My most dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much for your kind letter sent so long ago. My apologies for the many eons of delay. I heard your name many times, unless it was somebody else.
I already began teaching on depression online, but I haven’t finished. Now I’m explaining refuge for one small girl and some people in China. It is in English, so everyone can listen. I began the teachings on depression in Maratika, and now I’m doing refuge, but after that, again I will do more. [You can watch the videos and read along with the transcripts of Rinpoche’s teaching “From Where Depression Comes” and “What to Think When You Are Depressed”.]
First of all, to answer something for you now, this is not your mistake. As you know, they wouldn’t listen to you, so it’s not your mistake. The person drowning was not your mistake. If it was, then it would be the mistake of everyone at the beach because they didn’t go to catch that person. So if you blame everyone at the beach, then you would even blame the puppies there because they didn’t save the person.
The essence, the essential advice is that if we don’t practice Dharma, if we don’t practice lamrim, which is the condensation of all the 84,000 teachings that the Buddha taught—if we don’t practice correctly devoting to the virtuous friend, the root of the path to enlightenment, and renunciation, bodhicitta and the right view, then the tantric teachings, the generation and completion stage—then of course, we will continuously follow the self-cherishing thought, the ignorance, the root [of samsara], the king of all the delusions, holding the I which appears as a real one from there when it is a hallucination to the hallucinated mind.
By believing it is real, we’re creating ignorance and we have been doing this since beginningless rebirths. This is the biggest hallucination, that I, action, object, samsara and nirvana, hell and enlightenment, everything, all the problems and the rest of phenomena appear from there, existing by themselves, from their own side, real, and then we let our mind hold onto that as true. That is ignorance, we’re creating ignorance.
Until we are free from this, then not only has it made us suffer continuously in the oceans of the six realms’ sufferings—of the hells, of the hungry ghosts, of the animals, of the humans, of the suras and the asuras—from beginningless rebirths, not just one time, but also we’ll suffer again endlessly. All these sufferings, all the suffering that we have already seen—people’s and animals’ suffering—all that we see and hear about, we experience it again and again with no end. This is what happens.
Then we cheat ourselves, we are cheating ourselves. Nobody else cheats us; we’ve been cheating ourselves from beginningless rebirths and again endlessly, and not only that, we cheat all sentient beings. By following the self-cherishing thought and the ignorance, this king of delusion, then we cheat all the sentient beings as well. We harm them and they have also been suffering since beginningless rebirths.
Again, if we don’t practice Dharma, if we don’t practice the three principal aspects of the path in this life, then we’ll be experiencing the suffering of samsara without end and we’ll harm the numberless sentient beings without end, they will have to suffer.
Therefore, if we think the solution is just being worried alone, that doesn’t help. What we need to do is practice Dharma, the root of the path to enlightenment, which is correctly devoting to the virtuous friend with thought and action, and then on the basis of renunciation, bodhicitta and the right view, to try to listen, reflect and do meditation practice, and try to develop wisdom and bodhicitta. Then practice the tantric path, the two stages, generation and completion. This is the answer, this is the conclusion.
So in this way we become free, and instead of cheating ourselves, deceiving ourselves, we become free from samsara, free from the oceans of samsaric suffering, which we have experienced since beginningless rebirths. And not only that, we achieve enlightenment and then we can free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering. Not only that, we bring everyone to full enlightenment, buddhahood.
So this is what we have to do, the conclusion is we need to practice that. That’s what we need to do every day; that’s what we have to do every hour, every minute, every second.
OK, so my answer is finished for the time being. So do lamrim meditation every day and live your life with bodhicitta motivation, with the thought to benefit all sentient beings. Live the life with that. Even when you eat, eat for the benefit of sentient beings, with bodhicitta. Even when you go shopping, do it with bodhicitta, to benefit all sentient beings. When you go for a walk, walk with bodhicitta, to benefit sentient beings, and when you go to sleep, sleep with bodhicitta, to benefit sentient beings, to sleep for your health.
When you go to the toilet, do the same thing. Think all sentient beings are in your heart and all the negative karma and delusion, the cause of suffering and so on, come down and go into the mouth of the Lord of Death. As it reaches the mouth of the Lord of Death, it becomes nectar, then the mouth of the Lord of Death is closed and sealed with a double vajra. Then it becomes a long-life meditation for you. Also, when you do pipi, [think] all the suffering of sentient beings, their delusion and karma, comes out.
These are examples, but you should try to do everything with bodhicitta, so you have to elaborate. For example, when you wash, think you are washing away all sentient beings’ negative karma and defilements, then washing becomes for sentient beings.
If you have received a great initiation you can visualize yourself as a deity and then purify, do the washing. Or you can do the offering bath practice, offering a bath to the deity, but not just to the deity, also to the guru, then you collect the most unbelievable merit and it becomes the greatest purification. So I am giving you some examples.
Please listen to my teachings on depression. Please look out for them here.
With much love and prayers ...