[An extract from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Advice Book]
Rinpoche gave this advice to the director of a school in Switzerland for dealing with violence at school.
For half an hour a week, or up to one hour, have a meeting about achieving a better quality of life and peace of mind and happiness in life. Discuss the importance of a good heart for teachers and for children.
Here is the psychology to teach the children:
You don’t want people to harm you. You want people to praise you, say good things to you, and not harm you. This is what you want. Others also want exactly the same things. Everyone wants, needs, has the right to, and likes to receive respect, praise, and help from you. They have the right to receive these things from you. This is the foundation for the children and also for the teachers.
If this advice is constant, some children will change. That is the benefit. Not all will change—this would be a miracle—but some will change.
It is also important to act this way with the children, to play it out. Acting out anger, show the harmfulness of anger. Instead of talking about it, act it out, for example, “I am angry. Because of this, I make others angry too. I destroy my family, relationships, and material possessions. When you get angry, with anger caused by something very little, almost nothing, the consequences become so big. Therefore, it is so important to practice patience.”
An unsatisfied and degenerated mind is natural unless you get enlightened. The important psychology to teach—without using the words “karma” or “rebirth”—is to teach about karma in day-to-day life. If you start to dislike somebody, then you are sending that person bad vibrations and disrespect. It disturbs that person and makes him unhappy with you. The effect comes back to you. Therefore, what you are doing also makes you unhappy. This goes on and on with that person, and with many other people. You make your own mind and life unhappy, and are unable to make your life happy.
It becomes very important to change your attitude toward this life. Establish the concept to like others, by thinking of the benefits. When others disrespect you, you think it is totally harmful, but it has also an opposite side. It isn’t only harm. If you interpret others’ minds and actions as harmful, then that is what you see. You can also interpret them as positive, by seeing the benefits of the way the person thinks of you—with dislike, anger, undesirable actions, and so on—that they are helping you to develop compassion, loving kindness, a warm heart, and peace of mind. Then life becomes more satisfied and happy. The person is just showing how he or she is suffering by showing anger, being overtaken by anger. The person has not the slightest freedom. They became a slave to the demon of anger, which only makes that person so unhappy. These people are helping you not to have anger at all. At first it looks like only negativity, that this person is harming you, but when you look at the positive side, then you see that the person is helping you not to have anger at all.
This way you will never find enemies, only friends. Then your life becomes peaceful and happy. Everybody loves you, and you love everybody. It is very important to emphasize how you look at things. Everything relates to one’s own mind, whether you see the positive side rather than the negative. When somebody is harming you, or angry at you, look at the positive side. Always tell people this, to look at the positive side. Because not having developed this side, the positive side, your mind is easily disturbed. If we have a positive outlook and develop the mind in this, then the mind becomes more and more stable.
This is the real psychology. It is very fundamental. The mind becomes stable. There is always peace. If your mind is at peace, your job will go well, your family life will go well, your life goes well. In this way, you don’t harm others, you only help them, bring joy to them, to your family, parents, school, and children.
That is the best way to teach.