The thought of wishing one sentient being to have happiness, even just one sentient being, is the door to all happiness. It is the door to all temporary happiness and to ultimate happiness, including enlightenment for ourselves.
Remember I mentioned the four happinesses that we cause other sentient beings: this life’s comfort and happiness; the happiness of all the coming future lives; liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. Our thought to bring one sentient being to happiness becomes the door to all this happiness: to this life’s success and happiness, to all our future lives’ happiness, to the cessation of the whole of suffering and its causes and to the highest liberation, enlightenment. Our thought to bring even one sentient being to happiness becomes the door opening all this happiness.
This thought cherishing this one sentient being, the wish to bring one sentient being to happiness, is the cause for us to have the infinite qualities of a buddha, a buddha’s holy body, holy speech, holy mind, besides having all the qualities of Dharma and Sangha. With our thought to bring even one sentient being to happiness, the benefit is like the limitless sky.
It’s a simple thing. This is just to give an idea, but we can go into great detail, looking at all the realizations and qualities of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, as well as all the temporary happiness and enjoyment we get from that.
With all this achievement that we get from our thought of bringing even one sentient being to happiness, with all the realizations and with enlightenment, we are able to cause numberless sentient beings happiness in that life and happiness in future lives as well as bringing them the cessation of all suffering and its causes and even bringing them to the highest happiness, full enlightenment. From this thought that we generate to one sentient being, as a result we are able to cause all this happiness for numberless other sentient beings. Just this is unbelievable. There is no greater profit we can achieve in life.
Now listen! Pay attention. All this benefit we get from the thought to bring one sentient being to happiness, and what we can offer numberless other sentient beings, all this we get from this person, from the thought to benefit this person, to bring this sentient being to happiness. We get all these skies of benefit from this sentient being, by practicing bodhicitta on this sentient being. In other words, this sentient being is giving us skies of benefit, and with that we can benefit all sentient beings. This one sentient being is giving us this opportunity.
Now we can see these sentient beings are the most precious ones in our life, whether it’s one insect or one human being. They are the most kind, the most precious ones in our life.
We think money is very precious. Nobody needs to explain how important money is, OM MANI PADME HUM, money! Everybody likes money; nobody needs to explain how important money is. Everybody knows money is precious, we all cherish it. We can see the benefits because of what we can do with it. We can have many chocolates or biscuits! Anyway, I’m joking! We understand the benefits of money, therefore everybody cherishes money.
People sacrifice their lives for money because they see its benefits. They give up their life for money. I’m not saying that is correct, but I’m saying they do this because they see the benefits of money, how money is precious.
It’s exactly the same here. Since I brought up this example, money, we can compare the value of one sentient being and mountains of diamonds. Diamonds are more precious than gold, when rocks and stones become diamonds. Maybe at that time something else would be more precious.
Anyway, one sentient being and mountains of diamonds, mountains of dollars. Even if every bill is a million dollars and there are mountains of it. And then there’s one sentient being. Which is more precious in our life?
The example can be anything that we like so much. It can be cars. It can be piles of antiques, it can be piles of broken cups or piles of old bones, if somebody likes bones very much! The example doesn’t have to be dollars or diamonds but anything that we like most; it can be mountains of chocolate or anything. So now, those great mountains of many millions of dollars, or diamonds, and this one sentient being, which is more precious in our life?
Without mountains of diamonds alone, even if we own that much, by depending on the existence of the suffering sentient beings, we can make the vow to not harm sentient beings. Because sentient beings exist, we can practice morality, which causes us to achieve not only the peace and happiness of this life, but a good rebirth in all the coming future lives and also liberation from samsara, as well as, by practicing morality with bodhicitta, that causes us to achieve enlightenment. By practicing morality with this suffering sentient being, we can achieve all this. We get all this benefit from this sentient being.
Even if we don’t have one single dollar or diamond, we can practice morality on this sentient being and, from that, we can achieve all this happiness up to enlightenment. Whereas even if we own that much wealth—mountains of diamonds or mountains of millions of dollars—there’s no way to practice morality on that, but because sentient beings exist, we can make charity and the same again, we can achieve all the happiness from that. And the same with patience and perseverance. All this is the same. With money alone there is no opportunity to practice charity to achieve every happiness. Like that, it’s same with the other perfections.
Even if we don’t have even a dollar or a diamond, we can practice loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta on the object, sentient beings, the obscured suffering sentient beings, and we can achieve enlightenment. Sentient beings give us all these benefits, all the realizations of the path and enlightenment. We get all this benefit.
Without depending on these sentient beings, even if we have that much wealth—mountains of diamonds or mountains of million dollars—there’s no way to generate compassion, no way to generate loving kindness, no way to generate bodhicitta, so there is no possibility to achieve enlightenment. Without depending on the kindness of sentient beings, even just the existence of suffering sentient beings, just this alone, even if we have that much wealth, with that alone we cannot stop rebirth in the lower realms and achieve a good rebirth in the next life. And then no question, we cannot attain liberation from samsara. With that much wealth alone we cannot achieve enlightenment without depending on the kindness of sentient beings.
Therefore, all this wealth, no matter how valuable it is, is nothing. Even though before we analyzed it appeared more precious and the sentient being seemed nothing, now, after analyzing, the value of those mountains of diamonds and that many millions of dollars is nothing when we compare it to one sentient being, whether it’s an insect or a human being. The benefit we get from this one being is like the sky; it is so unbelievably precious. That much wealth is nothing.
There is no valuable material that can compare to one sentient being, that is of the same level as the value of a sentient being. Among all material things, a wish-granting jewel is the most valuable. This is the jewel that in the past wheel-turning kings with great merit got from the ocean. After cleaning them in three ways, they are put on top of a banner on the roof of a house, and on the fifteenth day, on those special days, by praying to them, a sentient being receives whatever enjoyment, whatever material possession they need. This is basically due to their merit and the power of the material thing, the wish-granting jewel.
This is the most precious thing among all material possessions, but, even if we had mountains of wish-granting jewels, even if the sky were filled with wish-granting jewels, it could never compete, it could never compare to the value of one sentient being. Even that many wish-granting jewels filling the whole sky is nothing when we compare the value of one sentient being, the benefits we can receive. All those wish-granting jewels are nothing compared to the value of one sentient being in our life.
The reason they use wish-granting jewels is because it’s the most precious thing among all material objects, and if we can find one, it is very easy to feel how precious it is.
Sorry, this is to get the feeling that even one sentient being is the most precious one, the most important one. When we compare ourselves and the other sentient beings, whether it’s an insect or a human being, they are the most important.