Clear Motivation

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

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Don’t Worry, He’s Nice

Jogging around the block the other day, I approached a dog sitting on someone’s lawn. The dog stood up and started to come towards me, and a man standing nearby quickly called out, “Don’t worry – he’s nice!”

Isn’t that often all we need to hear? All of my anxieties, suspicions, and soreness that come between me and others – when I really trust those words, they immediately fade away. I can see the other person, or dog, as simply another being. I can stop worrying about what harm may come to me if I let my guard down.

Holding up a guard itself creates the tension that leads to so many unsatisfying encounters. Clinging to my self and the safety of my ego is what leads me to turn others into enemies. First comes a negative image – a judgment – of them. Then, thinking I’m standing before someone who could do me harm, I act like a jerk. Acting like a jerk, the recipient of my unfriendliness is now inclined to reciprocate that behavior. As the pattern repeats, enemies are born as easily as fears.

I think to get over this habit, we need to realize that we ourselves are nice. Once, the Buddha was in a village with 500 of his disciples. A mad elephant was let loose and began rampaging through the village, running straight for the Buddha. All of the villagers ran away, as did the monks. Yet, the Buddha remained still, totally unafraid. Only Ananda stayed with him. As the elephant came closer, the Buddha radiated metta (loving-kindness) towards the wild beast. By the time the elephant reached the Buddha, he stopped in his tracks and bowed down before the Buddha.

The Buddha’s heartfelt love for this elephant aroused him from his nightmare anger. This love told the elephant, “Don’t worry – You’re nice!” It allowed her to see her basic goodness, the inner purity of her mind. It’s like how many people, from all walks of life, report feeling something quite unique and enjoyable when in the presence of H.H. the Dalai Lama. His profound love reminds us that we’re far more than we’re ordinarily aware of. It’s very hard to stay angry around someone like that!

Realizing that my own basic nature is related with this kindness enables me to give up my hostility. I can replace the usual anxiety and suspicion of others with warmth and affection for them. When everyone I meet is a friend, no matter what they do, everything is a favor.

Since everyone appreciates kindness, this attitude spreads. If I can hold on to the awareness of my own capacity for love, I’ll share it with those around me. I’ll see the kindness of others.

Today, I’ll practice being mindful of the power of love and train myself to dwell there. Thus, all beings around me, my friends, my mothers, will be encouraged to awaken their own potential for limitless love.


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The Buddha’s Caring

The following is from the section on the good qualities of Buddha’s mind from Lama Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment .  Tonight, I’ll allow these words to touch my heart and let the meaning sink in. I’ll rest in a space of wonderment and admiration for compassion and the Buddha’s perfect embodiment of it.

“(ii) The good qualities of caring

In the same way that living beings are bound inescapably by the afflictions, so is the Sage bound by great compassion, which thus arises continuously as he beholds the suffering of living beings. You should reflect on this as set forth in the Praise in One Hundred and Fifty Verses:

The afflictions bind all

These beings without exception.

You, in order to release them from the afflictoins,

Are eternally bound by compassion.

Should I first make obeisance to you,

Or to the great compassion that causes you

To dwell for so long in cyclic existence

Despite knowing its faults?

Also, the Chapter of the Truth Speaker says:

The Supreme Sage feels great compassion

When he sees beings whose minds

Are constantly obscured by the dark gloom of ignorance,

Locked in the prison of cyclic existence.

And also:

The Conqueror feels great compassion when he sees beings

Whose minds are overwhelmed by attachment,

Who have great craving and always long for sensory objects,

And who have fallen into the ocean of craving’s attachment.

The One Possessing the Ten Powers feels compassion

Which seeks to dispel all suffering

When he sees the afflictions of beings

Harmed by a multitude of illnesses and miseries.

The Sage’s compassion arises constantly;

It it impossible for it not to do so.

The Buddha is free of faults because he is concerned

With the needs of all living beings.”