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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 20 times we are able to bear difficulty without complaint, welcom- ing obstacles as part of the path. We might even feel a sense of joy at having the opportunity to generate more bodhichitta. Finally, we engage in virtue. There are many kinds of virtue. Among them are the paramitas, the transcendental perfections: generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and their binding factor, prajna. Prajna is “best knowledge,” wisdom rooted in seeing how things are: the truths of suffering, impermanence, and selflessness. Bodhisattva activity is prajna-infused generosity, prajna-infused discipline, prajna-infused patience, prajna-infused exertion, and prajna- infused meditation. It is not about being a doormat. Reflecting on the qualities of a bodhisattva doesn’t mean that we will be able to engage with others this way immediately. Once we have established some kind of stability through mindfulness meditation, can raise the mind of bodhichitta, and have a root understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, we train by means of lojong, a form of contemplation that strengthens our aspira- tion. Some of this mind-training takes place in our meditation session. For example, we can practice generating the four im- measurables—loving-kindness, compassion, equanimity, and joy—and extending them to others. There are also some traditional contemplations we can bring into our day. For example, upon awakening in the morning we can think, “Just as I have awakened, may all sentient beings awak- en from the sleep of ignorance.” While dressing, we can think, “May all sentient beings wear the clothing of respect for others and for themselves.” In any activity, we can consider, “If I’m not to become a buddha right away, may I please be in a situation where I can be of some benefit to sentient beings.” I often advise people to just look in the bathroom mirror every morning and repeat three times, “It’s not about me.” The bodhisattva attitude has the potential to accomplish every- thing we want, because it is rooted in thinking of others. In the teachings on the experiences of a bodhisattva, the language is all about bliss and joy, the result of having this bigger outlook. The kind of peace we are talking about produces richness and happi- ness. We’re no longer in it just for ourselves; we’re no longer look- ing for our work to be over. We know there’s no time off. The great Tibetan yogi Milarepa sang that compassion is tough and strong and steady. It keeps us going. On the bodhi- sattva path, practice brings joy, because our compassion in- creases with our workload. Sharpening the sword of insight on the edge of daily experience, we keep learning. Then we go back to the cushion and contemplate what we’ve learned. This is how we deepen our aspiration to enter the world with the bodhisattva attitude, the wish-fulfilling jewel at the heart of living peace. ♦ SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE is spiritual director of Shambhala, an international network of meditation and retreat centers. He is the author of Turning Your Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. Thangkas • Singing Bowls • Rugs Jewelry • Wall Hangings • Malas Statues • Incense • Meditation Cushions Ordained Robes • Much, Much More! Website: www.tibetanspirit.com • Toll Free: 1-888-327-2890 E-mail: