Everything Comes From Your Mind

Everything Comes From Your Mind

Date of Advice:
January 2016
Date Posted:
June 2016

Advice given to a student who was in a relationship which had ended. The student had also been affected by long-term illness. 

My very dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I am very happy to get your letter expressing what you are doing and what is lacking, and all the things.

I would like to begin to explain to you, to introduce to you about samsara and nirvana. Anything you think, it comes from your mind. First of all everything, samsara, nirvana, whatever you think, comes from your mind, because it is merely imputed by your mind, it exists by being merely imputed by your mind. Next thing, nirvana—the peerless happiness, the total cessation of all obscurations and completion of all the realizations—comes from your mind, from your virtuous mind, in particular bodhicitta, also ultimate wisdom directly perceiving emptiness, possessed by bodhicitta.

Samsara comes from your mind, from the impure mind, ignorance. There is no real I, it never happened at all, it didn’t exist even for one second, it didn’t exist even an atom. While it is totally empty, non-existent, it appears due to your hallucinated mind and then next thing you believe it’s true. What appears as the real I, that ignorance, is the root of samsara. Also similarly, the ignorance holding the aggregates, which appear real while they are not, while there is no such thing. What exists is only what is merely labeled by the valid mind on the valid base.

That’s how your samsara and your nirvana come from your mind. One evolution is negative, the other one is positive, where nirvana, enlightenment, comes from your positive mind. The other one, the negative mind, very clearly comes from your mind. So like that all form, sound, smell and tangible objects, what appears to you, what you see—form, sound, smell, taste, even the objects of mind—all comes from your mind. Through the merely imputing mind, the way it appears to your mind—as a real one, not merely labeled, the opposite, the one just before, just before the real one—so that also comes from your mind, it comes from your hallucinated mind. That is because the past ignorance left a negative imprint, then due to the negative imprint right after this, after being merely labeled by your valid mind, then to the hallucinated mind it appears real.

This is a total hallucination. Real form, real I, real sound, real tangible objects, real smell, real taste, even the objects of mind, everything, so these are all a total hallucination. Of course these come from the hallucinated mind. So it’s very clear your enemy comes from your mind. The person who gets angry with you also comes from your mind. There is nothing there in reality, it comes from your mind though in your appearance there is something there, the real enemy or anger. So that is a totally wrong hallucination. You should realize this, recognize this. If you don’t recognize this, then it’s hard. The teachings don’t benefit your mind.

Then all the good things also come from your mind, from virtuous thought. Unpleasant things, negative things, come from your mind, from your negative mind, bad karma. Also good things come from good karma, and bad things come from bad thoughts, bad karma. So it all completely comes from your mind. So your friend, the previous partner, anything you think that person did that was good comes from your positive mind, your good karma.

Anything you think your previous partner did that was wrong or negative, it comes from your negative karma. So you are completely the creator. It’s not God or outside. You are the creator, your karma is the creator, your mind is the creator. Please understand this.

It is said by the great bodhisattva Shantideva in A Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, [Ch. 6, v. 47]

Having been instigated by my own actions,
Those who cause me harm come into being.
If by these (actions) they should fall into hell,
Surely isn’t it I who am destroying them?

Why this person is treating you badly at this time is because first you treated the person badly, like that. So as a karmic result, think, “This time I am being treated like this. So the creator was me, not that person. Now the person is in the human realm but because of the harm due to a negative mind, that causes this human body to be lost and for that person to be born in the hells and experience so much suffering. Therefore I am causing that person to suffer like this in the hells; to lose this human body and to be born in hell realm. Who is causing this is me."

That’s incredible psychology, an incredible meditation technique. Instead of getting angry it makes you generate compassion, no choice, and you want to help that person in whatever way you can. At least pray that way, dedicate your merits for that person to not be reborn in the hell realms and to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. Pray for the person to be born in the pure land, where they can be enlightened, or at least to receive a perfect human rebirth, meet Mahayana teachings, meet a perfect qualified Mahayana guru who reveals the unmistaken path to enlightenment and by pleasing most the holy mind of the virtuous friend, achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible. So at least pray like that.

Thank you very much. So many of your problems should be solved like this, thinking very widely, extensively, from this introduction.

Whatever befalls me,
I shall not disturb my mental joy;
For having been made unhappy, I shall not accomplish what I wish,
And my virtues will decline.
  – [Guide, Ch. 6, v. 9]

This is a big thing, especially in the West. People don’t know how to do this and then because they don’t practice this, many people have depression and suffer, and so many commit suicide. 

The great bodhisattva Shantideva also said,  

Why be unhappy about something
If it can be remedied?
And what is the use of being unhappy about something
If it cannot be remedied?
    – [Guide, Ch. 6, v. 10]

Because being unhappy or having dislike doesn’t benefit. Also,

Previously, I must have caused similar harm
To other sentient beings.
Therefore, it is right for this harm to be returned
To me, who caused injury to others.
  – [Guide, Ch. 6, v. 42]

Therefore the most important thing, the most important practice, is the practice of taking other sentient beings’ suffering with compassion and giving all your happiness with loving kindness, so it’s very good.

Overall you have to think, basically you have to be aware every day that not only your ex-partner, but all sentient beings have been your enemy. They have killed you numberless times and you have been enemy to numberless sentient beings—numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings. You have been their enemy and you have killed them numberless times, for example, I have killed you numberless times and you have killed me numberless times while being in samsara from beginningless rebirths. That’s how we have been living in samsara, as enemy to each other, without beginning, you harming others and others harming you numberless times. So I ate you numberless times and you ate me numberless times. This is the same with your ex-partner.

You have suffered numberless times, being born in hell, in all the major hot hells and the major cold hells and the six neighboring hells, all the sufferings, also in the ordinary hells, numberless times.  Also you have been preta beings, having all the sufferings—outer obscurations, food obscurations and inner obscurations. If you don’t know about the suffering of pretas, please read Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.

Then there is the suffering of animals—we can see their most unbelievable, unbelievable suffering. The main suffering is ignorance,  not knowing Dharma, karma, not knowing emptiness, dependent arising, not knowing past, present and future. Then being eaten by another one or you eat somebody alive. You are eaten by some other animals and on top of that, also human beings eat you. Then there is the suffering of hot and cold, hunger and thirst, and human beings use you for your skin, for meat, for your bones, or you are tortured. In all these ways you have suffered numberless times.

Then there is the suffering of human beings, the numberless kinds of human beings’ suffering, as well as all the kinds of suffering of the suras and asuras. Numberless times from beginningless rebirth you have experienced this, so you didn’t get to practice Dharma, you were not able to meet Dharma, only in this life. Only by actualizing the four noble truths, directly perceiving the ultimate realization of emptiness, will you be able to cease the cause of suffering, delusion and karma, otherwise you will have to suffer in the oceans of the six realms’ suffering again and again, without end, like before.

Therefore, to reincarnate even in the higher realms is most terrifying. Even to be in samsara for one day, one hour, one minute, is so scary, but if you don’t know how samsara is in the nature of suffering, if you don’t feel this, it seems OK for you.

This is only just you, but there are others—the numberless hell beings who are in the same situation, the numberless animals, numberless pretas, numberless humans beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings. They will have to suffer in the oceans of samsaric sufferings all these times. There is no end because they haven’t met Dharma.

You have met the Dharma, so it is a huge difference, then also they do not practice, due to ignorance. What they like is happiness, but in reality, day and night they run to create negative karma, the cause of suffering. What they do not want is suffering, but day and night they keep so busy creating negative karma, then they suffer constantly. What they want is happiness but they always destroy the cause of happiness by arising anger and heresy and destroying the merits. The cause of happiness always gets destroyed.

Even we who are Buddhists have some understanding, but we don’t practice every day. We are able to collect some merits at least, but sooner or later anger and heresy arise and destroy the merits completely, they are blown up, therefore patience is very important, unbelievably important.

Now thinking of the suffering of sentient beings, can you imagine? Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. You can’t stand it at all, so compassion has to arise. Even when you go to the beach all these people are burning their bodies in the sun, lying down, trying to enjoy themselves. This is the reality of life, what they have to go through, since they don’t practice Dharma, they haven’t met Dharma, so there is no way to actualize the path. Same thing for people in a restaurant or a ten-star hotel, in an airplane flying, in a car or a train, in the most expensive car or boat, or living in a billion-dollar house. All those people, you should think this is the reality, and it’s the same for beggars and for rich people living in rich houses. It’s the same, so what they are experiencing now is just this life, but they have to see that there are not only past lives, but also future lives. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!

This is the way to generate compassion for sentient beings, and to do something in your life for the benefit of others. You have to give up the self-centered thoughts of this life and live your life cherishing others. That is the source of happiness up to enlightenment. Living life with the self-cherishing thought is opening the door for all the suffering.

Please read my advice on patience and read this letter again and again—not just one time, read it slowly and think about it.

One minimum practice for you is reciting OM MANI PADME HUM every day. Also for success, recite the Medicine Buddha’s name and mantra.

Even the mosquitoes should recite these two if they want happiness. Even the frogs and spiders should all do this if they want happiness, but they can’t because they don’t have a human body. We have, so we must do this. We have this perfect human body, it's so incredible, like a dream, like a wish-granting jewel, but it doesn’t last, it can end at any moment. It can end at any moment, it can stop at any moment, therefore we must practice Dharma day and night, it is important.

Even right now, in this body, do the various virtuous actions with the body and various virtuous actions with your speech and various virtuous thoughts with your mind. The actions of your body—serving other sentient beings with compassion, serving the guru, serving Sangha, circumambulating, doing prostrations and many other virtuous activities of the body. With your speech, reciting mantras and prayers, expressing the qualities of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and so on. With your mind, developing compassion for sentient beings or devotion to the Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and so forth.

Thank you. Generally to make your life most useful and most beneficial please do these practices [see below], but your main practice is in this letter, how to think and how to develop the mind.

With much love and prayers...

  • Water bowl offerings: 10,000
  • Arya Sanghata Sutra If you can read it once in a week that is unbelievable and you are able to collect most unbelievable merits. You need to do that to help your economic problems, but of course, the main thing is to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible, to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering as quickly as possible and to bring them to enlightenment as quickly as possible. Then by the way, even you don’t think about it, it helps your economic situation in this life, so you can do the work for sentient beings.