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37 Bodhisattva Practices Series

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The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 1

1: At this time when the difficult-to-gain ship of leisure and fortune has been obtained, ceaselessly hearing, pondering, and meditating day and night in order to liberate oneself and others from the ocean of cyclic existence is the bodhisattvas’ practice.\

Many people do not consider the preliminaries very important, thinking that because they have read a book they already understand the eighteen leisures and fortunes and don’t have to concern themselves with them any longer. They rather move on the 'real and more profound' practices. According to Lord Jigten Sumgon the preliminaries are most profound. You will only become free from the cycle of existence, the ocean of suffering, if your whole heart wants to become free, otherwise no matter what other advanced practices you may engage in, they will not free you from suffering and in fact, they may even reinforce the ego. In the beginning you must understand the preciousness of this human incarnation and how difficult it is to obtain. Normally we ask others, 'how did you sleep last night?' And when they respond, 'I slept well,' we say, 'that's really good.' If we didn't get enough sleep, we feel sorry for ourselves.

This is a sign that the thought of the precious human life has not yet fully dawned in our mind. If it would have dawned in our mind we would feel sorry for every minute we wasted sleeping. We would not be sluggish and grouchy in the morning, but upon awakening we would remember the precious human life and feel a sense of urgency to get out of bed. Thus in the morning it is important to remember the precious human life. You may wonder how to do your daily tasks without sleep. You do not need to abandon sleep, but you should practice moderation and discipline. Furthermore, if you practice for instance the Om Ah Hung Vajra Recitation as you fall asleep, your sleep will become virtuous. Every time you awake in the middle of the night, you should remember sentient beings and recite a few Mani mantras for them. This human life is the fruition of myriad virtues accumulated throughout countless lifetimes.

It is a one-time opportunity and we shouldn't expect to obtain such a precious opportunity again in the future. Knowing how precious this human life is, one would not waste one's time with meaningless activities. Moreover, one will always be joyful even if things seem to go wrong, if one becomes a beggar, is without friends and family, or without wealth. Let alone becoming depressed, one would be happy, knowing that one possesses a precious human body, the ship that can bring one beyond the ocean of suffering. In fact, one will know that worldly pleasures will only bring one's own ruin in the future. This human life is very powerful, for humans are endowed with intelligence and the six elements. It is the crossroad between going up or down. If we know how to use this human existence well, we can attain enlightenment in a single life. If we waste this human existence and engage in negative deeds, it will propel us into the lower realms for countless eons.

A thought Rinpoche recorded during the Yamantaka Drubchen in Los Angeles a few days ago.

In prison Khenpo Münsel Rinpoche taught me this: "The extent of your realization will be known when you encounter difficult circumstances. You will not know the extent of your realization when things go well." When you find yourself in a troublesome situation, when you are in great pain, when an intense emotion arises, only then will you know where you are at with practice. He added: "Adverse circumstances will reveal your hidden faults." If you are able to hold awareness unwaveringly during such a time, and thus if you are not carried away by the force of the emotion, it is a sign that you have gained experience in practice.

If you were to practice mindful-awareness with great diligence for just a month, if you were to recognize even the slightest thought and not allow your mind to wander off into delusion for that time, even in such a short time you would witness great changes. Fierce afflictions would not faze you so much any more, because you would have gained personal experience in observing the illusory play. There is in fact just one remedy necessary--mindful awareness. It is the single sufficient remedy that transforms difficulties inside and out.

Garchen Rinpoche on Bodhicitta

"In order to meditate properly—that is, in a manner that actually produces the state of complete awakening we call enlightenment—the one indispensable ingredient required that you cannot do away with is bodhicitta, which is the mind of awakening, the altruistic aspiration to liberate all sentient beings to enlightenment, the mindset of the awakened warriors, the bodhisattvas.

In fact, that is what you need your mind stream to be permeated with most desperately; that is your most desperate need, especially in terms of practice and proper meditation. Bodhicitta, the precious mind of awakening, the mindset of the enlightened warriors, is the root teaching of the 84,000 sets of teachings and practices that comprise the Buddhadharma.

Without bodhicitta, whatever practice you engage in is grounded in ego-grasping, self-cherishing, and is a fabrication of the ego mind. That is why bodhicitta is absolutely indispensable, and that is why meditation is not just awareness, or knowledge, or the knowingness that cognizes emptiness. It is also passionately loving and compassionate toward all sentient beings."

The 37 Bodhisattv Practices Series:

Verse 2

"The mind of attachment to loved ones wavers like water. The mind of hatred of enemies burns like fire. The mind of ignorance which forgets what to adopt and what to discard is greatly obscured. Abandoning one’s homeland is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The root cause of samsara is the attachment to the false idea of a self. Due to attachment we take birth in the six realms of samsara again and again. Although one may live in this world, if one is not attached, one does not wander in samsara. In our homeland we meet the adversaries whom we dislike, and we are attached to our families and friends. If we abandon our homeland and go to a different place, we are not attached to the people there, we see them all as the same. However, if we do not understand the detriment of attachment and aversion, we will again hate our opponents and cling to our friends, even if we move to a different place. Again we become attached to those people who treat us well and we dislike those who are unkind to us.Thus it is important to recognize the fault of attachment and aversion. If you are able to recognize their fault, there is no need to abandon your homeland. Consider what happens when only a subtle emotion of attachment or aversion arises.

For example, when you are describing a certain person to others, if he is your friend, you will only mention his good qualities; but if you dislike him, you will only point out his faults and not mention his good qualities. Tainted by attachment and aversion we cannot see how things really are. When we think about situations that are less emotionally charged, we come to understand that true intelligence arises within a mind of equanimity, a mind that remains uncolored by attachment or aversion. If you are mindful and recognize your mental arisings, for example, in conversation you will immediately recognize when you are tempted to say something negative about someone just because you don’t like them very much.

Attachment and love can easily be confused. Love means to feel sincere love and a wish for the other's happiness, without any sense of ownership and a wish for one's own happiness. Even someone who generally understands karma, temporarily dismisses it when an intense emotion of anger or desire arises. Some are overwhelmed by the emotion and blindly engage in negative deeds. Others commit evil deeds knowingly but are incapable to resist due to the force of the passion. This is what the verse means by “the mind of ignorance which forgets what to adopt and what to discard.”Tilopa said to Naropa: "Son, it is not the appearances that fetter you, it is the grasping at those appearances that fetters the mind."

The view of Vajrayana is extremely difficult to realize. Because it seems obscure, some feel safer calling themselves followers of the Hinayana path and are not interested in the Vajrayana path. This is a legitimate aspiration. However, the view of Vajrayana is actually not so obscure and difficult to understand. Vajrayana explains how things really are.

For instance, imagine a big glacier. Someone who does not understand Vajrayana will think, "This is a mountain of ice." Someone who understands Vajrayana will think, "This appears to be a mountain of ice; however, the nature of ice is water. It will not always be an ice mountain; someday it will melt into water." If you understand only this principle you understand the view of Vajrayana.

Vajrayana says that although the six realms appear, the appearance is temporary. In reality all sentient beings possess buddha nature, the potential to attain enlightenment. In the mind various thoughts arise temporarily. They are not who we really are; they come and they go and constantly change. Now you are angry; the next moment you love.

All these thoughts are momentary. But there is a ground of being, there is a conscious awareness that is always there. It never comes and goes; it is always there unchangingly. It doesn't die and isn't born. There is an underlying eternal conscious awareness. You have never separated from it and you never will, for this is who you really are. When you see this nature, your true nature, you see the true meaning of Vajrayana.

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 3

"When harmful places are abandoned, disturbing emotions gradually diminish. Without distraction, virtuous endeavors naturally increase. Being clear-minded, definite understanding of the Dharma arises. Resorting to secluded places is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

'Resorting to secluded places' refers to the isolation of body, speech and mind; not only the body. The whole purpose of secluding the body and speech is in fact only to seclude the mind. Secluding the mind means not to fall under the power of thoughts and emotions. Only secluding the body and speech while the mind still clings to thoughts and emotions, it is pointless. We seclude the body by traveling to isolated places, and we seclude the speech by remaining in silence. We do this in order to create an environment in which the mind is not constantly distracted by various sensory attractions. This is often misunderstood and people remove themselves from society in order to live in a hermitage to do retreat. But it only becomes a retreat if we are able to seclude our minds by not falling under the power of our own fixations. Some people never seclude themselves from the world but are still able to sustain awareness and do not fall under the power of their thoughts.

The latter is the one who is actually in retreat. However, for beginning practitioners, a place in isolation is conducive for practice because the mind is not sufficiently subdued in order to be able to withstand or resist the distractions and entertainments of the world. In an isolated place such entertainments are lacking and thus the wild and restless mind will find it easier to calm down. Since at such a place one is not faced with outer distractions, it is easier to turn inward and watch the mind. By doing so, the wish to practice virtue will increase. When the mind is calm and stable it is easier to cultivate compassion, patience and the other perfections. A harmful place is a place that leads to the increase of our negative thoughts and emotions. This can be any place, a mundane place or a hermitage. If, in a mundane place, one is able to control one's mind and not fall under the power of thoughts, it is not a harmful place.

In fact, yogis whose minds are stable should travel to mundane places of distraction in order to test their accomplishment. In brief, a harmful place is a place that leads to the increase of negativity and fixation, and a beneficial place is a place where one does not grasp at whatever arises. Since most people have to work and cannot seclude themselves to isolated places, you can also isolate yourself for short periods of time, for example a week, or for the weekend, or even just for a day or a few hours. As you gain a living experience by practicing in such a way as much as you can you will find that often the places we enjoy ourselves at are harmful places, and as your patience increases you will find that your enemies can be an enhancement to your practice. From the perspective of the Dharma, friend and enemies sometimes change roles."

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 5

"When evil companions are associated with, the three poisons increase, the activities of listening, pondering and meditation decline, and love and compassion are extinguished. Abandoning evil companions is the Bodhisattvas' practice."

One may think that evil companions are those mean people who hate us. But this is not necessarily the case. From the perspective of the Pratimoksha path an evil companion is someone who prevents us from practicing the Dharma. If we do not practice, the three poisons, desire, hatred and ignorance increase. A loving friend may be someone preventing your from practice, and a troublemaker may help you to practice. Furthermore, it is better to have a troublesome friend who believes in karma, than a skillful benefactor who does not believe in karma. However, a beginning practitioner, whose practice is not yet stable, might be influenced in a negative way by such a companion, for instance, they might begin drinking and smoking, or deny karma. As such negative influence leads to the increase of negative karma, it is better to avoid such companions. A bodhisattva practices patience and love, thus there is no one to be abandoned.

Those who are troublesome are benefactors of patience, and those who are loving are benefactors of love. If one is able to sustain stability in patience and love, there is no need to abandon troublesome people.

A bodhisattva will not be influenced negatively, and by keeping the troublesome person company, the latter may even change and become a better person. Even if we are a beginning practitioner, we might end up in a relationship that we cannot abandon, even though our practice is not yet stable. Due to karmic forces people meet and are bound to live together. So what can we do? We have to generate awareness and abandon rather the afflictive emotions than the companion. The true evil companion to be abandoned is self-grasping. If we do not abandon this evil companion, we will always encounter obstacles. Abandoning evil companions does not mean to abandon our friends who are annoying, thinking, "we always fight, we better break up." This would be a mistake and by doing that we will meet unharmonious friends again and again. We are holders of the bodhisattva vows. We promised to cultivate love, compassion, and bodhichitta for everyone, so we cannot say “everyone except him.”

Still, we must not accept wrong views. Whatever someone with wrong views, desire, anger, or sectarianism says, you should not listen to it. In brief, we have to purify our mind; if we follow thoughts of desire and aversion, our love, kindness and compassion vanish.

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 6

"When sublime spiritual friends are relied upon, one's faults are exhausted and one's qualities increase like the waxing moon. Holding sublime spiritual friends even more dear than one's own body is the Bodhisattvas' practice."

Why is the spiritual teacher more important than one's own body? The body is impermanent and we will cast it aside, like a guest leaving a guest-house. But if we understand just one word of our guru, and practice accordingly, we will experience happiness in all future lives. When the teacher only introduces us to karma, cause and effect, it is like receiving two wide-open eyes, the knowledge that knows what to do and what to give up. Simply by being introduced to karma, we are shown to path to create happiness in all future lives. Therefore, even if someone were to offer us millions of dollars, it could not compare to the value of receiving a single line of teachings from our guru. In fact, money may easily be used to create even more suffering. The cause of all suffering is the self-centered mind, and all the negative emotions. When you recognize this, your faults will be exhausted.

When you recognize that the only cause of happiness is a pure and loving mind, your qualities will increase like the waxing moon. The path to such recognition is given to us by our spiritual teacher. For this reason he is more precious than one's own body.

What does it mean to hold the spiritual teacher dear? Holding his body dear only leads to trouble; what we must hold dear are his words or instructions. Holding his words dear means to listen properly and then apply them to one's own mind, put them into practice. First we must understand the teachings, and then we must personally experience what we have learned. We experience the teachings by reflecting and meditating on them until a feeling of certainty arises. For instance, the teacher explains to us the preciousness of love. An intellectual understanding is already a great merit. However, an intellectual understanding will not dispel the root of our suffering, our negative emotions. It certainly helps, but in order to truly pass beyond suffering, we must practice, gain a living experience. When we gain a personal experience, we will directly see how love is so precious. Knowing this, based on experiencing it directly, one will not let go of it at any cost.

Not letting go of love, we will habituate to it to the point when it becomes effortless and always remains naturally. Then we have created perfect peace and happiness and have finally passed beyond suffering. The root cause is the kindness of our teacher.

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 7:

"What worldly gods, themselves also bound in the prison of cyclic existence, are able to protect others? Therefore, when refuge is sought, taking refuge in the undeceiving Triple Gem is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The reason why we should not seek refuge in worldly gods is because they, themselves, are not yet liberated from suffering. They may be very powerful and magnificent, but this is only the temporary ripening of various karmas. Because they themselves have not eliminated the actual cause of suffering, the afflictive emotions, they cannot provide us with ultimate protection from suffering. Only someone who has transcended suffering can protect us from suffering. The Buddha is the one who has achieved lasting peace and happiness and is free of all suffering and all causes of suffering. Therefore, the Buddha has the ability to help us to become ultimately free of suffering. The method to become free of suffering is the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. If we follow the prescription of the Buddha, we will become just like the Buddha ourselves.

Although the Dharma consists of 84,000 teachings, they have a single essence - bodhichitta.In order to progress along the path of Dharma we need to rely on a companion, someone who has walked the path and thus possesses the ability to guide us on the path. This companion is the Sangha. Having taken refuge in the Three Jewels will protect us from suffering because the Three Jewels teach us what to do and what not to do. If we practice accordingly we will be protected, in this sense we are actually protecting ourselves. Ultimately, thus, we rely on the inner Three Jewels. When we understand that the Three Jewels are actually complete within our own mind, we will become free of suffering. The inner Buddha is your own mindful awareness, the inner Dharma is love and compassion, and if you practice their union, your mind is the Sangha. Since taking refuge means to ultimately take refuge in compassion, we will be protected from suffering. The essence of the Mahayana refuge vow is to think: "I shall not forsake bodhichitta, even at the cost of my life.From this time onwards, until attaining the heart of enlightenment, I shall remain inseparable from wisdom and compassion."

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 8:

"The Subduer said that all the unbearable suffering of the three lower realms is the fruition of wrongdoing. Therefore, never committing negative deeds, even at peril to one's life, is the bodhisattvas' practice."

All the unbearable suffering of the lower realms is created by our afflictive emotions. The Buddha did not invent or create a certain belief, but rather, having realized how things really are, the Buddha compassionately explained what causes suffering and what causes happiness. He taught, "If you wish to be happy, this is what you need to do. If you wish to avoid suffering, this is what you must give up." "The very nature of hatred is hell. The very nature of love is the pure land." Hell is not a place someone sends you to in order to punish you.

It is just the nature of hatred to produce hell, or the nature of hatred is hell. This is just how things are. Sometimes people doubt the reality of hell. Even Buddhists sometimes think "it is just a state of mind. If its just mind then its not real, so it can't be that bad." However, while it is true that hell does not inherently exist, neither does this human life! If you experience this life as a reality, hell will be experiencedin the same way. For as long as there is negative karma, for as long as there is self-grasping, suffering is a real experience. Only when one attains enlightenment and realizes emptiness, one realizes that the realms, including the pure lands do not inherently exist.In addition, we can see the suffering of all realms in our world.

There are humans who experience the suffering of hell and hungry spirits. What is the cause of all suffering? The cause of all suffering is self-grasping and the afflictive emotions arising from it. Thus you should observe your own mind and if you find that you possess afflictive emotions such as anger, the result will certainly ripen in the future. Milarepa said, "The root of the lower realms is hatred, therefore practice patience even at the cost of your life." When you understand the suffering resulting from hatred, you will naturally wish to abandon it. If you do not understand this you may even mistakenly justify anger.

From hatred arises hell, from greed appear the hungry spirits and from ignorance the animals. For instance, some people are unaware and destroy their life by drinking alcohol and taking drugs. This creates a propensity of ignorance leading to birth as an animal.There is outer and inner karma. Outer karma refers to our external activities. One may think, “I am not killing, or stealing, I'm not doing anything wrong.” But what is more important is the inner karma. Even if one is not engaging in negative deeds externally, if one fails to give rise to compassion and only thinks about oneself, negative thoughts will accumulate in the mind like snowflakes falling continuously day and night. If we keep following the afflictive emotions, we will not find freedom for countless eons. That is only due to the actions we have committed based on this body. Karma, cause and effect, is infallible.

37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 9:

"The pleasure of the three realms is as fleeting as a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass, vanishing in a single moment. Striving for the supreme state of never-changing liberation is the bodhisattvas’ practice."

The three existences are the human's on the earth, the gods above, and the nagas below. All beings in these realms are attached to the pleasures of sensory enjoyments. We are not liberated because we are attached to samsara, because we think that we can actually find true happiness by finding gratification for our senses. We can understand rather easily that hatred is the cause of suffering, and we are ready to give up this negative emotion. It is much more difficult for us to realize that the actual cause of still wandering in samsara is our mistaken belief that we will, in the end, find some happiness here. It is thus more difficult to recognize our desire for samsaric bliss. We are not free from suffering, because we can't let go of it. But no matter how hard we try, even if we get what we were striving for, it will not last. When we die we are forced to let it all go. What will stay, however, are the negative imprints, the karmas that we created in order to obtain worldly pleasures.

Everything is impermanent, changing moment by moment; nothing lasts, like a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass. To cling to the permanence of things is extremely ignorant. Patrul Rinpoche said, "The attachment to sights is like a moth attracted to a fire flame. The attachment to sound is like a deer enchanted by the hunter's flute. The attachment to taste is like a fish taking a baited hook. The attachment to touch is like an elephant mired in a swamp. The attachment to smell is like a bee flying into a carnivorous flower." For example, the elephant finds it very blissful to be in the cool mud, but he is so heavy that he easily becomes mired in the swamp and will die there if he can’t get out.

Likewise, we think that samsara is pleasurable. In the beginning we enjoy ourselves, in the middle we experience misery, and in the end we will find no liberation, like an elephant sinking in a swamp. In the beginning, we are convinced that obtaining our object of desire will bring us satisfaction. When we get it, it becomes the cause of suffering. If the good qualities and the faults of an action are equal, or if the faults are predominant, you should not engage in the action. This is how you should consider before partaking of something pleasurable. For example, if you consider carefully, you will not drink alcohol excessively. There is nothing wrong with drinking only a little bit of alcohol, it can be medicinal. But if you drink excessively and get drunk, then eventually you will drink yourself to death. If you are honest, the pleasures of this life, many times are the cause of much suffering.

37 Bodhisattva Practices Series

Verse 10:

"When mothers who have been kind to one since beginningless time are suffering, what's the use of one's own happiness? Therefore, generating the mind of enlightenment in order to liberate limitless sentient beings is the bodhisattvas' practice."

Since time without beginning we have taken birth in cyclic existence, over and over again. In all these incalculable past lives we have had parents. If we were to pile up the bones of all our past bodies, it would be greater than Mount Meru. If we were to gather all the tears we cried, it would fill up a limitless ocean. Since we incarnated infinitely, there is not a single being who has not been our parent in a past life. At that time, they cared for us with great love and sacrificed their lives for our sake. Just like our present parents, they have committed many negative deeds in order to protect us. As a result of these negative deeds they now suffer in samsara endlessly. How could we turn our backs at them and leave them alone? Because they are our mothers, and thus very dear to our heart, we want them to be happy. The wish for the happiness of others is love. If you love someone you cannot bear to see them suffer. This is compassion. We wish for all others to be free from suffering.

The root of suffering is the self-clinging mind. Although sentient beings are limitless, self-clinging is the single root of all suffering. If you give rise to love and compassion for all sentient beings, your mind will become vast and all-pervasive. When love pervades all beings, self-grasping diminishes. In this way you accomplish the dual purpose of others and yourself. Ultimately, there is a single ground within which all beings are one. Because we are connected to all beings on the ultimate level, we can pervade them with love. They can actually receive our love. For instance, a dog or a cat will naturally come close to a person with great love, and they will run away if one is very angry. This is a sign that of the single ground. In addition, when you think of others, you do not think about a self. If you are self-centered, your mind becomes narrow, like a block of ice. But when you let go and send out love to others, you will notice how your mind expands. The mind become open and spacious, like a vast ocean or the sky. Bodhichitta is the preliminary practice, bodhichitta is the main practice, and bodhichitta is also the result. Therefore be courageous and do not abandon even a single sentient being for as long as samsara exists.

37 Bodhisattva Practices Series

Verse 10:

"When mothers who have been kind to one since beginningless time are suffering, what's the use of one's own happiness? Therefore, generating the mind of enlightenment in order to liberate limitless sentient beings is the bodhisattvas' practice."

Since time without beginning we have taken birth in cyclic existence, over and over again. In all these incalculable past lives we have had parents. If we were to pile up the bones of all our past bodies, it would be greater than Mount Meru. If we were to gather all the tears we cried, it would fill up a limitless ocean. Since we incarnated infinitely, there is not a single being who has not been our parent in a past life. At that time, they cared for us with great love and sacrificed their lives for our sake. Just like our present parents, they have committed many negative deeds in order to protect us. As a result of these negative deeds they now suffer in samsara endlessly. How could we turn our backs at them and leave them alone? Because they are our mothers, and thus very dear to our heart, we want them to be happy. The wish for the happiness of others is love. If you love someone you cannot bear to see them suffer. This is compassion. We wish for all others to be free from suffering. The root of suffering is the self-clinging mind. Although sentient beings are limitless, self-clinging is the single root of all suffering.

If you give rise to love and compassion for all sentient beings, your mind will become vast and all-pervasive. When love pervades all beings, self-grasping diminishes. In this way you accomplish the dual purpose of others and yourself. Ultimately, there is a single ground within which all beings are one. Because we are connected to all beings on the ultimate level, we can pervade them with love. They can actually receive our love. For instance, a dog or a cat will naturally come close to a person with great love, and they will run away if one is very angry. This is a sign that of the single ground. In addition, when you think of others, you do not think about a self. If you are self-centered, your mind becomes narrow, like a block of ice. But when you let go and send out love to others, you will notice how your mind expands. The mind become open and spacious, like a vast ocean or the sky. Bodhichitta is the preliminary practice, bodhichitta is the main practice, and bodhichitta is also the result. Therefore be courageous and do not abandon even a single sentient being for as long as samsara exists.

The 37 Bodhisattva Practices Series:

Verse 11:

"All suffering without exception comes from wishing for one's own happiness. The perfect buddhas arise from the altruistic mind. Therefore, completely exchanging one's own happiness for the suffering of others is the bodhisattvas' practice."

All the buddhas of the past, present, and future arise from bodhichitta. In the beginning, the Buddha Shakyamuni was an ordinary being like us. Having given rise to bodhichitta, the Buddha then accumulated merit throughout three endless eons, and finally attained complete enlightenment. What we call merit is nothing else than love and compassion for sentient beings. If we practice virtue with compassion for all beings, it is called merit. If we practice virtue without compassion it is not called merit. If we truly love others, we will easily exchange our own happiness for their suffering. Some people are naturally very compassionate, this is due to the merit they have accumulated in the past. We are compassionate because we love others. If we would not love them, we would not care about them. But if you love others and see that they experience endless suffering, an unbearable feeling will overcome you. You cannot bear to see them suffer, you want to do anything to free them from suffering. This is compassion. The root of all the endless suffering is self-clinging. The only thing that destroys self-clinging is love.

Thus what those beings need is love and compassion. If love permeates their mind, their negative karma and suffering will melt away. For example, if all the people in a war-zone would give rise to love all of a sudden, their suffering would end. Their hatred and jealousy will disappear right there. Thus their negative karma would become purified. Bodhichitta is the most powerful way to purify negative karma and dispel suffering. When negative karma and obscurations become purified, they melt away like snow melting in the sun. If the snow mountain is very large you will not notice that some snow has melted, nevertheless, change happens moment by moment. If you really understand the pain that is created by self-clinging, if you really trust that striving for your own happiness is the cause of suffering and has never brought you happiness since beginningless time in samsara, you will be able to generate the inner strength to transform your mind. If you really understand the extent of the wealth of merit gained from bodhichitta, it will be easy and joyful to benefit others. For example, we believe that we are tired because we work too much. In reality we are resentful because our payment is not good enough. Imagine someone were to tell you: "I will offer you 10 million dollars if you work for me today." Would you be too tired to do it? Most likely you would be at your best behavior that day. The merit gained from giving rise to bodhichitta is a far greater wealth than 10 million dollars. Understanding the benefits of bodhichitta, bodhisattvas are tireless. When you see how your love touches others, it will become your happiness to give your happiness to others.