Every Sentient Being Is Most Kind, Most Dear, Most Precious

Every Sentient Being Is Most Kind, Most Dear, Most Precious

Date of Advice:
December 2017
Date Posted:
July 2020

Rinpoche sent this letter to a student who wanted to leave the Dharma center. Rinpoche asked the student to support the center and the teacher, to join in activities at the center and to avoid disharmony.  

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal, December 2015. Photo: Bill Kane.

My most dear one,
Here is further advice. It’s basically the same as what I explained before, but now here it’s specific. As you know, the basic practice of Mahayana is to not harm others, because refuge in Dharma means abandoning harm to sentient beings—that’s a very basic teaching.

We should relate this to our life, where we are. We are at the center, therefore anything that brings disharmony and upsets people unnecessarily is not useful. We should not upset others so that they get angry and we should not create such situations; we should abandon them. This is the main thing.

As the Buddha said, and as we recite all the time before teachings:

Abandon any unwholesome actions,
Engage in perfect wholesome actions,
Subdue one’s own mind.
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

“Subdue one’s own mind,” the conclusion is that. The whole cause is pride, self-cherishing thought, attachment to this life. So what we do should become the opponent to this. Even prayer should not become the cause of samsara, but the cause to abandon samsara.

Kadampa Geshe Chekawa said,

Put all the blame on one (the self-cherishing thought),
And toward others, meditate on their kindness.

Of course, the kindness of the government is that they do whatever they can to protect the public, all the time. So the usefulness of our life is due to the kindness of the government, and the government exists due to the kindness of the public. Students learn from their teacher and this is the teacher’s kindness to the students, educating them. From what the students are able to learn, they are able to do a job. It is generally that way. And because of the kindness of the students, the teacher is able to make money. There is kindness to each other. Our whole life [is dependent on] kindness to each other.

The person who abuses us, who harms us, or the small insect—this mosquito or this flea—our compassion is generated depending on those beings, who have obscured minds and suffering. From compassion, bodhicitta is generated and the bodhisattva happens. From that, the Buddha happens and the Buddha’s actions happen. One is the secret actions—the actions of the Buddha’s holy mind. One is within us sentient beings—the virtues that we achieve.

All our comfort, all our past, present and future happiness, come from the Buddha’s actions, [which come from] our own virtuous thoughts and actions. So all our happiness up to enlightenment comes from that person who abuses us or from that insect. Therefore, like that, they are most kind, most precious. So, feel that for all sentient beings.

Think, “I receive my three times’ happiness from every sentient being—every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every human being, every asura being, every sura being, every intermediate state being—therefore they are most kind, most dear, most precious, my wish-granting gem.” Every sentient being is most kind, most dear, most precious. This means the teacher there and the students at the center. This is extremely important.

Also, as you recite the Six-Session Guru Yoga every day, that text mentions generating the immeasurable thought of equanimity. Even that becomes the basis, wishing sentient beings to have happiness, generating the immeasurable thought of loving kindness. It’s also the charity of loving kindness—the Ratnasambhava samaya. So you need to generate loving kindness, the Ratnasambhava samaya, to the teacher there and the students at the center. Then there’s also immeasurable compassion, to free them from suffering, like that.

So these are basic practices of Buddhism. Without living in these practices, there’s no practice of Buddhism.

Doing translations, you should know this is liberating sentient beings from samsara, even from lower nirvana, and bringing them to enlightenment. This is what your translation is doing. Your translation is giving eyes to sentient beings, spiritual eyes, like the third eye, to see the two truths—the absolute truth and conventional truth (truth for the all-obscuring mind)—and the path of method and wisdom, and the goal of dharmakaya and rupakaya. So the [wisdom] eye can see all that. The benefit is incredible, incredible, unbelievable, there are skies of benefit, you can see now.

Please give your support for the center activities. You should know this is an FPMT center, this is my center. You can see if you’re not helping the center, you’re not helping me. It becomes like that. Whatever you do, remember this is the FPMT’s and my center. You may not be thinking that, but thinking more about the teacher, like that, so think you’re devoting to me. I want you to really care about the center, and you don’t need to separate from the center, especially even if students just follow you. Whatever event the center does, then join in that.

So this will be great, great, great, to not have any more disharmony.

Please, what I’m advising fits very well with the morning motivation prayer that comes before blessing the speech. This is the motivation for how to live life for sentient beings, so it completely fits—use yourself as a servant for the sentient beings. You have to think like that. That’s the proper way.

As the verses from the Bodhicaryavatara say, you can be used for sentient beings like the earth, which is totally used by sentient beings for their happiness. Water is used by sentient beings for their happiness, fire is used by sentient beings for so much happiness, and wind is totally used for all sentient beings’ happiness. You can be used like the sky, which is totally used for sentient beings’ happiness.

Then comes His Holiness’s verse,

As long as space remains,
As long as transmigratory beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the suffering of transmigratory beings.

His Holiness often recites this verse after generating the wishing vow. You should think that.

Also, it is mentioned in Bodhicaryavatara,

By holding myself in high esteem
I shall find myself in unpleasant realms, ugly and stupid;
But should this (attitude) be shifted to others
I shall acquire honors in a joyful realm.

If I employ others for my own purposes
I myself shall experience servitude,
But if I use myself for the sake of others
I shall experience only lordliness.

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.
- (Ch. 8, vv. 127–29)

That’s all. Thank you very, very much. I’m very happy that you fully accepted [my advice] before. You are a fortunate being, an intelligent being, so it’s a question of just paying attention. That’s all.

With much love and prayers ...