Lama Thubten Yeshe
View a photo montage on YouTube of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche prepared by David Zinn for the 2009 Parliament of World Religions.
Read excerpts from the upcoming biography of Lama Yeshe, Big Loveto be published soon by the Archive. For more information about Lama’s life, see Lama’s page on the FPMT site.
Read A Tribute to Lama Yeshe compiled after his death in 1984 and published in Wisdom Magazine.
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered the great Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, where he studied until 1959, when the Chinese invasion of Tibet forced him into exile in India. Lama Yeshe continued to study and meditate in India until 1967, when, with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, he went to Nepal. Two years later he established Kopan Monastery, near Kathmandu, in order to teach Buddhism to Westerners. Continue reading
Lama Yeshe: Anger is such a ridiculous mind
Lama Yesce: I think it’s important to deeply imprint your mind with the knowledge that there’s no external enemy.
Q: When we feel anger, what should we do? Repress it, show it if it’s not harmful to others, or ignore it?
Lama: The first thing you can do when somebody makes you angry is to analyze the situation, especially what caused it and its effect. When you analyze the situation, start by looking at how anger projects its object—how it concretizes and exaggerates the object. When you analyze the evolution of your anger in detail, you can’t find that concrete object anywhere. That’s one way of eliminating anger.
Another thing you can consider is if it’s worth hanging onto your anger. The moment you conclude that it’s not worthwhile – that anger destroys yourself and others – you can change your mind and let it go. The inner conversation that breeds resentment and perpetuates anger – “He did this, she did that, he did this, she did that” – simply agitates your mind and is completely not worthwhile. Continue reading
Lama Thubten Yeshe: Different People, Different Methods
Lama Yesce: What matters is mental attitude.
Lama Yesce: What matters is mental attitude.
Lama Yeshe gave this teaching at a weekend seminar in Christchurch, New Zealand, 14 June 1975. Edited by Nicholas Ribush. Published in Mandala magazine, July 2012.
The characteristic nature of all of Lord Buddha’s teachings and methods is psychology and knowledge wisdom. And what he taught was not just theoretical but practical and based on experience.
In general, theories and ideas are inadequate if they lack the key of understanding. We need to know how to put them into practice. Because of this, the Tibetan tradition has always emphasized the importance of passing the experiential lineage, not just the theories, from guru to disciple, and in this way the living teachings of the Buddha have come down to us today.
There are four different schools of Tibetan Buddhism but their similarities are far greater than their differences. Continue reading
Lama Thubten Yeshe: How Delusions Arise
Kathmandu, Nepal (Archive #090). From Wisdom Energy by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Edited by Jonathan Landaw with Alexander Berzin. Published by Wisdom Publications, Boston, MA, USA.
The purpose of meditation is to gain realizations leading to the cessation of delusion and superstition. This cessation depends, first of all, on recognizing the character or function of the deluded mind. In addition, it is necessary to understand the various factors causing such a deluded mind to arise. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: The ego’s misconceptions about reality keep us in bondage.
Lama Thubten Yeshe: Karma and Emptiness
You are all interested in Dharma and meditation. But what is Dharma, and how do we meditate? Basically, Dharma is anything that causes our delusions, our disturbing thoughts, to subside; it is anything that brings us peace of mind and liberation from confusion and suffering.
Buddhadharma teaches methods to purify the mind of negativities and to develop our human potential to the fullest. Some of these methods, such as not harming others, generating compassion, and practicing generosity, are shared by other philosophical and religious traditions. Other methods are uniquely Buddhist. Two of these, karma and emptiness, are the heart of Dharma. Karma is the law of cause and effect, and emptiness is the ultimate nature of reality, devoid of all misconceptions.
Let us begin with karma. Every single action performed by body, speech, or mind eventually produces a specific reaction. For example, an unwholesome attitude will definitely culminate in problems and suffering, while a wholesome, clean, clear mind always brings happiness. Continue reading
Lama Thubten Yeshe: If you understand your own attitude and level and know what you need at any particular moment in time.
Lama Yeshe: True Dharma Practitioners Welcome Trouble
Sometimes when people first hear Dharma teachings on happiness and suffering they think that happiness depends upon suffering and that if they were to be completely free of suffering there would be no way to experience happiness. I can see where the idea comes from. In a way it’s quite logical: if there’s no misery there’s no happiness; misery and happiness are interdependent phenomena. This is human experience. It’s my experience too.
When I was studying at Sera in Tibet from the ages of nine to twenty-four, I took many teachings and received many commentaries from excellent teachers. I was well looked after by my uncle, who made sure I never went hungry or thirsty and took care of me in general. It was a typical monastic life and it was really good. And from my side I tried my best to study and practice Dharma.
But still, in 1959, the Chinese kicked us out. Well, not exactly, but they did not allow people to practice Dharma, so I thought that if I want to keep practicing there was no reason to stay in Tibet. So I escaped to India. Not only were the Chinese preventing us from practicing, they were shooting people dead and even though I had been studying and practicing, I didn’t feel ready to die. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Don't think that renunciation means giving something desirable up. But there's a dangerous fire burning inside you. That's what you have to extinguish; what you have to renounce, is the flaming mind of grasping attachment. That's what's burning you.
Lama Yesce: That’s the Lam-rim!
Those who understand the entire evolution of samsara see that it’s ignorance that makes people dedicate their whole lives, beginning to end, to the pursuit of temporal pleasure without getting bored. Therefore there’s a need for meditation, not only for religious people but also for those who are not religious. Liberation is not only for religious people. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Where do samsaric beings come from and why are we born on this earth?
Lama Thubten Yeshe: Integrating What You’ve Heard
In the early 70s, Lama Yeshe used to give Sunday afternoon lectures at Kopan Monastery and people would come from where they were staying in the immediate vicinity (very few people were able to stay at Kopan at the time) or Kathmandu. If any of these were recorded, as far as we know, none of the recordings have survived…except this one. This is the earliest recorded Lama Yeshe teaching by at least two years.
Lama Thubten Yeshe
You’ve spent quite a lot of time with me now, listening to my explanations of Lama Tsongkhapa’s approach to both the fundamental human problem and your individual ones. After all these months, you need to come to a conclusion from what you’ve read and heard; you need to integrate the teachings within yourself.
Listening to my words you might think, “Yes, what he’s saying is true,” but experience and actualization are very different from mere intellectual understanding. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Jesus had exceptionally great compassion.
Silent Mind, Holy Mind: Lama Yeshe on the Spirit of Christmas
This week many of us head into a long holiday weekend with family and friends. We’d like to share an excerpt from Lama Yeshe’s Christmas teachings originally published by Wisdom Publications in 1978 under the title Silent Mind, Holy Mind.
This is the week of Holy Jesus’ birth, and I suggest that in honor of this special event we make some sort of celebration. But we should try to make it meaningful. It should not be some sort of physical sensation, bringing only more confusion and superstition to our minds.
For a Christmas celebration to be a good one, it must be of a truly religious nature. Jesus came to this Earth and presented his teachings, but worldly beings completely disregard this fact. For them, Christmas means – first and foremost – spending money, buying presents, and creating confusion. Such confusion is entirely of our own making. We have the power to make Christmas meaningful, peaceful, and truly religious, but instead of using this power we succumb to worldly negative energy. We go shopping to buy presents, but this is not done with anything even resembling a loving attitude. We think, “I really must buy something for my sister, because if I don’t give her anything, maybe she won’t like me anymore. Continue reading
Lama Thupten Yesce: You need to abandon your grasping attitude and other useless actions and actualize things that make your life meaningful and liberated.
Lama Thubten Yeshe: Renunciation
We would all like to be free from ego mind and the bondage of samsara, but what is it that binds us to samsara and makes us unhappy? It’s not having renunciation. So, what is renunciation? What makes us renounced?
The reason we are unhappy is that we have extreme craving for sense objects, samsaric objects, and we grasp at them. We are seeking to solve our problems, but we are not seeking in the right place. The right place is our own ego grasping; we have to loosen that tightness, that’s all.
According to the Buddhist point of view, monks and nuns are supposed to hold renunciation vows. The meaning of monks and nuns renouncing the world is that they have less craving for and grasping at sense objects. Continue reading
Lama Yeshe : We need to eliminate that ego because it makes our life sick
From 1981: Public Life and Private Time by Adele Hulse, Big Loveauthor:
In Lama Yeshe’s last week at Chenrezig Institute he taught on Chenrezig guru yoga. He also gave a talk on tantra, conferred a thousand-armed Chenrezig initiation and held a question-and-answer session. On 22 July Lama Yeshe also gave a Mahakala initiation.
“When Lama put the vase on my head during that Chenrezig initiation Continue reading
Lama Yeshe: Ego, Attachment and Liberation, Overcoming Your Mental Bureaucracy.
Making Space for Wisdom Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Life itself is cyclic existence, samsara.
Lama Yesce: Emotional Ambition
The whole question is, what makes us happy? What kind of action does not bring an undesirable result? What do we have to do to be happy? That’s what we have to investigate clean clear.
Our usual situation is that we’re either kind of happy, somewhat unhappy or in between. None of these three states is any good. Emotional happiness, the sort we experience when we go out night clubbing or something, the sort that normally makes us say, Continue reading
Lama Yesce: A Perfect Object of Refuge
The most profound way of living is with great compassion for all universal living beings.
How many different religions are there in the world today? I’m not criticizing, but just look at how many followers they have and how these people are practicing their religion. What kind of refuge do they take? Check up.
Forget about materialists, who haven’t discovered any religion; they only take refuge in material things. But even religious people, who have a little better understanding, still mostly take refuge in ridiculous ways. For example, statues of Lord Buddha are material objects; if we take refuge in them, we too are taking refuge in material things. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: When you dedicate yourself to others with loving kindness you get a lot more pleasure than you would otherwise.
Lama Yeshe: Bodhicitta, the Perfection of Dharma
I think it is absolutely essential for us to have loving kindness towards others. There is no doubt about this. Loving kindness is the essence of bodhicitta, the attitude of the bodhisattva. It is the most comfortable path, the most comfortable meditation. There can be no philosophical, scientific or psychological disagreement with this. With bodhicitta, there’s no East-West conflict. This path is the most comfortable, most perfect, one hundred percent uncomplicated one, free of any danger of leading people to extremes. Without bodhicitta, nothing works. And most of all, your meditation doesn’t work, and realizations don’t come. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Chapter 5, The Practice of Tantra
Thank you for your interest in the practice of the yoga method of Buddha Maitreya. Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Carl Jung explained that every group of people living in a common environment develops a kind of individual ego.
Lama Yeshe: We need to eliminate that ego because it makes our life sick.
“When Lama put the vase on my head during that Chenrezig initiation I thought I would physically explode,” said one student. “I had to concentrate every ounce of my energy as I felt a force like a blissful thunderbolt, a cyclone, a volcano, synthesize in my head. A few seconds later I was aware that my memory of this experience was already fading in an exponential wave. I knew that if I multiplied whatever memory I could rescue of it by a hundred, it still wouldn’t be anything near the experience. Somehow, that made me feel very secure. It became my personal quality control as the most amazing experience of my life.
“That standard of pleasure Lama had set for me didn’t so much make me detached as put pleasure into perspective. Now I find the only way to solve the suffering of attachment to pleasure is certainly not to try and be detached while practicing asceticism, but to experience what real pleasure is. Then the rest can be seen for what it is. For me, no orgasm, however ‘spiritual,’ can come close to a Chenrezig initiation.”
From Lama Yeshe’s teachings on thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Continue reading
Lama Yesce: Everything is constantly changing.
Lama Yeshe: Check Your Understanding
If your spiritual practice and the demands of your everyday life are not in harmony, it means there’s something wrong with the way you are practicing. Your practice should satisfy your dissatisfied mind while providing solutions to the problems of everyday life. If it doesn’t, check carefully to see what you really understand about your religious practice.
Spirituality and Materialism
People often talk about spirituality and materialism, but what do these terms really mean? You’ll find that, as individuals, each of us has a different view.
Some think they’re opposites, two irreconcilable extremes. Others think you can’t lead a spiritual life while living in a materialistic society, that to do so you have to abandon all enjoyment of material things. Continue reading