Equality From The Heart

Good morning and welcome to today’s talk. We are talking about motivation in the Tibetan Buddhist teaching tradition. We are still on the subject of motivation. The recommended motivation is the precious bodhimind, Buddha’s most precious mind. When you think about this, the expression in the Tibetan language is, “dag pei zhen kye pai jang chub sem rin po che.” That means, “Considering others as more cherished than oneself, such a precious, jewel-like mind.” That is the recommended mind. It is beautiful to talk about, but extremely difficult to manage. But it is not impossible. Many – like hundreds and thousands of enlightened beings and bodhisattvas – have gone through, having mastered and living their lives within that. That’s why it is not impossible. It is difficult to gain, but once you get it, everything works out by itself extremely well.  

That’s what we have been talking about. We have been talking about the process of developing that. We said that before we think about others’ needs as most important than our own personal needs, we have to think about equality of my needs and other people’s needs. We have to see that in our own mind. My priority is my needs; my needs are my priority. Others’ needs take second priority. This is in our nature. Unless we can equalize our own needs and those of others in our mind, then it is impossible to treat others’ needs as more important than our own needs and desires.

So equality is the first step. The last two or three Sundays we have been talking about equality. Equality is something that when I think about it, is not an unusual or foreign subject. The principle of American life and the life of any democracy is actually based on equality. If you don’t have equality, how is democracy going to come? No way. So equality is extremely important and people do accept that.

This is unlike a long time ago, when there were difficulties with equality, even in this country. There were racial problems and that’s not only an American problem, but that is everywhere else. Even today it is there. It is not gone completely, but it is much less than it used to be, at least in America. So the equality business is not foreign to us. It is very much at home as a democratic principle. It is not strange Buddhist terminology. It is not strange Tibetan Buddhist language. It is not Sanskrit, but it is in our everyday life.

Without equality, cherishing others is impossible. The first step is for us to establish equality. Your needs are equally important to mine. We have to accommodate both, and if possible, we have to find something very useful for both our purposes. That’s why we have to establish equality. There is no reason why my desire is more important than your desire. We say “it’s because it is mine. That’s more important than yours.” You can see un-equality there, un-equal rights. Since we all agree to be equal, it can’t just be equal in being human being or even in having equal human rights, but we have to treat others equally from our heart.

That is a basic principle of equanimity. It is strange language, but equality is nothing strange or unusual. When you talk about equality and fulfilling the desire of you and I or self and others, we have to be able to treat them equally. Again, this is not impossible, but very much possible and very doable. This is the basis of pure love and pure compassion. Without that we have a one-eyed compassion. Maybe that’s a new expression for you, but it is based on the good old Tibetan example of the one-eyed yak. The one eyed yak on the mountain side will only eat one side of the grass and leave the other side, because it can only see with one eye. So that’s the unequal expression. So equality and equanimity is the foundation of all basic motivation.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart New York, April 7, 2013

Scroll to Top