Lama Zopa Rinpoche and crew of the MV Brigitte Bardot, a trimaran belonging to the conservation organization Sea Shepherd. Rinpoche blessed marine animals from the boat’s deck, Italy, October 2017. Photo by Ven. Lobsand Sherab.

When discussing global problems, Lama Zopa Rinpoche emphasizes how we must identify the mind as the source of our problems. From an article in the new issue of Mandala, Rinpoche and other Buddhist teachers explain the only way to address our collective challenges is through the transformation of our minds. 

“It’s called ‘natural disaster,’ but it’s not natural. It comes from the mind,” Rinpoche told representatives of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom in an interview in Bodhgaya, India, in December 2011.

“It comes from the minds of people, the minds of the beings who are living in this world. Whatever they experience, good or bad, comes from their minds. Their good experiences come from their good minds, good hearts. The bad experiences come from their bad minds, bad hearts. It’s so simple. It’s not natural. In other words, it comes from lendre.Le‘ is the ‘action,’ ‘dre‘ is ‘result.’ Action, effect, action, effect. Effect comes through the action. After the action, then there’s the effect. Good and bad depend on whether the action is bad or good.”

What Rinpoche and others Buddhist teachers, like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, consistently point out is that in order to address the world’s difficulties, from the Buddhist perspective, we must look first at our own individual minds. An understanding of how our minds work is critical to taking correct action to create the causes and conditions for resolving global problems. This understanding of the mind is revealed through studying and reflecting on the teachings of the Buddha and through the guidance of qualified teachers. 

You can read online the entire article “Changing the Mind, Changing the World: The Mind, Karma, and Global Change,” from Mandala January-June 2018:

Watch complete teachings from Lama Zopa Rinpoche from around the world:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.