The Foundations of the Spiritual Path - 2/6

To attain enlightenment means to base one's life on accomplishing the benefit of others. If we persist in the pursuit of our own interests we will continue to wander in the cycle of existences. Firstly it is necessary to develop the highest aspiration, that of attaining enlightenment. Once this pure wish has been established, we must then carry it out. Through putting this bodhicitta or enlightened mind into practice we truly start to advance towards enlightenment. The aspiration is analogous to the initial instant when we have the wish to travel somewhere.

If our desire is to go to India for example, the moment this idea is formulated represents the wish or aspiration, and the actual journey represents the application.

The wish to attain unsurpassable enlightenment means developing the aspiration to realise Buddhahood as quickly as possible in order to have the real capacity to help beings. This is the commitment relating to the fruit or result.
We put this commitment into application making a practical effort to accumulate truly positive actions with our body, speech and mind. This is called the causal phase since these are the actions that will lead to the enlightenment that we are seeking.

In order to develop this understanding we should reflect on the following points:

Everywhere that space exists there are beings. All beings are conditioned by their karma. Their minds are occupied by all sorts of emotions which lead them to experience all sorts of sufferings in all sorts of worlds and conditions. All of these beings, whether they are humans or non-humans, have been fathers and mothers for each other, an incalculable number of times, throughout an infinite succession of existences.

 

When these beings were our parents they showed us the same tenderness and devotion as our parents of this life. If we do not appreciate the true value of their kindness, we may think that they merely raised us in their own self interest, making them therefore responsible for our present suffering. This shows we have no understanding of the nature of their kindness and that we should meditate on it.

 

(English translation of an extract from the book
'Mahamoudra', éditions J C Lattès)

 

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