Making your life meaningful

By Lama Zopa Rinpoche


To make your life most meaningful and beneficial, live your life with boddhicitta, the ultimate good heart. Try to do every action during the entire day with the ultimate good heart of boddhicitta. Even if you cannot practice boddhicitta, the altruistic mind wishing to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, as much as possible try to live your life with a generous, good heart. The ultimate good heart is the thought seeking enlightenment in order to work for other sentient beings. Even if you are not doing the profound practice of the ultimate good heart, it is important if you have a job not simply to think. "I'm doing this work to survive. I need the money for food I have to eat". If you live your life with this attitude, you are thinking about nothing other than yourself., it shows no concern for others. Among all the sentient beings, you are thinking about nothing except this one sentient being - and that is not even another person, but yourself!

With the attitude that you are working just to survive, your mind is not happy or relaxed. If you look at it, it's not a comfortable attitude, but painful and sad. Being concerned only about yourself, doing everything for your own happiness, is the principal cause of depression. All the problems of depression and aggression that lead you to depend on a psychiatrist or psychologist, making your life expensive, come from the selfish attitude. The selfish attitude also makes you busier, because you then have to earn the money to pay for the psychiatrist and so forth.

Even if you're working for just three people in your family, or even one person, since your work is done with a sincere attitude, with the thought of loving kindness cherishing others, even if you do not know how to transform your actions into virtue, your everyday activities will naturally become virtue. Even if a person has never heart of the lain-rim, his everyday activities done with this sincere attitude become pure Dharma. Because they are unstained by self- cherishing thought, these activities are the most difficult to do, but the purest holy Dharma.

Dharma means protecting oneself from suffering, from samsara. If someone is in danger of falling down a precipice, you can save him with ropes. Dharma is the rope that stops a person falling down into the sufferings of the lower realms. Your own virtuous actions, Dharma, protect you from true suffering and true cause of suffering.

Even if someone doesn't know about Buddhadharma or the lam-rim teachings, if their everyday life is lived with the thought of cherishing others, it becomes the purest holy Dharma. It is the best protection and the best cause of happiness in this life, and in the lives after this. Otherwise, if all our activities are done with non-virtuous motives, out of selfishness and worldly concern, only for the happiness of ourself and of this life, every activity in the day becomes the cause of suffering, since non-virtue is the cause of suffering and confusion in this life and in future lives.

Instead of creating the cause of happiness, it sometimes looks as if all our education is used to create negative karma. After he gains a degree, a person may go to an office and work there until he retires. But no matter how many years - even forty! - the person does the job, if his attitude is one of worldly concern, all those years of work become negative karma. Because of the selfish attitude, worldly concern clinging to the happiness of the self and this life arises. If there were no selfish attitude, there would be no space in the mind for worldly concern, as well as the many other disturbing thoughts such as anger.

If the selfish attitude is replaced by loving kindness and boddhicitta, the thought of cherishing others, these other confused minds don't arise. In this way there is much peace and happiness in the person's life. And much happiness and harmony for his family and other people around him. As a result of his good heart in this life, the person will experience much peace of mind and happiness not only in this life, but in his next life.


This teaching is an excerpt from Perfect Freedom by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and is available from Wisdom Publications, Inc., the FPMT publishing company, and can be found at many good bookshops. Amazon can get them too
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