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Lions Roar : September 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 59 Contemplation: Putting Others First by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche One of my favorite sayings is, “If you want to be miserable, think of yourself. If you want to be happy, think of others.” In the Buddhist tra- dition, the mind that thinks of others is called bodhichitta, a Sanskrit word meaning “mind of enlightenment,” or “awakened heart.” Bodhi- chitta is rooted in an attitude of love and compassion that wishes for others to be happy and free from suffering. Cultivating this attitude is the route to achieving happiness that lasts. Moving your mind toward true happiness is a process in which you become familiar with thoughts that will take you there. Sitting down to contemplate a thought like “May everyone be happy,” or “May all beings be free from suffering,” will make it stronger. Try to do this in a quiet place for ten minutes every day. At the beginning, contemplating thoughts of love and compassion can feel overwhelming. It’s so different from our usual contempla- tion—“What about me?” But if you start by visualizing someone to- ward whom you already feel warmth, you’ll find that love and compas- sion are easy to kindle because they are already naturally there. Use these six specific thoughts as a way to jumpstart an attitude of genuine happiness as you live your day: Imagine that all sentient beings have been your mother. As a Buddhist who believes in rebirth, it’s easy to imagine that everyone I meet has been my mother, father, child, sibling, enemy, friend—everything. Even Sakyong MIphaM RInpoche is the spiritual leader of Sham- bhala, an international network of meditation and retreat centers. he teaches throughout north ameri- ca, europe, and asia, and is the author of Turning the Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. Compassion Meditations Buddhist meditation is about the heart as much as the mind, maybe more so. Here are three compassion practices to help us make the greatest of all transformations: putting others before ourselves. ARTISTUnknOWn,COURTESYOFjACqUIEBEll opposite: chenrezig (Skt. avalokiteshvara)