“First, when the precious bodhichitta, the mind of enlightenment, arises, the activities of body, speck and mind will, like base metal transforming into gold, follow in that direction.”
Cultivate it. Impress the mind with the view of loving-kindness, compassion and bodhicitta.
Like base metal transforming into gold -For example, iron is transformed into gold. When in the (state without) bodhicitta, our body, speech and mind activities are just ordinary, samsaric, involved in mental afflictions. But when the bodhicitta is infused in you, that very body, speech and mind becomes a part of bodhicitta. (They become) a path to get free from suffering.
Shantideva said in the Bodhicharyavatara:
Like the supreme alchemy that trasnforms gold, this unclean human body is transformed into the victorious body. One should firmly hold bodhicitta as a priceless jewel.
When ordinary metal meets with alchemy, it transforms into gold; it becomes precious and expensive. Likewise, this ordinary body, the source of confusion, suffering, is transformed into the victorious body like Buddha.
We take refuge and receive blessings. The ordinary sentient beings are down there, they don’t pay attention, when they have no bodhicitta. But when the bodhicitta is cultivated, we ourselves become bodhisattvas. We become Buddhas.
People believe in the world that gold is precious. It is wealth, it is like a jewel. But Bodhicitta is priceless gold, a priceless jewel. It is not just for the benefit of others, but for you, there is great peace and no fear. No matter where you are, there is very little space for negative thoughts like aversion. Like when a sangha member comes here who is confused, suffering terribly, (and feels) lost. But when they come here, and study dharma, they get good benefit. They feel ‘I am a human being,’ breathes the peace, and breathes the joy. Then through study and practice further, others are pulled to that person. You have a sense of peace, and a sense of joy (from that person). It is because of the precious dharma, Bodhicitta. This is becoming a decent human being, a source of peace, a source of hope.
“Thus, one should hear words not just at the relative level, but should nurture a strong feeling of sadness from the depth of one’s mind and heart. One may claim to be a bodhisattva and speak of benefiting others when certain (unfavorable) conditions are not present. But if one is killed, knifed, robbed, or otherwise harmed, or even experiences small things like harsh words or humiliation – in brief, whatever unpleasant conditions one encounters, one’ mindstream is disturbed by hatred, and one may resort to killing others or backstabbing them, holding only one’s own wish dear. When this happens, one is a bodhisattva in name only. “
A strong feeling of sadness… – Look at the suffering of samsara. It is not just you, it is all the sentient beings. Feel the suffering, and feel the sadness. That will inspire you to cultivate bodhicitta.
One may claim they are a bodhisattva – When everything goes well, you are like an enlightened person. But when one faces unfavorable conditions? But if one is killed? Suppose someone comes and kills you, knifes you. Or even in small unpleasant conditions, one’s mindstream is disturbed by hatred, and one is just a bodhisattva in name only. You don’t (really) have practice.
As I have mentioned before, there is a story of Buddha.
Buddha and the Robber
One day Buddha walked through a kind of jungle and met a man, a ruthless killer waiting in that solitary place. Anyone who passes through there he robs, kills. One day, Buddha passed through there, and the man stopped Buddha. He said, “I am going to rob your belongings.” Buddha responded, “I have nothing to rob.” The killer said, “I am going to kill you.” Buddha said “OK. But, a few things first. Can you take all the leaves off this tree?” The man took his sword and proudly did so. Then Buddha said, “Now, can you put the leaves back?” The man was confused. He had no ability to put them back. This was a way to reduce his arrogance and self-aggrandizing nature. He recognized his own limitation. Buddha took advantage of this and said “You have the power to destroy, but none to help. How many people have you destroyed? How many have you helped?” He realized he’d done nothing to help others. So Buddha skillfully taught the robber to think of others like himself. He felt so lost. When he was angry, showing his arrogance, he was disturbed. But seeing suffering in his mind, seeing so much cause of suffering he created, he is real victim of suffering. Through Buddha’s skill, he totally changed his mind. Otherwise, we would try to destroy someone who tried to kill us.
Ngulchu Thgme Zangpo and the Robbers
You know the 37 Bodhisattva Practices? One time the writer of those (Ngulchu Thgme Zangpo) visited a village. They made lots of offerings. Then (his travel companions) put them on a horse and went up a mountain. A group of robbers stopped his entourage. The entourage started fighting. He said “stop, just sit down here. You just meditate, relax your mind.” He told the robbers, ‘You can take all this wealth.” He told his entourage to relax, and listen. He told the robbers: “You just meditate that I am giving this to you all. Meditate joyfully. Don’t think you are robbing. Think ‘you appreciate it, and I give this to you as a gift, as an offering to you.’ Let us practice some dedications. ‘We dedicate this to free all sentient beings from suffering.’ Then, he showed a path (to the robbers): “If you go down this path, it is not so good, my sponsors will beat you. Go this way instead, (it is) a safe way to go.” Everyone became relaxed.
Look into ourselves. It’s difficult, isn’t it?
How much can we do?
How much are we attached to ourselves, our possessions?
When Lord Jitgon Sumgon was there, 100,000 disciples came. Those who had offerings, he accepted. Those who didn’t, he shared offerings with. Everyone had a place, rich or poor. In some monasteries, poor parents send their kids. The monasteries share what they have with them. Not only the wealth, but they provide a place to live and free education. They ask them to read, practice, and understand, and if possible, go to retreat.
(People) in the world, when they are ok, feel good. When depressed, they do not. So practice, bring dharma into (your) heart.
So, (there is) the opening prayer we always say:
“May all sentient beings, limitless as space, especially those enemies who hate me, the misleading mandala of the maras, obstructions who harm me, those who create obstacles on my path to liberation and omniscience, and those who create displeasure in the mind, may they experience happiness, be separated from suffering, and swiftly I will achieve enlightenment.”
Misleading mandala of the maras is a group of misleading demons. It means our (own) negative ill will. Reflect on the mind. Instead of looking outside, look at own mind, and wish they all have happiness. Pacify all negative thoughts. That’s the practice. That’s how to bring peace within us. Otherwise, we may have a mala in the hand, and a mala on neck, but have an angry face and be quarreling.
This is not sign of weakness, it is sign of strength. One not distracted by anger, hatred, and self-centeredness. Share……And appreciate, rejoice. This is how to heal yourself.
(It is) Very simple, it brings all the teachings here. It is how to heal yourself. “May they all be free from suffering.” Just relax; there is enough in the world that disturbs you. This is much more powerful than the nuclear bombs that can destroy whole countries, but can’t bring peace and happiness. This can (bring peace and happiness). If somebody humiliates you, think, “I am so happy, this becomes purification. May I purify all the negative karma because of this.” When you keep your mind in that state, you will see the preciousness of dharma, purity of dharma. Dharma is peace, because dharma is wisdom.
All the joy, strength you receive from this (makes you) want to continue. There is no alternative, no other choice. If there was a choice, of course, we would choose. But it is very clear, (these are) direct methods (of) how to bring peace to oneself, within community.
It is not like writing a piece of paper, a peace agreement, yet they are still fighting. (laughter) This is a practical approach. In the midst of chaos, it is opportunity to dissolve all those confusions into emptiness. We need determination, need strength.
How powerful this practice is! That is called dedication. We don’t dedicate for the wrong cause. We don’t submit ourselves to counterproductive emotions, we submit ourselves to wisdom. We take refuge in the wisdom, compassion. There is no taking refuge in delusion. We have done this enough for a long time!!!! We have not achieved fulfillment (that way). This is altruistic love, compassion.
…swiftly will I achieve enlightenment. Rest my mental afflictions. All our physical, mental obscurations, purify. All the bad habits, purify. All the 10 nonvirtues, purify, and exercise the 10 virtues. On the basis of love, we give rise to compassion and bodhicitta. That is basis. Each word is very profound. This is written from the enlightened mind. Very few words, but very profound.
“One must train in such a mind, giving away one’s body and all one’s wealth and virtue without expectation, meditating persistently on aspiration and action bodhicitta.”
Aspiration and action bodhicitta – When you can do this practice, it is even easy to release everything, since everything is manifestation anyway.
I heard when the stock market crashed in 1929, one man thought he could achieve millions. All his friends and family were so happy. But that day, everything was crushed, dissolved into emptiness. All his friends and family committed suicide. He decided to start again from zero. One day, can be so rich, the next (day), have nothing. But with bodhicitta, from nothing, you become rich, with no attachment or arrogance. When (things) dissolve into emptiness, there is no depression, despair, or feeling of being deprived. That is the practice of bodhicitta.
Giving away your body…– This is not literally, but get some compassion so that you have no attachment to your body. I’m not saying this should be done at the beginning, but this ability will come step-by-step.
This shows power of the mind. How the mind has great power. (The ability to go from) such a fragile mind to the most courageous mind is because of the vastness, profundity of mind. Samsara and nirvana are two sides of one hand. When not realized, samsaric mind is fragile, a self-aggrandized source of suffering. When you can realize this nature, realize these step-by-step, one becomes a source of peace for not just oneself, but whole society. Which one (do) you want to choose? (laughter)
Tomorrow, we will cover tantra practice. But this mind is so crucial as a foundation. Here, can study six paramitas in relation to bodhicitta. In the six paramitas, there is a section of emptiness. We Earlier touched on interdependent nature. This is a very abbreviated form of meditation practice. Do you want to study more? Go to Jewel Ornament of Liberation. Read all those great books, get understanding. This is single point meditation practice
It is like cutting a boundary. Samsara is a cocoon. We are wrapped up, entangled by all the mental afflictions, with no space to move. (There is) no peace, no happiness. This is how to break through that cocoon and achieve that freedom. Relax yourself. Everything is just a reflection of the causality. Like the moons’ reflection in the lake, there is nothing substantial. Causes and conditions are just manifestation. We try to create something concrete. If not from material, then (we try to create something concrete) from dharma. We try to achieve some special (thing) from wrong motivation. (We) need to dispel that motivation, (and instead) develop this unbiased mind. The nature of mind is non-duality, non-biased. Bodhicitta is the consummate method to see that nature. It is the impeccable path to approach our true nature of mind. Appreciate, rejoice, and meditate on this.
(To Be Continued: Yidam Practice)