Y1-SN-part 16a-December 25, 2011
Finding Ease in the Nature of Mind
Recording Date: December 25, 2011
Teacher: Khenpo Singye
Translator: Andrzej Rybszleger (Tibetan – English)
We finished discussing the benefits of arousing bodhicitta. It had six parts. Now we will talk about the very essence of bodhicitta [It is the second part: 2]. It has seven subsections.
The first subsection is: a. The general explanation of arising and entering.
Arising and entering means the bodhicitta of aspiration and application respectively (‘mön pe jang chub kyi sem’, smon pa’i chang chub kyi sems, and ‘jukpe chang chub kyi sem’, ‘jug pa’i byang chub kyi sems [‘juk’ means literally ‘to enter’].
Thinking, “May all sentient beings reach buddhahood” is the bodhicitta of aspiration.
The bodhicitta of application (or entering) is when we enter the path of actually achieving that.
For instance, when we sit at home and think about going to the market to buy something, that thought itself is similar to the bodhicitta of aspiration.
When we actually sit in the car and go – this is like the bodhicitta of application.
This is [how we] distinguish between these two bodhicittas – bodhicitta of aspiration and bodhicitta of application.
If we are used to meditating on these two bodhicittas, it will arise in everybody.
There is no difference in gender, be it a woman or a man, all can develop it in their minds.
If we get accustomed to this, there is no one who cannot develop it.
If any of you wants to learn more extensively about this kind of bodhicitta, Shantideva in his Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Bodhicaryāvatāra, explains this extensively.
As we spoke with khenpo before, there is a danger if we read the Bodhicaryāvatāra that some women would be slightly offended.
The reason for that is, in Bodhicaryāvatāra, there are many instances when Shantideva criticizes women or does not appreciate them very much.
Some women, who do not think about it properly, will get angry.
If we think about it, we will not become angry.
There is a reason why Shantideva seemingly disrespects women – he himself is a man.
As he is a male, he tries to get rid of desire towards women.
He is using all kinds of antidotes such as: seeing the body of a female as impermanent, having nature of thirty two kinds substances. He is doing it because the nature of man is the desire for women.
If Shantideva was a woman, it would follow that he would describe men with the same derogative fashion. There is nothing to truly grasp while looking at the male form – it has a nature of the thirty two impure substances [and] they are impermanent, and that there is nothing in them to [become attached to], and so on. He just used an antidote.
Those seemingly derogative teachings regarding women in Bodhicaryāvatāra are simply the way of abandoning desire that monks may have for women. It is not that the nature of females is something impure. It is simply an antidote.
If you happen to find in the Dharma teachings, in other texts, similar descriptions describing the female body as something impure, do not get angry because you should know that there is a reason for that – [as I just explained].
Before, in the land of the noble ones in India, the Buddha Shakyamuni came and taught. The Buddha Shakyamuni himself was a male and most of his followers were also male. Those who composed treatises and commentaries were also male – that is why such views are expressed. They are as the means of antidote. Also in Tibet, mostly those who composed texts were predominantly male. That is why the situation is as it is.
In Bhutan, back in [past days], it happened a lot – when Bodhicaryāvatāra was taught, some women would say, “We will not listen to this text, we will not listen to what is written in this text, because Shantideva disrespects women. It even happens in the chapter on meditation. We will not listen to that.” This happened often.
If we think about the nature of male and female in Vajrayana, they mean the methods and wisdom only.
You see the deities in yabyum (yab yum) – both are there – male and female.
These paintings of these deities joined together represent the skillful means and wisdom united.
The fourteenth root samaya of Vajrayana is, “Do not disrespect women as they have the nature of wisdom.”
By disrespecting women we will break the fourteenth root commitment of Vajrayana.
We should think in a perspective that Shantideva was explaining in his Bodhicaryāvatāra in these particulars chapters, that both male and female bodies would have the nature of impurity.
In Vajrayana, the male and female have the nature of skillful means and wisdom. They are equal in that respect.
There is no distinction between them. Both male and female can equally develop the mind of enlightenment, the attitude of bodhicitta.
The development of bodhicitta in our minds does not depend on any kind of good family or social status, it only depends on how we can develop bodhicitta. It does not depend on out circumstances, all can develop bodhicitta equally.
Now, let us proceed with the text, “Now the essence of arousing bodhicitta will be explained.”
Thus regarding the wish for supreme enlightenment, the root text says, “Arousal of bodhicitta consists of the desire of attaining true buddhahood for limitless beings. The two divisions are aspiration and entering. Wishing for this is always related to application, just as volition to move is always related to moving.”
The commentary says, “In arousing bodhicitta, we desire buddhahood for the benefit of others. The Ornament of Clear Realization says, “Arousing bodhicitta for others’ benefit, because of that we wish for perfect enlightenment.” The commentary says, “Moreover, since it is correct that this attitude has a beneficial essence, and because we discriminate its particular qualities, by arousing the essence, the particulars will also subsequently be produced. An attitude resolving to arouse it and so forth will subsequently be attained.”
Here we talk about the essence of mind itself (‘semnyi’, sems nyid). The essence of mind itself is the ultimate. In general vehicle of Mahayana we talk about eight kinds of mind (‘sem nam pa gye’, sems rnam pa brgyad).
Those eight minds are – the eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, mind consciousness, the consciousness of afflictions, and the consciousness of ālaya.
There are fifty one mental factors or events (‘sem jung’, sems byung) that arise from mind [Different texts give different numbers, 51 is mentioned in Asaṅga’s Abhidharmasamuccaya, Compendium of Abhidharma].
Their relationship is like that – wherever the mind goes, there will be the mind factors or events which also arise.
When we talk about consciousness (‘she pa’, shes pa), we talk about both ‘sem’ (sems), mind, and ‘sem jung’ (sems byung), mental factors.
When the mind focuses on an object, it focuses to the essential identity of that object.
Mental events or factors focus on that object’s characteristics and features.
This is how we understand mind and mental events.
‘Sem kye’ (sems bskyed) is “arousing bodhicitta” in Tibetan. Some scholars say that “arousing bodhicitta” concerns the mind itself.
Such Indian scholars like Haribhadra (Seng ge bzang po) [late 8th century] and Arya Vimuktisena (‘phags pa rnam grol sde) [a disciple of Vasubandhu, lived in the 6th century, composed commentary on Abhisamayālaṃkāra, the Clear Ornament of Realization, etc] consider that “arousing bodhicitta” belongs to mind itself (mind as understood in this eightfold way and not including the mental events).
The mind itself is like a king, the mental events are like the king’s retinue.
But some other scholars, such as Asaṅga and Vasubandhu said that this is the realm of mental events.
Haribhadra and Ārya Vimuktisena consider the bodhicitta to be the realm of mind itself. Such scholars as Asaṅga and Vasubandhu consider it to be the realm of mental events. Longchenpa here gives us an explanation that unifies that. Longchenpa says that there is no contradiction here.
The explanation of Longchenpa regarding these two approaches having no contradiction is in this paragraph here [already mentioned above]: “Moreover, since it is correct that this attitude has a beneficial essence (‘ngo wo’, ngo bo), and because we discriminate its particular qualities, by arousing the essence, the particulars will also subsequently be produced.” The essence concerns the mind itself and the particulars concern the mental events. If we have the essence, there will be also particulars. Therefore, there is no contradiction here.
You see, now we have three approaches. One is the approach of Haribhadra and Ārya Vimuktisena, the other is the approach of Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, and the third one is the approach unifying these two approaches, the approach of Longchenpa. That is what we are following here.
The basis of characteristics of mind (which exemplifies and illustrates the term and definition ‘tshen shi’, mtshan gzhi.) That what defines mind is both mind and mental events.
The commentary says, “From the two essences of these bodhicittas, arousing the bodhicitta of aspiration is the resolve to attain enlightenment. Entering is putting that Dharma into practice. Aspiring and entering are like wanting to go and actually going.” The Bodhicaryāvatāra says, “Briefly, this most excellent wish, the bodhicitta, is known to be divided into two separate kinds. There is the attitude that aspires to enlightenment and that of actually entering into enlightenment. It should be known that the difference between these two is like the one between wanting to go and really going. Thus, by capable persons, these two bodhicittas ought to be known to have this particular distinction.”
The commentary continues, “Here, there are many ways of dividing the classifications. There are the arousal of relative and absolute bodhicitta.” The Nirvana says, “Divided into absolute and relative, there are two varieties of bodhicitta.”
There are two distinctions: the distinction between the relative and absolute and the distinction between the aspiration and entering.
Also there is a distinction between arousal of bodhicitta by an ordinary individual and by the noble ones.
“The other distinction is the external apprehension of sentient beings and the internal apprehension of the nature of mind.”
If we focus on the external sentient beings, this is the relative bodhicitta. If we focus on the internal nature of mind, this is the absolute bodhicitta.
The Sutra of the Great Creation of Bodhicitta (byang chug sems bskyed pa chen po’i mdo) says, “The bodhisattva Kashyapa asked, “Bhagavan, how is such an aspiration aroused.” The Buddha spoke saying, “All dharmas are like the sky without any characteristics. Therefore, they are primordially luminous and completely pure. That is called enlightenment. Giving birth to the aspiration to be in accord with that, the precious aspiration which has not arisen before is called arousing the aspiration to enlightenment, bodhicitta.”
There is also another distinction: “There are also three kinds of arousing bodhicitta depending on the three disciplines of the three learnings (‘lap pa sum’, bslab pa gsum).”
This is explained in the Middle Length Prajñāpāramitā: “The wish that vows to be faultless, the wish to collect virtuous dharmas, and the wish to ripen sentient beings – diligently arouse these three bodhicittas.”
There is also a fourfold distinction: “On the paths of accumulation and preparation, arouse the wish to practice with strong interest. From the first to the seventh bhūmi wish for pure attitudes (‘lhag sam dag pa’, lhag bsam dag pa), on the three pure bhūmis for ripening, and on the level of buddhahood for abandoning obscurations.”
Regarding these four, Ornament of Mahāyanāsūtras says, “As for arousing bodhicitta, those on the bhūmis have the wish for devotion and good attitudes, then for ripening, and after that as well, they have the wish that obscurations should be abandoned.”
“There are also bodhicittas of aspiring to the five paths of accumulation, preparation, seeing, meditation, and no more learning. The Prajñāpāramitā in Twenty Thousand Lines says, “There are beginner’s bodhicitta, the bodhicitta of one who is properly trained, the bodhicitta of seeing the Dharma, the bodhicitta of complete liberation, and the bodhicitta that is inconceivable by thought. Subhuti, these are the wish that those who are entering the path may enter it; that those who have entered it should be properly-trained; that the divine eye may be produced; that one may meditate on the truth of the noble path; and that the unobscured buddha eye may be obtained.”
“There are also six divisions depending on the six perfections. The same text says: The vast immeasurable mind of the bodhisattvas possessing the six perfections is not shared with shravakas and pratyekabuddhas.”
There are also ten divisions related to the ten perfections.
Gewa’i Lha (dge ba’i lha), The Virtuous Deity, says, “Thus, by proper inner resting in meditation, after meditating on the ten bodhicittas…”
“ …according to the dividing points of the stages, the divisions of bodhicitta are taught by twenty-two examples.”
According to the teachings of the Sutra Requested by Ocean of Understanding (blo gros rgya mtsho zhus pa’i mdo), the Abhisamayālaṅkāra says, “These are earth and gold, the moon and fire; a treasure, a source of precious things, a lake; vajra, mountain, medicine, and good friend; a wish-granting gem, the sun, melodious song; a king, a treasury, and a far-reaching highway; a steed, a fountain; echoes, rivers, clouds; altogether the aspects are twenty-two.
As for the respective meanings of these examples, the commentary says they are: 1 strong interest (‘dün pa’, ‘dun pa) 2 wishing (‘sam pa’, bsam pa) 3 lofty attitude (‘lhak pe sam pa’, lhag pa’i bsam pa) 4 application 5 the perfection of generosity 6 discipline 7 patience 8 exertion 9 meditation (‘sam ten’, bsam gtan) 10 prajñā (‘she rab’, shes rab) 11 skillful means 12 aspiration (‘mön lam’, smon lam) 13 power 14 wisdom (‘ye she kyi pha röl du chin pa’, ye shes kyi pha rol du phyin pa) 15 the higher perceptions (‘ngön par she pa’, mngon par shes pa) 16 merit and wisdom (‘sönam dang ye she’, bsod nams dang ye shes) 17 the dharmas according with enlightenment 18 compassion and clear seeing (vipaśyana) 19 retention and confident eloquence, (‘zung dang phop pa, gzungs dang spobs pa) 20 celebration of Dharma 21 the path that crosses all at once 22 possession of dharmakāya.
“Strong interest is like earth, wishing is like gold, lofty attitude is like the rising moon. These three signify the lesser, middle, and greater paths of accumulation (‘tsok lam’, tshog lam).”
“Application (‘jor lam’, byor lam) is like fire.”
“This is arousing bodhicitta on the four levels of the path of preparation. Generosity is like a treasure. Discipline is like a source of precious things. Patience is like a lake. Exertion is like a vajra. Meditation is like a mountain. Prajñā is like medicine. Skilful means are like a spiritual friend. Aspiration is like a wish-fulfilling gem. Power is like the sun. Perfection of wisdom is like listening to a melodious song. These refer to the first through the tenth bhūmis.”
“Higher perception is like a king. The two accumulations are like a treasury. The dharmas according with enlightenment are like a highway (great path). Compassion and clear seeing are like an excellent steed. Retention and confident eloquence are like a fountainhead. These five apply to all of the eighth, ninth, and tenth bhūmis.”
Celebration of Dharma is like an echo. Crossing all at once is like a river. dharmakāya is like clouds. These three occur in the tenth bhūmi, where wisdom and great buddha activity benefit beings.”
Commenting on this, the clarification of these words in the commentary says, “The first three include the lesser, middle, and greater levels of the beginner’s path of accumulation. The next one includes the path of entry to the first bhūmi. The next ones include the ten bhūmis, “Supremely Joyful” and so on, the paths of seeing and meditation. The next five include special paths. The next three kinds of arousing bodhicitta concern preparation for, real experience of, and completion of the level of buddhahood. Thus, these divisions include everything from the beginner’s level to buddhahood.”
“Some say that the last three are joined to the level of illumination (prabhasvara), but this way of explaining the scripture is not right. Those on that level do not perceive entry into buddhahood, because they do not perceive exhaustion or the final limit. The level of buddhahood is where the arhats of the Mahayana dwell. The Ornament of Mahāyānasūtras says, “The arousal of bodhicitta by the Conqueror’s children is taught to be like clouds. By that, it is taught that these twenty-two go from the path of accumulation to the tenth bhūmi.”
“Here, if it asked whether there is arousal of bodhicitta on the level of buddhahood, it is not maintained that there is desire for attainment here, as with the arousal of bodhicitta by students. This is because buddhahood has already been attained.”
“Also, because the time of proclamation is over, there is no more receiving bodhicitta in rituals. However, arousal of absolute bodhicitta still exists for those who have attained dharmatā, mounting higher and higher without harming attainment. This is because emptiness exists without being discarded, and because the great objectless compassion produces benefits.” The Middle Length Prajñāpāramitā says, “I see with the Buddha-eye, and the arousal of bodhicitta I possess is beyond the number of grains of sand of the river Ganges in the eastern part of the world. I teach the Dharma in order to benefit those sentient beings who have gone into the birth-places of Hell beings, hungry ghosts, and animals.”
The meaning here is that until we reach the buddhahood itself, there is bodhicitta of aspiring. We promise to achieve something. It is not that the buddhas themselves do not have bodhicitta but they do not have the aspiration.
When you want to go somewhere, you have this thought, “I shall go,” but if you reach somewhere you do not have that thought any more because you are there.
The aspiration bodhicitta is this thinking: “I want to reach buddhahood and achieve enlightenment.” Once you have achieved enlightenment, you are [no longer] thinking, “I want to become a buddha.” It is there already.
“The glorious teacher Jñānakīrti said that within the twenty-two above, the first three are aspiring, and the later nineteen are maintained to be entering: The three divisions of strong interest and those that follow are the three aspects of bodhicitta of aspiration. As for what is called the bodhicitta of entering, it is explained as having the other nineteen aspects.” Longchenpa adds here, “Though he says that, it should actually be maintained that each of these divisions has two aspects, those of aspiring and entering.” This [applies to] each of these, starting from the first three.
“Aspiring intends to realize enlightenment. Entering puts that into effect by being engaged in a particular way. Both aspects must therefore be complete.”
Having shown the essence of bodhicitta itself, now we will discuss the support. For generating bodhicitta, there is the support of the body and the support of the mind.
The supports of the body and mind are explained in the Bodhicaryāvatāra, “This well endowed birth is so difficult to find. Once a person has obtained a meaningful life, if its purpose is not accomplished now, how will this perfect opportunity ever come again? [As it is translated in the ngöndro]
‘lü ten’ (lus rten) means the support of the body [bodily form]. That means that we have these eighteen freedoms and advantages.
“As the support of arousing bodhicitta according to the mind-only school (cittamatra), one of the seven families of individual-enlightenment, whichever it may be, arises as its support, making what at first was not attained be attained.” The Lamp of the Path of Enlightenment (byang chub lam sgron) by Atisha says, “The seven families of the pratimoksha always have vows of achieving this as other; however it is not seen as other for those who have the good fortune of Mahayana vows.”
According to madhyamaka, it should not be maintained that those who have the wish to receive the arousal of bodhicitta are only those who have the free and well-favored human body. The Jewel Heap Sutra says, “Now to explain the scope of those who have this Dharma, countless gods, nāgas, asuras, skysoarers (among the animals) and big-bellied ones (a class of hungry ghosts) produce bodhicitta, the wish for unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment.”
Longchenpa explains, “These two systems (madhyamaka and mind-only) are not understood to be contradictory. Thus, at the time of arousing bodhicitta, even if we have not been designated by the name of one who has taken the pratimoksha vows, we must be able to make a commitment with a similar meaning, not to cut off life and so forth. Therefore, we will certainly have a similar support. That from transgressing the sense of that vow a wrong attitude will arise is certain. If we are not able to take the appropriate version of the pratimoksha vow, nothing at all will arise.”
“This would contradict the very wish that was being aroused. In brief, for a being who wishes to practice this, gathering its bases is the bodily support (‘lü ten’, lus rten).”
Cittamatra school maintains that the support of the body means that a person needs pratimoksha vows, the vows of “individual liberation” (so sor thar pa), no matter what.
Madhyamaka followers say that if you want to arouse bodhicitta, you can, even if you are a nāga or other non-human being who cannot take pratimoksha vows. You can arouse bodhicitta.
You see, as we progress higher and higher, in the highest vehicles our attitude becomes more opened.
As we go lower and lower on the vehicles, we become more and more strict.
Briefly, according to madhyamaka view, if we want to have the aspiration of bodhicitta, then we will definitely have these thoughts like, “I will not cut off the lives of beings,” and so on.
Back to vegetarianism – if I do not eat meat but eat fish – it is not vegetarianism.
If you eat fish, you have to kill them first.
The meaning here is that every sentient being has a life. In order to eat that, we need to cut off that life. This wish of cutting off lives is necessary to arouse bodhicitta. Otherwise, if we keep saying that we want to arouse bodhicitta and keep killing, this is not good.
That was about bodily support, ‘lü ten’. Now we will talk about ‘sem ten’ (sems rten), the support of mind [mental basis, physical support of mind].
Having the particular attitudes of faith and so forth is the support of thought (or mind) [here in Tibetan: ‘sam pe ten’, bsam pa’i rten, literally: “support of thought”]. The Sutra of The Palm Tree of the Three Jewels (dkon mchog ta la la’i mdo) says, “Because we have faith in the Conqueror and his Dharma, we also have faith in the highest attainment. If we also have faith in the practice of buddha children, we will have the attitude of the wise.”
“As for the support of place, wherever we are born, so long as causes that damage bodhicitta do not arise, that is the support of place.”
“The three causes of arousing bodhicitta are faith with the Buddha as its object, compassion with sentient beings as its object, and hearing the benefits of bodhicitta.”
The Ornament of Mahāyānasūtras says, “From the powers of friendship, and those of the cause and root, from the power of hearing and being accustomed to virtue, so the arousal of bodhicitta has been explained; as unstable and stable and stabilized by others.”
“Relying on true companions, being urged by the spiritual friend, and having heard the Dharma are the causes of arousing the unstable bodhicitta of aspiring, the first kind to arise. Arising subsequently from becoming accustomed to virtue, the cause, the awakening gotra, and the root, compassion, the causes are produced that create stable arising of the bodhicitta of entering. The above passage is saying that there are these causes.”
Now we will talk about the essence of arousing bodhicitta, the essence, its nature, and its characteristics.
“The essence of arousing bodhicitta is entering into an attitude of aspiration inseparable from the desire to attain complete enlightenment for the benefit of others. Included in this is the essence of the six perfections.”
The Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra says, “This bodhicitta sets out to do benefit for others. It is this nature of aspiring and entering which has the six perfections.”
“Also the two bodhicittas and the three disciplines of a bodhisattva are of one nature.”
“By the wish to benefit others and good conduct, there are aspiring and entering. Master Sherab Jungne in his The Ornament of the Sage’s Intention (thub pa dgongs rgyan) says, “Neither of these bodhicittas goes beyond desire for unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment for the benefit of sentient beings.”
“By self-control there is (1) the discipline of control. Since from that benefit for others is produced, there is (2) the discipline of benefiting sentient beings. By increase of the two accumulations and so forth, there is (3) the discipline of gathering virtuous dharmas.”
“Since all of these control bad aspects of one’s continuum, mind, they are taught to be the controlling disciplines of a bodhisattva. Like a wishing-jewel that cures plagues, makes arise what is needed and desired, clears darkness and so forth, these are different aspects of one essence.”
What it shows here is – what we call bodhicitta and what we call discipline are actually the same thing, facets of one thing.
Just like the mystical wish-fulfilling jewel has all these functions – first of all, removing plagues, providing one with all kind of enjoyments and treasures, and so on, finally accomplishing all one wishes. Bodhicitta has all these functions as well, functions on many levels.
The distinction between the bodhicitta of aspiration and the bodhicitta of entering is made on the basis of its essence.
The relative bodhicitta and the absolute bodhicitta – this distinction is based on its object – the object of focus of that bodhicitta.
Now, the second part here is: b. The natures of arising and entering are explained.
It is not ‘essences’ as translated by Ives Waldo, Tibetan word here is ‘rang shin’, rang bzhin, “nature”. The root text says, “Aspiring has the essence (‘ngo wo’, ngo bo) of the four immeasurables. And entering that of the six perfections, it is maintained.” The Sutra Requested by Mañjuśrī says, “Mañjuśrī, that which aspires to the benefit of others is the great kindness, the great compassion, the great joy, and the great equanimity. Perfect conduct in regard to that is the six perfections.”
The meaning here is that the bodhicitta of aspiration has the essence of the four immeasurables.
And the bodhicitta of entering has the essence of the six perfections.
Now the next part follows: c. The benefits of the bodhicitta of aspiring.
“Now, so that the individual benefits of these two may be known, let us say a little about it. For beings: the root text says, “Though some may worship the Buddhas to the limits of the directions for many millions of kalpas, caring only for personal good, this will not match even a fraction of the merit of aspiration.” The Glorious Account of the dharmas of Complete Great Nirvana (’phags pa yongs su mya ngan las ‘das pa’i chos kyi rnam grangs) says, “Though some were to offer for all their lives to all the buddhas the seven precious things (gold, silver, turquoise, coral, pearl, emerald, sapphire) and the requisites of life, along with measureless offerings of the five kinds of food, better still is the best aspiration, enlightenment, for the sake of sentient beings, for just the space of a moment. The excellent virtues of doing that are limitless.” And also: “Whatever being, for even the space of a moment, meditates by arousing bodhicitta, as for the heap of merit of doing that, it cannot be reckoned by even the conquerors.”
The fourth part is: d. An example of what it is like.
As for showing its suitability, the root text says, “Aspiring to lighten, even a little, the pain of beings even if this arises only for an instant, brings us liberation from the lower realms and limitless happiness among gods and human beings.”
We have two stories. One story is about an ordinary individual, the other one comes from the previous lives of the Buddha himself. The first story is as follows, “The daughter of the ship captain Friendly One (mdza’ bo) gave four kasharpani coins and eight and sixteen and thirty-two, but also kicked her mother’s head and injured it. On an island in the ocean, she was welcomed by four daughters of the gods and eight and sixteen and thirty two. However, when her good actions were exhausted, in the south she was put into an iron house. As her head was being drilled, in that instant she thought, “In Jambuling many people have kicked their mothers’ heads, and these will certainly come here; but may I substitute for them so that they are not be born here.” The instant she thought this, the remaining time of her punishment by drilling was over. After that lifetime was over, she was born as a Tushita god.” And the other story, “Also, when the Teacher was born in Hell as the champion Bagshita, rather than bringing a kalpa-fire chariot, Kamarupa (one other person) did not bring the chariot, but fled from the Lord of Death quickly like a fox. He was struck by fiery hammers, and compassion arose in the Teacher. The hero Bagshita tried to bring the chariot, but was threatened by the Lord of Death with his hammers. By the action that each had performed, it is taught that there were immeasurable good qualities of being born instantly in the realm of The Thirty-Three, and so forth.”
This shows the benefits of the aspiration bodhicitta.
Now the next part is: e. The benefits of the bodhicitta of entering or application.
Now the great benefits of the bodhicitta of entering. Though great benefits are attained by the bodhicitta of aspiring, the root text says, “And yet the rewards of entering are infinitely more. Because there is always a real and actual application, all excellent minds applied to it for even an instant, are said to bring together the two accumulations, which otherwise would be the work of many kalpas.” The commentary continues, “As we are motivated by this most excellent of attitudes, because the benefits of an instant of application are immeasurable, even the benefits of an instant of aspiration are therefore also immeasurable.” The Sutra of the Girl Excellent Moon (bu mo zla mchog gi mdo) says, “If from just the thought of helping others the benefits will be immeasurable, why even speak about really helping them? The Bodhicaryāvatāra says, “If merely thinking about performing benefit is so much nobler than making offerings to the buddhas, why even speak of really exerting ourselves for the happiness of all sentient beings without remainder?”
You know there is a story about the captain called Goodwill and one person called “The Black One”. The Black One had a wish to kill five hundred people who were traveling on that boat. The captain killed that person out of compassion towards everybody else, so that he does not accumulate non-virtue, and thus saved everyone.
The captain Goodwill knew the aspiration of that other person, the Black One (“Minak Dungthungchen” (mi nag mdung thung can). He knew of his wish to kill everyone, so [the captain] killed him to prevent that from happening.
[The captain] knew that a huge negative act [would] come from that evil person while killing all those five hundred passengers. He thought that to diminish that negative act, he will kill [the Black One] and prevent it. Not only that, he did not accumulate any bad karma [and he] also completed his accumulation of the good karma by [killing the other] out of compassion.
It is outwardly appearing as non-virtue but inwardly its essence is virtue.
There is the opposite situation sometimes. If we think, “I’m a monk”, “I’m a teacher”, and so on, and outwardly wearing robes, but inwardly we think about killing, deceiving people. Outwardly it will be virtuous, inwardly it will be non-virtuous.
When that compassionate captain killed that evil man out of compassion, it outwardly appeared as a non-virtue but inwardly it was a virtuous action.
The captain was actually the Buddha Shakyamuni himself in one of his previous lives (before he became fully enlightened).
There is another story now – outwardly appearing non-virtuous, inwardly virtuous. The story goes like this: “The brahmin child Karmala Gawa (skar ma la dga’ ba) had performed pure activity for twenty thousand years in a forest. Then having come into a city to beg alms, he was seen by the daughter of a merchant, who thought, “If I don’t ask him to become my husband, I’ll die.” To save her life (because she would kill herself), he abandoned the pure conduct collected over kalpas and twenty thousand years and so forth, as is said in the Sutra of the Skill of the Great Secret Path of Upāya (gsang chen thabs mkhas pa’i mdo).”
Even though he was a monk with vows and outwardly it appears that he violated his discipline by staying with that woman, he did it only in order to help her, to benefit her. So, there was actually no fault in him doing that.
But if we do something like that out of desire, then there is a great fault.
If first of all you had no desire, just wanting to help someone, but if during the act desire grew, this is again a big fault.
The meaning here is that if we have no desire, no selfish motivation, then doing such thing will be faultless.
If we look at some teachers who have partners, khandros, we should know that those lamas do not have the ordinary desire like we do.
But of course, if someone is a lama and has desire, then that person has a fault.
But how can we know whether they have desire or not? They themselves only know.
If we only want to benefit others without any selfish motivation or desire, then any kind of act like described in this sutra is acceptable, it has no faults.
In the lower vehicle, there are very strict rules for monks. There is no way that a monk can stay with a girl.
If we think about the higher vehicles, then it like just explained above.
As you see, this story about Karmala Gawa (skar ma la dga’ ba) who had accumulated merit for twenty thousand years in a forest, who was a monk with pure conduct, then having come into a city to beg alms, he was seen by the daughter of a merchant, who thought, “If I don’t ask him to become my husband, I’ll die.” – out of compassion, to save her life (because she would kill herself), he abandoned the pure conduct collected over kalpas and twenty thousand years. Not only he did not accumulate any non-virtue, but he accumulated lot of merit.
Also, more than the benefits of bodhicitta of aspiration, the bodhicitta of application brings more merit.
For instance, thinking about going to the garden full of flowers is like bodhicitta of aspiration.
But [by only] thinking about it, we cannot reach there.
The bodhicitta of application is like actually going, getting in the car and driving there.
As we go in that way, then definitely we will arrive.
That is a reason why the benefits of the bodhicitta of application are greater than the benefits of the bodhicitta of aspiration.
“Aspiration does not have a fruition of continuously arising merit, but the merit of entering does have the distinction of continuously arising. The Bodhicaryāvatāra says, “Though indeed, from the bodhicitta of aspiration, a great fruition arises within samsaric life; the merit of this does not arise continually, as it does with the bodhicitta of entering.”
In this manner we explained now both the benefits of the bodhicitta of aspiration and the bodhicitta of application, entering.
We also described how there is a greater benefit in bodhicitta of application that that of aspiration.
The next part here is: f. How, by the power of mind, accumulations are gathered.
The commentary says, “Now, since a multitude of accumulations are being gathered every instant, as explained, subsequently the wrong conceptualization of inferior minds ceases.
”As for the reason, the root text says, “So whether all that is taught to take three countless kalpas is completed quickly or after a very long time, or there is liberation within a single lifetime, actually depends on the powers of the mind. Whatever is done by efforts, means and the highest prajñā, also has been done by this unsurpassable power.”
The commentary continues, “Bodhisattvas of very dull powers (the lowest ones) need thirty-three innumerable kalpas to attain enlightenment. The paths of accumulation and preparation take three. Each of the ten bhūmis takes three. Those of middle powers need seven innumerable kalpas. Each of the paths of accumulation and preparation takes two. The path of seeing takes one, the path of meditation two. Those of sharp powers take three.” The Precious Lamp of the Middle Way by master Bhavya says, “Those of sharp powers take three innumerable kalpas to become completely and perfectly enlightened. Those of intermediate powers take seven; those of dull powers take thirty-three.” Regarding these three degrees of sharpness, The Ornament of Mahāyānasūtras says, “Becoming perfected over three numberless kalpas; they will then complete their meditation.” The great commentary on the Prajñāpāramitā in Eight Thousand Lines says, “In the first innumerable kalpa they begin the path of accumulation, and go as far as the first bhūmi. In the second, they go from the second bhūmi, The Spotless One, up to the seventh. In the third, they go from the eighth bhūmi, The Motionless One, up to buddhahood.”
The Bodhisattvabhūmi says, “For the paths of accumulation and preparation they take one, from the first to the seventh bhūmis they take one, and for the three pure bhūmis they take one.” As completing the paths of accumulation and preparation brings us to the first bhūmi, the prajñāpāramitā’s way of explaining the number of innumerable kalpas is of one meaning with that of the Bhūmi-collection. This presentation of the innumerable kalpas required by those of sharp and dull powers is in terms of those of sharp powers taking three innumerable kalpas to gather the two accumulations into union by gradual stages. However, since it is also said that, for those of great powers of mind, every instant combines many kalpas, they do not necessarily need three countless kalpas. The secret mantra says that from the viewpoint of those of the sharpest powers, because of their great powers of mind, every instant combines immeasurable kalpas. Therefore, by continuous learning, they can be liberated quickly within a single lifetime and so forth. After they attain abhiṣeka, empowerment, their abiding in meditation on the two stages of development and fulfillment is called the lesser path of accumulation. Then, if they strive with great effort and skillful means, it is taught that within that very life they attain the path of seeing. For those who have attained the path of seeing there are no birth or death, so within that very life, they complete the path of meditation. This is attaining enlightenment. Also, on having attained the path of seeing, if they wish, they can establish enlightenment within seven days. The Prajñāpāramitā in Twenty Thousand Lines says, “These great bodhisattvas who have attained, with respect to dharmas, the completely pure Dharma eye, if they wish, in seven days, can be fully and completely enlightened with unsurpassable enlightenment.
“The measure of benefits of this is the wealth of autonomy, in which whatever is desired is accomplished and there is only what is desired. Whether they abide on the shravaka, pratyekabuddha, or bodhisattva vehicles, it is taught that they manifest enlightenment with the body of a noble one. Therefore, not many can be reckoned as suitable for being liberated in a single lifetime in the style of secret mantra. In mantrayāna, since there are many profound skillful means, the path of seeing is quickly attained. Up to the path of seeing, the skillful means and effort are superior. Beyond that, bodhisattvas of very sharp powers and the vidyadharas of mantrayāna are without distinction in the time of traversing the bhūmis. Among the duller ones, however, mantra-practitioner rigdzin (knowledge holders), noble ones are more quickly liberated than the bodhisattvas. With exertion, great skillful means, and a life of prajñā their actions are quickly established in the world. By ordinary ones they are not established, but the example has indeed been understood, and they do not travel from one life to another. Though the inner luminous nature of mind is not fundamentally established in existence, merely from abandoning defilements, getting close to that nature is established.”