The Happy Path (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)
Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught on the merely imputed I, the benefits of altruism and compassion, how to transform problems and the five powers, during two evening discourses in Bendigo, Australia, in August, 1991.
Click here to read edited transcripts of these teachings.
- How the I Exists
- Developing Altruism
- The Benefits of Compassion
- The Benefits of Problems
- The Five Powers
How the I Exists
So, first I would like to express that I am very happy to meet all of you and that happy to discuss, happy to share our understandings. So first thing, maybe I thought, I think in the announcement it's talking about "Happy Path"; however whatever you understand about that, however first thing I thought maybe to talk a little bit on the stress. Generally the topic is how we can solve our life problems, that is the main topic. The various problems and especially the biggest problem in our life, the biggest one, the most afraid of, most that we're concerned about or most frightened of, mainly, especially that one, how we can be free from that, how we can overcome that and meanwhile, until we overcome that, until we become free from that what we, how we can deal with that, while we are going through these, how we can deal with that until our mind reached the stage that which can overcome that.
So could be wrong, what I think what stress means could be mistake but then if it's mistake, then you have to correct. So please correct if if in my thinking if there's some mistakes. however I think the stress depends, whether, stress it didn't come from outside, stress it didn't come from machines, stress didn't come from outside, didn't come from sky or water, fire, earth the elements, the stress didn't come also from outside people, stress came from within one's own mind and it depends on way of thinking. One way of thinking it creates stress, one way of thinking does not create stress, it eliminates stress. So stress is dependent on concept, stress dependent on way of thinking how you think way of thinking.
So one way of thinking it created, builds up stress, it creates the stress. So actually our own mind is the creator of stress and our own mind is also one who liberates ourself from the stress our own mind is also is that which frees us from the stress, so our own mind is the creator of our problems, but also our own mind if you know how to think, our own mind, without need to look for happiness outside from within oneself, from within one's own mind one can find happiness from one's own mind, one's own mind can create happiness in the life. So there's possibility, as it produces the problems also the mind can stop the problems and can obtain happiness, can obtain peace of mind relaxation in the heart, tranquility, peace in the heart. So that is the basic thing, that is not just made up philosophy due to an individual person's interest or profit or interest to get something for the person, him or herself not that.
These are life experiences, how things are created by the mind, how things come from the mind, how the life came from one's own mind, it's the reality, it's experience, it's reality, that evolution is the reality that we can... it is our own experience from morning until night, that one day, twenty-four hours' life happiness, problems, how it dependent on one's own way of thinking. One way of thinking there is problem in the life but one way of thinking there is no problem in the life with one concept you find problem in the life but with another concept there's no problem in the life. So it's all dependent on how you think, dependent on whether you label problem or not, depending if you look at the life situation if you label it if you establish dislike thought if you establish that life situation, dislike I don't like, this one I don't like. So therefore it's bad, then the life situation appears bad to you. After one labeled bad, then there's appearance of bad, but until one doesn't label bad until you don't establish dislike on that bad life situation, until one establish thought, dislike on that and until one don't label it bad there's no appearance of bad in the life. Same. Until one doesn't label problem, This is a problem, I have a problem, until one's own mind doesn't give the name problem like we give name on the child, like when we get child, we give name to the child, so like that, for example, if there is child, if the parents do not label on the child, Toto or something the anyway, Toto, then if the parents do not label on the base, the association of the body and mind of the child, as long as the parents do not label Toto, Toto doesn't exist.
So when the parents label Toto depending on the association of body and mind of the child, then, then what makes Toto to exist is, then after parents agreed and labeled and they believed in their own label then, only then, only after they labeled then, Toto comes into existence, that's how Toto exists. So Toto exists by depending on the association of body and mind of the child and parents' mind, making up the label, Toto parents' mind merely imputing depending on those two, depending on association of body and mind of the child and the parents mind which creates, which makes up the label, the name. So depending on those two, Toto exists. So that's all what Toto is, that is the, how Toto exists is, that's all, there's nothing more than that, nothing else than that, nothing else other than that, nothing more than that.
So that, so there's no such, so the Toto is merely imputed by the mind depending on association of body and mind of the child, so therefore there's no such Toto, real one, existing from it's own side. Toto exists from the side of the mind, Toto doesn't exist from the side of, there's no Toto from its own side. Toto exists from the side of the mind, under the control of the mind.
So, so there's no such real Toto existing from its own side, so that is the ultimate nature of the Toto, that is the reality of the Toto, what is the ultimate nature, the very nature of the Toto, that is this, there is no such real Toto from its own side, existing, that's not true because it came from the mind, parents, merely, their mind has merely imputed, so Toto came from the parents' mind. however at this point what I'm trying to clarify, explain is, so with, the main thing is that, so if the parents did not label Toto, Toto doesn't exist, Toto comes in existence only after parents have labeled Toto, depending, not just labeling Toto on the space, not just, not just anything but depending on the association of body and mind of the child.
So you can see now very clear the evolution of how the Toto comes in existence, it came from the mind. So now same thing in our life we think that we have problem but actually in the reality how the problem came into existence is the same way as the example of the child, Toto, if we did not establish thought of dislike on the life situation and did not look at it bad and did not label bad and did not label problem, if we did not label problem then problem doesn't exist in our life, if we do not label problem and problem doesn't exist in our life, if we do not label problem.
So what happens is this, what normally in our life is so like this so, a person, somebody whom one expect to love you but if one doesn't expect that person to love to oneself, if one doesn't have expectation then there's no problem, then even that person dislike you don't care, or even that person doesn't love you, you don't care, it doesn't really bother whether this person like you or not doesn't like. But when there's expectation when there's clinging that person's mind to love to oneself, when there's expectation or when there's clinging in that, then when so, so that person's mind changes, doesn't love to oneself then rather if we establish the mind, if we don't establish the mind dislike to that, if we establish the mind like, instead of dislike, like, then it's only pleasure, even that person doesn't love you, it's only pleasure. Even not, even one doesn't establish, even one is unable to establish the thought on that, like, but at least, doesn't matter so it doesn't bother, it doesn't disturb mind, it doesn't hurt that much so anyway so one establish the thought of dislike on that, at the beginning there's expectation and there's clinging to that expectation or clinging, grasping. So then when the person's mind changes then one establish the thought of dislike, one made up this concept, oneself make up this concept, your own philosophy or concept I don't like, so one make up this concept. Then one label it problem, one label, it's a problem. Then after one label bad, problem, then there's appearance bad, that person's bad and there's appearance of problem in the life.
So, the bad and, this is bad, this person is bad and I have problem, this person doesn't like me, doesn't love me and that is the problem. So so then what happens is we're not aware, we forgot, we are not aware that our mind, that how it started that the bad came from one's own mind. The problem came from one's own mind. Why? Because one recognize, one interpreted this as a problem by labeling, giving name on that, problem then I have problem. Then taking that upon oneself then I have problem. So like that. Then appearing the problem, then in your view, in one's own view, as there's a real problem existing from its own side, something independent, problem inherently existent problem, the problem came from outside, it exists from its own side as real problem. So all that part is not true, it doesn't exist, because what exists is, the way came in existence is it came from one's own mind. So if one did not label problem then there's no problem in the life. If one did not label that, that doesn't exist. So if one didn't interpret that way, it doesn't exist.
So it's very clear, so if one did not label, as long as if one's mind did not establish the thought of dislike and but purpose why, the evolution why one establish dislike, as I explained before, because there's expectation or grasping. So however so if there's no, if one didn't establish the thought of dislike and didn't label the problem, then these things there's no bad and there's no there's no bad person, there's no problem in the life. So like that.
For example, like this, now I give another example, now at this point, there are two people, one person actually didn't love you a long time ago, but the person act as if the person loves you. Now, and one one's own mind one label this person helps me and this person loves me and this is good. So one label because there's expectation or grasping. So one's own mind establish on that thought, like, establish the concept, like it's good and it's good, it's good and it's friend - so one has put all these labels. And then after one put the label like good, then there's appearance of good the person's actions, the person is appearing good then after one put the label, friend, then there's appearance of friend. Like this. so this appearance, all these views came from one's own mind.
Then there's another person actually, that person like you, loves you very much but the way this person appears is, outside appearance, looks doesn't love you . So now this outside behavior this is not that so same thing as before this is not what one, doesn't like so, one establishes the thought of dislike on that and then bad there's appearance of bad and then the problem, the enemy, so one label enemy, so there's appearance of enemy, but now, but now this here I'm giving an example that is nothing to do with their mind, it's completely one's own projection, this person actually doesn't love you, hate you but, he doesn't love you, but outside you interpreted the outside action as the person loves you. But this person actually loves you but the outside action is interpreted as doesn't love you. So but their attitude one whom you think love you that person doesn't love you but whom you think love, that person doesn't love you but whom you think doesn't love, that person loves you.
So even now, here I'm talking an example it's nothing to do with actually their attitude towards to you, nothing to do, but there's still the possibility of that this appearance that we make our own world, that one makes, that you make your own world creation around appearances, views with one's own concepts. So this is another example with this, came from one's own mind, labeled, appearance created so, like this. So this example even makes more clear. So it's very important that, the appearance comes, whatever it is house, table, microphone, clock, whatever it is, any appearance, it comes after you labeled, doesn't, the appearance of that thing appearance of the object, appearance of the table doesn't happen to you, this one appearing you as a table doesn't happen until you label, until your mind label this as "table", until your mind label table depending on this this material, which does the function lifting up things to lift up things.
So after one put the label table, because of the reason, first you, when you come in the room you don't call table to this chair, you don't call table to this, you don't call table to this, you don't call table to this, there is hundreds of objects but you don't call table to anything. So now we have to think, What makes us to label, to make up this label table, what makes us to do that this specific label. So as as you come in the room you see hundreds of objects. So by what makes to make up, your mind make up the label, the particular label, table. It's not by seeing this, not by seeing this, not by seeing this anything. By seeing this particular material certain shape that which does function to put things on the top so you see this material first, then because what you see first this material that which does this function so that that is the reason, the reason comes, you see the reason first what I'm saying is, before you make up the label table, the specific label, you have to have reason has to be reason in your mind the reason has to come before you make the label. The reason makes to choose this particular label, the table. So the reason is because there's a particular material that which does this function to lift up things.
So then after that, then you label table, you are not seeing the table first, you are seeing first this material that which does this function. If you are seeing the table first from the very beginning if you are seeing the table first then, what is the reason behind, makes you to decide this particular label, tablet here has to be a reason there has to be a reason before that. So then you have to find out what is the reason that which makes you to decide this particular name table there's no reason, because you didn't see this, if you see the table the very first, the very first thing what you see is the table, not the basis of table, not the basis on which you label table, not that one, you see the label table first, then what is the reason that makes you to choose this particular name table what is the reason? So there's no reason then if there's no reason then you might call table to anything if there's no reason before then you may call table to anything so that is not the experience, that is not according to experience, that is not according to reality. So reality is so you see this material first as you're coming inside, you see this material first which does this particular function, then one label table, then after you label table then there's appearance of table to one's own mind. Only then there's appearance of table to one's own mind. So you can see now what is the table what is the table? Now you can see, what you see very first is not the table, it's the basis on which you are going to put the name table, like the child, what the parents see first is not, that is not the first time what the parents see is not Toto, it's the basis to be labeled Toto, means the association of body and mind is the basis to be labeled Toto they see the base first, then after put the label, Toto. So the association of body and mind is not Toto, that is not Toto Toto is something else, that is not Toto.
So now here the Toto, what is Toto? Become extremely subtle phenomenon, what it is - extremely fine one, extremely subtle the how Toto exists, if you analyze scientifically like this if you analyze, it is very subtle. So same thing nothing else Toto is nothing else except what is merely imputed by the parents' mind. So same thing the table what you see very first time is not the table, it's the basis to be labeled table so after one label, because of this reason, because of seeing this material which does this function, then labeled table, then believing in this label, then one believe in this label then there's appearance of table. So again what is the table? Extremely subtle phenomenon. What is the table? So it is not what we normally think, when you do not analyze, when we are not aware the reality of the table something real from its own side, something independent, not created by the mind, something didn't came from the mind, that table existing from its own side, so there's no such table in the reality so what is the table? is extremely subtle.
So however so like this point what I am trying to make, to explain is that so even the appearance of table comes only after you labeled table and believed in that. I'm just giving more, the variety of examples. So now if you understand the way that I explained about the table, how the table came into existence, and Toto, now that is same thing, like this exactly how subtle they are, their nature, how they exist, now similar, now if you analyze the I, the self what is the I always people have questions, What is the I? Why does it exist? Why I exist? Where I came from? All these things. however so now, I'm not going to go over that because then the other subject may not come. So now this is some idea, an example, now you should use this same evolution or should analyze whether it's correct or not what I said these things, my English is not clear, not good English, so if you understood well how I explained, the evolution when you come in the room, what you see first, all these things you have to have a reason before you put any label, there is a reason before what makes you, what choose the particular label, particular name.
So however so like this exactly that is the same thing if you use for the I, same thing, I, now I, the self, is the label. The association of body and mind, the aggregates is the basis - aggregates or to make it simple, association of body and mind this is the basis, I is the label. Table and basis of table. So they are not one, the aggregates association of body and mind is the basis to be labeled I. So association of body and mind is not the I body is not the I, mind is not the I, even the whole group is not the I, but then the I doesn't exist anywhere on these. I'm not saying I doesn't exist but what I'm saying is I doesn't exist on this, on this base anywhere, inside or above this, nowhere the I exists, cannot find. If you search, cannot find anywhere neither, nothing of those, even the association of body and mind is not the I, I is nowhere in or out, above this. But, it doesn't mean I doesn't exist - I exists. I exists because I can listen, I can talk I can do action of sitting, standing, sleeping helping others, harming others I exist, I does all these activities but I is, nothing of this is I, even the whole thing is not the I, I is nowhere it exists on this, so that is the important point to analyze I'm just introducing but we have to meditate, you have to analyze, meditation is analysis is scientific analysis so then through scientific meditation like this then then one can recognize, one can realize oneself what is the I. Then why the I exists, then everything you can find all the answers through the meditation through these scientific meditations, the analysis, the analytical meditation.
So again when we analyze like this what is the I? What is I becomes extremely subtle extremely subtle. The the I is, today the I in Australia, I thought maybe America or something, so I don't think it's America anyway, I just thought America maybe being in America, but anyway the I exists, but I is in Australia, I is in Bendigo in the College HallI is in this room but what one has to understand or what one should analyze is the body is not the I, mind is not the I, even the association is not the I andI is nowhere in that or above, outside, above this, nowhere it exists, cannot be found anywhere. If one analyze, when we do not analyze, looks like there, looks like can be found but when we analyze cannot found, you cannot find. So if it exists, if it is there then when you analyze it should be become clearer and should be able to find, but when you analyze, as soon as you start to analyze it becomes unclear, you cannot find, so that is the sign, that is the proof that it doesn't exist there. Then...
But, what it is? There is some appearance of I, but there's appearance of I inside there's appearance there's a real I inside the body, within me, or inside my body, why there's a real I there? Why there is appearance of real I? That appearance is not true, that appearance is false. False, why? How is it false? So what I mentioned before, cannot be found, that is the reason, that is the basic reason why this appearance is false, it's not true if we think of the way it exists, the way I exists, if we think of the evolution you can see it's not true, this appearance.
So, now same thing as I mentioned with those other examples depending on the association of body of mind, then our mind imputes I, me, I. Our mind merely imputes I, depending on the association of body and mind then our mind merely imputes I that's all what it is, the reality of the I or how the I exists, nothing more than that it exists. But the I what one's own mind merely imputed does not appear to us, we forget that it's imputed by our mind, we forget that, mind is not aware. So that is one reason. Then the I what which is merely imputed by one's own mind depending on these aggregates, on the association of body and mind, then after that, appears existing, appears as inherently existent, nothing to do with your mind, it appears like that, nothing to do with your own concept, nothing to do with your mind labeling. It exists from its own side, it has an existence, it has something from its own side. So something real in the sense of independent, without depending on the mind labeling and the association of body and mind, without depending on those two, there's real I there, something independent, emotional I.
When we have very strong desire or when we have very strong anger or when we have strong pride when we are going to have, when there's danger to have a car accident [snaps fingers] during that time, that this appearance becomes very strong, this false appearance, the real I, independent, uncreated, without depending on the mind and association of body and mind , without depending on those two, something independent, real one from its own side. So, it becomes very strong in those times, when one start to about to fall down or when somebody criticizes, when somebody provokes one's own mistakes and then this becomes, those times, those situations, in the Western term what's used, the emotional I or this false appearance of the I independent I, this false I. So this becomes, this appearance becomes very strong, when we have such as those conditions.
Those times very strong but other times when there's no strong condition when there's no such as those conditions, either so happy and so excited when one win, when one get degree or when one get present or reputation or something, either so excited or either so unhappy or depressed or very angry, so those times become very clear. But other times not so clear, but it depends on the individual person, if the individual person has a sharp mind, intelligent or if the person has a sharp mind, then can feel even normal time when there's no particular situation you can recognize this false I, which you cannot find there, on this association of body and mind, or inside of this, or on this you cannot find, because it doesn't exist there if one search, however which doesn't exist there.
So if one is meditating, if one is doing the meditation meditating on the ultimate nature of the I, if one is doing analytical meditation the real I is the ultimate nature of the I, that which is the only way to liberate oneself from the whole entire, every single problem and causes of problems, which is within one's mind. So root of all the problems is this wrong conception, this thought that which believes that this false I is a true I, that that is a real one, that this I which is appearing existing from its own side, unlabeled as that is real one, as that is true, believing that is true. So because the object is empty there, it doesn't exist, but the thought, because of that then the thought which believes that it exists, and then that's how it proves this thought is a wrong conception, this is ignorance, so this is the root of all the problems, the root of death, from where death comes, what makes us to experience death is from that, from this ignorance, what makes us to experience old age is from that, what makes us to get sick is from that, what makes us to be born is by that to be reborn, that is the main cause, this false mind is the main cause.
So therefore once we recognize what is the root of all the problems, then automatically you are aware what is the method, what is the solution, the solution is to cut this root, this thought, this wrong conception, this ignorance, which is ignorant in the ultimate nature of the I, the reality of the I. So so it becomes very, very important to see, to discover that what makes us to experience all these problems. Then besides this in our life separating away from desirable object, what makes us to meet the undesirable object, what makes to rise all the fear, worries, and even we found the object not finding satisfaction, all this came from, caused by this, the root false mind, the ignorance. So the solution is to not experience at all all these entire problems is eliminate the very root, the wrong conception.
So now, what makes to eliminate this? What makes to eliminate this root of problems, ignorance is by realizing the object of the ignorance the I which is in reality merely imputed by the mind depending on the association of body and mind but appearing as independent, real one from its own side. So this object which is believed by this ignorance, so the object of this ignorance, what the ignorance believes is empty, is completely empty there. So that is the solution. So this wisdom, one of the most important wisdoms that we have to gain in our life, among the wisdoms the most important wisdom is this wisdom realizing the ultimate nature of the I then that eliminates ignorance. Then by developing this wisdom, then one is able to eliminate even the imprint, even the seed left by this ignorance on the consciousness - seed means, as long as you have the seed there on the consciousness left by the ignorance, like we plant seed in the ground, then there's a possibility to grow again, if there's seed then there's possibility to again, so generally speaking that if there's seed which means that which brings again like if there's seed there then that means there's possibility again to bring the sprout. So same, so even the seed that is left by ignorance, even this completely can be purified by this wisdom, by your own wisdom. Then one do not experience at all, even by this one do not experience at all the rebirth, death, all the problems, all the sufferings, one do not experience, so completely ceased by removing, by completely purifying, removing the cause of the suffering, which is in the mind. Then, this is what is called, when even including the seed is completely purified, then this is what is called ultimate happiness, liberation, where you never experience again suffering, because even the seed of the cause of suffering is purified, then that is what is called nirvana, in Sanskrit or sorrowless state, mental state which doesn't experience any suffering. So it doesn't experience any problems, relationship problem or recession or whatever, nothing. No experience of hunger, thirst, nothing, all these, so if there's no suffering of death, rebirth, those things, how can it be possible those other problems, there's no way.
Then, still by developing the wisdom, your own wisdom, not wisdom get transplanted by somebody, not like that, the wisdom that your own mind, your own wisdom, then, even the subtle imprint that which is left on the consciousness by the ignorance, the wrong conceptions, even this get purified completely, even this very subtle one, subtle mistake of the mind, obscuration of the mind, even this get purified by developing the wisdom with more skillful means, the altruism that wishing, wanting, taking responsibility to free everyone from all the sufferings and causes and to bring the highest happiness, what is called full enlightenment, the great liberation, much more pure than before, much more higher state than before.