The Dalai Lama on the ‘Thought of Awakening’

If it seems that I write an awful lot about compassion, it’s because I need to constantly remind myself to practice compassion and understanding. These posts are like notes to myself. It’s also because I feel that what Jackie Deshannon sang almost 50 years ago is still true today:

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of . . .”

The world, even our little pieces of it, is still too cruel, too hard, and quarrelsome. And as the Dalai Lama indicates below, compassion is the main point of Buddha-dharma.

The other day, after reader sent a email with a link to a video of a recent teaching the Dalai Lama gave on Tsongkhapa’s “The Three Principle Parts of the Path,” I took a look at some notes I made from one of the first Dalai Lama teachings I attended. This was back in 1996 and it was a four-day session, the first three days devoted to teachings on the same text and the third, an “Empowerment of the White Tara.”

Here is what the Dalai Lama had to say during that teaching about bodhicitta, ‘the thought of awakening’, the aspirational wish to develop a mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings:

“When you aspire to Bodhisattva, you contemplate all beings without suffering. All people are equal in the sense that all people want to be happy. It is important to be more concerned with the happiness of others, than yourself. Others are far more important. If you center on only your own well being, you ignore the well being of others. Putting yourself first brings trouble and leads to the ten non-virtuous acts. This is the folly of cherishing oneself. The act of cherishing others brings great benefits to you even though you do not seek them.

The Buddha achieved such a peaceful state from meditating on the welfare of others.

Why do we still suffer? Because we have not developed wisdom and the proper meditative techniques to relieve suffering. We have not learned to relieve suffering. Our aim should be to take this self-cherishing and turn it aroud.

If we are followers of the Buddha, it is important to do as the Buddha taught. He achieved various states of being only for the welfare of others. The welfare of others sentient beings is the main point of Buddhism.

When we go to the Buddha for refuge, we will switch our self-cherishing to other-cherishing. This wish is that out of compassion we can take the sufferings of others as our own. You should not hesitate to cultivate the bodhicitta mind, even if it takes several eons.”

Now here is the link I mentioned above, a one day teaching given on November 11th at the Main Tibetan Temple, Dharamsala, India. Thanks, Michael!


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