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Transform Your Life - US Edition

– A Blissful Journey

With an emphasis on integrating essential Buddhist teachings, especially universal love and compassion, into daily life, Transform Your Life shows how we can discover the real meaning of our human life by fulfilling our human potential and finding everlasting peace and happiness. A perfect manual for inner transformation.



Watch a video about the impact of this book on rural communities in South Africa and see the power of these teachings in action:.





"I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone who, like me, has been trying to find a clear and practical approach to balanced and beneficial living, whether or not you're a Buddhist."


"Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's mind-blowing teaching gave me the clear answer to my life-long question: what is the meaning of this life and the path to real happiness."
FormatISBN Price Qty
Hardback9780978906733
$20.95
Paperback9780978906740
$14.95
Audiobook (CD)9780948006876
$34.95
Audiobook (mp3)5055278100681
$15.99

Transform Your Life - Front Cover

Transform Your Life - Front Cover

Content

Contents

Preface vii
 
PART ONE: Foundation
Inner Peace 3
What is the Mind? 13
Reincarnation 21
Death 31
Karma 45
Our Human Life 59
A Daily Practice 77
 
PART TWO:Progress
Learning to Cherish Others 95
How to Enhance Cherishing Love 115
Exchanging Self with Others 141
Great Compassion 171
Wishing Love 187
Accepting Defeat and Offering the Victory 201
Taking and Giving 211
The Supreme Good Heart 231
Ultimate Truth 241
Dedication 289
 
Appendix I – Liberating Prayerand Prayers for Meditation 293
Appendix II – What is Meditation? 305
Appendix III - The Kadampa Way of Life 315
 
Glossary 331
Bibliography 345
Study Programs 351
Tharpa Publications Worldwide 357
Index 359
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Transform Your Life

Also by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Meaningful to Behold

Clear Light of Bliss

Heart of Wisdom

Universal Compassion

Joyful Path of Good Fortune

Guide to Dakini Land

The Bodhisattva Vow

Heart Jewel

Great Treasury of Merit

Introduction to Buddhism

Understanding the Mind

Tantric Grounds and Paths

Ocean of Nectar

Essence of Vajrayana

Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully

Eight Steps to Happiness

The New Meditation Handbook

How to Solve Our Human Problems

Mahamudra Tantra

Modern Buddhism

Profits received by Tharpa Publications from
the sale ofthis book will be donated to the
NKT-International Temples Project
Part of the New Kadampa Tradition
A Nonprofit Buddhist Organization,
Building for World Peace

www.kadampa.org/temples.htm

GESHE KELSANG GYATSO

Transform Your Life

A BLISSFUL JOURNEY

THARPA PUBLICATIONS
Glen Spey, New York
Ulverston, England

 

 

 

 

 

© 2007 New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist
Union



First American Edition 2007
First UK Edition published in 2001.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means except for the quotation of brief passages for the purpose of private study, research, or review.

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Tharpa Publications US
47 Sweeney Road
Glen Spey
NY 12737, USA

Tharpa Publications UK
Consihead Priory
Ulverston, Cumbria
LA12 9QQ, England

Tharpa Publications has offices around the world.
and our books are available in most major languages.
See page 357 for more information.

Photos on pages 13 and 115 © 2001-www.arttoday.com

ISBN 978-0-9789067-4-0 paperback

ISBN 978-0-9789067-3-3 hardcover

Library of Congress Control Number: 2007901723

Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper.

...

Preface

We should consider how our human life is precious, rare and meaningful. Due to the limitations of their body and mind, those who have taken rebirth as animals, for example, have no opportunity to understand or practice the spiritual path. Only humans are free from such hindrances and have all the necessary conditions for engaging in spiritual paths, which alone lead to everlasting happiness. This freedom and possession of necessary conditions are the special characteristics that make our human life so precious.

Although there are many humans in this world, each one of us has only one life. One person may own many cars and houses, but even the richest person in the world cannot possess more than one life. And when that is drawing to an end he or she cannot buy, borrow or manufacture another. When we lose this life, it will be very difficult to find another similarly qualified human life in the

 

future. Our human life is therefore very rare.

If we use our human life to accomplish spiritual realizations, it becomes immensely meaningful. By using it in this way, we actualize our full potential and progress from the state of an ordinary, ignorant being to that of a fully enlightened being, the highest of all beings; and when we have done this we shall have the power to benefit all living beings without exception. In this way, by using our human life for gaining spiritual realizations we can solve all our human problems and fulfill all our own and others’ wishes. What could be more meaningful than this?

Through contemplating these points, we shall arrive at the determination to engage in spiritual practice. This book, which I have prepared for daily spiritual practice, is a collection of many important instructions from my other books. Its subject matter is profound, but, because its presentation is simple, even if you are a beginner you will not find it difficult to understand. If you put the instructions into practice, you can solve your daily problems and find true happiness. In particular, I believe that for those who are already familiar with my other books, the instructions presented here will provide a powerful method for gaining the deepest experience of both the stages of the path to enlightenment and training the mind. If you read this book with a positive mind,

 

free from negative views, you will definitely receive great benefits.

I pray that everyone who reads this book experiences inner peace and accomplishes the real meaning of human life.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,
USA, March 2001.

PART ONE

Foundation

Inner Peace

 

 

Inner Peace

All living beings have the same basic wish to be happy and avoid suffering, but very few people understand the real causes of happiness and suffering. We generally believe that external conditions such as food, friends, cars and money are the real causes of happiness, and as a result we devote nearly all our time and energy to acquiring these. Superficially it seems that these things can make us happy, but if we look more deeply we shall see that they also bring us a lot of suffering and problems.

Happiness and suffering are opposites, so if something is a real cause of happiness it cannot give rise to suffering. If food, money and so forth really are causes of happiness, they can never be causes of suffering; but we know from our own experience that they often do cause suffering. For example, one of our main interests is food, but the

 

food we eat is also the principal cause of most of our heath problems and sickness. In the process of producing the things we feel will make us happy, we have polluted our environment to such an extent that the very air we breathe and the water we drink now threaten our health and well-being. We love the freedom and independence a car can give us, but the cost in accidents and environmental destruction is enormous. We feel that money is essential for us to enjoy life, but the pursuit of money also causes immense problems and anxiety. Even our family and friends, with whom we enjoy so many happy moments, can also bring us a lot of worry and heartache.

In recent years our understanding and control of the external world have increased considerably, and as a result we have witnessed remarkable material progress, but there has not been a corresponding increase in human happiness. There is no less suffering in the world today, and there are no fewer problems. It could be said that there are now more problems and greater unhappiness than ever before. This shows that the solution to our problems, and to those of society as a whole, does not lie in knowledge or control of the external world.

Why is this? Happiness and suffering are states of mind, and so their main causes cannot be found outside the mind. The real source of happiness is

 

inner peace. If our mind is peaceful, we shall be happy all the time, regardless of external conditions, but if it is disturbed or troubled in any way, we shall never be happy, no matter how good our external conditions may be. External conditions can only make us happy if our mind is peaceful. We can understand this through our own experience. For instance, even if we are in the most beautiful surroundings and have everything we need, the moment we get angry any happiness we may have disappears. This is because anger has destroyed our inner peace.

We can see from this that if we want true, lasting happiness we need to develop and maintain a special experience of inner peace. The only way to do this is by training our mind through spiritual practice — gradually reducing and eliminating our negative, disturbed states of mind and replacing them with positive, peaceful states. Eventually, through continuing to improve our inner peace we shall experience permanent inner peace, or nirvana. Once we have attained nirvana we shall be happy throughout our life, and in life after life. We will have solved all our problems and accomplished the true meaning of our human life.

Since we all have within us our own source of peace and happiness, we may wonder why it is so hard to maintain a continually peaceful and joyful mind. This is because of the delusions that so often

 

crowd our mind. Delusions are distorted ways of looking at ourself, other people, and the world around us — like a distorted mirror they reflect a distorted world. The deluded mind of hatred, for example, views other people as intrinsically bad, but there is no such thing as an intrinsically bad person. Desirous attachment, on the other hand, sees its object of desire as intrinsically good and as a true source of happiness. If we have a strong craving to eat chocolate, chocolate appears to be intrinsically desirable. However, once we have eaten too much of it and start to feel sick, it no longer seems so desirable and may even appear repulsive. This shows that in itself chocolate is neither desirable nor repulsive. It is the deluded mind of attachment that projects all kinds of pleasurable qualities onto its objects of desire and then relates to them as if they really did possess those qualities.

All delusions function like this, projecting onto the world their own distorted version of reality and then relating to this projection as if it were true. When our mind is under the influence of delusions, we are out of touch with reality and are not seeing things as they really are. Since our mind is under the control of at least subtle forms of delusion all the time, it is not surprising that our lives are so often filled with frustration. It is as if we are continually chasing mirages, only to be

 

disappointed when they do not give us the satisfaction which we had hoped for.

When things go wrong in our life and we encounter difficult situations, we tend to regard the situation itself as the problem, but in reality whatever problems we experience come from the mind. If we were to respond to difficulties with a positive or peaceful mind, they would not be problems for us. Eventually we might even regard them as challenges or opportunities for growth and development. Problems arise only if we respond to situations with a negative state of mind. Therefore, if we want to transform our life and be free from problems, we must learn to transform our mind. Sufferings, problems, worries, unhappiness and pain all exist within our mind —they are all unpleasant feelings, which are part of the mind. Through controlling and purifying our mind we can stop them once and for all.

To understand this fully, we need to understand the relationship between the mind and external objects. All objects, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, are mere appearances to the mind, just like things experienced in a dream. This is not easy to understand at first, but we can gain some understanding by thinking about the following. When we are awake many different things exist, but when we fall asleep they cease. This is because the mind to which they appear ceases. When we

 

dream, the only things that appear are dream objects. Later, when we wake up, these dream objects cease. This is because the dreaming mind to which they appear ceases. If we think deeply about this, we shall understand how we can cause all the unpleasant things that we dislike to cease simply by abandoning impure, deluded states of mind, and we can cause all the pleasant things that we desire to arise simply by developing a pure mind. Purifying our mind of delusions through spiritual practice fulfills our deepest longing for true, lasting happiness.

We should understand that although delusions are deeply ingrained, they are not an intrinsic part of our mind and so they can definitely be removed. Delusions are just bad mental habits, and like all habits they can be broken. At the moment our mind is like muddy water, murky and polluted by delusions. However, just as it is possible to separate mud from water, so it is possible to purify the mind of all delusions. With no delusions remaining in our mind, there is nothing that can disturb our inner peace and joy.

Since time without beginning we have been under the control of our mind, like a puppet on a string. We are like a servant working for our mind; whenever our mind wants to do something, we have to do it without any choice. Sometimes our mind is like a crazy elephant, creating so many

 

problems and dangers for ourself and others. By sincerely engaging in spiritual practice we can reverse this situation and gain mastery over our mind. Transforming our mind in this way, we shall finally enjoy real freedom.

For our spiritual practice to be successful, we need the blessings and inspiration of those who have already gained deep inner realizations, but we also need to give ourself constant encouragement. If we cannot encourage ourself, how can we expect anyone else to? When we understand clearly that inner peace is the real source of happiness, and how, through spiritual practice, we can experience progressively deeper levels of inner peace, we will develop tremendous enthusiasm to practice. This is very important because to attain the permanent inner peace of nirvana we need to engage in spiritual practice sincerely and diligently.

This does not mean that we ignore external conditions. We need inner peace, but we also need good physical health, and for this we need certain external conditions such as food and a comfortable environment in which to live. There are many people who concentrate exclusively on developing the material side of their life, while completely ignoring spiritual practice. This is one extreme. However, there are other people who concentrate exclusively on spiritual practice, while

 

ignoring the material conditions that are necessary for supporting a healthy human life. This is another extreme. We need to maintain a middle way that avoids both extremes of materialism and spirituality.

Some people believe that those who strive to attain nirvana are being selfish because they seem to be concentrating only on their own inner peace, but this belief is incorrect. Our real purpose in attaining the permanent inner peace of nirvana is to help others do the same. Just as the only way to solve our own problems is to find inner peace, so the only way to help others to solve theirs is to encourage them to engage in spiritual practice and discover their own inner peace. This way of benefiting others is by far the best. Yet we can do this effectively only if we first work on our own mind. There is little benefit in telling people how important it is to overcome their delusions if we are unable to control our own. However, if through training our mind we succeed in pacifying — or even completely eliminating — our own anger, for example, we can certainly help others to control theirs. Then our advice will not be mere words, but will have behind it the power of personal experience.

We can sometimes help others by providing them with money or better material conditions, but we should remember that the greatest benefit we

 

can give is to help them overcome their delusions and find true, lasting happiness within. Through technological progress and by organizing society in fairer, more humane ways, we can certainly help to improve people’s lives in some respects; but whatever we do will inevitably have some unwanted side effects. The best we can hope for is to provide people with conditions that bring some temporary respite from problems and difficulties, but we cannot give them true, lasting happiness. This is because the real cause of happiness is inner peace, which can be found only within the mind, not in external conditions.

Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless we first establish peace within our own minds. We can send so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into areas of conflict, but peace cannot be imposed from the outside with guns. Only by creating peace within our own mind and helping others do the same can we hope to achieve peace in this world.

This book presents many profound methods of spiritual training, all of which are practical ways to purify and control our mind. If we put these methods into practice we will definitely gain a special experience of mental peace. By continuing to improve this experience, deluded states of mind will gradually diminish and our inner peace will

 

grow. Eventually, by abandoning delusions altogether, we will attain the permanent inner peace of nirvana. Having overcome our own delusions, such as anger, attachment and ignorance, and developed profound spiritual realizations of universal love, compassion, concentration and wisdom, our ability to help others will be far greater. In this way we can help others solve their problems not just for a few days or a few years, but forever. We can help them find an inner peace and joy that nothing, not even death, can destroy. How wonderful!

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Hardback
Details: 365 pages; includes 20 black & white images; First American Edition 2007; First UK Edition published 2001
Language: English (US)
ISBN: 9780978906733
Size: 5¾ × 8½ × 2½ inches
Price:
$20.95
Transform Your Life - Front Cover
Paperback
Details: 365 pages; includes 20 black & white images; Published 2007; first UK edition published 2001
Language: English (US)
ISBN: 9780978906740
Size: 5½ × 8¼ × ⅞ inch
Price:
$14.95
Transform Your Life - CD Audiobook
Audiobook (CD)
Details: 8 CDs, total duration 6 hrs.
Language: English (UK)
ISBN: 9780948006876
Size: 5.6 x 5 x 1.73in (4.2 cm x 12.7 cm x 4.4 cm)
Price:
$34.95
Transform Your Life - Audiobook MP3
Audiobook (mp3)
Details:

Total duration 6hrs, cover artwork included

Please note, this item is provided as a downloadable product (no CD will be shipped)


Language: English (UK)
ISBN: 5055278100681
Price:
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