(3.32) It is a vast sun that completely dispels
The fog of unknowing from living beings.
It is the quintessential butter that arises
When the milk of Dharma is churned.
(3.33) For the honoured guests, the beings on samsara’s paths
Who wish to enjoy the delights of bliss,
Bodhichitta will satisfy them all
By leading them to the supreme state of bliss.
(3.34) Today, in the presence of all the Protectors,
I invite all living beings to be my guests
To enjoy these temporary and ultimate delights.
May gods, demi-gods, and everyone else be joyful!
The sign our understanding of emptiness is correct is we feel a sense of responsibility towards everything. Geshe-la says, “there is no creator other than mind.” Our mind is the creator of all, so therefore we are naturally responsible for everything that appears to it. When we understand that others are not separate from us, but are rather other limbs on the body of living beings or other waves on the ocean of our mind, then the duality between ourselves and others fades away. We no longer make a distinction between our own and other’s happiness, rather we come to see all beings as parts of our self. In the same way, if we live our life according to Bodhichitta, we naturally come to see and understand the interdependent nature of reality. We live in accordance with how things are, and as a result our wisdom naturally increases. Bodhichitta realizes that only wisdom has the power to solve our problems because all of our problems arise from ignorance. Instead of being preoccupied with avoiding the result of suffering, we seek to eliminate its cause, namely ignorance.
All of the Dharma can be condensed into bodhichitta. We have a precious human life with which we can accomplish the highest of all possible spiritual goals, but we will most certainly die and we don’t know when. We are most likely headed for the lower realms, and even if we avoid them we remain trapped in the illusion of samsara just like everyone else. Other living beings are our kind mothers, indeed they are aspects of ourself. Seeing this, there is no sense in freeing only one part of our self (the self that we normally see) when we need to free all of ourself (all living beings). Only a Buddha has the power to do that. Within bodhichitta is great compassion, faith and superior intention. Within great compassion is cherishing others and renunciation. Within renunciation is the teachings on karma, the lower realms and death. With one mind, we have all virtues and oppose all delusions.
Bodhichitta seeks not to merely bestow upon others ordinary, contaminated happiness of samsara, but the eternal freedom that comes with liberation and enlightenment. Even the most sublime pleasures of samsara are crude toxins compared to the inexpressible bliss of enlightenment. Safety in samsara is not safe at all, it is simply a waiting room for our inevitable slaughter and resurrection, only to be slaughtered again. Only the bliss of full enlightenment is real safety, for ourself and for all living beings. Beings seek satisfaction in a good partner, their jobs, intoxicants, etc., but like someone drinking sea water, they find none. Deep inner satisfaction is only found when our mind is at peace, and there is no inner peace more sublime than the mind of great bliss.
Bodhichitta is the most precious thing in the universe. It is everything, everything that others need, especially in order to find the freedom and happiness they yearn for. It can be brought to them only by the power of Bodhichitta. Everything that we need can be brought to us by the power of Bodhichitta. Shantideva knows this and he’s thinking “and I have it! I have it!” He wants to throw a party and toast Bodhichitta. He’s overjoyed. Amongst all the virtues, Bodhichitta is unsurpassed. And it has arisen in his mind! He can’t believe it.
We should feel the same way, even with artificial Bodhichitta. Every day we should take the Bodhisattva Vow and spend time feeling like Shantideva feels. We should delight in our decision. At such times we try to strengthen our decision to follow the internal path of a Bodhisattva leading to the supreme inner peace at our heart. At such times we must see ourself as an actual Bodhisattva, and then try to behave as an actual Bodhisattva.
I had the good fortune of receiving teachings from Gen-la Losang on the benefits of bodhichitta. For more than an hour, without any notes, he spontaneously went from one benefit to the other extolling bodhichitta’s unsurpassable benefits. He said the bodhisattva’s way of life is like somebody preparing for the greatest banquet the universe has ever seen, in which all beings are invited to partake freely of pure enjoyments and rediscover their loved ones never to be parted again. It is a party in which every pure wish is forever fulfilled, all good results are brought to fruition. It is like the ultimate victory party over the greatest enemy of all, delusion, a hard won freedom fully enjoyed. And the best part is the party will never stop, but can be enjoyed forever by all.
This concludes the third chapter of Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, entitled “Generating Engaging Bodhichitta”.