Merely Labelled by the
by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
The following is an
extract from a teaching given by Ven. Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at Root
Institute in Bodhgaya in January 1994. The teaching was delivered in
In our daily life, if we
receive harm from other sentient beings or from our environment, through
habituation our mind recognizes only suffering and generates dislike. A
very insignificant thing such as how a person moves or how they look at
you then becomes a big disturbance and causes great pain in ones heart.
Whichever way the mind is habituated or addicted, it develops in that way
and recognizes everything as either positive or negative, interpreting
things as problems.
It is said in the teachings that if someone
visualizes the whole of space filled with skeletons, then due to this mind
training they will eventually have the actual experience of skeletons. You
can thereby see the power of the mind.
This means that life is not
hopeless, life has all the potentials to develop the mind through mind
training. Even though now we have only impure minds with impure
appearance, suffering minds with only suffering appearance, through mind
training we can develop pure appearance. Any place that appears to the
mind can appear as inside the Mandala, the appearance of pure wisdom, the
Deities holy mind.
"For a Buddha
there is no impurity,Anything that appears can appear as the Deity. Even before becoming
Enlightened one can achieve this appearance. For a Buddha there is no
impurity no matter what object meets their senses, no suffering, only
happiness and the experience of bliss. To a completely purified mind,
Buddha's holy mind or the mind of a great yogi who has achieved the clear
light and illusory body, those who have complete control over the inner
and outer elements, then even the things such as excrement which appear so
dirty to our impure minds will appear as pure enjoyment nectar. All this
is due to mind training, the development and transformation of the
no matter what object meets their senses,
suffering, only happiness and the experience of bliss"
Whatever appears to ones own senses, one always finds
something wrong, all appearances become negative as one's own mind has
labeled everything as unpleasant and everything appears as a problem..
This is due to not recognizing that ones mind has been habituated in this
way of blaming the external. The way things appear to the mind become
one's own enemy.
If you analyze, you can see that what makes one
develop anger is one's own concept, and not something from outside. The
mind of attachment labels bad or harmful, and then there is the appearance
of bad and harmful. Actually this is related to attachment to the ego.
From this appearance of bad or harmful, anger arises.
If a person
is angry at one and tries to harm one, then in the view of attachment they
become an object to reject. The same person, however, in the view of
patience becomes an object that one needs. Their anger becomes the reason
why they are so kind, because they allow one to develop the mind towards
Enlightenment, particularly in the paramita of patience. Without that
angry person, one does not have the opportunity to practice.
stranger or a friend their is no anger, so there is no opportunity to
practice. It is only with a person who has anger towards one that one has
this opportunity to practice patience, to practice Dharma and to achieve
Enlightenment in order to free every sentient being from suffering and
lead them to happiness.
Without practicing patience there is no way
that one can achieve full Enlightenment, and no way to offer infinite
benefit to all sentient beings. The only person who gives one the
opportunity to practice Dharma is the person who has anger towards one.
For this person themselves, it may be very harmful, but for oneself the
anger becomes very important. That person becomes so precious, so
unbelievably kind and so important. They become more precious than
billions of dollars or a mountain of diamonds because these things do not
provide you with the opportunity to practice patience.
"The only person
who gives one the opportunity
to practice Dharma is the person
has anger towards one"
Without the existence
of a person having anger towards one, one will always follow ego. This
person gives one the opportunity to destroy that ego and the inner enemy,
the only enemy, one's own delusions. Thinking this way, one can feel
kindness from the depth of one's heart for that person. By relying on that
person one can eliminate all mistakes of the mind, complete all
realizations and achieve full Enlightenment for the sake of all sentient
beings. This person becomes very precious, like the virtuous
Ones attitude becomes like a TV channel, because depending
on which way one turns ones mind, the appearance of the world becomes
either positive or negative. One channel shows pleasant things and the
other shows fighting and war.
What makes one get angry is nothing
from the outside, it is one's own concept, ones way of thinking.
Everything comes from ones own concepts, ones own mind makes one get
angry, ones own mind labels things as harm. If one did not label, there
would not be the appearance of harm and one would not believe in that.
First the concept labels and then it believes in that label.
is the same for attachment. For example if one is attached to the body,
then think that just a little bit below the skin their is nothing to be
attached to. Everybody is the same inside, blood, bones pieces of flesh
tied up by veins, so it is only the outside that is the object of
attachment. The skin cheats and deceives ones mind. What one is looking at
is only coming from ones own mind, one is looking at a hallucinated
appearance of the mind. Without the mind labeling skin, hair or face,
their would not be the appearance of skin, hair or face, and their would
not be any concept believing in that.
Due to past life imprints and
depending on the culture of the country where one lives, their is the
concept of beauty and ugliness, so objects appear in certain aspects.
Everything one sees is immediately labeled by the mind, then the
appearance comes and one sees things according to the label one has
created. Continuously in daily life one creates phenomena according to
what the mind labels, then one has the appearance and then the experience
of happiness or suffering. It is one's own concept labeling, then
believing in that label which creates one's life, one's happiness and
The conclusion is that you are looking at your own
vision, through completely wrong view, believing that appearances are one
hundred percent existing from their own side and becoming attached to that
appearance. This is the cause of samsara.
This teaching has been lightly edited by Tony Simmons who
takes full responsibility for any errors that may have occurred. The
identity of the transcriber is unknown.