Can I Hurt Others With My Negative Thoughts?

A student writes:

Can my negative thoughts about other people affect them through our heart connections?

Lama Shenpen responds:

That must be true. That is how Bodhichitta* works. We can send out our good wishes to others and if nasty thoughts come up we can regret them sincerely and that negates their influence. We cannot control the thoughts that come up but we can control our attitude to them.

If in our heart of hearts we don’t want the thoughts to have a negative influence on others then they won’t. Even if we have wished others harm in the past we can negate those thoughts by our sincere regret and send out endless good wishes instead. If we always wish that our thoughts only benefit others, then they will.


I worry that I am hurting people with my thoughts and fantasies. I have particular fears about certain people and feel very afraid that I hurt them. I have sensed that this is true, but if I explore this I become very negative.

Lama Shenpen:

So, it is very important to remember that the thoughts just come and go and it’s your intention that makes the difference. If you don’t want to harm a person and keep sending them good wishes – even if you have angry and hateful thoughts and fantasies sometimes, if you regret them and don’t want them to harm the other person then they won’t.

*Bodhichitta: Enlightened Heart/Mind. The Awakened Heart or mind itself, or the movement towards it within a being who aspires to awaken to complete and perfect Buddhahood.

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