A Step by step guided meditation on the profound Mahayana text of Bodhicharyavatara by Patrul Rinpoche called “The Sun of Brilliant Clarity”
Now, to go in depth. What are the adverse factors of the paramitas?
Adverse Factors of Paramitas
- For Generosity, the adverse factor is stinginess.
- For ethics, the adverse factor is wayward discipline. This is nicely translated. I like this word “wayward discipline” very much.
- For patience, the adverse factor is anger.
- For diligence, the adverse factor is laziness and self-absorption.
- For Samadhi, the adverse factor is distraction.
- For wisdom, the adverse factor is misguided intelligence.
Now These 6 opposing factors of the paramitas again need to be carefully contemplated. Those of us who have taken bodhisattva vow, when we try to practice paramitas, Human nature assumes that we should bring about some fruition based upon ‘doing something.’ One of the characteristics of the Tibetan word for ‘sentient beings’ ‘drowa’ – one of the important features is said to be a constant urge for action. There is constantly a need to create action and an assumption that without an action, there can be no fruition. We have an assumption that generating bodhichitta must mean DOING bodhichitta, that an action is required. Especially, when teamed up with words like “engagement”, “action” bodhichitta, it orients mind to thinking must DO bodhichitta. Concentration is much more on externally doing things. Leads to carelessness with working inwards.
Patrul Rinpoche emphasized… on “the 1st feature of the impediments is to reflect on the exhaustion of negativities, which is more inward. Absence of stinginess is the paramita of generosity. Generosity isn’t something to do.” But you could BE without stinginess, which itself is generosity.
Where you think discipline is something to do, then this is when people become uptight. Monks and nuns can sometimes become uptight and tense about their discipline. People think, “this is right, this is not right,” and the self become imposed on the disciplines. They don’t see discipline as nurturing of bodhichitta. Instead, the self becomes the sum totality of the discipline. Last year, was a good example, how many of us there had difficulties with monastics? I remember at one point There was a group of monastics seated in the wrong section at Kalachakra last year. Many of you were ushers and were showing people to their seats. Many people who bought tickets made the mistake of coming 5 minutes after monastics. And there were some rather heavy –in many ways- monastics sitting in the wrong seats, focused on their 15 minutes with the Dalai Lama. 5 or 6 people came who were supposed to be seated there, and the nuns were asked to move one seat behind. Not much difference between row 4 and row 5, is there. . ‘His Holiness is still a tiny speck down there!” But now some of the specks move. Some of the monastics wrapped their heads with their shawls. They didn’t want to move. This happens all the time, this is non-uncommon. This we get caught up in who we are. “I am a monk, I am a nun, I am this kind of practitioner – you can’t do this to me! You can’t treat me like that! Where is your respect?” That is a kind of wayward discipline. Arguably, they may hold discipline better. But, if I were to make a choice between a kind person and one holding 256 perfect vows, i would always take a kind person every time. Being with the 256 vows perfect person can be claustrophobic sometimes. Military people do well at discipline: they salute at the right times and bow at the right times. They are similar. But in dharma we are working with mind. Patrul Rinpoche says, “But where there is no agenda of self, it is not an external discipline.”
In the same way with anger. When there is a genuine sense of liking others, there is no patience to be practiced. Where the feeling of anger is exhausted, there is not patience to be practiced. You ARE patience. In same way, where there is no laziness, there is no particular diligence to be practiced. You are diligence. Likewise, where your mind is no distracted, when there is not following of thoughts of past, struggling with thoughts of the present that doesn’t make you fully aware of your surroundings, or invoking thoughts of future. Where you don’t follow thoughts of path, thoughts of future, where one doesn’t get so entangled so that one exaggeration of thought covers whole environment, then that kind of non-distraction itself is that is concentration. There can be hours of sitting to be aware. It is there, but usually you are lost by preoccupation with the 3 times.
In same way where misguided intelligence, which is thinking to be real of what, is not real, thinking to be permanent of what is non-permanent, thinking solid what is not solid. Where the mind relaxes in flow of impermanence, where the mind relaxes in flow, relaxing in cause and effect in flux, relax in beauty is arising, manifesting, ceasing of things instead of waging war with it all the time. This is someone who doesn’t have to invoke quality of wisdom. Mind IS wisdom. Therefore,“the absence of the 4 adverse qualities is the arising of the genuine 6 paramitas.” This is how Patrul Rinpoche explains. This brings us to the 2nd division, which we will continue with afternoon.