Do I Have Good Qualities?

I young man I am attached to asked me during our dinner conversation if I felt like I had good qualities and I had to admit no. He asked me if this was a contradiction to Buddha nature. I expressed to him my confusion after hearing holy people like Lama Zopa Rinpoche claim they had no qualities and I explained that it made me feel like when we refer to qualities in Buddhism we are referring to realized states of mind. I have no realizations which leads me to feel like I am able to bring no benefit to others, but now I am starting to think our Buddha nature allows us to help others even when we are still rough and undeveloped.

Buddha nature is compassionate and wise. Compassion and wisdom I would argue are the same thing in ultimate reality. Compassion is not a feeling and wisdom is not a thought. When you have a clear moment of mind, resting in your Buddha nature, you naturally act. We have a moment when we recognize someone’s suffering and simply act. It is not a feeling and not a thought—we are in the moment. I think most people have experienced a situation when we said or did something for someone spontaneously after a moment of understanding. The receiver often comes back and praises us for giving them so much help, but we don’t really feel like we did anything. If you examine why you did it, you can’t find any logic it just seemed obvious at the moment—it was spontaneous. I think this is our Buddha nature popping out for a moment. If you are able to find Buddha nature and have faith in it, you can trust your ability to just know what others need and act. If you reflect on it later, the action you did seems irrational, and yet, they have received great benefit. Maybe, what the high lamas mean when they say they have no qualities is that the ego or incorrect perception of “I” has no qualities. Or maybe, my belief that compassion and wisdom are one in the same means that Buddha nature is indivisible into qualities—meaning the qualities are not inherently existent.

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