His Holiness the Dalai Lama: First, if we do not have pure motivation, whatever we do may not be satisfactory.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave this teaching on The Eight Verses of Thought Transformation in Dharamsala, India, on 7 October 1981.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, a text by the Kadampa geshe Langri Tangpa, explains the Paramitayana practice of method and wisdom: the first seven verses deal with method—loving kindness, bodhicitta—and the eighth deals with wisdom.1
1. Determined to obtain the greatest possible benefit from all sentient beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel, I shall hold them most dear at all times.
We ourselves and all other beings want to be happy and completely free from suffering. In this we are all exactly equal. However, each of us is only one, while other beings are infinite in number.
Now, there are two attitudes to consider: that of selfishly cherishing ourselves and that of cherishing others. The self-cherishing attitude makes us very uptight; we think we are extremely important and our basic desire is for ourselves to be happy and for things to go well for us. Yet we don’t know how to bring this about. In fact, acting out of self-cherishing can never make us happy. Continue reading
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: We ourselves want happiness and do not want suffering and can see that all other beings feel the same.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
No matter who we are with, we often think things like, “I am stronger than him,” “I am more beautiful than her,” “I am more intelligent,” “I am wealthier,” “I am much better qualified” and so forth—we generate much pride. This is not good. Instead, we should always remain humble. Even when we are helping others and are engaged in charity work we should not regard ourselves in a haughty way as great protectors benefiting the weak. This, too, is pride. Rather, we should engage in such activities very humbly and think that we are offering our services up to the people.
When we compare ourselves with animals, for instance, we might think, “I have a human body” or “I’m an ordained person” and feel much higher than them. From one point of view we can say that we have human bodies and are practicing the Buddha’s teachings and are thus much better than insects. But from another, we can say that insects are very innocent and free from guile, whereas we often lie and misrepresent ourselves Continue reading
Question. What would we have to do to get to the lowest hell?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The point is to develop the courage to be willing to go to one of the hells; it doesn’t mean you actually have to go there. When the Kadampa geshe Chekawa was dying, he suddenly called in his disciples and asked them to make special offerings, ceremonies and prayers for him because his practice had been unsuccessful. The disciples were very upset because they thought something terrible was about to happen. However, the geshe explained that although all his life he had been praying to be born in the hells for the benefit of others, he was now receiving a pure vision of what was to follow—he was going to be reborn in a pure land instead of the hells—and that’s why he was upset. In the same way, if we develop a strong, sincere wish to be reborn in the lower realms for the benefit of others, we accumulate a vast amount of merit that brings about the opposite result. Continue reading