terça-feira, 3 de novembro de 2015

The Most Important Practice of Patience

The Most Important Practice of Patience

Lama Zopa Rinpoche at the Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya, India, February 2015. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche wrote a letter on patience to a student and said it would be good to share with the readers of Mandala. Here is an early draft of this advice, edited by Mandala for inclusion in this issue’s online content. 

It is extremely important to pay attention to patience in everyday life. Not only we who want to practice lam-rim – the graduated path to enlightenment – but even nonbelievers need to practice patience so that their relationships with their wives, parents, friends, even with outside relationships, can last longer.

Even nonbelievers, of course, would like happiness and long-lasting relationships in the family. So if you don’t practice patience and compassion and the good heart, and don’t try to control the mind of desire, then relationships don’t last. You become enemies to each other. Before the other person becomes an enemy, you become enemy to that person. There can be danger like that.

It’s an incredibly important education and a good quality for human life, even if you don’t believe in karma or reincarnation, practicing patience is so, so, so important. You don’t learn that in school; you don’t learn that in university. But it’s the most important lesson, which brings happiness and peace, good and warm relationships, and long-lasting happiness in relationships.

For people who are practicing Dharma, lam-rim, then there’s no question that it’s even more important – this is the most important practice.

There are three types of patience [Rinpoche translated this from Essential Nectar]:

All the transmigrator beings, even if they rise as enemies and scold me extremely, by examining with the analytical mind and above not getting angry back, but obtaining benefit in return for harm: this is the patience unconcerned with harm.

Poverty of food, clothing, bedding and so forth and experiencing disease and so forth, undesirable things, and also experiencing suffering in order to practice Dharma: practicing patience by enjoying that is practicing patience voluntarily taking suffering.

Then generating faith from the heart to the faithful holy objects of the Three Rare Sublimenesses [generating from the heart faith in the holy objects of the Three Precious Sublime Ones] and so forth: this is the patience definitely thinking Dharma.

I attempt to practice the three types of patience from now on. Please grant me blessings to be able to do that.

If you don’t practice patience and the good heart and control the mind of desire, the other big shortcoming – bigger than a big mountain – the very extremely scary, unbelievably frightening thing is that if you get angry at one bodhisattva for one second, then you will have to be in hell for 1,000 eons. This means you have to suffer the heaviest suffering, which is called “hell suffering” for 1,000 eons. This means your merit of having made charity, practicing morality and so forth to sentient beings, having made offerings to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha get destroyed for 1,000 eons. If it’s undedicated to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, then it’s completely destroyed, like burned rice. If the merit is dedicated to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings and you are about to achieve bodhichitta the next day, then it’s put off for 1,000 eons if you get angry at a bodhisattva for one second.

Most people don’t know this. And even if they know, but don’t take care, don’t practice, don’t think about it in everyday life, they always get angry, and depending on with whom they get angry, they destroy their merit completely or delay those realizations for so long, so many eons. We students don’t keep in our minds how incredibly dangerous anger is and how important patience is. It’s so, so, so, so important – most important. Because we always get angry, we do not practice patience and our mind is so distracted, our merit always gets destroyed or delayed for many eons. No matter how much you do retreat, practice charity, and do this and that, nothing happens to the mind. There’s no progression, no realization, but only degeneration. The mind becomes more and more like a rock or hot desert where nothing grows. Even if we have stories of having done so much, there’s no progression toward developing your heart into a good heart.

Kadampa Geshe Chengawa, the follower of Lama Atisha from India, the arya land of Nalanda, who was invited to Tibet to make Buddhism pure, sutra and tantra, taught to the general assembly:

[Rinpoche translated this from Kadampa Advices:]
Generally, the whole entire Dharma is contained in two: avoiding giving harm to others and benefiting others. In this three basket teachings, the small and great vehicle, all are condensed into these two things. Therefore, in order to practice these two holy Dharmas, patience is so important.

Without patience, when people give harm to you, then it becomes harm returned back. When you do that, it doesn’t change from harm. When there is no change from harm, then there is no benefit. Therefore, to be able lead holy Dharma, you need patience. So there are four methods to meditate on patience:

1. Meditating on putting up the target in order to receive the arrow
2. Meditating on patience in the manner of loving-kindness and compassion
3. In the manner of guru-disciple
4. In the manner of ultimate reality

First, in order to receive the arrow, meditating on patience in the manner of putting up the target.

For example, if you don’t put up the target, the arrow cannot strike. The arrow struck because the mistake, the target, was put there.

Like that, having put up the target of past life karma, then the arrow of harm to this life has struck. Therefore, receiving harm from others in this life is due to having collected in one’s own past life negative karma. Therefore, you cannot get angry with others. It is said in Bodhicaryavatara:

If one didn’t harm from one’s own side like this, no one would do harm to you. I in a former time towards sentient beings did harm like this. Therefore, I deserve to receive the harm-giver sentient beings.

Besides that, even in this life, having done harm to others in the early part of this life, one receives retaliation in the later part of life. Like that, it happens previous year and later year. Like that, it happens previous month and later month. Like that, even previous day and later day, it happens. Even right now, whatever hurtful words you speak (that are unbearable to others), you put up the target of bad conduct and right away you receive the arrow of bad words and so forth. Therefore, everything should be understood as the target put up by yourself, when receiving the arrow of harm from others. So it is said, don’t get angry with others.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche with students at the Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya, India, February 2015. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche with students at the Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya, India, February 2015. Photo by Ven. Thubten Kunsang.
Meditating on patience in the manner of loving-kindness and compassion.

For example, when one crazy person harms others who are sane, the sane don’t retaliate back. They don’t react against the crazy one. They don’t retaliate back by saying “How pitiful it is. The one who is giving harm to me is a ‘great crazy one’ possessed by the vicious spirit possession of delusion.” Meditate on compassion: “How pitiful it is.”

Even the crazy one possessed by spirit possession is only ‘small crazy;’ he does mere harm to your and other’s body and life. However, he doesn’t harm other than that, so it is a small harm. He is crazy only for a few years, few months, few days, so it is just a short time.

The human sentient beings whose mind is insane giving harm, this is ‘great craziness.’ From beginningless samsara, and being a longtime under the control of delusion, that person carelessly engaged in nonvirtue with body, speech and mind, and because of that, generates sufferings of the three evil gone realms – so that is great harm. Therefore, it is highly serious to have compassion for that. For the one who gives harm, one must meditate on loving-kindness and compassion. Don’t get angry.

From Bodhicaryavatara:

When you are under the control of delusion, what is called ‘I,’ that which is most treasured and beloved, even you kill that because at that time you are under the control of anger. So for those living beings, how can they remain without harming another’s body? Even if they think to live without harming, the person has no choice, being completely controlled by anger. Therefore, it’s not worth being angry. Even the actions of killing and so forth are engaged in without freedom. It is worthwhile to generate compassion for that. At least, even if compassion does not rise, anger is undeserved; there is no way to get angry. Thinking this way stops anger towards the harm-giver. At least even if compassion doesn’t arise, it’s not worth getting angry at others.

Meditating on patience in the manner of guru-disciple.

For example, if there is no abbot granting vows, then there is no ordination; if there is no master expounding the holy Dharma, then there is no way to understand Dharma. Likewise, if there is no enemy giving harm, there is no patience. Should you discover others who are insulting and so forth, they are the master guru granting patience – one should realize this. Meditate to be happy for that and repay that kindness. Meditate or take it yourself as a disciple learning patience. So it is said, don’t get angry.

Meditating on patience in the manner of ultimate reality.

Ultimately, there is no object for me to harm. Others who are giving harm and harm itself – all the phenomena of harm – their reality is emptiness only (tongpa-nyi). To the present ‘I,’ all these appearances arguing and so forth is a fantasy of one’s own hallucinated mind, like a dream, like an illusion, therefore, you can’t get angry.


In the empty existence like that, what is there to lose and gain and what is there to like and dislike; who is there to completely accuse?

Therefore, like an enemy in a dream, after you wake up from sleep, you realize does not exist from its own side, so you don’t get angry. So like that, even the present enemy does not exist by nature absolutely. It is like a dream. Don’t give hatred to that, meditate on patience it is said.

Rinpoche’s comments:

Please, especially anyone who has anger normally, you have to learn patience. Especially someone whose mind is so much habituated with anger, she must plan every day to use these techniques, even if not all, in everyday life. This will bring happiness in this life like the sun shining and this will help at the time of death. It brings happiness at death and even if you die, then there’s happiness in future lives – hundreds and thousands of numberless lives – and brings ultimate happiness, liberation from oceans of samsaric suffering, the everlasting happiness. Then not only that, but buddhahood, the total cessation of the obscurations and completion of all the realizations. You achieve that for numberless sentient beings.

Also, you can help numberless sentient beings by not getting angry back. It helps them to not get angry at you. Since you don’t put up the target, others getting angry at you doesn’t happen. There is no target, so you don’t receive anger from others at all. Not only that, then you are able to bring happiness to sentient beings, temporal happiness including a happy rebirth in the future, to meet Dharma. Also, it helps to liberate all the mother sentient beings, free them from oceans of samsaric suffering forever, everlasting happiness. Not only that, then you are able to not only free the numberless beings of each realm – hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, suras, asuras – from oceans of samsaric suffering, but you bring them to the peerless happiness, buddhahood, total cessation of obscurations and completion of all the realizations.

So said in a short way, talking about urgency and temporary benefit, you are able to bring world peace. This is the real way. In the world people have meetings all the time, but maybe not much result. Here, you practice patience in everyday life, paying attention to karma, being careful with your mind, like a person carrying a bowl full of nectar walking carefully to not spill. There is a person with a sword and whenever you spill, she will hit you with it. Take care of your mind like that, take care of your life. That is always the best way of taking care of your health. Taking care of the health of your mind is taking care of the health your body. Thank you very much. In the world, they do hundreds and thousands of exercises and every year they sell new ways to exercise. But the most important thing is taking care of the mind: by taking care of the mind, you are able to take care of the body, by the way. That’s all. Thank you.

[Another example:] It’s like you went the wrong way and banged your head on the door frame and then you got upset with that. You want to harm that without realizing you’re in samsara.
With much love and prayers,

Lama Zopa

Scribe: Ven. Sarah Thresher, Root Institute, Bodh Gaya, February 2015. Lightly edited by Mandala for the July-December 2015 online edition.

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