Everything comes
from the mind

By Lama Zopa Rinpoche


When all sentient beings become enlightened, there will be no samsara, no six realms, no three lower realms with hell, preta and animal beings. There will be the omniscient mind of enlightenment. The stream of our consciousness - actually, we are talking here about the subtle mind - never ceases. Since the continuation of this subtle mind never ceases, there is always the dharmakaya. When everyone has removed the two obscurations, there will be no such thing as samsara, nor even the lower nirvana, which is mere release from the bondage of karma and disturbing thoughts. You can understand from this that enlightenment and samsara exist by depending on the mind.

To use a simple example: while I might see someone as very ugly and undesirable, another person may see him as very enchanting and desirable. We are both seeing the same person at the same time. This simple example shows that the way things appear to me comes from my mind, according to my karma; and how things appear to the other person comes from his own mind and karma.

This way of thinking is very useful in controlling the dissatisfied mind of attachment. While an object is appearing to you as beautiful, try to be aware that you have created this beauty You have made it up. Your view, in which you believe one hundred percent, is that this object exists from its own side as beautiful. You believe that it is permanently beautiful. At the same time as this object is appearing beautiful to you, however, others may see it as ugly. Try to be aware that there are different views of the object. This makes it clear that your view of an object comes from your own mind. How an object appears to you depends on your mind. This helps you to understand generally your own karma and also different karmas. If the way of making commentary on an object, such as someone's face, were not dependent on the mind and karma of the individual observer, there would be no reason at all for the same object to appear differently to different people.

Let's use Tibetan tea as a example. When they taste Tibetan tea, Tibetans - and even some Westerners - experience a pleasant taste, on which they label 'delicious'. The pleasant feeling arises due to the person's previous karma and the person then labels 'delicious' on that feeling. The delicious Tibetan tea exists in dependence upon the drinker's mind labelling on that. Now, when some sophisticated Westerner, particularly an American, comes along and you give him the same tea with thick butter and salt, he feels as if he is drinking muck. That uncomfortable feeling also results from the individual's own karma. The unpleasant taste is the result of the person's previous karma and he labels 'disgusting' on that particular feeling. When that person drinks Tibetan tea, it nauseates him.

In the Great Lam-Rim Commentary Lama Tsong Khapa says that sometimes when you eat fruit that is supposed to be sweet, you unexpectedly find it tastes sour or bad. Lama Tsong Khapa explains that this is the result of covetousness, one of the ten non-virtues.

The whole of existence, samsara and nirvana, depends on a valid mind labelling on a valid base. Samsara comes from the mind of ignorance not realising the absolute nature of the I. Samsara comes from the mind. These aggregates, the container of many problems, come from ignorance hallucinated as to the absolute nature of the I. Enlightenment, the indestructible vajra holy body of Buddha free from all suffering, comes from the virtuous mind of method and wisdom. Everything that exists comes from the mind. Without depending g on the mind knowing an object, or the knower (I am talking here about the mind, not the person), there is no way an object can exist. Anything that exists is empty of existing without depending on the mind.

A vase that we can use is empty of being a vase that exists without depending on the base and the subject, the mind. And it is the same with all the rest of existence: all the respective existents exist by depending on the base and the mind that labels. They are empty of existing without depending on the base and the mind. This emptiness is the absolute nature of existence. Therefore, wherever there is existence, there is emptiness. Wherever there is emptiness, there is Buddha, and there is the dharmakaya, oneness with absolute nature forever, like having poured water into water.


This teaching is an excerpt from Perfect Freedom by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and is available from Wisdom Publications, Inc., the FPMT publishing company, and can be found at many good bookshops. Amazon can get them too http://www.amazon.com
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