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Lions Roar : July 2013
about how to free themselves. Therefore, the bodhisattva sees an urgent need to apply bodhichitta and liberate them. Bodhisattvas make a vow that they will remain in this cyclical place of pain and suffering until all these beings have per- fected view, meditation, action, and the six paramitas. When all beings have perfected those, the bodhisattva stays to ensure that they attain the noble qualities of perfect buddhahood. In this way, the bodhisattva is like a shepherd, remaining until every being in samsara attains the perfect state. Bodhisattvas attain buddhahood them- selves as a means to lead all beings to rouse the mind of bodhichitta and attain bud- dhahood too. In this light, the bodhisattva is said to be like a monarch, first demon- strating the principle so that other beings will follow. Otherwise, they may not fol- low and, since they do not know what buddhahood is, they might even fear it. Therefore, bodhisattvas perfect the state of buddhahood for the benefit of all. The ferry operator, the shepherd, or the monarch—all these virtues of the bodhisattva stem from bodhichitta. In the sutras, the Buddha says that arousing bodhichitta protects the mind like a suit of armor. With bodhichitta, the mind is free from fear. As well, having bodhi- chitta brings perpetual joy, and arous- ing bodhichitta gathers unimaginable merit. Once one begins to understand the awesome potency of bodhichitta and its benefits, one starts rousing the mind to generate it. This potent switch from a subjective orientation toward the self to an objective orientation toward others yields vast results. In this light, if one is drawn toward bodhichitta and develops faith, that pro- pels the mind for many lifetimes into the future, laying the ground for enlighten- ment. Obviously, if one does not know the value of such an intention, one will not generate it. It is also said that the minor effort it takes to arouse bodhi- chitta is vastly outweighed by the ben- efits. Thus, the bodhisattva—whether sitting, eating, walking, or talking— raises this attitude, accumulating infinite clouds of unseen merit. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 15