Lama Zopa Rinpoche's Online Advice Book
Problems at Work
|Obstacles to Finding Work|
|Advice to a student who was having difficulty in finding a job.|
Rinpoche checked quite a bit and advised the following:
1. Make King Gesar of Ling prayer flags and put them in a high mountain place. King Gesar is said to be an incarnation of Padmasambhava.
2. Either buy a statue of Guru Rinpoche, about 18" to 24", or have it made. Then keep it on your alter.
3. Recite the three prayers of Guru Rinpoche to do with dispelling obstacles. Keep reciting them for as long as the problem exists. When reciting these prayers, do so by taking strong refuge in Guru Rinpoche.
4. If you can, take the initiation of Guru Rinpoche and Kurukulla.
|A student wrote to Rinpoche about some difficult situations he had been encountering in his office and how people hadn’t reacted well when he had voiced his concerns.|
Just because you might have some problem with others, it doesn’t mean you always need to express it. Sometimes, it is more skillful not to express it, otherwise, you might get in a fight with others and this not so helpful. When you are practicing bodhicitta, sometimes you do have problems, but you don’t express them. You try to practice. You try to do what is most beneficial for the happiness of others, not for yourself.
Western psychology is all about one’s own happiness, doing what makes oneself happy; that is the main thing. So, if there is something you need to express, you do it. But Buddhism is completely the opposite. It is not about one’s own happiness, it is about the happiness of others. By practicing this way, thinking about the happiness of others, working for the happiness of others, you achieve two things: the happiness of enlightenment and temporal happiness—happiness in the future and happiness now. When you are working for your own happiness, you do not get either. You do not get happiness in the future, and you are not happy now. When you work for the happiness of others, are concerned about the happiness of others, you get both.
|Can’t Find a Job
|For many years, a student of Rinpoche’s had been unable to get a job, no matter how hard he tried. He asked Rinpoche for advice on what he should do.|
For success, make water offerings, light offerings, and whatever other offerings you can, as many as possible, every day. When you make offerings, think that all the buddhas are the guru, whichever guru you have a Dharma connection with, for example His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This way you collect the most merit, far greater than the merit of having offered to numberless buddhas, dharmas, sanghas, statues, stupas, thangkas, and so on.
This brings the quickest success and happiness not only in this life but also in future lives, including the ultimate success of liberation and full enlightenment.
Obtaining the guru’s advice and then offering service, respect, and, if one has material offerings, making offerings, are the most powerful methods for success. There is no question about worldly success; it is the most powerful method for spiritual success and enlightenment. Even though there are many practices you can do, this is the most important one. Even a little of this is so powerful, because you can collect the most merit. It achieves great success – not only for temporary happiness but for ultimate happiness.
I strongly suggest that you practice Medicine Buddha and recite the name mantra. Pray to Medicine Buddha that whatever prayers you have made in the past, may they ripen for you and all sentient beings immediately. Then recite whatever specific prayers you want to include. Whatever you want now, pray that it ripens right away. This is also very good for purification. Without purification, negative karma ripens and we will always face obstacles, so purification is very important. You can also make offerings to Medicine Buddha. This is like making offerings to all the buddhas. It has that benefit. Reciting Medicine Buddha’s name mantra brings success in accomplishing all your prayers, and brings not only temporary but ultimate happiness.
You should also make torma offerings to White Dzambhala, who rides on a dragon. You don’t need to make a traditional torma. You can use fruit or chocolate, and put it in front of a statue or picture of White Dzambhala.
As usual, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama advises, practice the good heart toward others in your daily life, even through helping others with small things. Practice generosity toward others, and as a result, eventually all your wishes will be fulfilled.
With much love and prayers...
A student said she was having difficulties dealing with one of her bosses. Somehow, she never felt that she was doing a good job or accomplishing anything in her work.
It is already a great success just to be able to work with your boss at all. She is doing the same job for you as a virtuous friend, or guru. A virtuous friend removes delusions. Regard her as your Dharma path for removing delusions.
The main enemy of enlightenment, the main obstacle to generating bodhicitta, the main obstacle to making our life most useful for all sentient beings, is ego. Your co-worker is here to destroy the ego, which brings all the obstacles in life.
In terms of renunciation, also think, “She is helping me, destroying my thoughts of worldly Dharma, destroying pride, which interferes with my developing qualities of mind.”
It would be good to do a lam-rim retreat, taking your co-worker as your object and meditating on patience to reach enlightenment. You should also do a bodhicitta retreat, meditating on bodhicitta to eliminate ego, as well as a Wheel of Sharp Weapons retreat to destroy the ego.
Rinpoche heard that one of his Spanish students was experiencing some difficulties in life. This is the letter he wrote her.
My very dear MariaElena,
I heard you are sick and lost your job. It is the nature of the world—of samsara—for things like this to happen, because of our different past karmas, as you know well. When you practice Dharma, serving others from the heart, then very heavy past negative karmas get purified in this life. The karma to be in hell for many eons manifests as some undesirable thing, such as sickness or difficulties in this life.
On top of this, you should think you have been successful, in that all your past prayers to receive the suffering of others—the most precious, wish-fulfilling mother sentient beings—are ripening on you now. Think, “I am an extremely fortunate one, the most fortunate one.”
With big love and prayer...
One of Rinpoche’s students, who is a famous singer from Hong Kong, had expressed a wish to make a CD for the one of Rinpoche’s projects. Meanwhile, Coca Cola had asked her to make a CD for them and she felt no inspiration to make it, but had a deadline to do so. Rinpoche sent her the following message at that time.
You should pray before beginning your recording to have a virtuous motivation. The motivation becomes the thought of benefiting other sentient beings, which allows the action of recording the song to become Dharma, virtue, a cause of happiness, and for it not to become negative karma. This way you are protected from creating negative karma.
Pray like this: “Due to all the past, present, and future merits collected by all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, by sentient beings, and me, whoever sees this CD, whoever touches this CD, whoever hears this CD, thinks of it, dreams of this CD, whoever talks about this CD, and also myself, may they never, ever be reborn in the lower realms. May they immediately be liberated from all disease, such as cancer or AIDS, from mental problems, negative karmic defilements, and spirit harm, and may they actualize the whole path to enlightenment, especially loving kindness, bodhicitta, renouncing the “I,” and cherishing others, with each person becoming the source of happiness for all sentient beings, including the sentient beings of other worlds.”
Practice this each time you start work. Then, at the end, when you stop, you can also dedicate the merits in the same way, but especially dedicate so that this CD may offer extensive benefit to all sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment as quickly as possible. If you motivate yourself in that way, it can have this effect, causing everyone to develop a good heart, loving kindness, and compassion for every sentient being. If one person is able to generate a good heart, thousands of sentient beings can receive limitless benefits from that person. On the basis of their not receiving any harm, they gain only peace and happiness. Not giving any harm, that’s the peace you can give. Then, that person specifically benefits others, by giving them the four types of happiness: the happiness of this life, of future lives, liberation, and enlightenment. One person can cause all this for others.