(1.7) The Able Ones, the Buddhas, who have considered this for many aeons,
Have all seen bodhichitta to be the most beneficial
Because, through it, countless masses of living beings
Can easily attain the supreme bliss of enlightenment.
This is incredible when you think about it. All the Buddhas with their infinite wisdom have examined and discovered that the most beneficial, the most precious thing in the entire universe is the mind of bodhichitta. How can we understand this?
If you and all your friends were in poverty and somebody gave you $1,000, it would be very useful and beneficial. It would be even more beneficial if they gave you a machine with which you could (legally) print your own money for yourself. It would be even more beneficial if they gave you a machine that made the machines which print the money because then you could give one to each of your friends (assume away inflation for a moment).
In the same way if you and your friends are in spiritual poverty, what is the value of one non-contaminated karmic seed? It would have to be worth more than all the wealth of samsara for all the three times combined because its ripened effect is beyond all of samsara. So if you had one non-contaminated seed, it would be extremely valuable and precious. A mind of renunciation – a mind seeking one’s own individual liberation – would be like a machine with which we can generate for ourselves non-contaminated karmic seeds. This would be far more useful than just one seed because we can create as many as we want for ourselves. A mind of bodhichitta – a mind seeking enlightenment to be able to lead all others to the same state – is like a machine which can make machines which can generate non-contaminated karmic seeds. It generates a special type of non-contaminated seed that ripens in the form of us having the ability to lead others to enlightenment (the ability to bestow methods which enable them to generate non-contaminated seeds themselves). If just one non-contaminated seed is worth more than all the wealth of samsara combined, it is difficult to even fathom how infinitely valuable the mind of bodhichitta is.
(1.8) Those who wish to destroy their own suffering,
Those who wish to dispel the suffering of others,
And those who wish to experience much happiness
Should never forsake the practice of bodhichitta.
Bodhichitta fulfills all wishes. All beings have the same basic wishes to be free from all suffering and experience perfect happiness. Bodhichitta fulfills our temporary wish for happiness because it is the king of all virtues. When our mind is mixed with virtue, it naturally becomes more peaceful and calm. When our mind is peaceful and calm, we are naturally happy, even if our external circumstance is awful. Living our life according to bodhichitta enables us to live a meaningful and rewarding life. Those who have great wealth and can satisfy their every worldly desire often find their lives empty and devoid of meaning, but those who have bodhichitta in their heart live each day knowing they are dedicating their lives to something larger than themselves, something that offers a real and lasting solution to all sorrow. From a purely individual karmic point of view, making bodhichitta our driving force in life enables us to generate literally unlimited merit, or good karmic luck, with which we can fulfill all of our wishes.
Bodhichitta also enables us to fulfil all of our ultimate wishes. Our ultimate wish is to lead all living beings, including ourselves, to the everlasting bliss and happiness of full enlightenment. The cause of all suffering is contaminated aggregates. Contaminated aggregates are the technical Buddhist term for our ordinary body and mind. A human suffers from human problems because they impute their “I” onto human aggregates, or a human body and mind. An animal suffers from animal problems because they impute their “I” onto an animal’s body and mind. The same is true for hungry spirits, hell beings, demi-gods and gods. Bodhichitta, quite simply, is the wish to change the basis of imputation of our “I” from a contaminated body and mind to the completely pure body and mind of a Buddha. Once we have done this, we are then able to help each and every other living being do the same. In this way we are able to free both ourself and all living beings from all of their suffering. The pure aggregates of a Buddha experience only non-contaminated bliss, which is the most sublime happiness a being can experience. In this way it fulfills our own and others wish for pure, ultimate and everlasting happiness.
In science, causes are divided into necessary and sufficient causes. In Dharma, causes are divided into substantial and circumstantial causes. An acorn is the substantial cause of an oak tree because it is the thing that transforms into the next thing. The circumstantial causes are the sunlight, water and rich soil which function to bring about the transformation. If you have an acorn without sunlight, water and rich soil, an oak tree will never develop; likewise, if you have all of the circumstantial causes assembled but no acorn, an oak tree will never grow.
In exactly the same way, the precious Sutra mind of bodhichitta is the substantial cause of the sublime tantric mind of great bliss. In Sutra, ultimate bodhichitta is meditating on emptiness motivated by bodhichitta. The subject mind meditating is the mind of bodhichitta, and the object of its meditation is the wisdom realizing emptiness. According to Tantra, ultimate bodhichitta is meditating on emptiness with the subject mind of great bliss. Bodhichitta is the substantial cause of spontaneous great bliss. By taking the acorn of bodhichitta and then adding the sunlight, water and rich soil of generation and completion stage practices, our mind of bodhichitta will gradually transform into the supreme mind of great bliss. Without bodhichitta, just like without an acorn, one could engage in the Tantric practices for an eternity, and a qualified great bliss would never arise. With a mind of great bliss meditating on emptiness, we can almost instantaneously purify all of our previously accumulated contaminated karma and quite quickly become a Buddha.
What could be more precious than bodhichitta?