I want to say hello to everyone. I pay my homage to Khensur Rinpoche, who is the principal holder of the entire Buddha Dharma and propagator of the Buddha Dharma from where sentient beings receive all their happiness and peace, as well as to the presiding teacher, Geshe Petse [Pema Tsering], Tenzin-la, taking care of Khensur Rinpoche, and to everyone helping out. To all Sangha I pay homage, give thanks, and offer my greetings.
I offer my greetings and thanks equaling the number of atoms of this Earth to the present director of the centre and all other organizers, all previous directors, and I would also like to thank those who have dedicated themselves and offered sincere service to continue to develop the center.
Up until now, spiritually, and with the present facilities, how far the conditions for ourselves and other sentient beings to practice Dharma, to develop the mind in the path to enlightenment, have been developed has depended on the kindness and offerings of all the previous organizers and directors. So, I would like to thank everyone and all those people who benefit, help, and put time and energy into teaching the program at the center, making the center beneficial, and who are able to spread the Buddha Dharma.
So, I’d like to take the opportunity today, this 21st birthday anniversary, to thank everyone and all the students, who due to the most precious opportunity can hear Dharma from Khensur Rinpoche and Geshe Petse, the present teacher.
You understand how such a Dharma center is so important. You can see more and more how much of an emergency it is to have such a center, especially regarding the present situation, because it shows the whole unmistaken path to liberation and happiness, the unmistaken cause of happiness and of the path to liberation, the unmistaken cause to the path to great liberation, full enlightenment, in other words, how to get out of suffering. What is the cause of suffering, how to get rid of that, is never explained and taught in schools, colleges, or universities.
Some universities which have a Buddhist philosopher on their staff may have some intellectual study, but these things are normally missing. Not only are these things missing in the world in these places of education but the most important, practical thing that is missing is the education of a good heart—compassion. That is why there is so much violence in schools. Then, families do not know what to do with their children. They find they have great difficulties with their children. So, this is missing. Parents guiding their children is also missing. Including in the United States, very young children kill many people; you have seen it happen in recent times. There is so much violence happening, in many countries—Columbia and so forth. There is so much violence among young people.
Why is there so much killing and war, even among religious people? It is because of a lack of this practice, this education of a good heart. The real religion, the real spiritual practice, is missing from education. They never talk about it, use the words, even in conversations. I am very surprised about this, after all the disasters and trouble that have happened in the United States, only this year. I was watching TV recently, and President Bush mentioned “compassion” six or seven times in a lecture. That is the first time I have heard it mentioned. There has been a lot of discussion for a long time over whether people should have guns or not in the United States. There are so many killings, and there has been a lot of discussion about it, but they cannot decide. But there is one solution, which is pacifying the mind, taking care of the mind, and guarding the mind. If you guard the mind then you don’t need guns. You don’t harm others and you don’t receive harm from others—shootings, atomic bombs, whatever, you don’t receive all this harm. So guarding the mind, the root, is never mentioned, and compassion is never talked about, never brought up in this discussion on whether to allow guns in the country or not. That clearly shows that people don’t think about it, because that education is not given in schools and colleges, even though this is the most important thing for world peace.
What can bring peace and happiness in the world generally, to all the different religions? It is compassion—loving kindness. You can only control weapons for a short time. Even if you are able to defeat your enemies it is only for a short time, but sooner or later you will be attacked by them, if not in this life then in the next life because the karma has been created and not purified.
So, compassion is the only answer for world peace, for young and for old, to bring peace and unity among religions. There is one thing—a good heart. The essence of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, and the essence of Buddhism, is do not harm any sentient being. What differentiates Buddhism from other religions is compassion toward not only all kinds of human beings, poor and rich, friend, stranger, and enemy, but compassion to everyone, to every animal, insect, pig, fish, all sentient beings, whose minds are obscured and are suffering—so, compassion for everyone.
On top of that is not harming others and offering benefit. In the Mahayana path, there are the bodhisattva’s deeds, living with bodhicitta, the bodhisattva’s path, how to achieve enlightenment to offer extensive benefit to sentient beings, then teaching tantra, how to do that quickly—to liberate countless beings from the cause of suffering and bring them happiness, especially full enlightenment—as taught by the Buddha.
The essence of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, at the Dharma center, is compassion. The existence of the center becomes a solution, offering this education, lots of practice, and a good heart. This is the real solution for cultivation of world peace and peace and happiness for all sentient beings.
Somebody comes to the center for one or two days for a course and hears about karma—if you harm others there is a consequence, result—due to the nature of the action you receive harm back. However, the other sentient being also wants happiness, and does not want suffering, like you. If you benefit others then the karmic result is that all your holy wishes are fulfilled. The person sees how other sentient beings are so precious and kind, how we receive all our happiness from others. From coming to your center for one or two days’ teaching, even a one-day teaching—with this as the main emphasis— that person stops killing other beings, fishing, and harming others. Then an uncountable number of sentient beings—insects, fish, worms—don’t receive harm from this person. All these countless other beings receive peace and happiness from this person. This comes from the center.
Over the years, so many sentient beings come to the Dharma center. Just from one person coming, so many sentient beings have peace and happiness. If this one person practices compassion, stops giving harm to others, makes a vow and tries to do that, countless sentient beings don’t receive harm from this person. This is the benefit to sentient beings. All the sentient beings receive benefit from this one person due to the center. That is your benefit. It comes from the director, from the secretary, from the teachers and translator, and from the whole community.
The center plays a most important role in world peace. This is our offering service. You are offering service to the center, trying to develop the center, to have teachings and office facilities so that more sentient beings can have contact with the Dharma. This is so important, urgent, an emergency, billions of times more urgent than an emergency at a hospital. You can see the incredible benefit to sentient beings.
There is certainly no question that the center liberates sentient beings from the lower realms and brings them to liberation, free from samsara and all the oceans of samsaric suffering. It also brings them to peerless happiness and enlightenment.
So, those are the general benefits of working for sentient beings and working for the center. You can see how incredible it is. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all your great service and dedication. Everyone, thank you so much. This is my way of saying happy birthday to the center. I hope to see you soon and I will pray for everyone, for all of you, to have a meaningful life. Thank you very much.