We should still try to develop a beneficial intention
If we develop this intention more and more strongly,
We will naturally find ways to help others
Wisdom is a virtuous mind that functions mainly to dispel doubt and confusion by understanding its object thoroughly. Wisdom practiced with bodhichitta motivation is a perfection of wisdom. Wisdom distinguishes between what is virtuous and what is non-virtuous. Our wish to do what is virtuous comes from wisdom, and this wish gives rise to our applying effort to our practice. Greater wisdom brings stronger mental stabilization, and stronger mental stabilization brings greater wisdom. Four of the most important types of wisdom are:
1) profound wisdom - easily understands subtle topics such as subtle impermanence or emptiness
2) clear wisdom - discerns its object clearly and precisely
3) quick wisdom - quickly understands objects of contemplation without the need for further investigation
4) great wisdom - easily understands objects of contemplation without the need for explanation
Mental stabilization, or concentration, is a mind whose nature is to be single-pointedly placed on a virtuous object and whose function is to prevent distraction. Mental stabilization practiced with bodhichitta motivation is a perfection of mental stabilization. There are three types of concentration from the point of view of their function:
1) those that produce the bliss of mental and physical suppleness - this makes our body light and free from tension and eliminates mental disturbances.
2) those that help us realize renunciation, bodhichitta, and the correct view of emptiness
3) those that provide us with the means of benefiting others
This has two parts:
1) Maintaining the aspiring mind by means of ritual - we take the precepts of aspiring bodhichitta in front of our Spiritual Guide/Guru, in front of a representation of Buddha, or by visualizing all the Buddhas in front of us. We recite the following prayers:
I and all sentient beings, until we achieve enlightenment, go for refuge to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Through the virtues I collect by giving and other perfections, may I become a Buddha for the benefit of all. (x3)
From this time forth until I become a Buddha, I shall keep even at the cost of my life a mind wishing to attain complete enlightenment to free all living beings from the fears of samsara and solitary peace. (x3)
The 8 precepts that we receive and keep as our daily practice are:
1) to remember the benefits of bodhichitta six times a day
2) to generate bodhichitta six times a day
3) not to abandon any living being
4) to accumulate merit and wisdom
5) not to cheat or deceive our Preceptors or Spiritual Guides
6) not to criticize those who have entered the Mahayana
7) not to cause others to regret their virtuous actions
8) not to pretend to have good qualities or hide our faults without a special, pure intention
2) Maintaining the engaging mind by means of ritual - we do this by taking the actual Bodhisattva vows received from a qualified Spiritual Guide.
This practice is motivated by love wishing all living beings to have happiness. We first think: all these living beings are seeking happiness and want to be happy, but there is no real happiness anywhere in samsara. I will give them the happiness of permanent inner peace. We then imagine that our body transforms into a wishfulfilling jewel that radiates infinite light rays that pervade the entire universe, reaching the bodies and minds of all living beings and bestowing upon them the supreme happiness of permanent inner peace. Then think that all living beings are experiencing pure happiness and meditate on that feeling.
If we do this meditation regularly we shall develop a warm and loving regard for everyone we meet, and eventually we will develop spontaneous bodhichitta. When we accomplish this, we will become a Bodhisattva.
We cannot attain enlightenment without changing our self-cherishing attitude into the attitude of cherishing others. If we don’t cherish others, our relationships with them will suffer, and no one will have any care or respect for each other. Then no one gets what they want. If people are living in a community and the individual members of the community do not cherish one another, the community will fall apart; and if the community as a whole does not respect its members it will become weak and unharmonious. It its members do not offer one another mutual support, a community will experience many problems and no one’s wishes will be fulfilled. After contemplating this, we can make the determination, “I must cherish others so that I can develop great compassion and bodhichitta and thereby experience all the benefits of bodhichitta.”
If we recognize and appreciate the good qualities of other living beings, we shall naturally cherish them and want to return their kindness. Everything we receive benefit from is the result of the kindness of others. We depend upon others not just for material things, but to provide us with the opportunity to practice giving, moral discipline, patience, and effort, and the ability to develop great compassion and bodhichitta, the causes of full enlightenment.
This has three parts:
1) The basis for generating bodhichitta. Right now, we have the great good fortune to have found these rare Mahayana Buddhist teachings and the ability to put them into practice. We may not have this opportunity in our future lives, so we should take advantage of them now.
2) The nature of Bodhichitta and how it is generated. Bodhichitta is a spontaneous wish, motivated by great compassion, to attain enlightenment to benefit all living beings. When we have generated superior intention we are determined to lead all living beings to full enlightenment.
3) The divisions of bodhichitta. There are many types of bodhichitta that can be categorized in the following four divisions:
a) The twofold division - aspiring bodhichitta and engaging bodhichitta. Aspiring bodhichitta is any bodhichitta we generate before taking the Bodhisattva vows and engaging bodhichitta is the bodhichitta we generate after taking the Bodhisattva vows.
b) The threefold division - king-like bodhichitta (wish to become a Buddha first then help others to do the same), shepherd-like bodhichitta (wish to lead all living beings to Buddhahood first and then attain enlightenment for themselves last), and boatman-like bodhichiita (wish for all living beings to attain enlightenment simultaneously with himself or herself).
c) The fourfold division - the four mind generations of imaginary engagement (Bodhisattvas on the first two Mahayana paths meditate on meditation and emptiness and have yet to realize emptiness directly), pure superior intention (Superior Bodhisattvas of the first to the seventh grounds on the Mahayana path of seeing meditate on emptiness and bodhichitta), full maturation (Bodhisattvas on the eighth through tenth grounds), and abandoned obstructions (the bodhichitta of a Buddha).
d) The twenty-twofold division - bodhichitta divided from the point of view of the basis for developing bodhichitta.