How To Have Gratitude For All Beings – Including Those Who Harm Us
If you like the buddhas, that is called faith. If you like sentient beings, if you care about sentient beings, that is called great compassion. When we practice gratitude to all living beings, surely it is easy to practice for those people who have helped us.
But according to the mindfulness practice, you can also practice gratitude with your enemies. That’s a very hard practice. How can I feel grateful for those who are evil, who are always disturbing me and become my enemies; who are trying to destroy me? In general, when we think about people who try to destroy us, they are those who try to damage our house, our body, our name. People who try to destroy our samsaric wealth. Then, if someone tries to destroy our merit, our kindness, we don’t see them as enemies very often, right?
With beings who try to harm us, how can we practice gratitude to them? We have to open our eyes wider. Not everything we see is out there in front. These beings who try to destroy or harm us now, maybe they were trying to help us in our previous life. Definitely, sometimes they helped us. If you are capable to think like that, you can also practice gratitude for your enemies.
Sometimes you can also use logic. For example, if someone always tells you good things, that increases and generates a lot of arrogance, attachment, and those sort of smooth negative emotions. With those who try to harm and destroy you, it can temporarily increase your anger and bring you a lot of disturbing and wrathful minds. But sometimes, when your enemies disturb you that way, you can get more patience.
You understand more about samsaric nature and that increases your knowledge of what is samsara, what is the samsaric drama. Then it makes you tough and capable of doing more things. Therefore, those disturbing enemies are not always bad. Indirectly they help us a lot. They help us by giving us a chance to practice patience, a chance to have great compassion. We are capable of doing that. Sometimes they increase our knowledge, making us more skillful in handling situations.
According to mindfulness training, it is very important to practice gratitude for all sentient beings, even your enemies. Once you are capable of feeling grateful for others, for all those small things they provide, then that makes you a big-hearted person and more kind. That makes you stronger than earlier. That way, I think it is very important to say thank you to people – for small things. There is nothing wrong with that.
Then, especially beside the mind training practice, in our regular everyday life, it is really important to feel grateful for people who really help you, such as your parents, your friends, your relatives, your partners, your colleagues. All these people, including your own small pets that sit next to you and always try to make you feel happy, you feel grateful for those living beings around you.
Even if you cannot say thank you every time, feel that, feel thankful for them. That way you can preserve your kindness. You can preserve harmony between your parents and you. You can preserve your friendships. Even if your friends scold you, or they do something bad, if you have the practice of gratitude, then one incident alone will not break your friendship.
Through that way you can have a lot of peace in your heart. Some people’s heart is like a bowl of water. If you just move it a little bit, the water comes out and shakes everywhere. But if you have the practice of gratitude, you will remember other people’s kindnesses. You will remember how grateful you are for those people. Then, if these people make a small mistake, that will not move you. You are still calm, with peace in your heart. Therefore being grateful to the people who are kind to you, that really generates a lot of good things in yourself.
Demo Rinpoche – Ancient Wisdom. Modern Times. #149 – November 27, 2022
Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2022