When you were a child you loved and craved chocolate and cake, and you thought, “When I’m old like my parents, I’ll have all the chocolate and cake I want, and then I’ll be happy.” Now you have so much chocolate and cake, but you’re bored. So you decide that since this doesn’t make you happy you’ll get a car, a house, a television, a husband or wife—then you’ll be happy. So now you have everything, but there are more problems: The car is a problem, the house is a problem, the husband or wife is a problem, the children are a problem. You realize, Oh, this is not satisfaction.
Lord Buddha is saying that you only have to know what you are, how you exist; that’s all. Just understand your mind: how it works, how attachment and desire arise, how ignorance arises, where emotions come from. It is sufficient to know the nature of all that; just that gives so much happiness and peace. Your life changes completely; everything gets turned upside down; what you interpreted as horrible becomes beautiful.
How to check the mind? Just watch how your mind perceives or interprets any object that it contacts; what feeling—comfortable or uncomfortable—arises. Then you check: When I perceive this kind of view, this feeling arises, that emotion comes, I discriminate in such a way. This is how to check the mind; that’s all. It’s very simple.
—Adapted from a talk given in April 1975. For more talks by Lama Yeshe, see www.lamayeshe.com.
Read the related article "Lama Hates the Sunset" by Jeffery Paine.