Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: Destroy the Self-Cherishing Thought

Rinpoche's Online Advice Book: Destroy the Self-Cherishing Thought

Date of Advice:
June 2021
Date Posted:
December 2022

This advice on how to transform negative emotions was given to a student who was feeling very unhappy and depressed.

Monks wishing Lama Zopa Rinpoche a happy birthday at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, December 2016. Photo: Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

My most dear one,
I will meet you, I will invite you—you are my daughter—but for now I am keeping this advice short.

There are numberless sentient beings who don’t get happiness, therefore, think, “May I experience, may I receive all the sentient beings’ unhappiness and may they be free from all the sufferings of samsara, the oceans of suffering of samsara, and achieve enlightenment immediately.”

Use your unhappiness, whatever it is, for sentient beings, not just going “Arggh,” torturing yourself. Think of numberless sentient beings’ suffering, which is even worse than yours. So you experience that, you take it on yourself, on your heart, and give it to the self-cherishing thought, which has harmed you from beginningless rebirths up to now.

What makes us feel bad is our own self-cherishing thought, our worst enemy. So, for example, if we see an outside enemy who harms us, then we want to harm them back, but that is totally wrong, because all our past, present and future happiness comes from every sentient being. All the numberless buddhas, Dharma and Sangha come from every sentient being—every mosquito, every ant, every person who is angry with us, who doesn’t love us. All our happiness comes from them and all the harms come from our own self-cherishing thought—that is our worst enemy.

The self-cherishing thought has caused your suffering from beginningless rebirths, now and future. Not only that, by following the self-cherishing thought, then you give harm to numberless sentient beings, to everyone, in the past, present and future. So it’s the worst thing. So now, although this unhappiness is given to you by the self-cherishing thought, by recognizing that, you take all the unhappiness of sentient beings on yourself and use it as bomb to destroy the self-cherishing, just as America used missiles to destroy Iraq. Like that, you can destroy the self-cherishing thought, then it’s so good.

Then you can send this prayer, “May all the sentient beings to be free from all the unhappiness, all the samsaric sufferings, and may they achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible.”

So that is fantastic; it makes you most happy and your life becomes like gold, like diamonds. By doing this, you collect so many skies of merits, and the greatest purification. Then you reach enlightenment very, very fast.

Thank you very, very much, my daughter. Thank you!

With much love and prayers ...