15 Great Loving-Kindness for All Sentient Beings Without Exception

06 Apr 2016

Alan says he was advised that he inadvertently overlooked part of the oral transmission of Karma Chagme’s Naked Awareness text so he now delivers it for completeness (page 18 beginning “You are the protector of all sentient beings without exception…”). This afternoon’s topic is on the second of the Greats – Great Loving-Kindness (Maha Maitri). As with all the Greats, we require a fundamental shift from aspiration to intention whereby the intention in this case requires taking responsibility for the care of all sentient beings. Alan comments that in Western tradition the focus is human-oriented (and mostly only men at that) whereas this is not even considered in Tibetan Buddhism where the focus is on all sentient beings. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama was asked what the fundamental drive in humans was, he replied “caring”. At the very least we care about ourselves, and almost everyone else cares about someone else in addition to themselves. The Bodhisattva ideal however is to take responsibility for caring for all sentient beings. The ground for beginning the Bodhisattva path is cultivating immeasurable equanimity. However when you calculate the number of sentient beings in all worlds, this can be overwhelming. The practical advice Alan received from one of his teachers, Gen Losang Gyatso, was to focus on caring for everyone (including every animal) that comes to mind. This is not only everyone we’ve met but also the broader spectrum when we consider our exposure to all people and animals via study of history and the media. However the practical importance of this is that it pretty much covers beings of all the six realms from the most sublime to the most diabolical. The practice then is to care for each and all these beings without exception by recognising their fundamental Buddha-nature. The third part of the Bodhisattva liturgy startles us in that it requires us to resolve that “I will bring all sentient beings to happiness and its causes”. So how are we to understand the personal pronoun “I”? The only way is that the referent “I” has to be from the viewpoint of Dharmakaya or Buddha-nature. Then Alan asks: “Why do we need more Buddhas? Why do we need another copy of the Buddha? Isn’t that covered? Aren’t there enough Buddhas already?”

The meditation is on Great Loving-kindness

Following meditation practice, Alan returns to Chokyi Gyeltsen’s root text - stanzas 3-5. Alan comments on the nature of the accumulation of merit, the purification of afflictive and cognitive obscurations, and the way to view our root and lineage gurus.

Meditation starts at 43:45


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