It is very hard to understand the concept of a buddha. Instead, I try to talk about the best version of a human being.
For me, this is His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is the most advanced version of a human being.
Why? He has worked hard on his inner kind of development. You can see it. I mean, I feel it. Even if His Holiness is 100 meters away, I almost get emotional. When I am close to him, I often cry. I do not tend to cry a lot. I get emotional because I feel his compassion. It is so strong, so powerful. Just his presence is such an example.
If you do not have that kind of connection, then, why worry about buddhas? You must think more about how to improve.
Then, you think about, “Okay, do I want to compare with others?”
No, you cannot compare with others. Everyone is different.
So, you compare yourself with yourself. You say, “Okay, I want to be better than who I was yesterday. If I am going to compare, I am going to compare with me yesterday. Every day, I strive to improve.”
Sometimes, even if we make mistakes, we think, “If I do not make mistakes, I am not doing anything.”
That is how it is. That is what going to the gym is all about, for example. When you go to the gym, you fail every day. It is true. Then, every day, you improve a little bit, a little bit more, a little more, a little bit more, until you start to see the results. If you do not fail, you are not doing anything. That is what it is about. You must fail. This is just an example, but it is a good one.
Some people think, “If I fail, it is not good.”
No! It is awesome. Failing is important. That is how you learn. You learn by making mistakes and understanding the mistakes.
Of course, you cannot say, “Okay, I am going to keep making the same mistake all the time.”
You make a mistake. You learn from the mistake. You move on from the mistake. Right? If you keep repeating the mistake, you try as best you can to change and improve.
I am talking more about failing. Failing is not a mistake. It means you are trying.
Failing is just a metaphor to understand that concept. That is why it is about improvement. Where we are trying to get to is a fulfilling life where we can share that happiness and presence with others.
Let me explain my concept of Buddha. Buddha is a representation of what we are, or what we can be.
When you visualize Buddha, for example, it represents various aspects of ourselves. A buddha is the most advanced version of ourselves.
For example, there is compassion. So, you visualize Chenrezig. That is the embodiment of compassion.
Buddhas are representing what we can reach, what we can be. That is the beauty about it.
It is not about, “Oh, there are buddhas out there!” and this and that. Different people can believe different things but what I am explaining is more about a technique that helps to change yourself from within yourself.
We are creatures of habit. We work a lot with habits.
For example, you could call praying, “Habit alignment.” This is because, when you are praying, you are making the wish, visualizing, thinking, and trying to create a new pattern in your mind.
If you pray every day, “I want to be of benefit to others,” eventually, that is what you are going to be.
It is a bit like that. The more you wish for something, the more you desire something for the benefit of others, the closer you get to that goal. Buddha-nature is just an example of how powerful we are. We have an immense potential.
There is a saying that I like very much. It goes like this: ‘Be proud because you are, that you exist, that you are who you are, that you have the buddha-nature, this enormous potential; but be humble because you belong.’
You belong because you are a part of something much bigger than yourself. We belong to that collective. That is why we must be humble.
It is a balance between one side and another.
The balance is so truly important. We need motivation. We need balance in life because that is the best way- when you find a middle way.
Regarding extremes, I mean it is okay to go to extremes to know what it is like but, in the end, the balance is the best. Just keep the middle way.
That makes sense to everybody. It does not need much explanation. Put that into practice in everyday life. Do your best to keep the balance but remember that failing is a key step in growing.