(i.e. Generalization: "The cultivation of both method and wisdom together -- Not Accepting, not Rejecting":
I think talking about Bodhicitta (or any method) out of its non-dual context is confusing because it brings too many apparent contradictions, so I have 'pasted' the missing parts taken from other texts here and there. The methods, like Bodhicitta and other highly efficient skillful means, means "not non-existence"; the wisdom of Emptiness (of inherent existence) means "not existence" (as we usually think). We need both method and wisdom together, the Middle Way, to be in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything which is : not existence, not non-existence, not both, not neither (or inseparability of appearances/clarity and emptiness). Using methods alone, doing this or not doing that, thinking they are absolute causes for Enlightenment (realism, existence), or trying to develop wisdom alone while rejecting (or dropping) everything else (nihilism, non-existence), is not enough; that would not be in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything with its two inseparable aspects. And mistakes like these is what creates more conditioning, more karma and brings its consequences: deception and suffering. We always need the two accumulations together (merit and wisdom). It is like using a raft while knowing the emptiness of the raft, while not getting attached to the raft. It is consciously developing wholesome conditioning that will ultimately permit to see through all conditioning, by directly seeing the real nature of our own mind, and to transcend it all. The goal of all Buddhist paths is to realize the real non-dual nature of our own mind, and thus of everything. This means seeing the real non-dual nature of the objects of the three Realms of samsara -- sense realm, form realm, non-form-realmm -- and their interdependence (the ultimate realm). This is equivalent to purifying our body, speech and mind, and seeing their inseparability (the trikaya); or equivalent to the Union of The Two Truths (conventional truths or dependent origination, and the Ultimate Truth or Emptiness); or equivalent to transcending the duality existence and non-existence, to transcending all dualities (the two opposites of any duality are always not different or separate, but still not the same; they cannot exist alone; one implies the other; they are interdependent; they are non-dual, not two, not one. And anything we can think of is like that, because that is how the mind works). That is the perfection of Bodhicitta: doing it while being aware of the emptiness of the three: subject, object, action; the Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting; no absolute, only adapted skillful means.)
The main part of this teaching is based on a teaching of His Holiness Tendzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, given at the Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1984. (see the resume after this section)
(i.e. THE TANTRIC PATH vs THE THREE PRINCIPALS OF THE PATH
vs PURIFYING THE BODY, SPEECH AND MIND TOGETHER
vs SEEING THE REAL NATURE OF THE INSEPARABLE THREE REALMS OF SAMSARA
vs REALIZING THE UNION OF THE TWO TRUTHS
vs TRANSCENDING THE DUALITY EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE
The tantric path includes the following steps:
Lamrim ( literally, stages of the path ) These are indispensable topics for reflection and contemplation and also the meditations and activities that should naturally follow on from them. The Lamrim embodies the necessary prerequisites for tantra. It is set out as a progressive set of steps.
INITIAL MEDITATIONS - Training the mind in the stages of path common to the practitioners of initial capacity.Note: The perfection of any of those meditations is to use it as a method, while uniting it with the wisdom realizing the real non-dual nature of the three: subject, object, action.
- Relying Upon a Spiritual Guide ( learning from someone already on the path )
- Reliance through thought.
- Cultivating faith, the root factor.
- Cultivating respect through recollecting kindness.
- Reliance through action.
- The Preciousness of Human Life ( the importance of using life for something valuable )
- Death and Impermanence ( uncertainty of death and the unsatisfactory nature of this world )
- The Danger of being Reborn in a Lower Realm
- Taking Refuge from Samsara ( the cycle of endless grasping and eventual disappointment )
- Karma ( the law of cause and effect which works in this world as well as at esoteric levels )
INTERMEDIARY MEDITATIONS - Training the mind in the stages of path common to those of middle capacity.
- Developing Renunciation for Samsara ( integrating spiritual understanding and values )
ADVANCED MEDITATION TO DEVELOP BODHICITTA - Training the mind in the stages of path common to those of great capacity.
- Meditation of the Four Noble Truths
- Meditation of Dependent Origination, the Wheel of Life
- Developing Equanimity ( accepting, and seeing past, both good and bad experience )
- Recognizing that all Beings are as Precious as our Mothers ( the beginnings of Bodhicitta )
- Remembering the Kindness of Others
- Equalizing Self and Others ( realizing that we all want, and deserve, to be happy )
- The Disadvantage of Self-Cherishing
- The Advantage of Cherishing Others ( loosening the hold of ego through caring )
- Exchanging Self with Others ( this is the core practice for developing bodhicitta -- it involves developing the wish to voluuntarily take on others' problems and freely give them one's own happiness in exchange. A sketch of the technique is as follows: breathe in others' woes as black smoke--let it settle into the heart, then breathe out all one's own happiness as white light--let it expand to fill all the cosmos. A practitioner should imagine and rejoice at the effect of both the in- and out-breath. For, on the in-breath, the reality and weight of all the problems in this world sink into the heart and help to dissolve the ego. Likewise, the out-breath brings relief and joy to all others. )
- Developing Great Compassion
- Taking Responsibility to Relieve Others' Burdens ( "exchanging self with others" in action )
- Sharing One's Own Good Fortune with Others
- Bodhicitta ( the desire to attain full enlightenment for the sake of all beings )
CONCENTRATION AND WISDOM
- Tranquil Abiding ( developing advanced stages of concentration )
- Superior Seeing ( developing Wisdom)
- On the selflessness of persons.
- On the selflessness of phenomena.
- On non-inherent existence of compounded phenomena.
- On non-inherent existence of uncompounded phenomena.
Again: The Two Bodhicitta - Training the mind in the stages of path common to those of great capacity.
* * *
- The mode of Cultivating Bodhichitta (mind of enlightenment) -- aspiring Bodhicitta
- The actual generation of the mind.
- Generating bodhichitta through the instruction of seven-point cause and effect.
- Meditation on equanimity.
- The seven points.
- Recognition that all beings as having been one's mother.
- Recollection of their kindness.
- Repaying the kindness.
- Loving kindness.
- Great compassion.
- Superior attitude.
- Generating bodhichitta through the instruction on equality and exchange of oneself with others.
- Reinforcing the generated altruistic mind through ceremony.
- The way in which the vows are received.
- How to protect the vows from degeneration.
- The mode of engaging in the deeds following the generation of the altruistic mind -- engaging Bodhicitta
- Training in the bodhisattva deeds in general.
- Joyous effort.
- The four ripening factors.
- Training in the last two perfections in particular.
- Training in calm abiding, the essence of concentration.
- Training in Special Insight, the Essence of Wisdom (wisdom realizing emptiness)..
- On the selflessness of persons.
- On the selflessness of phenomena.
- On non-inherent existence of compounded phenomena.
- On non-inherent existence of uncompounded phenomena.
Common Preliminary Tantric Practices These are the beginning activities that are unique to the Vajrayana path.
* * *
- Prostrations ( physical prostration, visualization and prayer for taking refuge )
- Vajrasattva Meditation ( visualization and mantra recitation for purification )
- Mandala Offering ( visualization and prayer for developing surrender and gaining merit )
- Guru Yoga ( visualization, mantra recitation and prayer for developing devotion and receiving blessings )
Generation Stage of Tantra These are preparatory practices that utilize imagination and much visualization. They prepare the psychological and psychic groundwork for the spiritual energy that will be developed and harnessed in the following completion stage practices.
* * *(i.e. Bringing the three bodies into the path is equivalent to purifying (seeing the real non-dual nature of) the objects of the three Realms, or the body, speech and mind, and seeing their inseparability (not one, not two).)
- Beginning Meditation (visualization of oneself as a deity in the centre of an outer mandala full of other deities ) -- Training in gross generation stage
- Training in divine pride
- Training in clear appearance
- Subtle Meditation (visualization of a body mandala which corresponds to points on the subtle nervous system ) -- Training in subtle generation stage,
- ex. Vajrayogini's body mandala with its 37 Dakinis
- ex. Heruka's body mandala with its 5 wheels, 62 deities
Completion Stage of Tantra These are very advanced meditations that primarily utilize subtle energies known as winds (prana and chi are some other names for this energy ). These winds normally circulate throughout the psychic nervous system. When they are collected into a central place they provide great stability and clarity for the meditator. The normal collection point is commonly known as a chakra. It corresponds to a node or plexus in the psychic nervous system and acts as a link between the psychic, or astral, level of existence and our normal level of experience.
Tibetan yoga employs a simplified version of the metaphysical structure that is used in Hindu yoga. According to the Tibetan scheme there are three Realms to consider in spiritual practice.
- These correspond to the Emanation Body ( this world -- or the sense realm),
- the Enjoyment Body ( the astral dimension -- or the pure form realm),
- and the Truth Body ( a dimension that is much deeper--that is, much more subtle--than the astral -- or the non-form realm).
Or: The definition of completion stage is a yoga of learning developped in dependence upon the winds entering, abiding, and dissolving within the central channel through the force of meditation. Completion stage yogas can be divided into two:
- Isolated Body, Speech, and Mind ( progressive isolation of consciousness from this level of reality )
- Illusory Body ( development of an astral body. Consciousness now is based in the astral not the physical )
- Clear Light ( development of a very subtle consciousness at the Truth Body level )
- Union or Full Enlightenment ( linking the Truth Body consciousness to the Enjoyment, or astral, Body )
- Completion stage of the three isolations
- Isolated body (seeing the real nature of the objects of the sense realm)
- Isolated speech (form realm)
- Isolated mind (non-form realm)
- Completion stage of the Two Truth
- Completion stage of the individual two truth
- The illusory body (the impure illusory body) of the fourth of the six stages is called "conventional truth" because it is a conventional truth
- The meaning clear light of the fifth of the six stages is called "Ultimate truth" because its principal object is ultimate truth
- Completion stage of the indivisibility of the Two Truths
- It refers to the principal union that needs learning - the union of realization - which is the union of meaning clear light and pure illusory body". A person's meaning clear light and pure illusory body are the same nature. The nature of the pure illusory body is the mounted wind of meaning clear light, which is the same as meaning clear light itself.
- (i.e. Bringing the three bodies into the path is equivalent to purifying (seeing the real non-dual nature of) the objects of the three Realms (sense realm, form real, non-form realm, their inseparability with emptiness, and the inseparability of the three together) corresponding to the three occasions of the mind (the seven consciousnesses, alayavijnana, alaya, and the three together); or equivalent to the purification of the body, speech and mind, and seeing their inseparability (not one, not two or many). This gradual purification correspond to the realization of the four pure kayas, or to the Union of the Two Truths, or to the transcendence of the duality existence vs non-existence (in fact transcending all dualities; not accepting them, not rejecting them). It all comes down to the realization that the real nature of everything is not existence (Realism), not non-existence (Idealism or nihilism), not both existence and non-existence (Dualism or manyness), not neither existence nor non-existence (Monism or oneness).)
There is also the Mahamudra and Dzogchen. The essence of mahamudra is to be absorbed in and to observe the nature of mind.
* * *
-- adapted from an article "Tibetan Buddhism")
THE THREE PRINCIPALS OF THE PATH
Whether your practice is based on Sutra, Tantra or both, the very life of your practice is dependent on these three Principle Aspects of the Path. ...
- Renunciation (Definitive Deliverance) : The intention definitely to leave cyclic existence;
- Bodhicitta (the mind of Enlightenment) : The altruistic aspiration to enlightenment for the sake of all beings which is the assumption of the burdon of freeing all beings from misery and joining them with happiness and one’s consequent wish for Buddhahood; and
- Wisdom (the correct and perfect view) : The correct view which is the realization of emptiness, the realization that all phenomena do not exist inherently, are just imputations by thought, nominally existent and effective but not to be found under ultimate analysis. Emptiness itself is the life of sutra and tantra.
There is a quotation which says
'If you don't realise the meaning of the Profound Wisdom, although you have generated the thought of Definitive Deliveranceand the precious Mind of Enlightenment, you won't be able to severe the root of cyclic existence. Therefore strive to achieve the Perfect View with Wisdom'.Although you might have generated the thought of Renunciation and Bodhicitta, you have to realise the Profound View of Emptiness with Profound Wisdom.
To achieve the ultimate goal you have to integrate both Method and Wisdom. From the side of Bodhicitta, and the side of Wisdom; the Wisdom that realises Emptiness. Therefore it is said that this is indispensable. I forgot to say the meaning should be analysed with the Wisdom that realises the union of Dependent Arising and Emptiness,
... This integrates the perfect understanding of the union of the two truths, the conventional truth and the ultimate (i.e. sacred) truth. (i.e. Transcending the duality existence vs non-existence, the duality of the Two Truths, the duality dependent origination vs emptiness, the duality prajna & upaya, the duality of the two accumulations ...)
(i.e. All of this because, to be efficient, the path has to be in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything -- not one, not two -- not existence, not non-existence, not both, not neither -- . Everything has these two inseparable aspects corresponding to the transcendence of the duality existence and non-existence, or to the Union of the Two Truths, or the inseparability of appearances and emptiness, or the inseparability of interdependence and emptiness ... That is why there is the inseparable two accumulations of merit and wisdom on the path.)
-- Tsong Khapas's "Three Principals of the Path", by Venerable Ribur Rinpoche, FPMT Root Institute
[We need both method and wisdom together; the two accumulations]
Wisdom must be supported by method ... and vice versa.The first five [paramitas] of these must act as supportive methods... The main subjects of this discourse -- renunciation, emptiness and the bodhimind -- were taught by Buddha, Nagarjuna and Tsong Khapa, and provide the basic texture of the mahayana path. They are three keys for those who wish to obtain the enlightenment of buddhahood.
in order for the sixth, wisdom, to become stable. ...
A buddha has a cause. His cause is a bodhisattva.
Before attaining buddhahood one must train as a bodhisattva and cultivate a path uniting method with wisdom. ...
In terms of method and wisdom,
These two are like the wings of a bird, enabling one to fly high in the sky of Dharma. A bird with one wing cannot fly. In order to achieve the high stage of buddhahood, the two wings of method and wisdom are required.
- renunciation and the bodhimind constitute method,
- and meditation on emptiness is wisdom.-- Method, Wisdom and the Three Paths by Geshe Lhundrub Sopa
The principal mahayana method is the bodhimind.
- To generate the bodhimind one must first generate compassion-- the aspiration to free sentient beings from suffering, which becomes the basis of one's motivation to obtain enlightenment.
- However, as Shantideva has pointed out, one must begin with compassion for oneself. One must want to be free of suffering oneself before being able to want it truly for others. The spontaneous wish to free oneself from suffering is renunciation. Most of us do not have this renunciation. We do not see the faults of samsara. We cannot ourselves continue being entranced by samsaric activities while speaking of working for the benefit of other sentient beings. Therefore one must begin with the thought of personal renunciation of samsara, a wish to obtain freedom from all misery. In the beginning this is very important.
- Then this quality can be extended to others, as love, compassion and the bodhimind. These two combine as method.
When united with wisdom, realization of emptiness, one has all the main causes of buddhahood. (i.e. Transcending the duality existence vs non-existence, the duality method vs wisdom.)
OM MANI PADME HUMIt is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast.
- OM : OM is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. ... How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables.
- MANI : meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method - the altruistic intention to become enligghtened, compassion , and love.
- PADME : meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom.
- There is wisdom realizing impermanence,
- wisdom realizing that persons are empty of being self-sufficient or substantially existent,
- wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality -- that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object --
- and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence.
- Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
- HUM : indivisible unity of method and wisdom.
(i.e. Purifying the body, speech and mind, means directly seeing the real non-dual nature of the objects of the three inseparable realms: sense realm, form realm, non-form realm. Once we directly see the real nature of everything we are free from karma, Liberated from samsara. There is nothing to accept, nothing to reject.)
- OM MANI PADME HUM : mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha.
-- The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum , HHDL
[USING BOTH SKILLFUL MEANS (method) AND WISDOM TOGETHER:]
- To indulge in liberation from the world without employing liberative technique is bondage for the bodhisattva.
- To engage in life in the world with full employment of liberative technique is liberation for the bodhisattva.
- To experience the taste of contemplation, meditation, and concentration without skill in liberative technique is bondage.
- To experience the taste of contemplation and meditation with skill in liberative technique is liberation.
- Wisdom not integrated with liberative technique is bondage, but wisdom integrated with liberative technique is liberation.
- Liberative technique not integrated with wisdom is bondage, but liberative technique integrated with wisdom is liberation.
- "How is wisdom not integrated with liberative technique a bondage? Wisdom not integrated with liberative technique consists of concentration on voidness, signlessness, and wishlessness, and yet, being motivated by sentimental compassion, failure to concentrate on cultivation of the auspicious signs and marks, on the adornment of the buddha-field, and on the work of development of living beings it is bondage.
- "How is wisdom integrated with liberative technique a liberation? Wisdom integrated with liberative technique consists of being motivated by the great compassion and thus of concentration on cultivation of the auspicious signs and marks, on the adornment of the buddha-field, and on the work of development of living beings, all the while concentrating on deep investigation of voidness, signlessness, and wishlessness - and it is liberation.
- "What is the bondage of liberative technique not integrated with wisdom? The bondage of liberative technique not integrated with wisdom consists of the bodhisattva's planting of the roots of virtue without dedicating them for the sake of enlightenment, while living in the grip of dogmatic convictions, passions, attachments, resentments, and their subconscious instincts.
"Manjusri, thus should the sick bodhisattva consider things.
- "What is the liberation of liberative technique integrated with wisdom? The liberation of liberative technique integrated with wisdom consists of the bodhisattva's dedication of his roots of virtue for the sake of enlightenment, without taking any pride therein, while forgoing all convictions, passions, attachments, resentments, and their subconscious instincts.
-- Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra
- His wisdom is the consideration of body, mind, and sickness as impermanent, miserable, empty, and selfless.
- His liberative technique consists of not exhausting himself by trying to avoid all physical sickness, and in applying himself to accomplish the benefit of living beings, without interrupting the cycle of reincarnations.
- Furthermore, his wisdom lies in understanding that the body, mind, and sickness are neither new nor old, both simultaneously and sequentially.
- And his liberative technique lies in not seeking cessation of body, mind, or sicknesses.
The third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, wrote a prayer of aspiration for the realization of Mahamudra in which he said,"It [the mind] is not existent because even the Buddha could not see it,It does not constitute a contradiction to say that mind neither existsnor does not exist; ...
but it is not nonexistent because it is the basis or origin of all samsara and nirvana."
(i.e. It is not existent, not non-existent, not both existent and non-existent, not neither existent nor non-existent. Those are the only four possibilities, the four extreme positions.)
-- Mahamudra Teachings by Ven. Kalu Rinpoche
[NEGATING THE FOUR EXTREMES WITHOUT AFFIRMING ANYTHING:]The cessation of accepting everything [as real] is a salutary (siva) cessation of phenomenal development (prapanca);-- Nagarjuna's Karikas
No dharma anywhere has been taught by the Buddha of anything.
It is not expressed if the Glorious One [the Buddha] exists (1) after his death,
Or does not exist (2), or both (3) or neither (4).
Also, it is not expressed if the Glorious One exists (1) while remaining [in the world],
Or does not exist (2), or both (3) or neither (4).
Thus the view concerning the past which [asserts] "I have existed (1)," or "I have not existed (2),"
Both ["existed and not existed"] (3) or neither (4): this does not obtain at all.
[The views:] "I will become something in a future time (1'),"
Or "I will not become (2') [something]," etc. (3') (4'), [should be considered] like those [views] of the past.
To him, possessing compassion, who taught the real dharma
For the destruction of all views — to him, Gautama, I humbly offer reverence.Teaching existence, non-existence,-- Aryadeva's Four Hundreds
Both existence and non-existence, and neither
Surely are medecines (i.e. skillful means only, not absolute) for all
That are influenced by the sickness.
Against one who holds no thesis that [things]
Exist, do not, or do and do not exit,
Counter-arguments cannot be raised
No matter how long [one tries].
THE DUALITY EXISTENCE VS NON-EXISTENCE IN THE SUTRAS:
Culasihanada Sutta (MN.11) The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar
"Bhikkhus, there are these two views: the view of being and the view of non-being.
Any recluses or brahmins who rely on the view of being, adopt the view of being, accept the view of being, are opposed to the view of non-being.
Any recluses or brahmins who rely on the view of non-being, adopt the view of non-being, accept the view of non-being, are opposed to the view of being.
"Any recluses or brahmins who do not understand as they actually are the origin, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of these two views are affected by lust, affected by hate, affected by delusion, affected by craving, affected by clinging, without vision, given to favouring and opposing, and they delight in and enjoy proliferation. They are not freed from birth, aging and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair; they are not freed from suffering, I say.
"Any recluses or brahmins who understand as they actually are the origin, the disappearance, the gratification, the danger and the escape in the case of these two views are without lust, without hate, without delusion, without craving, without clinging, with vision, not given to favouring and opposing, and they do not delight in and enjoy proliferation. They are freed from birth, aging and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair; they are freed from suffering, I say.
Lokayatika Sutta - The Cosmologist - SN XII.48
"Now, then, Master Gotama, does everything exist?"
"'Everything exists' is the senior form of cosmology, brahmin." (Realism)
"Then, Master Gotama, does everything not exist?"
"'Everything does not exist' is the second form of cosmology, brahmin." (Idealism or nihilism)
"Then is everything a Oneness?"
"'Everything is a Oneness' is the third form of cosmology, brahmin." (Monism or oneness)
"Then is everything a Manyness?"
"'Everything is a Manyness' is the fourth form of cosmology, brahmin. (Dualism or manyness)
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: ...
(i.e. The need to transcend the duality existence vs non-existence; this is the basis of the Middle Way consisting of the two inseparable accumulations, uniting method and wisdom. The Middle Way: staying away from the four extremes of realism, idealism or nihilism, dualism, monism.)
Kaccayanagotta Sutta - To Kaccayana Gotta (on Right View) - SN XII.15
"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one."
"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. (Realism)
'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. (Idealism or nihilism)
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle."
(i.e.Transcending the duality existence vs non-existence)
When we look around us and see the great pain and anxiety of life lived without true understanding; when we reflect deeply on the fears that all beings carry hidden in the deep recesses of their hearts -- which they are often unwilling to admit even to themselves for fear that doing so would sap the confidence or the false bravado that enables them to push forward blindly in life in the only way they know how -- and especially when we reflect on the dangerous and painful vicissitudes of a world that in one moment is peaceful, and in the next full of violence, pain, and grief, full of lives shredded and torn apart by forces beyond one’s control; when we reflect on the blood in the streets and the smashed skulls, or when we reflect on the ever-changing display of love and romance as it degenerates slowly into broken dreams, anger, strife, and hatred; when we reflect on the lonesome, the poor, the aging, cold and devastated, dying mass of sentient existence, and we remember that no ignorant being escapes this constant round of terror and that, if what sages and religious leaders of all ages have told us is true, there may even be worse to come, worlds in which our credit cards hold no sway, where there is not a friendly voice to call and no family to go home to -- when we reflect honestly on all of this and stop ignoring and suppressing these thoughts,
(i.e. Two Lamrim intermediary meditations to help attain the desire for renunciation, and generate great compassion
- The Four Noble Truths
- The Truth of Suffering - to know
- The three types of sufferings
- Common suffering to all realms
- The particular suffering of each of the six realms
- The universal characteristics of phenomena
- The Truth of the Cause of Suffering - to abandon
- The ultimate cause is the mind
- Ignorance : It is due to not understanding the real nature of existence that we remain tied to dukkha
- The root of all disturbing negative minds is our grasping at things as truly existent
- The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering - to reach
- Through understanding : prajna / discriminative awareness
- The Truth of the Path to the Cessation of Suffering - to meditate upon
- (i.e. The way out of any suffering is to realize the real non-dual nature of the three: subject, object, action; to realize the real non-dual nature of the three inseparable realms corresponding to the inseparable trikaya.)
- The Wheel of Life & Dependent Origination -- The Twelve Interdependent Causes and their Effects
- Dependent origination: Ignorance/spiritual blindness; karma formation / volitions; discriminative consciousness; name & form; the six senses; contact; feeling; craving; grasping / attachment; becoming; birth; aging & death
- The Wheel of Life
- (i.e. The perfection of the realization of dependent origination is to unite it with emptiness; and vice versa. That is the Union of The Two Truths. Their non-duality: not one, not two.)
THE SUFFERING OF THE SIX REALMS:
Thus, there is no existence in the cycle of samsara that is free from suffering. There are six realms because there are six poisons, or defilements of the mind (Skt. klesha; Tib. nyon-mongs) that are the seeds or causes of the experience of the various realms. There are no more than six realms because there are no more than six poisons to act as seeds. The six poisons are:
The defilements lead to unskillful actions, which generate karma, the infallible operation of cause and effect in the mental continuum of each individual. The negative karma caused by the defilements is the origin of the sufferings of the six realms. The only way to eliminate suffering is to practice the path, method or remedy that will remove the defilements and the negative karma that they produce.
- hatred, or anger, which creates the experience of the hell realm; like going to the extremes of total hot chaos (rejecting of karma) or frozen determinism (accepting it as an absolute or getting obsessed about karma)
- greed, or miserliness, which creates the hungry ghost realm; like the obsession of trying to calculate and control everything
- ignorance of how to act virtuously is the cause of rebirth in the animal realm; like following the law of the jungle, natural selection
- attachment (virtuous action performed with attachment to the meritorious results) is the cause of human rebirth; like being slaves to our body and desires
- jealousy (virtuous action sullied by jealousy) causes rebirth in the demigod realm; like falling for jealousy, envy, competitiveness thinking happiness is to be grabbed from others
- pride, or egotism (virtuous action performed with pride) causes a godly rebirth; like feeling superior, absolutely certain
(i.e. The way out of any suffering / conditioning / realm is always to realize the real non-dual nature of the three: the subject suffering, the object or cause of the torment, and suffering itself. The Middle Way: not accepting it, not rejecting it. Combining both method and wisdom together, both dependent origination and emptiness together.)
By developing loving-kindness and compassion it is possible to diminish the defilements, but in order to uproot them completely, it is necessary also to develop the discriminating awareness (Skt. prajna; Tib. she-rab) that arises from the wisdom of emptiness. The development of loving-kindness together with wisdom is the result of following the path of Dharma, otherwise known as the five paths: path of accumulation, path of unification, path of seeing, path of meditation, and path of no learning.
-- The Four Noble Truths, Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, KTD
THE THREE TYPES OF SUFFERING:
Now, desiring liberation from the first two categories of suffering is not the principal motivation for seeking liberation (from cyclic existence); the Bhagawan Buddha taught that the root of the three sufferings is the third: all-pervasive suffering. Some people commit suicide; they seem to think that there is suffering simply because there is the human life, and that by cutting off the life there will be nothing. This third, all-pervasive suffering is under the control of karma and the disturbing mind. We can see this without having to think very deeply that this is under the control of the karma and disturbing mind of previous lives: anger and attachment arise just because we have these present aggregates. The aggregate of compounding phenomena is like a helper for us to generate karma and these disturbing minds; this is called ne.ngen.len (literally: taking a bad place). Because that which forms is related to taking the bad place of disturbing minds and is under their control, it supports our generating disturbing minds and keeps us from virtue. All our suffering can be traced back to these aggregates of attachment and clinging.
- Suffering of suffering. This refers to things such as headaches and so forth. Even animals can recognize this kind of suffering and, like us, want to be free from it. Because beings have fear of and experience discomfort from these kinds of suffering, they engage in various activities to eliminate them.
- Suffering of change. This refers to situations where, for example, we are sitting very comfortably relaxed and at first everything is all right, but after a while we lose that feeling and get restless and uncomfortable. ... but as soon as we have solved certain problems, new ones arise. We have plenty of money, plenty of food and good shelter, but by over-estimating the value of these things we render them worthless. This sort of experience is the suffering of change.
- All-pervasive sufferings. Because it acts as the basis of the first two categories of suffering, the third is called, in Tibetan, kyab.pa.du.ched.kyi.dug.ngel (literally: the suffering of pervasive compounding).
Perhaps, when you realize that your aggregates are the cause of all your sufferings you might think that suicide is the way out. Well, if there were no continuity of mind, no future life, all right--if you had the courage you could finish yourself off. But, according to the Buddhist viewpoint, that's not the case; your consciousness will continue. Even if you take your own life, this life, you will have to take another body that again will be the basis of suffering. If you really want to get rid of all your suffering, all the difficulties you experience in your life, you have to get rid of the fundamental cause that gives rise to the aggregates that are the basis of all suffering. Killing yourself isn't going to solve your problems.
-- The Four Noble Truths by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
What is the sign of having achieved this renunciation or definitive deliverance?
First of all you really have to recognise from the depth of your heart whatever perfections you have believed to be there up to now, whatever happiness you have believed to be worthwhile is completely worthless. All those phenomena are not permanent, they are not enduring, they change moment by moment, their very nature immediately changes, and because they are changing phenomena you cannot rely on them, they are not a valid bases of reliance. You cannot rely upon those perfections, that happiness as their nature itself is actually suffering. The basic situation is that you are being deceived. What appears to you to be happiness, as something desirable, is impermanent. It will change eventually. The nature itself of that phenomena will manifest as suffering, and you will be deceived . No matter where you are in cyclic existence, this is the basic reality.
When this thought comes clearly into your mind to the point that you do not wish for a second for those perfections, that happiness which you have been seeking up to now, because you can see so clearly that the nature is deceiving, and the uncontrived thought of freeing yourself from such conditional existence is strong and continual, then you have generated Renunciation, the thought of Definitive Deliverance. This is an extremely powerful condition in itself. Even if you are not able to progress into the next step which is Bodhicitta or the realisation of Emptiness, you will somewhat change within yourself. You will attain a very strong courage, your mind will be empowered with courage and you will have such a strength in practising the three higher trainings of morality, concentration and wisdom.If you recognise the disadvantages from the depth of your heart of the nature of the suffering of cyclic existence, then definitely you will generate a very strong wish to free yourself from it. It will come very strongly and spontaneously. At that moment you will really search for the root "What is it? What is it that keeps my mind bound in cyclic existence? What is the major obstacle in my life? What is it that I have to eradicate? What type of path do I have to undertake in order to free myself? What is the nature of such a liberation?" This enquiry will come very strongly and very piercingly. It is like a scientific investigation. It is like you have to determine a specific type of phenomena, and once you have a specific kind of phenomena, then you proceed to try so many ways in which to really probe the nature in depth.
Once you have seen so clearly the disadvantages of cyclic existence you will want to get out. You can't possibly think of anything else. Twenty four hours a day you are searching for a means to get out of cyclic existence, and in this process you will come to understand in depth what is the nature of existence, what it is that you have to abandon, what type of path you have to undertake, what practice you want to cultivate and the result that you want to achieve. This will come very very powerfully, and therefore the strength of practising what is called the three higher trainings, the higher training of morality, the higher training of concentration, and on the bases of these two, the higher training of wisdom which is the ultimate means of uprooting cyclic existence. If you reach the point of such a mind of Renunciation, then even if you don't develop those higher paths such as Bodhicitta and so forth, your mind will really be set in the Dharma. A path the path will sort of open up in your mind, and you will enter it, and that itself is very very powerful. Without thinking of something higher, just the spontaneous realisation of that will be extremely powerful
It also becomes the very special cause of great compassion.
- When you analyse thoroughly the condition of suffering of cyclic existence that you yourself are experiencing, when you deeply understand the depth of your own suffering, it is called renunciation.
-- Tsong Khapas's "Three Principals of the Path", by Venerable Ribur Rinpoche, FPMT Root Institute)
- When that thought is swapped for others, for all other sentient beings, that is the thought of compassion, that is the great compassion.
Sometimes, especially when there are rough spots in our path, we may find that our unspoken intention is really simply to escape the misery of cyclic existence, or in any particular situation, the misery of that situation.
At those times, while continuing to practice the disciplines that lead to individual liberation, it is extremely important to continue to generate this enlightened intention and not to give up on sentient beings, not to give up or abandon the intention to assist all beings to liberation. For as the great Tsong Khapa wrote,
"If the thought definitely to leave cyclic existence is not conjoined with the generation of a complete aspiration to highest enlightenment, it does not become a cause of the marvelous bliss of unsurpassed enlightenment. Thus, the intelligent should generate the supreme altruistic intention to become enlightened."
(i.e. I think it is absolutely essential for us to have loving kindness towards others.
There is no doubt about this. Loving kindness is the essence of bodhicitta, the attitude of the bodhisattva. It is the most comfortable path, the most comfortable meditation. There can be no philosophical, scientific or psychological disagreement with this. With bodhicitta, there's no East-West conflict. This path is the most comfortable, most perfect, one hundred percent uncomplicated one, free of any danger of leading people to extremes. Without bodhicitta, nothing works. And most of all, your meditation doesn't work, and realizations don't come.Why is bodhicitta necessary for success in meditation?
- Because of selfish grasping. If you have a good meditation but don't have bodhicitta, you will grasp at any little experience of bliss: 'Me, me; I want more, I want more.' Then the good experience disappears completely. Grasping is the greatest distraction to experiencing single-pointed intensive awareness in meditation. And with it, we are always dedicated to our own happiness: 'Me, me I'm miserable, I want to be happy. Therefore I'll meditate.' It doesn't work that way. For some reason good meditation and its results -- peacefulness, satisfaction and bliss --- just don't come.
From the Western, materialistic point of view, we'd think it was great if a rich person said, 'I want to make charity. I'm going to offer $100 to everybody in the entire world.' Even if that person gave with great sincerity, his or her merit would be nothing compared with just the thought, 'I wish to actualize bodhicitta for the sake of sentient beings, and I'll practice the six paramitas as much as I can. That's why I always say, actualization of bodhicitta is the most perfect path you can take. ...
- Also, without bodhicitta it is very difficult to collect merits. You create them and immediately destroy them; by afternoon, the morning's merits have gone. It's like cleaning a room and an hour later making it dirty again. You make your mind clean, then right away you mess it up - not a very profitable business. If you want to succeed in the business of collecting merits, you must have bodhicitta. With bodhicitta you become so precious - -like gold, like diamonds; you become the most perfect object in the world, beyond compare with any material things.
Well, the best dharma practice, the most perfect, most substantial, is without doubt the practice of bodhicitta.
- You can prove scientifically that bodhicitta is the best practice to do. (i.e. That is why democracy is the best system. And in the same way, "taking into account interdependence" is why science is more efficient than other methods. But still , thare is no absolute, only adapted skillful means / conventional truths -- no absolute political system, no final theory in science -- the Middle Way between total chaos and total determinism.)
- Our self-cherishing thought (i.e. thinking we exist independently of others, in opposition to others, competing with them) is the root of all human problems. It makes our lives difficult and miserable (i.e.because it is a mistake, because it is not in accord with reality; so it always bring deception and suffering as the consequences of the mistakes).
- The solution to self-cherishing, its antidote, is the mind that is its complete opposite -- bodhicitta. (i.e. taking into consideration the interdependence, the fact that we are not separate or different, but still not the same as others, is way more in accord with the non-dual real nature of reality, so it doesn't bring the consequences of deception and suffering, but bring more success, calm, happiness. That is quite normal. Loving-kindness and compassion are more "in tune" with the real nature of everything, with our real nature, our Buddha-nature.)
- The self-cherishing mind is worried about only me, me -- the self-existent I. (i.e. piling up mistakes on top of mistakes)
- Bodhicitta substitutes others for self. (i.e. Exchanging unwholesome actions -- mistakes--, for wholesome actions that are more in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything. But still there is no absolute wholesome actions that are absolutely causing Enlightenment, because Enlightenment is not "caused", not "dependent", not "impermanent".)
If you want to be really, really happy, it isn't enough just to space out in meditation.(i.e. like trying to develop only dhyanas, or emptiness, while rejecting the world, while dropping everything. The MIddle Way is not accepting the world for what it appears to be, not rejecting it completely as if totally non-existent, meaningless, useless.) Many people who have spent years alone in meditation have finished up the worse for it. Coming back into society, they have freaked out. They haven't been able to take contact with other people again, because the peaceful environment they created was an artificial condition, still a relative phenomenon without solidity (i.e. dhyanas are dependently arisen, thus impermanent, merely temporary relief. Only the wisdom seeing the real nature of everything can really liberate us.). With bodhicitta, no matter where you go, you will never freak out (i.e. because you learn to understand the real nature of everybody and to deal with the interdependence, instead of completely hiding from reality). The more you are involved with people the more pleasure you get. People become the resource of your pleasure. You are living for people. Even though some still try to take advantage of you, you understand: 'Well, in the past I took advantage of them many times too.' So it doesn't bother you.
Thus bodhicitta is the most perfect way to practice dharma, especially in our twentieth-century Western society (i.e. with its democracy, and freedom of thinking). It is very, very worthwhile. With the foundation of bodhicitta you will definitely grow.
If you take a proper look deep into your heart you will see that one of the main causes of your dissatisfaction is the fact that you are not helping others as best you can (i.e. it is because we are making the mistake of assuming that we are really existing different or separate, and in opposition to others, and that we have to compete in order to maintain our integrity. That is one extreme. The other extreme would be to think that we are "one", absolutely the same.). When you realize this you'll be able to say to yourself, 'I must develop myself so that I can help others satisfactorily. By improving myself I can definitely help.' (i.e. the wisdom of discrimination)Thus you have more strength and energy to meditate, to keep pure morality and do other good things. You have energy, 'Because I want to help others.' (i.e. Once we have remove all the stress associated with self preoccupations, there is more energy for the rest.)That is why Lama Tsong Khapa said that bodhicitta is the foundation of all enlightened realizations.
Also, bodhicitta energy is alchemical. It transforms all your ordinary actions of body, speech and mind -- your entire life into positivity and benefit for others, like iron transmuted into gold. ...
As His Holiness the Dalai Lama said recently, if you're going to be selfish, do it on a grand scale; wide selfishness is better than narrow! What did His Holiness mean'! He was saying that, in a way, bodhicitta is like a huge selfish attitude because when you dedicate yourself to others with loving kindness you get a lot more pleasure than you would otherwise. With our present, usual selfish attitude we experience very little pleasure, and what we have is easily lost. With 'great selfishness' you help others and you help yourself; with small it's always 'me, me, me and it is easy to lose everything. ...
The main point, then, is that when you contact Buddhadharma you should conquer the mad elephant of your self-cherishing mind.
In his text Lama Choepa, the Panchen Lama says, ' [i.e. the mistake of] Self-cherishing is the cause of all misery and dissatisfaction, and holding all mother sentient beings dearer than oneself [i.e. taking into account interdependence] is the foundation of all realizations and knowledge [i.e because it is more in accord reality]. Therefore bless me to change self-cherishing into concern for all others. [i.e. to adopt the middle way: not thinking we are different or separate, not to thing that we are the same. And because we are interdependent, we are not inherently existing or independent -- that is wisdom]'This is not some deep philosophical theory but a very simple statement. You know from your own life's experiences without needing a Tibetan text's explanations that your self-cherishing thought is the cause of all your confusion and frustration. This evolution of suffering is found not only in Tibetan culture but in yours as well.
- If the dharma you hear helps you diminish your self-cherishing even a little, it has been worthwhile.
- But if the teachings you have taken have had no effect on your selfishness, then from the Mahayana point of view, even if you can talk intellectually on the entire lam-rim, they have not been must use at all. ... (i.e. It would be like talking about interdependence without ever putting it into practice in our real life; like saying "smoking is bad" all day, while continuing to smoke and making no effort at all to try to stop. De-conditioning has to be done using both knowledge (wisdom) and practice (method). One support the other; we need both together, otherwise it will never work.)
And the Panchen Lama goes on to say that we should look at what the Buddha did. He gave up his self-attachment [i.e. he saw the real non-dual nature of everything with its two inseparable aspects: interdependence and emptiness, and thus was automatically liberated from all attachment to illusion like entities] and attained all the sublime realizations. But look at us we are obsessed with 'me, me, me' and have realized nothing but unending misery. This is very clear isn't it? Therefore you should know clean clear how this works. Get rid of the false concept of self-cherishing and you'll be free of all misery and dissatisfaction. Concern yourself for the welfare of all others and wish for them to attain the highest realizations such as bodhicitta and you'll find all happiness and satisfaction. ... (i.e. It may be "forced" at the beginning, but, because it is in accord with reality, it will become more and more easy, and bring more and more calm, peace, happiness, and energy. It is a skillful means that consist of brigning the result into the path in order to escape the bad consequences of the opposite mistakes, and using the favorable consequences, immediately on the path. It is like a gradual de-conditioning of an addiction.)
The main thing is to have strong motivation. Even if it comes strongly only once, it is extremely powerful. It is very rare to have this kind of thought. A mere flash is so worthwhile; to have it for a minute for a day...
-- Bodhicitta: the Perfection of Dharma, by Lama Thubten Yeshe
As a prerequisite for the successful practice of tantra, the development of bodhicitta is absolutely necessary. ...
Although it is true that bodhicitta is the most important prerequisite for tantric practice, in fact, it is more accurate to say that the opposite is true;
that the purpose of practicing tantra is to enhance the scope of one's bodhicitta.(i.e. Seeing the interdependence and emptiness our own mind by seeking it through various levels of reality that are more and more subtle. Gradually seing the real non-dual nature of all realms of reality, their emptiness and their interdependence. Thus the perfection of Bodhicitta is seen as the perfect Union of Compassion and Emptiness.)
There are so many tantric deities - Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, Tara and the rest - into whose practice you can be initiated; there are so many deities you can meditate upon. But what are all these deities for? What is the purpose of all these practices? It is nothing other than developing and expanding the dedicated heart of bodhicitta. There is really no other reason for all these deities. In fact, all tantric meditations without exception are for the sole purpose of developing strong bodhicitta.
-- from Introduction to Tantra by Lama Yeshe
From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquillity comes from the development of love and compassion.
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else.(i.e. Loving-kindness and Compassion are in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything, including ourselves. All wholesome actions used as skillful means are efficient because they are more and more in accord with Liberation. Unwholesomeness brings suffering because they are not in accord with Liberation, because they are mistakes, bad investments.)
As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but everyone who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!
Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others' suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others.
Interdependence, of course, is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay.
It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others. ...
I believe that at every level of society -- familial, tribal, national and international -- the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion.(i.e. the continuation and perfection of democracy) We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology (i.e. No absolute, only adapted skillful means). All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities (i.e. Loving-kindness and compassion, and other virtues, are already part of our real nature, of our unborn Buddha-nature; it is not something we add from the exterior. The purpose of the path is to make the already existing Buddha qualities to shine through. When we will see the real nature of everything, and act in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything, then we see that we have the Buddha bodies, qualities, and wisdoms).
-- Compassion and the Individual by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Why should we be concerned with other living beings? Because we receive so much from others. For instance, the milk that we drink comes from the kindness of the cows and the buffaloes, the warm clothing that protects us from the cold and wind comes from the wool of sheep and goats, and so forth. These are just a few examples of why we should try to find a method that can eliminate their sufferings.
- First we should develop mindfulness of our own suffering;
- then we should extend this mindfulness to all living beings. Consider how all beings do not wish to have any suffering, yet are caught in a suffering predicament. This type of thinking leads us to compassion.
- If we do not develop the wish to be free from all our own suffering, how can we develop the wish for other beings to be free from theirs? We can put an end to all our own suffering, yet this is not ultimately beneficial.
- We should extend this wish to all living beings, who also desire happiness. We can train our mind and develop the wish for everyone to be completely parted from their sufferings. This is a much wider and more beneficial way of thinking.
No matter what type of practice we do -- the recitation of mantra or any kind of meditation --This will naturally bring benefit to ourselves as well. Our ordinary life situations can give us an appreciation of this.
we should always retain the thought, "May this benefit all living beings."
The thought to be developed in our mindstream is, "May everybody be happy and may nobody suffer." We must try to incorporate this into our own thinking through recollecting it again and again. This can be extremely beneficial. Beings who in the past developed this type of thinking are now great buddhas, bodhisattvas or saints; all the truly great men of the world based themselves on it. How wonderful if we could try to generate it ourselves!
- For example, if someone is very selfish and always works for his own gain, he will not really be liked by others.
- On the other hand, someone who is kind and always thinks of helping others is usually liked by everybody.
-- Renunciation by Tsenshab Serkong Rinpoche)
\\¤But can it be established that we can even attain enlightenment?
(i.e. There is nothing complicated about the goal of ABC. It is not difficult to understand.-- Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Teachings, Amitabha Buddhist Centre) First, it is to achieve happiness for future lives. That is the most immediate thing. Next goal is to achieve liberation, to completely end death and rebirth, all the sufferings of samsara --- the oceans of suffering of the hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, sura and asura beings. To completely end suffering and never to experience it again, to achieve ultimate liberation for oneself and also to cause all other sentient beings to achieve this. The third goal, and the most important one, is to achieve full enlightenment, the completion of all qualities and cessation of all mistakes and obscurations. To achieve full enlightenment and be able to lead every sentient being into peerless happiness, full enlightenment, by freeing them from all the sufferings and causes of suffering 3 LEVELS OF MOTIVATION FOR TAKING REFUGETaking refuge is the ground of every path.... Beings are of three kinds.
Lesser people do so fearing the lower realms.
The two intermediate kinds are afraid of the state of samsara.
The greatest have seen all the aspects of samsaric suffering,
Finding others' suffering to be unbearable.
They fear the happiness of a personal nirvana.
In entering on the great vehicle of the buddha-sons,
There are three ways of taking refuge with three kinds of intention.
These are the unsurpassed, the excellent, and the common.
-- commentary on Longchenpa's Great Chariot.
- The lesser, desiring the fruition of samsaric happiness, are afraid of the lower realms. Such persons, when they take refuge with their gods or with the three jewels, do not enter into the doctrine. Even if they enter, they are not Buddhists. Even if they are included among Buddhists and have faith in the three jewels, they are not able to enter the path.
- As for the middle kind, those of the families of shravakas and pratyekabuddhas, afraid of samsara, go to refuge because they seek nirvana as a personal benefit.
- As for the greater kind, having become afraid of peace and happiness, one goes to refuge for the benefit of others.
That which prevents the attainment of enlightenment are
(i.e. The two obscurations: (the two ignorances)
- kleshas -- mental-emotional afflictions -- obstaclle to Liberation -- ignorance about the ego -- delusion-obstructions
- knowables -- cognitive obscurations -- obstacle to oomniscience -- ignorance about outer phenomena -- the nine levels of obstructions to omniscience
-- It is not enough to abandon all unwholesome actions, one has to purify all obstructions to knowledge and their remnants.
-- "A Buddha is someone who has abandoned all unwholesome action, all obstructions to knowledge and their remnants. ... From the point of view of experience, the Dharma is ultimately the abandonment of afflictions and obstructions to knowledge in a being's mental continuum." - from Tibet Exile Site
-- All caused by the mind with ignorance [of the real nature of itself and of everything]
-- This twofold ignorance about the ego (The five skandhas together support the concept of ego) and outer phenomena is the root of all defilements, karma and suffering.. ... ultimately we will understand that there is no difference between the ego and outer phenomena -- Geshe Rabten, The Graduated Path to Libberation
-- the two types of obstructions: the delusion-obstructions and the obstructions to omniscience
-- delusion-obstructions and the nine levels of obstructions to omniscience
-- obstructions to Liberation / to cessation, ...
-- "In the secret mantra, it is maintained that clearing away the two obscurations of the kayas occurs through practicing the two accumulations as upaya and prajna, and therefore this is proclaimed to be a condition." -- C7
-- "The two-fold obscurations Of kleshas and of knowables (obscurations to omniscience)" -- C11
-- "the universal and incidental, obscurations of kleshas and knowables," -- C13
-- The brief explanation contains
an explanation of the remedy that clears away the mental-emotional afflictions - which is the prajna, the intelligence, the wisdom that realizes the selflessness of the individual - and a description of the remedy that clears away the cognitive obscurations, the obscurations to omniscience, which is the prajna that realizes the selflessness or emptiness of phenomena. Finally, there is a description of the remedy for both of these, which again is the prajna that realizes the selflessness of all phenomena.
... And finally, in order to inspire and enable sentient beings to begin to purify the two types of obscurations and to gather and complete in an authentic way the two accumulations - the accumulation of merit and the accumulation of wisdom - the basis for purifying the obscurations and for gathering the two accumulations, which is the primordial awareness of the dharmadhatu, is taught. Primordial awareness is the base from which these activities are accomplished. And this primordial awareness - the inherent, original wisdom of the dharmadhatu - is present equally at the time of the ground, at the time of the path, and at the time of the fruition.
... However, when the kleshas and the cognitive obscurations are all completely cleared away and primordial awareness manifests openly, unobstructedly, when primordial awareness is directly and perfectly realized, then the dharmadhatu is called buddhahood. - From Osel 7.
There are thus two kinds of obscuration-obstacles.
One is the obscuration-obstacle just specified, which prevents the experiencer from seeing the whole, because he becomes ever more engrossed in the abstract models of a world he has created from a specific ("subjective") point of view. The other obscuration-obstacle is the one presented by the pollutants (Tib. nyon-sgrib, Skt. klesavarana). It prevents the experiencer from ever attaining the status of being free, because the pollutants lead him deeper and deeper into the morass of samsara.
The way of seeing has to cope with both kinds of obscuration-obstacles. Maitreya expresses this in the following words:
There are two kinds of obscuration-obstacles:
One by pollutants, one by the objectifiable.
Here (on the way of seeing), all obscuration-obstacles are intended;
Once they have been done away with, (the resulting state of affairs) is claimed to be one of freedom.
- from Guenther 9)
Can you explain how the other mental afflictions
stem, or come out of innate ignorance?
DL: As I said, there are two types of ignorance. The first is a mere obscuration with respect to the status of phenomena. The other is ignorance which misconceives the nature of phenomena. The latter one conceives that phenomena inherently exist, which they don't. Within this misconception of inherent existence, there are again two types: conceptions of persons as inherently existent and conceptions of other phenomena as also such. This division is made by way of a consideration of users of objects and objects used. Within the conception of persons as inherently existent, there are cases of conceiving both one's own self and other selves to truly exist. Viewing the transitory collection of body and mind as a real "I" is a case of viewing your own self as inherently existent. With respect to this view, there are two further types. One is a conception that observes the transitory collection which gives rise to the thought of "I" and conceives it to inherently exist. Another observes "mine" and conceives it to exist in the same way. Now, first of all, one generates a conception of the inherent existence of those phenomena-the mental and physical aggregates-which serve as the basis of designation of the "I." After that thought, the "I" which is designated in dependence on mind and body is conceived to exist in its own right. Then, with that view of the transitory as the cause, one conceives "mine" to inherently exist. As Chandrakirti says, "Initially there is attachment to the "I" - a self - and then attachment to mine." Once there is the class of self, there is the class of other. Once these two classes are distinguished, one becomes desirously attached to the class of self and hateful towards the class of other. From this, are generated all the other problems. For instance, due to the view of the transitory as an "I" which is inherently existent, one generates pride in oneself as superior to others. Then, even afflicted doubt-since it's a case of emphasizing the "I" which might not believe in something (the final reason being that 'I don't believe in such and such')-depends on this. And jealousy. Also, induced by this view of the "I" as inherently existent, are extreme views: views of permanence and views of annihilation. For example, believing that former and later births don't exist or believing that once there is a self that this self will exist forever. So first a phenomenon appears to inherently exist and when it does, its qualities of good, bad and whatever also appear to exist in this way. The mind then assents to that appearance. Since this is an appearance based on a superimposition of goodness and of badness - beyond that which is actually there - one's mind falls into extreme conceptions of genuine goodness and badness and the operation of improper attitudes, which, in turn, generate the afflictive emotions.
JA: Can you describe the mind of a Buddha?
DL: That which prevents the mind from knowing all there is to be known, are called the obstructions to omniscience. With respect to the obstructions to omniscience, there are potencies which are established by the conception of inherent existence and which cause objects to appear as if they inherently or concretely exist. Even though primarily the false appearance of an object is the fault of the subject - the consciousness cognising it - there may be some fault with the object in that it itself is polluted by ignorance or the latencies of ignorance. From this appearance - that of objects as inherently existent - there is the defillement which conceives the two truths to be different entities. Due to this defilement, when phenomena appear, they seem to exist in their own right, thus preventing the appearance of their reality. Similarly, when the reality of an object appears, the object cannot. We're talking about direct perception. When this obstruction to omniscience is removed, however, then while knowing the object one can know its nature and while knowing its nature, one can know the object. One mind can then simultaneously and directly ascertain both an object and its nature. Thus an omniscient consciousness - from the point of view of knowing conventional objects - is a consciousness which perceives the varieties of all phenomena. From the point of view of its knowing the nature of objects, it's a consciousness which knows the mode of being of objects, i.e., emptiness. But it is just one consciousness that knows both. This is a distinctive feature of the omniscient consciousness of a Buddha.
-- From an Interview with HHDL posted on the Usenet.)
Because the wisdom consciousness realizing emptiness has a valid foundation, as one increases one’s knowledge of the understanding of the emptiness of inherent existence, the obscured ignorance factors of one’s own consciousness diminish. Because this wisdom realizing emptiness can be increased limitlessly, finally overcoming ignorance entirely, it is established that enlightenment is achievable. Through taking this logic to heart and acting upon it, one develops a mind aspiring towards the enlightenment of a buddha.
(i.e. This is also just another skillful means, not an absolute. There
is no way to definitively prove the logic of the path to others, because it is beyond
conceptualization, beyond causality space & time. Enlightenment is not
produced, not caused, and thus not impermanent. Only when we become a Buddha
can we really understand fully the path. Until then we need some minimal
faith, but not blind faith; the Middle Way. Until then we can use skillful
means like the one used here, and discernment, to help us develop some faith
on the proposed skillful means. There is no absolute path, only adapted
-- "So whether it is true or not, the way to discover it is through your own meditation, and through your own analysis. It is like tasting honey, how it is sweet - when you actually take it that's when you discover it. It is similar to this." -- Lama Zopa Rinpoche
-- So it cannot be proven on paper, or transmitted like ordinary knowledge, but our own mind can prove it to itself by directly experiencing it on itself, by seeing the progressive results on itself, by directly seeing it own nature more and more clearly / subtlely.
-- Or, there is no way to find an absolute causality, but that doesn't means that there is no causality at all. Emptiness doesn't means complete non-existence. The success of science is a a good indicator of this: no absolute theory -- theories always change -- but science is still quite efficient and usefull. Everything is like that.
-- "Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else." -- HHDL
-- The path is working because it is a gradual succession of adapted skillful means more and more in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything which is beyond any description, any demonstration, any logic, all causality space & time. It is working because it is combining the wholesome methods and virtues with more and more wisdom, thus always combining the two accumulations. It is working because it has been designed by the Buddha who has directly seen this real non-dual nature.)
Tsong Khapa writes:
Every sentient being -- every being with mind -- regardless of how small, including bugs and even microscopic animal life, wants happiness and wants to avoid suffering. Yet limitless numbers of sentient beings are bound in the sufferings of samsara due to actions that are motivated by emotional afflictions, which in turn are based on dualistic perception and dualistic clinging. Therefore, beings are carried by the four powerful currents of birth, aging, sickness, and death, which are brought about by the tight bonds of action (karma).(All ordinary beings) are carried by the continuum of the four powerful currents,
Are tied with the tight bonds of actions difficult to oppose,
Have entered into the iron cage of apprehending self (inherent existence),
Are completely beclouded with the thick darkness of ignorance,
Are born into cyclic existence limitlessly, and in their births
Are tortured ceaselessly by the three sufferings.
Thinking thus of the condition of mothers who have come to such a state,
Generate the supreme altruistic intention to become enlightened.
(i.e. This is from "Three Principals of the Path by Lama Tsong Khapa".
The four powerful currents can also bee seen as the four extremes: existence, non-existence, both, neither; or as realism, idealism of nihilism, dualism or manyness, monism or oneness.)
Good and bad actions (i.e. all dualities, all defilements, all suffering) are brought about by the conception of oneself as inherently existent -- the false view that takes what is transitory as a permanent "I." This misconception of the nature of oneself comes about through the thick darkness of ignorance which conceives that other phenomena, one’s physical and mental aggregates, inherently exist. It is through this process of causation that beings are born in cyclic existence limitlessly and suffer.
\\¤[1. Developing Equanimity]
(i.e. THE TWO BODHICITTA:Arousal of bodhicitta consists of the desireAspiring and entering are like wanting to go and actually going.
Of attaining true buddhahood for limitless sentient beings.
The two kinds are those of
Wishing for this is always joined with application
- aspiration and
Just as volition to move is always joined with moving.
-- Longchenpa's Great Chariot
- The bodhicitta of aspiration is the intention to attain enlightenment.
- Entering is putting that Dharma into practice.
THE THREE BODHICITTA:
It is not enough to wish others loving-kindness and compassion; we must have methods for effecting this attitude. These methods are known as absolute bodhicitta and relative bodhicitta.
- Absolute bodhicitta is a special insight into the pervading nature of emptiness - mind which is clear, profound, indestrucctible, and free from elaboration and afflictive emotions. In Vajrayana system, this realization is known as Mahamudra. Mahamudra is a vast and complex subject, so one needs great purification and dedication to understand and, especially, to realize it. Mahamudra dispels all confusion and clear the mind, like the sky free from all clouds, and lets us see it as it is.
-- Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Bodhicitta
- Relative bohicitta consists of both
- the desire to reach Enlightenment for others, which is called aspiration bodhicitta,
- Having aspiration bodhicitta is that one eagerly wishes to achieve Enlightenment (or the search for the pure wisdom of the Buddha) for the benefit of all sentient beings without discrimination. Wherever there are beings, there are afflicting emotions and karma, and where these exist, there are different levels of suffering. So we must cultivate the determination to free all beings from these sufferings.
- There are four conditions for cultivating the mind of bodhicitta:
- 1. One should see the spiritual master as the Buddha himself : Visualize [the Field of Merit] in front of you a jeweled throne supporting a lotus, sun and moon discs upon which seated the varja master in the state of Buddhahood. He is surrounded by the lineage lamas, and countless Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, yidams, and Dharma protectors. Meditate that all are complete forms of wisdom and compassion.
- 2. One should take refuge in the Mahayana way : Take refuge in the Mahayana way means that one should take refuge until Enlightenment is achieved.
- 3. One should practice the four immeasurable attitudes : They are loving-kindness, compassion, joy for others' peace and happiness and great equanimity.
- 4. [Seven limbs puja] One should make offerings to accumulate merits and wisdom, do purification practice and rejoice in others' virtues. One should request that the wheel of teachings be turned, and that the master not enter nirvana until all beings are enlightened. One should dedicate all the merit of virtue.
- as well as taking the practical steps necessary to do it, which is called the action bodhicitta.
- The action path is reached through the study and practice of the six paramitas. The six paramitas are: generosity, moral ethics, patience, perseverance, concentration and wisdom.
SKILLFUL MEANS TO DEVELOP ASPIRING BODHICITTA [Bodhicitta of aspiring -- the wish]:
using the four preparations (according to Shantideva):
- Knowing the benefits
- The conquest of all great evils
- The attainment of the most sublime happiness
- Bodhitchitta carries with it a special name and meaning
- Transformation of the inferior into the supreme
- The value of the precious bodhitchitta, so difficult to find
- The inexhaustible and increasing fruits of bodhitchitta
- The power of protection from great fear
- The swift and easy destruction of great evil
- Scriptural citations of the benefits of bodhitchitta
- The preliminary limbs of practice (the first 3 of 7 limbs)
- Offering (2) -- Antidote for greed
- Prostration (1) -- Antidote for pride
- Going for refuge
- The declaration of non-virtue (3) -- Confession (purifies negative karma) -- Antidote for the three poisons: desire,, hate, ignorance
- The power of regret
- The power of reliance
- The powe of opponent force
- The power of the promise
- Accumulation of merit
- The preparation practices : (the 4 other limbs of 7)
- Rejoicing (4) (increase of merit) -- Antidote for jealousy, envy, competitivity
- Requesting the turning of the Wheel of Dharma (6) -- Antidote for the negative action of abandoning the Dharma
- Beseeching the Spiritual Guide not to pass away (5) -- Antidote for wrong views and negative actions toward the buddhas & gurus
- Dedication (7) (increase of merit) -- Antidote for to the destructive force of anger
- Training the mind in giving (Generosity)
- Taking the vows (Moral discipline)
- Understanding the methods to develop bodhichitta
- The Four Immeasurables
- Equanimity meditation (Purification of body speech & mind together, the objects of the three Realms, the inseparability of the three realms. Antidote to pride (god) and ignorance (animals), analysis, discrimination. When equanimity has purified pride and ignorance, the wisdom of equality and the dharmadhatu wisdom are established. Svabhavikakaya, the unchanging vajrakaya and the kaya of the manifestation of enlightenment manifest.)
- Meditation on kindness (Purification of speech, the objects of the form realm. Antidote to aggression (hell beings). After kindness has transformed aggression into the mirror-like wisdom, one attains sambhogakaya. )
- Meditation on compassion (Purification of mind, the objects of the non-form realm. Antidote to desire, attachment, passion (humans), greed, miserliness (hungry ghosts). Compassion pure of desire is discriminating awareness wisdom and dharmakaya. )
- The meditation of joy (Purification of body, the objects of the sense realm. Antidote to jealousy, envy, competitivity (jealous demi-god, asuras). By immeasurable joy one attains the all-accomplishing wisdom, whose nature is perfect buddha activity. Purifying jealousy makes nirmanakaya manifest.)
- The realization of the sevenfold cause and effect instruction by Shantideva (eight steps)
- Préliminary: Meditate on equanimity : First you have immeasurable equanimity
- Recognition of all sentient beings as one's mother : then recognising all sentient beings as mother,
- Remembering the kindness of all mother sentient beings : recollecting their kindness
- Repaying this kindness : and the wish to repay their kindness.
- Affectionate love : On the basis of this you have the love which sees the beauty of sentient beings,
- Great compassion: great compassion,
- Superior intention: then the extraordinary intention or universal responsibility
- The mind of enlightenment, bodhitchitta : and then the effect which is Bodhicitta.
- Exchanging self and other by Tchekhawa
- Developing Equanimity
- The Disadvantage of Self-Cherishing : recognising the disadvantages of egoism
- The Advantage of Cherishing Others : recognising the advantages of altruism
- Exchanging Self with Others - Toglen: Taking and Giving
- Meditation on Bodhicitta
- Lamrim (when these two streams of instruction are combined - as presented in this article)
- Some centuries ago, Lama Tsong Khapa appeared in Tibet and did he did something special. He put together the two instructions, seven cause and effects and exchanging self for others into a single method which is composed of eleven steps to develop the mind in Bodhicitta. This still remains the very uncommon, peculiar tradition for training the mind in Bodhicitta which is unique to the lineage of Lama Tsong Khapa. So when you actually undertake the practice of Bodhicitta you do it on the bases of the eleven gradual steps as combined by Lama Tsong Khapa.
- See the steps above.
- The Eight Verses of Thought Transformation (lojong) by Geshe Langri Tangpa
- See the verses bellow
- The 37 Bodhisattva's practices
- See the verses bellow
- As well, there exists the uncommon vajrayana method of enhancing compassion, which is meditation upon the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara or Chenrezig (OM MANI PADME HUM)
The three causes of arousing bodhicitta are:
* * *
- faith with the Buddha as its object,
- compassion with sentient beings as its object,
- and hearing the benefits of bodhicitta.
Eight Precepts of Bodhichitta
* * *The 8 precepts are taken to prevent the aspiring mind from degenarating in this life and in all future lives-- Shantideva
For the sake of this life one vows :For the sake of preventing the aspiring mind from degenerating in future lives, one vows :
To recollect frequently the benefits of bodhichitta To generate bodhichitta 3x-3x Never to abandon the intention of benefiting sentient beings To accumulate a wealth of merit & wisdom Not to deceive one's teacher, abbot or preceptor Not to dissuade others from practising virtue, either by not rejoicing in their virtuous actions or by causing them to regret the virtuous actions they have already performed To avoid criticizing those who have entered into the mahayana family in general and actual bodhisattvas in particular To avoid deceiving any sentient being
To develop the strength of bodhicitta, one should
* * *
-- Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Bodhicitta
- Practice the two accumulations (merit and wisdom).
- Practice the bodhicitta attitude constantly through loving-kindness and compassion.
- Repeat the bodhisattva vow at least once a day.
- Recollect the discipline.
- Avoid the four negative actions and develop the four positive actions.
- The four negative actions are:
- lying to a spiritual master or other realized beings,
- causing regret or doubt in others' virtuous actions unnecessarily,
- abusing other bodhisattvas
- and deceiving other beings for one's own profit.
- The four positive actions are
- not lying to master or to other realized beings even at the risk of one's own life,
- establishing all sentient beings in virtuous Mahayana behavior,
- seeing all the bodhisattvas as the Buddha and making known their good qualities everywhere
- and selflessly benefiting all beings with pure motivation.
SKILLFUL MEANS TO DEVELOP ULTIMATE BODHICITTA [Bodhicitta of entering / practicing Bodhicitta]:
- Guarding the mind with mindfulness and alertness
- There is no point in engaging in the many different practices of dharma if we do not guard our mind well. But what eactly is to be guarded? It is the consciousness of each of our physical and mental senses : the eye, year, nose, tongue, body and mind. For exemple, by preventing our attention from wandering to those visual objects that cause attachment, anger or other delusions to arise. .. from distracting sounds that foster delusions ... all should be kept in check and prevented from wandering towards what is unwholesome. The most important one is the mind itself. Because if we gain control over our mind there are no external stimuli that can possibly harms us. Gaining this control is especially important during our meditational practices, most specifically when we are trying to develop deep concentration. If we do not learn how to guard our mind properly, we shall not receive results from even the most advanced dharma practices. Even more important if we are with irreligious people.
- The method of guarding the mind is to practise mindfulness and alertness.
- How to practise moral discipline by means of mindfulness and alertnes : The three types of morality:
- The moral discipline of restraint
- The moral discipline of gathering virtue
- The moral discipline of benefiting sentient beings
- Practicing the Six Paramitas - the three trainings - UUNITING METHOD AND WISDOM
- METHOD: The training in supreme discipline
- Generosity - vs. Miserliness, avarice, craving, greed, selfishness and egoism - Giving is a mental training and involves acquainting ourselves with the thought of giving without desiring anything in return. This perfection is not aimed at eradicating external poverty but at eradicating our own internal misereliness. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- Material generosity perfects the accumulation of merit
- Dharma-generosity the accumulation of wisdom
- The perfection of giving: It consist of giving everything, to everybody without discrimination, without any regret, without expecting anything in return, without any restriction of timing, while realizing the emptiness of the three obstructions of an "I" who gives, an "other" who receives and a valuable object which is given. Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- Moral discipline - vs. Unwholesome actions - Moral discipline refers to a mind that has abandoned all non-virtuous actions. It is the maintenance and guarding of this mind that constitutes the true observation of moral discipline. Once the mind has become completely accustomed to abandoning every trace of non-virtue and transgression of vows, it has achieved the perfection of moral discipline. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- The perfection of morality: practicing morality while realizing the emptiness of the three: beings, offense, precept. Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- Patience - vs. Anger - Only by defeating our own anger can we overcome those who would harm us. It is easier to cover our feet with leather, than to cover the whole world with it. In a similar manner, it is far better simply to control our own anger than to try to defeat our external foes. Abandoning anger depends upon training the mind. It depends on familiarizing our mind with the willingness to endure the pains and discomfort of suffering. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- The patience of voluntary enduring, with acceptance & joy
- The patience of definitively thinking about the dharma
- The patience of not retaliating / "the intuitive tolerance of the ultimate incomprehensibility of all things" or "the conformative tolerance of ultimate birthlessness" -- from Vimalakirti Sutra
- The perfection of patience: One does not perceive any dharma of patience. One does not perceive one's own person. One does not perceive a person who is scolding and subjecting one to insult. One does not involve oneself as an actor in any of the dharmas. Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- METHOD: Training the mind in meditation
- Effort - vs. Laziness, distractions, discouragement - In order to generate a sufficiently powerful and concentrated state of consciousness to achieve such an extraordinarely rebirth we need to train our mind with great perseverance and diligence. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- The perfection of effort: The vigor of the bodhisattva takes the wisdom of the reality aspect as foremost as he carries on the practice of the six paaramitaas. This is what is meant by the bodhisattva's paaramitaa of vigor. Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- Concentration - vs. Distractions, obstacles to concentration: busy-ness, wildness, or scattered attention, sleepiness, torpor, or sinking(as a perfection) concerns training the mind so that it remains focused upon an object of our choice. When this concentration becomes effortless and completely unwavering the state of tranquil abiding can be attained. Reciting mantras, prostrating, fasting and so forth are all practices that can generate a great deal of positive energy. But if our mind wanders during these practices, they will be without benefit or meaning. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- The Middle Way in meditation: not grasping, not rejecting; not forcing the mind, not letting it go wild.
- The perfection of Shamatha is to unite it with Vipashyana (Insight). Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- The perfection of meditation is: no meditation, no distraction.
- "The relationship between the generation and completion stages in the vajrayana is very similar to the relationship between shamatha and vipashyana in the sutrayana." -- "Essentially what you attempt to do here is rest in an awareness of buddha nature, which means to rest in the recognition of the empty nature (~2) and manifest lucidity (~1) of your mind."
- WISDOM: The discipline of prajna
- Wisdom - vs. Ignorance - is necessary to uncover the sublime secret of the mind, the most significant of all dharma realizations : the emptiness of true existence. To gain this subtle understanding and realize the wisdom of emptiness depends mainly upon our mental effort. It depends entirely upon our mind.
- The three wisdoms :
- the wisdom arising from learning or learning by hearing
- the wisdom arising through contemplation
- the wisdom arising from meditation
- Meditation on the nature of things is simply seeing your mind as it is.
- The perfection of Vipashyana is to unite it with Shamatha. Uniting method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. Planting the seed for the two kayas.
- The essence is that knowables are realized.
- "Thus all the appearances of outer and inner dharmas are like the reflection of the moon arising in water. What is without an essence appears as variety. -- Meditate like that, knowing that the dhharmas of samsara and nirvana are natureless. Things appearing as external variety are actually within the insight of non-existent arising. If the mind lets these two rest without emanation and gathering, not perceiving any dharmas other than that, the mind enters into a sky-like state. This absolute space of subsiding is the perfection of prajna."
- "It is a cognition without object, a cognition that is recognizing or experiencing itself. "
- As for the way of practicing,
- practice generositywith no hope of complete ripening.
- Again and again in this samsaric realm guard discipline that does not aspire to the higher realms.
- To endure everything patiently, meditate on patience.
- Exertion gathers all these virtues together.
- Meditationeliminates ideas of the formless realms.
- Prajnashould be established non-dually with upaya.
- The perfection of the six paramitas are achieved when they are practiced without seeing the three: subject, object, action. Combining both method and wisdom. Gathering the two accumulations. The Middle Way: not accepting, not rejecting. No absolute, only adapted skillful means.
- Without conceptualizing the three spheres of actor, action, and object, the thought of giving one's possessions to another, along with the seed of virtue, is the perfection of generosity. Its action is to pacify the poverty of others.
- Without conceptualizing the three objects, thoughts of abandoning the faults of samsara and nirvana, along with their seeds, are the perfection of discipline. Its action is to eliminate obstructions.
- Without conceptualizing the three objects, bearing harm and weariness and not being afraid of their nature is the perfection of patience. Its action is agressionlessness.
- Without conceptualizing the three objects, joy in virtue is the perfection of exertion. The action is that merit increases.
- Without conceptualizing the three objects, one-pointed mind is the perfection of meditation. Its action is that the kleshas are pacified.
- By not conceptualizing the three objects, realization of the nature of dharmas becomes the perfection of prajna. The action is that knowables are realized and, that one is liberated from samsara.
- These paramitas have four virtues.
- By envisioning enlightenment as the benefit for others they are vast.
- By establishing true goodness and loftiness, they are precious.
- By transcending the world, they are without materialism.
- By the increase of merit, they are inexhaustible.
-- from various sources
- Taking the vows
- see bellow
Bodhisattva's morality & vows
The two types of Bodhicitta are: aspiring Bodhicitta and engaging Bodhicitta.
All the trainings of a Bodhisattva are included in the three moral disciplines of the Mahayana:
- To stabilize the aspiring Bodhicitta we take the eight precepts of aspiring Bodhicitta. (see above)
- When we take the actual Bodhisattva vows, (see bellow) we generate engaging Bodhicitta and engage in the practice or the six perfections.
-- Guru Puja - Reviewing the stages of the path, a commentary on ...)
- the moral discipline of restraint -- avoiding the 18 roots and 46 secondary downfalls
- the moral discipline of gathering virtuous Dharmas -- practicing the six perfections
- the moral discipline of benefiting other sentient beings -- in accordance with their wishes
As for mantra discipline, in addition, the karma and kleshas involved in ordinary grasping are abandoned, and in the two stages of meditating in the stages of development and fulfillment, one is made into a worthy vessel.
- At the time of the vows of personal liberation there is no opportunity of properly committing faults of the nature of the ten non-virtues.
- In the bodhisattva vow seven can be committed to benefit others.
- Mantra depends on the skillful means of non-abandoning or non-renunciation. As fire arises from wood, this cause of the arising of wisdom is produced only by that profound path.
TWO TYPES OF MORALITY CORRESPONDING TO THE TWO BODHICITTA:
- To guard aspiring bodhicitta one has to know what to accept (like the discipline of gathering virtue), and what to reject (like the discipline of restraint). But it is already more subtle than the ten unwholesome actions vs the ten wholesome actions.
- Abandoning the four black dharmas;
- practicing the four pure white dharmas.
-- from the commentary on Longchenpa's Great Chariot)
- Guarding the Mind of Entering: Like the discipline of benefiting sentient beings -- Always checking our bodhicitta motivation before doing anything. It is the motivation of the actions of body and speech that is the most important point. Doing something for our own benefit is a downfall; doing it for the benefit of others (as an adapted skillful means to help them to ultimately gain Liberation) is positive and should be done whenever possible. But unwholesome actions of the mind are never good -- they can never be compatible with the real nature of everything, with seeking the truth. -- No absolute, only adapted skillful means. There is provisional meaning and true meaning in any teachings. -- There is no absolute distinction between unwholesome and wholesome actions of the body and speech. It is always relative, and any skillful means should be evaluated in the context of being able to ultimately see through all conditioning, and to transcend it all. To be more wholesome and useful, a skillful means has to be more in accord with the real non-dual nature of everything, conductive to bringing more peace and happiness [more virtues, concentration, merit and wisdom], and necessarely adapted to intended patient, to his level or capacity. It has to be acceptable to the patient, otherwise he will reject the whole thing. And it is even better if it is combined with a teaching on the emptiness of the method itself, in order to combine the two accumulations of merit and wisdom. So, from a certain point of view, all actions, all methods, are unwholesome, provisional, impermanent, unsatisfactory, empty. And that is fine. If they are combined with wisdom, then all apparent unwholesome actions are self-liberating. In the Middle Way: there is nothing to accept, nothing to reject. So we should not grasp at any wholesome method, or feel offended by any unwholesome one, or reject everything because everything is relative. -- The whole progressive path is a sequence of adapted skillful means more and more subtle, more and more close to the real non-dual nature of everything, by combining a more and more subtle wisdom to the adapted methods.
The first step in this combined practice is to develop equanimity. Imagine three different sentient beings in front of you -- a friend, an enemy, and a neutral person -- and then intentionally generate the usual thoughts of desire, hatred, and a sense of neglect that you have for them. Then think about why you desire the friend, why you hate the enemy, and why you neglect the neutral person. In time it will become clear to you that you hold these attitudes because the friend helps you and the enemy harms. But if you think more carefully, you will see that a friend in an earlier part of one’s life can easily become an enemy at a later time, and vice versa. Moreover, in the course of a beginningless continuum of lifetimes, there is no certainty that particular beings have either been just friends or just enemies. Thus you will come to see clearly that your friend has been or could become your enemy and that your enemy has been or could become your friend, and that the neutral person can also have been or might become both friend and enemy. Thinking in this way, one comes to see that there is no reason to get too excited one way or another towards these beings, and in this way one accomplishes equanimity.¤[2. Recognizing that all Beings are as Precious as our Mothers]
The next step then is to recognize all beings individually as the best of friends. Traditionally, it is taught that you should recognize all beings as having been your mother in previous lifetimes and as having been extremely closely connected to you. There are said to be four modes of birth: birth from a womb, birth from an egg, birth from heat and moisture, and instantaneous birth, as when one is born in a pure realm. It is necessary to have a mother to be born from a womb or from an egg, and since one’s birth has been cyclic and beginningless, and therefore infinite in number, it is necessary to have had an infinite number of mothers. Thinking in this way, reflect on the three beings that you are visualizing in front of you, realizing or thinking that both the enemy and the neutral being have acted, therefore, over the course of many lifetimes, as one’s own mother and/or best friend, and that they have been extremely close to you. If it is not absolutely logically certain, it is at least more likely that over the course of lifetimes they have been in such close friendly relationships with you.¤[3. Remembering the Kindness of Others]
The third step is to develop mindfulness of their kindness-- the friend’s kindness, the enemy’s kindness, the neutral person’s kindness -- when they were your mothers. For this, imagine your mother in this life in front of you and reflect on how she took care of you with such great care and kindness and sustained you when you were a little child: how she bore you with discomfort in her body, suffered the pangs of birth, nursed you, cleaned you, dressed you, taught you to walk and to talk, introduced you to the world and educated you, and loved you in so many unthinkable ways, valuing you as much as or more than she valued her own life, willing even to give her own life for you if necessary. Then extend the understanding of this kindness to every other sentient being.¤[4.] The fourth step is to develop special mindfulness of kindness. [ -- by reflecting upon interdependence and the six paramitas]
This is to reflect that sentient beings have been kind to us and are kind to us not only when they have been our friends, but that, irrespective of being our friends, they have been either directly or indirectly extremely kind.¤[5.] The fifth step is to develop the intention to repay the kindness of all sentient beings.For instance, in our ordinary lives, no matter what we use to sustain our life -- food, clothing, shelter, and so forth, medicine, educational opportunities, protection, etc. -- these all come to us by way of the kindness of other sentient beings. When one considers the immense amount of intelligence and care that has gone into crafting all the things we use and live amongst, down to the finest details -- the intelligence that created the washers, the spigots, the light bulbs, the garden hoses, the refrigerators, elevators, computers, the air traffic routes, and so forth -- when we consider all of this intelligence and care, one sees that limitless numbers of people have been indirectly very kind to us.In order to attain happiness, liberation, and buddhahood for ourselves and others, it is important to accumulate merit, which is done in relation to other sentient beings, especially when we help other sentient beings. Thus it is in dependence on other sentient beings that we accumulate great merit, and without other sentient beings it would be impossible to do so.
Thus, without other sentient beings as objects of one’s observation and activity, it would be impossible to engage in these powerful forms of virtue. But then one might object that these other beings do not necessarily have any motivation to be kind or to help one, and that, therefore, there is no reason for developing a sense of their kindness.
- For instance, with regard to generosity, gifts must be given to someone else.
- The ethics of refraining from harming others must be observed in relation to other sentient beings. This training that we are now engaged in, one-pointedly generating and strengthening an altruistic attitude, must be done in relation to and dependent upon other sentient beings.
- And of course, other sentient beings are needed for the practice of patience. In this regard, of course, enemies especially provide a great service for us. This is explained very beautifully in Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
- Moreover, the great effort and exertion of bodhisattvas come about as a consequence of their taking cognizance of the limitless types of suffering of limitless sentient beings. Thus it is on the basis of other sentient beings that they develop their great effort.
- Similarly, the concentrated meditation and wisdom of bodhisattvas is dependent upon their concern for others. The fact that their meditative concentration and their wisdom become so powerful is due to their being conjoined with the force of one-pointed altruism toward other beings. The great practitioners, the arhats and arhatis, of the lesser vehicle–the hinayana -- are said to develop extraordinary meditative stabilization, which is a union of calm abiding and superior insight, of shamatha and vipashyana. However, through that union they can achieve liberation from cyclic existence only for themselves. Why is that? Because their wisdom consciousness is not enhanced with the factor of altruism, of one-pointed dedication to the welfare of others. Because the motivation of hinayana practitioners is confined to self-liberation, it does not take into account the totality of existence, and therefore it is impossible for them to develop omniscience with respect to all phenomena. Thus, other sentient beings are extremely kind and extremely valuable in developing samadhi and wisdom.
However, if that were the case, then, since the dharma -- the dharma of realization, which is the cessation of suffering, and scriptural dharma, which outlines correct paths to enlightenment -- has no motivation to help one, then it would be inappropriate to cherish the dharma, to value it, and to make offerings to it. Therefore, whether the other person or sentient being has a motivation to help one does not make any difference. If it helps one, then that being or thing is to be valued as being kind, and we should be mindful of that kindness.
Shantideva raises the further objection that, though it might be the case that beings or objects with no motivation to help us should still be cherished as being very kind to us, an enemy surely does not have a motivation to help and does surely have a motivation to harm. So how could one reflect on the kindness of enemies? Shantideva answers that it is because a person has harmful intent toward us that they get the name of "enemy," but that it is precisely because of that harmful intent and the actions that arise out of it that we have something with which to cultivate patience. Thus the enemy is very helpful to us and provides a great service to us. If we did not have enemies in the natural course of our lives, in order to learn to practice patience, we would have to go out and hire some enemies. Therefore, the enemy should be thought of as being very kind to us.
That is how we develop special mindfulness of kindness.
If sentient beings are helpful to us even when they are enemies, then what need is there to say that they are helpful when they are kind? If even enemies are kind when they cause harm, what need is there to say that friends are kind when they are helping us?¤[6. Equalizing Self and Others]
Now, it is always the better mode of behavior to repay the kindness one has received from others -- to return something for their kindness.
Then the next step is to equalize self and other. This equalizing is the realization that others are equal to us in wanting happiness and in not wanting suffering. Within this context of both self and others’ wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, what is the difference? We as individuals are only one, whereas others are infinite in number. Thus, for anyone with true intelligence, the greater number of sentient beings is more important than the smaller number. Thus, it would be completely unsuitable for one to use others for one’s own purposes, while it would be completely and entirely suitable and most correct to use oneself for others’ welfare. Thinking in this way, we begin to cherish others.¤[7. The Disadvantage of Self-Cherishing & The Advantage of Cherishing Others]
Then the next step is to reflect on the disadvantages of cherishing oneself. The state of ruination that we are currently in is due to the fact that our conception of inherent existence of ourselves and self-cherishing work together, the one influencing and strengthening the other. It is these two that ruin us and spoil our lives. There is no one who does not consider himself or herself to be important. This is natural in samsara, but we need to consider and reflect on the state that this type of self-cherishing, self-centeredness, and self-importance has led us into. What a mess it has created. If from beginningless cyclic existence until now, we have engaged in self-cherishing and it has brought us into such a mess, is it not then a terrible mistake to continue this self-cherishing? Would it not be better to do something else? Especially when we know that if we cherish others, we will achieve limitless great merit, through the power of which we can achieve great exertion for the benefit of others, which always redounds to our own benefit indirectly?
¤[8. Exchanging Self with Others]
Shantideva wrote that Gautama Buddha and we ourselves were equal in the past in being ordinary sentient beings.
If we look into the reasons why we in our present state are caught in the mess that we are in -- mentally, emotionally, politically, socially, economically, environmentally -- while Gautama Buddha has gotten rid of all faults and become a special being endowed with all good qualities, the reason that one finds is that Gautama Buddha at a certain point gave up self-cherishing and began cherishing others and thereby proceeded to such a high and evolved state, whereas we continue to do the opposite.
We neglect others’ welfare, while principally seeking only after our own, thereby propelling ourselves into further cyclic existence. When one reflects in this way on the disadvantages of self-cherishing and the advantages of cherishing others, one proceeds to the next step of the actual thought of switching self and other.
The name "exchanging self and other" or "switching self and other" is given to the process of switching one’s own attitude of cherishing oneself into an attitude of cherishing others and the attitude of neglecting others into an attitude of neglecting oneself. So we begin to train our selves to do that. This is called exchanging self and other.¤[9. Taking / Developing Great Compassion] The next and tenth step is to take others’ suffering within oneself, emphasizing compassion.
When we think again and again about the sufferings of sentient beings, all of whom we now consider to be extremely dear to us, we naturally develop a wish to relieve them of their suffering and the causes of their suffering. It is helpful at this point to imagine all of these sufferings and causes of suffering of other sentient beings and to draw them into oneself in the form of black light, poison, weapons, or beings of whom one is particularly afraid. One draws them into oneself and absorbs them fearlessly down into the very basis of one’s life.¤[10. Giving / Sharing One's Own Good Fortune with Others]
The next step is to reflect on these sentient beings who want happiness but are bereft of happiness, and through being moved by that situation to develop an attitude of giving to other sentient beings all of one’s own happiness and causes of happiness in the form of physical happiness, resources, and roots of virtue that will bring happiness. One imagines that one is giving other sentient beings one’s own good body, resources, potential for wealth, good health, and long life, and all of one’s roots of virtue. This giving of happiness can be done in the form of imagining light going out from oneself, or as Shantideva suggests, in the form of imagining whatever they want going out from oneself to them. If a person wants a lamp, in the form of a lamp; if a person needs clothing, in the form of clothing; and so on with food, shelter, whatever.¤[11.] At this point one generates a special resolve
When one develops familiarity with this visualization and has practiced it for some time, one can coordinate the visualization with the breath. When one inhales, one imagines that one is inhaling others’ suffering and the causes of their suffering, and when one exhales, one imagines that one exhales one’s own happiness and the causes of happiness. In the process of these visualizations, one thinks that the sufferings of all sentient beings are in this way relieved, and that they are thereby enriched and established in states of happiness and liberation, and one does so with great joy.
Now at this point, this meditation is just imagination. If one wonders whether it is actually possible to bring about others’ welfare in this way, then one should know that what one is doing now is just imagination. But according to the Dalai Lama, at the point of actually developing bodhicitta it is possible to actually bring about the welfare of others.
to take upon oneself, and oneself alone, the burden of bringing about others’ welfare and of relieving their suffering. One develops here a fantastic, strong, and unusual altruistic attitude, which is the willingness to take upon oneself the burden of freeing all sentient beings from suffering and of joining all sentient beings with happiness. One takes this upon oneself alone, so that if there were not another bodhisattva in all the world systems of existence, one would still be resolved to bring about the liberation of all sentient beings single-handedly.¤[12. Bodhicitta]
Developing this vast and unusual altruistic attitude with great force induces the intention to become enlightened for the benefit of all others, which is the actual altruistic mind generation, the actual generation of bodhicitta. One does this because, as the Buddha Shakyamuni said, "The buddhas do not cleanse the ill deeds of sentient beings with water nor relieve the suffering of sentient beings through touching them with their hands, and the buddhas do not transfer their realization to others. Sentient beings are liberated through being taught."When one meditates in this way on these two streams of instruction, over and over again, and reflects on their meaning over and over again from the very depths of one’s heart, one will naturally generate a mind that wishes from the bottom of one’s heart, day and night, to liberate all beings from suffering and to establish them in the state of buddhahood, and one will definitely generate the indomitable intention to attain buddhahood in order to do so.
Sentient beings eventually escape cyclic existence through their own effort through being taught the truth. Thus one needs to prepare oneself to teach others. But if the meaning, the doctrines, and the skillful means that we need to understand in order to teach others are obscured to us, we cannot possibly teach others. Furthermore, what is to be taught to others must be something that is going to help them and be of assistance to them personally and individually. Therefore, one needs to know the interests, the dispositions, the capabilities, and so forth of other beings, both in groups and individually, in fine detail.
That which prevents one from knowing in fine detail what needs to be taught to others, and that which prevents one from knowing others’ interests and dispositions in subtle detail, are the obstructions to omniscience, the cognitive obscurations of mind. Thus bodhisattvas identify as their real enemy their own obstructions to omniscience. Without overcoming the obstructions to omniscience there is no way to bring about the vast amount of help that is needed by the vast ocean of sentient beings afflicted with suffering. It is not sufficient to overcome the kleshas, the afflictive obstructions to liberation from cyclic existence; but, in order to overcome the subtler predispositions that are established in the mind by the afflictive obstructions, it is necessary to overcome those afflictive obstructions themselves first. This establishes the procedure of the path of first overcoming the afflictive obstructions and then overcoming the obstructions to omniscience.
When the obstructions to omniscience have been removed, the next moment, which is a state of being devoid of the obstructions to omniscience, is the state of omniscient awareness of a buddha. Therefore, it is through this type of thought that one generates an attitude, a deep feeling or a deep thinking, that there is no other way for oneself but to overcome the obstructions to omniscience and become a buddha. This mind, this attitude is called bodhicitta, the altruistic mind of enlightenment.
When one cultivates one’s mind in this way in meditation, one cultivates it over the course of months and months, years and years, even over the course of many lifetimes. Though it may seem to take a great deal of time, it is definitely the case that as this meditation is gradually cultivated, the mind is gradually transformed. When one generates even a slight portion of this altruistic attitude, one establishes a cause that will bring about permanent happiness in the future. Even in this lifetime, one’s strength of mind, one’s will, and one’s peace of mind will increase. Therefore, the cultivation of bodhicitta is something that is helpful not only in the long run, but also in the sort run. So it is really worthwhile to make the attempt to cultivate bodhicitta, and to bend one’s efforts to this attempt.
From now onwards, you should try to keep as much as possible in your mind three important thoughts. (i.e. The path is non-dual: we need both method and wisdom together, the inseparable two accumulations)
- First of all, whatever there is in cyclic existence is not reliable, it is deceiving. 'I can't trust it, I can't trust my mind in that', and on the basis of this thought try to develop renunciation as much as possible. (i.e. The Middle Way: not accepting the world for what it appears to be, not rejecting it completely as if completely non-existent, meaningless, useless.)
- Then secondly, 'I, myself alone, must benefit all sentient beings, my mothers. I must take them to Enlightenment. Therefore I must strive to become Buddha in order to benefit all sentient beings'. (i.e. Personal Liberation is not enough; it is absurd to think that we are separate and can be Liberated individually. Exchanging self and other is a skillful means more in accord with the real nature of everything than egoism and personal Liberation. It brings more calm, peace, happiness, and opportunity to see through all conditioning and transcend it all.)
- Thirdly you should think all phenomena, whatever appears, is by nature empty of being inherently existent, is empty of existing by its own nature. All phenomena are Dependently Arising (~1), Dependently Originated. They are empty of existing by their own nature (~2). ...
"All three [objects, subject, action] are empty, not existing on their own,
because they are dependently originated, because they exist by being merely labelled by the mind.
But still that's not to say 'They' don't exist at all." ...
"There is not a single phenomena which exists from its own side, on its own power,
because all phenomena exist by being merely labelled by the mind." ...
"They exist by being merely labelled on the basis of imputation.
They don't exist as such by way of their own nature." ...
"When the time comes that you can perceive simultaneously the appearance of things without this causing their voidness to be obscured to your mind, and their voidness without your mind ceasing to make their appearance dawn, you have directly manifested the excellent pathway mind that perceives everything from the single, integrated point of voidness and dependent arising being synonymous. The attainment of the resultant two unified Buddha bodies comes from the unified practice of wisdom and method, This follows from the fact that all objects have both voidness and appearance [levels of truth]." -- The First Panchen Lama, The Main Road of the Triumphant Ones
(i.e. Transcending the duality existence vs non-existence, the duality dependent origination vs emptiness. The real nature of everything is non-dual: not one, not two; empty but still functional, still appearing; inseparability of appearances and emptiness; inseparability of the Two Truths; inseparability of dependent origination (interdependence) and emptiness -- they are not different or separate, but still not the same -- not two, not one. They are interdependent. One cannot exist without the other. One implies the other.)So these three considerations you should try to build up in your mind as much as possible, continuously, and you should develop your mind in these terms.
-- Tsong Khapas's "Three Principals of the Path", by Venerable Ribur Rinpoche, FPMT Root Institute)
A summary of the seven-fold cause and effect quintessential instructions and the instructions on equalizing and switching of self and other, based on a teaching of His Holiness Tendzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
 Develop equanimity (o) by contemplating the equality of a friend, an enemy, and a neutral person. (i.e. Perliminary to Shantideva's method: sevenfold cause and effect instruction)
 Recognize all beings individually as your mother (1) in previous lifetimes and/or as your best friend.
 Develop mindfulness of their kindness (2) when they were your mother/ best friend.
 Develop special mindfulness of kindness -- by reflecting upon interdependence and the six paramitas.
 Develop the intention to repay the kindness (3) of all sentient beings.
 Equalize self and other (a) -- realize that others are equal to us in wanting happiness and in not wanting suffering, and that the happiness of all others together is more important than our own.
 Reflect on the disadvantages of cherishing oneself (b) and the advantages of cherishing others (c).
 Engender the actual thought of exchanging self and other (d), exchanging cherishing of oneself for cherishing others and neglecting others for neglecting oneself.
 Taking (5-Compassion; e1): Imagine taking others’ suffering into yourself in the form of black light, poison, weapons, or frightening beings, and absorb them all fearlessly down into the very basis of your life (on the inbreath).
 Sending (4-Love; e2): Imagine giving others your own good body, resources, potential for wealth, good health, and long life, and all of your roots of virtue in the form of light or in the form of anything else they might want going out from yourself (on the outbreath). In the process of these visualizations, think that the sufferings of all sentient beings are in this way relieved.
 Generate with great force the resolve (superior intention: 6) to take upon yourself, and yourself alone, the burden of bringing about the welfare and relieving the suffering of all other sentient beings.
 Generate the intention to become enlightened for the benefit of all others (Bodhicitta: 7; f).