Teachings at Root Institute
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Lama Zopa Rinpoche - Kadampa Teachings
- 24th December 2007
- 25th December 2007
- 26th December 2007
- 27th December 2007
- 28th December 2007
- 29th December 2007
Compassion in Action
Everything is like illusion. All causative phenomena are transitory - water dew. Water dew is just there, it does nott last long on the plant, it can drop any time; causative phenomena are the nature of impermanence, they are things that can cease, can stop anytime, including one’s own life, the surrounding people, friends and so forth, family members.
At this time, we have received a precious human body qualified with eight freedoms and ten richnesses. Not only that but we have met Buddhadharma, the unmistaken path, method, to achieve happiness. Think: even though I have been deceiving myself, cheating myself from beginningless rebirths up to now, from today, from this minute I am going to make the rest of my life most meaningful. So in my life, my job, my responsibility is to free every single sentient being from all suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. That is my purpose of life, that is my purpose of living, twenty-four hours of my life is for that.
We are trying to offer service in the normal way of the world; people can understand that we try as much as we can with the physical help, hospice and so forth, but shelter, money, food, clothing alone is not sufficient. Of course they really need that and we really should help, but there is a reason why some people are rich, why some people are poor, there is a cause for that. It did not happen without cause, conditions.
The problem is people do not have enough understanding of the inner cause. It isnot enough to know the external condition of cause of poverty, wealth and so forth; you have to understand the inner. If you do not understand the inner cause of poverty and wealth there is no way you can stop poverty. You do not have the actual knowledge to really eliminate poverty. Without yourself having knowledge and causing others to have that knowledge about karma, there is no way you can make everyone free from poverty, no way, without changing their mind, without changing their actions, no way you can protect others from poverty. That is because the cause of poverty, cause of the sicknesses, the cause of all the problems, the suffering of samsara is within the being, it is not outside; it is on their mental continuum, it is their mind, their concept.
Therefore, to give education of Dharma to other sentient beings becomes the most urgent emergency, it cannot wait even a second, cannot wait even a day, a minute. Sentient beings are suffering, therefore the centres play a most important role in benefiting others, they play the most important role to eliminate the cause of the suffering of the sentient beings. So that work, that service is most important, otherwise you cannot really solve the problems forever.
What I wish, what I would like is that along with these social services you add something for the mind, advice how to think, how to live the life, develop a good heart, you educate people like this along with social service. Your social service is very profound if you do this together. Many people do physical social service, but there is no mental help. So my wish is that by offering both together there is a possibility, by transforming their mind and developing a good heart, more loving kindness, more compassion for others, their positive actions naturally create more and more good karma, the cause of wealth, prosperity and health, long life, many things. Because you students who are doing service have met the Buddhadharma yourself, especially lam-rim, thought transformation, you are also putting the teachings that you studied, what you heard, into practice here. Not only doing service but also you practise with the people; this is a very important tool, the medicine, the real medicine, the teaching, that you can add to social service. It makes a very special social service. This is normally what I advise, what I wish.
(Extract from a talk by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Root Institute, December 1999)