Gem of Wisdom for Daily Reflection: 

Generosity in Action - Pathgate Offers Assistance to Ukrainian Refugees In Europe

Ukrainian refugees crossing the border into Poland Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania

Generosity is the first of six bodhisattva practices to promote the awaking attitude of bodhicitta through the perfection of the six paramitas. It embodies the enlightened insight and non-discriminative willingness to offer unconditional support to meet the needs of others, whether that be material resources, physical possession, skills or time.

One of the most important aspects of bodhicitta in action is the non-judgmental acceptance of all beings regardless of their creed or conduct, for the nature of fundamental goodness exists even in the most deluded beings.

A practising bodhisattva is committed to liberate all sentient beings from the anguish of samsara, and is always ready to offer help to all beings when it is feasible to do so. When it is not possible to help them due to the heaviness of their negative karma, such as those who reject the right view of the noble beings in the pursuit of non-virtues or those hapless beings in the avici hell, a practising bodhisattva will pray for the opportunity to be of benefit to them in the future when their negative karma have been purified and exhausted in the lower realms.

His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche was the perfect exemplification of generosity for his king-like bodhisattva practice in the giving of material support to the masses; the giving of Dharma teaching around the world; and the giving of compassion and protection to his devotees against fear. Likewise Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche has always lived by his root guru’s example and has never been known to turn his back on anyone requesting for help.

Introducing Dharma to his students aside, Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche also offers timely advice and assistance to them in their time of need, whether it is to do with the well-being of their families; financial help to secure procurement of property; capital for start-up business; clothing and essential items they may need; and all kinds of material support that are too numerous to keep a full account of. All these compassionate activities are carried out with little fuss nor fanfare, and are perceived as gifts given unconditionally with no string attached - a sharp contrast to the giving of ordinary people motivated by self-serving desires and expectation of something in return.

The devotion of Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche towards His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche is reflected by his continuing support of his guru’s monasteries and Dharma centres over the years which include the sponsoring of buildings construction, furnishing of living-quarters for the monks and nuns; outfitting and renovation of shrines, temples, clinics, nursery and school; medical equipment and medicine for the hospital - the most recent one being the sponsoring of the COVID vaccination program at Namdroling Monastery last year.

When Kunzang Odsal Palyul Changchub Choling (KPC) in Maryland, USA, was given just 5 days to find US$250,000 to pay off a bank loan that was secured against the temple property, it was Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche they turned to for help. The full amount they requested was transferred immediately to meet the deadline of the bank.

When the fundraising activities to establish a new Nyingma Palyul Dharma Center, in New York, USA, came to a complete standstill, it was Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche they turned to for help. The full amount they need was immediately offered by Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche and processed through the bank on the same day.

Since generosity is the very first bodhisattva practice of the six paramitas, a Dharma practitioner will never dismiss any opportunity to offer help to others. Only the most self-absorbed idiots besotted with wrong views would turn down the opportunity to generate merits in the service of others. One who is preoccupied with mundane interests and is not willing to offer help to others, is in actuality forsaking the true purpose of precious human birth, which is to make full use of one’s limited life-span to accumulate positive conditions that enable us to attain liberation from the bondage of samsara. One who is blessed by the right view is never too busy and always has time to apply the right action promptly for the benefit of others.

Whoever takes pride in ignorance and acts out of grasping in the pursuit of mundane desire, is wasting one’s precious human birth in a worthless chase after the improbable of samsara. One who is obscured by delusion of grandeur is prone to blabbing indiscriminately without restraint, not realising even the tiniest act of self-absorbed transgression can activate a chain of dependent-arising that leads to the destruction of one’s previous positive condition, giving rise to obstacles of one's own making, generating causes of afflictive emotions which invoke hostility from others, depleting what little merits one may have, all the while accumulating more negative karma, and creating more anguish for the present time and infinite future rebirths in the lower realms.

When a student has already received Dharma instruction, yet remains conceited, boastful and pretentious, then it is obvious such a student has not yet put the instruction into actual practice.

On such acts of mindlessness, Gampopa has this to say:

“A practitioner is at fault
When having already received copious instruction,
Yet continues to think like an ordinary being.
When one failed to practice Dharma properly,
It will propel one to the lower realms.”

No one, not even the Buddhas, can undo what one has done in the past. Whatever conditions we have been experiencing in this life are the fruitions of our own karmic actions committed in past lives. The way of the Buddhas is to apply the four opponent powers to repair one’s breach of vows, purifying the results of one’s past negative actions so that positive conditions can be restored.

One of the most effective means to restore positive conditions and to accumulate an increase of merits is the pure practice of generosity as demonstrated by the Buddhas of the three times and explained repeatedly by the teachings of the realised masters.

As the great Tibetan master Santideva said:

"All the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing oneself to be happy.
All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy.”

And, on the nature of karma, Guru Padmasambhava has this to say:

“Nothing exists the way it manifested, it is all caused by our karma.”

Karma is indeed the true cause of all the phenomena we have been experiencing in our lives. While we cannot go back in time to undo the past karmic conditions that lead to the arising of phenomena that we have all been experiencing in the world such as the recent outbreak of war in Ukraine, we can at least do what we can at this present time to help those Ukrainian refugees who are currently displaced in Europe.

Right now, under the guidance of Lama Dondrup Dorje Rinpoche, Pathgate students are actively involved in the offering of assistance to the Ukrainian refugees in Greece, Poland and Romania. There are four separate reports on these humanitarian activities that are the latest features of the Pathgate News.