Hello My Dear Students,
Your life goal is to achieve enlightenment and to liberate all sentient beings from the ocean of samsara and bring them to full enlightenment. Because of that, life becomes most beneficial. “All sentient beings” means also for yourself.
I’m very happy that your hearts are open to looking for a new path, new happiness, Dharma happiness, especially for ultimate happiness, liberation from samsara, and full enlightenment.
You must know that the life you have achieved this time is extremely difficult to get again and again. Even to receive it just once is extremely difficult. We make prayers to achieve this perfect human body that is qualified with the eight freedoms and ten richnesses. We have made so many prayers for this. We lived in pure morality in the past and have practiced charity to achieve this perfect rebirth. We created those causes, as well as lived in pure morality, which is very difficult. We have done this, which is miraculous. It does not last forever and can end at any time. Therefore, we must practice Dharma right away, because we don’t want suffering, only happiness, and because our main goal is to enlighten all sentient beings. We have miraculously met Tibetan Buddhism at this time. This Tibetan Buddhism is Mahayana. This has Hinayana teachings to achieve liberation from samsara, and the Mahayana purpose to get enlightened for all sentient beings. Tantra is also included, not Hindu tantra, but Buddhist tantra, to achieve enlightenment in one lifetime. With highest yoga tantra you can achieve enlightenment in a brief lifetime of these degenerate times.
Tibetan Buddhism is complete; it is what the Buddha taught. You can see now how it is a miracle of miracles that we have met Tibetan Buddhism, which includes all the teachings and the path. All of you are most fortunate beings.
Your teacher, Geshe-la, is a great teacher, who has studied well, so you have all the conditions and a teacher who can explain well.
Deeply from my heart, with my palms together, I sincerely request all of you to please study and meditate as much as you can. Don’t only study for intellectual understanding, but, as much as you possibly can, study to put the Dharma into practice in your daily life.
The heart of the Dharma is bodhicitta, so your attitude should become that. Dedicate whatever you are doing, put effort into whatever you are doing, for all sentient beings. That includes friends, enemies, and strangers. By studying the lam-rim you will understand how to do that. That is the most important thing. You can do some meditation on emptiness every day. Read the part of the lam-rim on guru devotion. Read, study, and meditate every day on those outlines until you have some stable realizations of seeing the Guru as Buddha.
The very last piece of advice is: Don’t think "I’m going to live for many years," following the concept of permanence. This life is like last night’s dream, very short, or like lightning in the sky—it appears while it is leaving. Therefore, put all your effort into Dharma, as I mentioned before.
You will encounter problems. At that time, use bodhicitta, emptiness and patience. When you encounter problems, apply Dharma to bring peace in your heart and the heart of the other person. Sometimes there is no peace, but your methods can bring ultimate peace to that person, and to your heart and mind.
In “Universal Education, Essential Wisdom” (Essential Education, Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom), I gave very very basic advice that the important practice to apply to bring peace to all sentient beings, even animals, is to practice kindness, not only to human beings, but to animals, day and night; all of the time, practice kindness. From this, your life, your heart, is always in peace, day and night, under any circumstances, during difficult times, or during easy times. The result from one positive action, one kindness to one sentient being, brings happiness in 100,000 lifetimes.
At the study group, you are practicing kindness all of the time. You can imagine how you will have unbelievable peace and happiness all of the time, in this life and future lives, from your compassion and loving kindness. Right away, every day, you make so many people happy, as the days, weeks, and months pass, wherever you travel, wherever you live.
Whenever you see good things happen to others, think how wonderful it is that they have this happiness, this success. If somebody has a beautiful house, car, family, or friend, you rejoice. When somebody makes a great profit in business, you rejoice. Basically, this person has great happiness, and you think how wonderful it is. If the person has a great education, more understanding of the Dharma, practices more, or has a beautiful body, you rejoice.
This doesn't directly use karma, but by practicing kindness to others and rejoicing, you collect merit like limitless skies. Rejoicing is the easiest way to collect merit. You collect all the merits. You are always creating the cause of happiness. You are making your life meaningful all the time. You are making your life beneficial for yourself and all sentient beings. Whenever people see you or remember you, there is always happiness. When they see you their minds are always happy.
When you rejoice for somebody whose level of mind is lower than yours, you collect double the merit. If they are the same level as you, you get the same merit. If they are at a higher level of mind, you get half the merit. For example, if one who doesn’t have the realization of bodhicitta rejoices in one day of a bodhisattva’s merit, that person collects half the merit of what that bodhisattva collects in one day. I am talking about how much merit you collect. Without rejoicing, it takes 23,000 years. When you rejoice, you collect that merit in one second, so you can see how rejoicing is the easiest way in life to collect extensive merit.
Now you can rejoice in one bodhisattva’s merits. It is unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. Bodhisattvas are not just one but numberless, so the amount of merit you collect could make you faint. There are numberless bodhisattvas and sentient beings, so you can just imagine how much merit you collect.
As it says in the Three Principal Aspects of the Path, by renouncing attachment and desire, it becomes very pure Dharma. Each time you practice that, it becomes very pure Dharma. Any time you renounce delusion, it becomes pure Dharma. Any time you go against attachment and desire, it becomes pure Dharma, as attachment and desire only lead to suffering. There are so many people in the world, so much suffering in organizations, countries, etc. through following desire and not practicing contentment. There are so many people engaged in illegal things who end up in prison. They have to suffer a lot and make many people unhappy. They get killed and punished. Renouncing attachment and desire is one method to bring peace and happiness into your life, into your heart, to create inner peace.
When somebody harms you, forgive him or her. Immediately the other person receives so much peace and happiness and you also receive much peace and happiness. Most people get angry and want to get back at the person, and they do the opposite and give harm back to the person. As a result, the person’s family members and friends will harm you. You will be harmed by that person 500 times, not necessarily when you are in a human body. From that negative karma, from harming that person, you experience getting harmed or killed by that person 500 times. It makes you suffer on and on without end. There is the one complete negative karma that has four aspects:
1) The base, 2) thought, 3) action, and 4) goal.
When all of these are complete, you can receive four suffering results:
1) The ripening aspect result— rebirth in the lower realms for many billions of years.
There are three suffering results in the human realm:
1) The result similar to the cause—being killed by others.
2) The possessed result, concerned with the place. Whatever view you hold is bad, the appearances you see are bad, and you live in a very dusty place. Medicines and food become harmful to you and can cause harm, sickness, and death
3) Creating the result similar to the cause—you kill again because of the past imprint of killing, and you engage again and again in that negative karma.
You can see how one negative karma today results in so much suffering. It can make you faint. If you think about it, you have created so much negative karma today with your body, speech, and mind, this week, month, and year. From birth and from beginningless rebirths, you have created karma which has not been purified, not finished by experiencing it. If you really think well, you can’t stand having one negative karma near you. You can see how forgiveness is incredible. It stops you from harming others and others from harming you with their body, speech, and mind. Also, so many people, friends, family, and so forth, who are all connected to you, don’t engage in negative karmas because of you.
The next point is, if you do some harm, make some mistake, immediately apologize so it doesn’t make the person angry with you, make him or her angry or suffer. If you say sorry immediately, the person doesn’t become angry, and it brings a release. If you can practice like this, it’s unbelievable.
Do not get angry. Have peace in your heart. If you practice like this, with patience, you give happiness to all sentient beings, not only your family, but people at work too, not only in this country or this world, but after this life, to all sentient beings. In this world, there are many people who killed many millions of people, like Mao Tse Tung, Hitler, and many others.
If possible, you can recite daily one lam-rim prayer, like The Foundation of All Good Qualities, The Three Principal Aspects of the Path, and The Gradual Path to Enlightenment. Each time you recite one of these lam-rim prayers it leaves a positive imprint in the mind.
Another prayer you can recite is the lam-rim prayer that is contained at the end of your deity’s long sadhana, which contains all the stages of the path, of the common and tantric paths. When you do that, it plants the seed of the quickest path to enlightenment. It makes one closer to liberation and enlightenment.
This is my very brief essential advice to you about how to make your life most beneficial so you have no regrets now or in the future, only bliss and happiness. Your life only goes up, not down, because you understand guru devotion, correctly devoting to the virtuous friend without mistakes, and developing bodhicitta, the ultimate good heart.
Much love and prayers to all of you who are coming now and who are coming in the future.