Bodhicitta

the way of great Compassion
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Nicholas
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Bodhicitta

Post by Nicholas » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:05 pm

Also translated as bodhi-mind or bodhi-resolve, this is the principle, central attitude and practice of bodhisattvas. The sutras of Buddha as well as many Mahayana sages have taught and are teaching on bodhicitta. Here I will start with a Tibetan bodhisattva who died around 1419.

Je Tsongkhapa wrote a concise Stages of the Path or Lam Rim, here are verses on Bodhicitta or bodhi-mind:

"Generating the mind is the central axle of the supreme vehicle path;
It’s the foundation and the support of all expansive deeds;
To all instances of two accumulations it is like the elixir of gold;
It’s the treasury of merits containing myriad collections of virtues;

Recognizing these truths the heroic bodhisattvas
Uphold the precious supreme mind as the heart of their practice.
I, a yogi, have practiced in this manner;
You, who aspire for liberation, too should do likewise."

So those few who wish to be co-workers and help Buddha in his effort to lead beings toward their true buddha-nature, then the 'heart' of our practice in daily life should focus on Bodhicitta.

Other posts will give more about this central attitude of the Mahayana.
Last edited by Nicholas on Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- Buddha

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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta

Post by Nicholas » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:12 pm

In his Great Lam Rim Je Tsongkhapa writes:
When you see that beings have fallen, just as you have, into the
ocean of existence and are stumbling, unable to walk in a safe direction,
because the eye of wisdom—which distinguishes what to
adopt and what to discard—for them is closed, is it not better to
care for others and to strive for their welfare, you who are in the
Conqueror's lineage...And joyously persevere so as to clear away such confusion?

Here, you should use a great person's joy, charisma, and strength
to shoulder the responsibility of others' welfare, for focusing only
on your own welfare is a trait shared even with animals. Consequently,
the fundamental orientation of a great person is to focus
solely on achieving the happiness and benefit of others.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- Buddha

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Nicholas
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Re: Bodhicitta

Post by Nicholas » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:30 pm

A modern follower of Je Tsongkhapa, Geshe Sopa, comments:
Spiritual practitioners can be divided into three levels from the point of
view of their fundamental goals. The most basic spiritual goal is a high
rebirth; a person striving for this goal engages in religious practice in order to
prevent him- or herself from falling into lower rebirths in the future.

A desire for complete emancipation from all suffering, not just from the lower rebirths
but from the entire unsatisfactory cycle of samsara, is the intermediate spiritual
goal. An individual of intermediate spiritual capacity fully comprehends
the suffering nature of all samsara. Suffering is not just one small thing; there
are many, many types of misery. This distress is not something of short duration;
it is not something that lasts only a few years or even one lifetime. We
have suffered in these many different ways since beginningless time. Realizing
that he or she will continue to suffer endlessly into the future unless countermeasures
are taken, a person with intermediate spiritual capacity engages
in the three trainings: ethical conduct, meditative stabilization, and wisdom.
It is through these practices that we can become free of uncontrolled rebirth.

But even their own liberation from samsara is not enough for those with
great spiritual capacity. They see that all other sentient beings are in the same
miserable situation—they all create the causes of misery and undergo the
resulting suffering. Spiritual practitioners of great capacity feel intense compassion
for these poor beings and decide to take on the responsibility to help
them eliminate their suffering. However, even the practice of the three trainings
does not completely equip them to help all others. Personal liberation
from uncontrolled rebirth is not enough. They must attain complete enlightenment,
because without the perfect qualities of a buddha they will not be
able to save all other living beings.

The great teacher Atisha explains the nature
of an individual of great spiritual capacity as follows:

Someone who wants to completely eliminate
All the suffering of others,
Having compared it to one’s own,
Is a person of great spiritual capacity.
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment vol. 3:12
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- Buddha

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Re: Bodhicitta

Post by Nicholas » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:31 pm

As Mahayana practitioners we must first recognize the adverse experiences
we will have to confront if we continue to drown in the ocean of samsara.
Then we must see that all other sentient beings are in the same situation.
Other sentient beings do not have the eye of wisdom; they cannot distinguish
what should be done and what should not be done. They are in great danger
because they are acting in ways that will lead them to disaster in their next
life. If they fall down to the lower realms they may not be able to get out for
millions and millions of lifetimes. They are in a pitiable situation.

Imagine your mother blindly stumbling along a path on the edge of a precipice. If she
takes a misstep she could fall to her death. How could you see this and not
help her? If you have the ability to lead her to safety but let her walk on by
herself it would be utterly shameful, even evil. Bodhisattvas are not like that;
they clearly see all sentient beings stumbling through life unable to discern
what is dangerous. They perceive each one of these pitiful beings as their own
dear mother who is about to fall into great misery because she is blind to the
true nature of things. They know it is not right to lack compassion for others;
they know it is not right to avoid helping others. As a result they do everything
they can to benefit other sentient beings.
Steps on the Path to Enlightenment vol. 3:13-14
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- Buddha

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Re: Bodhicitta

Post by Nicholas » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:47 pm

This specific aspiration of Maitreya Bodhisattva inspired & guided Him on his path to full buddhahood. It is also very popular among Mahayana practitioners today:

Maitreya's Aspiration.odt
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Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- Buddha

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