Paths for freedom and progress
Learning to Cherish Others
NOTICE ARCHIVE - 25/03/2019

From the depths of our heart we want to be happy all the time, but we are not usually very concerned with the happiness and freedom of others. In reality, however, our own happiness and suffering are insignificant compared to that of other living beings. Others are countless, whereas we ourself are just one single person. Understanding this, we must learn to cherish others if be able to accomplish the ultimate, supreme goal of human life.


What is the ultimate, supreme goal of human life? We should ask ourself what we consider to be most important – what do we wish for, strive for or daydream about? For some people it is material possessions, such as a large house with all the latest luxuries, a fast car or a well-paid job. For others it is reputation, good looks, power, excitement or adventure. Many try to find the meaning of their life in relationships with people who are objects of their desire. All these things can make us superficially happy for a short while, but they can also cause us much worry and suffering. They can never give us the pure and everlasting happiness that all of us, in our heart of hearts, long for. Since we cannot take them with us when we die, if we have made them the principal meaning of our life they will eventually let us down. As an end in themselves worldly attainments are hollow; they are not the real meaning of human life.


Of all worldly possessions the most precious is said to be the legendary wish-granting jewel. It is impossible to find such a jewel in these degenerate times, but in the past, when human beings had abundant merit, there used to be magical jewels that had the power to grant wishes. These jewels, however, could only fulfil wishes for contaminated happiness – they could never bestow the pure happiness that comes from a pure mind. Furthermore, a wish-granting jewel only had the power to grantwishes in one life – it could not protect its owner in his or her future lives. Thus, ultimately even a wish-granting jewel is deceptive. The only thing that will never deceive us is the attainment of full enlightenment. What is enlightenment? It is the inner light of wisdom that is completely free from all mistaken appearance, and whose function is to bestow mental peace upon each and every living being every day. It is the source of the happiness of all living beings.


A person who possesses this wisdom is an enlightened being. The terms ‘ enlightened being’ and ‘ Buddha’ are synonymous. With the exception of enlightened beings, all beings experience mistaken appearances all the time, day and night, even during sleep. Whatever appears to us, we perceive as existing from its own side. This is mistaken appearance. We perceive ‘I’ and ‘mine’ as being inherently existent, and we grasp strongly, believing this appearance to be true. Due to this we perform many inappropriate actions that lead us to experience suffering. This is the fundamental reason why we experience suffering. Enlightened beings are completely free from mistaken appearances and the sufferings they produce. It is only by attaining enlightenment that we can fulfil our deepest wish for pure and lasting happiness, for nothing in this impure world has the power to fulfil this wish. Only when we become a fully enlightened Buddha will we experience the profound and lasting peace that comes from a permanent cessation of all delusions and their imprints. We will be free from all faults and mental obscurations, and will possess the qualities needed to help all living beings directly. We will then be an object of refuge for all living beings.


Through this understanding we can clearly see that the attainment of enlightenment is the ultimate, supreme goal and real meaning of our precious human life. Since our main wish is to be happy all the time and to be completely free from all faults and suffering, we must develop the strong intention to attain enlightenment. We should think, ‘I need to attain enlightenment because in samsara, the cycle of impure life, there is no real happiness anywhere.’ The main cause of enlightenment is bodhichitta, the spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment that is motivated by compassion for all living beings. A person who possesses this precious mind of bodhichitta is called a ‘ Bodhisattva’. The root of bodhichitta is compassion. Since the development of compassion depends upon cherishing others, the first step to the sublime happiness of enlightenment is learning to cherish others. A mother cherishes her children, and we may cherish our friends to a certain degree, but this cherishing is not impartial and is usually mixed with attachment.


We need to develop a pure mind that cherishes all living beings without bias or partiality. Each and every living being has within them the seed, or potential, to become a Buddha, a fully enlightened being – this is our Buddha nature. In Buddha’s teachings we have found the best method to ripen this seed, or potential. What we need to do now is to put these teachings into practice. This is something that only human beings can do. Animals can gather resources, defeat their enemies and protect their families, but they can neither understand nor engage in the spiritual path. It would be a great shame if we were to use our human life only to achieve what animals can also achieve, and thereby waste this unique opportunity to become a source of benefit for all living beings. We are faced with a choice: either we can continue to squander our life in pursuing worldly enjoyments that give no real satisfaction and disappear when we die, or we can dedicate our life to realizing our full spiritual potential.


To follow the path to enlightenment there is no need to change our external lifestyle. We do not need to abandon our family, friends or enjoyments, and retire to a mountain cave. All we need to do is change the object of our cherishing. Until now we have cherished ourself above all others, and for as long as we continue to do this our suffering will never end. However, if we learn to cherish all beings more than ourself we will soon enjoy the bliss of enlightenment. The path to enlightenment is really very simple – all we need to do is stop cherishing ourself and learn to cherish others. All other spiritual realizations will naturally follow from this. Our instinctive view is that we are more important than everyone else, whereas the view of all enlightened beings is that it is others who are more important. Which of these views is more beneficial? In life after life, since beginningless time, we have been slaves to our self-cherishing mind. We have trusted it implicitly and obeyed its every command, believing that the way to solve our problems and find happiness is to put ourself before everyone else. We have worked so hard and for so long for our own sake, but what do we have to show for it? Have we solved all our problems and found the lasting happiness we desire? No. It is clear that pursuing our own selfish interests has deceived us. After having indulged our self-cherishing for so many lives, now is the time to realize that it simply does not work. Now is the time to switch the object of our cherishing from ourself to all living beings. All enlightened beings have discovered that by abandoning self-cherishing and cherishing only others they came to experience true peace and happiness. If we practise the methods they taught, there is no reason why we should not be able to do the same. 


We cannot expect to change our mind overnight, but through practising patiently and consistently the instructions on cherishing others, while at the same time accumulating merit, purifying negativity and receiving blessings, we can gradually replace our ordinary self-cherishing attitude with the sublime attitude of cherishing all living beings. To achieve this we do not need to change our lifestyle, but we do need to change our views and intentions. Our ordinary view is that we are the centre of the universe and that other people and things derive their significance principally from the way in which they affect us. Our car, for example, is important simply because it is ours, and our friends are important because they make us happy. Strangers, on the other hand, do not seem so important because they do not directly affect our happiness, and if a stranger’s car is damaged or stolen we are not that concerned.


A self-centred view of the world is based on ignoance and does not correspond to reality. This view is the source of all our ordinary, selfish intentions. It is precisely because we think ‘I am important, I need this, I deserve that’ that we engage in negative actions, which result in an endless stream of problems for ourself and others. By practising these instructions, we can develop a realistic view of the world, based on an understanding of the equality and interdependence of all living beings. Once we view each and every living being as important we will naturally develop good intentions towards them. Whereas the mind that cherishes only ourself is the basis for all impure, samsaric experience, the mind that cherishes others is the basis for all the good qualities of enlightenment. Cherishing others is not so difficult – all we need to do is to understand why we should cherish others and then make a firm decision to do so. Through meditating on this decision we will develop a deep and powerful feeling of cherishing for all beings. We then carry this special feeling into our daily life. There are two main reasons why we need to cherish all living beings. The first is that they have shown us immense kindness, and the second is that cherishing them has enormous benefits. These will now be explained.

SOURCE: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso



Note: This view of life is connected with the true form of socialism. The individual can reach maturity to take responsibility and by own decision interact and support others. The leftist socialism is deceptive, communism is not true socialism. It commands and forces people to be socialists, which just causes advert reactions and create more materialism and individualism, instead of  reaching common goals for the best of society.

Communism, like the Abrahamic three religions, do not incentive accountability and responsibility of the individual, instead these religions remove all the possibilities from man to reach enlightment, as they subordinate him under superior invisible power and control him like a marionette or slave. 

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