In Tibetan Buddhism there is tremendous philosophy and theological ideas. Also it is very simple and very easy. At the bottom line it will boil down to yourself and your own thoughts. It is simply what you want. We know we don’t want any misery and we know that even the lack of misery becomes misery. So all of those we don’t want. What we do want is really, truly happiness and joy. That is the bottom line. It is from our side. The theory, philosophy, idea and this experience that Buddha gained, what does that offer in that context? Very simple. It boils down to that it depends on ourselves, not on anything else. So the first and foremost is that we want to be happy. We want to be helpful to ourselves, our family and everybody and to anyone who even comes in the slightest contact with you, either through personal dealings or through reading or hearing the message.
Where does help begin? With good thoughts. What is a good thought? The idea of helping, of not harming, not hurting. We always have it in our blood that “I want to have the gain, no matter what the cost, to the expense of whoever it may be.” We are willing to sacrifice anybody else for our own personal joy and happiness. That is the wrong thought. This is the thought to be negated, to be removed from our mind completely. Then it should be substituted with helping myself as well as others. So remove the thought “I want to gain, I want to gain” and replace that with “I want to gain and help”. That’s not difficult, particularly for people like yourself, with education, with good character, good nature. It is not only not impossible, but it is definitely possible. You can do it and you will do it. That will cost you nothing and give you joy and happiness. The seed is laid with you. You have it in your nature. You have it from your own background. I don’t know if it is from your parents, your own nature, from your society and whatever it is. You do have that. Keeping that and developing that is the beginning. In a simple way, that’s when we talk about changing our motivation. It doesn’t have to be sitting down and meditating and saying prayers alone. That is for all the time, everything you do. It is one thought at the beginning for 24 hours. When that thought becomes weaker after a few hours or even after half an hour, then remind yourself and keep that thought, from morning to evening, so that the principle of your life is right. We have got to start somewhere and this is where we start.
Those of you who have the background of a great tradition, you are doing great, congratulations, keep it up and make it better. Those, especially the younger ones who really like to do something, this will cost you no money, it will cost you nothing, but will bring you a lot of joy and happiness. And that’s what we do, where we begin. Then changing the thought or motivation alone will not do. Keep that influence functioning throughout the day. Then in the evening look back and you will find that your day has been okay, not that bad.
Photo: Peter van Wanrooij