First condition for generating bodhichitta in one’s mind: accumulation of merit
…Rejoicing in merits and good deeds of others.
Continuing from this morning with the 7-limb prayer.
We are now relating to the accumulation of merit through rejoicing at other’s good deeds, as in the story of when a king invited Buddha and his retinue to his palace and made a big offering. At the end, the Buddha asked the king, “should I dedicate the merit of this to you – the king – or to the person who has gained more merits than you?” The king thought “Since I am the benefactor, I may be the one who gained most merit,” so the king said “yes, dedicate to person with most merits.” At that time, there was a beggar at the door of the palace. He really rejoiced at the merit of the king, and that the king was making such a grand offering to Buddha. When Buddha was about to dedicate, he surprised everyone when he used the name of the beggar at the door. This shows that just by rejoicing at the good deeds of others, we can gain the same amount of merit.
We can do the same thing as the beggar did. When another practitioner creates a great or small amount of merit, instead of developing jealousy, develop rejoicing. (By doing so) you will share in the same merits, without spending any of your own material wealth, or effort, or time. Just by rejoicing, you gain same amount of merits.
Requesting to Turn the Wheel of Dharma
Out of the 7 limb prayer, we are now on requesting the Buddhas and bodhisattvas to turn the wheel of dharma. When you request tomorrow, you must visualize as king brahma requesting the Buddhas to turn the wheel of dharma.
Of course, there is no question of whether Buddha will turn the wheel of dharma after attaining enlightenment. However, by making request to teach the dharma, we will accumulate the merit, because once the Buddha teaches, it will plant a seed to create positive actions in every sentient being’s mind, and those who practice will accumulate the merits. We ourselves will accumulate the merit. Once we get enlightened in the future, we too will turn the wheel of dharma. So, there is interdependent connection there.
Requesting Not to Enter Parinirvana
Out of the 7 limb prayer, the 6th limb is requesting the Buddhas and bodhisattvas not to enter parinirvana. How shall we supplicate the Buddhas to not enter parinirvana? When you make such a request, imagine in your hand you are holding ambrosia in your hands. With this, you are making the request not to enter parinirvana, but to remain in samsara until it is empty of beings.
Dedication of Merit
Last of the 7 limb prayer is dedication, that you are dedicating all the merit you have accumulate, and created by all other sentient beings, and all goodness in samsara and nirvana to all sentient beings that they attain enlightenment.
The first condition for generating bodhichitta in one’s mind, accumulation of merit, we have now finished.
Second condition for generating bodhichitta: taking refuge in 3 jewels.
When we take refuge in 3 jewels. The uncommon way of taking refuge, general – common way. According to the Hinayana way, when we classify the 3 persons – impure and mediocre person. Uncommon, the superior person – Mahayana way of taking refuge in jewels. Unique, special – motivation involved here.
The individual first will have some recognition of all beings as their own parents wandering in samsara with different forms of life suffering. Will develop compassion and wish to free all the suffering beings and wish that they all have happiness. The most supreme happiness you can give is to liberate them to state of enlightenment. Attainment of enlightenment is the highest form of happiness they can experience.
The object of the 3 jewels is uncommon, and most special, in the sense of one who has attained the purpose of oneself and others and one who has abandoned all negative karmas and defilements and has attained enlightenment. Even in the context of dharma, we are referring to path and cessation of path, the 3rd and 4th of noble truths. Dharma is endowed with 8 different kinds of qualities. Sangha refers to those who have the qualities of seeing and liberation, those who are bodhisattvas.
Special about period of time – more unique – special in sense that it is longer- impure person taking refuge in three rules until they die. Mediocre – until they have liberated themselves. Superior- we are taking special refuge in 3 jewels until you yourself attain complete enlightenment.
8 benefits of taking refuge.
- You become Buddhist; you become one of the Buddhas’ followers.
- That by receiving refuge vow, that vow becomes basis for all other rows – can receiving personal liberation vows, bodhisattva vow, as well as secret mantra vows.
- This individual will not be harmed by humans and non-humans.
- You will be able to decrease your negative deeds and negative karmas.
- Your merits will be increased higher and higher by taking refuge on 3 jewels.
- Individual who takes refuge in 3 jewels, because they have already become meritorious one, they will accomplish any wish that they desire.
- When they die, if they die without forgetting 3 jewels, they will not be reborn into any of the 3 lower realms.
- Even if they are not reborn into a pureland, if they are born into one of the higher realms, they will encounter the dharma and will practice and attain enlightenment quickly.
Once one takes refuge in the 3 jewels, there are precepts. Taking refuge in Buddha, the precept is not taking refuge in worldly gods. Refuge in dharma, the precept is not causing harm to other living beings. Refuge in sangha, the precept is not taking up with evil persons, negative friends.
After taking Refuge in the Buddha, one is not allowed to take refuge in other worldly gods. The worldly gods are still undergoing pain in samsara. how could they give refuge to others?
After taking Refuge in the dharma, one should be avoiding causing harm to other sentient beings. This is so because the essence of the dharma, the Buddhas’ teachings, is Loving-kindness and compassion.
After Refuge in sangha, one is not allowed to associate with friends who are involving a lot of negative actions, negative deeds and so on. It is so because Arya Sangha as your refuge, you should not associate with other friends with negative influences. We are ordinary sentient beings, so we are very vulnerable. our changes will be based on conditions that come to self. If we are too close to a negative influence, we will be influenced by negative friends. So. It is advisable not to associate with negative friends.
Because it is suggested that one not associate with friends that are more negative, our loving-kindness and compassion will be decreased. So, it is suggested we not associate with them.
(“When [evil companions] are associated with, the three poisons increase, the activities of listening, pondering and meditation decline, and love and compassion are extinguished. Abandoning evil companions is the bodhisattvas’ practice.”
Bodhisattva practice # 5 – LWWD)
The message should not be mistaken. When it is said we should not associate with negative-minded friends, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help them. It means we shouldn’t be influenced by them. We should not be involved in what we do. But we should not give up wish to help this person involved in negative influences.
The third condition: training our mind in the 4 Immeasurable thoughts.
Trying to train mind in 4 immeasurable thoughts.
First, need to see all sentient beings as our own mother. By this, will naturally develop Loving-kindness to all these sentient beings. When you can develop the Loving-kindness, the real definition of Loving-kindness is wishing all other sentient beings to be happy.
The Second Immeasurable of Compassion you know all these sentient beings are born into 6 realms of existence, in all of them, they are taking life, they are all having pain and suffering, so, your wish to free them from this suffering is the immeasurable of compassion.
The Third Immeasurable of Joy is generated in your heart with understanding that when all sentient beings have happiness and free of suffering, are naturally able to develop a sense of joy in your mind. These kinds of Loving-kindness, compassion, joy aren’t developed to any particular sentient beings, but to entire mother sentient beings. Your sense of Loving-kindness, compassion, and joy is impartial – the Fourth Immeasurable is equanimity – you will develop Immeasurable of Equanimity to all sentient beings.
When we say we are training mind, we are training in being free of attachment and aggression, and in impartial state of mind. Of course, we have partial Loving-kindness, compassion, and joy, but we don’t have impartial to all sentient beings yet.
This is a brief explanation of how we can train the mind through the 4 Immeasurable thoughts.
The 4th cause or condition to develop bodhichitta, to generate/ receive bodhichitta, is we need to have view of spiritual master as a Buddha.
The reason why we need to see lama giving vow as Buddha is we cannot receive bodhichitta vow is someone who is an ordinary person. We need to receive it from someone who already has bodhichitta in their own mind. We cannot become bodhisattva if we have become vow from ordinary person, to genuinely receive it, need to see person giving it as a Buddha.
So the next of course- many explanations Lord Jitgon Sumgon gave – we need to see guru as Buddha – whole point “in terms of cause of effect is the form of our own intention, of our own mind, what you think will be.”
Lord Jitgon Sumgon also said that an individual, when they are dying, if they are dying with an angry mind, whatever appears to him, appears in the form of hell realm. (Anger mind, aggression)
Similar to this, you can find passage in Shantideva that “in the hell realm, will see metal house and burning irons on the ground” and so on. Think very carefully, who really created the metal house, the hot hell realm? The entire burning house and so on manifest out of own previous negative karma. Burning iron house and blazing fires and so on.
Related to consequences of developing anger, during the time of a dharma king, the king had a lot of servants, and of course it is very hot in India. There was always a female who fans the king. The king was very sick. One of the females behind him was fanning him, she fell asleep, and the fan fell on him. The king thought “this woman behind me is disrespecting me!” and he felt anger right before he died. He took rebirth as a snake.
So he was reborn as snake. At that time, there was an arhat. The king was an important benefactor to the arhat. After the king died, the arhat tried to find out where the king was reborn – maybe as a higher realm being, he found out the king was reborn as a snake. The arhat saw the snake about to eat a mouse and kill – the arhat told him “close your mouth!” the snake did, and was reborn in one of the 33 god realms, based on training from previous life.
It is also mentioned that, in order to generate bodhichitta in mind, must have 4 causes to give rise to bodhichitta in ones’ mind. Since we have these 4 conditions, at the time of death, if we are able to remember all sentient beings as our own mother, and see them all with loving-kindness, we will be reborn as one who contributes to happiness to all other sentient beings. This is because bodhichitta is the real form of the Buddha.
The point here is when we are receiving the bodhichitta vow, it is important that we develop intention/imagination of guru as Buddha. If we do, we will really be able to receive the bodhichitta vow. If we don’t, we won’t really receive bodhichitta vow. So, there is a point, a purpose to make this statement. For our own benefit.
I have read how to receive the bodhichitta vow. Tomorrow – first, as I explained earlier, we have to visualize the refuge field. And then each of us in our hand, will hold flower in our hands, will be making offering to guru giving offering of bodhichitta. Visualizing the guru surrounded by all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, say “’please master, give me (your own name) “and give rise to aspiration bodhichitta- “I am going to liberate all sentient beings who are not liberated. I will give them breath that don’t have breath. You are developing the aspiration that I am going to free all the sentient beings that are in three lower realms, which are undergoing pain and suffering. “Even those beings that have liberation, but not complete Buddhahood, may they attain complete Buddhahood. May those who have attained nirvana, but not complete Buddhahood, may they attain Buddhahood. “You are taking great responsibility to all sentient beings, to liberate all sentient beings to state of complete form of Buddhahood.
When individual who is able to cultivate aspiration bodhichitta, there is also precept to be taken. The Benefit of cultivating bodhichitta is inconceivable. It is virtuous at the beginning, virtuous in the middle, and virtuous at the end.
Lord Jitgon Sumgon said that right in the beginning, he was a practitioner travelling from Eastern Tibet to central Tibet, he had nothing but something to carry on his back. He was able to gather countless students, due to development of his aspiration bodhichitta.
By developing Bodhichitta, is virtue in the middle- individual who is able to develop aspiration bodhichitta will not be reborn into lower realms, and the ground and path quality of the practice will be increased, higher and higher. There was once a practitioner called Norsom, all he had done to his master was serving food. Sort of like making food offerings to his master was the seed for attaining Nirvana.
“At the end, there is virtue. Because of the practice of bodhichitta, is virtue at the end, it is said Buddha was able to attain enlightenment due to his aspiration bodhichitta. He appeared in this world due to aspiration bodhichitta. Due to teachings, beings attained enlightenment. Beings attained sharavaka and bodhisattva yana due to bodhichitta. The source of all our happiness is cultivating bodhichitta.
Next, to increase this noble aspiration bodhichitta, or increase this altruistic intention in mind. Need to reinforce the mental attitude by reciting the prayer 3 times during daytime, 3 times at night. “I go for refuge in the Buddha, I go for refuge in the Dharma, and I go for refuge in the Sangha.” Normally, we do this prayer 3 times.
Lord Jitgon Sumgon said when he was training on the path, “taking one step, he will not forget the precept of Bodhichitta.“ The point is whatever act we do in our day-to-day life, if we are not separated from bodhichitta, will be of great benefit in our life.
Of course you are all very busy with your own work. When your day is starting, right after you start, make sure you have reminded yourself about developing bodhichitta. “Whatever I am doing in my whole day, I am responsible for liberating all beings to Buddhahood.”
One of the bodhichitta precepts is not giving up on any sentient beings. Let’s say one Sentient being you come across has many negative tendencies. You may say “I am not able to help this being.” If you have this kind of mental attitude to the person, you are considered to be giving up your bodhichitta practice to this sentient beings.
Of course, whenever we have such kind of mental attitude that “I may not be able to help this sentient being,” if you have discouragement, depending on different sutras: some explanations say within 6 hours, if you are not able to restore the bodhichitta precept, you have given it up completely. Some sutras say, within 24 hours, if you are not able to restore the vow, have given up precepts. There are Different explanations.
The best thing is that right after you have developed that attitude toward a sentient being, if you are able to develop remorse without resentment toward that sentient being, you can restore that vow.
Here it is also said you have to give up 4 negative actions, also called 4 negative dharmas, and cultivate 4 positive dharmas.
4 negative dharmas and 4 positive dharmas
- Must develop respect and reverence to a person we pay respect to: the spiritual master. If we try to cheat on them, is creating negative karma. The opposite of this is that if you try to pay respect to your spiritual master, is a positive dharma.
- If you use harsh words to practitioners who have developed bodhichitta, that is a negative dharma. If you praise the qualities of bodhichitta to the bodhisattva, it is a positive dharma.
- If individual who has done something positive, instead of rejoicing, you try to make them regret what they have done, saying it is a mistake, this is a negative dharma. In contrast, if you praise the individual who has done good deeds and rejoice in what they have done, this is the positive dharma.
- If you try to harm other sentient beings and deceive other sentient beings, that is a negative dharma. If you try to cultivate sincere thoughts to others and try to help other sentient beings, that becomes the positive dharma.
This is the ceremony of the aspiration bodhichitta, and the precept you need to keep when you receive the aspiration bodhichitta vow.
(Continues with reading transmission)
With this, you have received the complete reading transmission. Tomorrow, we will go through the action bodhichitta explanation. We will also go through ultimate bodhichitta. What is unique about tomorrow is we will go through it in conjunction with ceremony of receiving the great bodhichitta vows.