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Practice of Bodhicitta

Practice of Bodhicitta

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Published by Min Bahadur shakya
It describes the two traditional method of generating Bodhimind in the bodhisattva path.
It describes the two traditional method of generating Bodhimind in the bodhisattva path.

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Published by: Min Bahadur shakya on Oct 31, 2009
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06/11/2014

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Practice of Bodhicitta
 by Min Bahadur ShakyaThe word Bodhicitta is translated in various terms such as awakening mind, enlightenedattitude, and thought of enlightenment or simply Bodhi mind. The essence of theformation of an enlightened attitude is the desire for perfect enlightenment in order to beable to work for the benefit of others.The development of Bodhicitta is the framework upon which the Mahayana Path is built,and is the basis and foundation for the great waves of the enlightened career of theBodhisattva. Now let us give short outlines what a possessor of this Bodhi mind should be? In one of the aspirational prayer of Great Bodhisattva Manjushri, he spoke thus in his previous birth;"As the chain of births is endless from beginning to end, so long shall I live that holy lifefor the well being of all creatures. Let us produce the thought of enlightenment in the presence of our Leader. I invite the entire world; for I shall deliver it from poverty. Nomind of malice and stubbornness, neither envy and grudging, will I cherish from this dayas long as I have enlightenment. I will practice continence and avoid criminal lusts andimitate the self-restriant and morality of the Buddhas. Not as one that is hurried do Iundertake to gain enlightenment. I will remain until the end of the chain of being for oneliving being's sake. I will purify a measureless, an unimaginable Buddha's field. I willgain me a name renowned in ten quarters. I will always make pure the works of both actand word. I will purify my mind and work; yea, I will not work a work that shall be bad."Such aspirations and prayers are a common theme to the practitioners of MahayanaBuddhism. In Sanskrit Buddhist literature we can find many texts dealing with thethought of enlightenment or Bodhicitta Pranidhana. In the text Sukhavativyuha SutraBuddha Amitabha in his previous birth as Bhikshu Dharmakara made forty-eight vowsand aspirations, Buddha Bhaishajya (Medicine Buddha) made 12 great vows; andsimilarly Shakyamuni Buddha made four great vows.Such heroic and bold statements of a bodhisattva do not come to his continuum of mindautomatically. But it comes through his force of compassion and mercy for all suffering beings. He perceives this human life as an extremely rare phenomenon. He thinks that itis very difficult to enjoy the blessings of life as a man or woman under fortunate andfavourable conditions ( Kshana-Sampad). He realizes that his life and the external worldare painful, impermanent and unsubstantial. All creatures begin their journey towardsdeath from the very moment of their conception in the womb. Thus realizing the peril of death and suffering after death a wise man usually resolves to become a bodhisattva isgenerated through the realization of the misery and folly of the people around him. Hesees the worldlings deluded by ignorance. They are attached to sense pleasures andenslaved by egotism, pride, false opinions, lusts, hate, doubt, craving, and evil intentions.They are without refuge and protection. They are traveling through this ocean of samsara.They do not love virtue and duty and are ungrateful to parents and spiritual teachers.
 
They are addicted to violence, strife, falsehood and deceit. They suffer from manydiseases and famines. The true religion is rejected, and false creeds arise and flourish.Such is the terrible situation, in which the world finds itself. In the present day situationAlso we are confronted with the same sad news: violence, crime, wars and disasters.Even in these modern times it is clear that one's precious life is not safe. Bodhisattvas of your generated the thought of enlightenment realizing the miserable situation of allcreatures. So pity, mercy, love and compassion for sentient beings are the root of generating Bodhi mind.
Need of generating Bodhi Mind
The two objects of this Bodhi mind are the Bodhi , the enlightenment and the good of theliving beings. Regarding the latter every major religion of the world: Buddhism,Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism teachmoral precepts, ideal of love, the same goal of benefiting humanity through spiritual practice and the same effects of making their followers into better human beings. Allteach the spiritual disciplines and practices for perfecting the functions of body, speechand mind. The common goal of all moral precepts laid down by the great teachers of allreligions is unselfishness. The great teachers wanted their followers to desist from evil paths caused by ignorance and introduce them to the path of virtue and goodness. Eachreligion teaches a path leading to a spiritual state, which is peaceful and wise. Thequalities of mind such as pity, mercy, love and compassion for suffering sentient beingsare common elements of all religions. It is very important for the unity of followers of allreligions to develop these qualities of mind.Bodhi mind essentially helps to achieve basic unity and a spirit of cooperation among thefollowers of different religions. When Bodhi mind is generated within our continuum of mind our goal is to maintain undiscriminating love and compassion towards all living beings without making any distinction of race, nationality, class, sex, status, friend or enemy. His activity is not centered on his sectarian belief or dogma. He feels a sense of universal responsibility. He feels other people's sufferings as his own. A great concern for other people's happiness arises. He will not be indifferent to the sufferings of the world.Such attitudes are needed for today's global problems. Nowadays we are facing a number of problems. Among them some are natural calamitiessuch as famine, flood disaster and earthquake, which we cannot avoid and have to acceptwithout choice. But most of the problems we make ourselves such as waging wars,ideological conflicts and many others. We are in constant fear due to the threat of nuclear destruction. People wage wars for petty ends forgetting all the ideals of humanity.It is definite that all our problems start from our self-cherishing thought. All religionsteach us to be less selfish but on the contrary our actions are wholly centered on self-happiness and self comfort. All conflicts, exploitations and wars are due to selfishconcerns. Men are unaware of the value of cherishing of others.As the First Panchen Lama has declared:" The chronic disease of cherishing ourselves is the cause of our unsought suffering.Seeing this, we seek your blessings to blame begrudge and destroy the monstrous demonof selfishness."
 
As it is said this self-cherishing attitude is like a chronic disease, which is very difficult toroot out. It steals our freedom and always creates trouble. So generation of the awakeningmind means trying to minimize our selfish concerns and having an attitude cherishingothers so that the poor, troubled and developing can get sympathy, solace andcooperation from developed countries without any exploitation. They can breath the air of peace and happiness.In case the top leaders of the world had thought over this awakening mind the presentsituation will not have occurred. Many political leaders and scientists have appeared inthe course of our long human history. Most of them wasted their lives in the game of wars rather than in the upliftment of humanity.I think it is fundamentally wrong in our global education system that the emphasis is laidmore on materialism. Although Science and Technology has created immeasurablematerial comforts it has done little in maintaining our humanitarian ideals and values,which have shaped humanitarian ideals and values, which have shaped our worldcivilization. Our basic human problems have remained the same. Had Science andTechnology and spiritual education gone hand in hand, emphasizing humanitarian ideals,we will not have to face the problems of today.So it is time for all spiritual leaders to consider humanitarian ideals as a basis of formaleducation in order to solve our global problems and to attain peace. In time, the greatnations of and to attain peace. In time, the great nations of world inspired by the Bodhimind may ceases to manipulate everything in a vain pursuit of power and instead try tocreate a peaceful world by regulating the mind's activities to accord with the sublimeDharma.
Methods of Generating Bodhi Mind
So far we have discussed only the value of creating this mind. Now let us discuss themethods of generating this awakening mind as described in the early texts of IndianBuddhist tradition. Although there are many excellent methods described and explained by learned masters of the past the following two are the most popular:a)Seven Instructions cause and Effect b)Exchanging oneself with Others Both the methods originate from Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni transmittedthe first method to Bodhisattva Maitreya and from him to Acharya Asanga and throughmany masters to Atisha.The second method was passed from Bodhisattva Manjushri to Acharya Nagarjuna.Shantideva and also to Atisha.Seven Instructions of Cause and Effecta)Equanimity b)Awareness of Mother sentient beingsc)Recollecting their kindnessd)Repaying their kindness

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