The Real Cause

Special Message for the Sangha from Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche

December 15, 2012
Yesterday in Newton, Connecticut, a young man killed 26 people at an elementary school, 20 of them young children, after having taken the life of his own mother and then his own.

We know the pain in the hearts of the parents, family members and friends of those who were lost. We prayed very strongly for these children and their families.

We can see from this event that the negative thinking and negative meditation of one person can cause a lot of suffering in the world. We should also know that the practice of Dharma, of positive thinking, of one person can cause a lot of happiness in the world.

There are many harmful events like this that people do to one another including genocide, torture and war caused by anger and greed, and famine and disease caused by human neglect and ignorance. There is immeasurable suffering caused by negative thinking that goes on and on.
People have the habit of blaming individual people, specific circumstances and outer material causes for these events. In this case, we hear on the news again and again the discussion of blame and praise for various people connected with this tragedy, and the discussion that guns are bad and that we need to increase security systems and things like this.

But so far I do not hear anyone say what is really the cause of this matter, that that man practiced angry meditation more and more strongly over time until he exploded with anger. Even though he seemed weak and shy, through the power of his anger manifesting, he was able to kill and hurt many people physically, most of whom were small children and even his own mother, and millions of people were hurt mentally by hearing this sad news.

We should know that the power of thinking is immeasurable, and its potential for harm and benefit are also immeasurable. We should understand this, and understand that anger and angry meditation are bad. That we need to decrease and eliminate anger and other types of negative thinking that cause immeasurable suffering. This is the cause. We need to eliminate the cause.

We should recognize that we are all endowed with the special circumstance of human birth. For those who have the basic conditions of personal freedom and the opportunity to learn and practice Dharma, human birth means the possibility of positive choice and intention. It means we can choose and cultivate positive thinking to benefit others and ourselves. When we do this we go from light to light and realize in ourselves the special meaning of precious human birth. Without this, because of its special potential for creating strong karma, an ignorant and negative human life is like a catapult to present misery, surrounding misery, and future misery. This short period of our lives is a special circumstance we have, a special time. Now we need to positively practice the ways of peace.

When we hear of bad things like these, we can practice positively. We should think of these suffering people and victims, even including the criminals and evil people who do these things as if they were our own parents, or our own brothers and sisters. We should have compassion for them all and feel the need to help them all, without omitting any.

Whatever negative things we hear of, we should know to practice immediately the opposite of those negative thoughts and meditations in our own minds. Those negative things should be like fuel that we throw into the fire of our own compassion for others. And we should eagerly and optimistically look for ways to help others both near to us and far away. We should not try to ignore these things or make ourselves nervous worrying about them in a helpless manner. We should practice Dharma more and more.

In addition, with regard to this specific event, I encourage Dzogchen Sanghas to assemble this Sunday, December 16 and during regular Buddha Path practice all Dzogchen Sangha members should each dedicate at least one candle to the Buddha, and recite at least one hundred and eight times the mantra of Avalokiteshvara “Om Mani Padme Hung Hri” with the best intention for these people and all suffering beings. If individuals cannot assemble at that time, please do this same practice individually wherever you are.

Best Regards, Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche