Not one single difficulty to work for other sentient beings
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
In order to develop compassion for all living beings, we need to understand all the sufferings of all the different beings in samsara, their different types of sufferings. So we have to meditate that it is all in the nature of suffering. Then we can develop compassion for every living being. Otherwise our compassion is very limited.
Our compassion is limited if it’s only for poor people, only for sick people, only for human beings who are dying. Therefore we need to learn the different types of sufferings. We need to meditate on that and then we feel it is unbearable for ourselves to experience those sufferings. When that happens to us, then we feel compassion for others.
For example, when we have AIDS, then we will feel compassion for other people who have AIDS. We feel that is so unbearable. People who have AIDS, they feel it is so unbearable that other people have AIDS. That’s because they have AIDS and they don’t want to experience that, they know about the life with AIDS.
That’s why in the stages of the path, first we have to have the realisation, renunciation of samsara. Then we see the unbearable suffering of others. Then there, compassion arises. After that, great compassion, feeling how unbearable other sentient beings’ suffering is, and taking responsibility on ourselves, that we want to free them from all the suffering. That’s how compassion arises.
That leads to bodhicitta, taking responsibility, thinking, “I will do it by myself alone. I will free the sentient beings from all the suffering and causes, and bring them to ultimate happiness. Not just temporary, but ultimate happiness, especially the highest, the ultimate happiness, enlightenment. Therefore I need to be enlightened.” The bodhicitta arises like that.
By having this realisation of bodhicitta, we enter the path. Then we can complete the two types of merit — the merit of wisdom and the merit of virtue — and we can achieve full enlightenment, the cessation of all the mistakes of mind, not only all the sufferings, but all the mistakes of mind. We can accomplish all that, the completion of all the qualities.
And then we’re able to do perfect work, without the slightest mistake, with no frustration, no difficulty, not one single difficulty to work for other sentient beings. Just as the sun rises — there’s one sun that rises, and the minute the sun rises, the reflection goes to every drop of water, every ocean, even the smallest water dew, a drop of water, anything that has no cover, the reflection comes immediately. How much water in the world — water dew, ocean, water spring, pond, lake — the sun’s reflection is just there. There’s no motivation for the sun, “Oh, I’m going to reflect in all this water.”
Like that, once we achieve enlightenment, then [we can do] everything simultaneously, spontaneously — working for sentient beings, benefiting others, doing service for others, without the slightest difficulties, spontaneously, without any mistake.
Therefore, we need to do meditation, together with the busy life, work. We need to do meditation, [keeping] the continuity, developing compassion, with continuity keeping the mind in that.
Also when we live the life with that mind, with that compassion, when we meditate in the morning — when we generate the motivation, the compassion, in the morning, and we do meditation on that — then we live the rest of the life with that. The rest of the day, we do things with that. That helps so much, that helps.
When we do the work with compassion, it makes so much difference in our life, like earth and sky. There is so much peace and happiness, our mind is not tight, uptight, and there is so much peace and happiness. There’s no barrier between ourselves and the other person, the other sentient being.
Because of our compassion, we feel others in our heart. We feel others are close to us. We feel that in our heart, then others also feel we’re close to them. When we feel they’re close to us, they also feel we’re close to them. So it’s like family.