We want pure seeds on our mind so that the Spiritual Guide has a lot of material to work with. One of the most effective methods for planting such seeds is working to fulfil the wishes of our Spiritual Guide. But we may wonder how we can do that when we aren’t with him every day. The answer is simple, we work to fulfil the wishes our Spiritual Guide has for our local center.
Many Dharma practitioners work very hard to try overcome their delusions, but they do not enjoy much success. Why? The main reasons are because we lack sufficient merit and we haven’t purified. We can solve both problems by doing work for our local center. I used to study under Gen Lhamo. When somebody would come to her with a personal problem, she would give them a job to do for the center and hardly even talk to them about their specific problem. Then, after they were done with their task, she would sit them down to have a talk, and very often the problem would simply be gone, either externally or internally being considered a problem. Miraculous!
How does work for the center accumulate merit? All such merit is necessarily non-contaminated because the final goal of the center is the enlightenment of others. The merit we accumulate from helping our centers grows exponentially as the generations continue. If each student helps 10 people in their life, then each of those 10 people helps 10 people, after 2 generations the karma is multiplied by 100, after 3 generations the karma is multiplied by 1000, and so forth – so it grows exponentially. The merit continues to accumulate for as long as the center – or the effects of the center – exists, which theoretically is forever. The conclusion is the merit we accumulate is non-contaminated and it grows expontentially for eternity. Where else can you accumulate such merit? We need to really see this as an incredible opportunity. If we think deeply about this, we should even be willing to pay to be able to do such work at our local center!
What kind of karma in particular does working for a center create? It creates the karma of causing the Dharma to flourish, the effect of which is it flourishes in our own mind. The center is like an internship for being a bodhisattva. Everybody wants to get a good internship so that they can gain the skills they need for a good job. The same thing applies to working for our local center. The questions is what do you want to do/to accomplish with your life. Working for our local center also create the causes for finding the Dharma in our future lives. We create the causes of having a supportive and authentic spiritual community and friends in our future lives. We create the tendencies to make the most of our spiritual opportunities. We create the causes for being able to receive pure spiritual teachings. We create the causes to have the necessary conditions to engage in practice, retreat, etc. We create a conduit between the ordinary world and the pure world of the Buddhas. The center is like an exit in the matrix, or an Embassy for all the Buddhas. It is like a beacon or transporter.
There are several things you can do to fully seize the opportunity you now have to work for the center. Through our local centersr, we can fulfil our vajra commitment to others. If our superior intention is authentic, we will naturally be motivated to do as much as we can. It is up to us to decide what we are going to do with this opportunity. Only we can decide for ourselves to make the most of it. We can do as much or as little as we wish. If we do as much, we create opportunities to do more; if we do as little, we burn up the merit giving rise to this opportunity and as a result almost never get it again. We need to meditate again and again upon dying full of regrets. Imagine that you arrive at your deathbed and your spiritual guide shows you what all you could have accomplished if only you had been motivated enough. You could have accomplished all spiritual goals and lead countless others to the same state. You could have caused your local center to flourish and enabled countless people to make contact with the Dharma – actually engaging in a Bodhisattva’s actions. But instead we listened to and followed our laziness and attachment and anger, and accomplished nothing. We have used up all the Dharma karma and now will fall into the lower realms where we will remain for aeons once again saving up our spiritual pennies. We use this meditation to arrive at the conclusion that we will not let this happen to us.
We need to realize that this moment is the one in which we can fulfil our spiritual destiny. We wouldn’t go to school for years and years only to at the last minute not finish. We wouldn’t run for political office our whole career and win the election to the presidency and then not show up for the job. We have worked very hard in the past to create for ourself this spiritual opportunity, we can’t throw it away now when we are so close. The only thing standing in our way is the strength and purity of our motivation. If we work on that, then we will have everything.
We need to appreciate the high stakes for the success of our practice and the center. If we don’t attain enlightenment, everyone we know and love will fall into samsara and be lost for as long as it takes us to get out. All the people who are depending upon our future students are also depending upon us, and so forth. There are literally countless beings whose fate depends upon our actions in this life. Our local center is like an Embassy for all the Buddhas in our area. It is our job to make it happen for the people of our area. If we don’t make it happen, it won’t happen for them at all. When we see others on the street, we should think, ‘this person is depending upon me.’ We need to ask ourselves the question, “what am I doing for the people of my region?”
We need to cherish our local Dharma center as our most precious endowment. It is an outpost of the Buddhas in the wilderness of our mind. Through our Dharma center we can accomplish everything. Geshe-la has put everything at our feet. We simply need to pick it up and use it. We can accomplish with our local center what Geshe-la has accomplished with Manjushri center. And we will have it much easier than he did because he has already written all the books and practices, established the study programmes, etc. We just need to use it. Venerable Tharchin says he views every person who walks into the center as the future savior of all. This is true. This is a very literal statement. We need to adopt this view, and cherish others accordingly.