Experience the Difficulties with a Good Heart

Experience the Difficulties with a Good Heart

Date of Advice:
March 2018
Date Posted:
September 2019

This advice on how to transform problems was given to a student who was staying in Bodhgaya, where the weather is extremely hot in summer.  

Lama Zopa Rinpoche near Ajanta caves, India, November 2008. Photo: Ven. Roger Kunsang.

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much for your kind letter.  

Bodhgaya is one of the hottest places, however, I am sure there are places in India and in other parts of the world that are much hotter. Anyway, your experience of being there during the hot time purifies your negative karma so that you can help other sentient beings.

If you have the motivation to benefit others with a good heart, then it becomes Dharma and it purifies all the heavy negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths, especially the karma to be born in the hot hells. This karma gets purified when you experience being very hot or you have any difficulties in your life. All that heavy negative karma to be born in the hell realms for so many numberless eons gets purified.

Every time you are having difficulties, first you must think of this. If the difficulties are experienced with a good heart, that is the best. If they are experienced with bodhicitta—in order to achieve enlightenment for all sentient beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment—in this way all those experiences, all the difficulties of being hot, become the cause for you to become enlightened for all sentient beings. In this way the difficulties become the cause of freeing all the sentient beings from suffering.

There are numberless sentient beings in each realm. You know you are there to experience the difficulties of being hot, but the goal is to be free from samsara yourself, so then you can free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering. That is amazing, for instance if you think of the lower realm sufferings—of the eight hot hell beings, the eight cold hell beings, the six neighboring hell beings, the ordinary hell beings, the hungry ghosts, the animals—wow, wow, wow, they are numberless, numberless. You can’t imagine.

When you experience this heat, it is to free every single one of them from samsara. It is not only to free yourself from samsara, but to free numberless beings from samsara and bring them to enlightenment. With bodhicitta, whatever you feel—heat or discomfort—is the cause of happiness for numberless sentient beings; for them to achieve enlightenment.

Also you can do tonglen practice. [Read more about tonglen here]

The great yogi Choje Gotsangpa said:

By my experiencing this heat,
May all sentient beings be free immediately
From disease, spirit harm, negative karma and defilements.
And may they achieve buddhahood, the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations.

Here I am using the quote to relate to heat, but it can be in relation to any suffering or problem, for example, cancer or another sickness, relationship problems (for married people), etc.

You can recite a mala or more of this verse in the same way that you recite OM MANI PADME HUM. Pray from the heart like this and dedicate for sentient beings.

By experiencing the heat for sentient beings, it becomes most useful and beneficial for sentient beings, for them to be free from samsara and achieve enlightenment. As I mentioned before, in this way any problem can be made most beneficial—for oneself to achieve enlightenment quickly and for all sentient beings.

With much love and prayers ...