Teaching Given by H.E. Mipham Rinpoche
on the Occasion
of the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Buddhist Union
I am very happy and delighted that we meet in this place in the mindset of mutual cordiality and joy and say good afternoon to all of you!
As for me, I was born in the East in a very lonely area of Tibet. Most of you, on the contrary, come from a multitude of different areas. All of you are intelligent and well educated people who represent and hold the Buddha’s teachings.
This place is a surrounding of natural beauty: there are mountains and forests, lakes and ponds, meadows and rivers and many different kinds of colorful and beautiful flowers. The changes of the seasons are distinct and easy to recognize and the residents are neither poor nor do they experience a hectic life, instead they experience peace and good luck. Thus, this is a place of great joy and I feel very comfortable here.
Here and now I’d like to explain a bit about the Buddha’s teaching. It is said, the attitude of human beings is as follows:
If the intention is good then also the foundation and the development are good;
If the intention is bad then also the foundation and development are bad.
As everything depends on the intention, one should constantly train oneself to maintain a good intention.
In this manner all – men and women, old and young – should exclusively build upon a good intention which is constantly directed towards the benefit of others. Besides that, “good intention” does not only relate to other human beings. Because if one sees beings, including even ants and insects, experiencing suffering then one should concern oneself and think: “They should be free from suffering”. For example when it is hot, we wish for a cool breeze. When it is cold, we experience even the touch of a sunbeam as a small joy. When just a tiny spark falls onto our bodies, or we are pricked by a thorn, or when we hear others speak badly, this does not accord with our wishes. In the same way not only all humans but all beings including insects want happiness and don’t want suffering - in this all are the same.
As it is said “Take your own body as the example and do not harm others! “
Therefore one should give up the intent to harm others and harmful actions such as killing. Likewise by slander or divisive speech one drives apart those who are in agreement with each other. This is also a very big mistake.
If one accumulates the karma of sowing discord through such inappropriate actions towards close objects such as the sangha, teachers and students, then it is said that there is in ones next life no other place to go but the vajra-hell. Slander and divisive speech is the greatest enemy for peace, happiness and relaxation. Whatever worldly or spiritual activity one carries out it is very difficult to complete these activities without peace, happiness and relaxation. Even if a little is managed there are no reliable results and no lasting benefit.
Whether one explains a lot about all the different developments and improvements of old and new times, ways and systems, or not; in brief: if there is no peace, happiness and harmony, there is the danger that even all of the good qualities of growth and development are destroyed in one instant through either weapons or poisonous substances. Therefore, explained in the greater sense this concerns the world in general and in the smaller sense it concerns ones own country, ones own group, etc. It also concerns ones close acquaintances, relatives, loved ones and fellow students. Further , friends, who bring us lasting benefit in many lifetimes, the so-called “Vajra brothers and sisters or dharma friends”, namely friends who have benefited one greatly over a very long period. If we can perform actions in accordance with them as well as possible then this is indeed a great and inconceivable accomplishment.
The opposite of this, namely s owing discord amongst others and thus performing actions which will disturb harmony, is above all, a very inappropriate matter and a seriously harmful act. In this and all future lifetimes many troubles and difficulties will appear. Therefore, being in accordance with each other and the attitude that one wants to benefit one another is the positive power and special quality that one has not having taken an animal-body but been born as a human. If one has not achieved this positive power then even if one obtains a human body it is of no use.
Wherever people are in harmony with each other growth and development will significantly increase regardless of it being a small or a big country. Without harmony it is certain that there will be no happiness or wellbeing. Therefore development and growth will also correspond to this. Thus, ‘ sowing discord’ is made by the thought wishing that other people will not be in accordance with each other.
In the same way, the uttering of harsh words is the greatest evil. How else can one describe harsh words? It means: insulting the people one does not like with words as evil and bad as possible.
As an example it is said: “ Though words are neither arrows nor weapons, they have the capacity to hurt other beings a hundred times more.”
What is created by harsh words? It is said: Strong aversion will be generated. Because aversion is the worst of all mistakes it is said “there is no harm like aversion”. It does not matter to whom in this entire world one directs ones acts of anger – be it parents or dharma friends, be it wife, children or nephews or nieces, be it king, minister, entourage or subjects, - in the end all the benefits and success one has accumulated up to now will become powerless. Likewise it is said that having generating the bad imprint of anger towards the lama and dharma friends just once , the former good deeds and impressions will be exhausted and wasted.
If on the other hand one manages to generate patience for one another in such a situation, then patience - being the antidote for aversion - is of all positive actions the most meaningful and beneficial, just as aversion is the worst among the harmful actions . Especially now, in the time when the Buddhist teachings are in decline, when one lives together with hard-to-satisfy beings , where many disturbing actions and behaviors come up, it is actually a little difficult to practice patience. If under such great difficulties one is able to practice patience by strongly concentrating ones determination, one will achieve unimaginabl y great good impressions.
For this reason it is said: There is no better difficult practice than patience. And, it is also said that this is the mo st supreme exercise, which removes ones own negative actions, harmful imprints and veils. There is no certainty that t his forbearing practice necessarily needs to be done w i th the body. As it was just said, if one trains oneself in patience in difficult situations and does this with great energy and thus stabilizes patience, then this in itself becomes a very good exercise. If one practices patience towards people such as the lama and the dharma friends and likewise towards all others, and honors them with kindness, this is the best way to express ones admiration. It is obvious that through this, also in the world in general, useful results will appear. If we manage to practice patience towards each other and harbor deep thoughts of love and kindness, it is impossible for war or unrest to arise.
During the first and second world wars the opposing parties engaged in many larger and smaller armed battles. If one counts the number of beings who were killed at that time it is something to be really sad about. All of these things happened because beings were not patient with each other and instead became angry. On the base of that anger - on a small scale for example - tension within the family appears which may lead to suicide or burning down ones house, etcetera, up to — on a big scale — many problems which are shown by the horrible events of September the 11th in the United States. This is also happen ing everywhere today. With regard to the future, if we are not patient with each other and anger becomes more power ful, then anger will flare up between two or three people and through the great strength of the weapons and machines of the present day , one is able to endanger the entire world. As we find ourselves in these terrifying times, it is very important that all of us are very careful . If we do not bring forth aversion towards each other such bad conditions will no t appear.
Generally it is said that practicing patience is a great and beneficial force. Particularly i n the present time when the danger of aversion as described above is very big indeed, there is no greater beneficial power which is superior to the practice of patience. Peace and happiness will therefore arise for everyone if we - giving up aversion - make an effort to establish ourselves on the good path of agreement and kindness for each others.
Wherever there is peace and happiness — nations, provinces, various groups and our own families — there will be joy and wellbeing. Whether lots of circumstances such as achievements, fame, wealth, are present or not: if the fire of anger does not ignite in ones own mind and one is not separated from the water of kindness, the sprout of happiness and wellbeing will surely be born.
May in the whole entire world diseases, hunger and war be pacified.
May all beings always treat each other lovingly and experience the radiance of peace and happiness.
May the supreme and precious enlightenment mind arise in those where it has not yet arisen, and may it not decrease where it already has arisen, but increase more and more.