Introduction to Buddhist Compassion
The Buddhist view is based on non-violence and particularly having true love and compassion for all beings.There are three reasons for love and compassion.
The first reason is that, from the Buddhist point of view of death and rebirth, all beings have been our parents. Even in the case of having a more or less difficult relationship with ones’ parents we could consider that at least they have given us life and support, sacrificing their own comfort to sustain our lives.
Just by virtue of being born consider the physical effort and pain a mother goes through giving birth. Even before that consider the discomfort a mother has to endure to carry a baby to term. Later, consider how an infant is completely helpless, unable to do anything at all for itself.
Because of our parents, father and mother, we have life. Someone at some point gave us love and compassion so we are alive now. For this reason alone we can see that all beings are integrally related or rather all beings are interconnected.
The second reason is that every being that has a mind simply wishes for
happiness. No one wishes for suffering. From this point of view following the Buddhist teaching we aim to bring happiness to all beings.
The third reason is that all beings have mind. All mind nature is Buddha. For this reason we should have positive intensions toward and respect for
everyone. Remember thoughtful compassion. Non-Buddhist and superficial Buddhist compassion is not authentic because this compassion is for their own benefit, not for the benefit of others.
Most people have a certain kind of food that they prefer to eat, because they find that kind of food more delicious than other foods. Buddhist logic says that whatever ordinary people are thinking, it is not really true.
Why? Because when a person is very hungry, any food will be the best food to them at that time. In the same way, there are many different religions that people believe in. They think that “my” religion is the best one, and all the others are wrong. It is the Buddhist teaching that when people have a difficult life situation,
Or mental or emotional issues, or anything difficult in life, this is when Buddhist teaching and meditation can help many beings.Buddhist teaching is an ancient inner science of the mind development of wisdom which brings you peace and perfect happiness.
Modern science is for material development outside of the phenomena. Generally, people think Buddhism is a religion. Religion has many rules and many rules don’t have meaning.
Many rules are empty rules with no result. Without examination or analysis, they have lost their meaning. For example, traffic rules might be followed every day, day in and day out. Following these types of rules in this way bring temporary benefit such as driving without accidents.
Following empty rules in traffic is naturally more beneficial then following empty rules sometimes characteristic of religion. But we must be careful to not blindly follow empty rules that promise no result.
Buddhist teaching is called the precious Buddhadharma. Generally, people without good fortune cannot meet this precious Buddhadharma. People with good luck or good fortune can meet Buddha teaching.
This is a wisdom teaching and hearing the teaching can create a healthy mind, which is more positive and not negative.
If you have a healthy mind, you can make friends, improve relationships and everything is easy for you. If you have a negative mind, then everything that is easy becomes difficult, if it is easy, obstacles come.
Buddhadharma is so precious and so useful. But Buddhadharma is mostly hidden, because qualified teachers are more concerned with keeping the pure meaning of the teachings then advertising or bringing fame and fortune to themselves.
Authentic Dharma teachers do not want to give the teaching to unfortunate
beings because it will destroy the precious teaching and make it superficial. Some ordinary people use the teachings intellectually.
If you only use the teachings for knowledge, then you will not benefit from them. For example, Bank managers keep money for other people, but the money does not belong to him. When the bank manager is in financial trouble and needs money,
he cannot use this money because it does not belong to him. In the same way, if you have only intellectual knowledge of the Buddhadharma, it only makes your ego bigger, but does not help you or other beings.
If you take the teachings seriously, do practice and meditate from the heart, then your heart will open and you will develop an unshakeable devotion for the Buddhadharma.
By practicing in this way with a genuine heart, it is possible for
the teachings to change your mind temporarily and life will become precious and ultimately become enlightened.
Now our life is ordinary, like iron, but with the Buddhadharma, our life will
become precious like gold. Gold does not have an ego, boasting “I am more important than other metal”. Ultimately, you will take a humble position and this is a sign that you have improved yourself.
Generally, people are naïve about the Buddhadharma. If someone knows the Dharma and becomes enlightened, people are curious about enlightenment and want to see some sign. Enlightened beings do show such signs.
If you sincerely follow an authentic teacher and meditate every day, then the sign you are looking for will be the improvement in your inner mind. Someone may tell us that they have improved by practicing Dharma, but we may not believe it because of our own obstacles, naïve habits, or belief in nihilism.
For example, someone may try to explain what something sour tastes like, but they cannot tell you. You have to experience it. In the same way,
Buddhist meditation and realization leads to unchanging happiness but there may be no outward sign. Only a highly realized Lama has perfected the understanding of the Dharma and attained understanding of all phenomena in nature.
What is Buddhism? A student needs to follow a qualified teacher and an unbroken lineage. Generally, “qualified” has many meanings. The meaning is very deep. “Qualified” means that throughout their life the teacher is not ever superficial and is always authentic. Buddhist authentic Lama’s never mix politics and Dharma.
They only focus on Buddhist knowledge and realization, without mixing Dharma with these worldly concerns. The root of politics is cynical for the benefit of only ones’ self. For example, someone goes to a golden land, they can search for many years for ordinary substance like iron, but they can’t find it. In the same way, with a qualified teacher, we can search for many years for a mistake and we can’t find it because it is superficial.
Ordinary beings have many negative emotions, generally, and unlimited mistakes. Right now we are looking for true happiness and we need an unmistakable guide in Buddhism and a qualified teacher to guide us because we are ignorant beings.
If we don’t follow the direction of a qualified teacher of Buddhism, then the result will be endless suffering and endless negative emotions. A qualified teacher is like a guide for a blind person.
Meeting an authentic Lama is like inconceivable good fortune, because such a Lama can enable us to end the ocean of suffering in just one lifetime. An authentic Buddhist Lama represents all of the Buddha.
A qualified teacher’s motivation is not looking for many sponsors and students. A qualified teacher is only looking for those wishing for enlightenment. In the unfortunate case of lesser motivated students, the qualified master will indirectly bring benefit by praying for them to aspire toward a more open mind.
What is Buddhist philosophy? The philosophy of Buddhism is to benefit all
beings, including ourselves. Many people like to learn the Dharma and meditate on Buddhist teachings. The result is that we become more gentle and kind, with a good heart. This is not temporary, also for enlightenment alone.
If we cultivate Buddhist teachings, we will have that benefit for countless future lifetimes. The result will benefit ourselves and other beings. For example, even though sandalwood does not have a mind and the intention to share its fragrance,
anything near it benefits from its smell. Unchanging love and compassion is an enlightened wish and in Sanskrit is called bodhichitta. Buddhist philosophy masters like Shantideva are gentle and intelligent – gentle because he is teaching the way of the bodhisattva. This is useful for everyone.
It is also intelligent because he knows that future beings will use the teachings to cultivate virtue and increase merit and wisdom. This is a sign that Shantideva, even though he passed away almost two thousand years ago, had great intelligence, because his activities are still alive and will never pass away.
Ordinary beings may live a long time and learn many things, but when they pass away, all those things are gone. It is important to understand the temporary nature of all phenomena. Basically, ordinary beings have intelligence, but that intelligence is temporary.
For example, a computer is useful but it is not perfect because you may get a virus on the computer and then it will not be able to serve its purpose. In the same way, we ate food yesterday but today we are hungry again.
Barbarians’ ideas reject the Buddhadharma and teachers. Their own view is egotistical and they don’t want to follow a spiritual teacher or view. They make up their own blind mind and blind view.
They hold a mistaken belief about temporary phenomena. They never think of dying and they think this world is permanent.
Their actions create only temporary benefit. Generally, people are not barbarians. But we have many past lifetimes when we have been barbarians and so we have a strong habit of making this mistake.
In this lifetime, we need to use the Buddhadharma as a strong soap to wash away all our negative habits. This means we have a good opportunity in this lifetime. Even if many people want to become Buddhist and learn Dharma, wishing for enlightenment alone,
Without working and practice, their habits and actions will destroy their goal. Shantideva said, “For beings long to free themselves from misery, but misery itself they follow and pursue. They long for joy,
but in their ignorance destroy it, as they would their foe.” In explaining this, I am trying very hard to help many people, but they make mistakes. They think it is the teacher’s mistake.
Then, these people reject the teaching and the cause and effect of that rejection is not to have understanding of the dharma in the future. They think this action is positive because of ignorance but it is mistaken and it is really an effect of this rejection.
The effect of this action of rejection impacts their own happiness and results in deceiving themselves. The teacher always has good intention for other beings. If peoples’ actions benefit others, this is wonderful.
If it does not benefit others, and rather, criticizes the teacher and the Dharma, then it is not the fault of Buddhism, but it is the mistake of the people, themselves. It is a huge obstacle.
Shantideva says, “All those who harbor evil in their minds against such lords of generosity, the Buddha’s heirs, will stay in hell, the mighty Sage has said, for ages equal to the moments of their malice.” It seems to me if people act like this, ordinary beings’ lives are almost meaningless. But with the opportunity to meet this kind of precious teaching, life becomes a precious opportunity for enlightenment.
If you reject Buddhadharma and the teacher, and don’t believe in karma, cause and effect, virtue and nonvirtue, then you will destroy this precious opportunity and turn it into a garbage again and again.
If the Lama’s good intention helps you one or two times, if you continue, even if they have good intentions, their intentions will not be able to help you. They will only be able to make prayers of aspiration to help you indirectly, but will not be able to benefit you directly.
In 2010, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was interviewed by Maria Shriver. The topic of discussion was women in Buddhism and women taking on more influential roles throughout the world in general.
In the interview, Shriver states that people need to change their brain. In response, the Dalai Lama said that he thinks Tibetan people do not need to change their brains but, western people need to change their brains, because they have too much anger and fear which is obviously very destructive.
Some western people have been Buddhists for a long time. They believe in reincarnation and increasing virtue and benefit for future lives and other beings. But, when their own dear grandfather dies, they do not do prayers for him and are instead only concerned about an inheritance.
A person with this attitude, even though they have been Buddhist for a long time, is at that time totally non-Buddhist because their concern is not for others, but only for themselves.
In the Buddhist tradition, it is essential to give offerings to monks and/or Lamas and to practice for those who have “died”.The 49 days after a death is the time to accumulate virtue, dedication and aspiration for a better re-birth for those who have passed. It is said that the mind of beings enter what is known as the Bardo, a state between incarnations. If you would like to read an introduction to the Bardo teachings, please go to the website. Bardo, a state between incarnations.
Every day I meet new people and they say, “How are you?” I reply that I am good and bad. Some gentle people say, “Oh. I wish you were only good.” Then I say, “Good and bad is not only my condition but everyone’s. It is good because we are alive, and bad because every day we are getting older. No one likes getting old!” The meaning is, that people rarely think of impermanence, but mistakenly believe their life is permanent. The truth is, life is actually impermanent. That is why I say it is both good and bad.
There is nothing in particular special about me other than this: I was able to meet a Vidyadhara Lineage holder, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche when I was fifteen. I have also been able to meet many other great Nyingma Lamas with immeasurable qualities. Ever since I was very young I have wanted to realize and preserve the vast meaning of my teacher and Lord Buddha’s teachings.
I have been fortunate enough to find the nectar of Dharma, which I continue to practice and my aspiration now is to share this happiness with others. I am writing this with the intension to benefit everyone. I am not boasting. by Lopon Osel Gyurme Sept. 8th. 2012
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