Developing of Bodhicitta 啟發菩提心
Developing of Bodhicitta in all Mahayana practice is essential to enlightenment. therefore it is important to discuss a bit more on this topic.
There are two types of bodhicitta ; relative and absolute (or ultimate) bodhicitta. Relative bodhicitta is a state of mind in which the practitioner works for the good of all beings as if it were his own. Absolute bodhicitta is the wisdom of sunyata (a Sanskrit term often translated as “emptiness”), The concept of sunyata in Buddhist thought does not refer to nothingness, but to freedom from attachments, and from fixed ideas about the world and how it should be. Both aspects are essential to enlightenment.
Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions practice “The four Immeasurables” and “Six Paramitas” to develop Bodhicitta.
Among the many methods for developing uncontrived Bodhicitta given in Mahayana teachings are:
The Four Immeasurables :
Immeasurable Loving : Wishing all beings have happiness and the Cause of happiness.
Immeasurable Compassion: Wishing all beings liberated from suffering and cause of suffering.
Immeasurable Joy in the Good Fortune of Others: happy to see good things happened to others, not with any trace of envious and jealousy .
Immeasurable Equanimity: See all being with equality , without prejudice and differentiation.
The Six Paramitas:
Generosity ( Dana ): 佈施 the attitude of giving; giving assistance of monetary, time, comfort and Dharma teaching etc. without the thoughts of “I” give, without the thought of I give “such, such”, and without the thought of “whom” received what I give. This is practice of ” Emptiness / Detachment of giving”.
Discipline ( Sila ): 持戒 virtue, morality, , proper conduct; is practice of “Discipline” in the Eight-Fold-Path. Refrain from false speech, frivolous speech, divisive speech, idle chatting, harmful actions such as stealing, killing, sexual misconduct, intoxicants.
Tolerance ( Ksanti /kshanti ): 忍辱patience, forbearance, acceptance, endurance, inclusiveness; Recognize that in the human realm, there are many, many different levels of intelligence of minds, each project their views based on their own perceptions, to themselves, they are perfectly “right”, even though they might be very wrong. For us as Buddhist practitioners, it is an opportunity to incorporate all situations into the Path of practice; by transforming any negative situations as an opportunity to overcome it, and better yet, into a positive one. for example; In a group setting, can you extend your friendship to someone who no one likes? or to love the “unlovable”?
Diligence (Virya ): 精進energy, , vigor, effort; here means put great effort towards achieve state of Enlightenment, including diligent in studding, understanding, and practicing the Buddhist path, taking time to do meditation .
Meditation(Dhyana ): 禪定one-pointed concentration, contemplation, insight meditation.
Meditation also meant ongoing clear minded awareness of all phenomena. This is how you can “Watch” your own actions, speech, and thoughts /thinking.
Wisdom (Prajna) 智慧 (般若 ): Superior insight, correct views and understanding of all people and things, ability to see the true nature of reality.
The Tibetan Buddhism also teaches “tonglin” practice, in which one breath-in others pain and suffering, and in exchange, breath-out by sending them love and joy. And “Lojong” practice (a mind training); viewing all sentient beings as mothers of many previous lives, and feeling gratitude for their love and care for us.
Two Practice Lineages
Tibetan Buddhists maintain that there are two main ways to cultivate Bodhichitta, the “Seven Causes and Effects” that originates from Maitreya and was taught by Atisha, and “Exchanging Self and Others,” taught by Shantideva and originally by Manjushri.
According to Tsongkapa the seven causes and effects are thus:
- recognizing all beings as your mothers;
- recollecting their kindness;
- the wish to repay their kindness;
- great compassion;
- wholehearted resolve;
According to Pabongka Rinpoche the second method consists of the following meditations:
- how self and others are equal;
- contemplating the many faults resulting from self-cherishing;
- contemplating the many good qualities resulting from cherishing others;
- the actual contemplation on the interchange of self and others;
- with these serving as the basis, the way to meditate on giving and taking [tong len].
Atisha’s “Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment” (982-1054)
Santideva’s “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of Life. (c. 700 CE),
Thogme Zangpo’s “Thirty-Seven Practice of a Bodhisattva. (12th century CE),
Langgri Tanpa’s “Verses for training the Mind. (12th century CE),
Gashe Chekhawa’s “Training the Mind in Seven Point. ( 12th century CE.)