ten minutes seems a long time.  My teacher told me all I have to do is one guru yoga and meditate.  So that is what I do, and what I teach.  Other people know much better dharma than me, all of you know too much.  It is no use to say how to cook food, but you never did it.  Or if you are hungry and you never eat food, you will be hungry all your life.  Practice is like medicine.  If we are to free ourselves from the suffering of samsara, we have to practice.  Meditation, mindfulness practice.

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