SAT CHIT ANAND
- SEPTEMBER 2006 NEWSLETTER -
SCA RETREAT WITH GESHE PHENDE
HEART OF ENLIGHTENMENT
May all beings everywhere who suffer
Torment in their minds and bodies
Have, by virtue of my merit,
Joy and happiness in boundless measure.
As long as they may linger in samsara,
May their present joy know no decline,
And may they taste of unsurpassed beatitude
In constant and unbroken continuity.
[SHANTIDEVA: The Way of the Bodhisattva,
extracts from chapter 10 Dedication]
Enlightenment is the elimination of all negative qualities and the realisation / actualisation of all positive qualities. It is pure cessation of suffering and causes of suffering. It is knowledge, wisdom, the omniscient mind of a Buddha. If the mind is covered by negative emotions, this causes problems and suffering. When all negativity is completely eliminated, the mind becomes pure. This pure mind is the enlightened mind of a Buddha. We all have the potential to eliminate all our negative emotions and become enlightened. This potential is called Buddha nature. It is within us all the time - our job is to remove the obscurations that hide it, so it can shine forth in all its truth, goodness and beauty.
May beings never languish in the lower realms,
May pain and hardship be unknown to them.
Enjoying more than godlike strength and beauty,
May buddhahood for them be swiftly gained.
Everything depends on causes and conditions. CAUSES eg if you plant an apple seed, you will get an apple tree, and never an orange tree. A good cause will bring a good result. CONDITIONS eg whether you get a big or a small apple tree depends on conditions. Things don’t only depend on karma. Things depend on karma and conditions. So don’t just sit there and do nothing, thinking karma will do it all – that is foolish. If you have a seed and you just leave it, nothing will grow, there will be no result. You must plant the seed and water it so that it can grow, then you will get result. You must cultivate your Buddha nature if you want it to grow into a reality. Understanding of cause and effect helps us to change our minds.
May the poor and destitute find wealth,
The haggard and the careworn, joy.
May confidence relieve those in despair
And bring them steadfastness and every excellence.
PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
To get enlightened, you need METHOD + WISDOM. They are like the 2 wings of a bird. A bird cannot fly with one wing.
1. RENUNCIATION MIND = desire to be free from the suffering of Samsara. Renunciation is the determination to leave the suffering of cyclic existence. It is a deep understanding of the causes of suffering, and the determination to stop creating those causes, and instead to start creating the causes of true and lasting happiness.
May every being ailing with disease
Be freed at once from every malady.
May all the sickness that afflicts the living
Be instantly and permanently healed.
2. COMPASSION MIND = desire that all beings be free from suffering. Love and compassion are very powerful minds that cherish others instead of self. It is not easy to develop cherishing towards other / all sentient beings, because our minds are so selfish and strong in self-cherishing. But it can be done. Things are changing all the time, moment-to-moment. Whether they change towards positive or negative depends on your practice. We need self-confidence and strong effort. Positive minds of love and compassion heal us and make us healthy. Negative minds of anger and hatred make us uncomfortable and even sick.
May those who go in dread have no more fear.
May captives be unchained and now set free.
And may the weak receive their strength.
May living beings help each other in kindness.
3. BODHICHITTA MIND = desire that all beings be happy. The usual attitude is ‘I want happiness’. The unusual attitude wants to make others happy and free from suffering. The bodhisattva wishes to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all beings. In order to achieve her great altruistic intention, she practices the six perfections: the perfection of generosity, ethics, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom.
May all attain the human state
And be possessed of wisdom, faith and love.
With perfect livelihood and sustenance,
May they have mindfulness throughout their lives.
WISDOM REALISING EMPTINESS: The self-grasping mind is the root cause of all suffering and the main obstruction to enlightenment. Wisdom realising emptiness of self/selflessness is the antidote. If you have wisdom support, then your method becomes stable. To develop wisdom, you have to study and meditate on emptiness: there is no independently existing self/I – it only exists dependently, but we believe in a separate independent self, apart from others and apart from the world around us.
May beings destitute of splendour,
Become magnificent and bright.
And those worn down by toil and drudgery
Acquire great beauty and perfection.
Self-grasping creates self-cherishing and negative emotions. We view the world from this ego-centric perspective. When things go good, we generate attachment. When things go bad, we generate aversion. Therefore we need to understand emptiness – we are empty of separate self, and things are empty of the qualities we impose on them. When we understand selflessness, we no longer generate negative emotions and suffering. Then we can step out of the cycle of suffering, and start creating the causes and conditions for a more enlightenment reality, based on love, compassion, kindness and caring for all beings without distinction or discrimination. We are all parts of the one whole, and the welfare of one depends on the welfare of all.
May the hail of lava, fiery stones, and weapons
Henceforth become a rain of blossoms.
May those whose hell it is to fight and wound
Be turned to lovers offering their flowers.
May kindly spirits bring the rains on time,
For harvests to be rich and plentiful.
May princes rule according to the Truth,
And may the world be blessed with all prosperity
J SAT CHIT ANAND namaste to you Buddha-to-be!
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