Monday, April 20, 2009

Bodhicitta: Part 1

I have been studying topics on Bodhicitta lately...that's why not much time to blog. In particular, I have been studying Lam Rim Chen Mo Vol. 2. And what an eye-opener it has been thus far. Buddhists who intent to follow the practices in the tradition of Gelugpa should study this text because it is written by our founder - Lama Tsongkhapa. You can bet I will write something about it.

Added on Monday 20/4/09

Well, for one thing it clarifies what is great compassion and what is bodhicitta. There is a difference. And how do you know when you have realised great compassion and when you have realised bodhicitta? I summarise below and provide you with the reference page so that you can check yourself, and not just believe me. It's not about doubting me, but rather checking is a way to enhance your own wisdom.

Realisation of Great Compassion
LRCM, pg.45
“When you spontaneously feel compassion which has the subjective wish to completely eliminate the sufferings of all living beings – just like a mother’s wish to remove her dear child’s unhappiness – then your compassion is complete and is therefore, called great compassion.” Here Kamalasila says that when you spontaneously feel compassion for all beings commensurate with a mother’s compassion for her very dear and small suffering child, then you have completely perfect great compassion. This is when you have generated the realization of great compassion. (in other words, it is realised when we are able to see all sentient beings as our mothers, or our dear children in distress, and want to liberate them from such distress)

Realisation of Bodhicitta
Initial generation of bodhicitta.
LRCM, pg20.
If you generate this spirit in an uncontrived manner after making much effort, you will be imbued with the spirit of enlightenment and then even giving a tiny morsel of food to a crow will be considered a bodhisattva deed. When it is actualized, in an instant you are able to easily clear away obscurations and accumulate the collections of merit and sublime wisdom.

LRCM, pg.45
Great compassion is the necessary cause for developing the aspirational spirit of enlightenment. Kamalasila says, “When you have committed yourself to being a guide for all living beings by conditioning yourself to great compassion, you effortlessly generate the spirit of enlightenment, which has the nature of aspiring to unexcelled perfect enlightenment. (in order words, Bodhicitta is realised initially when it comes about effortlessly/naturally/ sponstaneously)

LRCM, pg. 51-60
When we are able to naturally cherish others above ourselves and give up self-cherishing, (example: to the point that we are able to “…give up even the bliss of meditative stabilization, and enters the Unwavering Hells” for the liberation of other beings, pg.58), then this is the sprout of the spirit of enlightenment.

The stabilization of bodhicitta
LRCM Chap. 7 summary
After developing the initial spirit of enlightenment, you realize that this is not enough to bring about liberation for own and other beings, but must engage in the methods that will bring it about. If you want to work for others’ welfare, you must first discipline yourself. To stabilize your bodhicitta, you commit in the training of the precepts of the bodhisattva and engage in fulfilling the bodhisattva deeds even if it takes three countless eons to develop all the qualities of a Buddha.

Perfection of Bodhicitta
Geshe-la’s notes, pg. 12
Bodhicitta is fully and completely realized when Buddhahood is attained because Buddha is the Perfection of Bodhicitta.

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