This kindness started in the bardo when we were desperately seeking to be reborn. At this time our mother offered us the refuge of a womb. Then we appeared, naked, without any resources, without defence, incapable of looking after ourselves and left completely to the mercy of our environment. However our mother washed us, clothed us, gave us warmth and cherished us. She cared for us in many ways, for example she fed us, brought us up, gave us money, an education and her love. She also protected us from all sorts of dangers that could have put our life in danger, such as burns, drowning, falls, injuries, accidents and fears.
If we were sick she would do her best to make us well again. She cared for us with complete devotion giving no importance to the difficulties this caused her. She even committed many negative actions for our benefit alone. The abilities we now have, to communicate with others, to walk, to provide for our needs and to lead a normal human life, are all due to the kindness of our parents. All beings without exception have been our parents. Furthermore they are just like ourselves in that they all desire happiness and all try to protect themselves from suffering. Even though their wish is to be happy they cannot achieve it.
Imprisoned by ignorance, they are unaware of the causes of happiness and suffering. They do not realise that if one desires happiness one must engage in positive actions and that if one wishes to avoid suffering one must also avoid negative actions.
Neglecting this relationship between actions and their results, beings continue in their quest for happiness, creating negative actions for which the only outcome is always even more suffering. This is the reason why they turn in the never ending cycle of existences, going from one life to the next, suffering eternally in different forms. Being aware of this situation we formulate the wish of all bodhisattvas: to free all beings from cyclic existence and from all the suffering they experience. Therefore we decide to dedicate completely all the energy of our body, speech and mind to accomplishing our only goal, which is the liberation of all beings. Our intention is thus to free ourselves from our own suffering as quickly as possible in order to be able to free others from theirs. This sincere and extremely profound state of mind is not merely a meaningless formula that we recite from time to time, but an authentic motivation that we develop from the very depths of our being.
We must have this attitude in mind whenever we practice the Dharma.
(English translation of an extract from the book
'Mahamoudra', éditions J C Lattès)