The text now turns to relying on the method for happiness in future lives. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.
- Seeing the self-centered attitude as our real enemy
- Benefits of cherishing others
- How we depend on others to accomplish the spiritual path
- The importance of cultivating fortitude and viewing our experience in terms of karma
Gomchen Lamrim 76: Benefits of cherishing others (download)
Disadvantages of self-centeredness
Before doing this mediation, Venerable Chodron says that it’s important to remember that self-centeredness is not who we are. It is added garbage on top of the pure nature of the mind. If we complete the meditation and we hate ourselves for being selfish, we’ve added something to the meditation that the Buddha did not intend. The meditation does bring a sobering effect to the mind, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged. We have to separate ourselves from the self-centered thought. If it helps, you can anthropomorphize it, making it into a shape or character, pointing your finger at it, blaming it and accusing it.…
- Geshe Jampa Tegchok in his book Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage accuses the self-centered thought in a number of ways. Consider how each is true and make examples from your own life:
- Self-centeredness, you are a slaughterer!
- Self-centeredness, you are a thief!
- Self-centeredness, you are a trouble-maker, a terrorist!
- Self-centeredness, you are a farmer of evil!
- Self-centeredness, you are a lazy bum!
- Self-centeredness, you are greedy!
- Self-centeredness, you are full of false hopes and fears!
- Self-centeredness, you have no integrity or consideration for others!
- Self-centeredness, you are out of control!
- Self-centeredness, you are self-defeating!
- Self-centeredness, you are utterly blind!
- Recognizing the disadvantages of the self-centered thought in your own life, generate a strong feeling that you have had enough and resolve to apply the antidotes in your daily life: cherishing others, exchanging self and others, and generating bodhicitta.
Benefits of Cherishing Others
- Consider some of the benefits of cherishing others offered by the participants in the teaching:
- It is the foundation for developing the great resolve, which leads to bodhicitta.
- It gives us more opportunities to be happy.
- It makes it easy for us to perform virtue that ripens in our own happiness.
- We’re more in accord with reality in the sense that we include everyone instead of having a biased mind.
- We sleep better.
- It brings both temporary and ultimate benefit to us.
- It helps us recognize our interdependence with other living beings.
- It achieves our spiritual goals (we need others to cultivate generosity, ethical discipline, fortitude, etc).
- There are many others, of course. What are some of the benefits of cherishing others that you know from your own experience?
- Venerable Chodron said that if we don’t understand the disadvantages of self-centeredness and the advantages of cherishing others, our practice of exchanging self and others seems masochistic (like you’re denying yourself happiness). Do you find this thought arises in your mind? What antidotes can you apply to counter the mistaken thought that taking care of others is suffering?
- Recognizing the amazing benefits of cherishing others, resolve to cultivate the mind that cherishes others and to quickly apply antidotes to the self-centered thought in your daily life.
NOTE: Venerable Chodron said that the method side of the path isn’t really so difficult to understand. These are our aspirations for how we want to be in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To actually live our aspirations, we have to familiarize ourselves with this new way of being. So be sure to do these contemplations often, reminding yourself again and again of the disadvantages of self-centeredness and the great benefits of cherishing others.