Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering to pretas and doing Dzambala practice at the lake near Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery, Bendigo, Australia, April 2018. Photo by Ven. Roger Kunsang.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains how peace and happiness come from meditation in this teaching recently published in the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive April 2018 E-Letter.

Peace and happiness in life come when we free ourselves from the dissatisfied mind of desire. Satisfaction comes when we give ourselves freedom, or independence, from the unhappy mind of desire. 

How do we free ourselves from the dissatisfied mind of desire and the other unhealthy minds that make our life unhappy? How do we fill up the emptiness in our heart? The answer is meditation. It is only through meditation practice that we can free ourselves from desire and other disturbing thoughts. And we then need to develop the good heart, not only not giving harm to other sentient beings but also benefiting them. Again that comes from meditation. That’s why we need to practice meditation.

No matter how many friends and other external things we have, that alone is not sufficient. We need friends, but no matter how many hundreds or even thousands of friends we have, that alone doesn’t bring us peace, happiness, and satisfaction. Even after we have found friends there is still something missing in our heart. We are not fully satisfied. That is because we have the dissatisfied mind of desire and lack loving kindness and compassion. Simply having friends is not sufficient to bring peace and happiness. We need to practice the good heart. What is missing is the good heart.

Also, no matter how much wealth we have, there’s still no peace, happiness, and satisfaction in our life. There is still something missing. Things are not perfect. Something else is needed. If we were able to obtain all the wealth in the world, or even if we were able to become just a millionaire, when we checked in our heart whether or not things were now perfect, we would still not be fully satisfied. There would still be something missing. There would be an empty place in our heart. This tells us that wealth alone is not sufficient to bring peace, happiness, and satisfaction.

What we need is something that frees us from the dissatisfied mind of desire and self-cherishing thought and brings satisfaction and the good heart. Again, the answer is meditation practice. This is what gives us freedom from the dissatisfied mind of desire, self-cherishing thought, and the other unhappy minds.

No matter how famous we are or how much power we have it is the same. Even if everyone in the whole world knew who we were, if we checked in our heart there would be something missing. Even though everything looked good on the outside, there would be something missing on the inside.

Again, what is missing is meditation practice, which transforms our mind from self-cherishing into cherishing other sentient beings, into loving kindness, compassion, and the good heart. Meditation also transforms the unhappy, dissatisfied mind of desire into the satisfied mind. Simply being famous or powerful cannot bring you this peace and happiness. Even if you are famous or powerful, it’s not enough. A free mind, a happy mind, a satisfied mind—all these come through meditation, not through external things. You have to obtain happiness from your own mind, through meditation. It is your own mind that stops your suffering and confusion; it is your own mind that brings you happiness.

Even if you had all the power in the world, if you didn’t have a good heart, that power could become dangerous. Without concern for others, the more power you got, the more dangerous you would become to other sentient beings in your country and in the world. It also means you would become more dangerous to yourself, since more harm to other sentient beings ultimately means more harm to yourself.

There is nothing wrong with having power—the problem is having power without having a good heart. Behind the power should be a good heart, which makes the power beneficial for the world and for all sentient beings. If there is no motivation of good heart for using the power, the power becomes like poison and is dangerous even to the person who has it. Having power is not sufficient. For the power to be safe, it has to come from the good heart.

You need meditation practice, even for your own peace, happiness, and satisfaction. It has to do with the mind, with your own mind. It’s not that somebody can transplant happiness into you, like transplanting a heart. The mind of a buddha or some other holy being can’t be transplanted into you. Happiness and satisfaction have to come from your own mind. You have to transform the minds that bring problems to you and to others into healthy, peaceful, positive minds—such as loving kindness, compassion, and altruism—which bring peace and happiness to you and to others.


“Happiness Comes from Your Own Mind” comes from teachings given by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990. This teaching was edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron and published in Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive April 2018 E-Letter:
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/e-letter-no-178-april-2018

You can watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche teach during the Bodhicaryavatara and Rinjung Gyatsa Retreat at The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Bendigo, Australia, March 30-May 12, 2018.

More information, photos and updates about FPMT spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche can be found on Rinpoche’s webpage on FPMT.org. If you’d like to receive news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and FPMT via email, sign up to FPMT News.