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Lions Roar : July 2013
While the seed of all beings is bud- dhanature, at the core of bodhichitta is the exchange of self and other. The two elements that enable one to exchange self and other are loving-kindness and compassion. Loving-kindness is engen- dered by the thought, “May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happi- ness.” Compassion is engendered by the thought, “May all beings be free from suf- fering and the root of suffering.” When we unify these two, we have bodhichitta, the vow to bring all beings to the perfect state of buddhahood. Love and compassion are essential to the teachings of the Mahayana and the way of the bodhisattva. Love and com- passion lead to buddhahood because for beings to be truly happy, they must understand the true source of happiness, and for beings to be free from suffering, they must understand the true source of freedom from suffering. If beings do not understand the source, they might have a temporary state of happiness, but they will not have a permanent state of happiness. The bodhisattva exists in order to help others. One is not helping others simply because one is inspired and wants to do it for oneself, for the bodhisattva does not believe in the self. Rather, the bodhisat- tva helps others because they are utterly confused about the source of both hap- piness and suffering. Trying to be happy, sentient beings act out of self-interest and engage in nonvirtue—that which benefits self instead of others. In fact, it is said that within samsara, the cycle of suffering, sentient beings act as though it is virtue that will destroy them. And in a way that is true, for if we define virtue as a lack of self-centeredness, virtue ultimately does destroy the self. The bodhisattva sees that entire realms of beings are going up and down the ladder of existence, trying harder and harder to achieve happiness: in the hell realms through anger, in the ghost realms through jealousy, in the human realms through desire, in the god realms through pride, and in the animal realms through ignorance. Clearly these beings are per- petually suffering and utterly confused SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Own the Art that Wakes You Up Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh VISIT THE SHAMBHALA SUN ONLINE STORE www.shambhalasun.com ENJOY OUR NEWLY EXPANDED collection of dharma art in beautiful archival quality giclée prints. Taken from the pages of our magazines, ten beautiful new pieces are now available for your home or office, including calligraphies by Thich Nhat Hanh and Buddhist- inspired works by Impressionist Odilon Redon. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 14