Clear Motivation

"Be kind whenever possible. It's always possible" – The Dalai Lama

Offer Every Benefit and Happiness to All Beings

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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 suffering.

Here, again from the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation is a presentation of the profound pith instruction for generating bodhicitta, the mind intent on full enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. The instruction is so simple, yet totally tears the fortress of our self-centered world asunder.

Offering direct benefit and happiness can come in infinite forms. I can smile and say hello to people, open doors as others make their way inside, give material aid, lend a hand where its needed, volunteer time to help friends with projects or to serve people in need, or give the gift of Dharma.

Offering indirectly is to imagine giving my body and all my possessions, along with all my good qualities and positive actions, to others. Visualizing that all beings receive exactly what they need to fulfill their deepest yearnings for happiness and seeing that they become satisfied is a practice that allows loving-kindness to flourish in my mind. Because possessing great impartial love will enable me to powerfully give direct benefit and will prevent me from harming others, this practice indirectly benefits others. Further, simply wishing others well does seem to have an actual effect on others.

Taking upon myself the harmful actions and suffering of others increases my compassion. It overwhelms my fearful and miserly mindset that wants to protect myself, even at the cost of others. It allows me to see that clinging to my own security and welfare is really like affixing a clamp to my heart, constraining the full potential for me to experience true openness and happiness. It destroys this self-fixation, totally changing my experience of the world and making every interaction I have with others a cause for rejoicing.

I take harmful actions because these are the cause of suffering. Taking their suffering, I imagine that they are free of the miserable effects of harmful actions.

I visualize black smoke entering in my left nostril as I inhale, bringing the suffering of others into myself. It hits my heart, where the essence of my self-centeredness hides, and like an intense bolt of lightning striking a tree, incinerates this lump of selfish concern.

In self-centered thoughts’ absence, a beautiful and serene white light permeates outwards, pervading all worlds and bringing with it exactly what each living being needs and desires.

Today, I will practice this verse of transforming my mind into an abode of compassion. I’ll joyfully accept any hardship or difficulty that I come across, taking it in along with the pain of all others. With delight, I’ll burst open the seems of selfishness to offer to all beings – my mothers – any happiness or good condition I happen to have.

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Author: Jonathan Owen

Just another human being.

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