I hope this finds you very well. I am now doing some retreat and trying to finish before leaving for Taipei.
No matter how difficult life seems, no matter how terrible it may appear at times, you should think it is like last night’s dream. It is very important to see things this way. This life is very short; it doesn’t last forever, it is like a flash of lightning in the dark sky.
I am just mentioning some general Dharma things, which are no different from actual reality. Our difficulty is we don’t see things as they really are. Dharma helps us to understand how to see things as they actually are. When we do this, it stops our negative mind, negative projections, and negative emotions. Then our life becomes simpler and more peaceful, and it also gives us a great opportunity to take more responsibility, with more compassion, and we can handle problems in a much more positive way. Problems then don’t become real problems. We become more accepting and understanding of what is happening around us, whether it concerns business or relatives. There is no separation; there are not two worlds, of business and private life.
It is also important to become familiar with impermanence. Everything changes, nothing stays the same, everything is moving – it is important to accept this. We shouldn’t hold on to things. Our mind seeing things as concrete and permanent, not changing, creates a lot of problems for ourselves. Things that appear to exist do exist, but not in the way they appear – that they exist from their own side. It is very important to be familiar with this. The more understanding we have of Dharma, the more stable, positive, compassionate, and caring our mind is, so we are much more capable of dealing with life and all the various things it may present us.
Regarding the difficulties you have with your work, my suggestion is to recite the prayer of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). This prayer is very powerful for eliminating obstacles. I will send it to you.
So, please don’t worry about things. I am dedicating my retreat to you. Also, when I perform other practices, I always keep you in mind, as well as in my daily prayers.
If you feel sometimes that you are being used by others, you should make this a way of practicing, a way to benefit yourself by strengthening your attitude of being of service to others. In this way, you benefit yourself and others enormously. If you just feel you are being used and become negative, you lose out. The point of Dharma is to take advantage of situations rather than let them take advantage of you, and overwhelm you. This is what bodhisattvas do – they completely, 100% appreciate difficulties. If people use them, they are extremely happy and joyful, because this is what they have been praying for, that they can be used by others.
The great bodhisattva, the Indian saint, Shantideva, made many prayers to be able to help others in any way, with whatever they need, “May I do or be whatever possible in any way, even the smallest thing, to benefit others, even for a minute – please let that be.”
Shantideva’s famous prayer is:
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
You must understand that what is most important in life is doing whatever is most beneficial for all sentient beings. If not all, then most; if not most, as many as you can. Even doing things to benefit one other sentient being is so important. If one’s actions are beneficial for others, naturally they are beneficial for oneself – we have to understand that. It is from this that real happiness, satisfaction, and contentment come. This is the only real way of gaining peace and happiness within oneself, within the family, the country, and the world. Of course, for compassion to be real compassion it has to be performed with wisdom. This makes one’s actions most beneficial.
I want to go back to the practice of being used by sentient beings. This is a practice of the bodhisattvas. Of course, in certain situations, you have to understand how this is to be put into practice, for example, if you are a leader of a country. One example is Tibet when it was taken over by the Chinese. If you were the leader of Tibet at that time, you would not say, “Well, they want it, let them have it.” That is a different issue, because this issue does not just concern you, it concerns six million people, and you are responsible for those people. So, that is a different example. Before, those people had real freedom, now they don’t and they suffer a lot. But, regarding yourself, when you can choose between loss and gain for yourself, you take the loss, and as your practice you can offer yourself to be used by others. But if you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, your responsibility is to do what you can to bring happiness for as many of them as possible.
These are just a few comments I wanted to make. Really it would be nice if we could talk when I visit and it would also be nice, and very helpful, if you could attend whatever teachings you can manage. Please try something.
And please, please, please, don’t worry.
Much love and prayer...