My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I am very satisfied, and you are doing much better practice than I am. After many years without seeing you or having heard much from you, what you have become now is very, very good. That you are able to do Lama Chöpa is unbelievable!
Lama Chöpa is not only a highest tantra practice but it also combines with and contains the preliminary practices, especially lamrim and thought transformation—transforming all the undesirable things, carrying and using them into the path to enlightenment. It is very, very good. Then also, you are doing the short self-initiation. That is really good and leaves imprints. It is so good, all the practices that you have done.
So now some suggestions for your son. You tried so hard, but you are not sure how to help your son change in a positive way, away from the problems. I think he might regret this very much as he grows up or he could even become worse.
Let me suggest to you some good news, some good ways to help. When you do Lama Chöpa and the lamrim prayer, visualize your son next to you and request blessings of all the realizations, not only for yourself but also for him, as well as for all the sentient beings. Especially if you have an enemy, you can visualize and request all the realizations, for yourself, for your son and for the enemy. That is so important. It’s a blessing, and that is the best, best prayer for your son.
I don’t know if you are doing any other prayers for your son, you didn’t say. However, these are my suggestions:
When you do Vajrasattva practice, at that time, and also, when you do prostrations by reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, [do the following visualization].
Lama Tsongkhapa said in the Lamrim Chenmo that the very essence is visualization. In order to collect the most merit when doing prostrations, you can visualize an unbelievable number of your bodies. So visualize your body—whether as Thousand-arm Chenrezig, which is easy—filling up the whole earth, covering the whole earth, then prostrating with all those bodies toward the merit field.
So do prostrations, and as your body does the prostrations, visualize your body in the form of the Thousand-arm Chenrezig, that is best, or you can also visualize your ordinary body, but it is incredibly tall, covering the entire earth. If you have visualized your body as a thousand bodies, then you get the merit of a thousand bodies actually having done the prostrations. Even though you only visualized it, you get the actual merit of that.
If you visualize the whole earth filled with your body, then you also get that merit. Of course, you can visualize this whether there is an altar or not, but since you are living there yourself, you can have an altar. I don’t think it will bother your son. Generally speaking, it’s good to have as many holy objects on the altar as possible, such as images of Lama Chöpa [merit field] and the Thirty-five Buddhas. If you need posters of these, I can send them to you. So have as many images as possible where you do prostrations and generally in the house (except in the toilet), and you can even put them outside.
To follow Lama Tsongkhapa’s idea of visualizing your body as many, that is the most unbelievable, unbelievable way to do prostrations to Buddha. If you are just doing physical prostrations without having a clear visualization of Buddha, that is just exercise. You can do the same thing to a tree or a rock, but that is not prostrations, unless you think the rock is a manifestation of Buddha or the tree is manifestation of Buddha.
The benefits of even just seeing a painting or statue of Buddha are amazing, unbelievable. You can also think that beams are emitted from the merit field and not only are you purified, but also the numberless six-realm sentient beings are purified, and numberless nectar beams are emitted, purifying their negative karma and obstacles collected from beginningless rebirth. Of course, you can do that and along with that, think that your son is also purified.
Maybe it is better for your concentration to do this when you are doing Vajrasattva practice. This is according to Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche’s advice: Think there is a moon disc in your heart and above that all sentient beings are around, including your son. Then nectar beams are emitted from Guru Vajrasattva, above your crown. Nectar descends from the deity and enters your body and mind, and purifies not only yourself but also all the sentient beings, including your son. If you have enemies whom you hate or someone who hates you, then you can also think of that person as well. It’s very good Dharma practice to help someone who has harmed you, instead of taking revenge and harming them back. So do your practice to benefit your enemy, to be kind to them. That is the best practice.
Then think you have purified all their negative karma and at the end they all become Vajrasattva, enlightened as Vajrasattva. That is very good practice, for yourself, also for your father and mother. Even if they have passed away, it’s very good. You have to pray for them and also for your son. You have to pray for all sentient beings, including your son, your parents and all beings.
This is such a good way to practice and this is what you can do to help others, as you are Buddhist this time. This is how you can help others in the best way, to purify their negative karma. All the sufferings and problems come from negative karma that is collected from beginningless rebirths, therefore, these things are the best to do.
You can also help your son collect merit, good karma, as much as possible. There are many different ways to do this, and as much as you learn Dharma, then you can see and think of the different ways. This is not just helping in this life; it helps all the way up to enlightenment. If it is done with a good heart and of course also with bodhicitta, then it helps not only in this life, but up to enlightenment. You have to know this. This is an unbelievable way to create the cause of happiness now and forever after, in order to achieve peerless happiness, enlightenment.
Otherwise, your help for your son is very small, almost nothing. It is similar to helping a cat or dog by giving them food and shelter. Your son has his own past life’s negative karma, and he is experiencing it in this life as suffering. How you can help him deal with that is by helping him create good karma. That is the opponent, the remedy, and then in his future lives he will have so much happiness. Otherwise, it can be the opposite of this.
If he doesn’t create negative karma and if you help him to create good karma, it will open a new eye in his life, in regards to bad karma and good karma. Without you helping, he has a totally blind mind. Then there is a danger that everything only becomes negative karma, because whatever action is done with body, speech and mind, the mind is following attachment, anger and ignorance. And of course the action is done on the basis of self-cherishing thought. That is the ignorance holding the I as real while it is not. The I that exists is existing in mere name and functioning in mere name, experiencing suffering in mere name, experiencing happiness in mere name, achieving enlightenment in mere name, experiencing hell or sickness in mere name, suffering and rebirth in mere name, old age in mere name and death in mere name.
What I am mentioning to you here is similar in Universal Education, which is supposed to have both the sixteen human dharmas and the ten divine dharmas. However, the ten divine dharmas are almost never followed, and I think only in Malaysia. Last time I was there, they showed me how they were following the ten divine dharmas there, so I think it is only in that place and country. Otherwise, it seems it is not taught; it seems it is difficult, not easy.
So you must read this teaching on the ten divine dharmas, the real meaning. I think Alison Murdoch made or completed it and there is a long commentary. I am not sure if some is mixed up and not clear; I am not sure. There is my explanation, so you need to read all of that and as much as possible follow that. You could try to get the ten divine dharmas and also the sixteen human dharmas—the original translated texts and my commentary—if UE has this. [See the Foundation for the Development of Compassion and Wisdom, (FDCW).]
I will give you some examples of different ways to bring your son into a good life and a positive life. Otherwise, you put so much effort but it’s like taking care of a dog or a cat. Of course, generally teaching him to be kind and to help even ants etc., is very good. But you have to help him learn how to develop more and more happiness and less and less suffering from life to life. You have to think in a long way, very long-term. You have to plan like that, for liberation from samsara up to enlightenment. You are responsible for his life, not just in this life but from life to life. For his life to become better and better, with more and more happiness up to enlightenment, you have to think that way. Then, however much effort you put into bringing him up, that is unbelievable, it’s so worthwhile.
It is said in the teachings:
However many drops there are in the ocean,
If you work for that many eons for one sentient being
To generate a single virtuous thought,
That is the bodhisattva attitude—to bear all the difficulties
And to have patience and perseverance for that.
So just to cause one sentient being to generate a single virtuous thought, it is so worthwhile to make effort in this way.
Your aim is the cessation of all the obscurations, mistakes and sufferings, and the completion of all the realizations, the cause of happiness. Otherwise, any happiness you cause is just samsaric happiness, temporary happiness, which, as you know, is actually the suffering of change.
There are three kinds of suffering
- The suffering of suffering
- The suffering of change
- Pervasive compounding suffering.
You have to know these three kinds of suffering and also all the sufferings put together.
The conclusion is that you should help your son behave positively with his body, speech, and mind, causing only happiness to others and not causing suffering, so to stop those [negative] actions of his body, speech, and mind.
In this way your son will create so much good karma, which is the cause of happiness to others, then not only in this life but in future lives, he will have hundreds, thousands, millions of times greater and greater happiness. Your son will receive greater and greater happiness, like the sun shining in the world. There is only one sun shining in the world and so many animals and all the humans can enjoy that. Then his life will be like that, going toward enlightenment—the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations.
So the goal is peerless happiness, achieving the state of omniscience, knowing directly all the past, present and future phenomena at the same time, in every second. Then in the shortest time we can read the minds of the numberless hell beings, the numberless hungry ghosts, the numberless animals, the numberless humans, the numberless asuras and the numberless suras. We can read all their minds at the same time. We can see all the past, present and future and we can see directly every sentient being’s gross karma and subtle karma. Usually only the Buddha can see subtle karma; not even arhats can see that, even though they are free from samsara. So the benefits are unbelievable. There is greater and greater happiness for so many lifetimes, and all our wishes succeed from life to life and we have less suffering and less problems.
This is the essential advice for your son, and you can understand this advice.
Anyone that you meet, when you speak to them, smile with a compassionate heart, thinking of the kindness of the other person toward you. Think how precious that being is in your life; think in that way. Think that the other person experiences suffering or happiness depending on how we think of that person, how we look at that person and how we speak to that person. So smile with a calm, humble, nice aspect. Try to do that, by speaking with respectful words to others and also be respectful physically, like bending down to others.
For example, smiling at others with a good heart, not a black political smile, but a Dharma smile, white politics. The Buddha is the wisest in politics, creating no harm, only happiness, and creating greater and greater causes for happiness. This is only the Buddha.
Since I advised smiling and thinking of the happiness of others, this then causes us to have a very beautiful and handsome body in the future. Then with that we will have much happiness and many sentient beings will like us, and then we can benefit others, eventually freeing them from suffering and bringing them to enlightenment. Always do like this, to our parents, our family, animals and any sentient being.
We should respect even animals. Don’t treat them badly, just thinking this animal doesn’t matter. This attitude creates negative karma. We must love them just as they love themselves. When we love the animal, then the animal becomes happy and then we create good karma, so that helps, as I said before, from life to life, then we have so much happiness, and all our wishes succeed, are effective and have a good effect. Please don’t treat animals like tissue paper, like the way human beings use tissue paper for cleaning kaka.
Also don’t squeeze insects in your hand; don’t treat animals like that. Don’t treat them in a way that causes harm; instead we need to cause their happiness. It’s like the way we treat ants or worms—we don’t step on them, but put them in places where people won’t tread on them. We can put them in a safe place, like on the side of the road.
For example, in my room, when there are insects, ants and so forth, I have two boxes, one used by the right hand and one used by the left hand. They were made in Singapore. I suggested to the center in Singapore to make them. Each box has a front part that opens, so it’s easy to pick up the insects. The insects go through the door and then they go inside the paper box. When they go through the door there is a mantra written above the door (of the insect box). The mantra is OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT. This mantra purifies the negative karma of one thousand eons.
There is a message on each side of the box. This is very important, for the perspective of how to think from our own side and from the animal’s side. The message is very important, to make us think. On the top of the box is the Namgyalma mantra. As long as the insect is inside the box, then all their negative karma collected from beginningless rebirths gets purified.
Also, other people may be interested when they see the box. It’s very useful to think of new ways to benefit others. You can take the insects in the box around the holy objects, the statues, stupas and scriptures. This purifies their past negative karma and creates the cause of enlightenment, all the realizations of the path to enlightenment, besides higher rebirth as a deva, human being or in the pure land, which is free from samsara, free from the lower realms, and then they achieve enlightenment. However many times we take them around the holy objects, that many times it creates the causes of enlightenment. It is that many causes of every good thing, temporal happiness and ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara and enlightenment. If you would like to get this paper box (called Liberation Tools) you can order it from the Singapore center. They would be happy to give it to you and you can give it to those friends who you think might like to practice like that.
There is a story from long ago in the past; there was a Buddha Kashyapa statue above the water and on a leaf on the water there were seven tiny insects that were carried around, pushed by the wind. They were pushed around the statue seven times and because of that good karma, which was not from the motivation side, not from the mind’s side, it became Dharma. That action became Dharma and then the cause of enlightenment.
As Lama Tsongkhapa said, generally the actions of body, speech and mind which are done with ignorance, anger and attachment are just causes of samsara. The exception is the actions done by depending on the power of the holy object. That means offerings to, circumambulations around, and prostrations to the statue of the Buddha, so these things are the exception. From the motivation side, the negative mind has only attachment clinging to the happiness of this life, then it can also be attachment or anger, and where there is attachment there is ignorance, so it is based on that. But if the actions are done with holy objects, then they become the cause of enlightenment due to the power of the holy object. These holy objects are so powerful, even though we don’t see the actual Buddha.
So after that life, those seven insects were born as human beings because they went around the Buddha statue; they did so much purification and created so much merit. They were born as human beings in the lower caste and then they generated so much renunciation toward that caste, then they practiced Dharma and in their next life they were born in a very reputable and high family and the public respected them. Then they were able to meet Buddha Kashyapa and Buddha Kashyapa predicted when they would achieve enlightenment. This is a common story of how they developed from life to life. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Buddha Kashyapa predicted their enlightenment. Incredible!
You can do the same for any animal or insect that you find in the house. Outside there are numberless, but inside the house it’s easy to help the insects. It is just this one time that you have received a perfect human rebirth and met the Dharma. It is just this one time and you have this incredible opportunity to achieve enlightenment. It’s incredible, incredible, most unbelievable that you can help them. It is extremely rare, so rare that you can help them—wow, wow, wow—especially for enlightenment, to create the cause of enlightenment.
Another thing that helps us achieve enlightenment more quickly is by generating compassion for others. Please think about the fourth verse of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation:
Whenever I see beings who are wicked in nature
And overwhelmed by violent negative actions and suffering,
I shall hold such rare ones dear,
As if I had found a precious treasure.
When we meet or see sentient beings of bad nature, suffering from unbelievable heavy negative karma [we should hold them dear]. If it’s a human being, for example, they experience heavy negative karma due to living the life with heresy, anger and no faith, no belief in the four noble truths, in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, reincarnation, karma, all those things.
An example is someone who is engaged in killing others and so forth or is creating heavy negative karma and then having so much suffering, so many problems, physical sickness and mental sufferings, fear and so many sufferings, leprosy and other diseases, cancer and so forth, or viruses that affect them in a bad way and so forth. There are many examples of suffering, being overwhelmed by suffering, possessed by the heavy negative karma. When we see them, think it is like having found a wish-granting jewel and practice cherishing them. Think how difficult it is to find them.
For example, here, these insects or animals, if we read the lamrim texts on the sufferings of the animals, then we can understand. The animals have deep ignorance, like the sky with no stars, no moon, no sun, like that, foggy. Then they are eaten by another animal, experiencing the particular animal sufferings, so they are suffering like that. Until they are free of the animal suffering, they have to suffer like that. They eat other types of animals, but also they are eaten by other animals, and also humans eat them, like pigs, fish, chickens, etc., numberless. If we relate the suffering to ourselves, if the problem is related to ourselves, then we can understand how difficult it is to bear.
Then there is the suffering of heat and cold. Also, human beings use the animals that are with them without thinking of their suffering or happiness, without thinking about what the animal needs. Not thinking of their suffering. Most people treat animals like that. Someone will totally control the animal for their own happiness, so it doesn’t have one single freedom. The animal’s happiness is totally up to that person. How must that be? So much suffering. When we see more suffering of the insects, then we can generate greater compassion.
First we generate compassion, then from that we can achieve enlightenment for sentient beings. After we achieve enlightenment, then we can free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsara and from the lower realms and we can bring them to peerless happiness, enlightenment. In this way we are able to generate greater and greater compassion. The more we think how they are suffering, then the quicker, quicker we are able to achieve enlightenment and its causes.
These insects are overwhelmed by so much negative karma and suffering, so for us these insects become very precious, because we can generate compassion more strongly and we are able achieve enlightenment quicker and then liberate the numberless sentient beings and bring them to peerless happiness, enlightenment. These are the benefits—wow, wow, wow—from generating compassion for just one insect. These are the benefits; we can’t imagine what we get. Wow! It is endless, like the limitless sky.
It’s the same thing when we are outside [the home], for example, when we see people with so much suffering due to heavy karma. They are unbelievably poor or sick, and there are many different sufferings. We should try to help them as much as we can, even giving them one lunch or a cup of tea or giving them some money. If the person is Buddhist we can recite one mala of OM MANI PADME HUM for them, to purify their negative karma and suffering and bring them to Chenrezig’s enlightenment. So dedicate the merits like that and pray for that person to have a compassionate mind. In addition, we can help in whatever way we can, and then this helps us.
Even in this life, we can change and later all our wishes will succeed. In the future we will receive help, we will get more and more from life to life and all our wishes will succeed. Even our great wishes will succeed. Wow, wow, wow! Sometimes it’s very surprising for us what can happen, and even in this life miraculous things happen. So if we are able to, we should help and benefit sentient beings deeper and deeper, more and more, and guide them to go to enlightenment.
One thing we can do is make charity of food, to even the insects, the ants. This is an easy way to create charity and also they need the food, because it is so difficult for them to find food sometimes. In Washington at the back side of the house at Buddha Amitabha Pure Land, where I go for retreat sometimes, there are two ants’ nests. I had a text for many years on how to make charity for ants, so I translated it there and then made charity to the ants. [Find links to Rinpoche's Charity to Ants booklet and other resources for animal liberation in the FPMT Catalogue.]
You can use blessed tsampa and mani pills blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and you can add other blessed pills as well if you have them, but not medicine. Then you recite mantras, blow on the tsampa and mix it with water. When it is dried you can sprinkle it on the ants’ nests, for them to eat. So not only do they get food, it also purifies their mind. When you recite the mantras, you can recite the very powerful mantras (five or ten powerful mantras) and then by sprinkling the tsampa on the ants’ nests, they can eat. They finish the tsampa after one or two days.
Tharchin, a monk from Nalanda Monastery who couldn’t follow the philosophy studies there because he got lung, fortunately came to Washington to help fill the many water bowls there. It takes two or three hours every day to clean and fill up the bowls and make the offerings. Then at the end, he dedicates for the FPMT organization and for me and my projects.
So each week he goes to make charity for the ants. Sometimes there are more than one hundred ants’ nests that he goes to, and sometimes it takes him several hours, like the whole afternoon, to make the charity. But this practice is very easy to do, and it doesn’t depend on whether you have compassion or not. So you have to mix the tsampa with the blessed pills, mani pills and blessed water, so it purifies them, also purifying their mind and their negative karma. Then this helps them not to be reborn in the lower realms.
Since I am telling stories, I will also mention this. There is a birdbath in Washington and a bird feeder, filled with bird food. Sometimes I can see the birds in the birdbath at lunchtime. I can see it from the lunch table. Inside the birdbath there is a Padmasambhava mantra that is etched on glass. It is a very precious mantra, not the one that people normally recite. It has so much power and it blesses the water and purifies the birds’ negative karma and helps them to quickly achieve enlightenment. That precious mantra is in the water, so the birds come and wash and drink in the water, I think in the morning time. We also put mani pills in the water for the birds.
There are two monks who have lived in Washington for many years. The other monk is Tenzin, who is a psychologist. He does his work on the telephone, then he also helps with the water bowl offerings and taking care of the house inside and the garden outside.
There is a large Medicine Buddha statue outside that came from Indonesia. It’s made from volcanic stone and also there is a large Amitabha statue from Vietnam that is made of marble. Now it has been painted so well and made very beautiful, with the throne and so forth.
There are flowers around and also signs with mantras on them, so that when you look at the signs it purifies 100,000 eons of negative karma and so forth. These mantras have a lot of benefits. There is also a sign with the Amoghapasha [mantra] and there is a Bodhisattva Ksitigharba statue, to whom you can pray. It is unbelievably powerful, 100,000 times more powerful than if you pray to other bodhisattvas. Wow, wow, wow!
The monks there also do the work of taking care of the flowers. Not only that, every week they also buy several boxes of fishing worms, at least five hundred or more worms. In the Aptos house they also do this. Then every week the monks (and nuns in Aptos) take these worms around the holy objects, the stupas and tsa tsas and all the holy objects. They take the worms around in buckets, for example, by carrying two buckets on the shoulders, which is how the Indian poor carry things. They recite the different mantras to purify them, and then they let the worms and the animals create the cause of enlightenment by taking them around the holy object, so it’s by the power of the holy object. Then they liberate them outside. So I have set this up in this way, trying to help as much as I can.
The purpose of telling you these stories, is so that you can also do this if you want to. These are some things that you can also do.
For the birds, the birdfeeder is made of wood and it has two levels. On the second level it is totally filled with bird seed and all day the birds come to eat; more come at certain times. Next to the birdfeeder there is a speaker that is playing mantras and sutras such as the Vajra Cutter Sutra and the Golden Light Sutra, recited by Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, also the Sanghata Sutra and different mantras and prayers, so when the birds eat they hear the mantras all the time, whenever they come there to eat the food.
We also have a speaker near the birdbath, so when they wash in the birdbath and drink the water, they hear sutras, mantras and prayers continually. In this way, as much as possible, we are trying to help them. By hearing the prayers and sutras, it purifies their mind. Of course, when we hear or read Dharma, Buddhist teachings, even if we don’t understand the meaning, it still purifies the mind and our negative karma. Then by not creating negative karma, we don’t get born in the lower realms and we get a higher rebirth, for example, as a deva or human.
When we see a beggar or an old person carrying a very heavy load, if we can help them, if we have strength and we can help them, then we should help them. Or we can share the load and make it lighter, at least share. This is just as an example, but anyone that we can help, for example in a bus or train or anywhere, if we are sitting and we see an older person standing with no seat, then we can offer them our seat. Even very small things that we can do to make them happy, to bring them happiness and peace, then we should do that. Also, always show respect to others.
Even the way we look at human beings and animals—if we look down in a disliking way, then the other person feels uncomfortable or angry, and it brings unhappiness, even to the animals. So we should look at that being as most precious, most kind.
For example, by cherishing that sentient being, from that we achieve the happiness of future rebirths, such as being born as a deva or a human being. By cherishing that sentient being, we can achieve total liberation from the oceans of samsaric sufferings forever and by cherishing that person we can achieve the peerless happiness, the total cessation of obscurations and the completion of realizations. Then we are able to free the numberless sentient beings from the lower realms, from samsara, and we are able to bring them to enlightenment, peerless happiness. That’s the highest. Hahaha!
So think of these benefits of cherishing sentient beings. It is like the limitless skies, most unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.
Also from beginningless rebirths up to now, and even in the future up to enlightenment, all the happiness up to now, and the future happiness up to enlightenment, everything comes from the kindness of those sentient beings. We can also think that sentient beings have been our mother and father since beginningless rebirths and have been kind in the four ways, from beginningless rebirths, also in the future, such as giving us happiness, protection of life and so forth.
Even if the other person looks down on us in the beginning, and puts us down or dislikes us, thinks that we are bad, from our own side, by thinking of the above reasons, then we can really cherish and respect them. Then the other person’s mind can change and they will be happy, pleased.
Generally, we should help people who are around us and help those whom we meet outside. If we are able to help others that is so good. Using our life to serve others, to dedicate for others, is really good. So we should do whatever we can for those who are around us, thinking that this one person is more precious than wish-granting jewels.
A wish-granting jewel is so precious, more precious than diamonds. When the universal kings or bodhisattvas in the pas got wish-granting jewels from the oceans, they cleaned the mud from them in the three ways, then they put the wish-granting jewel on top of a banner on the fifteenth of the month. Then whatever they prayed for materialized in the next second or minute. Whatever they prayed for, all the needs of this life.
So for example if you want the most expensive car, I think in 2020 they said it was a Ferrari, or if you want a rocket, however many you want, or airplanes or anything, however many swimming pools, and so forth. Anything that you want, all the pleasures of this life, so then you will receive that. Like Sai Baba, for many people when he moves his hand he produces and gives ashes, or for some people they get a watch or gold chain. He moves his hands and then they get that object. He has the power to do that. It is a bit like that, so whatever you pray for is materialized. That is called a wish-granting jewel.
It’s not just one wish-granting jewel, but filling the whole sky, however this human being, insect or animal is more precious than that. They are much more precious to us than the sky filled with wish-granting jewels. If that is difficult to understand, then whatever we think is the most precious thing to our mind, we can think that it fills the whole sky.
Some people like bones of human beings or other animals, so it can be whatever we think is most precious for our mind. We can think the whole sky is filled with that. But even a wish-granting jewel or even if the whole sky is filled with wish-granting jewels, that alone cannot stop our rebirth in the lower realms; that alone cannot free us from our samsara; that alone cannot free us from the lower nirvana; that alone cannot cause us to achieve enlightenment. However, this insect or this animal or this person can do that. If we cherish this person, it’s unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. They are most precious, most kind, most dear and our wish-fulfilling jewel.
Anybody who needs our help and we are able to help, then we should serve them, even with small things. When we serve them it makes them so happy and we become closer to their heart, that person is close to our heart. By thinking of the explanations I gave, by thinking of those reasonings, it becomes more clear. Think they are more dear, more kind, more precious, then we feel closer.
Before we felt far away with no connection, but now we feel they are close in our heart, or closer, depending on how strongly we feel it. Even if the wish-granting jewels were to fill the whole sky, it is nothing compared to the value of this one insect or one animal or human being. What they can do and how they can benefit us is like the limitless sky.
For example, in America, when we go for tea and snacks, the waiters are well-trained, and when we come in, they always say “Hello,” or “Good morning,” or “Good evening.” Then they tell us about the weather or something, like “How are you,” and they make some nice conversations with a nice smile and a nice face, and it makes us happy. Then at the end they say “Goodbye, I hope you had a good time,” a few words. So it makes people happy. This is just a general example.
Also in the restaurants they bend their body, and their hand goes to the left side in a manner of respect. In the Yak and Yeti restaurant in Nepal there was one man doing this to me (putting his hand on his heart). I think he was taught this. One man did it, but not the other person. So when the waiter bends down respectfully, this makes people happy, and it’s always very sweet talk, so it makes people happy. It causes happiness and pleasure to others and it is our responsibility to do this. So it depends on how we behave toward others and how we think of that person.
As I said before, we cherish that person and think that they are most kind, most dear, most wish-fulfilling. We think they are really wish-fulfilling, the ones that we meet, that they are more precious than not just one wish-granting jewel, but many wish-granting jewels, as I described before. So with this recognition, this feeling, then we talk, we serve the person.
In reality these are the reasons showing how precious the other sentient being is, whether it is an insect or animal or person, how precious they are to us, so we want to completely serve them, we are so happy to serve them. The more we understand this, we are much more unbelievably happy to serve them, to offer to that person. When we serve old people or when we serve children, it should be like this. Especially for children with imperfect organs or old people, those who need constant help, we are happy, unbelievably happy, like a mountain or like the sky, to be able to serve them, even to have a very small chance to be able to serve them.
So we should physically abandon giving harm to others, like ants or worms, not using them like tissue paper, not being careless with them. Even though they want happiness and do not want suffering we don’t recognize that, or even if we recognize it we still harm them. We are careless toward other beings, like chickens, fish and so forth.
Just by harming them one time, then we will be harmed. By harming someone’s body—insects, animals, or human beings—one time, by killing them and so forth, then we will be killed. Even one time harming another life, killing and so forth, then we will be killed for five hundred lifetimes, in the next life or the life after the next life. We don’t even have to know the person before or they don’t have to know some story about us. Without any story, just when that person sees us, they kill us. We get killed due to having killed others [in the past]. By constantly harming fish or other animals, pigs and so forth, of course, for so many lifetimes we will be harmed. Even if we are born human, we will be harmed by others for hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of lives, like that, on and on.
If we harm or torture another being, like burning an insect in a fire, or burning an insect alive or whatever, or even eating these beings when they are alive, like octopus, then we will have to experience this ourselves for so many future lives, on and on, when we are born with a human body, besides being born in the lower realms. However terribly we harmed the other being, we will be harmed like that in the future. It’s unbelievable. We will be tortured or others will kill us. Those whom we killed take a body according to their karma, such as being reborn in the human realm, and then they will eat us, they will kill us, with no end. It is like that if we keep on doing that in this life, from past lives.
If we abandon harming others, then our life is protected; it affects us not only in this life, but in future lives. Our life is protected. Even though others try to cause harm, they can’t harm us. Even though others try to harm us, we can’t receive harm from them. From life to life we will have a long life and happiness; it goes on like that from life to life, for hundreds and thousands and millions of lives. If we stop giving harm to others, this is the best protection for our life, for our long life, for peace and happiness.
Then by taking others’ lives, the ripening aspect of that action [determines] our rebirth. For a complete action there are four things that need to be gathered: the base—the sentient being; the thought of killing; the action of killing (either violently or in a peaceful way); and the goal—that the being dies before us.
The possessed result is that even if we are born as a human being due to another good karma, our food, drink, medicines, fruits, have no potential or very small potential. They have small power or potential, it is difficult to digest the food if we try to eat or it causes disease, and we die many times. We die, even having an untimely death. Even though karmically we still have a life to live, we have an untimely death.
Even if we are born as a human being due to another good karma, then by experiencing the result similar to the cause, we have a very short life or we die in the mother’s womb. There is no time to even come out. We die in childhood time or we do not live long, we suffer with various diseases, one after the other. We get diseases and even if we recover we get another disease. Some people are like that. Some people have so much karma for cancer, they recover from one cancer through an operation or whatever and then the cancer comes again. For some people it is like this, again and again.
Then also when we are born, for example as a human being, another result is creating the result similar to the cause, by killing again. So even if we are born as a human being, we are still involved in killing others, liking so much to hunt or kill fish and so forth.
In one family there may be a few children, and one child, whose mind has so much compassion, when they see other animals suffering or being attacked by other animals or being killed by people, this child cries. That makes the child cry, because they have so much compassion.
Then another child likes hunting or killing so much. That is the harmonious result, similar to the cause. By living in morality, by avoiding killing, not only in this life, but in our future lives, from life to life, it goes on and on, and we will experience the result harmonious with the cause. If we don’t kill, if we are able to abandon killing, that continues from life to life. It’s unbelievable, most unbelievable, for us and for other human beings. So then if we stop causing suffering to animals and we don’t kill them, that continues from life to life, and like that, we bring world peace and happiness. We can see this very clearly.
By giving up causing harm to others’ lives, it is the cause of having a long life, no disease or less disease, and for us to be very healthy, in this life and future lives, in all the lives. Even if we are very old, like eighty, ninety or one hundred, still we will have no disease and we will be so magnificent.
Even if we don’t believe in the karmic result of harming others’ lives, if we live in morality and avoid giving harm to others’ lives, from this good karma we will receive happiness not only in this life, but in future lives, from life to life and it goes on. Like that we will have more and more happiness, so these benefits accrue, but basically if we don’t believe in [karma], we can just think that it is illegal to do things that harm others anyway, and we would have to go to prison. But with bodhicitta, if we take a vow not to harm others’ lives, then the merit becomes more and more, more than the sky.
By taking things not given by others, anything of value (not dust from the house that the person has thrown away, not that, or anything that has no value). Stealing is taking from others without permission, something which has value. This has four aspects, like before: the ripening aspect similar to the cause, which determines our rebirth, the possessed aspect, experiencing the result similar to the cause and creating the result similar to the cause.
The goal of stealing is thinking, “This is mine.” Before we didn’t have it, then after we get it, we think, “This is mine.” That is the goal. The ripening aspect result is rebirth in the lower realms, or even if we are born as a human being due to another good karma, we then experience the result similar to the cause, so we steal others’ things, as a robber or thief. Even if it doesn’t look like we are a robber or thief, if we rob politically, if we take something away, actually it is stealing, but we use skillful means politically, then the effect is we lose all our things.
There are some people who always do this. For some people there is always a thief stealing from them wherever they go. It goes on and on and on until they stop stealing, until they stop giving that harm to others and instead give peace and happiness.
From the negative karma of stealing valuable things or taking things not given by others, there is the karmic result in four ways: the ripening aspect similar to the cause, the possessed aspect, experiencing the result similar to the cause and creating the result similar to the cause. The ripening aspect similar to the cause is rebirth in the lower realms. For new people who don’t have knowledge of the lower realms, there are the hell beings, the hungry ghosts and the animals, so if you don’t know then [ask someone] to explain this. So we are reborn there sometimes for eons, for a long time; if not for eons, for a long time. Then we have most unbelievable, most unbelievable suffering, sometimes for eons.
The harm from the result similar to the cause is poverty. We experience the result of poverty in this life and in future lives, from life to life—unbelievable—not only hundreds, thousands, millions of lives, but it goes on like that, it goes on and on. So we are poor and we have no means of living, or even if we have that, we have very little or we have to share it with others, or we lose our things, they get stolen, we always lose things. There are people like this, that this happens to, and not only in this life, it goes on and on.
The possessed result of stealing is that we have less fruit or the result of what we need, fruit or rice crops, is very little, or the food becomes inedible, not good. Even though the outside looks good, we cannot eat the inside, it is rotten, something is wrong, the fruit becomes rotten or the crops change, somehow the crops become dry and don’t exist.
In Africa many years ago there was so much drought and no crops grew because there was no water. So many countries sent water by airplane, but by the time it arrived there it became smelly or dirty and they could not drink the water. It happens like that, and it is happening more and more, even now, not just in Africa but in many countries.
The opposite is giving [things] away, making charity. So from life to life, for hundreds, thousands, millions of lives, on and on, we will have unbelievable wealth, we will be rich, having no diseases, having health and happiness, and so many of our wishes will succeed. Whatever we wish for, without effort, in all our lives we will have perfect wealth, and we won’t receive harm to our wealth, for example, our wealth won’t be confiscated by the king or the government and other powerful people. Or our crops won’t get eaten by worms and pigs, or by other animals, rats and rabbits and so forth.
I saw in New Zealand that different animals destroy the crops at different times and then the planes come and kill them by dropping poison on the crops. This is thinking only about now, and for a very short time it looks OK. But in the long term it will cause us to receive harm in all our lifetimes due to killing the different animals who ate the crops. By killing them, this is what it causes. Even though, without thinking about reincarnation, past and future, it looks like it is OK, because the animals died and the crops grew, but it’s not OK. We create the karma to receive harm to the crops and enjoyments in all the future lives, thus it becomes worse.
If we make charity to others, even in this life, then when we need something someone comes up and gives it to us, even though we didn’t ask for it. This happens a lot in this life. Then in the next life, even more so, people are helping us, people are giving us whatever we need and even what we don’t need, people give to us. So that goes on for hundreds, thousands and millions of lives; it goes on and on.
When we need things, then others give those things to us and it makes us really happy. That’s a good example. If we do the same thing to others, that make others very happy, so that affects us. Then the habit continues and people give us all the things that we need, without asking. The wealth we have in this life, all that wealth has come from our past life’s charity. We made charity in the past and that is the cause. The cause of wealth is charity. For example, if we make charity today, in the morning, we may receive [a result quickly.] Sometimes when it’s very powerful we receive the result very quickly. Someone gives us something and we receive it in the afternoon.
There is a quotation from the Arya Sanghata Sutra:
Any sentient being, who during my teachings,
Makes charity well, (even if the material is the size of a hair,)
For 80,000 eons will have the good result of great enjoyments.
They will have a beautiful and healthy body, enjoy happiness and have control over wealth.
At the end, they will also achieve the result of peerless enlightenment.
Having heard there is such a great result, who would not want to collect merit?
So from the charity of giving [something the size of] a single hair to somebody, from that, for many future lives, like 80,000 future lifetimes, we never get reborn in the lower realms. Then we will have a healthy life, no sickness and so much wealth, on and on, so much happiness, and then ultimately we will achieve enlightenment, buddhahood, gaining total cessation and completion of realizations.
So it is very good when you make a party at your house. At that time, think you are making charity to all the beings who come to the party; you are making charity. Charity means giving up miserliness. The completion of charity is not making charity to all the people in the whole world, so there are no longer any beggars. It doesn’t mean that. Charity is when we don’t have miserliness. The completion of charity is no miserliness.
Something that we have strong attachment for, even it is given to a person, but mentally we haven’t given it—even if physically we have given it, but mentally there is so much attachment, grabbing—that is not charity.
So whenever people come, you should offer tea, food, whatever they need, so you have a great opportunity to make charity all the time, and that is much more than one single hair. Of course if we give with the mind of bodhicitta, then there is more than skies of merit.
With much love and prayers ...