Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Court Cases and Legal Action
Suing and Being Sued
|Sued for Negligence|
|A student, who is a nurse, wrote to Rinpoche saying she was being sued by a woman who alleged that her child had developed health problems after a vaccination the student had given the child. The student said she was innocent but was very afraid of the court case.|
My very dear Wendy,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. I am very sorry for the delay. I am making prayers for your and your family.
I checked and it would be very good if you could recite the Diamond Cutter Sutra eight times. If you are able to recite it more that is even better, but please do at least eight recitations.
In Italy, a Dharma student who was a medical doctor explained that she had been treating a pregnant mother, but something went wrong and the baby died before birth. Then the mother sued her for negligence. The doctor told me that there was no way she was negligent. It was just something unavoidable. Anyway, the case had to go to court, and the doctor was very, very anxious She knew that she was completely innocent, but was quite sure that since it involved a medical hearing, she would be fined. She kept thinking, “You don't know what karma could ripen, even though I’m innocent in this case.”
It came out in my observations for her to recite the Diamond Cutter Sutra eight times. She received this information the evening before her court appearance. She had a lot of faith and devotion and she immediately went on the Internet, found the Diamond Cutter Sutra, downloaded it and recited it eight times through the night. The next morning, she went to court and won the court case. They said she was innocent. So, it would also be good for you to recite it eight times, but you can do more.
It is extremely important that when you recite it, you don't just dedicate it to the court case, with the motivation to not be sued or to win the suit. Instead, have the motivation of liberating so many sentient beings from the ocean of samsara and its causes, and bringing them to the highest enlightenment. For that reason, one needs to achieve enlightenment oneself, especially the wisdom realizing emptiness.
It would also be good for you to recite four malas of the Black Court Case mantra each day until the court case finishes.
Please make your life most meaningful with the thought of bodhicitta and meditating on the lam-rim.
With much love and prayers...
A feng shui expert was being sued over advice she had given.
My dear Emma,
You can explain that while it is your definite experience that many people have received benefits from feng shui, including prosperity and so forth, nevertheless, feng shui alone doesn’t guarantee success. You also need merit. You can explain that there are many ways that merit can be collected by people, including those who are not Buddhist, and who do not have faith in karma and reincarnation. The simple way is by practicing compassion in daily life, helping others without any expectation or thought of benefiting themselves. Also, you can explain that you collect merit by being generous, giving things to others, serving others, solving people’s problems, and bringing them peace and happiness. Also, you can collect merit from rejoicing in your positive thoughts, rejoicing in actions of loving kindness, actions of cherishing others and of charity, and feeling happy about these things happening—we collect merit whenever we do any of these things, too.
A student sought Rinpoche’s advice on two lawsuits she was pursuing. In one case, she had invested a large amount of money with a Japanese firm. A person managing the investment produced false documents indicating that the money had been invested and then disappeared with the money. She had tried suing the company, but it denied any responsibility. A solicitor had spent several years researching and pursuing the case, and still there was no result. If she dropped the case, she would owe $180,000 in legal fees. The woman was asking whether she should continue or drop it before she owed the solicitor more.
In the second case, she had lent a large sum of money to a company that had declined to repay the loan. She had taken the company to court and had been awarded a judgment in her favor, but the company still had not returned her money.
In the first case, generally, a Buddhist should not sue other people, but it depends on the circumstances. Suing has to be of benefit to others.
In this case, it comes out better to sue. If you have to do this, do it with compassion. Avoid unpleasantness to others. By having compassion, you protect yourself from the negative karma of causing unpleasantness to others.
Continue trying for another seven months with this motivation: “I will use the money that I get from this for the benefit of sentient beings.” In that way, it becomes positive, virtuous, and a cause of enlightenment. Think: “I will not act out of hatred toward others.”
Recite the Amogapasha mantra every day, as often you can. Make tea offerings and incense offerings every day.
In the second case, according to my observations, it seems difficult to get the money back from them. It seems impossible. You can use this in your Dharma practice. By doing so, when others can’t pay, what you receive from them through your Dharma practice is much more than if you got your money back.
First, to have the right motivation, think: “I am going to offer charity to all sentient beings, offering them all the money that I have loaned to this company.” Even though this money didn’t actually go to sentient beings, if you dedicate it from your heart in that way, you collect the merit of offering it to them.
Remember that the Buddha sacrificed his life to sentient beings many hundreds of times over, for three countless eons. The reason for doing this was because other sentient beings need happiness, and do not want suffering. To accomplish these aims, you need the two collections of merit: the merit of wisdom and merit of virtue. Buddha did this, actualized the path, and achieved enlightenment, and then he revealed the Dharma, the whole path to enlightenment. He showed how to liberate sentient beings from suffering and its causes and how to achieve enlightenment, by removing even the subtle defilements from the mind. This is an example of how you should think.
If you can make charity of this money to the whole company, with a good heart, it becomes Dharma. It becomes virtue and charity, as practiced by bodhisattvas. Since you make charity with a bodhicitta motivation, you collect vast amounts of merit. What you actually achieve is amazing. Each dollar you offer brings the cause for enlightenment. This means you collect as many causes for enlightenment as the number of dollars offered. From this act of charity to sentient beings, you create so many causes for happiness in future lives and for the success of this life, and collect enormous merit.