“My message is the practice of compassion, love, and kindness. These things are very useful in our daily life, and also for the whole of human society these practices can be very important.
“Basically, universal responsibility is the feeling for other people’s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our own enemy is motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration.
“At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the notion of compassion for others. It should be noted that the compassion encouraged by Mahayana Buddhism is not the usual love one has for friends or family. The love being advocated here is the kind one can have even for another who has done one harm. Developing a kind heart does not always involve any of the sentimental religiosity normally associated with it. It is not just for people who believe in religions; it is for everyone who considers himself or herself to be a member of the human family, and thus sees things in accordingly large terms.
“The rationale for universal compassion is based on the same principle of spiritual democracy. It is the recognition of the fact that every living being has an equal right to and desire for happiness. The true acceptance of the principle of democracy requires that we think and act in terms of the common good. Compassion and universal responsibility require a commitment to personal sacrifice and the neglect of egotistical desires.
“I believe our everyday experience confirms that a self-centered attitude towards problems can be destructive not only towards society but to the individual as well. Selfishness does not solve problems for us, it multiplies them. Accepting responsibility and maintaining respect for other will leave all concerned at peace. This is the essence of Mahayana Buddhism.” ~ 108daysofcompassion.com
Image via Wikipedia
7. The Greatness of the Dharma, Given to increase One’s Respect for the Instruction
- the greatness of allowing you to realize that all teachings are without contradiction
- the greatness of allowing all the scriptures to present themselves to you as instructions
- the greatness of allowing you to easily discover the true thinking of the Victorious One
- the greatness of allowing you to save yourself from the worst misdeeds
8. The Greatness of Allowing you to realize that all the teachings are without contradiction.
“Realizing that all the teachings are without contradiction” means that one person should understand them as practices in order to be enlightened.
“To be without contradiction” means “to be harmonious.” The Mahayana, Hinyana, Vinaya, and tantras, etc. seem to contradict each other from a literal point of view; but they are all nothing but the main practice to take us to enlightenment or a branch of its attainment.
9. The Greatness of allowing all the scriptures to present themselves to you as intructions.
An analogy: Suppose a person who has no store of rice, wheat, beans, and so on, happens to find a handful of rice, say. He will not know what to do with it and will undoubtedly just throw it away. So if you have not grasped the full structure of the path and you see some scriptural text, because you don’t know where that scripture applies, you will not know how to put it into practice. If you happen to have just one pound each of rice, wheat, and beans, and you acquire another handful of rice, you can add that rice to what you have already. If you have a complete grasp of the framework of lamrim meditation topics, you will readily apply any scripture at all to a particular [lamrim heading].
Image via Wikipedia Atisha /!\
“To trace a river back to its source, you need to go right back to the snow line. so too must you trace a Dharma back to the Buddha, our Teacher.” pg 27 of “Liberation..”
It is always wise to know where your information comes from…validating information allows faith to grow. And we need faith…for our practice to flourish. Practice without faith is wasted.
Here we learn of Atisha‘s family background…why he is an entirely reliable source for lamrim (graded teachings). We have now traced the river back to Atisha.
There are many wondrous signs marking Atisha as being more than a mundane Prince. Please read for yourself.
Yet today….these two sections jumped out at me…
“It is hard for us even to give up the things in our pokey little rooms, let alone the power of a price. Contrast this with great Atisha , who gave up his royal position, treating it like spittle left in the dust,…”
Also, this…”Atisha had already become a great scholar and a adept. As we have said, when only eighteen months old he had without any prompting spoken words that proved he was already conversant with bodhichitta. And yet he willingly underwent these hardships [to reach Indonesia], which must convince us that nothing is more fundamental in the Mahayana then precious bodhichitta.”
I cannot say it better…”nothing is more fundamental in the Mahayana then precious bodhichitta”. Bodhichitta is the reason your practice flourishes. Bodhichitta is the reason your eyes open to new understandings. Bodhichitta.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gives a wonderfully complete overview of the entire scope of Tibetan Buddhism in his book The World of Tibetan Buddhism.
His Holiness begins by explaining the 3 turnings of the Wheel of Dharma, first explaining the Four Noble Truths, then an explanation of the concept of Emptiness, and finally a commentary on the essence of Buddha-nature. He further expounds on topics including selflessness, the Four Seals and the Mahayana Path.
The second section describes how to bring the altruistic attitude into your life through development of compassion and overcoming negative emotions.
The final section explores the Tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. He explains the process of empowerment and the different views of each sect as they relate to Tantra.
I enjoyed the questions and answer session that end each section. The book was given to me as a suggested reading for my Intermediate Series classes at Drepung Monastery. It was a great help in understanding the topics we covered in class. I would recommend it for anyone needing a good overview of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice.