Eight Verses for Training the Mind: the Bodhisattva Ideal and the Bodhicitta – Talk 4
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Eight Verses for Training the Mind: the Bodhisattva Ideal and the Bodhicitta – Talk 4

on

  • 1,556 views

Given by Sona at Manchester Buddhist Centre on 27th October 2006

Given by Sona at Manchester Buddhist Centre on 27th October 2006

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,556
Views on SlideShare
1,539
Embed Views
17

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
25
Comments
1

2 Embeds 17

http://www.manchesterbuddhistcentre.org.uk 16
https://twitter.com 1

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Eight Verses for Training the Mind: the Bodhisattva Ideal and the Bodhicitta – Talk 4 Eight Verses for Training the Mind: the Bodhisattva Ideal and the Bodhicitta – Talk 4 Presentation Transcript

  • Eight Verses for Training the Mind
    • by Kadampa Geshe Langritangpa
    • Talk Four
  • Re-cap on last talk
    • Verse 4 when I see ill nature people - an opportunity to notice our reaction and let go of it - their ill nature may well have its origin in their own suffering. A more appropriate response would be one of metta, compassion and understanding.
    • Verse 5 working with people who insult you, harm, etc. Importance of an enemy – especially to practise patience Working with envy – your own & being a target for others
    • Verse 6 even more difficult working with disappointment, being let down, etc. by those who are close to you, etc. Experience of your world falling apart, etc. Seeing this as an initiation – new way of being. Forgiveness & accepting life is as it is
    • Life is King
    • The bodhisattva never gives up!
  • Verse 7
    • In brief, directly or indirectly,
    • May I give all help and joy to my mothers,
    • And may I take all their harm and pain
    • Secretly upon myself.
  • Verse 7
    • Firstly ‘mothers’ refers to all sentient beings
    • Could translate as cherish all sentient beings
    • This particular verse describes the practice of Tonglen - sending and receiving
    • Many Tonglen forms.
    • Usually the practice in which you cultivate a cherishing and loving attitude towards others
    • You reflect that everyone wants to be happy
    • All are striving for happiness and well-being
    • Because of their ignorance, they suffer in many ways
  • Tonglen practice
    • “ Like prisoners unable to escape from a jail. They revolve in samsara. What a pity.” (Bodhicaryavatara)
    • In the Tonglen practice, you see their suffering as a thick black cloud of smoke rising of the world, rising from beings
    • You breathe in that black smoke with the in-breath right into your heart
    • The black smoke of suffering ignites in your heart your aspiration for the bodhicitta
    • You see this as a light in the heart - or possibly as a jewel
  • Tonglen practice (cont.)
    • And then as you breathe out, and you breathe out light
    • Usually it is white light but it could be coloured light
    • The light is full of tenderness, love, happiness, merit and abundance
    • You see it falling on beings soothing their sorrows and granting peace, satisfaction, even a great bliss itself
    • You just keep doing this, breathing in the black smoke and breathing out the white light
  • White light pours all over all beings
    • You can bring to mind specific people e.g. your parents, friends, and especially those people who you know to be ill, who are suffering
    • Can also bring to mind people we have grievances with
    • Or people you feel aversion for
    • You just keep the breathing in and out. Taking in the darkness and breathing out the white light of well-being
    • The white light pours all over the beings
    • You do this again and again
  • Develop a profound empathy
    • Strangely, if you get into the practice, and really connect with bodhicitta, the more you take, the more you can give
    • The bodhicitta shines more brightly, the more you take in the black smoke
    • You can imagine not just light falling on beings but you are giving them gifts, giving them what they need, e.g. riches, wealth, food, clothing, and even Nirvana itself
    • In this way through the practice you develop a profound empathy for others
    • You are taking on their pain and giving them happiness
    • It is a very powerful practice as well is being very subtle
  • Doing the Practice
    • Sometimes it seems that maybe not very much is happening in the meditation, but you may find there are effects at other times outside the meditation
    • You might just be walking down the street and you start noticing people in a deeper way
    • You might find yourself in a difficult situation, you connect with the practice, and this brings you into a deep empathy with those involved
  • When to do this practice
    • In the ‘Seven-Point Mind Training’ Geshe Chekawa you actually use this to transform personal difficulties, physical, mental, spiritual difficulties
    • It is recommended you do this practice when you are ill or when you’re in pain
    • Helps you to stop focusing on your own difficulties by identifying with others in pain
  • Everybody suffers
    • It suggested to do this by thinking of others who have the same difficulty as you
    • Breathing in all their difficulties and breathing out the white light
    • You can do this with almost anything: e.g. the klesas of craving, or hatred
    • You breathe in everybody’s craving, everybody’s hatred
    • You then breathed out white lights removing the craving or hatred of others
    • This helps you to realise that everybody suffers from these things
    • This helps to break down excessive self-cherishing
    • And of course you’re trying to bring this out in your daily life
  • Directly & indirectly
    • The verse says “ In brief, directly or indirectly, ”
    • This suggests that we are not only working directly at indirectly to remove suffering and pain, in all beings
    • It is not possible to alleviate the suffering of all beings, in a sense the bodhisattva ideal is impossible
    • You can’t alleviate the suffering of all beings yourself
    • You can help a bit and you can help some directly, to some extent
    • So indirectly is very important
    • Need to see yourself, see a practice, your life, as a small but highly significant contribution to all the good being done in the world
    • Not just the good other Buddhists are doing, but all the good done by everyone
  • Indirectly helping
    • This is what rejoicing in merit in the Puja is about
    • You are rejoicing in all the good done by all beings
    • Whether it is going to lead to ordinary happiness or to the ultimate happiness of Nirvana
    • Often it is recommended after the Tonglen practice that you do the rejoicing in merits to help you tune into all the good that is being done in the world
    • When you doing Tonglen it sometimes necessary to remember you are not the only person doing this practice
    • Aligning yourself with the good that has been done though out history
    • Bhante’s vision of history
  • A Vision of History
    • Lecture at an Order Convention in 1978
    • He describes a kind of battle between the spiritual communities & the group
    • Mentioned all sorts of spiritual groups including Christian and even Manichaeism - little known about them but hugely influential in Central Asia, Persia and China
      • [A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good (Webster's)]
    • He said the group doesn’t play by the same rules as the spiritual community
    • The group is willing to use violence to destroy the sangha
  • Part of something bigger
    • He also said that the Order, the Sangha that we are involved in is part of something bigger, part of a very big Movement
    • A movement of the desire to have spiritual community
    • You need to relate your practice to that, see it as something much bigger
    • Perhaps we need to identify ourselves with the great cultural heroes throughout time and space
    • Today we practice in many different ways but important not to forget the Dharma worker
    • Many things that benefit the world but need a kind of core – the Dharma
  • Dr Ambedkar
    • He did much to help the poor & outcasts
    • He was concerned with all sorts of improvements
      • Material, social, political, educational, cultural
    • But form the beginning he understood for last change had to be a profound moral shift
    • He believed a society flounders without a deep spiritual, ethical foundation
    • He was highly critical of materialism
    • We have unprecedented wealth, leisure, etc. but when the bubble bursts what do we fall back on
    • As we have seen in recent times people do not always come together in a crisis e.g. the Balkans
    • As Buddhist we have our part to play
    • Need to practice deeply& profoundly
  • Metaphysical meaning
    • Helping others indirectly has a a metaphysical meaning
    • Bodhicitta is something around us that we contact
    • Manifests wherever there is kindness and intelligence
    • We can contribute to this. We can help make it grow
    • Shantideva in his Bodhicaryavatara says that we can make the bodhicitta grow and thrive in many
    • Could also say grow and thrive in the world
    • We could dedicate and merits to the bodhicitta growing in thriving in the world
    • The point is the good we do is never wasted is never lost. It might be rejected by others
    • Externals might be destroyed. Your centre might be closed down; the WBO; TBMSG might disappear, but that all happens in time
    • But the good we do is not lost
  • We are always affecting things
    • There are waves, currents, ripples passing through passing through life generated from our good acts and a good acts of others
    • Something we do not appreciate what understand about Buddhism's use of the word Dharma
    • There is in Buddhism this notion that Dharma is this cosmological principle, not just teachings and practices
    • The idea is that your good acts is seen some wide tuning in, contributing to the nature of things
    • It sometimes said that the metta Bhavana, which we often approach as an internal practice, even a psychological practice to prepare for life, which is important of course
  • A Tantric practice
    • Traditionally metta bhavana is actually affecting the world as you sit
    • It is a magical act
    • This is how the Buddha taught the Karaniya metta sutta
    • It was so that the monks could have a positive effect on the deities that were disturbing their practices
    • Metta bhavana is a Tantric practice
    • If you really dwelling in loving kindness you are affecting and really touching people when you are liberating that emotion into the world
    • No good acts are wasted
    • All your good acts are always contributing to bodhicitta
  • Verse 7 (cont)
    • And may I take all their harm and pain
    • Secretly upon myself.
    • Why secretly?
    • You do not make a big deal about practising bodhicitta
    • We need to be natural and unpretentious
    • A bodhisattva just silently, quietly gets on with it.
    • The bodhisattva probably doesn't know that he is even bodhisattva.
    • They probably don't even think like that
    • He has completely forgotten him and it is a big surprise when he finds the bodhicitta or when he sees that it is there.
    • This is a practice that is unpretentious
  • Verse 8
    • May none of this ever be sullied
    • By thoughts of the eight worldly concerns.
    • May I see all things as illusions
    • And, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.
  • Verse 8
    • The 8 Worldly concern or winds
      • Praise & blame
      • Gain & loss
      • Fame & infamy
      • Pleasure & pain
    • To begin with it's going to be virtually impossible to keep the Eight Worldly Concerns out of our bodhisattva practice.
    • They will enter of course.
    • If we care deeply about the bodhisattva path they will enter in.
    • But we can be aware of them and cultivate the view that we will undermine.
  • Vision that all things are illusion
    • You need to see everything an illusion.
    • This verse gives us very briefly the profound view behind this teaching.
      • The view of the emptiness of the own being, the self nature of all things, of all people, of ourselves.
      • Everything needs to be viewed as a magical illusion as maya. As maya's dance.
      • Everything appears, there is definitely appearance.
      • But that appearance dissolve a way.
      • That appearances like a dream or a memory.
      • So you need to reflect and meditate on this.
      • You need to meditate on the magical display of things.
  • Absolute & relative bodhicitta
    • Verse 8 gives us the view of the ultimate, the absolute bodhicitta.
    • Verse 7 is about the relative bodhicitta.
      • The relative bodhicitta is the compassionate response and the ultimate or absolute bodhicitta being the wisdom response.
    • In these eight verses we are given a vision of a being completely involved in the activity of contributing, of liberating, self and others.
    • He is passionate about that.
    • But who knows at the same time that it will all pass away.
    • That everything is insubstantial like a dream.
    • Everything is like a magical illusion.
  • Hard to imagine such a being
    • What we are asked of in the bodhisattva tradition is to be such a being.
    • We don't have to be incredibly metaphysical about this.
    • Quite simply we need to live a life devoted to the Dharma, for the benefit of others, but at the same time, in the midst of it always keeping impermanence in mind. Always.
  • Things rise & fall
    • In Bhante's talk the vision of history it was a vision of the rise and fall of spiritual communities.
    • He deliberately mentioned Manichaeism, because it was a thriving spiritual community.
      • They were all vegetarians, artists, very cultured, non-violent people, a very rich tradition but it was all destroyed.
      • All we have left his fragments of Manichaeism.
      • It was completely decimated by a combination of Zoroastrianism and Islam.
    • Buddhist history, the great Buddhist civilisations, China, Korea, Tibet, Central Asia, Indonesia, India all had incredible amazing cultures that they all came to an end.
    • But they rise and they fall.
    • And it will be the same with us.
  • early days of the Dharma in West
    • We have to remember that we are in the very, very, very early days of the transmission of the Dharma in the West, in the modern world.
    • Things will come and go.
    • They will arise and they will pass away. We need to become fully aware of this.
    • That without becoming cynical, or being hopeless, or passive because you know whatever the ravages of time will do your skilful action, your contribution to bodhicitta never loses its effect.
    • It is never lost. It is never wasted. It will a rise again.
    • Maybe not immediately but we can see that we are doing all this now for our spiritual children and a spiritual grandchildren in the future.
    • We really need to have this new of things.
  • Locked into the present
    • So often we are just locked into the present moment. So locked into the people around us.
    • Locked into this time this place.
    • But we need to think of who comes after us; after we have long gone.
    • What will be their legacy?
    • What will we pass on to them?
    • Will the bodhicitta is a teaching, as the practice be alive for people in the future?
    • We need to practice like that.
  • Develop both bodhicittas
    • Need to sit loosely to what we do whilst caring very deeply about what we do.
    • We need to generate both bodhicittas.
    • The verses are an aspiration to develop bodhicitta
    • They refer to both bodhicittas "may I develop both bodhicittas";
    • the bodhicitta of compassion
    • And the bodhicitta of the realisation of emptiness.
    • Sunyata, karuna, garbha - remember.
      • The essence of emptiness-compassion.
  • 8 Verses are precepts
    • And as such are to be memorised and said over, & over again
    • Brought to bear in all sorts of situations
    • Originally not framed as a aspiration but and injunction – I will cherish all beings
    • They are also mind training
    • There is a lot in them
    • May find them hard – a bit much
    • But good to enter the mind of the Bodhisattva – if only briefly
  • The essence of the 8 verses
    • You could strip them down to get the essence of them:
      • May I cherish all beings
      • May I cherish others as supreme
      • May I watch my mind
      • When I see ill-natured people may I treasure them as a treasure trove
      • May I accept defeat and offer victory
      • When I'm done great harm by someone I had trusted may I see them as an excellent spiritual friend
      • May I give all help and joy and may I take all harm and pain
      • May I see all things as illusions