Meditate on the Kindness of Others

Meditate on the Kindness of Others

Date of Advice:
April 2016
Date Posted:
July 2019

Rinpoche sent this advice about thought transformation to a student who was very sick in hospital. Rinpoche also commented on the statues that the student had made for the organization.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing Walden Pond, Massachusetts, 2010.

My dearest, kindest, precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Are you still in the hospital? I want to say, to express your kindness, your good qualities.

Regarding your statues—even though the fifty-story statue didn’t happen, I just built it in a dream, I did not have that much merit—however, the example you built, the small one, carries the very loving, kind expression of extreme gentleness and compassion, cherishing others, which is the opposite of violence, the negative mind, anger, attachment, ignorance and the self-cherishing thought.

The Chenrezig statue you made especially carries the feeling of great loving kindness and gentleness which has totally subdued the negative thoughts, anger and so forth. Instead there is harmony for oneself and others, numberless sentient beings, so your statue has that good feeling.

It is going to be an unbelievable statue when everything is completed. Altogether it will be an unbelievable Chenrezig statue that you can rejoice in all your life and especially just before you die; you can feel great happiness because it is bringing peace and happiness to everybody, to the numberless sentient beings, particularly in this world. It is giving the ultimate good heart, the cause of all happiness including enlightenment, liberation from samsara and temporary and ultimate happiness. All of this comes from the cause—the ultimate good heart, bodhicitta—so everyone can enjoy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. If you do not lose your life, if you live longer, maybe we should build a larger Chenrezig with white marble or some good white material.

I did tell one Malaysian businessman, whose mother is a Buddhist, to build one, but I heard he did not build it on his land. I told him that many years ago.

Your sickness could also be a great purification of many past lives’ heavy negative karma. Instead of being reborn in the lower realms and experiencing heavy suffering there for many eons, it is experienced in this life. Due to this great Dharma practice of making statues, it purifies unbelievable past lives’ negative karma. All that is experienced in this life as some pain, difficulties or sickness, and by experiencing it in this life, then in future lives you will experience happiness like the sun shining in the world. There is only one sun shining in the world that makes the plants grow and is for animals and people to enjoy.

Karma is expandable and [good karma] not only definitely brings the result, happiness, but we also experience so much happiness for hundreds of thousands of lifetimes or five hundred million lifetimes. This is the result of one good karma in one day, even good karma for one second, so then, of course, making or building statues or painting thangkas we already create the cause of enlightenment even if the motivation is black, a worldly mind, only attachment.

It is said if we make offerings, prostrations, circumbulations, to holy objects—statues, stupas, scriptures of Buddha—this becomes the cause of enlightenment, so same thing making statues. It is so great, so great, so great, especially for so many sentient beings, therefore it’s really good. Please enjoy your virtuous actions and all the resultant happiness; there is so much happiness and it plants the seed for enlightenment, besides liberation from samsara and so forth.

I may have mentioned this to you before, I can’t remember, a long time ago Kadampa Geshe Chekawa said this; also it is what the Buddha said in his original teaching and advice:

Put all the blame to one,
Meditate on the kindness of others.

This is mentioned in the seven-point thought transformation by Geshe Chekawa. So this means every problem, obstacle, even black magic, all undesirable things big or small, all come from one inner enemy—our self-cherishing. It all comes from past negative karma, done with the self-cherishing thought. Also it becomes double suffering because the resultant suffering is experienced with a mind of self-cherishing, so then of course it becomes suffering instead of pleasure.

For example, Geshe Lama Konchog fell down very heavily during the rainy season in Kopan, in front of the Tara statue in front of the bodhi tree, on the last step. He fell heavily, but he immediately thought that my life obstacles were being experienced by him and he felt unbelievable bliss and happiness. So that fall could be the result of past negative karma, but when it was experienced there was no self-cherishing thought, so then he felt incredible pleasure, unbelievable happiness.

Geshe Jampa Wangdu, my teacher, had a table clock in his house and this was the only precious thing he owned. He went to the teachings and some thieves broke into his house and stole the clock. When Geshe Jampa Wangdu came back and saw this, he felt unbelievably happy that they had received what they wanted. On that basis he was cherishing sentient beings, just as a mother loves her daughter or son more than her life. When the children get something or other people praise them, the mother feels so much happiness because she cherishes them so much.

So meditate on the kindness of others, all sentient beings, meditate on their kindness. All your beginningless happiness, now and in the future, including enlightenment, everything is received from every sentient being—from every hell being, every hungry ghost, those who suffer and can’t find even a spoonful of food for hundreds and thousands of years or even ten thousand years; they can’t find even a drop of water on the ground but they don’t die, they suffer unbelievably.

Or if an earthquake happens and many people die, but many other people are still alive for many days, suffering so much but they don’t die—this is due to karma. Or the numberless animals—those which are big like mountains or so small you can’t see them with your eye, only by using a machine; all kinds under water or on the ground; in the grass, those that jump when you walk; all those under the ground, in the trees or in the sky. Then there are numberless universes and also the numberless humans, asuras and sura beings.

On top of that, they have all been our mother from beginningless rebirths and were kind in four ways. They gave us a body, especially a human body and they took care of us.

I heard His Holiness the Dalai Lama say that there is one bird which kicks out the egg of another bird from a nest and then puts its own egg in that nest. Then the other bird takes care of that egg as though it were its own and does not know until the egg hatches. So that is the karma of that bird (the one in the egg) to be taken care of by another. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Then the second kindness of the mother is that they bore hardships, hundreds of hardships every day, protecting our life from hundreds of dangers every day and bearing hardships. Like the bird, even in one day so many worms get killed or they are eaten alive; they are fed to the chick, which keeps its beak open and the mother bird puts the worm inside. Unbelievable, unbelievable.

So mother sentient beings—almost everyone has been our mother, but they don’t know Dharma or karma, they don’t know about the mind, so they create unbelievable karma to take care of us and then they have to suffer unbelievably in the six realms of samsara without beginning and without end. Therefore compassion has to arise for them. The last of the four kindnesses is that they gave us education, so for us, they are particularly kind because we have met the Dharma, we are able to read Dharma books, we are able to speak about and understand Dharma. That is due to the kindness of the mother, of our parents. Wow, wow, wow, wow.

The great yogi, the enlightened Choje Gotsangpa, said:

By experiencing this sickness, may numberless sentient beings—every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, asura, sura—be free from all the sicknesses, including whatever sickness I have.
May the numberless sentient beings, who also experience the same kind of sickness as me or who experience another kind of suffering, be liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering and its cause, negative karma and obscurations, and may they achieve peerless happiness, the total cessation of all obscurations and completion of all the realizations, sang gye, buddhahood.

Say this prayer like a mantra. So this means your sickness is used [for sentient beings.]

With the self-cherishing thought it becomes useless and you are just torturing yourself. Now with this prayer you dedicate for numberless sentient beings, for them to have temporary and ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, and not only that, but also peerless happiness, sang gye, buddhahood. Wow, wow, wow wow, unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.

This is so meaningful, using your sickness for all sentient beings, who have so much suffering, hundreds and millions of times more suffering than you. So it becomes the cause of ultimate happiness for the numberless sentient beings, not only a few— even if it benefits only a few, ten, five or one, it is very good—but here it is for numberless beings, for everyone. Wow, wow, wow, wow, fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.

Please read other tonglen advice I have given. Please read it, study it and use it.

Also meditate on this verse from Lama Chöpa. In this way you can use your suffering to achieve enlightenment fastest and sentient beings can achieve enlightenment fastest. Wow, wow, wow.

This chronic disease of cherishing myself
Is the cause giving rise to my unsought suffering.
Perceiving this, I seek your blessings to blame, begrudge,
And destroy the monstrous demon of selfishness.
[Lama Chöpa, v. 91]

You can also add, “Please grant me blessings to destroy the great demon of grasping or holding the I.”

So we give back the sickness or the relationship problem or whatever problem; not only thinking of the self-cherishing thought, but we also give the problem back to the self-cherishing thought. It came from the self-cherishing thought so now we are giving it back to the self-cherishing thought.

We use it as an atomic bomb to destroy the ego, the self-cherishing thought. We give it back to that, to destroy the self-cherishing thought. So it doesn’t exist at all. Like a missile, it hits exactly at the right point. Not to harm the most precious sentient beings from whom we get all our past, present and future happiness and who have been our mother numberless times and have been kind, from whom we get all happiness. Even Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha come from sentient beings.

So this is incredibly precious, unbelievable, and so many skies of benefit are collected when we do taking and then giving. We give numberless wish-granting jewels, our possessions and merits including the results, happiness up to enlightenment, to every sentient being so many times, therefore there are skies of merits.

Also think,

Whatever happiness I have, I dedicate that happiness to sentient beings; the whole sky filled with happiness, including enlightenment, I give to all sentient beings.

Then suffering, take on all the suffering of all sentient beings; take it all on oneself and seal it with emptiness.

Please practice like this as much as you can.

With much love and prayers,

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

PS: It seems the main practice of the great Kagyu lama, Choje Gotsangpa, was the six equanimities. He was not interested in having a monastery or organization because it could cause attachment, anger, pride, miserliness, self-cherishing and so forth to develop instead of being reduced. Of course, many other holy beings start monasteries to really establish the Vinaya teachings of the Buddha, to spread the teachings in the world and there is so much benefit from that. But Choje Gotsangpa had this particular practice to not have an organization because if you are not practicing, then it develops the ego so much. Instead of achieving enlightenment it interferes with achieving enlightenment.

His thought transformation advice is that if you have cancer or any problems, like a life-threatening problem that you are very scared of, to think in this way:

May my experience of this cancer cause numberless sentient beings to be free from disease.

You can think about your particular problem or sickness in the same way:

By my experiencing this disease, may numberless sentient beings who have the same disease or problem, the cause of which is negative karma, be free from all this and may they achieve sang gye, the total elimination of all obscurations and completion of all the realizations.

That is his advice on how to practice.

Before, we were suffering and worried so much with the self-cherishing thought, with the motivation of the self-cherishing thought. What made us worried was our self-cherishing thought, but now we use this problem so that all sentient beings may become free from all the sickness and spirit harm, free from the oceans of suffering and their cause, negative karma, and free from the obscurations, totally free from all this.

We use our sickness or problem for all sentient beings, we make it most meaningful for all sentient beings. Wow, wow, wow. We use it to free every sentient being from all the sufferings. We use our suffering to be beneficial and helpful for every sentient being and to free them from all the suffering and then to achieve buddhahood, peerless happiness. Wow, wow, wow, amazing, amazing, amazing.

Here our life is used to achieve happiness for all sentient beings, not only ultimate happiness [of liberation] but peerless happiness, full enlightenment. In this way our life becomes of the best use, the most happy life. By having cancer or whatever problem we make our life most happy.

Before, we made our life suffering with the self-cherishing thought, but now, by thinking of cherishing others we make our life the best, happiest life. If we die with this thought it is the happiest way of dying. That is the best cause to be born in a pure land or to have a higher rebirth, then to be able to again meet Dharma, to learn, develop, practice and actualize the path.

Before, with the self-cherishing thought, we used our life in a most unhappy way, but now with this good heart, dedicating our cancer or problem and ourselves for others, for numberless sentient beings, we make it the best life.

Having this sickness or any problem and experiencing it with the self-cherishing thought, there is no need to have it, but now experiencing it with a good heart toward others—when we change our mind with a good heart for others, then there is a great need for this sickness. This sickness is what we need in order to achieve enlightenment in the quickest way and to free others from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to enlightenment in the quickest way.