Teaching by Lama Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
September 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada

I'd like to end talk here, and if you have questions, any questions, most welcome.

Q: Rinpoche, when I'm sweeping my floor and some spider or ant or something.

Rinpoche: Sir?

Q: When I'm sweeping my kitchen floor, and…

Rinpoche: Why do you sleep on the kitchen floor? You have no energy to go to bed?

Q: No, sweeping.

Rinpoche: Oh! I thought you said sleeping! [Laughter.] Because I know one fellow in Toronto, he came home from school, he was so tired he had no energy to go to his room. He crashed on the kitchen floor. [Laughter.] I thought you were talking about like that. Ok, sorry, sweeping. Sweeping.

Q: Sweeping the kitchen floor, and if there's a little ant or spider on the floor, my practice is to gently sweep it up and put it outside. I do that because I have the knowledge that it's a sentient being, and I do that because I have the knowledge that if I kill it, I incur negative karma. Is that self-interest? Is my action self-interest or bodhicitta, because I have knowledge that it's a sentient being and I don't want to kill it.

Rinpoche: Well, what is the benefit of killing it? You don't get any benefit of killing it. You don't have to kill. You can wait until the ant or spider go away, and then you sweep the floor. Or you can pick up the ant or insects or spider, take it out. But see, some insects, they're not problem. They're not really problem. We think they're problem. Spiders actually very good. Spiders eat other insects. If you're worried about other insects, ask spiders come. [Laugher.] And that's their karma, their food chain. And let them do whatever they're doing.

Q: But if I do pick up the spiders or the ants and put them outside, if I do that out of the knowledge that if I kill it I will receive negative karma, is that self-interest?

Rinpoche: If you don't kill, also you will receive negative karma, too. If you don't take it out, you might get negative karma also.

Q: How?

Rinpoche: How? Well, then maybe too many spiders or too many insects. At some point, then you have to say, "Ok, well I can't stand now. There's too many of them." Then you might end up killing so many of them, or trying to take out so many of them. That also can become problem. So, but what I'm saying is that you don't have to kill. You don't have to kill, see. If you, we know why they come. Because they come if you don't close the doors or windows, if you don't have screen on the windows, and if you don't look after your space, place. Then they'll come, of course they'll come. But there's all kinds of ways of preventing them to come in. So if you do, if you follow those things, and if you prevent, methods of preventing coming in, then you don't have to killing, you don't have to kill.

Yes, but the motivation. You were asking the motivation. The motivation is, see if you say, "I don't want to kill because of bad karma for me," then I don't think that's selfish. You don't want to create bad karma, you know. And I don't think that's selfish. Because, I don't want to kill because if I kill, they suffer, for that reason as well. So, they have a right to live. All lives should be respected, and we should try to protect as much as possible.

Q: Rinpoche, I really have difficulty in sitting to meditate. I'm not motivated, I'm not self-disciplined, so I don't want to sit. I realize that it's necessary. How can I get motivated?

Rinpoche: You don't like sitting?

Q: It's very hard to actually sit down to meditate by myself.

Rinpoche: So first you think why you have difficulty sitting.

Q: Lack of self-discipline. And then when I do sit, it's like monkey-mind, because I'm not used to sitting.

Rinpoche: Sometimes when you sit down, you feel, "I shouldn't sit here, because I'm wasting my time. If I'm running around, I can do something good. And maybe I shouldn't sit." This is why you feel like you don't want to sit, you don't feel like sitting. Sometimes people have difficulty sitting because of physical problems. Sometimes people have difficult sitting, because suddenly, when you sit down and be quiet, then all kinds of thoughts comes and then all kinds of emotions arise. Then you feel difficult. You feel insecure. You don't want to sit. So you occupy your mind, forgetting, trying to forget about emotions, feelings and pain, confusions, suffering. You know, all kinds of stuff. Fear and so forth, delusions. So we try to occupy our mind, trying to forget those things, you know. And when you sit down, being quiet, then all kinds of things happening, so that's why, probably, sometimes people don't like to sit, or can't sit very long.

And also, lot of times because you're not used to sitting and hard to sit. And hard to sit alone and be quiet. And when you sit, you want to sit with somebody else. Sitting alone is difficult sometimes. But in any case, there's some things you can do, one thing is maybe you need the discipline, so you should make schedule, daily schedule, ok. Every day I should sit, meditate. You make schedule, you make a commitment to yourself. Make resolution. Say, "I should sit every day for twenty minutes." Just sit. Just sit, watch breath. You don't have to do lots of profound things, and try to do some profound things, or do some complicated meditation, or rituals and prayers and chanting and so on and so forth. You don't need to do. You just make commitment to yourself. Say, "I like to just sit. Watch breath." You make a vow, and say, "I sit in the morning. If not, I sit in the evening. I sit." And make that commitment. Then you sit.

So you find, yes, you find problems like monkey-mind, mind jumping around. Others will experience dullness-mind, sinking-mind, sleeping-mind and so forth. But this is normal. But if you sit, sit, and you get better. You will get better and better. Then some point you will feel, some point you will enjoy so much. You feel like, "I like to sit. I love sitting." And you find out how wonderful to sit, doing nothing. Just sit. Having that time to sit down, sit and watch breath. Oh, what a nice opportunity, good opportunity. It's a joy, real joy. It's a real gift. It's so wonderful. And then you feel very peaceful, actually peaceful and relaxed, your mind. And mind becomes clear. And also it's very good for your body, good for your brain, good for your heart. And release stress. So you begin to love, you know, you might be addicted later on. [Laugher.] "I cannot live without sitting. I have to sit every day. No matter what, I'm going to sit." It's a good addiction.

Q: Rinpoche, do you have any suggestions for helping children or teens to be less selfish? Trying to lead by example, maybe, which is the obvious one. But how can we help our children?

Rinpoche: That's a good question. I think, yes, being example is very important for us. We as a friend of the children, we as a parent of the children. So we should become a good example. But sometimes they don't see that you are practicing generosity, kindness. And they sometimes don't see. They don't understand why you are giving so much and being kind and nice to others, because they think, "You are weird!" You know, they always say, "You are weird! Daddy, you're weird." You know, "Uncle, you're weird." And they don't understand. So you have to explain to them. It's good to say, explain why you are doing this. And, "You think I'm weird. But a lot of good people are weird." [Laughter.] I have some friend, their children say like that. "Oh, you're weird." Or, "That person is weird. She's weird." I said to them, "Many good people are really weird. Weird doesn't mean it's bad." And so then they say, "Why?" "Well lots of weird people, some people look weird. Like Gandhi looked weird. And you think weird doesn't mean they're strange or bad or, you know, mad." When the Gandhi movie came out, all of the kids, they say, "Oh, old man wearing diapers!" They don't know. Anyway, so you explain how to be kind, gentle, nice.

And also, because many children are quite selfish, self-centered. Because, yeah, it's a natural thing, like "Me, me, me. I want this. I need this. I want." So, I think it's good to say, like "Think about other children. There are many children in Africa and Asia, your age, and who live very simple. Very little food, little money, little toys, little clothings. They are also happy, some of them happy. They are simple, live, but they can be happy. Many of them very unhappy, suffering. And it is good to share, we should share, give them. And save some money, have a piggy bank. And let's give this money for Unicef and Children's fund." And teach them how. Teach them. And then they understand.

And also say a little bit about what does selfish means? What does generosity and selfless means? What it does? Why it is good to be generous and selfless? Because it helps others. Other children and other people. And then sometimes you get to say, "Well, think about if you are in that situation, if you were on the other side of the world, how would you feel? If I or somebody give you food, and a nice T-shirt or nice pants, or whatever. You would feel happy. This is what we call generosity." So you educate them. Because they are very intelligent. They understand.
And I think actually, I think the most important thing is the parents, like us. Because if we, sometimes if we talk too much then they feel resent, you know. Like especially teenage. Because when the children are very small, they don't resent, and they don't say, "No, don't tell me." That means then you teach them, like when they are four years old or five years old, six years. That's a good time to, time to brainwash. [Laughter.] Right from the beginning! Then sometimes too late, and they become rebellious. And then it's too much, they feel too much. "No, don't tell me. Don't." But same time, when you're practicing, become example. Sometimes you don't have to say to them, they watch you, they learn. They pick up. It's amazing, sometimes. I found out, some children, they find out so many things about Dharma. And they tell you, and you're kind of shocked, makes you feel so happy, wow! I didn't know that she believes reincarnation. I didn't know she believes karma, or he believes this. And, you know, it makes you feel very happy. And they give you very good answer, Dharma answer. They just tell you about Dharma to us, you know. Like I have my nephew, nephews and niece, and I usually don't force them because, you know, they know I am teacher, so I just don't say very much to them. So one day my niece say to me, "Uncle, how do you find out your reincarnation?" And so I said, "Well, I think I will be around for a long time. Don't worry!"

Ok, we say dedication. 

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