This is an edited transcription of a series of talks given by His Holiness over a period of three days in London, 1984, translated by Jeffrey Hopkins.
For practitioners, it is important to have a right, good motivation. Why are we discussing these matters? Certainly not for money, not for fame, not for our livelihood in this life. We have plenty of other things which bring us more money, more fame and more enjoyable things. So the main reason why we come to this place and for me too, despite the language difficulties-is that everyone wants happiness and does not want suffering. This is a point on which there is no argument, everyone agrees. The ways to achieve happiness and the ways to overcome problems differ. There is also a variety of happiness’s and a variety of sufferings. Here we are not only aiming for temporary relief or temporary benefit, we are thinking of a long-term aim or benefit. As Buddhists, we are not looking for it only in this life, but in life after life and we are not counting in weeks, months or years but in lives and aeons.
In this field, money is something useful, but there is a limit to worldly power and worldly things; no doubt there are good things, but there is a limit. From the Buddhist viewpoint, if you have some development of the mind itself, it will go on from life to life. The nature of mind is such that if certain mental qualities have been developed on a sound basis, these qualities will always remain, and not only will they remain, they will increase as time goes on. The good qualities of mind, if developed in the proper way, will eventually increase infinitely. That brings happiness not only in the long term, but even in day to day life will give you more inner strength. Keep your mind on these things, with a pure motivation, and listen without going to sleep.
From my side too the main motivation is some sincere feeling towards others, some genuine concern for others and their welfare.
Now, how do we develop mental qualities? That brings us to meditation, which means to transform. Without making some special effort transformation will not take place, so we need effort. Meditation is a matter of making the mind acquainted with some new meaning. It means getting used to the object you are meditating on. As you know, meditation is of an analytical variety, in which you analyze the object, and then set your mind one-pointedly upon that object. Within analytical meditation there are two types: one in which the object that is being medi-tated on is taken as the object of the mode of apprehension of the mind; and the other, in which the so-called object is really the subject, or that type of consciousness into which you are trying to cultivate your mind. When you examine the various types of meditation, there are many different ways of dividing them.
With regard to that on which one is meditating, it seems convenient in Buddhism to make a division into view and behaviour. Behaviour is the main thing. One's own behaviour is what induces one's own happiness in the future and it is also what brings about others' happiness. For one's behaviour to be pure and complete, it is necessary to have a proper view. One's behaviour must be well-founded in reason, so a proper philosophical view is necessary.
What is the main style of behaviour in the Buddhist system? To tame and discipline one's own mind, in other words non-violence. In general, the Buddhist vehicles are divided into two types, a great vehicle and a low vehicle. The great vehicle has the altruistic compassion of helping others as its root and the low vehicle has compassionate non-harming of others as its root, so the root of all Buddhist teachings is compassion. The Buddha who teaches this doctrine is born from compassion and the main good quality of a Buddha is his or her great compassion. Amongst the Three Jewels, the Buddha's greatest quality is great compassion. The main reason it is suitable to take refuge in a Buddha is because of his great compassion.
The Sangha, the spiritual community, has four qualities of pure enactment of the teaching. The first one means, not to answer back in kind if someone comes to harm you or strike you. The second is not to respond with an angry attitude if someone comes at you with an angry attitude. The third is again not answering back when someone challenges you, without anger or violence,but mainly using harsh words against you, insults. The fourth is not to retaliate if someone accuses you and embarrasses you. These are called the four practices for virtuous training, which are the special qualities of the Sangha. This is the style of behaviour for a monk or nun. The root of these can be traced back to compassion, can't it? Thus the main qualities of the Sangha derive from compassion; the Three Refuges for Buddhists, the Buddha, Dharma and the Spiritual Community, all have their root in compassion.
All religions are the same in having powerful systems of advice with respect to the teaching on compassion. This basic behaviour of non-violence that has compassion as its root is something that we need not only in our daily life, but also to solve global problems nation to nation throughout the world.