Gen Tharchin said that at Tharpaland, everybody is in love with everybody else. You know that feeling of being totally in love with somebody. We need to feel that for one another. For everyone really, but of course in a non-sexual, non-creepy way! We need to do the same with everybody in our life. As we try to do this, we will make many mistakes and attachment will creep up, but that is OK. Gen-la Dekyong said we don’t abandon our relationships with others because our motivation is mixed, rather we redouble our efforts to truly love them without attachment.
To develop a feeling of love for others, we should focus all of our mental energy on their good qualities. When they are kind and nice, we should understand that this is the true person acting. When people make mistakes, we need to realize that they do so because they are confused. They just do not know any better. They don’t realize that their actions are counter-productive.
We need to think of our relationships in terms of what we can give them, not what we can get from them. We need to leave the people in our life completely free to do whatever they wish, without trying to control them in the slightest. We do not need others to do or act in any particular way, but we wholeheartedly accept them regardless of what they do.
We need to help people take charge of their own life and own mind, and help them gain the confidence that they can do so. We need to make a commitment to others that we will always be there for them, no matter what they do and no matter how long it takes. We commit we will never abandon them. We try to take personal responsibility for the other person, saying we will keep working to help this person for as long as it takes.
Our love should be like the sun, which shines equally on everyone and everything. Our love is not tied to certain objects of love, rather our love is centered in our heart and it touches everyone and everything. We need to keep searching for the middle way between attachment and non-loving, accepting that we will make mistakes, but eventually we will get it right.
We also need to look at what do we do when others develop attachment for us. As we become a loving person, people will naturally start drawing closer to us and develop attachment and dependence on us. From one perspecitve, this is OK, because it is better that they be drawn towards us than samsaric things. But ultimately, we need to help them abandon this because this attachment will cause them to be separated from us and the Dharma. Our job is to empower those around us. Our job is actually to become irrelevant. In the beginning, people need us for everything; but if we do our job right, they will later need us for nothing. We help people not need us anymore to make good decisions.
What should we do to not fall under the influence of the worldly ourselves? Shantideva described all the disadvantages of relating to the worldly and we came to the conclusion that we need to sever all contact with them. There are no people who are inherently worldly from their own side, they become worldly when we relate to them with a worldly mind. The only way to sever all contact with the worldly is to stop relating to them with a worldly mind and instead do so with a spiritual mind.
How can we do this? We need to adopt special views of others. The view we adopt determines the qualities we draw out. Whatever we relate to and pay attention to we draw out. We see this process with children and with everybody. View is a creative action, not a passive observation. Karmically, because others do not exist from their own side, the view we adopt of others determines the karma we create. People appear to us to be ordinary because we have assented to ordinary appearance in the past. To reverse this, we need to make a distinction between the person’s Buddha nature and their delusions. The real person is the Buddha nature, and the delusions are what is obscuring the Buddha nature. By maintaining this view, it will draw out their pure potential. Gen Tharchin views each person who walks into a Dharma center as the future holder of the lineage for all beings. By relating to this reality, we will naturally treat others with respect and draw out these qualities. We can and should view others as emanations of our spiritual guide in the aspect of worldly beings to teach us something. We can learn from everything we perceive if we adopt such a view. Others will appear in an ordinary aspect for us to relate to them in a normal way and to learn how to skillfully draw out their pure potential.
Teachers in the Rudolph Steiner tradition view each new student they meet as an opportunity to work on overcoming one of their weaknesses as a teacher. We can do the same with everyone we meet. We can view them all as emanations of Buddhas sent into our life to help us improve our realizations and skillful means. At a deep level, since beings are empty, viewing others in this way karmically reconstructs them until they actually begin to appear to engage themselves in enlightened actions and become Buddhas. Eventually, through viewing people in this pure and perfect way we can come to inhabit the pure land. Our world will seem to be more and more the pure land.
We can also help them by showing a good example. Atisha’s Advice from the Heart explains the sort of example a Kadampa shows. Through this example, we will naturally encourage and inspire others to adopt a spiritual way of life. Why? Because they will see it works better than their ordinary ways.
One thought on “Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Being in Love with Everybody”
Thank you, Kadam Ryan. This is a keeper. So timely for me since I was woken out of a deep sleep feeling a bit cranky toward my partner who woke me making noise. I opened my phone to your teaching! I love when this happens! The important lesson I was ready to receive!