Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rousing Bodhichitta

This is a transcription of a seminar called Pema Chödrön. I think it has some good points, some that have become very true in my life lately. Here are a few excerpts.

"...It's very traditional at the beginning of teachings--especially for Tibetan Buddhist teachers to encourage their students to "Rouse Bodhichitta" SO I'd like to say a little bit about what that means....

"... it's main topic, actually, is how to work with you own mind, and live your life in a way that you develop and begin to open, so that you can be of true benefit to other people. it's how to live in such a way that with your actions and your words, you can help others. And just by the model of your life, that you could inspire other people. How to wake up yourself, so that you could support other people in finding their own ability to wake up from any kind of ignorance, from any kind of hard-heartedness, from any kind of self-absorption--to help people do that.

"And so it's said that, when you "wake up" like that, the path of the Bodhisattva is very connected with this subject of Bodhichitta.

"Simply put... it's said, traditionally, that virtuous actions have virtuous results. And one kind of traditional or classic, virtuous action is to "listen to the Dharma"--listen to teachings that resonate with a deeper part of you, that somehow inspire you out of, maybe some kind of narrow, small perspective, and resonate with a part of you that can stay open. resonate with your open mind--unbiased, unprejudiced mind-- and resonate with your open heart.

So, when we say "Rouse Bodhichitta"... virtuous actions such as listening to the Dharma have virtuous results such as less emotional upheaval, results such as being able to keep your heart open in increasingly difficult situations. It's said that when we act in an open-hearted way--what's called traditionally "virtuously"-- then the result of that is that we ourselves are becoming more compassionate; more sane; have a better sense of humor; are more flexible, these kind of things.

"...this really means that you have the longing to be able to share with other people, your good fortune. That rather than--- you know, when things lighten up for us, either outer conditions or emotional stuff, you know, we want to horde it for ourselves and we might begin to get very stingy about--not feeling all that generous. Arousing Bodhichitta is a sense of immense generosity where you actually wish for other people to have the same good fortune as you.

"...beginning to cherish anything good in your life, the warmth of a shower if, you like to take showers.... or you might have a lot of worries on your plate, but there's still some sweetness in every day of everybody's lives-- some kindness that is extended to you; some kindness that ,you extend to other people. Arousing Bodhichitta has the feeling of wishing that good fortune to be shared by other people. And sometimes the most powerful way to do that is to think of particular people that you know who are particularly messed up--or suffering extremely--and you wish for those people to have some of this good fortune that you have. Even these moments or seconds of good fortune, you wish for these other people to have it.

...Arousing Bodhichitta at the beginning of a teaching is making the aspiration that anything that you learn... any lightness of your load, or more "cheered-upness" or sense of inspiration, that you want to share it. You want to share it with the people who need it--who don't have the good fortune that you have. So that's the notion of Arousing the Bodhichitta; it's like a longing to want to share the wealth with other people, so he more you understand what the word "open-heartedness" means, then the more you want to share that understanding--not just the understanding, but the experience, you want other people to have that experience. Or the more you have the experience of an unprejudiced moment, you know, where you are engaged with someone, and you can drop your biases and just listen openly to them--the more you have an experience like that of open-mindedness the more you know the value of it.
and then Bodhisattva what is to want other people who don't have that, to have it.

"...this is the idea... rousing your longing to share with other people any kind of wakefulness; any kind of openness, actually an kind of inspiration, or tenderness of your whole life--wishing for it to spread out and benefit other people.

"So, that's a very very simplistic, non-intellectual description."

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