Let us regard ego-clinging as our enemy. When it exists no longer, it will be impossible for us not to care for others more than we do for ourselves. As this feeling arises, let us reflect upon the kindness of all beings, for they have been our parents and have shown us much goodness countless times in the past.
We should be thankful to all beings, for enlightenment depends upon them, and have as much love and compassion towards our enemies as we have towards our friends. This is the most important thing, because love and compassion for parents, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters arises naturally by itself. It is said in the Bodhicharyavatara:
The state of Buddhahood depends
On beings and the Buddhas equally.
By what tradition is it then that
Buddhas, but not beings, are alone revered?
For the one who wishes to attain enlightenment, the Buddhas and sentient beings have an equal kindness. With regard to those to whom we owe so much, we should meditate very strongly: generating an intense love, wishing them every happiness, and having great compassion, wanting them to be free from suffering.
Especially if we are the victims of harm inflicted by human or non-human beings, we should not think, 'This being is harming me, therefore I will make him and his descendants pay.' No, we must not bear grudges. Instead, we should think to ourselves: 'This evil-doer has for countless lives been my mother - my mother who, not caring for all the suffering she had to undergo for my sake, not listening to all the bad things people might say, took care of me and endured much suffering in samsara. The harm which I suffer at the hands of others is provoked by my bad karma.' Thus we should try to be very loving towards such beings, thinking, 'Until now I have only harmed others. Henceforward, I will free them from all their ills and be of help to them.' In this way, we should perform the practice of taking and giving very intensely.
We should decide that from now on, whatever virtuous actions we perform, the riches or longevity we gain, even Buddhahood itself - all these will be exclusively for the benefit of others. Whatever good might come to us, we will give it all away. What does it matter, then, if we attain enlightenment or not, if our lives are long or short, if we are rich or poor. None of this matters!
As Langri Tangpa Dorje Gyaltsen said, 'Of all the profound teachings I have read, this only have I understood: that all harm and sorrow are my own doing and all benefit and qualities are thanks to others. Therefore all my gain I give to others, all loss I take upon myself'
From Enlightened Courage, by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Copyright 1993 by Editions Padmakara (Padmakara Translation Group). Published and distributed by Snow Lion Publications. Used by permission.
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