By Lama Zopa Rinpoche
|Emptiness is a remedy for the foundation of all delusions - ignorance. |
The minute one meditates on emptiness, anger
for example, will stop. Anger arises when you believe in the false I,
false object - all this that does not exist. So when one meditates
on emptiness of the self and other objects, there is
no foundation for anger. This is the most powerful antidote.
But if it arises again, it is because there is no continuation of
the meditation; the meditation, the mindfulness, has stopped.
The problem is to remember the technique. Once you
remember the technique, it always works. When you don't remember
the technique, it is delayed and the delusion, anger and so forth, has
already arisen and taken you over.
One thing I tell people is always to think about karma. His Holiness
says Buddhists don't believe in God. This
basic Buddhist philosophy helps you remember there is no separate
mind outside of yours that creates your life, creates your karma. Whatever happens in one's own life comes from one's own mind. These aggregates,
all the views of the senses, all of the feelings happiness, sadness and so
forth - your whole world comes from your consciousness. The imprints o
f past good karma and negative karma left on the consciousness manifest, become actualised. The imprints to have a human
body, senses, views, aggregates, all the feelings, everything
is realised at this time, and all of it comes from consciousness, from karma.
If your meditation on emptiness is not effective, this teaching of karma is
very powerful for us ordinary beings. The minute one meditates on karma, there is no room in the mind for anger because there is nothing to blame. Thinking of karma is practicing the basic Buddhist philosophy that there
is no creator other than your mind. It is not only a philosophy but also
a very powerful technique. Anger is based on believing in a creator:
somebody created this problem; this happened because of this person.
In daily life, when a problem arises, instead of practicing the philosophy
of no creator, we act as if there is
a creator, that the problem was created by somebody else. Even if we
don't use the word God, we still believe someone else created the
The minute you think of karma and realise there is no creator, there is
no basis for the anger.
We need to think: in the past I gave such a harm to sentient beings,
I deserve to receive this harm from another sentient being. When you
get angry what you are actually saying is you can harm others, but you
feel that you should not receive harm from others. This is very illogical.
So in this practice you say, 'I deserve this harm'. Another practice is to
use this situation to develop compassion: 'I received this harm because
of my karma'. Who started all this? It's not because of the other person;
it's because of your own actions. You treated other sentient beings this
the past, that is why you receive
harm now; your karma persuaded the person to harm you now. Now this person has a human birth and they harm you because
of something you inspired in the past. By harming you now they
are creating more negative karma to lose their human rebirth and to be
reborn in lower realms. Didn't I make that person get lost in the lower
In this way you are using that problem to generate bodhicitta. This means
one is able to develop the whole Mahayana path to enlightenment,
including the Six Paramitas, whether sutra path
or tantra path. One can cease all mistakes of the mind and
achieve full enlightenment. Due to the kindness of that person you are
able to generate compassion, free sentient beings from all the sufferings,
to bring enlightenment, to cause perfect happiness for all sentient beings.
One can also think in this way: by practicing compassion on that person,
one is able to generate compassion towards all sentient beings. This person, who
is so kind, so precious, is helping you stop harming all sentient beings, and on top of that, to receive help from you. By not receiving harm from you, peace and happiness come; also, by receiving help from you, numberless sentient beings get peace and happiness. All this peace and happiness that you are able to offer all sentient beings comes from this person.
Similarly, one can practice patience in this way and is able to cease anger. In the Kadampas' advice, there are six techniques for practicing patience; I don't need to go over all that now. They are good to memorise, to write down in a notebook, in order to use.
Another thing that is very good is what Pabongka Rinpoche explains in 'Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand': generally speaking one doesn't get
angry at the stick that the person used to beat you. The stick itself is used
by the person, so therefore there is no point in getting angry at the stick. Similarly, the person's body, speech and mind are completely used by the anger, by the delusion. The person's body, speech and mind become like a slave, completely used as a tool of the anger. The person themself has no freedom at all - no freedom at all. So therefore, since the person has no freedom at all, they should become an object of our compassion. Not only
that, one must take responsibility to pacify that person's anger. By whatever means you can find, help the person's mind, pacify the anger; even if
there is nothing you can do, pray to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to
pacify the person's mind.
What His Holiness teaches is to meditate on how that person is kind, how that person is precious like Dharma, precious like Buddha, precious like Guru;
kind like Buddha, like Guru. The conclusion is that if no one has anger
towards us, we can never develop patience. If everybody loves us then
we can never generate the precious quality of patience, the path of patience.
So therefore there is an incredible need in our life for someone to have anger towards us. It is so precious, so important that someone has anger towards us. It's not precious for that person, but for us it's very precious. For that person it's torturous, it's like living in the lower realms. But for us, that person having anger towards us is so precious. We have a great need for this,
a great need.
It's important that someone loves you, but it is even more important that someone has anger towards you. You see, if someone loves you it does not help you benefit numberless sentient beings or actualise the entire path to enlightenment.
So why is this person the most precious thing to me? Because they are
angry with you. To you, this person's anger is like a wish-granting jewel.
Also, your anger destroys merit, destroys your happiness, not only in
day-to-day life but also in long term happiness. As Bodhicaryavatara
mentions, one moment of anger delays realisations for one thousand
eons. Anger is a great obstacle, especially for bodhicitta realisations.
Therefore, because this person is angry towards me, I am able to
develop patience and overcome my own anger and complete the entire
path to enlightenment. One can complete the two types of merit, cease
all the obscurations, achieve enlightenment, and free all sentient
beings and lead them to enlightenment.
From a teaching at Vajrapani Institute, Boulder Creek, California, May 1997.