Don’t be a Saint – HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Dear friends,

I realize there are just some who karmically cannot shift their minds to higher thoughts of enlightenment embarking on it through cultivation of the 8 Verses, 50 Stanzas, Wheel of Sharp Weapons, Bodhicitta or be inspired by the saints. They just think on the level they think. Saints such as the glittering Shantideva, hardworking Naropa, devoted Milarepa or advanced Ghantapa has no inspiration on them at all. I realize their days and nights pass in how to fulfill the 8 Worldly Dharmas and not avert it. I realize all that. But on a practical day to day level to want name, fame, money, respect, praise and power by overriding others wouldn’t work long term either. Or by ignoring the needs of our compatriots or to just blatantly be sneaky with information, control and manipulations cannot be overlooked, ignored or remain undiscovered forever. To lie in our speech day in and day out and think all imbecilic or dense is not practical at all. Even taking advantage of others must be based on some evidence of truth of how we size others up! Eventually we will be found out. We will be found out and then where does that lead us.

To want recognition, name and some power or money is understood but let the ones surrounding us on a daily basis have some too or at least don’t keep using them until you burn your bridges. Don’t treat those around us insignificantly or just as convenient methods to reach our goals. Because those around us will not remain silent and will rise up and speak and expose us. Therefore in the end we gain nothing.

Don’t take advantage of those around us. We can’t be a saint, but don’t be a devil. We can achieve what we want better if we were genuine with the people around us and have a smattering of loyalty, genuine care and agenda-less giving from time to time. Do our work, pay what we owe, never let them chase for loans from us. Money can break couples and even families apart. Never make people chase us for what we owe. If we treat everyone around us like stepping stones, in the end we will be stepped on. Their feelings for us will be stone cold. People are patient and are forgiving, but not permanently if we keep assuming them as just donkeys to be used for our purposes repeatedly. People are not donkeys or stepping stones but something to be treasured, respected and or at least be genuine with. Even donkeys or any animals should not be treated badly. In life, during our youth or middle age or old age, it’s who we loved, who loved us, what love we have in our hearts and the compassion we have that makes us missed, respected and thought kindly of. That is all that matters. Then it’s the final darkness when we close our eyes forever. We are but just specs of light or darkness in the universe. We choose to be which one.

Don’t be a saint and that is fine. Cannot be a saint and that is fine. But at least be human. Being human means to have some civilized respect for others and not just use others for our own selfish purposes. To have some empathy and care on some level. Every action we do or don’t do should not be for selfishly moving ahead of others. Have respect for those around us and don’t use them, abuse them and not care about them. Don’t just see them as objects to be used for you to rise up. What goes up must come down or before you go up, you might never rise as people might not cooperate. Believe in karma or at least cause and effect. Believe in this and temper your minds with it. It goes a long way.

Don’t use people. Be fair. Give and take. Be human as much as you can and at times if you fail at least don’t be a devil. Be open on your faults as people are not blind and forthright in improving because you stand to benefit. Do really improve. Don’t keep apologizing to cover or deceive. Do your share of your allotted work and carry your load. Have some integrity. Integrity and doing work need not be spiritual but the actual stepping stones to what you want to achieve. Being human, courteous, respectful with integrity are timeless qualities for both the ‘godly’ and ‘ungodly’. Achieve our basic human wants or more but with the correct methods. Don’t use or abuse others ever. Remember, everyone needs someone. So better we be nice to some at least. Remember the world is not our oyster, but we are just a blind turtle in the big ocean of samsara.

I myself try to do the above and I do fail, but I rest in the fact I am definitely improving by leaps and bound and will continue to because everyone around me is worth it. I am worth it. Those around me are worth it for sure. I can’t get anywhere without others and that is practical and real.

Tsem Rinpoche

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