Teaching by Lama Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
September 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada

It says, "Teaching that the only way to enter the Mahayana is to develop bodhicitta." And this is the beauty, this is the benefit of the bodhicitta practice. Then you can gain the name, you can gain the name "Child of the Buddha." Or in other words, you can say you can gain the name "Son or Daughter of the Bodhicitta." And when you cultivate bodhicitta, you become actually the son or daughter of the Buddha. It says, Shantideva said, I would like to read the translation, Shantideva said in the Deeds of the Bodhisattva, Bodhisattvacharyavatara, "From the moment ?? beings trapped in samsara's prison develop bodhicitta they are given the name Child of the Tathagatas."

From the moment you develop bodhicitta, you meditate on bodhicitta genuinely, you cultivate bodhicitta, then even you are still in samsara, still you are trapped in samsara, you still are not totally free from samsaric conditions -- death, birth, and sickness and so forth -- but when you develop bodhicitta, you are given the name of, name The Child of the Tathagata, or The Child of the Buddha, Son of the Buddha or Daughter of the Buddha. "Today, today I have been born into the Buddha's race. I have become a child of the Buddhas." So this means, when you cultivate bodhicitta, formally, when you take Bodhisattva Vow, and when you keep the Bodhisattva Vow, cultivate it, then you actually become the child of the Buddha. So what does that mean, become child of the Buddha? And this actually means you become closer to Buddha, yourself, to become close to the Buddha. And, in other words, closer to become enlightened, first time. It's like the new moon, the very first new moon, like a new moon. Then, you know, this new moon, tiny, tiny, thin crescent moon, new moon, it's going to become full, it is going to become complete moon. It's going to become full moon after fourteen days, it is going to become full moon. See, when you see the new moon, we call "Shila"(??) moon, crescent moon, then after fourteen days it's going to become full moon. Likewise, when you cultivated the bodhicitta, taking the Bodhisattva Vow, and this is the first, it is like the new moon. And then soon, you will become Buddha.

So you become the Son or Daughter of the Buddha. "You outshine the Shravakas and Pratchekas." You outshine. So naturally you outshine those Hinayanists, the mind of Hinayanists, and mind of the Shravakas, mind of the Pratchekas. And also you become the supreme object of offering. Now of course the person who cultivated bodhicitta and who took Bodhisattva Vow, that person does not wish to become the object of offering. Right? You don't care if people make offering to you or not. The point here is that because you have this precious mind, you have this pure love and compassion towards all beings, therefore this pure love and compassion is shining. People can feel. And naturally people accept, and they accept you as a object of offering. It says you become the object of offerings by man, by humans, and by gods, and even by demigods. Because the bodhicitta is the cause of the Buddha. It is the most important cause of enlightenment and Buddhahood.

"You amass the numerous accumulations of the merit with ease." Because of the power of the bodhicitta, the power of that realization, and then naturally you accomplish all kinds of merit, all kinds of realizations. Because of the power of bodhicitta, accumulation of merit happens naturally. And the same time purifications are happening. It says when you cultivate bodhicitta, if you took the Bodhisattva Vow, if you cultivate bodhicitta, in other words you meditate on the bodhicitta, and it doesn't matter what you do -- while you're eating, or sleeping, or walking, or standing, or talking, or whatever you're doing you are naturally accumulating merit, virtues. Now this means that naturally, whatever you're doing, you're creating good energy. For others. I'm not talking about for you, I'm not talking about for your own sake. Because if you are, as I said, if you are Bodhisattva or you're cultivating bodhicitta, you don't do it for yourself. So the point here is that you don't create negative energy. You don't cause problems for other people. You don't harm others. So instead of harming, you're creating this wholesome energy through your body, speech and mind, through your body language, through your speech, through your eye contact. And whatever you do, you're creating wholesome energy, good energy, good vibration -- for human beings, for animals, for insects, for the trees, for the rocks, for the earth, for the water, for the sky, for the wind, for the fire, for everything. Towards everything, towards all living things you're creating this wholesome energy. And even while you're sleeping you're creating good energy.

And because of that, naturally, on the other side of the coin, the other side, you are purifying unwholesome actions, unwholesome karma, unwholesome energy. And also, at the very same time, all the obstacles of the Dharma path, all the obstacles of meditation, and all the hindrances will be purified. See, because you are cultivating selfless mind, bodhicitta. So hindrances of Dharma practice will be overcome, purified. Most of the time, when we run into problems with the Dharma, when we run into the problems of the Dharma practice, or when we run into the obstacles of Dharma practice, what happens is that because of self-centered mind, ego, our selfish mind, self-centered mind not allowing us to practice Dharma continuously. And also our delusions -- attachment, ignorance, largely ignorance, and delusions, and fear, and confusions -- all those things becomes obstacles for our Dharma practice, Dharma practice for myself and for all sentient beings. And so these obstacles will diminish by the power of bodhicitta.

And also it says whenever you practice Dharma, Dharmic activities, whenever you are cultivating Dharma or Dharma activities, whether it is for oneself or others, whatever practice you do, let's say practice of generosity or ethics or patience or perseverance and samadhi and shunyata and giving protection, working for the welfare and wellbeing and happiness of others. If your motivation is pure, it's not, no self-concern, no self-interest, when there's no self-interest then that practice will remain. The result of that practice, the power of that practice will remain with us all the way until we become Buddha.

In other words many of us, we practice Dharma very hard. We practice generosity, patience and perseverance. But there's always somewhere there's a self-interest, self-centered mind. We mixed up our practice, lot of times mixed up with self-centered mind, or ego-grasping, or self-interest, in other words. It's not pure generosity, it's not pure giving, not pure patience. It is not pure perseverance. Although it appears generosity, patience and perseverance. And we wish to practice pure generosity, pure patience, pure perseverance. We would like to help others without a reward, without expectations. But we are not able to do, we are unable to do perfect Bodhisattva conduct. Because we still have self-cherishing, self-interest. Deep in our hearts there's always self-interest. Why? Because we are born like this. It is our conditioning, cultural conditioning, samsaric conditioning. Samsaric mind, conditioned by the samsaric mind. Me, me, me. Me is first, others second. Instead of others first, me later, later. So there's always self-interest.

So now if you can cultivate pure motivation, pure generosity, pure patience, then that power of that bodhicitta will stay with us. It will benefit so much. It says in the, actually Shantideva's text of the Bodhisattva's Deeds says, "Other virtues is like the planted tree, for it is there once fruited. Bodhicitta is living tree that continues to fruit and grow." It's like some tree, they produce fruit once, once every maybe three years or five years. Some trees like that. Some trees they produce fruit every year, all the time, very hardy wood. Doesn't matter how hot it gets, cold it gets, and always producing fruit. So the bodhicitta is like this. Once you accomplish bodhicitta, and there is the fruit of the virtues always spontaneously or naturally, automatically producing. And it will benefit so many sentient beings.

And it says if you have this bodhicitta, realization of bodhicitta, and let's say you give handful of food to animals, and one or two grain of sunflower seeds you give it to chipmunks, a chipmunk. And that benefit, that merit will stay. It never diminished. It cannot destroy by self-centered mind, cannot destroy by ego or miserliness or attachment. And even smallest Dharmic action, like offering one incense, offering one candle to the altar, or you say one mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM once, or you give a handful of food to animals, even the smallest, that the merit, the benefit will stay with us for a long, long, long time, until we become Buddha. And not only that, the benefit, the good energy and the benefit will grow, constantly growing, multiply, double, triple, always keep multiplying. 

On Onward to Bodhicitta page 4

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