Vows, commitments and modern life: Root downfalls of the Bodhisattva Vows, …not giving dharma.

We continue our discussion of the downfall “not giving wealth or Dharma.”  In the last post, we discussed not giving wealth, in this post we turn to not giving Dharma.

In terms of giving the Dharma, as bodhisattvas, we should be no different than the greatest philanthropists of history, like Bill Gates.  The difference is we become spiritual philanthropists.  We actively seek to acquire as much inner spiritual wealth of realizations as we possibly can because we are so eager to give it away.  The mind of bodhichitta is almost no different than the mind of a philanthropist, the only real difference being the type of wealth we seek to acquire.  With such a mind, we start to view our lives completely differently.  We develop a new bottom line for our life.  When we are confronted with the various challenges of life, we see them as opportunities for us to learn the wisdom necessary to navigate through such situations.  We think of all the others who confront similar situations but don’t know what to do, and so we apply ourselves fully to learn how to navigate through the situation with wisdom with the intention to then share that wisdom with others on the other side. 

Venerable Tharchin explained that our gaining realizations with a wish to share them with others actually creates the causes for those who have similar problems to come into our karmic orbit so that we can help them.  He said growing Dharma centers, for example, is no mystery.  If the people in the center gain the realizations for knowing how to transform the typical daily lives of the people in a given region, then those realizations will act as a karmic magnet attracting people to find the center.  Of course we still conventionally have to get the publicity out there, but whether that publicity works depends on whether or not those seeing it receive blessings to be inspired to come.  These blessings karmically radiate out from the collective realizations of the Sangha in the center.  This does not necessarily mean that there will be large numbers of people who come, but what it does mean is large realizations will be transferred.  Venerable Tharchin also said that every person who comes into a Dharma center should correctly be viewed as the future savior of all.  There will come a time in the future of each of us when we ourselves will be the lineage holder, when we ourselves will be the portal between this world and the pure worlds of the Buddhas.  So even if only one person comes, that person has standing behind them all living beings.  Mark Zukerberg, the founder of Facebook, said every person on earth is no more than seven friends away (friend of a friend of a friend, etc.).  We are all quite close to one another.  Through each person, we ripple outwards quite quickly to everyone.  Infusing even one person with realizations literally heals the whole world, even if only on the margin.  Again, Venerable Tharchin says for every step we take towards enlightenment, we bring all beings with us in proportion to their karmic connection to us.  Every being is only at most seven friends away… 

Our giving of the Dharma is not limited to those who are Dharma teaches and it is not limited to helping out people in the Sangha.  George Takei (formerly Sulu on Star Trek, but now a social media icon) said something to the effect that social media is “folk wisdom and pictures of cats.”  People are starving for wisdom.  People know wisdom when they hear/read it, and it naturally speaks to their heart.  We may acquire our wisdom through the language of Dharma, but we are by no means limited to the language of Dharma for expressing the wisdom we realize.  Just as there are different languages in the world, such as English, French and Chinese, so too there are different cultural dialects for understanding the world.  Economists understand the world through the language and concepts of economics, physicists understand the world through the language and concepts of physics, musicians and artists understand the world through the language and concepts of music and art, etc.  People in the South have their own values, idioms and cultural references which is different than those in the north, but they all have different language sets and patterns for making sense of the world. 

If we are to give the Kadam Dharma our Spiritual Guide has given us to the people of this modern world, we need to learn all of these different languages, and more importantly we need to learn how to express the wisdom of the Kadam Dharma using the languages and cultural dialects that people speak and use.  If the Dharma is true, it must be true in all circumstances, so a football game can teach the lamrim just as well as anything else.  What discussion of politics can not be concluded with the disadvantages of self-cherishing?  If we have Dharma realizations in our mind, and we learn the about the world around us, we will then be able to express the Dharma through the myriad languages (linguistic and cultural) of the world and thereby give the Dharma to all the people of this world.  By finding the Dharma in everything, whether it is sports, politics, movies, our work environment, our family, our school, whatever, then we will learn how to express the wisdom of the Dharma on the field, in politics, at the movies, at work, in our family and at our schools.  And we will be able to do so without being all weird and awkward starting every sentence with “Geshe-la says” and others thinking we are some religious fanatic.  But if we lack the ability to transmit wisdom using non-Dharma words and examples, then we may know a lot of Dharma, but those realizations are nearly useless except for the few others who happen to speak the same “language.” 

Every day we should request Dorje Shugden, “please forge me into the Buddha I need to become.”  Dorje Shugden knows who we have the karma with to be their spiritual guide.  He knows what realizations they need us to gain so that we can help them.  So we request him to emanate a life for us that is a representative reflection of the life of those for whom we are destined to help.  We request him to give us their problems now so that we can learn how to use the Dharma to overcome them.  We then dedicate that the conditions be arranged for us to share the wisdom we have gained.  This is Dorje Shugden’s job.  This is what he does.  This is what he can do for us, if only we ask.  Once we make this request, our life transforms itself into the actualization of bodhichitta.  We view every situation as emanated for us to learn what we need to learn to be able to help others with similar problems in the future.  Dealing with a difficult boss or helping our spouse in their battle with cancer all start having a higher purpose and a higher meaning.  They will still be difficult to go through, but we will do so with the courageous mind of a bodhisattva knowing that the harder it is, the more people we will help in the future with the wisdom we gain.  Our life becomes a meaningful one full of giving Dharma, regardless of whether or not we are a Dharma teacher.  How wonderful!


One thought on “Vows, commitments and modern life: Root downfalls of the Bodhisattva Vows, …not giving dharma.

  1. Dharma really works as a protection for the mind, protection from what? Suffering and in particular, the suffering of the lower realms. This we know.
    If we notice who created the world, we understand this to be mind. Who has imprisoned living beings in the suffering of the human realms and the other realms, we know this to be mind, our mind. Our karma. We need to work with this karma in a special way.

    The best way to give Dharma, is to not give Dharma to ‘others’ at all. Since they are beings of our dream-like samsara, a world created by self-cherishing. This does not mean that we stop giving. We just do it with a different understanding, from a different point of view. Others are the karmic residue of our past actions. Our mind has imprisoned them. We work towards realising this truth and freeing them.

    We also know it is good to give Dharma, giving friends books or teachings and so on. But it means so much more than that. We give away all our Dharma Jewels, they are not ‘ours’. Others need that protection. Parts of our mind need that protection. We are seeking to enlighten our entire mind, which appears all living beings in the separateness we call self-grasping.

    We give all realisations, good karma and beneficial conditions and so forth to others, who are our self ‘in disguise’.
    We give all physical Dharma such as books and so on in the same way. As a practical way to inspire such further deeper contemplations.

    In this way we can also imagine that our realisations turn into whatever all living beings need, such as wealth, so we maximise the effect it will have.

    The harder it is, the more resistance comes from our self-grasping and self-cherishing which wants it all for itself. So inevitably, it steps closer to the complete demolishing of this strange mistaken awareness.

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