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By Geshe Rapten

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If a poor man is given a sack of grain by one man and a field by another, who has been kinder to him? Both are equally kind. The Buddha has given us the Dharma seed and the beings are the field in which we must plant and tend that seed. 38 4. Repaying their kindness. Having realized that we owe a debt of gratitude we must find out how it can be repaid. Since all beings wish to be rid of suffering and to gain happiness so we must recognize that problems and attempt to remove them while granting what they desire.

Why do we have a special attachment for those whom we classify as our friends that leads us to produce unskillful actions. by sacrificing anything for their sake? Our reasons are nonsensiCal. We say that because they help us we must regard them in a special way. Although seemingly plausible, this is in fact a superficial and illogical reason; in previous lives these same beings have harmed us, frightened us, and devoured our flesh. Their very names have caused us to tremble and aroused our hatred.

Someone may have been kind to us for many years, but if one day he scolds us and from that moment onwards we regard him as our chief enemy we are being extremely childish. Our hatred is pointless and we must make efforts to decrease aversion. Why are we so indifferent to the great happiness enjoyed by some and the great misery undergone by others? Why do we feel that if no relationship has been established no reaction on our part is required? Although this may be true at present, these strangers have helped us in the past and will do so again in the future.

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