Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

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Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:45 am

I’ve been trying to understand Lord Atisha’s Seven Point Cause and Effect Instruction on Bodhicitta for a while.

It seems to me that there is a contradiction between “repaying our mothers” and Equanimity.

Okay, all beings have been our mothers. I understand this. But they have also been our murderers, rapists, have eaten us, and so forth. So Equanimity makes sense. Everyone has been our mothers and worst enemies.

But, how does it make sense to develop the feeling to repay our mothers and not avenge ourselves? We can’t have it only one way. Why remember they kindness and forget their harm towards us?

Often “repaying our mothers” and Equanimity are taught together, and it seems like a huge contradiction.

So, please explain what I’m missing. Thanks.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby futerko » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:00 am

I think the point is that all our karmas are intertwined and have been since beginningless time. The point is not to pay back anything from the past, but what you are going to do from now - realising that this human birth gives you the opportunity to practice the dharma for the benefit of all, now is the time for you to take that step.

Its like if you were at war with someone for ages and suddenly you got a chance to end the conflict - the "ball is now in your court" and you have the chance to take control of the situation for the better.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby muni » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:13 pm

Those who harm us or cannot love us, love them even more, they can be precious teachers, for the arising lights of genuine compassion.
See them as our beloved children ( or mothers) right now in such temporary sick state, causing themselves more suffering than there already is.
Only right now when we can recognize how our nature is, same as the nature of all, then we can love 'each and every being'.


On a high mountain pass between Tibet and Ladakh was an almost naked man with long hair, standing in the snow. He putted his arms in the sky and yelled: "You who cannot love me, you are my very love, my very heart, my genuine compassion"! He possibly realized emptiness, in which are no extremes of you and me, nondual nature.


Since those who cannot love others (selfless) are in temporary deluded state of existence. In that way, I think regarding equanimity in our own naturally state, Konchog. :anjali:
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Tom » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:38 pm

These instructions have the role of developing a closeness to all beings, which is important for developing Bodhichitta. If we wanted to become distant so as to develop hatred towards them then we might meditate on the idea that they have all been our murderers. Similar to the Lam Rim instruction to focus on only the good qualities of the lama, you could do the opposite but what would be the point!
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:04 am

Tom wrote:These instructions have the role of developing a closeness to all beings, which is important for developing Bodhichitta. If we wanted to become distant so as to develop hatred towards them then we might meditate on the idea that they have all been our murderers. Similar to the Lam Rim instruction to focus on only the good qualities of the lama, you could do the opposite but what would be the point!
Yes, I understand a person can choose to focus on the kindness of beings, but it wouldn't be factually true. It would just be a trick.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby catmoon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:17 am

Well, if you were dying of thirst in the desert, and you came across two containers, one containing water and one containing gasoline, and you chose drink the water, is that "just a trick"? What's wrong with choosing a beneficial course of action?
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:31 am

catmoon wrote:Well, if you were dying of thirst in the desert, and you came across two containers, one containing water and one containing gasoline, and you chose drink the water, is that "just a trick"? What's wrong with choosing a beneficial course of action?
Because it's negated by Equanimity. Either Mother's kindness is true or Equanimity is. One can't have both.

It seems.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby catmoon » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:36 am

I'd say,

Mother's Kindness is true
Enemies' cruelty is true
Equanimity is true

Now do with them as you please.

Equanimity is, not being attached to either. But you don't have to be attached to a screwdriver to use it, and using a screwdriver does not negate the hammer.
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:47 am

Nope. Still don't get it. Well, I'll think about it until I do. Thanks.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby muni » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:20 pm

Through practice we lose grasping by our obscurations (emotional and cognitive).
Enemies or friends ( by ones own grasping), they equally want the same happiness which is no suffering but to "reach" that, often act in contradiction by harming others and protecting the independent self.

There are no inherent ones but temporary victims arising by their own grasping delusions. Also by our own habitual dual thinking-speaking-acting, we and others aren't escaping suffering in our fabricated samsara.

Bodhichitta is widening, opening the altruistic mind of enlightenment. At least in the bardo of death, dependent on perception we are judging the bad ones there appaering or there is Bodhichitta.

Therefore to dedicate for all, offer for all our practices and everything in order to tame selfclinging. :bow:

May nobody suffer and all of us realize Bodhichitta!!!

:soapbox:
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Tom » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:09 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
catmoon wrote:Well, if you were dying of thirst in the desert, and you came across two containers, one containing water and one containing gasoline, and you chose drink the water, is that "just a trick"? What's wrong with choosing a beneficial course of action?
Because it's negated by Equanimity. Either Mother's kindness is true or Equanimity is. One can't have both.

It seems.


There is no contradiction - the role of equanimity is to eliminate partiality. Through meditating on all beings having being your mother you become equally close to all beings - there is no partiality here. The purpose of these instructions is for transformation of mind not to do metaphysics. Maybe we have a different understanding of the equanimity instructions and role.
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby viniketa » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:01 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Yes, I understand a person can choose to focus on the kindness of beings, but it wouldn't be factually true. It would just be a trick.


Human beings have great kindness, but perhaps you do not find that in your experience. It is there, but you've not yet found it; there is no 'trick'. Of course, human beings have also great capacity for cruelness. Same thing... empty.

Is there any being, human or not, from whom you've experienced great kindness? If so, substitute the name of that being for "mother" in the instructions.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Steveyboy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:56 pm

The subject matter initially look intimidating to me. But after reading through the thread, it looks quite interesting. I must say that I do not find equanimity and cherishing all our mothers to be contradicting in the development of Bodhichitta. If we truly want to develop this quality, we are to look at closest quality in us, which is our devotion towards the kindest person in our lives - our mothers. Like what Tom said, developing that view of all beings eliminates partiality, which is the same as equanimity. Sorry to be repeating here. I am just rather stimulated by this very interesting discussion. Does anybody have any text to recommend on what to read on this subject matter?
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:28 am

Ok, trick was the wrong word to use. Technique or method is a better word.

I'm studying this right now:
http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect ... 3&chid=767

Tom wrote:There is no contradiction - the role of equanimity is to eliminate partiality. Through meditating on all beings having being your mother you become equally close to all beings - there is no partiality here. The purpose of these instructions is for transformation of mind not to do metaphysics. Maybe we have a different understanding of the equanimity instructions and role.
Yeah, but that's the problem. That it's a method and not metaphysics. Because, the two methods contradict each other. I can practice them and feel the expected results (partiality and love/compassion), but my mind is complaining the whole time. So I can't have faith in the methods or experience their full results.

So you (and others) are saying that there IS a contradiction, but I should just ignore it and use the methods as methods, and not as truth (like emptiness)?

I can't do that.

**EDIT**

Oh wait. Equanimity doesn't mean you don't feel anything towards people, you just don't prefer one over the other. Okay, now everything makes a lot more sense.

But still, why focus on kindness? Yes, I know why we should. I know it's good etc. But, technically all beings have been our enemies too.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby muni » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:52 am

May all beings, whose number is as infinite as the sky,

Realize the Three Bodies of the Buddha.

May my parents who are all the sentient beings of the six realms of rebirth without exception,

Come together in the Primordial Original State, which is enlightenment itself.

:namaste:


http://www.dharmadownload.net/pages/eng ... h_0030.htm
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Tom » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Steveyboy wrote:. Does anybody have any text to recommend on what to read on this subject matter?


Achieving Bodhichitta by Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin is excellent. Also, there is one from Geshe Tashi and of course Lama Tsongkhapa's LRCM.
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Tom » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:17 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Oh wait. Equanimity doesn't mean you don't feel anything towards people, you just don't prefer one over the other. Okay, now everything makes a lot more sense...

But still, why focus on kindness? Yes, I know why we should. I know it's good etc. But, technically all beings have been our enemies too.


I thought just to add...

The equanimity instructions teach us the impermanent nature of our relationships with others. Yes, sometimes others have been our mothers and then at different times our enemies. So there is no permanent enemy or mother and as such we can meditate all beings as having been our mother. Why do this? It is part of the method to develop Bodhichitta.

Of, course equalizing and exchanging self and other is another method that works better for some. The equalizing in that practice is different as well.
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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:23 pm

Tom wrote:Of, course equalizing and exchanging self and other is another method that works better for some. The equalizing in that practice is different as well.
Looks like I'll have to do this.
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: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:42 am

When Geshe Sonam taught on this in the past he mentioned that since the "Biased mind" that generates attachment for those we regard as friends and aversion for those we see as enemies is one of the main obstacles to generating compassion, it is important to meditate on equanimity first. As a method, an antidote- but not as a final goal. Because of course mere equanimity is not the final goal- generation of bodhicitta based on a compassion for all sentient beings is.

Equanimity can be developed using the "friends, enemies and strangers" meditation.

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Re: Seven Point Instruction on Bodhicitta Question

Postby Dave The Seeker » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:38 am

I have also been studying this, and in the use of the "friends, enemies and others" meditation I think I have made some progress. some......
I am having a really hard time with one person in particular though.
I have seen this person handle mentally handicapped people in a rough way, more than once.
I have restrained myself from acting on this, which I know was a good thing. As I would have hurt him quite badly.
He has also bragged and shown me animals he's shot, some of them mother racoons, who's babies I've tried to feed when I find where they are.

To develop compassion for this person is really a challenge for me. I am getting over the anger of the situation, but feel sick, I guess is the best way to put it. At the thought or sight of him.
Any thoughts here?


Also I have read about the equalizing and exchanging self and other, but in my thinking, if one does not have compassion as is found in the first step of the seven, what will happen when the person that is/was causing you a 'problem' pops back in the picture? Won't one really fall right back to needing to do the first step of the seven?
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