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“Use your own wisdom, dear.”

22842_ngFrom  1980: The teachings are all about you! by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche returned to Kopan from his Australasian tour before Lama Yeshe and in time to teach the thirteenth Kopan course. It ran from November 10 to December 10.

Hearing Lama Zopa Rinpoche for the first time, Dean Alper, an American attorney, was shocked to discover how tense he was and how short his attention span. He remained plunged in misery until Lama Yeshe appeared like a ray of light and reminded him that yes, there was laughter in the world. Dean returned for the next three meditation courses and became familiar with various student types: the ones who called everything “purification,” others who couldn’t make a decision about anything without consulting a lama. He noted how cleverly Lama Yeshe managed both the slavish and the arrogantly learned.

Many students had difficulty making up their minds about taking initiations, but Lama Yeshe just told them they should make their own decisions. “Next thing they’ll be wanting me to tell them when they can go to the bathroom!” His constant refrain was, “Use your own wisdom, dear.” Everyone knew that Lama Zopa Rinpoche threw mos (divinations with dice) all the time, but Lama Yeshe was openly displeased with those who asked for mos for trivial reasons.

12611_ng-2_gAfter studying Dharma for just a year, Merry Colony asked Lama Yeshe if she could become a nun. He gave her a hard, scornful look and asked her if she was quite sure she had “finished with men.” “Four years later I disrobed for a man, so apparently I wasn’t,” said Merry.

Sex was a common subject in interviews. A “man-hating” Italian feminist told Lama she only had women friends and felt alienated from patriarchal society. “I understand, dear,” he told her kindly. “Women do understand women better, but I think that when a woman’s energy is balanced she will like men.”

When Denis Huet asked if he could confess his faults, Catholic style, Lama Yeshe burst out laughing. “I shall never forget how much he laughed at that, but it wasn’t embarrassing. His laugh was full of love and fun.”

Everyone celebrated the end of the course with a picnic in the park opposite the famous Hindu temple, Pashupatinath. Rinpoche had the students meditating on the ghats by the side of the river, where corpses were burning. Lama Yeshe got them playing football. He gave one student a big good-bye hug, which seemed to carry some hidden message. “During the twenty-five minute walk to Boudha my back got hotter and hotter until it felt like it was on fire. It was an extraordinary sensation I never experienced again.”



The way to seek shunyata

16769_sl_gFrom  1980: The teachings are all about you! by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:

To emphasize the possibility of transforming even negative energy into Tara’s wisdom, Lama pointed out that many of his students had been hippies yet had turned out differently.

The Western hippy movement lasted ten, maybe fifteen years. These hippies tried everything, every pleasure. They tried everything, this, that, politics, drugs, communism. But they reached a certain point where they discovered something and then they become good persons. Very good persons. The things they did were garbage things but then suddenly they turned out to be strong, transformed. So many hippies were creative, extreme extremists. They had a kind of power, super-samsaric power, that created nuclear energy. But when they became practitioners they stopped that super samsara and used that energy to become kind of super Dharma practitioners. Some of my students are just quiet and peaceful and their Dharma practice is slow, very slow. But this is just common sense. The main point is to look subjectively rather than objectively and in that way to recognize that every appearance in our life, every desire thought or hatred thought or ego thought has an inborn non-dual nature. Its nature is clean clear like the ocean. Each one has the character of non-dual blissful wisdom.

Of course when we are dealing with the world we are not strong enough to see non-duality. It is natural for us to see dualistically. But we can make a strong determination within ourselves to recognize the duality that appears to us for what it is. One cannot avoid thinking dualistically; it comes through our habitual perceptions. But inside we can have the determination that this is illusion. This is dualistically appearing illusion. That we can do. That we should do.

09598_sl_gLama Yeshe spoke to his students about their dreams:

Usually we forget our dreams. This is not good. Dream comprehension is very important. Why are we so slow to become enlightened? Because half our life is spent unconscious, asleep. Maybe a quarter is spent eating, unconsciously. In tantra, practically speaking, we can make every important movement of energy become wisdom. It becomes awareness, mindfulness. It is very important to become mindful of our dreams. So before you go to sleep, make strong prayers to Tara to give you inspiration to be mindful of your dreams and to recognize your dream as a dream. This is good enough. Then put your head in Mother Tara’s lap and fall asleep like that. In this way, your sleep becomes more conscious, less unconscious. This is the best way to sleep.

Using every possible example from daily life, Lama continuously strove to bring home the core Buddhist understanding of emptiness to his students.

Perhaps if I explain it in a simpler way: The minute you check up with ego how you feel, how you are, what you think about yourself, you can only think about the previous you. The previous one is (snaps his fingers) gone already. Isn’t it! It is non-existent. The ego is very slow, I tell you. It doesn’t matter how intelligent the ego may be; it is too slow. It thinks that yesterday’s me is somewhere around here still. That’s too late. Even from the relative point of view of time and space it’s unrealistic. In Buddhism when you seek shunyata, in that moment when you are aware, that mindfulness cuts the self-existent appearance, which is totally non-existent. That is the way to seek shunyata. The skill is how to observe the ego’s interpretation.

     16051_ng-2_g Whenever there is emotional excitement and the ego manifests, the I-projection strongly arises. That is the moment when you get the chance to recognize it—for example, when you are angry. That is a very important moment.

      Remember. Philosophical doctrine is not important. Intellectual religion is not important. That’s why many intellectually religious people—intellectual Buddhists, intellectual Muslims, intellectual Christians—they miss the point. Just making things philosophical doesn’t work. Destroying the intellectual ego and making another one is just sublimating. The main business is our intuitive inborn ego.



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