The Habit of Love


The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Habit of Bodhicitta”

Basically what we have to do is, day by day in a gradual way, reinforce, develop and make larger the habit of loving. It is so mechanical,. You wouldn’t believe how mechanical it is. It’s like this: This hand is self absorption, listing severely to the right. Little by little, it, gets heavier on the other hand, the loving side. At some point,…  And who knows when that day will be? It’s not for you to judge. It’s not for you to know. Not for you to even care about. At some point, the balance will go in the loving direction  and you will really give rise to the bodhichitta. And there will be a time when the loving habit that you develop so outweighs anything else that there is a funny, magical thing that happens. The self absorption becomes invisible.

You won’t believe that in the beginning, especially when you first start trying the habit of true compassion, because it just seems as though the weight of self absorption keeps pulling you back and it just seems overwhelming. But you have to remember: It’s kind of like a rubber band, it’s kind of like a rubber band. It’s so hard, and the agony of feeling yourself go back to that same posture is going to be very difficult at first. But never mind, never mind. Keep putting more and more in the habit of loving kindness. You are going to break it eventually. It has to happen. It’s kind of like a spiritual law of physics, if you can imagine such a thing. Eventually one will outweigh the other. It’s just like that.

In fact, if you would spend a lot less time evaluating yourself and judging yourself and a lot more time just putting pebbles in that loving pile, you’d feel a lot better. In fact, if you take your eyes off  this self-absorption pile entirely, and move towards the loving  pile, you’d feel better still. It’s almost that once you begin to gather some weight in the area of proper virtuous habitual tendency, by magic, this thing starts to disappear. You’re not looking at it anymore.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

Meditation on Impartiality: Patrul Rinpoche


The following is respectfully quoted from “The Words of My Perfect Teacher” by Patrul Rinpoche

1. Meditation on impartiality

Impartiality (tang nyom in Tibetan) means giving up (tang) our hatred for enemies and infatuation with friends, and having an even-minded (nyom) attitude towards all beings, free of attachment to those close to us and aversion for those who are distant.

As things are now, we are very attached to those we think of as part of our own group–father and mother, relatives and so on–while we feel an intolerable aversion towards our enemies and those associated with them. This is a mistake, and comes from a lack of investigation.

In former lives, those whom we now consider our enemies have surely been close to us, ever lovingly at our side, looking after us with goodwill and giving us unimaginable help and support. Conversely, many of those whom we now call friends have certainly been against us and done us harm. As we saw in the chapter on impermanence, this is illustrated by the words of the sublime Kātyāyana:

He eats his father’s flesh, beats his mother off,
He dandles on his lap his own unfortunate enemy;
The wife is gnawing at her husband’s bones.
I laugh to see what happens in samsāra’s show!

Another example is the story of Princess Pema Sel, daughter of the Dharma King Trisong Detsen. When she died at the age of seventeen, her father went to ask Guru Rinpoche how such a thing could happen.

“I would have thought that my daughter must have been someone with pure past actions,” said the king. “She was born as the daughter of King Trisong Detsun. She met all of you translators and pandits, who are like real Buddhas. So how can it be that her life was nevertheless so short?”

“It was not at all because of any pure past deeds that the princess was born as your daughter,” the Master replied. “Once I, Padma, you, the great Dharma King, and the great Bodhisattva Abbot had been born as three low-caste boys. We were building the Great Stūpa of Jarung Khashor. At that time the princess had taken birth as an insect, which stung you on the neck. Brushing off with your hand, you accidentally killed it. Because of the debt you incurred in taking that life, the insect was reborn as your daughter.”

If even the children of Dharma King Trisong Detsun, who was Mañjuśrī in person, could be born to him in that way as a result of his past actions, what can one say about other beings?

At present we are closely linked with our parents and children. We feel great affection for them and have incredible aspirations for them. When they suffer, or anything undesirable happens to them, we are more upset than we would be if such things had happened to us personally. All this is simply the repayment of debts for the harm we have done each other in past lives.

Of all the people who are now our enemies, there is not one who has not been our father or mother in the course of all our previous lives. Even now, the fact that we consider them to be against us does not necessarily mean that they are actually doing us any harm. There are some we think of as opponents who, from their side, do not see us in that way at all. Others might feel that they are our enemies but are quite incapable of doing us any real harm. There are also people who at the moment seem to be harming us, but in the long term what they are doing to us might bring us recognition and appreciation in this life, or make us turn to the Dharma and thus bring us much benefit and happiness. yet others, if we can skillfully adapt to their characters and win them over with gentle words until we reach some agreement, might quite easily turn into friends.

On the other hand there are all those whom we normally consider closest to us–our children, for example. But there are sons and daughters who have cheated or even murdered their parents, and join forces with them to quarrel with their own family and plunder their wealth. Even we we get along well with those who are dear to us, their sorrows and problems actually affect us even more strongly than our own difficulties. In order to help our friends, our children and other relatives, we pile up great waves of negative actions which will sweep us into the hells in our next life. When we really want to practise the Dharma properly they hold us back. Unable to give up our obsession with parents, children, and family, we keep putting off Dharma practice until later, and so never find the time for it. In short, such people may harm us even more than our enemies.

What is more, there is no guarantee that those we consider adversaries today will not be our children in future lives, or that our purest friends will not be reborn as our enemies, and so on. It is only because we take these fleeing perceptions of “friend” and “enemy” as real that we accumulate negative actions through attachment and hatred. Why do we hold on to this millstone which will drag us down into the lower realms?

Make a firm decision, therefore, to see all infinite beings as your own parents and children. Then, like the great beings of the past whose lives we can read about, consider all friends and enemies as the same.

First, towards all those you do not like at all–those who arouse anger and hatred in you–train your mind by various means so that the anger and hatred you feel no longer arise. Think of them as you would of someone neutral, who does you neither good nor harm. Then reflect that the innumerable beings to whom you feel neutral have been your father or mother sometime during your past lives throughout time without beginning. Meditate on this theme, training yourself until you feel the same love for them you do for your present parents. Finally, meditate until you feel the same compassion towards all beings–whether you see them as friends, enemies or in between–as you do for your own parents.

Now, it is no substitute for boundless impartiality just to think of everybody, friends, enemies, as the same, without any particular feeling of compassion, hatred or whatever. This is mindless impartiality, and brings neither harm nor benefit. The image given for truly boundless impartiality is a banquet given by a great sage. When the great sages of old offered feasts they would invite everyone, high or low, powerful or weak, good or bad, exceptional or ordinary, without making any distinction whatsoever. Likewise, our attitude toward all beings throughout space should be a vast feeling of compassion, encompassing them all equally. Train your mind until you reach such a state of boundless impartiality.

2. Meditation on love

Through meditating on boundless impartiality as described, you come to regard all beings of the three worlds with the same great love. The love that you feel for all fo them should be like that of parents taking care of their young children. They ignore all their children’s ingratitude and all the difficulties involved, devoting their every thought, word and deed entirely to making their little ones happy, comfortable and cosy. Likewise, in this life and in all your future lives, devote everything you do, say or think to the well-being and happiness of all beings.

Al those beings are striving for happiness and comfort. They all want to be happy and comfortable; not one of them wants to be unhappy or to suffer. Yet they do not understand that the cause of happiness is positive actions, and instead give themselves over to the ten negative actions. Their deepest wishes and their actions are therefore at odds: in their attempts to find happiness, they only bring suffering upon themselves.

Over and over again, meditate on the thought of how wonderful it would be if each one of those beings could have all the happiness and comfort they wish. Meditate on it until you want others to be happy just as intensely as you want to be happy yourself.

The sūtras speak of “loving actions of body, loving actions of speech, loving actions of mind.” What this means is that everything you say with your mouth or do with your hands, instead of being harmful to others, should be straightforward and kind. As it says in The way of the Bodhisattva:

Whenever catching sight of others
Look on them with open, loving heart.

Even when you simply look at someone else, let that look be smiling and pleasant rather than an aggressive glare or some expression of anger. There are stories about this, like the one about the powerful ruler who glared at everyone with a very wrathful look. It is said that he was reborn as a preta living on left-overs under the stove of a house, and after that, because he had also looked at a holy being in that way, he was reborn in hell.

Whatever actions you do with your body, try to do them gently and pleasantly, endeavoring not to harm others but to help them. Your speech should not express such attitudes as contempt, criticism or jealousy. Make every single word you say pleasant and true. As for your mental attitude, when you help others do not wish for anything good in return. Do not be a hypocrite and try to make other people see you as a Bodhisattva because of your kind words and actions. Siply wish for others’ happiness from the bottom of your heat and only consider what would be most beneficial for them. Pray again and again with these words: “Throughout all my lives, may I never harm so much as a single hair on another being’s head, and may I always help each of them.”

It is particularly important to avoid making anyone under your authority suffer, by beating them, forcing them to work too hard and so on. This applies to your servants and also to your animals, right down to the humblest watchdog. Always, under all circumstances, be kind to them in thought, word and deed. To be reborn as a servant, or as a watchdog, for that matter, and to be despised and looked down upon by everyone, is the maturation of the effects of past actions. It is the reciprocal effect of having despised and looked down on others while in a position of power in a past life. If you now despite others because of your own power and wealth, you will repay that debt in some future time by being reborn as their servants. So be especially kind to those in a lower position than yourself.

Anything you can do physically, verbally or mentally to help your own parents, or those suffering from chronic ill health, will bring inconceivable benefits. Jowo Atīsa says:

To be kind to those who have come from afar, to those who have been ill for a long time, or to our parents in their old age, is equivalent to meditating on emptiness of which compassion is the very essence.

Our parents have shown us such immense love and kindness that to upset them in their old age would be an extremely negative act. The Buddha himself, to repay his mother’s kindness, went to the Heaven of the Thirty-three to teach her the Dharma. It is said that even if we were to serve our parents by carrying them around the whole world on our shoulders, it would still not repay their kindness. However, can can repay that kindness by introducing them to the Buddha’s teaching. So always serve your parents in thought, word and deed, and try to find ways to bring them to the Dharma.


Finding Our Way Home


By the time you have grown and begun to find your path, you have already lost yourself somewhere.  You don’t understand yourself any more.  You have already done things for which you do not forgive yourself.  You have already substituted something else for the longing that you felt.  You have already substituted something else for your Teacher.  In having done that, it is difficult to find your way home.  It is difficult to reach what was originally very pure in your mind.  It is difficult to rebirth what was very pure and tender inside of you.

And now, you can’t just say, “Oh, I found it at last.  The longing is finished.  I found what I’m looking for.  I found my path, but in the meantime, I’ve been promiscuous and I don’t forgive myself or I’ve become tough, or numb or I’ve become materialistic.”

What happens is that because you see what’s in front of you, it’s so precious and it’s just what you’ve been waiting for, instead of being able to just grab it and eat it, what we do, then, is try to deal instead with the numbness or the hardness or the promiscuity or the materialism.  Because we have become used to this feeling of longing, the longing remains, and we are not able to truly be one with the path and with a Teacher.

We’ve forgotten how to satisfy ourselves.  We’ve forgotten how to do anything except blame ourselves and be angry.  We make lots of mistakes, compulsively make mistakes.  We do not follow the path purely and with a full heart.  You have to ask yourself: Is the person who says I’ve got to get my Three Roots practice done today,  is that the same person, who, as a child, was waiting for something, was just hungry for something?  It’s not the same person.  We feel differently now than we did back then and we don’t know how to get back to that original place of purity.  We feel something is amiss when we think we’ve found our path because we feel anger, guilt and we feel dirty.  We feel different, impure.  Then we try to approach the Teacher and the teaching and the path itself in an impure way, because we believe that we are somehow impure.

Having longed for the taste of our own nature for such a long time, now when we look at the Teacher and the teaching, we see it as something altogether different.  We see the Teacher as a human being, and we try to get close to a human being.  Why do we do that?  We do that because we spent our whole lives trying to fit that longing into an acceptable picture, and now we’re trying to do the same thing.

We are afraid to long.  We are afraid to experience the depth of that longing and instead, we try to get close to the person.  We are afraid to experience the bliss of the union between the meditator, the meditating mind and the nature that is meditated on.  The bliss of that union is so strong and we are afraid to experience it. So instead, we long for some kind of union with the person who is our Teacher at this time.  It is even common to feel a strong sexual urging for our Teacher.  It doesn’t matter if the Teacher is the same sex.  Students can have dreams and they will have strong sexual urgings for the Teacher.  If you think of the Teacher as a mother or father figure, or an authority figure, or a therapist that you come to with your ordinary stuff, there will never be satisfaction, because that isn’t the truth.  That is not the nature of the Teacher.  That longing has once again been diverted into a way that you understand.  It becomes a perpetuation of the suffering that you had as a child where the longing was not understood, where it was diverted and where it could not be satisfied.

So, the feeling of longing is mistaken.  The longing is for union, not for sexual behavior.  It is misunderstood. And what generally happens is a feeling of rejection, because the Teacher does not comply with our wishes.  There is a feeling of guilt.  There is a feeling of wondering what’s wrong with you.  There’s a feeling of a lack of acceptance of yourself.  There’s a feeling of a lack of confidence, a feeling that you are somehow impure in your motivation.  The longing sometimes becomes so strong that one is unable to practice.

You want the Teacher to hold you and love you, or you want the Teacher to be with you as a friend.  You are unable to practice because you are so busy watching how your Teacher acts towards you.  Does he or she smile at me?  Does he or she hold my hand when I’m lonely?  Does he or she notice when I’m ailing?  Does he or she come after me when I’ve strayed?  You’re so busy noticing that that you do not practice.  The practice is the caring for you.  The practicing is the coming after you when you have strayed.  The practice is the taking you home into that acceptance and awakening to that nature.  The teachings that you receive are the relationship with the Teacher.  They are the fruits the Teacher brings to you.  If you are longing for union with the Teacher, when the Teacher teaches you from his or her mind, and offers you the essence of what they know, that is the union, far more so than any physical friendship could ever be.  There is nothing more intimate than that.

Yet, we continue to not understand.  We continue to divert the longing, not accept ourselves and blame ourselves.  We continue to create a bad relationship with our Teacher.  If we understood what was happening, we would run to the teacher, run to the path, run to the experience of being on the path and of practicing in order to achieve enlightenment with open arms and with an open heart.  But instead, we are doing these other things that do not accomplish the awakening that we wish.

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Longing for the Guru”

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

What Does Love Taste Like?

In this excerpt from a teaching called The Dharma of Technology, Jetsunma is speaking to her students who had recently received the Rinchen Terzod from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche who conferred the Rinchen Terzod at Kunzang Palyul Choling in 1988

Do you remember in the empowerments in the Rinchen Terzod we had the opportunity to taste different things, something sweet and something bitter, then His Holiness said, “Who is the taster?  You know what makes this sweet and this bitter?”  The taster does, because if you tried to find the essence of the thing that you’re looking at, remember, if you divided it down and looked at it under the microscope you would never find its thing-ness.  In fact, you would never find its sweetness.  Which molecule is the sweet one?  You would never really find that.  What is sweet is sweet to the tongue and the tongue is the determiner of that taste.  Who does the tongue belong to?   The tongue belongs to you.  So you, in fact, are the one that determines whether the thing is sweet or not.  You are the taster.  And so when you examine yourself and you boil everything down and smear it on the microscope, you can’t find where you are, then you realize that sweet and sour, sweet and bitter are concepts and they are just proliferations of the mind.

In the same way, this person that drives you crazy and this person that is the precious jewel in your life are equal.  It is the hatred and the desire, the hope and fear, the attraction and aversion in your mind that causes you to make a difference between them.  If you looked at them with the mind of enlightenment, you would see that they are the same.  Yet we all have our likes and dislikes.  But somehow through our practice, we have to accomplish such pure view, free of desire and on fire with love that they are the same.  We have to give our lives equally for both of them.  We have to be willing to eat an ocean of suffering for the ones we can’t stand and for the ones we truly love.  It’s easy to make sacrifices for the ones you love.  It’s easy to make sacrifices for your children.  That’s not hard.  Anyone can do that.  I was reading the other day about a creature called a midge.  It conceives its children inside its belly and then as the children grow, they eat the mother from inside out and the mother dies.  It’s a shell and it opens up and the children come out.   And then after a while they reproduce in the same way.  If a little bug can do that, if it can give its life to nurture its children, you can do that.  That’s not hard.  That happens even on the lowest realms.

What’s really hard is to give your life for all sentient beings, the ones that you know and the ones that you don’t know and to do so in a way so that the ones that you can’t stand are equal to the precious pearls in your life.  They have to be the same.  If you give only so much and you stop giving, only extending your love to your family or friends and to the people that you know here, or your nation or your planet or even your universe — what about the other 2,999 myriads of universes?  What about all of the sentient beings who are, with hatred in your heart, not worthy of your love, but with love in your heart, the same as you?

That’s when you have accomplished Dharma, when your love is that great, when you are that mindful of compassion, when through your meditation and through your practice, and through your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, you have come to understand the equality of all that lives, that they are the same mind, the same uncontrived primordial wisdom nature, that they only appear to be different.  They suffer, they live and they die because of their confusion.  What makes the ones you hate so hateful?   First of all, it’s your vision of them.  You are the taster.  Someone else loves them.  Who loves them is the same as you and you’re the same as them.  The difference is the particular karmic pattern of attraction and repulsion, of desire that manifests in your life.

The one that you hate is the same nature as you with the same capabilities, with the same desire to be happy.  The difference is that this person may be confused and the only way they know how to reach for happiness is in the ways that make them unhappy.  And of course you, in your hatred and your greed and your ignorance interpret their activity because of the karma of your mind.  This sounds like elementary stuff. The sun pours forth and it doesn’t say, “Well, I think I’ll go to violets today and roses are going to be in the dark.”  The sun doesn’t do that.  Its nature is to pour forth and embrace all life and it is the source of life.  Your compassion, your mind is like that in its natural state.  It is that all-pervasive compassionate reality, that all pervasive non-dual mind state and so your love has to be that way.  Your accomplishment of Dharma has to be like that, with that understanding.

It sounds elementary.  It sounds simple.  But we still hate.  We still judge.  We still have the seeds for war in our bodies and in our minds.  We still have the seeds for old age, sickness and death.  We still have the seeds for all the six kinds of suffering in all of the six realms, and so in that way, we have not accomplished Dharma.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

The Path is Love

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “The Bodhisattva Ideal”

Is the Bodhisattva unafraid?   Heck no!  The Bodhisattva is afraid just like anyone else.  Why not?  Nobody wants to be challenged.  Nobody wants to have difficulty or obstacles.  Nobody wants to suffer.  The Bodhisattva is not less afraid than anyone else. But what is fear in the face of the needs of the many?  What is fear, knowing that what I might collect out of my fearfulness will ultimately lead to my unhappiness and disappointment?

I’ve been practicing the Bodhisattva Path for some time.  I am afraid of everything.  Everything frightens me.  I’m a jellyfish by nature.  But I don’t stop, because it doesn’t make any sense to stop.  Does the Bodhisattva no longer want anything or need anything?  No!  I want and need everything!  Anything you want to give me would be much appreciated!  But I do not concern myself with gathering such things.  I concern myself with the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings.  That’s what I concern myself with.

I’m not a perfect Bodhisattva, but there have been perfect Bodhisattvas. And I can tell you that with the understanding that the Bodhisattva naturally obtains through this kind of conduct: There is a natural kind of internal ease or lightness of being, a kind of quiescence that is a natural byproduct of that lack of emphasis on self-concern and increased emphasis on the well-being of all sentient beings, and the reasonableness of accumulating only those virtuous characteristics which can benefit in all future times.  There is a reasonableness about that and, as we emphasize that reasonable method, and do not emphasize ego-cherishing and ego-clinging, there is a natural lightness of being that occurs that, even while if someone punches us we will be punched and we will roll over, it isn’t so heavy because, as a Bodhisattva, although you may experience phenomenal reality in the same way that others do, there is not the suffering of suffering, which only actually occurs when one is filled with desire, just like the Buddha taught—filled with self-cherishing and ego-clinging, filled with hatred, greed and ignorance. The deep neurosis of acting inappropriately according to what you actually are, the suffering of suffering, comes from that.  It comes from acting like something that is death-oriented, that is contracted, that is separate and limited as opposed to acting as though you understood that you are that primordial wisdom nature, that ground of being, that Buddha nature, that state of innate wakefulness, that quiescent light.  That is the great Bodhicitta that is your nature.

If we could act in accordance with that, that deep neurosis that is characteristic of samsara, that suffering of suffering, could not exist in such a life.  So then, for such a one who practices in that way, all efforts become a benefit to sentient beings, no matter what they appear like.  Ultimately they will result in benefit.  This is the life of the Bodhisattva and this is the practice of the Bodhisattva, and this is what each one of us must attain to because I will tell you, no matter how good you are at sitting in the lotus position or how good you are at looking like a meditator or how many of the rules of meditation you know or how many of the books on spiritual practice you have read and can memorize, if you do not have the Bodhicitta, if you are not alive in love, you have no path.  If you do not consider others before you, you have no path, because the path is love.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

Abandoning Love: The Fourth Root Downfall

The following is respectfully quoted from “Perfect Conduct” with commentary by Dudjom Rinpoche:

4.b.3(b.4) Abandoning love:

The fourth is wishing that any sentient being should be separated from happiness and losing heartfelt love for them.

To wish any sentient being should be separated from happiness and to stop feeling heartfelt love for them is the fourth root downfall. The object can be one sentient being or many. To wish for them to be separated from happiness and to meet with suffering or misfortune, thus forsaking them and giving up any love for them at all, constitutes this downfall.

Light of Compassion

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo from the Vow of Love series

Somehow you have found yourself in this fortunate, amazing position where this feast of possibility is laid before you. How did you come to this point? How is it possible that you have this option? You must have done something right in the past, and I suggest that you now build on it. If you don’t cultivate the mind of extraordinary compassion and such a burning love that compassion is the most important force in your life, then the natural inclinations of a mind filled with desire will overcome you. This is Kaliyuga, the age of degeneration, and that’s how it is. You must practice and cultivate that mind of compassion, of love, so thoroughly that you are moved to the core by even the faint possibility that you might achieve liberation in order to benefit beings. You think of nothing else. You must cultivate that until you burn with it. Don’t be afraid of that kind of love.

In the West we are taught, “Be cool. Hey, I’m an intellectual, I don’t think like that. I’m kind of special.” That’s what we’re taught, that’s our value system. That is the same value system we will take to our graves, and only the selfishness of that kind of idea will survive, not the intelligence. There is one thing that will survive this life, and will create the karma for your next life. It is the purity of your mind and the degree of love that you have accomplished. This will be the determining factor for how you will return time and time again in a form that will benefit beings until someday there is no more suffering.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

The Door of the Heart

The following is from a series of tweets by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo:

It is difficult when we love one person especially. Might as well poison yourself, grief comes. Love all beings equally, you will never be alone. There is nothing outside your own heart that will make you truly happy. Without training our hearts to love altruistically we will never recognize love. The door of heart opens from within.

Why do I say this? Because I love you. You, you.

Why do people doubt the motivation and truth of love? Because they cannot feel it. They cannot imagine it. To some, love is the enemy; the proof that all sentient beings are equal. One ego is nothing.

In truth without altruistic love we are not truly alive. This is the mark of a human life! Our capacity. Oh, Father Sun, Sister Moon kindly bless us and our Mama Earth at this time of change, deciding and endurance. Prayer needed.

May wind come as a caress. May rain gently cleanse and nurture. May the sun show his wisdom. May all sentient beings be happy.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved

The Foundation of Benefiting Beings

Excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo from the Vow of Love series

To truly understand the mind of compassion is to understand suffering. To be willing to cultivate aspirational compassion and act in accordance with those aspirations, so that you fully intend to liberate your mind from the causes of suffering and fully intend to return in whatever form necessary in order to benefit beings.  In so doing, you’re on your way. Whether you call yourself a Buddhist or not, kindness is a universal term. No one’s got a corner on it. Compassion is not a word that the Buddha invented.

I am a Buddhist because I found this religion is the most useful way to benefit beings. This is my own determination. If you also determine this for yourself, then continue to do what you’re doing. Perhaps you’re heading towards studying Buddhism, or perhaps you are already studying it. But if you don’t want to become a Buddhist, that doesn’t let you off the hook! You still have to live a life of compassion.  No matter what path you’re following, compassion is the only way to realization. No matter whom you’re listening to, hatred, greed and ignorance are the causes for suffering. There is universality about all this. Whether you call yourself Buddhist or not, you still have a job to do. I suggest doing it by first cultivating the firm foundation of fervent aspiration to be of ultimate benefit, and by having the courage to look at the content and meaning of suffering and determining how best to overcome it.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo.  All rights reserved