From the Introduction to
"The Life of
In general, the
Vajrayana Buddhist training which Milarepa underwent seeks to respond to
the varied psychological factors in different individuals and lead
aspirants toward higher consciousness, the complete realization of human
excellence and finally supreme illumination. It is thus a process of
psychological transformation. In practical terms, the aim is to
cultivate goodness consciously in thoughts, words and deeds and to
become a 'jewel among humanity.'
From the outset, one works to free
oneself from all superstitious complexes of superiority or inferiority
based on sex, race, color, or creed. A deeper sense of one entire human
family and universal fellowship has to be developed as the foundation
for a right attitude to human relationships. Only then is the seeker led
toward a process of spiritualization.
In order to discover his
non-deceptive, or real identity, each individual is encouraged to free
himself from the solid and strong influence of his conditioning. This
psychological reorientation, which is the basic aim of all true culture,
embraces the totality of factors and forces that go to make up an
individual's whole stream of being and his attitude toward life. The
inner illusions are so subtle that they are often imperceptible. Without
this preparatory development of a sound and sane basic attitude toward
the goals of living, the whole spiritual endeavor is susceptible to
egoistic self-love, as distinguished from a practical concern for one's
permanent freedom. For even where consciousness has achieved an exalted
level, its need must be further developed into an effective instrument
for the process of universal emancipation of all human beings.
essence of Mahayana Buddhism can be seen in one single term,
'Bodhichitta,' which we have generally translated as 'Enlightened Mind.'
This is at once an enlightening attitude and a state of awareness, each
of which is both a means to the goal and the goal itself. Here attitude
implies action, a non-egoistic view which a man brings to bear upon both
his inner practice and outer life. Through this attitude the discipline
of meditation combines inseparably with the practice of outer
magnanimity, thus leading to the achievement of enlightened awareness.
It is through such an awareness that one may perceive things as they
really are and as they appear in non-conflicting diversity, while
remaining continuously open to manifest the warmth of compassion. Yet
such innate purity simply cannot be perceived or realized without first
detecting the causes of illusions and defilement in the human psyche.
Thus the process of transformation of consciousness takes the form of
purification traditionally spoken of as the elimination of illusions and
accumulation of virtues.
Lobsang P. Lhalungpa)
to Buddhist Masters