How to Make Your Life Most Beneficial for Sentient Beings, Even with Your Speech
During the recent Light of the Path retreat, Lama Zopa Rinpoche dictated this advice and had it distributed to all participants. Rinpoche also wanted it shared with people offering service at FPMT centers, projects and service as well as with all beings everywhere.
Freeing them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bringing them to the peerless happiness of buddhahood—the total cessation of all obscurations and the completion of all realizations
It all depends on your motivation. If you are motivated by the self-cherishing thought, concern for only your own happiness, your own power, and have no concern for others’ happiness, your motivation is coming from your delusions, such as attachment, anger, ignorance and so forth. Then your actions of body, speech and mind will manifest as ugly, unpeaceful and hurtful to others and, as a result, others will react in an ugly, unpeaceful and hurtful way with their body, speech and mind; for example, by getting angry at you. It is like a circle. How you treat others and how they treat you in return is similar, with such negative thoughts and actions. You have to be fully aware of that in your everyday life.
Generally you have to know that you are responsible to not cause others suffering but to bring them happiness. Even if you don’t think of practicing Dharma, to at least be a good human being you need to know this. You are totally responsible as to whether you bring happiness or suffering to others. It is totally dependent on your motivation and how you treat others; it’s up to you whether your motivation is pure or not. Even just to be a good person, a generous human being, you have to know that. If you have a bad motivation and your actions of body, speech and mind are harmful for others, you make others create negative karma when they retaliate by harming you in return. By harming others you therefore cause them to be reborn in the lower realms; to lose their human rebirth and take a lower rebirth and suffer for eons. Can you imagine yourself being in the lower realms? That’s where you’re causing other sentient beings to go and have unhappiness instead of enjoyment.
In the Bodhicaryavatara, Shantideva said,
Smiling at others (showing them a pleasant face)
Causes you to have a beautiful body in future lives.
So you don’t need to have plastic surgery or other expensive procedures. Your positive mind can give you a pleasant, happy, smiling face and a peaceful, not a political, smile. Others will feel this and also become like that, having a good heart and being smiling and happy. Thus you always have to be aware of how others act toward you, positive or negative. It is totally dependent upon your own mind.
The morning motivation, the Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness, contains the details for keeping your mind positive. If you do this motivation every morning you will always act positively toward others for the rest of the day.
However, first think that all your past, present and future happiness, including enlightenment, is received from every sentient being. You receive everything through the kindness of every sentient being, which includes even those people you don’t like—those who make you angry merely upon sight or when you hear their voice. It is so important to understand this evolution. Therefore you should hold all sentient beings in your heart and feel that they are most precious, most kind, most dear and wish fulfilling for you. Then there will be no way for your mind to get angry or to generate ignorance, attachment, selfishness or self-cherishing and, therefore, no way for you to harm others. You absolutely dare not harm others, even in the slightest way.
Even Buddha, Dharma and Sangha—in whom you always take refuge to be free from the lower realms and get higher rebirths; to be free from samsara and achieve liberation, lower nirvana; and to be free from the self-cherishing thought and achieve the peerless happiness of total cessation of all mistakes and completion of all realizations—even this Buddha, Dharma, Sangha in whom you take refuge and who give you all this happiness come from sentient beings, including the ones that are angry at or who harm you, who speak to you hurtfully and so forth, sentient beings that you don’t like. Therefore they are all so precious, unbelievably precious to you. On top of that, they have been your kind mother from beginningless rebirths and even now; it’s unbelievable. So you have to think about this and the dependent arising I mentioned before as well. Think about these two things—it makes not harming and only benefiting others very deep. In that way your life will be only of benefit.
The conclusion is that to be free from the suffering of samsara as quickly as possible and to achieve peerless happiness, the total cessation of all mistakes and the completion of all realizations, then with this thought, smile at others, respect them with your body, speech and mind and speak to them in a nice, respectful way.
Treat people the way you’d like them to treat you: with respect, nice speech and smiles that come from a good heart. If you do that, then, as a result of karma, many others will treat you in the same way. Otherwise others will be angry with you, speak to you rudely and hurtfully, and harm you with the actions of their body, speech and mind.
So here I am mentioning how sentient beings are most kind, most precious, most dear and wish fulfilling. Then you can really enjoy life with them, bring them much inner happiness, and in your own mind you will also enjoy much inner happiness, and that will make them happy too.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama respects even ordinary people. He bends down in respect; Lama Yeshe also did this. Even when he heard about someone’s mistakes, some problems with monks and so forth, when he later met them he showed respect. Like that, this is an incredible practice, rather than feeling pride, showing arrogance and putting others down. Most people might do that, but in my experience, Lama Yeshe never did.
Behaving like this is a great, great, great responsibility of the center director, secretary, board members, office manager, treasurer, spiritual program coordinator, bookshop manager and so forth. Especially these people, but in general, this is for everybody. It’s a question of karma, to not create negative karma and to create good karma. This not only makes you happy but also makes other sentient beings happy. So even with your speech you can make so many sentient beings happy.
You have to be aware that there are very powerful mantras given to us by the Buddha to make our speech very powerful and beneficial for sentient beings. If in the morning you recite the Exalted Stainless Beam Totally Pure Light mantra after blessing your speech, then anybody who simply hears your voice that day, animals or people—whether they hear you singing or in any other way (not necessarily reciting mantras)—is purified of the five heavy negative karmas without break.
The Exalted Stainless Beam Totally Pure Light mantra:
NAMA NAWA NAWA TII NÄN / TATHAAGATA GANG GAA NAM
DIIWAA LUKAA NÄN / KOTINI YUTA SHATA SAHA SRAA NÄN /
OM BOBORI / TSARI NI* TSARI / MORI GOLI TSALA WAARI
SWAAHAA (recite this a few times) [*indicates a high tone]
Then if you also recite one thousand OM MANI PADME HUM mantras every morning, seven generations of your family will not be reborn in the lower realms. Moreover, when other sentient beings see you, even in places where there are many other people, just by seeing you their negative karma will be purified. Also, when you die and your body is cremated, if the smoke from the fire touches any sentient being, human, insect or whatever, it purifies their negative karma and helps them not be reborn in the lower realms.
From Kyabje Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s Verses in Praise of Bodhicitta,
That which benefits lower sentient beings is bodhichitta.
That which benefits middling sentient beings is bodhichitta.
That which benefits sublime sentient beings is bodhichitta.
Isn’t bodhichitta of benefit to all?
If you want to look, look with bodhichitta.
If you want to eat, eat with bodhichitta.
If you want to speak, speak with bodhichitta.
If you want to examine, examine with bodhichitta.
If you desire happiness for transmigratory beings equaling the sky,
Then cherish bodhichitta.
If you desire to benefit transmigratory beings equaling the sky,
Then cherish bodhichitta.
Bodhichitta eliminates pain.
Bodhichitta destroys harm.
Bodhichitta eliminates unhappiness.
Bodhichitta dispels fear.
Scribe: Holly Ansett, 17 August 2016, Black Mountain, North Carolina, US. Edited by Nicholas Ribush.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.http://fpmt.org/lama-zopa-rinpoche-news-and-advice/lama-zopa-rinpoche-news/how-to-make-your-life-most-beneficial-for-sentient-beings-even-with-your-speech/
Caption: Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at Light of the Path retreat, August 2016. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.