PRELIMINARIES

PATIENCE & THE COMPASSIONATE HEART

Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said,

Do not engage in any harmful actions;
Perform only those that are good;
Subdue your own mind—
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

What did he mean? The above verse encapsulates the entire teaching of the kind compassionate Buddha. In it, He is telling us sentient beings, who want only happiness and do not want suffering, how to achieve our aims.

Where do happiness and suffering come from?

Happiness and suffering do not come from outside but from actions motivated by our own minds, our own thoughts. Happiness comes from positive actions. Problems come from mistaken, or unskillful, actions. Positive actions, pure actions, are motivated by a positive, virtuous attitude, the pure mind, the healthy mind, the peaceful mind.

All happiness - the transient happiness of our everyday lives, and ultimate happiness, both liberation and enlightenment—comes from each being’s positive attitude and virtuous actions; from the pure mind. Liberation is the complete cessation of all suffering, including rebirth, aging, sickness and death, and its cause. Enlightenment, the great liberation, which is even higher than this, is the cessation of even the subtle defilements of mind and the completion of all realizations. Each and every sentient being has the potential to experience all this. It comes from positive motivation and good karma.

All suffering comes from each being’s negative attitude and from your own mind.

In your life, until your mind labels something as a problem, before you have the concept of problem, you don’t have any problems. Before your mind fabricates the label, "problem," you don’t see problems in your life. What do I mean by concept here? It’s where your thought interprets a certain situation as a problem. In other words, your mind creates the designation "problem" for this particular situation. Before that happens, you don’t see any problem with the situation, but the moment your mind creates the label, "problem," and believes in it, that is the moment that the concept of problem has been created. You have created the concept of life problem.

This is just a simple example of how problems come from your own mind, how problems depend upon your own concepts, how problems depend upon the very concept of problem. The problems in your life depend upon your having the concept of problem—having the thought, creating the label and believing in it. This is just a very simple example of how your problems depend upon your own mind. It shows how your problems depend upon the thought, or concept, you have at that moment—that hour, that minute, that second—how this hour’s problem, this minute’s problem is related to, or comes from, the way you are thinking at the time. The present moment’s problem comes from the present moment’s thought, or concept, which creates the label and believes in it.

Anger is another example of this. If you don’t create the mental factor, or thought, of anger, there are no enemies in your life; you can’t find any enemies. If you don’t form the thought of anger, wherever you go, wherever in the world you travel, wherever you live, whoever you’re with, you never see a single enemy. If you don’t create anger within, you have no enemy outside.

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8 Verses on Thought Transformation

1 With the thought of attaining enlightenment for the welfare of beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel, I will constantly practiceholding them dear.

2 Whenever I am with others, I will practice seeing myself as the lowest of all. From the very depth of my heart, I will hold others as supreme.

3 In all actions, I will examine my mind and the moment a disturbing attitude arises, endangering myself and others, I will firmly confront and avert it.

4 Whenever I meet a person of bad nature who is overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering, I will hold such a rare one dear as if I had found a precious treasure.

5 When others, out of jealousy, mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on, I will practice accepting defeat and offering the victory to them.

6 When someone I have benefited and in whom I have placed great trust hurts me very badly, I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.

7 In short, I will offer directly and indirectly every benefit and happiness to all beings, my mothers. I will practice in secret taking upon myself all their harmful actions and sufferings.

8 Without these practices being defiled by the stains of the eight worldly concerns. By perceiving all phenomena as illusory, I will practice without graspingto release all beings from the bondage of the disturbing, unsubdued mind and karma.

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