Remembering kindness is very supportive for our practice. In this video teaching from Singapore, Phakchok Rinpoche shares some stories about remembering kindness.
What is Dharma? Dharma is meditation plus learning plus correct behavior plus learning life stories plus kindness. It is all part of the package.
Remembering kindness is helpful in both mundane and in spiritual life. In our mundane life, we can think of the kindness of our ancestors and realize how lucky we are. Rinpoche gives the example of traditional Chinese respect for their ancestors. It is helpful because it means we don’t forget. And when we don’t forget, then we think about kindness. In modern times we sometimes forget how difficult life was for our parents and for previous generations. By remembering the kindness of others we also appreciate our own situation more.
Remembering Kindness of Lineage Masters
Reflection on the examples of others can inspire and encourage us in our spiritual practice. One way to remember kindness is to read the life stories of great masters. We can read the jataka tales that teach about the previous lives of the Buddha. When we do this, we learn how much effort the past masters put into their practice. Rinpoche talks about how we can become inspired by reading these stories.
These days, we can get so many teachings with just a simple internet search. There are so many people giving teachings wherever we are, and so many available for free on the internet or for very low charge. We are very lucky! But, sometimes that means we don’t understand how fortunate we are. When we think of how much effort the previous masters and bodhisattvas put forth to receive teachings, we begin to value them so much more.
Rinpoche explains how his own teacher talked about the kindness of former practitioners, such as King Trisong Deutsen of Tibet. Through his kindness, the king invited the abbot Śāntarakṣita and Guru Rinpoche to Tibet. They were all responsible and they all gave us advice that we can cherish. The king taught us how to take the responsibility to help Dharma. Khenchen Bodhisattva, Śāntarakṣita, taught us how to be sangha and the yogi Guru Rinpoche taught us how to be practitioners. Just by remembering their kindness, we can be more inspired to practice and follow their example to continue their efforts.