My most dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling ones,
Billions of thanks for your kindness, for working for, volunteering at, and supporting in various ways FPMT centers, projects, and services. The main benefit of the centers is to offer Dharma teachings, teaching compassion; teaching from where suffering comes and from where happiness comes; teaching about karma, about how to stop negative karma and how to practice virtuous actions, which cause all the happiness up to enlightenment: the happiness of this life, the happiness of future lives, the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara, and then the peerless happiness of enlightenment, which is everlasting happiness, with total cessation of the obscurations and completion of the realizations (sang gye). Achieving enlightenment is especially to liberate all the sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering forever and lead them to peerless happiness, with cessation of the gross and subtle defilements and completion of the realizations. This is most important. This is what sentient beings need; this is their most important need.
So, now you understand how important it is to have a Dharma center, an FPMT center, which allows even one sentient being to achieve all this happiness up to enlightenment because of your help. You can see how that is most important.
Now you can see how that is of the utmost need for them. Now you can see how the benefits are limitless like the sky. Now you can feel that.
So, now, how do you run a center? It should be the same for any FPMT center, from the beginning up to now, from the beginning up to the end, until sentient beings achieve enlightenment.
It’s opened for the basic lamrim. It’s opened for those who want to abandon the causes of suffering and be free from the lower realms and who want to achieve higher happiness. And it is opened for those who want to be free from samsara and achieve the everlasting, ultimate happiness of liberation and for those who want to be free from the lower nirvana and achieve great liberation, or enlightenment. It is opened for everyone.
The other thing, of course, is to practice Mahayana thought transformation. You have to feel that the people coming to the center are so precious. You have to feel that, from each person coming to the center, you receive all your happiness from beginningless rebirths up to now and all your future happiness, including liberation and enlightenment. You have to think like that, feel like that, about everybody who comes to the center. You have to feel that each one is most kind, most precious, most dear, wish-fulfilling to you.
Then, of course, there are more things to think. Think about the evolution of your food, of how numberless sentient beings suffered and were killed for this food and of how many human beings created negative karma for this food. So, the comfort of your food, your survival, comes from the kindness of others. It is the same with the comfort of your shelter. Your survival also comes from the many sentient beings who were killed and the many sentient beings who underwent much hardship and created much negative karma to provide your shelter. It is the same again with clothing, especially if it comes from animal skins. Many animals suffered and died and many human beings created so much negative karma to provide your clothing. From that you got your pleasure and comfort; your pleasure and survival came from that, from the kindness of sentient beings.
Then, third, each sentient being has been your mother numberless times from beginningless rebirths and showed you kindness from beginningless rebirths. They gave you your body, particularly your human body, and then saved your life from hundreds of dangers every day. They bore so much hardship for you for so many years, from your conception and from beginningless rebirths. They also gave you an education. So, all this is the kindness of being a mother. You have to feel that, at least the first one: how they are precious. Then, when you know all that, they are now so precious to you; they are most kind, most dear, most wish-fulfilling. Then, you see, your mind is so happy. You then have a smiling, happy face, and that makes them so happy. And then, also, rather than putting others down, you use respectful words when you talk to them. A respectful manner naturally comes. Then the mind. Respectful words are very much needed; you should talk very humbly. You should bring others up, not put them down.
So, this is how to run a center. That’s Dharma practice, Mahayana practice; that’s lojong. That makes people so happy, so delighted, that they want to come again and again to the center.
With much love and prayers,