New Ideas about Ancient Principles part four

Specifically now, how do we become happy? It is so simple, because we become happy by making others happy. As mentioned in previous parts of this series, we could be suffering from pride of education, technology, pride of culture, and especially pride of living in the West. Our relationship with others could be already damaged because of influences preventing us from experiencing true kindness and commonality from our own side.

To make it worse, we can become infected by the poor self-image of others who believe you to be superior and themselves inferior in ways that prevent good relationships and can even flip to anger toward you. For example, in traveling to other countries, some might view you like a kind of god realm being, (not in France, by the way).

We become happy ourselves by making others happy. We have found a common denominator applicable to all places and times when we focus on this need. "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." This is a quotation by Lord Buddha Shakyamuni.

The next issue is: How do we learn to get along with others? Perhaps we should just make them behave and do everything that we tell them. However, since this rarely works, some believe that our defective relationships to others are based on the perception of fear. To overcome this, when we attempt to be more open to others, it diminishes the fear. Some might say that by accepting others as they are, it lessens fear. However, I think it depends upon what you fear. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Diamonds and rubies and pearls, oh my! Pickles and toast and ice cream, oh my! However, I can agree that fear would be a definite block to getting along with others, especially those that we want to be close to but fear prevents us from quality relationships.

To continue thinking about how ancient principles could encourage us, we need to reflect further about human issues that are the same now as in ancient times.

A student said to me, “ I think it is important to not see us as separate from others. What you do to one extends to others, so by learning how to get along and helping the other person overcome a difficulty, we help ourselves.”

I answered, “ Here, hold out your hand. I am going to prove it. (Smacks her hand) There, I just smacked George Bush. How long will it take to reach him? Now you stop that war in Iraq!” Joking aside, I do agree that the harm we do to a single sentient being harms all beings, because it harms our relationship to all sentient beings. In that way, if we become incapable of helping others, their suffering remains.

So, how do we get along with others? We do that by reducing our own selfish grasping and neediness for others to accommodate us so that we do not have to force them get along with us. The way to get along with others is to stop grasping at them.

Along with that, I quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Selfishness if the only real atheism. Aspiration, unselfishness, the only real religion." This is your own president during World War II.

This suffering position of selfish needs can cause our commonalities with human needs and conditions to become complicated. Then the answers become so complex and convoluted that we cannot be satisfied with the careful and simple answers of healing ancient principles.

How do we learn to become fearless, and what do you think the ancients said regarding this issue?

Student: It is about being in a state where fear cannot exist.

Rinpoche: does this mean that the simple answer is- that it is not even the question.

Student: Isn't it about learning courage?

Rinpoche: No, no. That is the roller coaster of war and hatred.

Student: We settle into the all-encompassing basis.

Rinpoche: That is exactly right. This is the ancient principle. We learn to become fearless by returning to primordial purity that was never born and cannot die.

In the Buddhist scripture called Sutra of the King of Contemplation: “Pure, clear, and inwardly radiant, undisturbed and uncompounded, is the nucleus of the Sugata. It is the reality that abides from the beginning.”

Student: I do not think it is possible to stop everyone in the world from suffering.

Rinpoche: That is not true. We must begin somewhere so we meditate on the nature of suffering in manifest suffering and then subtle forms such as the suffering happiness. We definitively stop all suffering by first entering into communion with the nature of reality and then inviting others to enter that state. When all living beings are in that state, suffering ends forever. The deeper answer however is because suffering is illusory, you cannot fix suffering. You have to enter into a place where suffering does not exist.

This quotation by Lord Buddha Shakyamuni respects and honors these wisdom principles: "We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them."

In conclusion, we need to have practical perceptions to work toward. We need to change so that we can be a model of beneficial change for others. How can we become that zone of safety and peace? Think about how it would feel to be devoid of pride of education and culture, and arrogance of superiority of technology. Be plain, simple, and careful in your inner inquiry.

I believe we cannot force ourselves to become peaceful, but we must become peaceful by embodying peace. We cannot do peace. We have to be peace. Here I quote, from one of your own cultural heroes, Helen Keller, who was blind, deaf, and mute. "I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding that bringeth peace.” If Helen Keller can express such thoughts as these, imagine what you can do, having all of your faculties. The end


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