Delusions are distorted ways of looking at ourself, other people, and the world around us. The way a deluded mind views these phenomena does not accord with reality. The deluded mind of hatred, for example, views another person as intrinsically bad, but there is no such thing as an intrinsically bad person.
Normally we believe that solving the suffering and problems of our present life is most important, and we dedicate our whole life for this purpose. In reality, the duration of the suffering and problems of this life is very short; if we die tomorrow, they will end tomorrow. However, since the duration of the suffering and problems of future lives is endless, the freedom and happiness of our future lives is vastly more important than the freedom and happiness of the one short life. With the words ‘You should know sufferings’ Buddha encourages us to use our present human life to prepare for the freedom and happiness of our countless future lives. Those who do this are truly wise.
Day and night, she gave us her loving care, regarding us as more important than herself. She saved our life many times each day. During the night she allowed her sleep to be interrupted, and during the day she forfeited her usual pleasures. She had to leave her job, and when her friends when out to enjoy themselves she had to stay behind. She spent all her money on us, giving us the best food and the best clothes she could afford. She taught us how to eat, how to walk, how to talk. Thinking of our future welfare, she did her best to ensure that we received a good education. Due to her kindness, we are now able to study whatever we choose. It is principally through the kindness of our mother that we now have the opportunity to practice Dharma and eventually to attain enlightenment.
When we were small our mother would not sleep well. She slept lightly, waking every few hours and remaining alert for our cry. As we grew older our mother taught us how to eat, drink, speak, sit, and walk. She sent us to school and encouraged us to do good things in life. If we have any knowledge and skills now, it is mainly as a result of her kindness. When we grew older and became teenagers, we preferred to be with our friends and we would completely forget our mother. While we enjoyed ourself it was as if our mother had ceased to exist, and we would remember her only when we needed something from her. Although we were forgetful and allowed ourself to become completely absorbed in the pleasures we enjoyed with our friends, our mother remained continuously concerned for us. She would often become anxious, and in the back of her mind there was always some worry about us. She had the kind of worry we normally have only for ourself. Even when we are grown up and have a family of our own, our mother does not stop caring for us. She may be old and weak and hardly able to stand on her feet, but she never forgets her children.
“In one Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni asks his disciples, ‘Suppose there existed a vast and deep ocean the size of this world, and on its surface there floated a golden yoke, and at the bottom of the ocean there lived a blind turtle who surfaced only once in every 100 Thousand Years. How often would that turtle raise its head through the middle of the yoke?’ Ananda answers that, indeed, it would be extremely rare. We are just like this blind turtle, for although our physical eyes are not blind, our wisdom eyes are. The vast and deep ocean is the ocean of samsara. The blind turtle remaining at the bottom of the ocean is like our remaining in the lower realms of samsara, to surface into the fortunate realms only once in every 100 Thousand Years. The golden yoke is like Buddhadharma, which does not stay in one place but moves from one country to another. Just as gold is precious and rare, so Buddhadharma is PRECIOUS and very hard to find. For most of our previous lives we have remained at the bottom of the vast and deep ocean of samsara, the lower realms. Only very occasionally have we been born as a human being, and even with a human life it is extremely RARE to meet Buddhadharma.”
~Venerable Geshe~la in “Joyful Path of Good Fortune.”
When we want a cup of tea our main wish is to drink tea, but to fulfil this wish we naturally develop the secondary wish to find a cup. In a similiar way, the main wish of those who have great compassion is to protect all living beings from their suffering, but to fulfil this wish they know that they must first attain Buddahood themselves and so they naturally develp the secondary wish to attain enlightenment. Just as finding a cup is the means to accomplish our goal of drinking tea, so attaining enlightenment is the means to accomplish our ultimate goal of benefitting all living beings.
To give fearlessness is to protect other living beings from fear or danger. For example, if we rescue someone from a fire or from some other natural disaster, if we protect others from physical violence, or if we save animals and insects who have fallen into water or who are trapped, we are practicing giving fearlessness. If we are not able to rescue those in danger, we can still give fearlessness by making prayers and offerings so that they may be released from danger.