《菩提心》仁波切 2021 開示(下)

笨居士 | 2021年10月31日 發佈 | 閱讀需 16 分鐘 | YouTube | #翻譯作品



Realizing the truth

Okay, so there are questions. I will try to answer them later. But let me finish a little bit more about bodhichitta.


I hope I’ve managed to convince you that bodhichitta really should have this element of wisdom. I’m using the word “wisdom”, but I don’t know whether that’s a really a good translation [of the word prajña]. Anyway, to enable beginners to understand this [more easily], I would say [that] wisdom is basically a mind that is seeing the truth.


The three marks of existence

A lot of you have heard this before, but for the newcomers [I will] repeat. [When we talk about seeing the truth, we are talking about truths] like impermanence, for instance. Many times we are looking at something that’s impermanent, but we always [fail to] see its truth, which is impermanent. [Instead we] keep on imagining that it’s permanent. And similarly, we are looking at things that [have] a lot of parts, but then we always end up thinking it’s just one unit. And so forth. This is just to give you an example.


If we talk [at a] deeper level of the truth, we are talking about [how] we relate to things that are just an imagination or an appearance, but we always end up seeing them as real. Some of them, we can sort of understand that they are just our imagination. But there are a lot things that we think are real, “[This] has to be the ultimate truth”, things like that.


Anyway, seeing the absolute truth is what we call prajña, which is translated as “wisdom”. That aspect is a big part of bodhichitta. If someone wishes to have a cup of tea, water is essential. But tea leaves are important. You can’t just give this person a cup of water. Likewise, this aspect of wisdom is really important.


We are not accustomed to understanding the truth

But for most beginners, the understanding of this truth is beyond their comprehension, I guess. It’s not because it’s difficult, it’s just that habitually we are not accustomed to [it].


For instance, impermanence. We kind of intellectually know [that] yesterday’s me and today’s me, they’re kind of different. But in our day-to-day interaction with life, we just forget. We just think that yesterday’s me is the same as today’s me. Not only yesterday’s me, [but] last year’s me is the same as today’s me, and so forth.


And if we intellectually analyze things like our ideas and values, we can come to some sort of understanding and conviction that, “Yes, that’s just my idea. That’s just my opinion. That’s just my projection”. Kind of. I mean, for a lot of people even that is difficult. Because for us, some of our ideas and values are really precious. They’re stone carved in the centre of our heart. Very valuable. We will not give [them] up as just [our] imagination.


Wishing that all may be enlightened

Okay, so for beginners [like us], how do we then practice bodhichitta? It’s tough to conceive it [because of our] habits. So then what do we do?


This is why it is a such a brilliant method to practice bodhichitta [by wishing] “May all be enlightened”, instead of saying “May all be happy” or “May all not suffer” or “May all be well”. Instead of [just] wishing [others] well, [we wish] “May all be enlightened”. For beginners, this is a such a brilliant idea. It’s like a really good stepping stone.


I know it sounds like I’m repeating again and again, [but] this wish to make other people see the truth is really the greatest wholesome thought.


All Mahayana methods are to lead you to the truth

Another thing that probably you want to make note of is this. Generally in Buddhism, and especially in Mahayana Buddhism, basically all methods are in one way or another related to [or to lead you to] end up at this truth.


For example, Buddhists will talk about things like renunciation. The ascetic life, let’s say. The word renunciation means a lot, but let’s choose the practice of asceticism or austerity, like [living] a simple life. Without wisdom, if knowing the truth is not there, then the ascetic life or the renunciant life is [just] pain. It’s nothing more than just some sort of a penance. It’s not a Mahayana path.

例如,佛教徒會談論出離,或者說戒律的生活 (又譯禁慾) 。出離這個詞的含義有很多層,今天我們只說戒律(禁慾)這一層,比如過簡單樸素的生活。如果沒有智慧,如果不了知實相,那麼持戒的生活,出離的生活,就只是痛苦。它不過只是某種苦行而已。這不是一條大乘之路。

And it’s for this reason that we see a lot of Mahayana practitioners in the past and also in the present not necessarily adopting the ascetic life. They are businessmen. They are rich, affluent, wealthy. They wear rings, earrings, nose rings, whatever.


So in this way, you can even say [that] when the Buddhists begin to talk about teachings such as renunciation, love and compassion, basically it’s an attempt to slowly stir you, I mean to lead you or lure you towards shunyata, towards the truth.


For instance [let’s take] mindfulness, since mindfulness is such a thing to talk about these days. For the Mahayana, for the Bodhisattvayana , the stability of the mind really means nothing if there is no understanding of the truth. A stable mind — for what? [You] might just as well have a jumpy mind, they would think.


Realization of the truth and having perfect compassion are synonymous

This is why in the sutras you will read phrases like “When you have complete nyingjé, karuna, compassion, that actually means you have understood shunyata”. So, realization of the truth and having perfect compassion are synonymous.


This aspect of bodhichitta is really something that needs to be emphasized for the Mahayana practitioner. As long as you don’t have this quest for the truth, this prajña, then compassion and loving kindness could be self-deceiving. And they could also be a deception for others too.


And not only that, if you don’t have prajña then love, compassion, morality and ethics are very exhausting. For instance generosity — the perfection of generosity. How are you going to achieve that? How do you define someone who has perfect generosity or perfect discipline? How do we define this?


Even practically, we can be generous to one or two people for maybe a year or two or even twenty years. But after a while, it can get exhausting. And it can even really disorient yourself. We see this a lot. And things like love and compassion also become very partial. For example, someone may have love and compassion towards dogs, but then they have no love and compassion towards cockroaches or mosquitoes.


Bodhisattva activity

The classic word for somebody who has bodhichitta is a bodhisattva. And one of the connotations of the bodhisattva is the “courageous one”, the one who has that kind of courage. When we talk about courage, what are we talking about? We are talking about someone who has understood the truth, or [who is] aspiring to understand the truth.


I’m emphasizing this because the act of benefiting others without prajña can be very daunting and very tiring. And if you don’t have hearing and contemplation regarding ultimate bodhichitta, [which is] wisdom, then you will also not have access to the incredible, infinite, skillful means. [Whereas] if you have wisdom, there’s nothing that is not a skillful means.


For instance, every day we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we breathe in and out every moment. A skilled bodhisattva can even turn these seemingly mundane day to day acts [into] a bodhisattva path. I know many of you may think “Me eating breakfast? How can that become bodhisattva activity?” You see, we’re stuck with this idea that a bodhisattva has to be some sort of a philanthropist. But if we can sort of explore a little bit of this prajña, then even our breathing in and out — which we do anyway, we have to — even that, we can turn it into bodhisattva activity.


Taking the Bodhisattva Vow

So lastly, the question is, do we even have the capacity to have this bodhichitta mind? According to the Mahayana, very much so. In fact, your true nature is bodhichitta. This is what Mahayana people think.


Yes, for now, you may be cocooned and wrapped by all kinds of emotions and defilements, but your true nature is this bodhichitta.


Just like when a good human being drinks a lot of alcohol, they misbehave and they seemingly become kind of rowdy and kind of not a nice person. [But] when the alcohol effects subside, they land or they arrive at the state of a good human being again. [It’s] just like that.


Right now, we are drunk on our emotions of hope and fear. And when these things subside, we are back to normal and that normalcy is nothing other than bodhichitta. So there’s every reason why we can have bodhichitta


And according to Shantideva, in the book that I was talking about earlier, even if you [just] wish that all beings understand the truth you have become a bodhisattva. You have become the object of veneration by gods and asuras, that’s what he said. But if you want to enhance the determination to awaken all sentient beings, it is also possible to surrender to rituals such as taking the Bodhisattva Vow.


So, before I let you ask questions, we are quickly going to take the Bodhisattva Vow and I urge you to take this Bodhisattva Vow. Some of you may be wondering what kind of dietary commitment you have to commit to, or [whether] you need to get up early in the morning. Not to worry about those things. Stuff like that doesn’t exist. Remember prajña? Those things are not so important. Actually, they are not important [at all].


What’s really important [is that] you are taking a vow that “I shall try my best, one way or another, to make people see the truth, step by step”. That’s it. How can you not take this vow?


So, I will request you to take this Bodhisattva Vow. We are doing this online, and I know online stuff like taking a vow is a bit controversial, but since this is a Mahayana [teaching] I think it’s okay. But just don’t tell some of those orthodox lamas that I’ve done this.


So, folding your palms together, let us take refuge first. Basically, what we are saying is that we will accept the truth as our object of refuge, and the one who taught [the truth] as our guide, and the system or the community as our support.


Okay, so please repeat this. We’ll now take the bodhisattva vow:


Okay. That’s it. So I will answer some some questions. Maybe I can’t answer them all.


Q & A

Q: If bodhichitta is wisdom, what is the basis for the spontaneous desire to share that wisdom with other beings? Is there not still the need for a contrived vow in order to motivate oneself to do this?


DJKR: Well, bodhichitta is not only wisdom. Remember, to make tea you need tea leaves and water. I’m just emphasizing the wisdom because oftentimes bodhichitta gets limited to kind thoughts and generous thoughts and so forth.


Q: Is inhabiting nonduality the bodhichitta mind, and is this uniquely Buddhist?


DJKR: Yes. I would say that it’s really hard to distinguish between a lot of Indian wisdom traditions, such as Nyaya and Jain and Buddhism. But bodhichitta is probably one of the unique things [in Buddhism]. I haven’t really heard this bodhichitta bit from others. So, this may be a very big one. So, please, scholars and researchers, if you can, maybe make comments.


Q: How can we develop bodhichitta practice daily?


DJKR: There are a lot of short and long rituals that can help you. So you can do those. But actually, I would rather encourage you to do it informally. For instance, [I encourage you to] wish to live, wish to continue living, so that one way or another [all] your actions, even the most mundane actions — remember I told you earlier, like drinking a cup of tea — will in one way or another lead to making others understand the truth. Yes, this kind of longing is contrived. It’s fabricated. But it’s nevertheless gearing towards wisdom. And it’s so important and that’s a bodhichitta practice.


And especially if you or your friend are on their last stage of their life, thinking of bodhichitta is very important. Usually you think, “This is it. Life is coming to an end”, so to speak. But it’s not really the end. Because of bodhichitta, your life is just beginning. There are all these countless sentient beings that you need to awaken. [It’s a] big project. One life is not enough. [Thinking that this is the end is] very cowardly thinking. You wish to come back. Until all sentient beings have finished, you want to come back as bugs, as human beings, as whatever. That kind of planning and vision.


Q: To help [others] see the truth, and to help myself see the truth, how do I know whether I should continue working? Or should I take some time off for deepening my own practice? How do we know this? And how can we make a decision?


DJKR: I don’t know your situation. It depends on what kind of situation you are in. Do you need to pay a mortgage? Do you need to pay certain bills? Do you need to prepare for your next year? Do you have children? But from time to time, if you [can] take off some time and invest your time and energy into things like bodhichitta, definitely it can charge you with the bodhichitta spirit, so to speak.


Q: Can you elaborate on the relationship between karma and bodhichitta?


DJKR: We are going to talk about karma, I think quite soon. So can we hold on with this question?


Q: When we make offerings, how to do it in the best way to also approach the truth?


DJKR: Well, as you have heard today, you are doing this offering with bodhichitta. So that one way or another, this act will awaken others to the truth. I’m trying to not use the [classic] phrase ”For the sake of the enlightenment of others”, just so that you can understand what I’m trying to emphasize.


Q: Having gone astray down a wrong path for such a long time, it can be hard to be courageous to come back to this high path. The karmic effect remains. Is there anything you can say?


DJKR: This is why the bodhichitta is absolutely important. As Shantideva said, the darkness of millions of aeons can be illuminated by [just] one thought of bodhichitta. I did not elaborate it today, but usually when we take the Bodhisattva Vow, we even say that “Today we have become the child of the Buddha. Today we become like the illuminator”. It’s precisely with this kind of situation [that] bodhichitta becomes like alchemy. Just imagine — without bodhichitta, how do we make ourselves perfect? It’s impossible. It’s really impossible.


Q: If, as you said, everything is soon to become nonexistent, what then?


DJKR: Oh, I think here there’s a little bit of a misunderstanding of what we mean by nonexistence. Generally when Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, say “nonexistence”, it also includes the nonexistence of nonexistence. Yes, the prajña, the wisdom is nondual. If it is just nonexistence, then that’s duality.


Q: If someone is manipulating you all the time, do we still have to generate bodhichitta, up to the point that it’s completely destroying your own mental state?


DJKR: The question implies do you still need to behave gently, softly and submissively and so forth? But as I said right at the beginning, a big part of bodhichitta is [being] relentlessly, ruthlessly honest and [truthful]. It’s a truth seeking thing. Without that, without that wisdom, if it is just being loving and [showing] kindness, that could really burn you, I guess.


Q: What are the benefits of having an awakened mind?


DJKR: There are many, many benefits. Among many, I think it’s always good to have a bird’s eye view of life. A view of life from all angles. That’s going to be so liberating. Not just one angle, not lopsided.


Q: How to come up with this kind of courage for this wiser bodhichitta that you allude to?


DJKR: Yes, that’s actually quite interesting, wise. And you use the words “courage” and “wise” together. Oftentimes courage also seems to have the connotation of being a little bit stubborn and sometimes even stupid. But if you see the truth, if you have the bird’s eyes view of life, then yes, basically that is the courage we are talking about here. Then you are in the comfortable zone, so to speak. You have the vista.


Q: Is it cowardice to wish to be reborn in the Amitabha realm?


DJKR: Not at all, it’s the most courageous. You should do this. And — I think that this is a question coming from China — you should visit the main temple of the Pure Land school, where there’s a really beautiful statue of Amitabha Buddha. And to make it even greater, why don’t you wish to be reborn in the Amitabha realm so that you will enlighten all sentient beings, or so that you will awaken all sentient beings to the truth? See, I told you. It’s like alchemy.


Q: How can we help others without seeing the truth ourselves?


DJKR: At least we wish to see the truth and that’s already really good. Not many people even have that.


And to whoever it is, thank you for correcting me that Maya is mostly Central American. Peru is Inca. And on this very auspicious note talking about Maya and Inca, I shall say that we will meet again in this cyber world, and I think we will be discussing about something to do with karma. And meanwhile, please take care of yourself..


宗薩欽哲仁波切,於 2021年7月5日 在美國加利福尼亞州,給予了關於《菩提心》的開示。英文部分由 Alex Li Trisoglio(仁波切指定的佛法老師)聽寫,並分段和添加標題,發布在 Madhyamaka.com。中文部分由 孫方 翻譯。並在翻譯過程中,根據視頻做了文字上的修訂,所以中英文部分可能會有可忽略不計的微小差別。





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