Just as space is infinitely vast, so too is the number of sentient beings. Yet we tend to think that the only relationships we have with other beings are the tiny number, comparatively, that we have at present. Wherever we live, we like a few people, dislike a few others, and ignore all the rest. Based on this prejudiced and very limited perception of others, we keep giving rise to attachment and aggression. Thus we accumulate karma, the driving force of samsara.
If we could see the endless sequence of lives we have led in the past, we would know that there is not a single being on earth who has not been our father or our mother, not only once but many times over. To return the love and great kindness they have shown us, we must cultivate love and compassion for all of them, as the great enlightened ones do. Above all, we should aspire from the depths of our heart to be able to bring them to perfect enlightenment, without leaving a single one of them behind. The merit arising from such an aspiration is in proportion to the number of beings, so the wish to liberate innumerable beings can engender an immeasurable amount of merit.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most
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