My very dear one,
I understand what you are saying, and of course that’s OK. You want to be what you thought. You are totally free to become what you want to in this world, I am not holding you.
May I say a few words? Generally in the world if a country is controlled by one man—whether a king or a president—or if it is a democratically run country, there is the possibility of mistakes, because people don't have omniscience, the fully knowing mind. So they can make mistakes. Not everything is a mistake, but there is that possibility. Whether the country is run by one person or democratically, if one person or the group, the public, doesn’t have omniscience, then there is the possibility of making mistakes.
For example, arhats who have direct perception of emptiness see everything as empty from the beginning, existing in mere name. They have not just realization, but direct realization, and they develop that and cease even the seed of ignorance, which is the root of samsara—the ignorance holding the I and the aggregates as truly existent, when they have never been.
Arhats are free from the oceans of samsaric suffering—the suffering of pain, the suffering of old age, sickness, death and so forth. They are free from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and all the samsaric pleasures, and from where those two come—the pervasive compounded suffering and the contaminated aggregates. The aggregates are contaminated with the seed of delusion, caused by delusion and karma and pervaded by suffering, so then we experience suffering because we are under the control of karma and delusion.
Arhats are free from all these sufferings, but they haven’t completed the merits of wisdom and merits of virtue and they haven’t ceased all the obscurations, the subtle obscurations. They have unimaginable, unimaginable, unimaginable qualities, but they make mistakes. For example they don't know subtle karma—only the Buddha, the Omniscient One, knows subtle karma. Arhats don’t know subtle karma, for example, peacock feathers are different colors, but they don’t know what is the cause of each color, or what is the cause of different marks on a butterfly or a human being. They can't see the cause of all the tiny details on a flower, the different colors, shapes etc. They can't see the cause of these, the subtle karma. Only the Buddha sees the subtle karma.
Then there are secret actions that only the Buddha’s omniscient mind can see. Arhats cannot see the great distances, the unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable distances. It’s so difficult for them to see that, but the Buddha can see the great distances and places and time, unbelievable, unbelievable. This is called the unknowing minds,1 the four causes of unknowing which arhats haven't abandoned, haven't purified, and they still can't see that.
Therefore they still can't do perfect works for the sentient beings because of these four unknowing minds, even though they have unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable psychic powers and so forth, that we don’t have. So there is still the possibility of making mistakes. Even if one person guides democratically, because everyone doesn't have omniscience, it’s not necessarily always correct.
For example, if I tell you a simple thing, if you don’t have clairvoyance, which is achieved through calm abiding, tantra realization of the Six Yogas of Naropa and so forth, you can make mistakes. You can't tell when you are going to die, you can't see in the future, which day or month, you have no idea, and you can't tell how to have success or failure in your work.
If doctors are not clairvoyant, they can't really know how to help patients. There is general understanding, but they still don't know every single thing. They can’t diagnose and know what medicines are needed, especially nowadays, the diagnoses are upside down. It even says in the Tibetan texts that as the times get more degenerate there are more dangers of wrong diagnoses or medicines that worked before do not work now. So doctors need clairvoyance very much to be able to heal patients.
Also for business you need clairvoyance to know the future, and the government definitely needs clairvoyance. Ordinary people without clairvoyance can make so many mistakes by believing something but not knowing all the obstacles and methods. Therefore you need clairvoyance for everything, even if you don’t have omniscience, even if you are not perfect.
My view is that both sides can make mistakes, therefore the best leader of sentient beings, the best one, is the Buddha. He has omniscient mind, knowing all the past and future directly at the same time. Seeing the future directly, then having all the methods to cure all the sufferings and all the problems. Directly seeing and having the power to reveal the methods; having omniscience and infinite compassion for all sentient beings and perfect power to reveal the methods.
Arhats don't have all those things, so they are limited. At least if the leader of the world could be a bodhisattva, who has given up cherishing the I and cherishes the sentient beings most, just as a mother cherishes her child most in her life. She does everything that is best for her child and if the child gets a degree or somebody praises the child, the mother is so happy. Like that, bodhisattvas cherish every single sentient being the most and no-one is left out.
Even breathing in and out is only done for sentient beings, not for self, then with all that loving kindness, compassion, bodhicitta, depending on which level of path that the bodhisattva has achieved, then with that much quality he is able to benefit others. So it depends on which level of path the bodhisattva has achieved.
I would say then, yes, that is the best leader. If not Buddha, then a bodhisattva who cherishes everybody and is able to guide with wisdom and compassion, not with ignorance. Otherwise there are a lot of problems in the world. If there is a democracy or just one person running the country with ignorance, then there is so much fighting, like what has been happening. If the leader of the country is not a bodhisattva, then often becoming a leader is to gain power for oneself, for one's own happiness and not for others.
Most of the countries in the world are run by one person, however, some could be bodhisattvas, for example, Tibet was run by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who is the Buddha of Compassion, not just a bodhisattva. In general the countries are mostly run by one person with a self-cherishing mind, ignorance, so then that person makes mistakes or does it only to gain power for himself rather than to gain [happiness] for others. Probably people don’t get happiness and even if they don't fight or complain, they are not very happy. Many countries are like this.
That’s why democracy is better, because even though not everybody has omniscient mind, they are not bodhisattvas, people can say things when they want to say them. So it can get better all the time, though it doesn’t necessarily mean the decisions are always correct and they don't create problems. Democracy is being able to have different views and what the majority like is considered, so I guess it’s more or less done that way, but not necessarily always without mistakes and people not having problems, it's not like that. If the public develop their wisdom and compassion more, that can help the country to run better, with more happiness for the people, by developing more compassion and wisdom.
So people need to develop more wisdom and compassion, that’s the whole issue. Even to guide you and even in your own life, you need to have more compassion and wisdom. Otherwise you follow your own ignorance or other peoples’ ignorance, other people giving ignorant advice, like the blind guiding blind people.
You are a young intelligent girl, so I am just giving my views. I hope you don’t mind. It's very important you use your intelligence and wisdom.
I don’t know if other religions in the world have said this, but the Buddha said: “Bhikshus, wise ones, check my teachings, like examining gold, by cutting, by burning, by rubbing and examining well my teachings. Only then take my advice.” The Buddha didn’t say in the beginning to just believe, don’t question. I think in the world the Buddha is the only one who gave freedom like that.
With much love and prayers...
1 Four types of very subtle ignorance. They are: the inability to see the secret actions of a buddha, the inability to see the subtle karma of sentient beings, the inability to see things that happened a very long time ago and the inability to see very long distances. [Return to text]