Your Sister Is Most Kind

Your Sister Is Most Kind

Date of Advice:
January 2021
Date Posted:
April 2023

Rinpoche gave this advice to a student was experiencing a lot of obstacles and disharmony within their family. Rinpoche emphasized the importance of generating bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment.

My very dear, most precious, most kind, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much, I received your happy birthday message. I’m going to talk about how to think.

Your sister is the most kind person for you; she is helping you develop bodhicitta. If there’s bodhicitta, then there’s enlightenment. Then you can liberate numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, suras and asuras, numberless beings in each realm, from samsara, from the oceans of suffering, and not only that, you can bring them to the state of total cessation of obscurations and the completion of realizations, sang gye, buddhahood, by yourself. Therefore, bodhicitta is the root of the path to enlightenment. She is helping you to generate bodhicitta.

The obstacle to bodhicitta is the self-cherishing thought. The enemy to bodhicitta is the self-cherishing thought. So what she says “You’re breaking … blah, blah, blah,” whatever she says that you don’t like, that is destroying your self-cherishing thought. That is so good, most kind. Even if you offer numberless wish-granting jewels filling the sky—not dollars but numberless wish-granting jewels, [you can’t repay your sister’s kindness.]

If you have one wish-granting jewel and put it on a banner on the fifteenth [of the Tibetan calendar], then whatever material needs you have in this life, you get them immediately, right after your prayer.

It’s like Sai Baba. I don’t know if you heard, but he moves his hand and then he gives dust to many people, but to some people he gives watches, gold strings and different things. It’s not just for a short time; they can keep those things for their whole life. It’s not an illusion. I heard that in Delhi some people do magic and they give a whole bunch of money into people’s hands, but when they arrive home there’s no money there. It’s an illusion, magic. This is not like that. Of course, first you must have unbelievable, most unbelievable, unbelievable merit. That’s the main cause. The condition is the wish-granting jewel. You pray to that jewel, and it has the power to actualize materials and to actualize immediately whatever you pray for, all the material needs. How many helicopters you need, how many swimming pools you need, how many apartments you need, all that, how many jet planes you need, ships, whatever you need, I don’t know what else. Whatever you pray for gets materialized in the next second or minute, like that.

Like that, even if you give her not only one but numberless wish-granting jewels filling the whole sky, still you can’t repay the kindness of her letting you generate bodhicitta and helping you to destroy your self-cherishing thought. It is the enemy that has harmed you since beginningless rebirths, is harming you now, and will also cause harm in the future until you generate bodhicitta realization. It harms like that and has caused harm to you, all those oceans of samsaric sufferings.

Not only that, with the self-cherishing thought, by following the self-cherishing thought, we harmed numberless sentient beings already, many times—not just once but numberless times since beginningless rebirths. All the sentient beings we have killed and eaten, and this is included in all the harms until now and while we continue with the self-cherishing thought it harms sentient beings. Like that. That’s why we need to generate bodhicitta as quickly as possible.

Bodhicitta benefits every being. There’s not one ant, not one tiny insect left out. It benefits every single being’s happiness, everybody. It brings peace to everybody; it frees them from the oceans of suffering of samsara and brings them to enlightenment, peerless happiness. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Can you imagine how important it is? We need to generate bodhicitta right now, without delay of even a second. We can see the benefits of bodhicitta by reading the Bodhicaryavatara, the beginning chapter, and Verses in Praise of Bodhicitta by Kyabje Khunu Lama Rinpoche, my guru.

Even if you give her skies full of wish-granting jewels, you can never repay the kindness of her helping you. She’s the best help for you to destroy the enemy, the self-cherishing thought that harms you and harms all sentient beings, numberless sentient beings, past, present and also future. Now you recognize what is right, what is wrong. Now you see.

If we don’t exchange our happiness and others’ suffering; if we don’t exchange well, if we don’t change completely, we cannot achieve enlightenment. There’s no happiness, even in samsara, leave aside the happiness of future lives. Even the works of this life cannot succeed.

The great bodhisattva Shantideva said in the Bodhicaryavatara,

[6:106] If I didn’t harm others like this, nobody would harm me.

So you really have to understand that whatever she does is what you did, how you treated her in the past. It is not necessarily the past of this life; it could be a million, trillion or numberless eons ago, how you treated her. This is a result. How she treated you this time is the result of that. So basically, this came from you, how she treats you and everything you don’t like. It all comes from your mind.

Furthermore, Shantideva said,

[6:42] In the past I gave similar harm to the sentient beings.
Therefore, sentient beings harming me this time is worthwhile.

Basically, one thing is, it makes us accept what happens when we follow our mind of self-cherishing. That is a dictatorship, because we think, “I can harm others, but nobody can harm me!” That is a totally wrong reason, with no logic. So it’s totally a dictatorship. The self-cherishing thought is totally a dictatorship, therefore it is to be abandoned totally. As mentioned before, from beginningless rebirths it has been harming us up until now, and when we follow that, when we don’t abandon that, it will continuously harm us without end. Not only that, it harms numberless sentient beings and has done so since beginningless rebirths. That’s what our self-cherishing thought has done—harmed! If we still follow that, then we will harm numberless sentient beings without end. So that’s our real enemy. Outside of that, anyone who harms us, even the mosquitoes, all those ants who bite, even people, this is the result of what we have done. We have harmed them in the past and it came from our mind, our self-cherishing thought. Like this, we have caused harm with the self-cherishing thought toward all sentient beings, instead of bringing them peace and happiness and especially ultimate happiness, liberation and enlightenment.

It is mentioned by Shantideva, the great bodhisattva, the holy being and Indian pandit,

[6:47] First, my own karma persuaded others,
Then I received this harm from them.
Therefore, didn’t I lose sentient beings in the hole of the hell?

That means because we gave harm in the past, we created the karma, then as the result we receive harm from sentient beings. By making someone create negative karma, we cause that sentient being to be reborn in hell. After disappearing from the human realm, that being is born in hell, in the hole of the hell. If we fall down from a precipice, then we fall down in the hole of the hell, the hole of the fire, something like that. Of course, it’s not just fire, it’s hell. Didn’t we do that? Didn’t we make the sentient being get lost in the hole of the hell? So by this, instead of harming back, getting angry and harming back, we should develop compassion for that sentient being, as we caused all this to that sentient being. We need to develop compassion and with that we help them in whatever way we can.

If we are Buddhist, then we can recite one mala of OM MANI PADME HUM and dedicate for that person to have all the happiness up to enlightenment, buddhahood, for them to receive this. Whatever we can do to help others, instead of harming, help them. This is very good. When others harm us, we use that to develop compassion and to help. This is so great, so good. It makes us so happy and healthy, and our lives become meaningful.

Please think here, from the Bodhicaryavatara, by the great holy being Shantideva,

[6:73] If I cannot bear even this present suffering,
Then why don’t I dispel the anger that causes the suffering of hell?

What he is saying is that if we cannot bear the present suffering, then of course, what about the heaviest suffering in samsara, which is hell suffering? The cause of that suffering is the anger that is arising now, so why don’t we dispel that anger which is the cause of the heavy suffering? This is incredibly logical, so please don’t forget it. Please remember it every day, every day, especially with your sister. Without practicing patience, by getting angry, we are creating the cause, each time, for the heaviest suffering in samsara—hell suffering.

Nagarjuna, the second Buddha, who propagated the teachings on the Middle Way, the right view of emptiness taught by Buddha, wrote six different texts on emptiness called u ma rik tsok druk [Collection of Reasoning]. They’re incredible, incredible, incredible!

From his teachings in the Letter to a Friend, please understand this:

[86] However much suffering there might be
From being violently stabbed for one day with three hundred sharp spears,
Even the smallest suffering in the hell realms
Has no comparison with that.

[87] Even if you experience unbearable suffering like that
For hundreds of millions of eons,
As long as your nonvirtuous karma has not finished,
Your life won’t be free from suffering.

 Here in this human realm, in one day, if three hundred spears, short spears, are so heavily (painfully) put inside us, there’s no need to say how painful it is. It’s great pain, but if we compare this to a small suffering of hell, there’s no comparison.

There’s no comparison at all! There’s no way to explain. Even human beings’ greatest suffering—the greatest, unbelievable, most unbelievable—when compared to a small hell suffering, it is great peace. Human suffering is great peace, unbelievable peace and happiness, compared with a small suffering of hell. Following from that, even if we experience the most unbearable suffering for a million or ten million eons, or a hundred [million] times, until that nonvirtue finishes, that suffering never separates from our life.

Here, I want to tell you, to emphasize to you, what happens if merits are not dedicated well. Firstly, it’s so difficult for the actions of body, speech and mind to become Dharma, to become virtue, to collect merits which cause happiness in a higher realm, a deva or human rebirth, liberation from samsara and ultimate happiness, including the peerless happiness of enlightenment. All these come from virtue, from merits.

It’s so difficult to create virtue and for it to become Dharma. Generally, for actions to become Dharma, the mind, the motivation has to be Dharma, has to become virtuous. It’s so difficult, mainly because of the attachment to this life, to the happiness of this life. [We want] to have pleasure and not have suffering, to have interesting sound and not hear uninteresting sounds, to have praise, being attached to praise, and to not have criticism, and to have wealth and pleasure. We have attachment to pleasure and attachment to not being in poverty, attachment to receiving materials. Our life is totally controlled by attachment. As an analogy, we’re under the control of this, like a tsunami. From the ocean, the water comes and floods the whole city, and all the houses are covered by water.

Then, even the action which would become Dharma, pure Dharma, if it is not dedicated to achieving enlightenment for sentient beings, for ourselves to be enlightened for sentient beings, then all those merits, how much we have collected, they all get destroyed by anger arising. It’s like burnt rice, which cannot grow; it’s totally wasted. So it makes our life meaningless, empty, with no essence. It destroys the life and what is left is only suffering, no happiness. All the virtue gets totally destroyed, even though we collected it.

Then, not only that, we have to be in the hell realm, like that, for such a long time, and we have to suffer with heavy suffering. For example, if we are not a bodhisattva and we get angry with a bodhisattva who has bodhicitta, a holy being—if we get angry for one second, we create the karma to be reborn in the hell and suffer for one thousand eons, suffering like that. Depending on how many seconds we get angry for, then it’s unbelievably, unbelievably worse. We suffer for so many eons, unbelievable, unbelievable.

The third one is that realizations, like renunciation, bodhicitta, right view and so forth, the whole path to enlightenment, gets delayed for so many eons.

The great yogi Padampa Sangye, who lived during Milarepa’s time, said,

Even though [you think others] cause your happiness and suffering, the root is yourself.  

This verse comes from The Hundred Verses of Advice, which he gave to the people of Tingri. Every day, when you get pleasure, or when someone is helping you or harming you or whatever, every day when help or harm happens, you have to remember this quotation—that the root is yourself, your mind. You caused this, whether it is pleasure, people doing some good for you, or whether they are harming you. You are reminded of the root. The cause is that you harmed others.

Kadampa Geshe Khamlungpa mentioned,

Bad conditions are your virtuous friend.
And these obstacles are persuading you to practice virtue.
The suffering is the broom clearing away negative karma.
Therefore, don’t let the mind be unhappy.

That means rejoice, be happy, enjoy!

Just to mention another example. This is very scientific. Let’s say someone wrote on the blackboard A, B or C, D, whatever. Before we’re taught “This is A, this is B, this is C, D,” we can see just lines, because we don’t know. This is going back to childhood time. Because we are not taught, our mind doesn’t label A, B, C, D, thinking, “That is A, B, C, D.” We don’t label and because we don’t label, as a result, there’s no appearance of, “This is A, this is B, this is C, this is D.” Therefore, the first time, we don’t see “This is A, this is B, C, D.” That is very clear. This is before we are taught by someone that, “This is A, this is B, this is C, this is D.”

After, someone introduces, “This is A, B, etc.,” then, by believing that, our mind labels and not only labels, it merely labels, “This is A, this is B, this is C, D.” The mind merely imputes because of seeing the valid basis, A, B, C, D, the lines. Because of seeing the lines—the valid base—then, because of that, the second time there’s the appearance, “This is A, B, C, D.”

Then the third time we see “This is A, B, C, D.” Seeing only comes at the third time. This is the evolution, but it is so quick and fast, we don’t recognize it normally. How we see this A, B, C, D, is not what is merely labeled by our mind. It should appear from there, merely labeled by mind but of course, it doesn’t appear to us, including to the I, like that.

Because the ignorance holding the I, the real I, the truly existent I, left a negative imprint from beginningless rebirth on the continuation of our consciousness, therefore, the third time, when the A, B, C, D appears, what is merely labeled by our mind previously, we see as the real one, the real A, real B, real C, D. “Real” means appearing from there, existing from there. At that time, the negative imprint decorated it. Due to the negative imprint left by or collected by the ignorance holding the I, which is the root of samsara, that I which is the merely labeled I the second time is supposed to appear as that to us. However, at that time, all the negative imprints left by the wrong concept holding the I, which is the root of samsara projects or decorates a real I, real, truly existent, existent by nature, existing from its own side, the real one. The A, B, C, D is also like that.

The second time, that which is merely labeled by our mind, when it appears back to us, then it doesn’t appear to us merely labeled by mind but it appears back as a real one, truly existent, existing by nature, by itself. It is decorated immediately by the negative imprint left by the wrong concept holding that things are truly existent. There’s the hallucination. That’s how the hallucination of real A, B, C, D, thinking that they are truly existent, is created and comes into existence. So basically, it is created by our mind, it came from our lesser mind, our ignorance.

When other people are complaining to us or disliking us, physically doing actions that we don’t like, speaking badly and in our mind appearing bad, all these hallucinations came from our own mind, were created by our mind, our wrong concept, our own wrong concept.

We can see now that there’s nothing to complain about to that person—the complaint is with us, therefore we need to change our mind. We need to totally change our mind. That is the biggest, most important, the utmost important meditation, practicing this awareness in everyday life. This mindfulness is real, real, real, real mindfulness. We should do that all the time. Then our mind can relax in peace, great peace, then especially, we will realize emptiness, then, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!

When that happens, we will be free from the oceans of suffering of the six realms of samsara. Then we can generate strong compassion for sentient beings because they have this ignorance, such a huge ignorance in life, they have this hallucination. Wow, wow, wow, wow! This is terrifying, most terrifying. Unbelievable compassion for others arises, then bodhicitta arises from that, the precious thought of enlightenment, wanting to achieve that for sentient beings in order to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment.

We develop wisdom possessed by bodhicitta and we develop bodhicitta possessed by wisdom, completely developed, then we are not only free from samsara but we are also able to be free from the oceans of samsaric suffering. Not only that, we are able to remove even the subtle obscurations. By removing the gross obscurations we become free from samsara, but here, because of bodhicitta, the wisdom which realizes emptiness is such that, put it this way, the method, bodhicitta, ceases the subtle obscurations. By developing those two (bodhicitta and wisdom) we are able to complete the merits of wisdom and the merits of virtue, and then we are able to achieve the result, dharmakaya and rupakaya, the holy mind and body of a buddha. Then we are able to do perfect works for sentient beings and the purpose of being born—having received not only the precious human rebirth but the perfect human rebirth this time—is fulfilled, finished.

The ultimate benefits are bringing sentient beings to enlightenment, freeing them from samsara, from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to enlightenment. This happens to every sentient being—to every hell being, every hungry ghost, every animal, every ant, every human being, every sura, every asura and intermediate state being. Then we say, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Then say goodbye.

With love and prayers ...