September 16, 2014
Digital Citizenship: Compassion
A Spiritual Warrior
When you hear the word “hero,” whom do you think of? What qualities does he or she have that makes you look up to those person? Think carefully and you will discover what you value the most in your life.
The person who comes to my mind is Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. I value him, not because he is a person of power and great fame, but because he is a man of true compassion. In fact, he is a “bodhisattva.” That may be a very new word for you but it comes from an ancient language called Sanskrit and means “spiritual warrior.”
A spiritual warrior, just like a man or woman who goes into battle, has powerful weapons to defeat his enemies and make them ultimately obey his wishes. But in the case of a bodhisattva, the weapons are not tanks or MK 45s. Instead, they are patience, forgiveness, and above all, kindness or compassion.
You may wonder how such weapons can defeat an enemy. Again, just think of the persons the world truly values and admires the most. Such a person will be able to bear with humor and poise whatever problems arise in life. Such a person can be big enough to say “hey, it’s okay” when he has been hurt or offended. Finally, such a person is one who can be kind to everyone – not just his special friends. This ability requires a person to have a “great soul.” He is able to overlook the flaws of another person and instead of making fun of that person, includes him in his own group and discovers that, surprisingly, he has traits to be admired. A person with these abilities is a person who is a bodhisattva. In the long run, he can win over everyone and cause them to follow him. Eventually, all will be on his side.
The Dalai Lama has endured terrible crimes inflicted on his country and his people by the Communists. He has seen his homeland taken away from him. His people have endured torture, imprisonment, and death at the hand of their enemies. The Communists, out of carelessness and greed have destroyed the beauty of the countryside of Tibet and have used sections of it as a nuclear dumping ground. Yet every night, when he leads his people in prayer, the Dalai Lama sincerely prays for the happiness of the Communists who have hurt him and his people. But he also asks that they receive the “wisdom eye” so that they will learn to realize that they cannot become happy at the expense of hurting others.
That is the true prayer of a bodhisattva – a spiritual warrior—and my hero. I hope that you will practice this greatness and when you speak to others via the digital network that you will treat them with patience, forgiveness, and compassion. I pray that you will — without exception — work for their happiness. And most of all, I pray that you will have the “wisdom eye” to discover that you can never become happy at the expense of hurting another human being.
Arjia Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama of Mongolian descent, is one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and lamas to have left Tibet. At age two, he was recognized by the Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Lama Tsong Khapa’s father, Lumbum Ghe, and the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery Throughout his life, Arjia Rinpoche has been tutored by specialized teachers in the area of Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra teachings, as well as in Buddhist art and architectural design. During the Cultural Revolution in Chinese controlled Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche was forced to attend Chinese schools, yet secretly continued to practice and study with his tutors. In addition, he was interned in a forced Labor Camp for 16 years. Following the Cultural Revolution, Rinpoche continued serving as Abbot of Kumbum–overseeing the renovations in the monastery and reestablishing monastic studies. In 1991 he launched several projects including the following:
- Red Cross Organization in Kumbum
- Disaster Relief Project for local villages
- Clinic for villagers run by monks of the Tibetan Medical Institute
- School for local village children
In 1998, due to the strained political climate in Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche went into exile because he would not compromise his spiritual beliefs and practices. He escaped to the United States and started the Tibetan Center for Compassion and Wisdom (TCCW) in Mill Valley, California. In 2005, he was appointed Director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC) in Bloomington, Indiana by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Presently, he directs both TCCW and TMBCC. Both centers are dedicated to the preservation of Buddhist teachings, art and culture within and outside of Tibet and Mongolia. In 2010, he published his memoirs, Surviving the Dragon – published by Rodale Press. Currently, Rinpoche is involved in doing charity work for Tibetans –in-Exile in India and for children suffering from cancer in Mongolia. He is building a Cancer Care Treatment Center for Mongolian Children in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and plans to have these units completed by 2014.