Lama Zopa Rinpoche
"We take refuge all the time.
We take refuge when we sleep, take shelter, seek friends, do
business, and so many things. People in the world try so many
things to find satisfaction, and all externally, but nothing
external can bring satisfaction. Those who are able to succeed,
to have external success, to become wealthy, to enjoy comfort,
usually also experience increasing mental problems. The
reason for this is that nothing gives lasting satisfaction.
So life is filled with depression and sadness.
the famous singer Elvis Presley.
Even though he passed away quite a long time ago, people still
miss him and try to act like him. He had so many friends and
was so extensively known in the world, but when he was singing
his last song he had tears in his eyes. Why did he cry ? No
reason to feel sad if everybody loved him. What I mean is, if
that is the solution for happiness then he shouldn't be upset.
This example shows clearly that worldly success doesn't necessarily
lead to happiness.
The food for the mind is the wisdom understanding Dharma.
That which brings inner peace, because happiness and suffering
do not come from outside, they come from ones own mind. They
come from whichever label the mind makes up and believes in.
An example, one puts a set of labels onto something and then
anger arises, such as 'this persons way of thinking talking
and behaving towards me is bad. This hurts me, so it is bad.'
Because we put on all these labels which were made up by the
ego and attachment, anger arises.
Dharma there is no happiness.
No temporary happiness, no ultimate happiness, Nothing "
But why do we interpret, even
though it hurts the ego and attachment, that the person hurt
ME? That is because one is a friend of the ego and attachment,
so it looks like the person is hurting oneself. From this point
of view, one can see that the
problem is created by the mind.
One can also see that when ones mind does not follow the ego,
it does not disturb one, no matter what the other person does
with his body, speech and mind. Even if they criticize and show
dislike, one doesn't see it as harmful.
That is why
the person who is practicing pure Dharma, who has cut the clinging
to this life, never reacts with an emotional mind.
always tranquillity and peace in the heart.
is no attachment, that person never experiences ups and downs,
depression or loneliness. When ones own mind becomes Dharma,
Bodhicitta, the person who criticizes one is never seen as harmful,
he only becomes a cause to develop more compassion. In the view
of Bodhicitta, that person becomes an object of help.
mind becomes Dharma,
realizing emptiness, the subject, object and action are all
seen as merely labeled by the mind.
Even though another person may hurt ones ego, he does not hurt
the mind. Just like a dream. In a dream, someone may criticize
one badly, but if one recognizes the dream as a dream, one is
not hurt. The person who believes that this is reality becomes
emotional, what the other person does effects them and anger
view of a mind that has become Dharma, has become patience,
who criticizes is seen as most kind.
Without someone having anger towards oneself, one can never
practice patience, one can never develop the path completely
and one cannot achieve full Enlightenment and lead numberless
beings to that state. Just as one needs friends in ones life
for happiness, more crucial, one needs people to have anger
towards one for training one's mind on the path. It
is many billions of times more important for someone to have
anger towards oneself due to the incredible benefit that one
and suffering don't come from outside,
they come from ones own mind"
Dharma practice is extremely
important. A billion times more important than job, money,
food and so forth which are regarded as important by common
people in the world.
there is no happiness.
happiness, no ultimate happiness, nothing.
one can see the advantage of taking refuge.
refuge in the Dharma, the wisdom realizing emptiness, one is
able to cut the root of samsara.
One is able to be completely liberated from the entire suffering
and its causes. By
taking refuge in the Dharma, in Bodhicitta, one is able to complete
the two types of merit and achieve Enlightenment.
refuge in the Dharma,
one naturally takes refuge in its founder, the Buddha.
Then there is the need of helpers on the way, the Sangha.
Just as a sick person has to rely on doctors, medicine and nurses
to get better. The doctor understands the disease, the medicine
is the actual treatment and nurses help one to take the medicine.
refuge in the three jewels
in order to completely cease the cause of suffering, and to
never give rise to it again. One takes refuge in order to cease
the cause of depression, relationship problems, loneliness,
AIDS, cancer etc. and to never experience them again. All these
problems come from the mind so one has to cease that mind. For
this to happen, one needs to rely on the Buddha, Dharma and
According to the Lesser Vehicle there are two causes
of refuge. One is the understanding fear, not ignorant fear,
but the fear that understands how samsara is in the nature of
suffering. The other is the belief that Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
have the power to liberate one from the entire samsara and its
cause. A mind being perfected with these two causes is called
The Mahayana way of taking refuge is similarly based
on both fear towards samsara and faith in the Triple Gem. On
top of that comes compassion. Wishing other sentient beings
to be free from the suffering of Samsara as well, due to understanding
that they are suffering just like oneself. This is the Mahayana
way of taking refuge.
above is an excerpt from a teaching delivered Ven. Lama Zopa
Rinpoche on 14th January 1995, at Root Institute in the holy
place of Bodhgaya, India.