Obstacles to Bodhicitta

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Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:41 am

I've been working on Bodhicitta for a while but it seems like I keep hitting a wall.

I have the same problem with Emptiness, but over time and repeated meditations I keep pushing the wall back.

With Bodhicitta the wall doesn't move at all. I follow the Lam Rim method (love->compassion->personal responsibility etc.) and I can generate some. But my ability doesn't improve and the Bodhicitta doesn't get stronger.

Any advice?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:48 am

It's like falling asleep.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Ayu » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:51 am

Since some weeks I visit a course about the work of Shantideva: "Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior" (sPyod-'jug, Bodhisattvacharyavatara)
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/x/nav ... 05749.html

It is all about the development of Bodhicitta: What, why, how...? Shantideva shows it in detail over 9 chapters.
I thought, i knew evrything about Bodhicitta from the Lamrim. But now, also through the kind and inspiring guidance of my venerable teacher, its meaning reveals fully in front of my eyes...

In former times i didn't cherish enough the value and great help recitations are giving. I thought, it is just like reading something I don't understand well. But now I experienced that these offerings and praise songs are extremely helpful. If spoken or sung with as much deepness as possible, they are exactly the means against these hindrances you are talking about. I think so. The focus on removing hindrances is in chapter 2.
Hope this is helpful.
Be well.
Ayu
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:44 pm

Konchog1 wrote:I've been working on Bodhicitta for a while but it seems like I keep hitting a wall.
I have the same problem with Emptiness, but over time and repeated meditations I keep pushing the wall back.
With Bodhicitta the wall doesn't move at all. I follow the Lam Rim method (love->compassion->personal responsibility etc.) and I can generate some. But my ability doesn't improve and the Bodhicitta doesn't get stronger.
Any advice?


I don't understand what the wall is that you are talking about. Can you explain?
Do you mean that you try to feel compassion for people, but that you don't feel it?
.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:50 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Any advice?


Don't force. Anyway, bodhicitta is not something you can contrive. You either want to become an awakened person to benefit others or you don't, and some days are better than others when you are an ordinary person.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:00 pm

what i noticed when i tried to develop bodhicitta is that when reading stuff from tibetan sources, be it from the old masters like tsongkhapa , gampopa or newer masters like Lama Zopa Rinpoche. it seemed to give me an abstract vision of feeling and thoughts, what they are suppose to be like when you have realized bodhicitta. however when i let it go, i understood that this was just a daydream outside of reality, expecting and building weird dreams what we judge bodhicitta to be. we limit it and define it and make it suitable to fit in a box. the box is designed as such that there is no actual way to reach its contents, we dream, we grasp, we cling, we strive for that imaginary expectations, how its gonna change everything in an instant, as soon as we reach it. its not like that, that is not human experience, it is delusion and unrealistic expectations.

i.e Gampopa talks in his JOL that mark of a great compassion is to have tears flowing out of devotion in sadness, compassion and devotion towards all mother sentient beings.
this experience can and will come naturally without effort, the more effort you put, the farther away you actually are. anyhow when you experience this you realize it that it is not stable, it is not like you cry all the time for the sake of all beings, of course out of compassion but still, no, we are not like that. and i think that is missing the point anyway, we go up and down, but in your heart, the feeling is still there, so thats it. anyway, that example just points out the unrealistic imagination about what bodhicitta is when we achieve it, the point being, we limit it and set the rules, define it, unrealistically set ourselves for failure because we set the fence so high, with our thoughts, that it must be like this, like this, we must experience it like this, like this if its true. in this way we are making the string very tight, so we need to loosen it up a little. and we are there. without effort. still we go up and down.

anyway, point is, dont define it what its suppose to be. maybe this explanation gives you a clearer picture what kind of wall you are facing and how to deal with it, and actually open to the real experience of it right here and now.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby pemachophel » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:04 pm

Two things come to mind:

1. As Malcolm says, don't try to rush things. As the Dalai Lama has pointed out, there may not be much noticeable progress in the first 10 years. He goes on to describe typical signs of progress decade by decade. By 40 years practice, He says progress should be very evident to everyone. Very sobering remarks.

2. As Shephen Dawa Rinpoche says, if one is not seeing any signs of progress in one's practice, that's due to lack of merit (sonam). He, therefore, suggests spending more time in accumulating merit, such as by making offerings, making tsa-tsa, circumambulation, etc., etc. For instance, before doing a retreat, He recommends doing Riwo Sangchod 1-3 bum (meaning reciting OM AH HUNG in the context of Riwo Sangchod) so that the retreat will have enough merit to bear fruit/show real signs of success. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche has said something similar in terms of mandala offerings resulting in subsequent practices showing signs of progress.

Good luck and best wishes.

:namaste:
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:34 pm

1-3 bum. what doe bum mean?
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:17 am

How can you generate without force??

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Do you mean that you try to feel compassion for people, but that you don't feel it?
Yes, or very little. But it feels like there should be more.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby pemachophel » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:25 am

1 bum = 100,000, as in mantra repititions

:namaste:
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 am

Konchog1 wrote:How can you generate without force?



Oh, it is very easy. Just look around you.

In other words, you cannot generate bodhicitta from formulas found in books.

You must merely observe reality, see that there is suffering and decide that you want to be as awakened as possible so you are finally useful to someone other than yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:37 am

Konchog1 wrote:How can you generate without force??

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Do you mean that you try to feel compassion for people, but that you don't feel it?
Yes, or very little. But it feels like there should be more.


My understanding is that bodhicitta is selfless compasssion.
That means that if you are still tied to how you yourself feel about it,
or how being compassionate makes you feel inside,
then you are really still doing it for yourself.
it's a bit tricky...we feel somewhat rewarded when generating compassion gives us a nice warm fuzzy feeling
but disappointed when generating compassion, the wish that others have happiness, be free from suffering, and attain enlightenment, when we don't get any kind of buzz from doing that.

Try generating compassion without thinking about how it makes you feel,
and see what happens.

.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:48 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
My understanding is that bodhicitta is selfless compasssion.



Bodhicitta is specifically the arousal [utpada] of the intent or mind [citta] to attain awakening [bodhi]. That has three forms: the intent to awaken as an arhat, as a pratyekabuddha, or as a Samyaksambuddha.

The wish to awaken as a Samyak Sambuddha is special bodhicitta, the kind cultivated by bodhisattvas.

Compassion is its condition. However, as Dharmakirti notes, love and compassion do not have the ability to cause one to achieve full awakening, i.e. the awakening of a Samyaksambuddha. One needs something more, and that something is Mahāyāna bodhicitta.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:19 am

Malcolm wrote:You must merely observe reality, see that there is suffering and decide that you want to be as awakened as possible so you are finally useful to someone other than yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
Exactly there. Some days I feel some compassion and some days I do not. But if I follow the Lam Rim procedure of recognizing beings as mothers, remembering kindnesses etc. and generate love, then generate compassion on the basis of that love, I feel stronger compassion than I usually feel. But only for a couple seconds and it isn't progressing stronger.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:My understanding is that bodhicitta is selfless compasssion.
That means that if you are still tied to how you yourself feel about it,
or how being compassionate makes you feel inside,
then you are really still doing it for yourself.
it's a bit tricky...we feel somewhat rewarded when generating compassion gives us a nice warm fuzzy feeling
but disappointed when generating compassion, the wish that others have happiness, be free from suffering, and attain enlightenment, when we don't get any kind of buzz from doing that.

Try generating compassion without thinking about how it makes you feel,
and see what happens.
I certainly prefer love to compassion for that reason. Thanks, I'll keep this in mind.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:47 am

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:You must merely observe reality, see that there is suffering and decide that you want to be as awakened as possible so you are finally useful to someone other than yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
Exactly there. Some days I feel some compassion and some days I do not. But if I follow the Lam Rim procedure of recognizing beings as mothers, remembering kindnesses etc. and generate love, then generate compassion on the basis of that love, I feel stronger compassion than I usually feel. But only for a couple seconds and it isn't progressing stronger.


like i said, if there is grasping and clinging to desired results, it wont happen. you must open it without expectations or clinging or grasping to or at it.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby jeeprs » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:26 am

My advice is: you are feeling a sense of lack, a sense of absence. I would focus on that feeling of lack and absence and the sense of something missing. Not 'focus on' in the sense of trying to rationalise it and work it out or explain it, but bare attention on the actual feeling of absence or lack. Simply observe that feeling closely and see it like it is.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby lobster » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:46 pm

Malcolm wrote:Oh, it is very easy. Just look around you.


:namaste:
Indeed.

What the questioner is asking about is hypocritical compassion perhaps?
How do I feel and make progress and increase in spiritual stature and me me me etc

I suggest a few lifetimes of chanting, 'I will avert all suffering . . . eventually'.
Is that the sort of thing required? :shrug:

Maybe, just maybe it is not all about us? :tantrum:

May all beings benefit, me most though. :popcorn:
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Malcolm » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:50 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:You must merely observe reality, see that there is suffering and decide that you want to be as awakened as possible so you are finally useful to someone other than yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
Exactly there. Some days I feel some compassion and some days I do not. But if I follow the Lam Rim procedure of recognizing beings as mothers, remembering kindnesses etc. and generate love, then generate compassion on the basis of that love, I feel stronger compassion than I usually feel. But only for a couple seconds and it isn't progressing stronger.



We all have good days and bad days.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby futerko » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:09 pm

I'm not sure how useful it is to view it in terms of other beings, as that remains within a framework of self and other.

For me, what I find works better is to view it in terms of the causes of the six lokas; pride, jealousy, passion, ignorance, greed, and anger, and to see how they result from mistaken views - that is the target of compassion, and what the feeling of generating bodhicitta can dissolve.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Virgo » Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:06 am

Ganapuja.

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