Obstacles to Bodhicitta

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Will » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:17 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?


Work on deepening your bodhicitta vow or intent, put it in your most meaningful words and regularly ponder on and say it aloud.

Try one or both of the last two texts that are focused on bodhicitta exclusively: http://www.kalavinka.org/
Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:50 pm

Regarding compassion specifically, I find that if I try to directly generate it "May all beings be free from suffering", it can feel a little theoretical and forced.
If I instead visualize the suffering of specific beings I know then generalize that "So many who suffer just like my lonely friend..." it's less abstract and easier to come by on days where I feel really crabby or disinterested.
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:47 am

Will wrote:
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?


Work on deepening your bodhicitta vow or intent, put it in your most meaningful words and regularly ponder on and say it aloud.

Try one or both of the last two texts that are focused on bodhicitta exclusively: http://www.kalavinka.org/
Ah thank you! I really liked the Bodhisambhara, I'll check these out too.

duckfiasco wrote:Regarding compassion specifically, I find that if I try to directly generate it "May all beings be free from suffering", it can feel a little theoretical and forced.
If I instead visualize the suffering of specific beings I know then generalize that "So many who suffer just like my lonely friend..." it's less abstract and easier to come by on days where I feel really crabby or disinterested.
I can't believe I didn't think of this before. One more obstruction gone I guess. Thank you.
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 Will » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:15 am

Here is a reminder from the Upasaka Precepts Sutra (Rulu's translation) concerning the pitiable state of beings and thus their need for bodhisattva guidance.

Invoking Compassion

“World-Honored One, how does one invoke compassion?”
“Good man, a wise man sees deeply that sentient beings are sinking in the ocean of suffering, the immense ocean of repeated birth and death. He invokes compassion because he wishes to rescue them; or because he sees that sentient beings lack [the Eighteen Exclusive Dharmas]—the Ten Powers, the Four Fearlessnesses, the Great Compassion, and the Threefold Mindfulness of Equality—and he wishes to enable them to have these abilities.
“[He invokes compassion] because he regards as his kin sentient beings bearing grudges and malice; because he sees that sentient beings have lost the right path and guidance; because he sees that sentient beings, trapped in the mud of the five desires, abandon self-restraint; because he sees that sentient beings are unable to break the bondage of their spouses and assets; because he sees that sentient beings are proud of their bodies and lives; or because he regards sentient beings as his kin, though they are bewitched by evil friends, such as the six non-Buddhist masters.
“[He invokes compassion] because he sees that sentient beings are attached to their rebirths in the Three Realms of Existence, undergoing suffering; because he sees that sentient beings are attached to the painful requitals for their evil karmas done with body, voice, and mind; or because he sees that sentient beings thirst for the five desires, like drinking salt water to quench thirst.
“[He invokes compassion] because he sees that sentient beings seek happiness but do not produce the causes of happiness, that they fear suffering but delight in producing the causes of suffering, and that they seek to be reborn as gods, to enjoy celestial pleasures, but do not observe the precepts; because he sees that sentient beings believe that they have a self and its belongings, though these are nonexistent; because he sees that sentient beings, without a definite nature, transmigrate through the five life-paths; because he sees that sentient beings fear birth, old age, and death, but do karmas that make them repeat birth, old age, and death; or because he sees that sentient beings suffer in body and mind but do more karmas [that cause suffering].
“[He invokes compassion] because he sees that sentient beings suffer the pain of love and parting but do not cease loving; because he sees that sentient beings remain in the dark of ignorance, not knowing the glowing radiance of the wisdom lamp; because he sees that sentient beings burn in the fire of afflictions but do not seek the water of samādhi; because he sees that sentient beings do immeasurable evils for the pleasures of the five desires; because he sees that sentient beings know the pains of the five desires but endlessly seek them, like the hungry feeding on poisoned food; or because he sees that sentient beings suffer under a cruel ruler in an evil world but still abandon self-restraint.
“[He invokes compassion] because he sees that sentient beings in the eight kinds of suffering do not know how to end the causes of their suffering; because he sees that sentient beings cannot help undergoing hunger, thirst, cold, and heat; because he sees that sentient beings violate the precepts and will be reborn as hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, or animals; because he sees that sentient beings have no command of their body, strength, lifespan, peace of mind, or eloquence; because he sees sentient beings with incomplete faculties; because he sees that sentient beings are born in fringe countries [where the Dharma is unavailable] and fail to do good dharmas; because he sees that, in times of famine, emaciated sentient beings rob one another; or because he sees that, in times of war, sentient beings, out of malice, harm one another and will receive immeasurable painful requitals.
“[He invokes compassion] because he sees that sentient beings, having encountered a Buddha in the world, are unable to accept and uphold the pure Dharma, which is like sweet dew; because he sees that sentient beings choose to believe in evil friends and refuse to follow the teachings of beneficent learned friends; because he sees that wealthy sentient beings refuse to give alms; because he sees that sentient beings suffer in making a living by farming or merchandising; or because he sees that sentient beings, including parents, siblings, spouses, servants, and relatives, do not love one another.
“All sentient beings undergo such suffering. Good man, a wise man invokes compassion because he sees that even the bliss of samādhi in Neither with Nor without Perception Heaven is like the pain in hell.
Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:30 pm

I follow some of the simple instruction where when you get bored, are in pain, feel a certain thing, whatever, you transform it into a wish that all sentient beings be free from that pain/feeling/whatever, and the opposite with positive stuff, generate the wish for all sentient beings to experience that positive stuff. Obviously you can do it with any of your experiences, for me this has worked because it completely personalizes what normally remains somewhat theoretical just reciting the brahma viharas or whatever.

It doesn't really matter I don't think whether or not it's "forced" in the end, my teacher argues that there is no difference between an expert and an expert faker at some point. This is backed up pretty well by mundane, conventional ideas like cognitive behavior therapy.

So If you can't get generate Bodhicitta, maybe you could try just having the aspiration that all beings not be prevented from generating Bodhicitta :)
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Odsal » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:50 pm

Hi Konchog,
If you are trying to benefit sentient beings then it makes perfect sense to start with those you already have relationships with. It would not make any sense to do rituals and prayers to arouse bodhicitta and then make no attempt to put it into action in order to help the beings you are vowing to help. For me, the most effective way of generating bodhicitta is to actually engage in the activity of benefiting sentient beings.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:05 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I follow some of the simple instruction where when you get bored, are in pain, feel a certain thing, whatever, you transform it into a wish that all sentient beings be free from that pain/feeling/whatever, and the opposite with positive stuff, generate the wish for all sentient beings to experience that positive stuff. Obviously you can do it with any of your experiences, for me this has worked because it completely personalizes what normally remains somewhat theoretical just reciting the brahma viharas or whatever.
I feel like Atisha meeting Suvarnadvipa. Thank you.
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 muni » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:07 pm

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby theanarchist » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:25 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?


If you "hit walls" with your attempt at compassion/bodhicitta you might be trying with too much pressure and you are judging yourself in an unhealthy way.

What is caused by a lack of compassion and bodhicitta for yourself. You know the saying, charity begins at home. You can't have bodhicitta if you don't have basic compassion and understanding for yourself.

This might be due to psychological issues caused by the way your were growing up, that being kind and patient to oneself is "bad" and unsuitable im some way. Upbringing like that regularly breeds people who are unable to be genuinely patient and kind to oneself and others.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:32 pm

My Teacher says that if we really concentrate on the meaning of the prayer for generating bodhichitta at the beginning of our sadhanas, we will generate bodhichitta easily.

Thinking about the benefit of bodhichitta as explained by Shantideva and others will help to develop the wish to train in it, but I find that the key to bodhichitta is caring about others, so to that end meditating on all living beings being our mothers until we can generate some genuine recognition and then meditating on the universal kindness of living beings is invaluable.

Wishing you the best.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby muni » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:13 am

:namaste:

Sorry, forgot to put this youtube of Chhoje Rinpoche by the earlier posted one. I find Rinpoche talking here in such a way that the teaching is useful for direct penetrating our daily life. May it be of benefit, dedicated to all.


I also wishing all the best.

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Soar » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:11 pm

But this is what vajrayana methods are for, to enhance your bodhicitta/compassion. Pondering and really trying to understand the teachings and then using tantric methods to enhance the bodhicitta we already have and to really access and transform ourselves deeply works fantastically.
“If you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”
― Siddhārtha Gautama

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby kirtu » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:14 pm

In "Heartdrops of Dharmakaya" there is a visualization taught in which you visualize yourself randomly taking rebirth in all the realms of samsara (of course it is not random but we can't see our karma so for us rebirth in the three realms is like a random process). You do this for a month or so to develop some renunciation.

I have always found it helpful to visualize all mother sentient beings taking their own individual rebirths and also "tracing" the rebirth of individual loved ones. Nothing we can do now will keep them out of the lower realms. It is inevitable that they will experience this great suffering. As Shakyamuni Buddha said, it is impossible for some family member from a previous life to not be in the hungry ghost realm.

Once we truly see that our close loved ones and in fact everyone is blow by the winds of karma through the three realms helplessly like a leaf we can generate an intention to help them. However even if we spend all the remaining part of our lives perfectly generating merit and dedicating that for our loved ones and all beings it is at best a bandaid given the present circumstances of most beings. Therefore the best thing we can do is dedicate ourselves to attaining enlightenment so that we can liberate them at a future date.

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby brain_monkey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:32 pm

pemachophel wrote: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.



Could I get the reference for this? Thank you so much.

:namaste:

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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Soar » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:40 pm

I heard him say this in a public talk in the last year via webcast, he said if his fellow practioners and students make something like a 1mm of geniune spiritual progress in one year he is very happy, and i think he also mentioned in the same talk that it is better to think in terms of decades when it comes to evaluating our spiritual progress. It was about 6-12 months ago more or less so you could try searching through those replays.. but he also repeats his main points a lot if you follow his webcasts and books, so is probably in other places too.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby LastLegend » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:32 pm

Bodhicitta to me is sacrafice your life to a hungry tiger which I cannot do. If I see a tiger, I will run away. I have stress, so I am working to decrease my stress.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Adamantine » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:03 am

Being close to Lamas that exude bodhicitta is a surefire way to kickstart the process & progress. It can function contagiously. Garchen Rinpoche is a great example. . . even watching this film could help:

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/50733/FOR-THE-BENEFIT-OF-ALL-BEINGS--the-Extraordinary-Life-of-Garchen-Triptrul-Rinpoche
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby theanarchist » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:38 pm

duckfiasco wrote:Regarding compassion specifically, I find that if I try to directly generate it "May all beings be free from suffering", it can feel a little theoretical and forced..



If you want to archieve this as your goal, then one important part is to find out why you personally at the moment are not able to feel that way. Unless you are able to understand your personal "inner narcissist" and what mechanisms drives it you will not be able to overcome this tendency.
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby Will » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:33 am

Another famous short textual teaching: http://www.dharmasite.net/BodhiResolve.htm
Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua
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Re: Obstacles to Bodhicitta

Postby garudha » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:25 pm

I know I'm not perfect.
I have faults.
Exploring these faults, in meditation or self-analysis, I realise they cause me great suffering.
Knowing these faults are intrinsic in other people, I realise they are suffering too.

All I can really know is what I personally feel. Therefore;
I should be aware of my own imperfection first and compassion for others will naturally occur.
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