A new very amazing movie that i suggest everyone see when they get the opportunity is called Milarepa, and opens this summer. You can check out a preview on the MilarepaMovie website. You'll probably have to order a DVD though, because I think it will be playing at pretty limited locations. Check their blog, it's beautiful!
Today was the final day of the 10 day teachings His Holiness the Dalai Lama has offered to the public here. He taught from the 2nd Dalai Lama's short LamRim (stages on the path) text, the Essence of Refine Gold; and the Bodhisatvacaryavatara (Entering into the Conduct of an Awakening Being). He also offered everyone an empowerment into the self visualization practice of Avalokitesvara, a long-life empowerment of the White Tara, and the opportunity to take lay Buddhist vows and Bodhisatva vows with him. Quite a large spread of teaching and empowerment; he taught 6 hours every day, and remained energetic and lively through the entirety.
Today when he gave the Bodhisatva vow to a few thousand people bearing the cold rain and hail, he actually started crying a bit, it touched his heart so deeply. The Bodhisatva vow is basically a pledge to work for all beings to be happy and have the causes of happiness, to be divorced from suffering and the causes of suffering, and to be completely enlightened in the state beyond happiness and suffering; until you yourself are completely enlightened. It is the highest aspiration a human can make.
The Dalai Lama: currently the most amazing being on Planet Earth.
The day after I made a prayer request to the Dalai Lama on behalf of Tommy Robinson, His Holiness said this (so this applies directly for us):
"I have been receiving requests for prayers for dead persons the last few days. When hearing of the deaths of people we know, we should take it as an opportunity to reflect on our own death and impermanence. When hearing of the deaths of so many people, if we do not think of our own death, then we are weaker and dumber than sheep."
That is pretty straightforward. Gaining a real sense of our own mortality is an essential step on the bodhisatva path (the wide trail to enlightenment, where you are helping everyone else along the way). It basically helps us to get off our asses and stop thinking so much about just ourselves.
Regarding our true enemies, some of HHDL's commentary on the Bodhisatvacaryavatara:
"Attachment appears to you like your best friend, bringing you desirable and conducive things and situations. Anger appears to you as your bodyguard, keeping unpleasant experiences away. THEY ARE TRULY YOUR ENEMY!" (4.28) They are what brings us suffering in the end.
"Even though you actually get hit by a stick, you get angry at the wielder of that stick, because you perceive the stick as a secondary cause and the wielder as the primary cause of you getting hit. In the same way, we should be angry with anger itself, because the wielder is the secondary cause and the motivating cause of anger is the primary cause of you getting hit. Therefore BE ANGRY WITH HATRED." (6.41)
"We should be happy and thrilled to have enemies in our daily lives. Without enemies, we have no chance to practice patience. In fact, our perceived enemies are the very cause of patience, which is also essential to the path of awakening." (6.107-08). It is just like Jetsun Milarepa's Aunt and Uncle. They truly showed him the kindest gift of being so extremely terrible to him that he was compelled to follow a course of events that lead him to practicing meditation so diligently that he attained perfect enlightenment in that very life.
The great Tibetan yogi poet Milarepa