First think about karma, cause and effect. Secondly, think about how Lama Atisha had 157 gurus and two root gurus. One was Lama Serlingpa, from whom he received bodhicitta teachings in Indonesia for twelve years, like pouring nectar from one pot into another—however much nectar one pot has, pouring that completely into another pot. Lama Atisha had to travel for twelve months by boat in dangerous conditions to receive these teachings in Indonesia.
Lama Atisha’s other root guru was Lama Dharmarakshita, who gave the teaching The Wheel of Sharp Weapons. One stanza from that text says that whenever you have unbearable pain or disease, it’s due to giving harm to others—the wheel of sharp weapons, bad karma turned on yourself. So now, you should take all the pain or the disease onto yourself.
 Whenever an intolerable ailment arises in our body,
It is the sharp weapons of bad actions turning against us
For having inflicted harm on the bodies of migrating beings.
Now we should willingly take upon ourselves all ailments without exception.
This is what make our pain or disease most worthwhile and it’s causing all the sentient beings to achieve full enlightenment. So this means we experience every sentient being’s suffering and they become free from the entire suffering of samsara and achieve full enlightenment.
Actually it is so precious. It harms our worst enemy, the self-cherishing thought that has caused us to suffer from beginningless rebirths of samsara, including causing samsara without end. If we don’t practice holy Dharma now, particularly bodhicitta, then we will have to continue suffering
That selfish mind has caused us to harm every sentient being. They have suffered in the past and present and also in the future. You can’t imagine! This time and opportunity is so precious, and we can destroy the enemy of bodhicitta—not only our own [selfish mind] but also that of every sentient being. As for others, I don’t know about people, but animals might suffer and die; even in the caves they have no air-conditioning or fans.
Make heartfelt prayers to Chenrezig. In front of the statue, recite some malas of the Chenrezig mantra, and make very strong prayers. You should know that Chenrezig is there—he sees and understands everything. Then request what is the most important need for sentient beings at this time, which is black clouds and so much rain for a long time. Then that may cause landslides or floods to happen. I’m joking. Visualize strong rain in the whole area where there is heat.
The second buddha, Nagarjuna, mentioned in A Letter to a Friend, [v. 86]:
Having put three hundred short spears heavily into the body, there’s no need to question that suffering.
There’s no comparison with even the smallest suffering of the hells, which is unbearable suffering.
For us, even if a tiny thorn the size of a hair goes into the flesh it’s unbearable, and we have to take it out. So imagine being stabbed by three hundred short spears, it’s most unbelievable, unbelievable, extremely unbearable suffering. And then we would have to experience that [suffering of the hell realms] for one hundred eons or ten million eons. Until our negative karma finishes, we are never separated from suffering. This is something to think about, when we think about the lower realm sufferings every day. This is most unbearable, and it’s the very smallest hell suffering.
As I often say, the heaviest suffering of human beings is actually great peace and pleasure compared to the sufferings of the hells. You can understand that from this quotation. Whether you believe that hell exists or not, it is just the limitation of merit, of intelligence. Those who have a lot of merit can remember past and future lives. They have merit, like those bodhisattvas who achieve the bhumis. The bodhisattvas who achieve the first bhumi can remember one hundred past and future lives. And on the second bhumi they can see one thousand past and future lives. Then more and more; it goes on and on. The higher and higher they go, the fewer and fewer obscurations.
It’s like the more we clean something, the more we see its beauty—the color and design come out. The more we clean the dirt, the more it becomes clear, so the quality of the mind comes out. That’s a very good outside example. For example, a cup is dirty and smelly with kaka, but because the cup is not kaka we can clean it with soap and water. It’s the same with cloth that is very black and dirty; we can wash with it soap and different things then it becomes fresh like a new one, especially if we iron it. So that’s a very good outside example. Because the cloth isn’t oneness with the dirt, it’s just temporarily obscured. The mind is also not oneness with the obscurations, not oneness with attachment, anger and ignorance—ignorance holding the I and phenomena as truly existent. While it exists in mere name, not even an atom is existing from its own side.
So that’s an example, and through meditation, if we really meditate, if we have experiences, we can see more and more clearly our past and future lives, karma, and attain higher and higher realizations. As the mind gets less and less obscured and more purified, then we can see things deeper and deeper, what ordinary beings cannot see. It doesn’t mean that just because we can’t see these things now [they don’t exist]. When the mind has fewer obscurations through purification, we can see for ourselves, we can prove to ourselves.
Now here as I mentioned, this quote shows very clearly the example of the hell sufferings. It’s not hell, but it’s giving an example. It’s a human being’s suffering, but it’s like hell. It gives us the idea, but the hell realm becomes unbelievably hot, beyond human suffering. The heat is there; it’s the same as in Bodhgaya, where it’s hot every year. It’s not been like that in America, but only now it is happening. In India, in Bodhgaya it happens every year. It’s just that we don’t know about India. So you see, this didn’t come from the outside, it came from the mind.
Nearby, there’s a part of America—I don’t know the name—it’s in the corner of America, and there is so much water, so much flooding, so much of that has happened. Then in Washington it’s so hot. Some areas are very hot, while close by there is flooding. It looks like it comes from outside, but it comes from the inside, the mind, the result of our past negative karma.
The foundation of Buddhism is that happiness and suffering come from the mind, from our mind. So our mind is the creator. It’s explained in Abidharmakosha, which is an important subject to study. The various worlds came from the mind, are born from the mind. It’s either so hot or there are landslides or earthquakes. These outside conditions are caused by non-human beings, but that’s not the main cause. The main cause is karma. Karma is the mind; it is not the body. It comes with the mind, not with the body. There are the primary mind and the fifty-one mental factors. There are five omnipresent mental factors, in Tibetan, kundro nga, always existing. The translation in English is omnipresent, which is OK but it’s not very exact. Karma is the mental factor of intention, which is one of those five.
Yes, of course it can be purified before experiencing the result. Yes, it depends on how perfectly it’s purified, whether we experience some result or not. If purification is perfectly well done, then we never have to experience the result of negative karma. Suffering is not experienced in this life. Then the next one is that we will experience past heavy karma in this life, but it’s not as heavy as experiencing it in the lower realms for many eons, which is unbelievably heavy. It manifests as some chaos, some cancer or virus, to finish that, and then there’ll be happiness in the future. These are the benefits of purification.
Kadampa Geshe Khamlungpa said,
By experiencing this present small suffering,
The past negative karma is ceased
And there will be happiness in the future.
Therefore, rejoice, be happy in this present suffering.
I think it means to rejoice and feel happy by thinking of the benefits. So not just in one life, but from life to life we’ll have more and more happiness. Also we will go to enlightenment and become free from samsara. It can happen more and more like that.
So it’s very good to rejoice. You’re experiencing the hottest heat now, but in Bodhgaya, where we have a center, the people who live there experience this heat every year. That’s what Roger reminded me of. In America it’s a big surprise because it didn’t happen like that before. You have to know that, and you have to rejoice. Be happy because your past negative is getting purified—purified of the lower realm sufferings, unbelievable sufferings. It finishes like that, so rejoice, be happy.
And not only that, be happy to receive all the numberless sentient beings’ sufferings—the hell beings, the hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras and asuras—to take their suffering on yourself. Experience that suffering and the causes—karma and delusion—so they can become enlightened, the total cessation of obscurations and the completion of realizations.
Experience it for sentient beings rather than thinking “I’m suffering, I’m suffering.” Unless of course, you want to fly to Mount Everest. In the northern hemisphere, in Iceland and in many places, there are huge ice mountains melting down. We hear about this all the time. Why is this happening? It came from the mind, basically. The great enlightened being, Padampa Sangye, who existed during Milarepa’s time said, “It looks like happiness and suffering come from the outside, but they come basically and originally from our own mind.”
So you can ask, if the virus came from China, why does it have to be experienced in America? Why do some people have the virus while some people don’t have it? Also, in the family, the father can die from the virus, but not the children or the mother. Why? You can ask questions like that.
We want to see ourselves as enlightenment beings and others as an ordinary beings, as totally ignorant, because we don’t understand [everything] came from the mind. Using a very simple example, when we recognize that we’re not well, that we’re sick, we go to the doctor. Because we don’t know how the sickness evolved, we don’t know the details, we have no idea what will happen with the sickness , so we go to see the doctor who knows better than us, who has studied more and who knows more than us. But we say “This doctor is totally ignorant because they don’t know more than me; they haven’t stopped suffering and ignorance.” Up to thinking, “I’m an enlightenment being,” and we disregard the doctor’s advice.
Whatever is happening—the extreme weather, whatever it is that totally changes and then there’s the suffering of heat or cold, big problems—we experience it for others. If we have intelligence, if we have a lot of merit, then we experience it for sentient beings. In that way we actualize the path to enlightenment. Then not only do we get enlightened but we enlighten other sentient beings. It’s so good, unbelievable. And if we die with that, as His Holiness always says, the best way to die is with bodhicitta.
Kyabje Khunu Lama Rinpoche, the great bodhisattva from whom I received teachings, said in The Jewel Lamp: Praise to Bodhicitta, that even if we’re sick, be sick with bodhicitta. Even if we die, die with bodhicitta. Whatever happens, it is best.
 If one is in possession of bodhicitta
it is fine if one is sick, fine if one is dying,
fine if one is studying, and fine if one is meditating;
one seems to be fine no matter what one is doing.
— Vast as the Heavens Deep as the Sea: Verses in Praise of Bodhicitta
Kadampa Geshe Chekawa said that he prayed to be born in the hells for sentient beings. At the time of death he had visions of the pure land where he’d be reborn, and he said, “I didn’t achieve my wish, which was to be born in the hells for sentient beings.” He treated all sentient beings just as we treat our mother or the kindest person. Their suffering is most unbearable, and he felt that for all the sentient beings—for every ant, every mosquito, even the tiniest one, everyone. No matter how big or small they were, he felt that for everyone.
This is the best way to die and to experience problems. It’s the best way to transform it all into the path for all sentient beings. What else brings more happiness than this and is more important than being able to benefit numberless sentient beings? What else brings more happiness than this? It’s ridiculous to take drugs or whatever. It’s like a person who is delusional due to spirits—that person is running on the cliffs and in their vision, their view, there’s a big road that goes down to the beach. This vision is explained by not just one person, but quoted by those who didn’t die. They explained what they had seen—they saw a road where there was actually no road.
Thank you very, very much. I brought up some words for this situation where everybody is jumping [with anxiety]. There are many stories about the heat, but one can’t jump that much. So please think about what I’ve said. The best, the most beneficial practice, is tonglen and lojong. Whatever the problem is, even death, sickness or relationship problems, experience it for all sentient beings. That’s the happiest and the hippiest person.
Thank you very much. Goodbye.