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Bodhicitta

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I am having a hard time understanding the Buddhist view of Bodhicitta.

 

Currently my view is that assorted meditation practices are designed to *uncover* or *discover* it. It's not so much something that we create or manufacture...it's something that's already there to be discovered.

 

However, I do remember reading on this forum that the Buddha said that Bodhicitta practice alone will not get you to supreme enlightenment. It may win you rebirth into a higher realm but by itself won't get you to Supreme Enlightenment/Attaining the Tao.

 

Thus it currently seems to me that it is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for Supreme Enlightenment/Attaining the Tao.

 

Is it that one practices to uncover or discover that it's already there? Bodhicitta is never created, never born and so it never dies? Or is it something that also is by nature impermanent?

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Serene,

 

 

don't worry about it; these are just names, names and names.

 

 

How can you dig it up? or find it?

You are with it everyday.

 

let the doubt doubts, let the question questions.

 

Like the Old Master said:

The path that can be follow is not the one path,

The name that can be called is not the true name.

 

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Was recently reading Way of the Bodhisattva (Santideva, 7th century) for the second or third time, which says this about bodhichitta:

 

 

"As though they pass through perils guarded by a hero,

Even those weighed down with dreadful wickedness

Will instantly be freed through having bodhichitta[sic].

Why do those who fear their sins not have recourse to it?

 

Just as by the fire that will destroy the world,

Great sins are surely and at once consumed by it.

Its benefits are thus unbounded

As the Wise and Loving Lord explained to Sudhana

 

Bodhichitta, the awakened mind,

Is known in brief to have two aspects:

First, aspiring, bodhichitta in intention

Then active bodhichitta, practical engagement.

 

...

 

From bodhichitta in intention

Great results arise for those still turning in the wheel of life;

Yet merit does not rise from it in ceaseless streams

As is the case with active bodhichitta."

 

So, "the awakened mind" was the translation [edit. by Padmakara Translation Group]..

 

The connection between the inherent patience of a Bodhisattva (always turning the other cheek in order to free from suffering) and bodhichitta is perhaps another discussion (as to whether no-self and heart-mind are always a part of this patience, and whether this in total would be bodhichitta [which seems to be sort of the ultimate "goal" of Buddhists].. I only have the question...)

Edited by Harmonious Emptiness

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Serene,

 

 

don't worry about it; these are just names, names and names.

 

 

How can you dig it up? or find it?

You are with it everyday.

 

let the doubt doubts, let the question questions.

 

Like the Old Master said:

The path that can be follow is not the one path,

The name that can be called is not the true name.

Yup. Just names.

 

You can read the wikipedia page on bodhicitta. But in my experience, it's just another term from compassion and luminous aspect of the mind revealed when dualistic clinging is released.

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I think it is helpful to differentiate it from compassion because Bodhicitta is indiscriminate and has different aspects in that it is more like an attitude, prayer or commitment to serve all beings ahead of yourself. My understanding is that it's development is the fastest route to enlightenment as it is the direct antidote to self clinging and self absorbtion.

 

I expect people say that Bodhicitta alone isn't enough because you need to combine it with wisdom or emptiness, for example there are many Christians who have bucketfulls of Bodhicitta but not many will achieve full enlightenment as their system doesn't include much penetrating wisdom into the true nature of the self.

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I suggest you read this book, called the Union of Dzogchen and Boddhicitta by Anyen Rinpoche.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Union-Dzogchen-Bodhichitta-Anyen-Rinpoche/dp/1559392487

 

Basically, like water has several qualities, wet, fluid, clear... yet still it is water... the deep mind of reality has similar. Boddhicitta is a quality of this deep mind. It is related to the Middle Dantien - the Heart - often referred to simply as compassion - but as stated above it is more than just compassion in the ordinary sense and related very much to the Boddhisatva vow.

 

The book clearly explains why it is not enough on its own to attain true enlightenment. It also says the same about Dzogchen alone, which is related to the upper Dantien and the Clear View. It is only through a synthesis of both Dzogchen - right view - and Boddhicitta - compassion brought about through the right view - that according to Tibetan schools you gain true awakening to the natural state.

 

I would also suggest that it is just as important to focus on the Lower Dantien and keep rooted on the ground in this, that way keeping the true connection with all qualities of reality related both to the Dantiens and the microcosmic Heaven/Earth principle in man.

 

Hope this helps...

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Interesting topic.

 

 

 

I like this saying by Garchen Rinpoche...

 

"If you receive empowerment, its about bodhicitta. If you receive teachings,

its about bodhicitta. If you practice teachings, its about bodhicitta. Everything

comes down to bodhicitta. The essence of practice is about bodhicitta. When

you sit down to do your practice, what you practice is bodhicitta."

 

Its very clear from these words what sort of status bodhicitta retains in Vajrayana paths.

 

Shantideva's handbook mentioned by Harmonious Emptiness makes very good study material for those who want to train in the warrior path of the Bodhisattva.

 

 

Also, from this teaching by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche entitled "Loving Kindness and Compassion in the Dzogchen Tradition" one will get a basic but correct view of what exactly is bodhicitta, why is it good to train in it, and how it benefits the practitioner.

 

http://www.pundarika.org/teachings_love.html

 

 

Additional links which provide useful readings on the subject.

http://www.bodhicitta.net/Bodhicitta-Geshe%20Rabten.htm

http://alittledharma.wordpress.com/tag/patrul-rinpoche/

Edited by CowTao
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I am having a hard time understanding the Buddhist view of Bodhicitta.

 

Currently my view is that assorted meditation practices are designed to *uncover* or *discover* it. It's not so much something that we create or manufacture...it's something that's already there to be discovered.

 

However, I do remember reading on this forum that the Buddha said that Bodhicitta practice alone will not get you to supreme enlightenment. It may win you rebirth into a higher realm but by itself won't get you to Supreme Enlightenment/Attaining the Tao.

 

Bodhicitta means different things in different teachings. In Sutra it refers to wanting to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. This is relative Bodhicitta, which is then divided into intention and application. Through training in that you realize Absolute Bodhicitta (emptiness). In Tantra it refers to the the red and white essences. In Dzogchen it refers to your primordial state. For this last one it is certainly enough to discover it and remain in it to achieve Buddhahood.

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