Recognize the Nature of Suffering

Recognize the Nature of Suffering

Date of Advice:
March 2017
Date Posted:
July 2017

In this practice advice for a new student, Rinpoche explained how to become free from the suffering of samsara.  

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
In regard to practice, you should first do the morning motivation, The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment) and also Guru Yoga practice.

The main lam-rim commentary for you is Essence of Refined Gold, which you should read ten times. You should study the text and write down in a notebook or mark in the text anything that you don’t understand and ask questions to a geshe or to older students who have studied well.

Read the text ten times but read it mindfully, as an analytical meditation, until the mind is transformed, then do fixed meditation, keeping the mind in that for a while.

It’s extremely important to know the following. When a child knows that fire is hot, they won’t put their hand in the fire. If we recognize the nature of samsaric suffering we won’t follow it, although we have done that from beginningless time.

We are a servant to ignorance, a robot of samsara, following it from beginningless rebirths. We’re still in samsara and suffering, so recognize that by realizing emptiness we abandon ignorance and become free from the whole of samsara, from the three types of suffering. That’s how we can be free from the suffering of pain, from the suffering of death and old age, sickness and birth, and from the suffering of change, all the temporary samsaric pleasures. We have experienced all the pleasures—temporary samsaric pleasures—numberless times from beginningless rebirth, and because of our attitude to that we’re still in samsara, we’re still not free.

All the pleasures in the world that people have are nothing new but are old, experienced from beginningless rebirths. Compared to the devas’ very high pleasures, human beings’ billions or trillions of dollars are nothing. But compared to the devas, even the poorest human beings can have Dharma happiness, which they can continue and complete. They can be free from samsara, be liberated and become buddhas, however, samsaric happiness cannot be continued or completed.

Those two sufferings come from pervasive compounding suffering. This is very important. Buddhists need to know the sufferings of samsara, because we should realize what we need to be free from. If we can be free from pervasive compounding suffering, we can be free from samsara forever, not just temporarily. This third suffering means our five aggregates are under the control of delusion and karma, therefore the aggregates are pervaded by suffering, contaminated by the seed of delusion and karma, so suffering and delusions rise. That’s how suffering is compounded.

To realize the nature of suffering, feel that it’s like being in a fire. We can’t stand to be in a fire for even one second. We want to be out of that fire. Not just that, but hundreds, thousands of times worse than that. So it’s important, the most important meditation in our life.

Self-cherishing thought is the root of obstacles to benefit numberless sentient beings and also [it prevents us] from achieving happiness and being able to enlighten others. It’s the main obstacle. By recognizing that, give it up and develop bodhicitta, cherishing other sentient beings who are numberless. From that thought we can bring happiness to every sentient being, up to enlightenment: this life’s happiness, the happiness of future lives—not just one—and the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara and then buddhahood, the cessation of all the mistakes of the mind and completion of all realizations. From buddhahood we can then bring that to all sentient beings.

It’s unbelievable, unbelievable. It makes life the best, most meaningful—to bring peerless happiness to all sentient beings, to bring everyone to peerless happiness by oneself. This is the best Dharma practice. If you can, put effort into this. Like churning milk to make butter, this is the essence. It’s like taking the essence of gold or jewels from the ocean sand.

Attempt to do essential daily practices. After one or two years, check and then you can do preliminary practices; there are certain meditations to do. First do effortful meditation on lam-rim, then effortless meditation.

I don’t want to give all that now. Thank you very much.

Please take care of your life in this way. Bodhicitta is the best way to take care of our life, so it is most beneficial for all sentient beings, the happiest life.

Thank you very much.

With much love and prayers...