The Three Principal Aspects of the Path – The Purpose of Generating the mind of Enlightenment -W6

Week 6: The Purpose of Generating the mind of Enlightenment

The Purpose of Generating the Mind of Enlightenment
[6] Even if renunciation has been developed,

If it is not possessed by the mind of enlightenment,
It does not become the cause of the perfect bliss of unsurpassed enlightenment.
Therefore the wise generate the supreme mind of enlightenment.

According to some of the Buddhist texts, today is the day when the younger Gods – The sons and the daughters of the Gods – come to the world to see people are practicing, so today is also a special day. And tomorrow is the day when Buddha not only achieved enlightenment, but also Buddha entered to the womb of mother, and also Buddha went to Parinirvana, or pass away. So tomorrow is pretty much the birth anniversary of Buddha, the death anniversary of Buddha and also the day when Buddha achieved enlightenment. For the Buddhists, it is a very special and very precious day. So, it’s very important to engage in as much as positive action as it’s possible. You can even take “Eight Mahayana precepts”, even from mass statue of Buddha. When you wish to have that book to take eight precepts, just let me know, I can share. That is why we start today an exception.

Today the topic we are talking about is to generate Boddhicitta, to generate the mind which desire to achieve enlightenment. So it is very nice, I am really happy to have this topic today so that you can know today as a sort of a fête, tomorrow you can literally practice. The benefit of practicing this mind is stronger than any sort of merit that one can accumulate, can engage in. And also I am looking forwards to have some questions any of you feel like, any question that you feel comfortable with.

So you can see the verses of “Three Aspects of The Path” that we are going today:

The Purpose of Generating the mind of Enlightenment

[6] Even if renunciation has been developed,
If it is not possessed by the mind of enlightenment,
It does not become the cause of the perfect bliss of unsurpassed enlightenment.
Therefore the wise generate the supreme mind of enlightenment.

1Even if renunciation has been developed
2If it is not possessed by the mind of enlightenment

Because in the previous class, the previous verses were ‘how about to generate renunciation’. As I said, the meaning of renunciation is truly a mind which desires to be free from sufferings, a desire to achieve the Nirvana or the salvation, it was what it means by renunciation.

Even when you develop the renunciation which means that even if you develop a desire to be free from samsara, if this desire is not possessed, it’s more like this desire is not accompanied – I think [accompanied] the better word over here – because the desire to achieve liberation and desire to achieve enlightenment is two different minds, it’s not one mind; if it is not accompanied, both of those two minds can be there: a desire to achieve enlightenment, and at the same time, a desire to achieve Nirvana or to be free from samsara.

So ‘if it is not accompanied by the mind of enlightenment’

The mind of enlightenment is actually Bodhicitta, the reason why it is called ‘the mind of enlightenment’ – so literally translation is something like this ‘mind of enlightenment’ – it doesn’t mean that it’s a mind in the Buddhahood, it doesn’t mean that something that only Buddha has, but actually it is something that we can generate, we can practice from now on. If actually the mind desires to achieve enlightenment, if a person has generated a strong desire to free from samsara or sufferings, then that is not just enough, because you need to have a mind of enlightenment to achieve Buddhahood. If you want to achieve Buddhahood then you need that renunciation to be accompanied by another mind which desire to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all the sentient beings. That was it means.

So before we go to this line, I just say few words on the mind, because you might confuse how can the mind desires two, how can a person desire two things, or like if you want that it means you don’t want another one, but there is a big difference in that. So, let’s clarify that.

We literally have 5 different minds or you can say 6 different minds: the mind related to 5 consciousness and the mental consciousness. Each of these, like eye consciousness, eye consciousness has many of them. When you look at the cow, you have the eye consciousness which receives cow; so when you look at something else, that mind literally dissolve and remain in a sort of dormant way or it becomes a seed and go back to the continuance of mind – mental consciousness.

So, if you look at 5 different things with your eyes, the continuance of the previous eye [consciousness] or the substance of the previous eye [consciousness] doesn’t go to the substance of the next eye consciousness. So, each and every eye consciousness is different. When you look at the human, then you look at the cow, so the eye consciousness to which the cow appears, it’s totally different from the eye consciousness to which a human appears. This is just two different eye consciousness. Similarly, eye consciousness changes and changes and it’s always different. So you look at the cow and then the second minute you look at the human, eye consciousness which see the cow go to the seed in the mental consciousness. So this is a very quick process. When you look at the human, first the image of the human appears to the eye power, so the eye power is a form, it’s not the consciousness, but it’s a form, a matter, it’s like a mirror. So when you look at the cow, the image of the cow appears to that mirror like eye power that acts as a condition with the help of a part of the mental consciousness, a seed activates on the mind, and to that seed the eye power acts as a condition, help that seed to raise as eye consciousness.

Along with the one’s eye consciousness, there are many mental factors with things, the one we grasp, the one we look, the one we feel, the one we touch or grate, or see, grasp… there are many that we call second consciousness, second remind which comes along with eye consciousness which help the eye consciousness to see the cow. Similarly, the mental consciousness also is quite complete and very profound. Mental consciousness is pretty much the same some senses that it doesn’t need the object is surrounded, majority of the mental consciousness are induced by the sense consciousness.

There are many objects with your mental consciousness that just think by itself. It doesn’t need the help of sense consciousness. It can just remember thing and it can just create an object by itself. Many of misunderstanding is something that the mental consciousness just creates by itself, there is no object but it creates by itself. But majority of our mental consciousness is something that is induced with the help of sense consciousness, we are remembering something, we are grasping something, majority of our thought or something like that. That mind again is not one object, there are many minds, mental consciousness, the mind which doubt, whether the particular person is good or bad, the mind which know the cow or the mind which realize, let’s say, English language or the mind which see the sky, or think about or remember the mother homeland or see the importance of Vesak day… these all are just different minds. But these all leave, when these activate others remain in a sleeping mode like a dormant, it’s more like you have the phone and then you open one icon, let’s say, it’s Om Ah Hum, then this application appears, but the rest of the others are there but in a dormant way. So, exactly the same thing, when we remember something, all the other mental consciousnesses are in a dormant way. In short, there are many mental consciousnesses that can be there at the same time.

Similarly, there is a mind desiring this, there is a mind desiring that, all of these can be together. You can desire enlightenment, at the same time, you can desire to be free from suffering, at the same time you can desire this, desire that, so desire has no limit, it can be positive, it can be negative. Even if something positive, or even if something that’s not be exaggerated in terms of the situations, in terms of the objects, then this is something good, because some people say that the desire is something bad but it can be good.

Here it means that if you just have a desire to be free from samsara, it’s not just enough. You need have another desire which achieve enlightenment, only then your practices will be a cause of enlightenment, otherwise you just want to be free from samsara for your own sake, that what makes one Hinayana practitioner or Theravada practitioner, because that’s what they do. If you wish to achieve enlightenment, if you want to help all other sentient beings, if you have the compassion toward other sentient beings, if you wish to free and help all the sentient beings for being our mothers in the previous lives, then just free from samsara it’s not going to help you to be able to achieve what you truly wish to help all the sentient beings.

If you truly wish to help all the sentient beings, that is the only way and only tool to achieve enlightenment, that is only when you will be able to help all the sentient beings. Buddha gave different levels of teachings, because at that time, there were many people who have a background thought which says that ‘Ah, some of the highers in the God realm is what enlightenment is’; there are woman practitioners who used to think that some of the God realm is Nirvana. They have this in their mind “Oh, I got reborn in some God realms”, because that were they used to be before. So, according to their thought and according to their background, understanding, thought and desire, Buddha gave the teachings which focus more on being born in some God realms because that was their desire. And, also Buddha gave a teaching like “Oh you’re going to achieve Nirvana and then you can never be born again”, because there are these backgrounds, these mentality in many of the students who think that ‘Ah, being born again is a problem, so I don’t wana be born again, because there is suffering everywhere, as long as to be born, there is suffering. So I don’t wana be born again’. So, according to those people, Buddha said ‘Yes, if you gonna achieve Nirvana and then you can never be born again’ – which is not true, but just to encourage them to practice so Buddha said in this manner.

In those time people used to go to something different islands to get a jewel or gem, they sail the ship, so before they actual reach to the place where they intent to go, sometimes the one who take all of them just show a small island just for encourage them “Oh that is a place, there is very near now” to avoid them from being discouraged “Oh so far, we can’t reach there”, they just show a place by saying them “Ah that is our destination’. So similarly, Buddha have given different levels of teaching, but the actual motive of Buddha is to bring all the sentient beings toward the path of enlightenment. And to achieve the enlightenment, you must have the mind that desire to achieve the enlightenment.

So, the renunciation, the mind which wish to be free from samsara is not just enough, it needs to be accompanied with a mind which desire enlightenment.

3It does not become the cause of the perfect bliss of unsurpassed enlightenment

It’s very logical because if we don’t desire something, then you do naturally not put effort to achieve something, you will not hopefully achieve enlightenment. To achieve you need to put some efforts, otherwise you have not been achieved. This is something that you put some efforts in practice and practice to achieve. So to practice, to achieve, you need to work hard, you need to have the desire to achieve enlightenment, and to have desire to achieve enlightenment, you need to see the quality of it, you need to see and understand the benefit of achieving.

4Therefore the wise generate the supreme mind of enlightenment.

Therefore the wise’, here, ‘the wise’ is the Boddhisatva, let’s say, the wise practitioner like Boddhisatvas that we just wise those practitioners. ‘Generate the supreme mind of enlightenment’ which is Bodhicitta, the mind desires enlightenment. Now, a while we achieve the mind which desire not only to be free from samsara but to achieve enlightenment, it says that the moment that you achieve the mind desires enlightenment, I’m talking about the genuine Bodhicitta, the moment you achieve that you literally become an object of homage, not only by the human but even the Gods, you literally become a savior, you literally become a son or daugher of Buddha. That is when the three eons of merits start because now whatever merit we accumulate, it doesn’t include in the three eons of merits that one needs to accumulate to achieve enlightenment. When you achieve the mind of enlightenment, then there is no way back, you enter into the path toward the Buddha.

For that, you need to have a genuine desire to achieve enlightenment. A genuine desire is something, as I told last time that you need to have a so strong desire, as strong as the desire of the person who is in the darkest, most terrible prison, who wish to get rid of that, or achieve freedom from the prison. If you have this sort of strong desire as the prisoner has, then yes, you have this genuine Bodhicitta. And that is the time, because of some karmic conditions, even if you’re born in some low realms as an animal or as a hunger ghost or as a hell being, it would be like a ball, if you hit a ball on the ground, it will bound immediately, at the same time, when it hit the ground, it will push to bound back. Exactly the same way, if you achieve such a mind of desire enlightenment, you gonna bound immediately right there.

The reason why we are still in samsara is because all the years, all we have done is desiring happiness for oneself. That self-cherishing mind is the main cause why we are still in samsara. Sakyamuni Buddha who achieved enlightenment on the full moon of the fourth month – the same day tomorrow – the reason why those Buddhas achieve enlightenment is because they cherish other’s happiness. They literally exchanged their happiness with other’s happiness. Instead of desiring happiness for just themselves, they literally changed their mind into desire happiness for all others. That is the reason, that is the difference between us and Buddhas. They used to be exactly the same practitioners like us, they used to be exactly the same all beings like us, the reason why they’re Buddha because they cherish others’ happiness, the reason why we’re still in samsara is because we still cherish our happiness, all its matter is in our happiness, so that mean something very strong in us because we are still in samsare.

We have a very strong sense of us and other, oneself and other. When we talk about ‘oneself’ and ‘other’, we cut into two things that a huge two different things. But in fact the body we think in this mundane world, I’m not talking about Buddhist, but non-believer or those people who is believe in some other religions, in general, like, let’s say Christian, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, they all think that ‘Oh, I wana be born in pure land, I wana be born in heaven or in God realm’, whatever they think; or many of the people in this world think that ‘Oh, I wana have a nice place to live, a food to eat and

nice clothes to wear’, there are very much mundane thought. In all about pleasing this physical body, I wanna have a nice food for this body, nice cloths, again for this body, a nice place to live again for this body, or to travel I need a car to travel there and here, again for this body. If a person literally spend the whole life just to please this body, then you engage all different kinds of karma  just to

please this body. The body that you think “Ah it’s mine” , you create many karma by getting angry to others, by having this, by jealousy, envy, ego, attachment, greedy… just for this body – the body that you strongly think “Ah that’s mine. But if you think carefully, this body is not something that used to be yours. This body comes from somebody else, it used to be a part of somebody else, it comes from parents, it used to be a sort of liquid or blood of parents. That is what our body is! No matter how strongly we attach to it, but there was a time that this body was not ours. And also when we think carefully, will this body be with us forever? No, this body will not be there forever. Even for those people who think that they gonna go to the heaven or something like that, they are not bringing the body along with them.

That is the reason why Buddha want us to walk on a middle path. We don’t need to toss our body, at the same time, there is no need to spoil this body. Of course, you gonna take care of it, you gonna eat food for survival so that you can use this body for something nice if you can. You have this intelligent brain only when you have this body. If this mind goes out of body and enter the cow, you don’t have this intelligence because that intelligence doesn’t come along with cow body. But that intelligence the human has come along with the human body. That why you need to make the best use of it.

So, ‘oneself’ and ‘other’ like the person who you hate the most can become a person who you attach the most. ‘One’ and ‘other’ like, ‘one’s sight’ and ‘other’s sight’, it’s not really permanent. Sometimes the one who is beloved to you today can be the enemy tomorrow, the people that you hate the most, you might be born in that family like literally tomorrow, it’s also possible! The one you cherish the most – the body – and the one that you hate the most, you might rely on that family more than your own body, very much possible, because we never know whether tomorrow comes first, or the next life comes first. Supposed there ten people are died, here one person is died, if you have a little bit of time to save, obviously you going to try to save ten people, right? If you don’t have a choice to save both, obviously because they are ten and this is just one, you don’t want this person die, then you want to save ten persons, obvious reason. That is something you can apply in yourself as well. You are just one, others are like countless. Based on that, if you measure, others are countless, I’m just one. Of course, you deserve happiness, but your happiness very much depends on others. And the concept of “me” important, others are not important, that’s a wrong mind, that is a mind which because of it, you are still in samsara.

If you look at the previous lives of Buddha, the far hundred lives that Buddha was taken in the low realm, there are many lives that Buddha even sacrificed his all life to save someone else. Very much understandable, that’s exactly what Buddha did because Buddha realized that if you give away this body, it’s not really big deal if you able to save someone else; because if you save someone else, you are not only help someone else but also you accumulate a strong merit that you can achieve or get many bodies like this. So, what’s the point of try to preserve this body so strongly with the grasping mind, when you really don’t know when this body is going to go away? At the same time, you got understand that is a body that can give you the most issues, pains and problems.

By understanding that, it’s very important to measure the importance whether you – one individual is important or others are important. Logically, if you really day and night practice, work hard for the welfare of others, people will see that, and then people see, they won’t let you die hunger, because such a person is very much needed in this world. The world needs such people with such a loving, compassionate heart, because there are many people who are not able to take care of themselves. There are many beings who need support, who need a bit of assistance, like many animals, they need some help. To be a cause of other’s happiness is what you can see a thing as a meaningful life, if your existence brings happiness in somebody’s life and if your existence brings a light in someone’s life, I would say that it was a meaningful life means.

To have a meaningful life, that is no need to go through one thousand books, or there is no need to be famous, because today you might be famous, but the same person will be different with tomorrow, it’s more like that the tempo is happiness of samsara, if you’re famous is problem, you’re not famous again is problem, and then never ending the story and the flick of the emotions change all the time, tomorrow you’re  famous but you’re still not happy, you are achieved something but you still not happy, so there is no way to complain that mind, obviously because that is the nature of samsara, things and mind.

To desire other’s happiness is very much logically and that is the only sort of all these happiness. Desiring other’s happiness not only brings happiness by achieving enlightenment, but even in this life, if you truly desire other’s happiness, if all your wishes is other’s happiness, if all your actions go toward serving other sentient beings, then you literally are removing the anger, your mind don’t have a scope to get angry to others, because you want others to be happy, so there is no way to get angry towards that. And also, you automatically will be able to remove jealousy, because you want all the others are happy, so, there is no scope for jealousy as well so many negative emotions, you can naturally let them move, so obviously no ego, no greedy because you want other to be happy, you won’t be greedy, so you want other also have.

Of course, this kind of mind is needed to achieve enlightenment, even for the peace and happiness of this life. Such a mind is literally a treasure and a secret to bring and achieve happiness in this life. Who thinks that the secret of being happy in this life is desiring other’s happiness, changing your happiness with others? People gonna think “oh, no, no”. But this is what the secret is, because all these problems like you have jealous because you want that you also grow, you want that you also have what others have. Again come from desiring your happiness, you get angry because you think that “oh you are important”, they should upset that to you because you see that’s important in yourself, you have this ego because you think “oh I’m dah and dah, so how can they say that dah and dah…”, you find each and every reason to get this jealous, envy, ego, greed, pride. If you just desire other’s happiness, all of these things are just all there.

That’s why the Boddhisatvas desire to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all other’s happiness, because that’s what they desire. You see the need of achieving enlightenment because you desire happiness of all the sentient beings which is why the desire of happiness for all the sentient being acts as a root or cause or motivation which motivate you to achieve enlightenment. And the way to do that is by seeing all the sentient beings are very important. Because by seeing, by understanding, reflecting on the many lives, you see that all the sentient beings as our mothers, has been very kind to us exactly like the mother of this life; or the father of this life, or husband, wife… whoever very kind to us in this life, you can just practice from that. As see that, as this person is very kind to us in this life, all the sentient beings also kind to us in different lives, and the person who is kind to you in some other lives or person who is kind to you in this life, exactly is kind to us, exactly same. It is more like a person who say you are like fifty years ago that is not a person say you are like today, the both are equally, we should be equally respectful to them, because they are equally kind to us as the mother of this life and the mother of previous life, for example before you have another mother, or another husband, or another wife, another father, brother, whoever is, it is just a matter of time, with this logical you can know that all sentient beings have been equally kind to us.

Now, you have an opportunity to do something for them, to do something which can remove their sufferings. It’s more like you are a doctor who can treat the cancer of your parents, your parents are suffering from some cancer and you’re literally having lay down on a sofa and watch television, that is really sad! If you know how to cure them, but instead of treating them, you just watching television and doing nothing. That’s exactly our situation if you don’t do something, because now we know what to do, at the same time we have time and then we can do. The human rebirth, we really don’t know when it going to end, if you don’t do now, you may not have time in the future. All the sentient beings, now their situation is more than some cancer situation. If a person is having a cancer, they might suffer like 10 years for this, for years, next month or fifth years or sixth years, nobody is able alive. If somebody go to a hell or engage in some negative actions because they supposed to go to a hell or as an animal, this and that, they might suffer for years, thousand of years, that situation is much more critical and serious. By understanding that all sentient being are pretty much like the one who is having cancer, and they really gonna save and now you know how to save them, you have time to go to save them. If you don’t save now, I really don’t know exactly like a doctor who know how to treat, now your mother is suffering.

That’s why the ‘wise one’, those Boddhisatvas, they generate the desire to achieve enlightenment so that they can help all the sentient beings. If you don’t achieve enlightenment, you can’t do much, because you are not in situation to help yourself, you are not even in situation to save your own self or own parents of this life, how can you be able to save other sentient beings, you don’t have the tool which with you can save. So, to practice to achieve such a tool is very important, that is the verse is talking about./.

Question and Answer:

  • When in Mahayana/ Vajrayana we want Nirvana but also to be reborn in a pure land through Bodhicitta, would that be a final destination or will the cycles of rebirth continue to happen after that?

Yes, even if you’re born in some pure land, that doesn’t guarantee that you will be there forever. If you wish to be born in pure land, it’s okay, but you go to practice from right now so that you can continue this practice even in pure land, that is something nice. But, even if you’re born in a pure land and you practice, there are time that you would go back over here in this world, because there are some realizations which you will not be able to develop in the pure land.

I would say that practicing Bodhicitta can also be a perfect cause to be born in a pure land, because to be born in pure land, you got have a very strong positive merits and nothing is better. To accumulate huge merits in a very less time in an easy way. I don’t think there is a better way to accumulate very strong merits in very easy way or very quick way than practicing Bodhicitta. So, if you practice Bodhicitta, each and every breath that you take with that motivation to achieve enlightenment becomes a huge merit than a million of person may not be able to practice and accumulate that sort of merits which is why I said that having a class today on the Bodhicitta is wonderful, so tomorrow you can think of it, doesn’t matter whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re eating, drinking, you’re walking or you’re cooking you can do that with the motivation to achieve enlightenment. If you’re drinking something you have this motivation to achieve enlightenment, there are many beings who are within our body, so we are drinking also for them, eating also for them. You’re cooking something for somebody or you, you can think “I’m happy, I’m cooking myself or I’m cooking for my family or friends so that they can have a healthy body, that so they can use their body to achieve enlightenment”.

  • We have 6 different minds from 5 sense consciousness and one mental consciousness, so from what we can have the emotions and how these minds can pilot such emotions. For instance, we see a cow, we have eye consciousness, so why it generates the thinking of “oh the cow is so nice” and the love toward the cow?

If you talk about ‘emotion’ like feeling is different, yes even emotion like for example like attachment, so forth. You can have attachment along with eye consciousness, at the same time, you can have attachment along with ear consciousness or mental consciousness.

Yes, because of your past habituation and your past karma with that object. It’s more like we grasp and attach to the such phenomena and we look, see, hear, taste or think, and that second remind which is like an emotion such as anger, jealousy, envy, ego or attachment, whatever it is. That just naturally go along with this because of our past habituation or past different karma.

  • Even I do not think of the next life, it still would come one day, so it is better that I neglect what would happen in next life?

Yes, even if you don’t think of the next life, it will come one day. So it better to do something instead of neglecting it. All the kids grow into adult, so it’s better to go and study, because the adulthood gonna come anyway, regardless you believe or not, you gonna grow bigger. When you grow bigger, you need to have career, work, knowledge and all these things, so it’s better that the kid study, instead of neglecting it because that gonna come. So, you’re better to prepare for it. If you have to jump from an aeroplane you’re better to prepare a parachute! Because neglecting it would be a big dangerous, because you gonna go there.

  • How can one know that he himself has achieved Bodhicitta? Is there any sign/ way that we can surely know a person has achieved Bodhicitta?

If his mind desire enlightenment so strong as a person in the darkest prison wish to get rid of that prison. A person who ready wishes to achieve Bodhicitta, then whatever he or she does, the mind that wish to achieve enlightenment always be there. If you are in a nice party then you forget that party for a few seconds or few minutes, it means that you’re still in the work hard because the person in a prison, even he has a nice dream over there, the mind that wish to be get rid of that suffering or that prison is always active.

One person when achieve Bodhicitta or great compassion, there are many signs: you can see beings suffering, you would have, maybe, tears in your eyes, the voice changed… These are some of the physical signs which happen at once, maybe, when something happen, the person with a bit emotions in some sense, and these signs continue in the person for about many years, it means that the person might achieve Bodhicitta or compassion.

So himself by checking the mind, others know him by some physical signs, not just for one time, two times or three times, but the physical signs appear to be existent in the person for very longtime then you might think that person might achieve something like that./.

Noted down from the Dharma Talk of Lama Nawang Kunphel on 25 May 2021