The Kindness of Our Many Mothers
by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche
Before practicing loving-kindness to all sentient beings, we must first reflect on the kindness offered to us by our mothers over many years. When we were born, we were like a small insect, unable to do anything. Thereafter, our mother gave us food and drink, sacrificed to give us clothes and shelter, and otherwise tried to please us. Even when she lacked resources she tried to give us what we needed. All that she used for her child she acquired through hardship. Our mother also protected us from fire, water, falls and all other dangers. She worried about our health and well-being. We knew nothing when we were born, but our mother taught us how to talk, rejoiced over even our first faltering words and steps, and oversaw our education, helping to make us the best among all others. If a friend helps us a little, or offers us a cup of tea, we feel much gratitude. Think, then, how much more gratitude one should feel for one's mother who has done so much for us. Then we must meditate on the fact that we have been reborn in innumerable lifetimes. So all sentient beings have been our mothers at one time or another. Therefore, we must realize that all beings have been kind to us, and we must repay this by practicing loving-kindness and wishing that all may have happiness and the cause of happiness.
We extend the kindness we feel for our mother to our other relatives, then to our friends, then to our countrymen and finally to all beings universally, even to those whom we regard as enemies. Lord Jigten Sumgon said: If you cannot think kindly of your mother, think of a dear friend and extend outward from there.
Compassion is wishing that all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. If your mother or a close friend is experiencing a crisis, you are responsible for helping. Even if your mother is crazy, you must try to help, so in the same way you must help all sentient beings deluded by the three poisons, clarifying their view if possible.