My dear friends: in my first message, I would like to extend a warm Tashi Delek to all of you in this mandala. From lifetime to lifetime, our minds have been connected and thus I see you like family. What has kept our minds connected from lifetime to lifetime is the spiritual bond of love. These ‘reminders of loving kindness and compassion’ should encourage us again and again to make an effort to cultivate love for one another. As all our minds are connected, we can help each other through cultivating love. Thus, if more people in this world are able to give rise to love, peace and happiness will increase. I have great love for all sentient beings; for this reason, I trust that spreading the word of love will contribute to the peace and happiness of this world.
My single prayer is: ‘May all sentient beings have happiness, and love—the cause of happiness. May all sentient beings be free from suffering, and self-grasping—the cause of suffering.’ In Tibetan, the word for ‘kindness and love’ is ‘jamtse’ (byams brtse). In Tibetan U-Me script, this can be written in a single line; for me, this is a sign of this word’s preciousness. Today, I am offering to you all my kindness and love. I hope you will keep this dear to your heart, as this is the essence of all happiness in this and future lives. It is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. If you have love in your heart, even those who hate you will eventually be your friends. Your actual enemies are hatred and jealousy in particular. Outer enemies are a temporary illusion arising from a deluded thought. This thought is impermanent. Thoughts come and go. Thus if you do not let go of love, the anger in others will eventually diminish.
If you love others, you wish for their happiness. As our minds are one, if you love others, it will pervade their mind and they will thus feel happy. Love is the only cause of happiness. Its nature is all-pervasive like space. Love is the sunlight of the mind.
Furthermore, I am deeply sad to hear about the earthquake disaster in Japan, and also in New Zealand, Tibet, and other places last year. Although many beings have lost their lives, their minds really can never die. And as our minds are connected, we can benefit them by cultivating love and compassion and reciting the Mani mantra (OM MANI PADME HUNG). If we are able to pervade their minds with love, they will awaken from the dream of self-grasping and suffering.
The first step to eliminate suffering is to give up clinging to this life. From the day we are born to our mothers, until the day we die, this entire life is like last night’s dream. After we have died, we awaken in the Bardo—the intermediate state after death. Then this entire lifetime will seem just like a dream; the human world will become a fading memory. It is like waking up from a dream. At this point, if we have failed to eliminate self-grasping, frightening appearances will manifest—compared to which, this human world appears as a pure land. Milarepa knew what would happen if he failed to purify self-grasping, and thus he had the courage to dedicate his entire life to practice, undaunted by hardship. Thus, whenever you encounter difficulty, consider: “this life is like a dream, before too long it will come to an end, and when it comes to an end, I must be prepared.” In order to secure happiness beyond this life, it is important to understand the causes of happiness.
In order to avoid causes of suffering, we must give up self-cherishing attitudes and cultivate an altruistic mind that seeks the benefit of others. The jewel of Bodhichitta is the only protection at the time of death. The essence of this is found in the 37 Bodhisattva Practices—it contains a remedy for any kind of suffering, an answer to all questions. Although the Buddha’s teachings are vast, the Buddha himself summarized: “perfectly tame your own mind, this is the Buddha’s teaching.”
Although most of us live like kings and queens, still we are very skilled in finding a way to suffer— nothing is ever good enough. The rich suffer from their possessions, the poor suffer from a lack of possessions. Milarepa lived in a cave without food and drink and he was the happiest person in the world. The truth is that we can only find happiness in our mind. If the mind has a habit of grasping at suffering, it will create suffering and perceive everything as an enemy and a threat. If one does not grasp inside the mind, even an actual difficult circumstance, like an illness, is not perceived as suffering. Truly understanding karma will enable us to tolerate our present circumstances and will teach us how to abandon suffering in the future.
Karma can be explained very easily—love is the cause of happiness; self-grasping is the cause of suffering. Therefore, in the 37 Bodhisattva Practices it says: “all suffering without exception comes from wishing for one’s own happiness. The perfect Buddhas arise from the altruistic mind.