One takes the vow of action bodhichitta, and train in the three types of moral conduct, or three moral trainings. These are moral ethics of abstaining from non-virtues, [engaging in] ethics of accumulating wisdom, and [engaging in] ethics of benefiting sentient beings.
“Generosity, moral ethics, and patience are the trainings in superior morality. Meditative concentration is the training in superior thought. Discriminating wisdom awareness is the training in superior wisdom. Perseverance is the support for all three.”
You need joyous effort. This is how the six paramitas work with the three trainings. The three trainings are the impeccable, indispensable, consummate path to enlightenment.
When you meditate here, relax. You need the conducts. [When you are] physically here, and mentally have a mind absent of afflictive emotions, this is called moral conduct. That makes a foundation for concentration. Then your mind is in the place you are. When mind is not disturbed by capricious thoughts, there is clarity. Where there is clarity, there is a great chance to see special insight. If there is the absence of one, there is no chance to recapture the reality nature.
This is why moral ethics is so important, the absence of all non-virtuous deeds. When one is free from non-virtuous deeds and thoughts, physically and mentally, it makes an environment that makes peace and harmony. This makes a great condition for mind to relax, be calm, peaceful. Then, mind is there like a mountain. Then, total … of mind has place to. This is empirical, not just an ancient belief. This is how we can apply now. [See] how skillfully this is established, step by step. We can cultivate immense benefit. But this is not enough. To capture the meaning, we need a method to reveal.
Now, the concise meaning. Why do we need these 6? We will study this in detail.
“Definite number, definite order,
Characteristics, definition, division, and grouping –
these six comprise the 6 paramitas.”
The temporary higher states are the god realms, and definite goodness is Buddhahood.
- Generosity To make wealth, practice generosity. What goes around comes around. That is the interest. The generosity practice is the principal. (Laughter) You need wealth in this world. Without wealth [to get by], there is no peace and joy.
- Moral ethics to be free from the 10 non-virtues for the body. People ask, “Where will my rebirth be?” If you practice the 10 non-virtues, you are guaranteed rebirth in the human realm or god realm.
- Patience When [you have] patience, people will come to see you. People want to be around you. You need wealth, a body, and companions in this world. This transcends culture. This is just causality. Look in your mind and ask: “Is this right or wrong?” This is the way to get peace and happiness. This is freedom. Wisdom and skill [are needed] for peace and happiness. If it is not by ordering, not by law, but from with your own understanding, you will willingly follow.
- Perseverance You need to make effort joyously, “this is the way it should be.”
- Equipoise You need calm abiding.
- Wisdom awareness Without concurrent awareness and calm abiding, there is no other way out of samsara.Calm your mind, and then special insight manifests and uproots all causes of confusion. That is nirvana: definite goodness.
2. Definite order
Why is generosity first? Because then one will accept pure morality without focusing on material concerns. Generosity is easy, and then step-by-step if one practice moral ethics, one has patience. If one has patience, one can have perseverance…
The order is explained from lower to higher. Generosity is easier to explain and practice. Generosity can be done by anybody. But some are not ready for vows [for moral conduct]. Each of the next is more difficult [than the previous one]. Step by step, increase higher and higher.
The order is also explained from a gross to subtle level. Generosity is gross, easier to practice. You can do any kind of generosity. Then each level becomes more subtle. By [the time one gets to] special insight, the whole mind must be synchronized in the right place with calm abiding. This is difficult.
You can see the wisdom of how the 6 perfections are ordered in such a way, so beautifully. Everybody gets a chance to follow this path. This is easy to see [how it progresses] step by step. Sometimes we are so unrealistic: “give me the highest teaching!” But then when we get it, we say, “How can I do this?” (Laughter)
The perfection of each of the six paramitas has these four characteristics:
“They decrease their opposites; they produce primordial wisdom of non-conceptual thought; they fulfill all that is desired; they mature all sentient beings in the three ways.”
“Decreases its opposites”
- Generosity decreases stinginess.
- Moral ethics decrease non-ethics.
- Forbearance decrease anger.
- Perseverance decreases laziness.
- Samadhi decreases scattered mind.
- Wisdom insight decreased scattered mind.
“Produce primordial wisdom of non-conceptual thoughts” All 6 provide opportunity to see your own awareness, not conceptual thoughts of duality. Non-conceptual thought is a place where no duality is, [and one can] totally abide there.
“Fulfill all that is desired” Need wealth? Ethics. Health is much better if we keep the 5 precepts. If the entire world observed them, patience…etc. it would be a better place. This fulfills desire.
“Mature all sentient beings in 3 ways” Prateakabuddha way, shravakya way, and bodhisattva way.
Don’t forget bodhichitta. If you are forgetting bodhichitta, you are going wrong way. (Laughter) Bodhichitta is the highway. Bodhichitta is the airplane, the preparations to make a jumbo jet. Now you have to fly towards enlightenment safely without a crash, or you will crash into the ocean of samsara. (Laughter)
- Generosity Generosity dispels poverty- giving wealth, etc. Poverty of skillful means. Poverty is not just wealth. Includes wisdom and skillful means. Open heart, make mind peaceful, joyful.
- Moral ethics coolness – fresh. Involvement in 10 non-virtues, one’s life is chaos. So congested. No space. Coolness is spacious, free, and fresh. 10 precepts, relaxed, freshness in mind. Shila means “coolness, freshness.”
- Patience Forbearance is not being submissive. It is not weakness. It is [instead] fearlessness that leaves no space in mind for anger or hatred.
- Perseverance This is not being attached to where you are, so you go forward. You rejoice with what you have, but go forward to Buddhahood. Joyous effort.
- Meditative concentration This brings the mind inside, so you are not lost outside in samsara. If you bring the mind totally inside, there is peace, joy [from this] meditative absorption.
- Wisdom awareness This realizes the ultimate meaning, the definite meaning. It penetrates reality. Not fabricated. Unfabricated, uncontrived nature. Ultimate nature. Paramitas- literally in Sanskrit” other side, to get there” – to get to the other side of the ocean of samsara, which is nirvana. 2 perfections.
Generosity of generosity, ethics of generosity…etc. each of the 6 has 6 divisions, totaling 36. When you give things – material, skillful means, or fearlessness – that itself is generosity. If mind is maintained in the right place, that is moral ethics. When you do that, there is no fear. This is patience. Do it with joyfulness, which is perseverance. If you do it with a calm mind, that is Samadhi.
If you keep ethics purely, that itself is giving peace to others, which is generosity. If there is no fear to give that, there is patience. If you do it with a calm mind, that is samadhi. If you do it with seeing wisdom nature… In this way, each of them contains the other six. One does it with multiples of 6 by 6 and so on, up to 84,000 methods. These become a direct remedy to purify 84,000 types of mental afflictions.
‘Armor of enlightenment’ This is mental armor so enemies of afflictive emotions have no place to attack you.
The two accumulations of merit and wisdom. Many scholars divide these differently. Some say generosity, ethics, and patience are merit, equipoise and wisdom belong to perfect wisdom, and perseverance to both.
Sometimes, the first five are grouped to merit, and wisdom to perfect wisdom. So, there are Different ways the 6 paramitas are grouped.
End of chapter
How do you like? Do you agree?
Q and A.
Q. Those who push our buttons are even more important. But it is very hard to, as it says on page 174, cultivate great compassion. I am a former schoolteacher. What does great compassion look like? My feeling is to say ‘stay away.’
A .I didn’t go deeper. For those who dislike what we are doing, we may not have any opportunity to help them at that time. But in the mind, we can develop compassion instead of hatred. There are two possible angles. One is seeing evil-doer as evil person. Or, we can be looking at all the suffering they have, and all the suffering they are creating, and do the second. In your mind, anytime in the future, think, “if I can help them, I will be ready.” Mind will be calmer, so I will be in a better place to help that person. It is very important to make distinction between the person and their delusions. The person wants happiness, but their delusion creates suffering. So look at that immense suffering. So when the time comes to help, you will be ready. Bodhisattvas are reborn life after life since there is no chance to help them all in one lifetime (laughter).
Q. In relating to another’s suffering, I find I slip into arrogance, and find I don’t think of my own suffering.
A.When you cultivate bodhichitta- “all that suffering is there, and I don’t have skill to help them. To have skill, I must become Buddha,” the cause of that is bodhichitta.
Q. Would “do no harm” be aspiration, and acting the action?
A. Once you take vow, any aspiration becomes action bodhichitta. A king at time of Buddha harmed monks, killed his father who was devoted to Buddha. He hurt Buddhas’ feet. Did such hideous crimes, but Buddha’s compassion always there but when everything changed, and needed help desperately, the physician said, “Go to Buddha.” There was no resentment from Buddha; Buddha said, “Welcome great king.” And he had such remorse. Buddha helped him. Just as you can group 6 paramitas into 3 trainings, can group 8-fold path in 3 trainings. Forms foundation of ALL the Buddha’s teachings. In beginning of Theravada bible, Buddha said (…get quote. From Dr. Sam) This is the meeting place of all Buddha’s teachings.
This book makes you really appreciate more and more. 8-fold noble path, or 37 limbs of enlightenment, all described in 3 trainings.
Q. Is there a soul?
A. Understand what to practice, and then practice, implement. Through doing these side by side, you can experience. When you experience, is no longer belief system, becomes experiential. It is what it is. In beginning, have beliefs. Is ok.
Q. But then practice’s suppose a group of people has been to DC, and then told what to see. Then they go see. But others haven’t seen, and are told sights are there. Then one goes and sees for themselves, and then one knows for one’s own experience.Pg. 176
A. Look at your own mind, what limitations you have, then focus on that and purify. If you have tendency of anger, purify. Purify through the antidote’s many ways to practice that. Say, “Please rest for time being” to afflictions. So many skillful methods.
Q. Problem with dealing with someone who is arrogant – don’t want something bad to happen to them, but want something to humble them. I see their suffering, but think, “if they could be humbled, I could find empathy. But until they are humble, I find it difficult to be humbled.” Ties into other issue of not wanting to be a wimp, or maintaining a certain amount of resolve in not being a doormat. I don’t have a question, I just have an issue. I find it difficult to apply these methods.
A. You have to wait, If we wait to try to control the emotion in front of that people, it’s not going to happen.
Q. Don’t we have to bring this to our meditation. I look at this like simulator time – we enter the flight simulator, so when the emergency happens, we will be ready.
A. Takes a long time to be ready how to implement. Sometimes our mindfulness takes a long time to come up. Every time, you need to cultivate the mind, cultivate the antidotes. If you practice, and your own karma shifts, their karma may shift as well. Superior ethics, perseverance, etc. – means “Mahayana.”
Q. Is it really practical to deal with their afflictions and your own simultaneously? Do I have to deal with my own arrogance before theirs?
A. Yes- is very difficult to resolve other people’s confusion. They may not accept your recommendations. But you can work on yourself. Very important insight there.