Dear Friends,

Rinpoche composed a message for the global SI/KF community on the eve of the Lunar New Year, the year of the male fire monkey. We are grateful to have such a compassionate and wise guide leading us to liberation. May all be auspicious.

With best wishes for the new year,

The KF and SI Team

Let Us Remember: A Message from Rinpoche

Greetings to all who are celebrating the Monkey New Year,

Let us trust the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and let us trust the law of cause, condition, and effect. If we trust the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, we are still Buddhists even if we play mahjong, eat meat, drink alcohol, or chain smoke.

Let us be kind and considerate. Do we like other people to be kind to us? Well, other people also like us to be kind.

Let us be generous, not just with money or diamonds but with our time and space and information.

And let us always remember the Buddha’s words that samsaric endeavours never end and are mostly fruitless. So let us not stress out that everything needs to be completed. We never know what will happen the next hour. So let us make the most out of this hour and this moment. If we are having a cup of tea right now, let us have it as if it is the last one in this life.

Do we want to be rich? Then let us learn to be content.

Do we want to be elegant and beautiful? Then let us be polite, confident, and kind instead of thinking Versace and Dolce & Gabbana will do it for us.

Do we want other people to listen to us? Then let us try not to use harsh words, and let us always begin our conversation with a smile.

Do we want our next generation to be happy and successful? Then let us teach them a different meaning of ambition, wealth, and goals:

  • Let us not spoil our kids, because if we do, they will grow up feeling so alienated and depressed.
  • Let us not push them to grow up so fast.
  • Let us not make our kids think that winning a competition is so important.
  • Let us try to eat at home at least once a week.
  • And let us not over-shop and fill our houses with things we will never use for years and eventually discard.

But most of all, let us parents do what we teach. We can’t teach our kids to be polite, gentle and likeable just with words. We have to be like that ourselves. Even seemingly minute things, like not talking loudly in public or on the phone and not jumping a queue, matter. Just as we don’t want others to do those things, others also don’t want us to do them.

And let us learn to do unplanned, spontaneous things at least for an hour or two once a week, because even planning a holiday ends up becoming a stressful chore rather than a real holiday.

Most importantly, let us remind ourselves not just to read these things, but to do them starting from Day One of the Monkey Year.

And every time we find ourselves doing one or more of these things, then let us reward ourselves by taking a short nap, listening to some music, reading one or two pages of a good book, and telling ourselves that with this stepping stone I will become a fearless servant of all sentient beings.

— Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse



Monkey portrait by Julie Adler