Everywhere in Darjeeling and all the way to Kathmandu, I can see a lot of commercials and signboards about Valentine’s Day, some call it the day to celebrate love. Heart shapes are seen everywhere, I think price of roses must have increased many folds. In a way it is wonderful and uplifting to see everyone celebrating “love”. In another way, the annual celebration is about a partial love, that only includes what is mine, what can be mine and what I wish to get and what I wish to give to “my” beloved ones. I guess this is also good to start with, but if our love can go beyond the people and the beings that we love and care about, then this Valentine’s Day is truly celebrated in an impartial and meaningful way. Of course, it is our choice whether to celebrate a partial or impartial Valentines, to celebrate small love or big love.

Not only it is Valentine’s Day, it is the 4th day of Tibetan Lunar New Year. The 1st 15 days of the 1st month are very important for Buddhist spiritual practitioners, because this period is one of the holiest time of the year. If we can perform good deeds, the results multiply enormously, beyond our conception. If we perform negative deeds, the results also multiply enormously. It’s our decision to do whichever way.

Consider ourselves lucky that we are still alive despite all the predictions about 2012 being the end of the world. Consider ourselves lucky that we have the choice to perform positive deeds and accumulate great merit. Especially for those of you who are here with me, we are going to be together for 6 days, either immersed in prayers, contemplation and practices. This is such a good life we have, and each of us has so many things to contribute, why do we need to bury ourselves under useless gossips and misunderstandings, creating disharmony and at the end, making ourselves completely unhappy? Better not be a busybody and put our nose into others’ business. Instead of helping, we sometimes make the situation worse. I am always telling myself this. Keeping ourselves busy, being creative in doing good and positive deeds to help others, without putting our nose into matters not concerning us, our time and energy would be better used.

I am calling this thanksgiving Valentines because as I always say, we need to even appreciate the fact that we are going through difficulties. Without difficulties, we will not learn. Some people may be unkind to us, saying nonsense about us and making wrong judgements on us, we can either make ourselves depressed and dislike these people, or we can take this as an opportunity to reflect on what we have done wrong and how we can better improve ourselves. It’s often that people who dislike us and who give tremendous difficulties that help us to progress on the path. They make our path a much more interesting journey. So today, we should take this opportunity to greet our enemies, the people who dislike us and who give us enormous pain and difficulties, a very Happy Valentines’ Day. We should not be conquered by our own emotions of hatred and unhappiness. Very often, we join others in complaining about this one person or this one group of people because our ego has taken control, allowing our emotions to take over our better self. This is when we need to withdraw from the vicious circle of gossiping and creating a lot of negative karma through our speech.

The best is to keep your cool and take a step back whenever you are in such a situation. Emotions are like clouds, they come and they go. Today someone’s hates may become his or her likes. It’s their business, not ours.

Let this be a universal Valentines’ Day for ourselves and others, first by generating an impartial mind of love and compassion towards beings around us, followed by those distant and far. Be a wonderful Valentine for all beings, today, tomorrow and forever!