Dear gentlemen, my brother,
I heard that the previous person in charge caused all the problems for you. He took the big house that you built and did not finish, and he also took the money. You should think that this is very good.
No matter how much money we have—billions, zillions, trillions—for us ordinary beings, since we are born, we have to die. Like the plants—they are born, but they die. This is their nature and it’s the same for us ordinary beings.
Of course, Shakyamuni Buddha and numberless buddhas were ordinary beings like us, but they changed their minds and instead of cherishing the I, they renounced it. They cherished not just one person but numberless sentient beings—hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, sura beings, asura beings and numberless human beings.
They became free; they realized truth and emptiness. They became free from samsara and achieved the total cessation of obscurations and the completion of realizations, enlightenment. They liberated numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsara and are still doing that now, but we didn’t change our mind. Instead of cherishing numberless others, we cherish one I and renounce others.
Buddhas and bodhisattvas renounced the I and cherished numberless sentient beings. They all achieved enlightenment and caused temporal and ultimate happiness to others.
We are unable to give happiness to others and we destroy even our own happiness by cherishing the I, so we are still not free from the suffering of samsara. There is the suffering of pain, which is the cycle of death and rebirth, old age and sickness. Then the second type of suffering is all the samsaric pleasure, which is temporary. The third type of suffering is pervasive compounding suffering.
The five aggregates—form, feeling, discriminative awareness, compositional factors and consciousness—are under the control of delusion and karma. That’s why they are pervaded by suffering. The aggregates are contaminated by the seeds of the disturbing thought and controlled by karma, action. From the seeds of delusion, suffering arises again, thus we are still not free from all of these. This is the cycle of death and rebirth, the cycle of pain.
When death will happen to us, we cannot say. It can happen at any time—any month, any week, any day, any hour, any minute, any second. When death happens, the beggar, for example, who has only one stick, only one possession, has to leave this stick when he dies.
The king or president who has so many possessions, servants, population—however much wealth he has, gold, diamonds, wish-granting jewels—even though he has everything, when he dies, he will need to leave everything. Not only his possessions, but he cannot bring even the body which he cherishes to next life.
Even our own single hair [is left behind]. Consciousness alone will go to the next life. Only karma, our positive and negative actions, will go to the next life in our mental continuum. Otherwise, nothing. But most people don’t think like that. Even billionaires or zillionaires, when death comes, they have so much attachment, clinging. When they suddenly die, then unbelievable suffering comes. They are separated from their family, their possessions and their own body. They don’t know where all the suffering and happiness come from. The cause for happiness is so rare to create and [most people] don’t know it.
Even when you explain it to people, first of all they have no faith when they hear holy Dharma because they don’t have the karma. Even if they have the karma, they cannot accept it. Sometimes they get angry when they hear Dharma and they run away.
There is unbelievable worry, fear in their faces [at the time of death]. They don’t know [Dharma] and when death happens they suffer in the lower realms as hell beings, animals and hungry ghosts, for thousands of years without finding food, or as animals which steal or eat each other.
Therefore, you should know the reality is like this. There is nothing to be upset about and there is no need to think that this person is so bad. Even billionaires, zillionaires, trillionaires, as I mentioned, can die at any time.
This may be difficult for you because you don’t know all these stories. There was one Tibetan layperson called Milarepa. When Milarepa’s father died, his mother was badly treated by his uncle and aunt, and they also took all their wealth, so his mother advised him to learn black magic. He learned it and destroyed the whole house while the relatives were dancing and drinking. Thirty people and more animals downstairs were killed.
As a result of that karma, Milarepa would have suffered for so many eons and eons, but he was very sad after that happened. Then that lama who taught him black magic told him to see Guru Marpa if he wanted to practice holy Dharma. So Milarepa met Guru Marpa, who was an enlightened being, not an ordinary, obscured, suffering being.
Milarepa didn’t have any possessions, so he offered his body, speech and mind to Guru Marpa. He requested Marpa to teach holy Dharma and to provide the means of living together. So Marpa accepted and started to guide him and within a few years Milarepa was able to purify all the negative karma and achieve enlightenment. He achieved that in one brief lifetime of degenerate times.
Guru Marpa let Milarepa build alone a nine-story tower, but when it was finished Marpa asked him to tear it down and take all the stones back to where he found them. Then Marpa said to rebuild the tower again, and again tear it down, and again rebuild it. The tower still exists in Tibet but I didn’t see yet. The place is called Lhodrag in Tibet.
Marpa didn’t give teachings to Milarepa. He only scolded him, gave him a hard time and even beat him when he came with other students to receive teachings. Marpa himself was a buddha. Later he gave Milarepa teachings and initiations, and then Milarepa went to the mountains to meditate.
Milarepa followed Guru Marpa’s advice exactly and in that life he was able to purify all the defilements and negative karma and to achieve enlightenment, the unified state of Vajradhara, buddhahood. It’s not only Milarepa. There are many others who achieved enlightenment in one brief lifetime of degenerate times, but Milarepa became well-known to people, even in the West.
So I’ll tell you, in his early life, because he met the guru and had stable devotion—he never lost faith, he didn’t become heretical being and he always had faith that Marpa was a buddha—he was able to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime of these degenerate times, within a few years.
Similarly, you can also be like that. You don’t need to be a holy being from birth. If you change your mind, you can become a holy being during your life.
The second thing is about your situation. Because we have attachment to possessions, money, there is so much negative karma. Therefore, we suffer in this life, we suffer during death and after we die there’s unbelievable suffering for eons in the lower realms, as a hell being, hungry ghost or animal, and also in the human realms, on and on.
So now you don’t need to collect that heavy karma because of all the attachment. Now you are free. That person made you free, haha!
So you can see, he is very, very kind, doing that to you. He is extremely kind, unbelievably kind. He saved you, he liberated you from many eons of unbelievable suffering of the lower realms and even the human realms in the future. Wow, wow, wow! What a kind, precious person!
Not only that, now you can make charity. You don’t have to feel you lost. You didn’t lose. You gained!
Anyway, death can happen at any time, and you can lose that [object of attachment] any time. This makes your life very simple, very easy, because there is no object to be attached to. So, you can make charity to him of all the money and the house.
You should think like this:
The purpose of my life is not just to achieve temporary happiness, such as money or a house. It’s not for that. Even liberation from samsara is not enough. The purpose of my life is to free other sentient beings from suffering and to help them achieve peerless happiness, to bring them to buddhahood, the total cessation of obscurations and completion of realizations. Therefore, I’m going to make charity of this money and the house to the person who is taking it.
That becomes the cause of enlightenment; you are creating the cause to achieve peerless happiness, buddhahood. So you are not losing, you are gaining. The house and money is nothing.
Actually, by making charity with bodhicitta, it becomes the cause for you to achieve the highest enlightenment, peerless happiness. If it is done with bodhicitta, when you make charity of however much money, however many rooms there are—for example, if you give back one dollar as an act of charity—you create infinite skies of merit, good karma, the cause of happiness.
If you make charity of however many millions of dollars or bricks of the house, wow, wow, wow, you are actually gaining most unbelievable, most unbelievable, most unbelievable skies of merits. So many, many times. Actually you should rejoice, feeling happiness all day and night, all your life.
There is no place in your mind to feel depression, sadness. You should feel unbelievable happiness. So now think that person is most unbelievably kind; his kindness is like the sky to you. So do this practice of charity for him. This is my heartfelt advice to you. If you thank him for taking all these things, it’s saving you, protecting you from the suffering of samsara, and you receive many, many eons of merits.
The great holy being, the bodhisattva Shantideva said:
If I didn’t harm others, nobody will harm me.
If others are harming you at this time, it is the result of your harm to others before. Even the mosquito or ant biting us is the result of past karma, when we harmed others. It’s all caused by us.
Most people, except those who know precious Dharma and karma, when harmed by others they will harm them back even more. But if we harm back, that means we are again creating the karma, the cause, and then next time, in the next life we will suffer again. It goes on forever like that, without end. We will always suffer. Therefore, the best solution is to not harm back and to practice patience, tolerance and compassion. Wow, wow, wow! Practice bodhicitta. Wow, wow, wow!
Also, because of harming us, they get reborn in the hell realms, so that’s caused by us. That’s the way to develop compassion, instead of anger, instead of harming back. Whatever is of help to them, at least you can dedicate your merits and recite OM MANI PADME HUM for other people to not be reborn in hell, to not suffer.
Overall, everything comes from our mind. Hell, enlightenment, samsara, nirvana, happiness, suffering—everything comes from our mind. Our world comes from our mind. That’s the basic idea in Buddhism. By knowing that, you can see that you have unbelievable freedom. By changing your mind, you can stop the suffering and gain happiness, even enlightenment, peerless happiness. Not only to be free from samsara.
You can keep this letter and read it again and again, from time to time. This is so good for you to read it again and again. For years and years, it will bring so much happiness in your life, to you and your family. If you have happiness, you can give happiness to others.
Thank you very much.
The purpose of me meeting you and understanding your problem, or your incredible freedom, is so that I can discuss it with you. I am so happy.
With much love and prayers ...