Appendix A.3. Resolution And Bodhicitta
It was actually very difficult, when I first arrived at the United States, to launch the task of spreading the Dharma. Americans do not understand what Bodhicittal is. They asked me, "Why should one study Buddhism? Why should one become a Buddha? What are the advantages of becoming a Buddha?" They even told me that they just were not interested in becoming a Buddha.
This is indeed a huge obstacle in the spreading of the Buddha Dharma because, to the Americans, a Buddha is just not something with which they are familiar. If they do not understand and are not interested in becoming a Buddha, how will they immerse their hearts in the study of the Buddha Dharma?
I know that, although they do not want to become Buddhas, they are attracted to the culture and philosophy of the East. It is chic to use a few Oriental phrases in one's conversations. Americans are especially enamored with the philosophy of Lao-tze and of Chuang-tze, and the ideas of Taoism. Many have also heard of Buddha Shakyamuni. To such Americans, I would first only talk about the thought of Lao-tze and the living philosophy of Chuang-tze to incite their interest. Then I would introduce them to the Four Noble Truths of Suffering, Origin of Suffering, Cessation, and the Path, as taught by Buddha Shakyamuni. I explained to them the intention behind Buddha Shakyamuni's leaving the palace to become a monk. His cultivation was to find a way to aid the people of this world and to liberate them from suffering. Human existence is afflicted with all kinds of pain and suffering. There are the internal pains, which include the four hundred kinds of physical illness, as well as mental ills, such as worry, anxiety, jealousy, and anger. There are the external pains, which include Nature's calamities such as hurricanes, snowstorms, extreme cold and heat. And then there are sufferings caused by the preying of men on men, such as robbing and thieving, and the preying of wild animals on men, such as tigers and lions.
I then further explained the eight kinds of suffering mentioned in Buddha extras:
The pain of birth - The birth of man is associated with pain. Apart from causing pain to the mother, there is the pain of gestation and the pain of the birth process.
The pain of aging - An elderly person experiences the slowing down of reflexes and motor functions, as well as pain from loss of hearing and eyesight caused by the aging of the organs.
The pain of illnesses - When one is ill, one may experience great pain as well as sudden fever, chills, and bodily and mental fatigue. Such tortures are beyond words.
The pain of dying - When the four great elements2 disintegrate, the consciousness becomes separated from the body, is without a home, and can be in extreme pain.
The pain of separation from loved ones - That of which one is fond will eventually disperse and become separated.
The pain of meeting what one loathes - What one loathes is often hard to avoid.
The pain of disappointment - When one does not get what one desires, there is the pain of frustration.
The pain of the raging of the five skandhas3 - When the clinging to a self through the five skandhas is strong, the cycles of death and birth continue with suffering.
1 Bodhicitta - A concern for the liberation of each and every living being.
In general, the ten kinds of suffering in life are associated with: birth, aging, illness, dying, sadness, hatred, bitterness, worries, anguish, and the transitions from life to death and vice versa.
I often explained to Americans the fact that, in life, one often has no control over one's fate. I hoped to stir them into realizing that all phenomena are impermanent and that birth and death follow each other in cyclic restlessness. Only when Americans become sensitive to these aspects in life will they generate the desire to study and practice Buddhism.
It is quite difficult to ask people in today's world to study Buddhism because they are enchanted with external material forms. They cling tightly to fame, profit, pleasure, even to spouses and children. Sufferings ensue as a consequence of all this grasping.
I told people that they should generate a desire to cultivate, to learn the wisdom in Buddha Dharma, and use this wisdom to treat the many kinds of pain and suffering. They should learn the methods to attain an inner peace of mind and the state of Tranquility and Purity. Slowly I guided them so they could all take refuge in True Buddha School.
It is not easy for even the most enthusiastic new student to maintain diligent, permanent cultivation. It is not uncommon for a Tantric cultivator to succumb to the temptations in this world and give up his vow. Such cases are numerous.
A monk leaving his monkhood is giving up his resolution to cultivate.
A person who has taken refuge but no longer keeps his Tantric practices is also giving up his resolution to cultivate.
A cultivator leaving the environment of cultivation to return to the worldly environment is also giving up his resolution to cultivate.
2 The four great elements in the esoteric system that make up all material things are: earth (solid), water (liquid), fire (heat), and wind (air).
3 This refers to the five elements flowing in us that constitute a personality: form, feeling, perception, intention, and consciousness.
To compete with each other over fame and profit in an environment of cultivation is also giving up one's resolution to cultivate.
I hope all those people who have given up their resolutions to cultivate will reflect on what is Truth, and remind themselves that their nature is originally pure. Why is it that after generating their resolution, they continue to allow themselves to be covered with dusts from this world? Why have they still not awakened to the nature of the phenomena of the world? Why are they still not pure? They need to learn to attain the state of Purity and to clearly recognize the meaning of life.
After generating one's resolution to practice, the next step is to develop the Bodhicitta.
The mantra to develop the Bodhicitta is: "Om, Bodhicitta, Mu-da-da-ya, mi."
This Bodhicitta Mantra empowers the Tantric cultivator, who has already generated the resolution to practice, to have a steel-strong determination to remain on the path until Enlightenment is reached. All bodhisattvas reach the level of Never Receding by reciting this Bodhicitta Mantra.
All True Buddha School disciples should understand the following Bodhicitta Verse:
I, together with all beings in the Dharma Realms,
Take refuge in the Guru, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
Generating benevolence, compassion, joy, and sacrifice,
For the sake of everyone's liberation.
May my body, mind, and speech attain achievements
Such as those of my personal deity*.
Another mantra to develop the Bodhicitta is: "Om, Bodhicitta, be-dza, sa-ma-ya, ah hum."
Either of the two mantras above may be recited equally, as they produce the same merit.
My personal feeling is that it is very difficult to persuade someone to become a Buddhist. It is even more difficult to have this person, after learning the Dharma, to keep up his practice forever. There are just too many cultivators who have given up half way through. Why is this so? The opposing forces of Mara can be strong! A determined student will meet with all kinds of challenges. If he will not let his resolution be swerved, he is a sage.
To be honest, the Holy-Red-Crown-Vajra-Master has experienced tests that have put him through a hundred deaths and a thousand births. The ordeals posed to me are incredible. I am someone who has walked into the Valley of Death and emerged alive.
I have been betrayed by family, friends and students, but have taken these events in stride, without much pain. I have been under the attack of cultivators from all over the world, but this does not affect me at all. When one spits at the sky, the sky is entirely unaffected. I keep my own pace alone amid the crowd of millions. This persevering cultivation, with its bold vision, great breakthrough, and Never Receding Bodhicitta, is a great distillation that remains forever unchanged.
The purpose of life does not reside in fame, profit, nor in spouse, wealth, children, nor status. One has to be able to free oneself from all these limitations. Life's purpose is in cultivation, searching for the Truth, realizing the true wisdom, uniting with the Cosmos' consciousness, and returning to the Ocean of Vairocana - the Great Buddha Ocean of Luminosity. This kind of Enlightenment is most resplendent and admirable.
People of this world, besides resolving to learn and practice Buddhism, should keep their Bodhicitta with a steely determination until they attain the level of Never Receding. Only when they reach this level will they achieve Enlightenment.
Pity on those who turn back on the path of cultivation, for they would only gratify Mara by turning themselves into Mara's snacks!
Here is my advice to the people of the world: Those who have not yet practiced Buddhism, quickly generate a resolution to start the cultivation. Those who have started cultivation, build a foundation of correct faith upon which the principle of Bodhi can be explored. Practice with diligence and determination, and vow not to give up the Bodhicitta until Enlightenment is reached.
Those who do not generate the resolution will remain in the cyclic existence of the Six Realms according to their karma.
Those who generate the resolution, then give it up, will enter the state of Vajra Hell.
Those who uphold their Bodhicitta after resolving to cultivate and never recede will achieve great Enlightenment.
Copyright ?1997 TBSN. All rights reserved.