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WHAT IS BODHICITTA?
Bodhicitta is a mind (including thought, action, feeling and speech) totally dedicated to others and to achieving full enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings as fully as possible. Bodhicitta is often called the ‘Wish Fulfilling Jewel’, because like a magic jewel it brings true happiness. There are two levels of bodhichitta:
Aspirational bodhichitta is the complete wish to overcome our emotional afflictions and delusions to realise our full potentials to bring all fellow beings to the enlightened state free from suffering.
Aspirational Bodhicitta has two stages
1) Heartfelt wishing to become a Buddha to benefit all sentient beings.
2) Pledging never to abandon this aim until it is achieved.
Developing the wishing state does not involve a pledge. With the pledged state of bodhicitta, we promise to train in five actions that help us never to lose our determination. . The first four trainings determine our bodhicitta aspiration and pledge not to decline during this lifetime. The fifth training determines us not to lose our intention in future lives.
Engaged bodhichitta means engaging in the practices and behaviour that bring about this goal by taking the bodhisattva vows to restrain from actions detrimental to it.
In taking bodhisattva vows the trainee bodhisattva vows to abstain from certain negative acts that would defer the bodhisattva reaching enlightenment and thereby to be of as much benefit to others as is possible. The vows are:
(1) eighteen actions that, if committed, constitute a root downfall
(2) forty-six types of wrong behavior
There are Four Trainings for bodhicitta Resolve Not to Decline in This Life
1) Each day and night, recalling the advantages of the bodhicitta motivation.
2) Remembering, reaffirming and intensifying this motivation by rededicating our hearts to our enlightenment and the enlightenment of others, three times each day and three times each night.
3) Striving to build up positive mental states and deep awareness and wisdom. Benefiting and helping others using all the skills and means at our disposal, as effectively as we can, and doing so with as much deep awareness of reality as is possible.
4) Never giving up trying to help anyone, or at least wishing to be able to do so, no matter how difficult he or she may be.