On Not Seeing Faults

Garchen Rinpoche
October 17, 2019

“Someone with a truly virtuous mind does not look at worldly faults. Seeing faults in others is your own fault, and therefore it is you who are mistaken.”
– From the Altar Sutra by the Sixth Patriarch Huineng

I always tell you not to look at the faults of others, don’t I? According to the view of Secret Mantra, when you see a fault in others you should understand that you see this fault due to your own afflictions. Afflictions see afflictions. Looking at the affliction itself, you recognize, “The fault I see in this person is just an affliction. Where is this affliction? I can find it in my own mind.” So you look at your own afflictions and not at those of others.

Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “Not looking at the faults of beings’ body, speech, and mind, but seeing the good qualities in them, is the perfect liberation of the bodhisattvas.”

When I see the good qualities in all the disciples my mind is pure. This pure mind can cause their mind to become pure. When I see others in an impure way, it is due to my own impure mind. It is like being obscured by darkness, like a dark cloud making a white cloud look dark.

Sakya Pandita said, “A noble being, like a jewel, never changes. By looking at the goodness in others they increase their own well water. An inferior being, like a sieve, is holding the bad, but losing what is good.” A noble being embraces goodness, they see the good qualities in others. An inferior being who sees the faults in others is like a sieve that collects just debris while the pure water is lost. Seeing the faults in others is a sign of one’s own wicked nature.

Therefore, do not look at the faults of others but look at their good qualities!

Taiwan Translated by Ina Bieler