The Three Principal Aspects of the Path in Business

The Three Principal Aspects of the Path in Business

Date of Advice:
May 2018
Date Posted:
October 2020

Rinpoche wrote this letter to a student who was using the three principal aspects of the path as a business model. The three are renunciation, bodhicitta and the right view (of emptiness).

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, 1991. Photo: Thubten Yeshe.

My dear one, 
According to my analysis, understanding, experience and view, and my little understanding of the lamrim, you are using the three principal aspects of the path as the object, using that for your business. That’s incredible, incredible, an incredible way to do business, an incredible way to make plans. It is the best.

Normally we are using that in our everyday life—how to live our life, how to act every day. Of course, first of all we need renunciation, so that nothing becomes the cause of samsara and our actions only become the cause of freedom from samsara, nirvana. Secondly, we need the good heart, bodhicitta, so everything becomes the cause of enlightenment. Then right view, so our actions do not become the cause of samsara, but become the antidote to samsara and the root of samsara, ignorance, which holds the I as real, while there is nothing, not even the slightest atom that is real, from beginningless time, it is empty.

Here you are using the three principal aspects of the path in your business, without so much emphasis on daily life, but in business—how business can become ethical and be done with the good heart. If you do business with the three principal aspects of the path, then in that way the mind which does business doesn’t get much lung [wind disease], squeezed. The mind is very relaxed. Especially with bodhicitta, the good heart, you will be very relaxed, very happy.

Through using the three principal aspects of the path in business, then naturally you should learn, you should come to understand that your own daily life has to be lived with the three principal aspects of the path. Naturally you should come to understand that as you use the three principal aspects in business then you should use them in your daily life as well.

Therefore, it’s coming from a slightly different approach. Presenting it like this is very, very good, very good for business people who have developed their materialistic life so much. But you see, in this way, with a materially developed life, because happiness and suffering are all up to the mind, therefore we have to renounce the mind which feels contentment or satisfaction with the disturbing thoughts. The negative disturbing thoughts are disturbing to oneself and disturbing to others, but we are content with that and we gain satisfaction from that, even though the title used is renunciation.

With bodhicitta, the good heart, there is fulfillment, joy and great happiness.

Then right view—when that [realization happens] in our life, we can see what is the truth and what is false in life, so we come to understand that, generally. It’s like the dream time—we have been believing everything is real, then somebody introduces that this is a dream, this is not real. If someone is teaching us that during the dream, then we are to be able [to see it.] So we become familiar with seeing the dream as a dream, instead of believing the hallucination is real. Now in our everyday life we have been believing everything is real from beginningless rebirths. According to our hallucinated mind we believe it is real, but in reality we have to learn that it is false, that nothing inherently exists. As I gave the example before, while dreaming, teaching that the dream is false, not real.

Now in the daytime, when we are not dreaming, we think one hundred percent that things exist from their own side, that they are not merely labeled by mind. We have believed this from beginningless rebirth and that’s why we have been suffering from beginningless rebirth up to now. That’s why we have not become free from the oceans of samsaric sufferings. So we have to be taught and we have to become familiar with that through study, reflection and meditation. We have to see that in our everyday life—everything that appears as real is false, totally false, totally false. There is no such thing, not even an atom of that. We have to become familiar with that more and more. If we are familiar with that, then it causes us to become free from samsara quicker and quicker, and with bodhicitta, then we can achieve enlightenment.

It is a huge subject, really, really, really showing what’s false and what’s true in our life.

As you asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as you had great success already, as you asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness advised you about shamatha and vipassana, that means you have to plan out in that way, slowly trying to use what His Holiness the Dalai Lama said. Slowly try shamatha, because His Holiness the Dalai Lama said to do that.

For a number of years His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been emphasizing secular education everywhere so much. His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa particularly to do that subject, related to the university. And many schools have been emphasizing that so much, particularly in Ladakh. There has been great success when His Holiness the Dalai Lama goes to Ladakh, which happens a lot these days. So many Muslims listen to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings and they like His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings on secular education. So many Muslims follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings, which is great, great proof.

In Delhi 800,000 students will follow the happiness curriculum. I don’t know who was in Delhi, the high leaders who took His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s subjects, but I watched the video and His Holiness the Dalai Lama was appreciating them so much. Then His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a talk and many school teachers came.

This development happened and they accepted it. This is the progression, what happened from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s side. When the talk began in Delhi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the purpose of life is happiness. So that doesn’t contradict happiness up to enlightenment; it is not the happiness which is worldly pleasure, which is in the nature of suffering. The samsaric pleasure of the lower realms is not something to be achieved. For the time being that is samsaric pleasure, but it is in the nature of suffering so it needs to be removed and we need to achieve ultimate happiness, nirvana. Even achieving ultimate happiness for ourselves alone is not enough; we still have to remove that, to be free from that, and we need to achieve ultimate happiness, enlightenment, the peerless happiness for sentient beings. It is like that.

By saying “happiness” it does not immediately contradict the ordinary worldly people, even animals; it does not contradict them, just by saying happiness. It doesn’t emphasize compassion first, but by saying “happiness,” of course, the good heart is the main thing, the most important thing, and compassion comes there, whether it is mentioned or not.

We also have to protect karma, to have an ethical life for our happiness, to achieve our own happiness in this life, if our aim is for this life. We have to think beyond this life, but for ordinary people that doesn’t fit at the moment. If our life is an ethical life, all that does is benefit; it does become the cause of happiness of our future lives and it might help us to be free from samsara after sometime.

Without emphasizing future lives, having an ethical life. Without frightening people by talking about religion; without frightening people who are not familiar with religion. Not frightening them but just talking about doing good things in our life, mainly emphasizing that. Living ethically also has benefits from life to life and creates the cause of happiness of all our future lives in reality, but without actually saying that.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very much into this. He explained this to you and you should do what he advised. Slowly, slowly, you have to think this way. Not frightening people, but practicing the good heart, having patience, an ethical life, and being a generous human being. So I just want to appreciate what you are doing.

With much love and prayers ...