Too Busy for Daily Commitments

Too Busy for Daily Commitments

Date of Advice:
February 2017
Date Posted:
April 2018

A student wrote that he had stopped doing his commitments and practices because he was too busy. In this extensive advice, Rinpoche urged the student to spend more time on Dharma practice, which should be the main focus in this life. 

My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
I understand well what you expressed, the problem that you mentioned, that you could not do your commitments and many practices. That is because you are mainly thinking of just this life, and not so much thinking of future lives, the happiness of future lives.

Future lives are not just one but numberless, until we achieve the two truths and become free from samsara, therefore we need happiness in all those lives. It’s like thinking that we only want happiness for today and not thinking about the day after tomorrow or next week or next year. It’s like only working for today’s happiness, which is unbelievably small-minded, such a tiny mind, thinking only of this life, but not the next life; it’s actually the next lives.

Also this is only thinking of yourself, but now, on top of that, there are numberless sentient beings. For example, I’ll repeat this again to give you a stronger idea, a complete idea—we have been experiencing the oceans of suffering in the six realms from beginningless samsaric rebirths up to now. In this life if we don’t get to practice Dharma, if we don’t get to practice the four noble truths, then we will suffer without end, we will experience the six-realm sufferings without end, again and again, and not only this, it is great shock that we will experience this again and again without end. This is an incredible shock because we don’t know, we haven’t thought about this. It’s a new idea for us, but it’s not new in the life.

For example, myself, I even forget sometimes what I ate yesterday or what I talked about to people, so no question about past years, early childhood time and so forth. I can remember only some things.

Therefore, Dharma is the only thing that helps. [At the time of death] we can’t bring our family with us, all our family has to be left, all the wealth has to be left, even the body that we cherished the most amongst the numberless sentient beings—the numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless humans, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings—amongst them all, it is this body that we cherished most, but even this has to be left at time of death.

The only thing we can enjoy in the next life is if we practiced Dharma, nothing else. So Dharma is the first thing to focus on, then money and our job, etc. Our money and our job came from Dharma, but worldly people don’t know this. Only those who know karma and reincarnation know this.

Our job and our money came from karma, which creates wealth. Wealth came from charity and that came from Dharma practice, giving up attachment. The thought of giving is the meaning of charity, the definition of charity. By giving up attachment, miserliness, then we can give things to others.

The Buddha said that a good rebirth, a good body, a happy body, a higher rebirth, comes from morality. From practicing morality in the past, then wealth comes. Wealth comes from charity practices done in the past, so it comes from Dharma, from virtuous actions. You have to understand this.

To be free from samara, we have to follow the five paths of liberation—the path of merit, the path of preparation, the right-seeing path, the path of meditation and the path of no more learning. We have to understand those paths and how to practice them. The right-seeing path means the ultimate wisdom directly seeing emptiness only. Then from there we cease directly the seed of delusion and karma, which is the cause of samsara. Then we become free from samsara.

Now this is concerning only ourselves—we need to achieve everlasting happiness for ourselves, by being free from samsara. But there are numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless humans, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings. They have been experiencing the oceans of suffering of each of the six realms from beginningless samsaric rebirths and they will be suffering again endlessly in the oceans of suffering of samsara, in each realm.

Those sentient beings who have met Dharma are very few; those who have met the right guru revealing the unmistaken path to buddhahood. Most people have not met Dharma, they don’t know karma, they don’t know how to create good karma to receive this. They have no opportunity to practice Dharma so they have to suffer again, they have to experience the oceans of suffering of each realm again, endlessly. That has to really make us feel great compassion, that we really need to help them right away, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to the peerless happiness—the cessation of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations, buddhahood.

For that we need to achieve the state of omniscience, we need to understand directly the numberless sentient beings’ minds, their different karmas, the different levels of intelligence, all the details and all the different methods to fit them, to bring them from happiness to happiness to enlightenment.

Now, you see, this is an incredible responsibility that we have. All our past, present and future happiness, even the comfort we experience in a dream, every single comfort we receive, is by the kindness of every single hell being, every single hungry ghost, every single animal, every single human, every single sura, every single asura and every single intermediate state being. Therefore, every single sentient being is most dear, most kind to us, most precious, our wish-fulfilling one.

Not only that, even the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, who we take refuge in all the time in order to be free from the lower realms, to be free from samsara, to be free from lower nirvana and to achieve buddhahood, even they come from every single sentient being.

So now the kindness of sentient beings, their kindness to us is beyond that, it is limitless, it is just unbelievable. Not only that, all sentient beings have been our mother or father or anybody who has been most kind to us. Like that, numberless times from beginningless rebirths.

Generally, it is the mother who most children are close to. I know it’s quite rare, but some are closer to their father, however, usually children are closer to their mother. It is our mother who spends so much time caring for us and of course she gives her body; there is the kindness of giving her body. Relating to human beings, we spend nine months in our mother’s womb then we come out, so there is the kindness of giving birth, of giving her body, then protecting our life from hundreds of dangers every day and bearing hardships. Our mother bore so many hardships day and night, then she gave us education. This is not the first time—from beginningless rebirth [all sentient beings] have been our mother and have given us all these kindnesses. Unbelievable, unbelievable. This has been done by all the sentient beings. We have to realize this. Wow, wow, wow! Amazing, amazing, amazing!

When we are born, our mother sacrifices her life for us and sometimes she has died for us. Wow, wow, wow! Can you imagine? Even though there are numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas helping sentient beings, now we totally have the responsibility to repay the kindness of sentient beings. We have to free them from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to the total cessation of all the obscurations and completion of all the realizations, buddhahood, the peerless happiness, by ourselves.

Now you have received a perfect human body that is almost impossible to find again and you have met Buddhadharma, even the basis, the four noble truths, a way to be free from samsara Wow, wow, wow! You have met the unmistaken teachings of the Buddha. Many people say they are Buddhist, but they don’t practice, they are cheated for their whole life. This means for thousands and millions of future lives they are cheated; they don’t get to meet Buddhism again or they meet a wrong religion, a wrong practice, in the future lives, for thousands and millions of future lives.

Here you have met the Mahayana teachings that contain the method to achieve enlightenment and how to help sentient beings, and not only that, you have met the quick path to achieve enlightenment, the tantra teachings and Highest Yoga Tantra. Through that you can achieve enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerate times, so you see, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Unbelievable, most unbelievable! Do you know how fortunate you are? It is most unbelievable, most unbelievable, how fortunate you are.

Therefore you have all the responsibilities. Before I was just talking about you, but now there are numberless sentient beings on your shoulder, so you need to practice Dharma. It is so important, there is no question, it is the most important thing, every year, every month, every week, every day, every minute, every second, to actualize the path. For that you need to purify the defilements collected from beginningless rebirths and collect extensive merits, the merit of wisdom and the merit of virtue, to achieve dharmakaya and rupakaya.

To help actualize the path, that starts with guru devotion. Guru devotion is the root of the path of enlightenment; correctly following the virtuous friend, seeing the guru as the numberless buddhas or as one buddha. However many gurus you have—one thousand or one hundred or one—they are the numberless buddhas, and the numberless buddhas are all the gurus. Seeing this from your side, realizing this from your side without any effort, naturally feeling that from the heart, for days, weeks, months, years, then you have the realization that causes you to correctly follow the guru’s wishes and advice. From that you can achieve all the rest of the path to enlightenment—the path of the lower capable being, the middle capable being and the higher capable being, the whole path to enlightenment—then you can help sentient beings in a greater and greater way, deeper and deeper.

Thank you very much. Here I want to explain this to you, for you to spend more time practicing Dharma. I want to show you how important it is to practice Dharma.

So your main practice is the morning motivation, The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment), then do Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga.

It is very important to do the six-session guru yoga. Among the sadhanas, doing that is the basis, it is very important to do.

Try to do the sadhanas at nighttime or daytime or anytime, rather than so much talking, gossiping and doing useless things. Actually, we have lots of time to do other things, our own enjoyments, so many things, but when it comes to practice we have no time or we are tired.

It is like this for us—we have no time, then [our practice] is left or postponed until the very end [of the day], then at the very end we are tired, so we go to bed or sleep comes without control, without choice. Anyway, you must try to do the six-session guru yoga.

Try to do the sadhanas, but at least do the mantras. Vajrayogini is very precious, so that when you die you will not be reborn in the lower realms, but you will go to Vajrayogini’s pure land where you can become enlightened and be able to enlighten numberless sentient beings. So, reciting this mantra is very precious.

The Eight Verses you can do every day, as it is mentioned, but every day you are supposed to live your life according to the first stanza and the second stanza. I have already given you the whole picture of the kindness of sentient beings, the different ways they are kind, so you are supposed to live your life according to the first and second stanzas of the Eight Verses. Think always, “I am the servant to others, to serve all the sentient beings. They are my Lord.”

When you are at home, think like that about all the family and when you are at a restaurant think you are the servant, to serve all those people. I already explained their kindness. Wherever you are—at the beach, in the street, at the airport or the train station—where there are a lot of people, you can always think like that. Think, “I am the servant, I am to be used by them like a wish-granting jewel, to fulfill all their wishes, to give them all the happiness, whatever they wish, whatever they need. I am medicine, arura, that heals all the sickness, I am the earth, and so forth.”   

As it is mentioned by Shantideva in The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life:

May I be used by sentient beings, whatever happiness they want,
Like the earth is used by sentient beings,
Whatever happiness is useful for them, to be used by them.

May I be used by sentient beings, whatever happiness they want,
Whatever happiness is useful for them, to be used by them.

May I be used by the sentient beings, like the wind,
Whatever happiness is useful for them, to be used by them.

May I be used by sentient beings, like the sky,
Whatever happiness is useful for them, to be used by them.
- [See Bodhicaryavatara, Ch. 3, vv. 18-22]

As long as space remains,
As long as transmigratory beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the suffering of transmigratory beings.
- [Ch. 10, v. 55]

This is what His Holiness the Dalai Lama often uses when giving the wishing bodhisattva vows, so he then recites this.

Whatever problem happens in your life, you can relate that to your practice, you can use those verses. For those times, if you have memorized these verses by having recited them every day, but if you don’t recite them every day, remember them at the times when you need them if you can, like when there are problems. That is the purpose of saying them each day. 

Do basic practices like Chenrezig, reciting OM MANI PADME HUM mantra. I am making a book on how to recite OM MANI PADME HUM with different prayers and different requests to Chenrezig. This is a very important practice to do each day.

Also do the short Medicine Buddha practice. This is for success, not only for sickness and healing but for all success, to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings and to bring all sentient beings to enlightenment. So it is for everything, it is very important.

As I explained, do the morning motivation when you open your eyes, then for the rest of the day, whatever you are doing—eating, walking, sleeping, doing your job—if you are doing it with bodhicitta as much as possible, then it benefits others.

So please try. Thank you very much.

With much love and prayers ...