[The following teaching took place in March 2012 after Geshela's return from India. It makes reference to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.]
When we face difficulties, sometimes we call them difficulties but we can transform them into practice. Sometimes these unwanted, unexpected events triggers our minds to practice dharma or spiritual which can be sometimes conducive.
The advantage of being a practitioner and we can transform the difficulties and sufferings into cause of happiness or we can utilize these things into our practice. We can transform this into a spiritual way or a conducive way. This type of advantage can be taken by sincere practitioners.
In general we are very lucky we are people, and we mustn’t think we are lucky only for this life we shoudn’t focus on this life, we should think for future lives and if we are able to take some essence for the cause of future lives, that’s really fortunate and then our lives become meaningful. Material things bring some comfort and happiness, and this sought of happiness is very temporary and not reliable.
So then the main happiness we have to create by our own effort and by mind training. So when you talk about mind training that means we have to take advice and instructions from spiritual instructions or Dharma teaching, so as we all wish to experience happiness that means we must engage in dharma practice mind training otherwise there is no second way for lasting happiness.
What (when) we face this life, some difficult situation, we must think, we must recognize all these unwanted things come from previous negative actions, as everything arise from cause and conditions.
Nothing can occur or happen without cause and conditions. So to penetrate into this kind of subject matter , into karma the condition between cause and effect try to recognize, to understand, familiar(ise) with interdependence is really one of the key factors. For example to grow nice flowers or nice fruits you need right cause and conditions, otherwise they cannot grow automatically. In the same way if we wish true lasting happiness we must cultivate the right cause and conditions because things don’t arise without the right cause and conditions. We should think about lower realms, hungry ghosts, animal realms and hell realms and if we are reborn in these realms in our future life, can we bear their sufferings. They undergo immense sufferings so if we see these sufferings well, and truly see these sufferings and cannot bear then we need to cultivate the cause of not reborn in these lower realms because of a reborn in the upper realms.
If we think in these lines it becomes quite effective and powerful to focus on spiritual practice properly. So how we cultivate the cause of happiness in future lives. These things are by helping other beings, like being compassionate, practicing generosity, and all other spiritual and kindness to other living beings and (they) become the cause of future happiness.
As we do not see our future life directly; If we pray to the Three Jewels, rely upon the Three Jewels, and practice loving kindness and help other living beings and then things get better and clearer. We need to be protected from lower realms, the lower realms sufferings, and they can protect us from those unfortunate rebirths.
Only the Three Jewels can protect us therefore we take refuge in the Three Jewels. So we must develop conviction in the Three Jewels, that they have this power or capacity to protect us from sufferings. But we also need to understand that the Three Jewels cannot take our sufferings away and they cannot give us their happiness to us. Also they cannot wash away all our unwanted sufferings.
We need to know the procedure of how they can help us and what kind of conditions we have to generate. When we experience suffering, we experience suffering physically but actually the main suffering is in our mind and until we remove the suffering from our mind and we are not able to experience happiness or recover from the suffering.
Therefore to do the mind training, to train our mind is the key factor. If sufferings arise because of our physical aggregates, then when we leave this body then we should be free from suffering but that is not the case. Because when we take new form or new rebirth still we experience sufferings continuously because that means that or indicates sufferings come with the continuity of consciousness not physical form.
To remove the cause of sufferings totally we have to train our mind. We know there are some children who have difficulties from the very beginning as new born, even parents did all the right things and the new born hasn’t done any wrong things but they already experience a lot of suffering. Why do these things happen? If we think spiritually or scientifically these things cannot happen without cause and conditions because everything depends on cause and conditions.
So these kind of cases we believe comes from previous karma, the mental continuity. Otherwise we need to say these things happen without any reasons. And without any causes or conditions or reasons, logically they are impossible.
The babies before they are born sometimes they are really aggressive in mother’s womb they are restless, much kicking and moving too much and when they are born they are unhappy they go through pain and suffering and so on. We know parents do the best, and physically hardly anything wrong with them but they have this kind of mental attitude or this kind of habit. Where do these new born children’s problems come from and we can’t find any others reasons except their previous karma.
If the three Jewels can remove living beings sufferings, can remove their sufferings by their own hand then they make sure none of the living beings go through suffering, such thing is impossible they can’t remove living beings sufferings by themselves.
Then how we can avoid and remove these sufferings. We need to listen to the spiritual instructions or Buddha Dharma and then try to think about the teachings, investigate whether they are true or not. We can analyse by ourselves by the true and only remedy to change our way of thinking, our mind and cultivate the ultimate cause of happiness. So the real refuge and technique relies upon oneself so that means to listen to Buddha Dharma and avoid all wrong doings and negative actions and always try to adopt virtuous activities, benefitting other living beings even very minute we mustn’t neglect any no matter how small a virtuous are we should adopt.
If we keep doing these and try to make these kind of activities second nature with ourselves then we have studied the cause of happiness. So when we do such a practice and constantly we should look inward we should check our motivation, our mental activities and we make sure there is not any disturbing emotion or any ulterior motives for ourselves. And we do things with genuine kindness for other living beings then we really achieve spiritual practice quite fast.
Loving kindness and compassion are one of the important practices. To develop such an important practice we must regard all living beings as very kind and precious parents and not only sometimes, every living being constantly we should regard them as very kind and very precious jewels and try to familiar this line of thinking and then loving kindness and compassion can grow within ourselves. Otherwise if we regard other people with difficulty or as an enemy, always suspicious then we do not have much chance to develop loving kindness and compassion.
If we regard other living beings as precious and loving kind parents then we would not be upset with them, we wouldn’t have any grudge or resentment towards them and we would not harm them. Then what can we achieve, we can develop more loving kindness and compassion.
If our mind is dominated by attachment and desire then we should think material things are not permanent and they are really temporary also they have no well meaning, everything is impermanent if you think along these lines we can reduce attachments. Regarding attachments there are many types, we are attached to the shape the colour and so on. We can think along these lines and we will do a short meditation.