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Definition of the Week (44): The Perfection of Wisdom

Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsan:

The definition of the perfection of wisdom is: A transcendental wisdom that has gone beyond and is distinguished by three qualities.

Definition Key

  1. The quality of the basis – it exist only in the continuum of buddhas.
  2. The quality of aspect – it is a non-dual transcendental wisdom.
  3. The quality of being free from the object of negation – it is illusory-like, empty of true existence.

Four-fold Nominal Division:

  1. Natural Perfection of Wisdom – i.e., emptiness.
  2. Textual perfection of wisdom – e.g., the small, medium and great Perfection of Wisdom Sutras.
  3. Path perfection of wisdom.
  4. Resultant perfection of wisdom.

The natural perfection of wisdom is cognised by relying on the textual perfection of wisdom. By meditating on the thus realized path perfection of wisdom one manifests the resultant illusory like non-dual transcendental wisdom gone beyond the two obscurations.

Reg. ‘perfection’: The Sanskrit word ‘paramita’ means literally ‘gone beyond’, or ‘going beyond’, whereby Lama Tsong Khapa and his students identified the first as the final meaning.

The ‘perfecting’ of generosity and so forth lies therefore in their ‘going beyond’, for which they need to be combined with the wisdom realizing emptiness.

The Buddha said in the 8000 Verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra that what bodhisattvas lacking the perfection of wisdom cannot achieve over thousands of eons, a bodhisattva with the perfection of wisdom can achieve in one day.

Also:
8000 Verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra: Chapter 29: Ensuing Knowledge

Subuti, further, the bodhisattvas, the great sattvas, should generate ensuing knowledge of the perfection of wisdom in this way:

  • Because all phenomena lack attachment they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.
  • Because all phenomena are not divided they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.
  • Because all phenomena lack arising they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.
  • Because all phenomena are equal in lacking change they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.
  • Because all phenomena are consequently realised be wisdom as lacking self and as lacking a knower of aspects, they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.
  • Because all phenomena are expressed be mere name and through mere imputation they should consequently be known as the perfection of wisdom.

Definition of the Week (43): The Actions of the Path of Meditation

Bodhisattvas on the path of meditation are the beneficiaries of the actions of the path of meditation, such as mental independence and the like.

Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsan:
The definition of the action of the mahayana path of meditation is: The benefits attained through meditating on their causal path of meditation.

Six-fold Division:

  1. Internally their mind is thoroughly pacified – their manifest afflictions are subdued.
  2. Through this they are respectful towards every sentient being.
  3. They have overcome the power of ´the afflictions such as attachment and so forth.
  4. Through this they do not experience suffering from external harm, such as from poison, fire and the like.
  5. Internally they abide in the action of achieving highest enlightenment.
  6. Through this the external place where such a person resided becomes a holy place, worthy of worship by gods and humans.

All of these benefits are achieved through the path perfection of wisdom, the non-dual transcendental meditative equipoise on emptiness, which is achieved in dependence on the scriptural perfection of wisdom.

Shakyamuni Buddha: This Perfection of Wisdom is a great Mantra.

Definition of the Week (31) – Mental Stabilization / Concentration

Lama Tsong Khapa:

The nature of mental stabilization is a virtuous mind abiding single-pointedly on its object, without mental wandering.

Shantideva:
They who wish to protect the trainings [1]
Protect the mind after focusing it strongly.
Without protecting this mind
It is impossible to protect the trainings.

Gyaltsab Je:
Showing in Brief the Necessity of Protecting One’s Mind
They who wish to protect the trainings of generosity and the other perfections from degeneration must strongly focus their mind on the trainings, and then protect the mind from wandering off to mistaken objects.

If one does not protect the mind from wandering off, then it becomes impossible to protect the trainings.

Ven Geshe Doga:
How to Meditate: A crazed elephant can be tamed with a rope, hook and pillar. It is tied to the pillar with the rope, and directed with the hook. Similarly, our crazed mind is subdued with the rope of mindfulness, the hook or introspection, and the pillar of the virtuous meditation object.

First the mind needs to be tied to the pillar of the meditation object with the rope of mindfulness, and then we use the hook of mental introspection to direct the mind back to the virtuous object if it has strayed, or adjust our focus when we find the mind has become unclear.

Through this approach, we will not experience mental wandering and distraction, and all other virtuous practices will arise naturally.

Definition of the Week (30) – Enthusiasm

Lama Tsong Khapa:

“The nature of enthusiasm: Having focussed on the object of virtue, being in the aspect of strong joy.”

Briefly
Enthusiasm is joy in virtue. It is the antidote against laziness and has the function of perfectly accomplishing and completing one’s virtuous practice.

Elaborately
Definition: From the Compendium of Knowledge: What is enthusiasm? It is joy in regard to armor, training, confidence, not giving up and not being complacent.

Divisions:

  1. Armor-like enthusiasm is the enthusiasm that is generated prior to engaging into a virtuous action.
  2. Enthusiasm of training is the enthusiasm that accompanies the viruous practice.
  3. Enthusiasm of confidence is enthusiasm in one’s abilities. It lacks low self esteem and counteracts thoughts like, “How could somebody like me ever achieve this.”
  4. Irreversible enthusiasm is the enthusiasm that prevents one from being sidetracked by other virtuous activities before having completed what one originally set out to do.
  5. Enthusiasm of non-complacency is enthusiasm that protects one from being satisfied with an inferior or incomplete result.

For examples, some students are satisfied with just studying and implementing one small aspect of the path, and then think, “I have made great progress along the path.” When they then later receive teachings on the whole path to enlightenment by someone knowledgeable in all the important points of the path, then they become discouraged.

The Difference Between Enthusiasm and Effort:
Effort based on enthusiasm is joyous effort that helps to accomplish one’s aims quickly. Mere effort, on the other hand, is difficult to sustain over a long time period and is usually less effective. It is therefore important to cultivate a sense of happiness with one’s dharma practice.

Four Conducive Conditions for Enthusiasm:

  1. The power of belief: Generating aspiration for the practice of abandoning and adopting through meditating on the karmic laws of cause and effect.
  2. The power of stability: Not engaging into actions indiscriminately but first weighing up whether one can accomplish the action or not.
  3. The power of joy: Practicing joyful enthusiasm without contentment, like a child that does not want to stop playing.
  4. The power of desisting: Taking a break when body and mind have become exhausted through intense joyous effort and then immediately starting again when mental and physical strength are restored.

Short Meditation on Increasing Self-Confidence and a Positive Self-Image

Sit down comforably in an upright position.
Pick a time span such as today, last week, last year etc.
Remember consciously with a clear and relaxed mind, without judging, all the actions of body, speech and mind carried out in that period from the start up to the present moment.
Rejoice in all positve actions in general and dharma actions specifically, recalling also all their immense karmic benefits. (Most likely one finds more to recjoice in as one initially thinks).

Now focus inwards and identify your dharma qualities, such as love or compassion. (Find at least one.)
Rejoice in your qualities, ideally until the thought, “I am good,” is generated.

Repeat until the thought, “I am good,” is generated naturally.

Definition of the Week (29) – Patience

Lama Tsong Khapa:

The nature of patience is a naturally abiding mind, undisturbed by harm or suffering, and which abides on the dharma as originally aspired.

Patience as a three-fold division into:

  1. Patience unaffected by harm
  2. Patience willingly bearing suffering
  3. Patience of definitely relying on the dharma.

Shantideva:

Unsubdued sentient beings equal space, [12]
Destroying them is impossible.
Merely destroys this mind of anger,
Equals destroying all enemies.

To cover the whole earth with leather, [13]
Where should the leather come from?
To cover one’s soles with leather
Equals covering the whole earth.

Similarly, I do not oppose [14]
External phenomena.
I should reverse this mind of mine,
Where is the need to oppose others?

Gyaltsab Je:

Patience Depends on the Mind
(Meaning; Example; Relating Meaning and Example)

  • Meaning
    Patience is completed by destroying one’s anger, which equals destroying all external enemies. It is not achieved through the extinction of the objects of one’s anger. This is conclusive because unsubdued sentient beings equal space and it is impossible to destroy them all. Therefore also patience depends on the mind.
  • The Example
    Where would one find enough leather to cover the whole earth to prevent one’s feet from being harmed by thorns and other sharp objects on the ground? Covering the soles of one’s feet with leather will do the trick and prevent the feet from being harmed by thorns, sharp stones and the like. It equals covering the whole earth.
  • Relating the Meaning and the Example
    Similar to the analogy, it is impossible to oppose all harmful external phenomena. Instead one focuses one’s mind on these objects and reverses the mind from generating anger. By meditating in such a way patience is completed. To oppose the objects of anger is impossible and unnecessary.

 

Definition of the Week (28) – Ethics/Morality

Lama Tsong Khapa:

The nature of ethics is the intent of abandonment, mentally reversing from harming others. This is mainly from the point of view of the ethics of restraint.

Gyaltsab Je:

Morality Depends On the Mind
(Completing the Morality Gone Beyond Does Not Depend on the Absence of Sentient Beings that One Could Kill; It Is Completed by Meditating on the Mind of Abandoning)

Completing the Morality Gone Beyond Does Not Depend on the Absence of Sentient Beings that One Could Kill
Fish and so forth, where should they flee to [11ab]
So as not to be killed?

It follows that the completion of the morality gone beyond does not depend on removing all sentient beings that could possibly be killed, because it is unfeasible to move all the animals such as fish and so forth to a safe place.

It Is Completed by Meditating on the Mind of Abandoning
Through the mind of abandoning, [11cd]
Morality goes beyond, it is taught.

For this reason the morality gone beyond is achieved by completing the meditation on the mind of abandoning, such as on the mind abandoning the thoughts of killing or stealing.

From a sutra:
If the morality gone beyond is explained: It is the intent to give up harming others.
Chandrakirti:

By excelling in all ten virtuous paths [2.2]
He becomes exceedingly pure,
Eternally pure, like an autumn moon,
Beautified by such peace, radiance.

The first Dalai Lama:
Question: ‘Do those ten karmic paths not also exist on the first ground?’
Answer: ‘Of course they do. But the bodhisattvas abiding on the second ground are superior in morality to the first ground because they became exceedingly pure by excelling in all ten virtuous paths.
Bodhisattvas abiding on the second ground of eternally pure morality became like an autumn moon because they are beautified by the peace arising from having restrained the doors of the sense powers, and by a the radiance of a brilliant aura.’

Definition of the Week (27) – Generosity

Lama Tsong Khapa:

The definition of generosity is the virtuous intent to give.

It is generated by developing the antidote to miserliness and generating the wish to give away our possessions.