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By Lama Thubten Yeshe

Ordination group with Lama Yeshe, 1976. Courtesy of

Some Sangha members think they get very little teaching. If you really check up, you can see that a one-month meditation course is equal to an explanation of the whole Lam Rim Chenmo spread out over a period of a year. If you are not satisfied with getting teachings, Lama is not satisfied with your understanding. Wanting more teachings is just intellectual grasping craving desire; there is no integration and you have too much garbage information just like Western college professors. If you really want to solve the problems of Western society you have to integrate the lam rim perfectly.

Any of my students who want to follow the Mahayana path have to learn it from beginning to end completely, and put into it into action at the same time. What you cannot put into action right now you should meditate on with analytic knowledge wisdom. A partial interest in the lam rim does not lead to liberation.

Anybody who does not want to learn the graduated path from beginning to end Lama will not accept as his student. It is too dangerous and a big chance they end up with nothingness. Partial paths explained by people or books or whatever are of inferior quality and it is not worthwhile to study them.

All Lama’s centers in the world should be like that, otherwise it is better not to have them. Except Mahayana Buddhism there is no religion or philosophy which has a complete graded path of liberation. They do not have such logical experienced information, and are not really perfect, not really complete, although one might know something partially.

It is extremely vital to discuss — you should talk about the things you practice. You have to be practical — if you have lunch you should discuss what you are eating. Everybody in the International Mahayana Institute should become a teacher, actualize the teachings and also have a clean clear intellectual understanding.  Otherwise, what is the purpose of the institute? The Sangha is not for Lama’s security!

Work and study can be perfectly integrated. some people complain about having to cook, or having to work, but if you cannot do this, you cannot really help anybody. How can you refuse to work for people who have completely dedicated their life? This type of mind shows our usual attitude. Whatever we find difficult we escape from, we never face reality, every obstacle in our way we go around, but never deal with it. Of course, it should be done in a skillful way. One person can cook better than another. Do your work according to your ability. Not everybody can do the same. Thinking: “He does this kind of work, why can’t I also do that?”, or, “I am cooking, why doesn’t she cook?” is a misconception.

Try to make all your business and finances as clean and clear as possible, so that there are no bad feelings between you.

You have to function in the world and act. We don’t escape the sense world, we don’t escape society because we cannot cope with it. Society needs us, and we need society. We think maybe we are some kind of special people, that we don’t have to eat or wear clothes.

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