By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Some of you might think 'Oh, I want to have nothing to do with Jesus, nothing to do with the Bible'. This is a very angry, emotional attitude to have towards Christianity. If you really understood, you would recognise that what Jesus taught was 'Love!'. It is as simple, and as profound, as that. If you had true love within you, I am sure you would feel much more peaceful than you do now. How do you normally think of love? Be honest. It is always involved with discriminations isn't it? Just look around this room and see if anyone here is an object of your love. Why do you discriminate so sharply between friend and enemy? Why do you see such a big difference between yourself and others.
In the Buddhist teachings, this falsely discriminating attitude is called dualism. Jesus said that such an attitude is the opposite of true love. Therefore, is there any one of us who has the pure love Jesus was talking about? If we do not, we should not criticise his teachings or feel they are irrelevant to us. We are the ones who have misunderstood, perhaps knowing the words of his teaching but never acting on them. There are so many beautiful sentences in the Bible, but I do not ever recall Jesus ever said that without your doing anything whatsoever - without preparing yourself in some way - the Holy Spirit would descend upon you, whoosh! If you do not act the way he said you should act, there is no Holy Spirit existent anywhere for you. What I have read in the Bible has the same connotation as the Buddhist teachings on equilibrium, compassion and changing one's ego attachment into love for others. It may not be immediately obvious how to train your mind to develop these attitudes, but it is certainly possible to do so. Only our selfishness and closed-mindedness prevent us.
With true realisations, the mind is no longer egotistically concerned with only its own salvation. With true love, one no longer behaves dualistically: feeling very attached to some people, distant from others, and totally indifferent to the rest. It is so simple. In the ordinary personality the mind is always divided against itself, always fighting and disturbing its own peace. Cheek up inside now and discover how you look at your neighbours. Visualise first a friend and then an enemy and see how your mind reacts. Instinctively we feel attachment for the one called 'friend' and aversion for the one called 'enemy', but such reactions are the opposite of peace. They are negative and do nothing but produce suffering.
The teachings on love are very practical. Do not put religion somewhere up in the sky and feel you are stuck down here on Earth. If the actions of body, speech and mind are in accordance with loving kindness, you automatically become a truly religious person. To be religious does not mean you attend certain teachings. If you listen to teachings and misinterpret them, you are in fact the opposite of religious. And it is only because you do not understand a certain teaching that you abuse religion.
Lack of deep understanding leads to partisanship. The ego feels 'I am Buddhist; therefore Christianity must all be wrong'. This is very harmful to true religious feeling. You do not destroy a religion with bombs but with hatred. More importantly, you destroy the peacefulness of your own mind. It does not matter whether you express your hatred with words or not. Words do not mean anything. The mere thought of hatred automatically destroys your peace. Similarly, true love does not depend on physical expression. You should realise this. True love is a feeling deep in within you. It is not just a matter of wearing a smile on your face and looking happy. Rather, it arises from a heart-felt understanding of every other being's suffering, and radiates out to them indiscriminately. It does not favour a chosen few to exclusion of everyone else. This is true love.
Furthermore, if someone hits you and you react with anger or great alarm crying, 'What has happened to me?' this also has nothing to do with a mind knowing the meaning of true love. It is just the ignorant preoccupation of the ego with its own welfare. How much wiser it is to realise, 'Being hit does not really harm me. My delusion of hatred is an enemy that harms me much more than this'. Reflecting like this allows true love to grow.
This teaching is an excerpt from Silent Mind,
Holy Mind by Lama Yeshe, and is available
from Wisdom Publications, Inc.,
the FPMT publishing company, and can be found at many good bookshops.
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