B. Alan Wallace, 05 Oct 2012
Teaching pt1. Alan begins a new cycle on the 4 greats. While the 4 immeasurables don’t require a particular world view, the 4 greats are firmly rooted in the buddhist world view. “With meditative equipoise, one sees reality as it is. When on sees reality as it is, the bodhisattva develops great compassion.” The liturgy contains four lines. 1) Why couldn’t we all be free from suffering and its causes? It is helpful to consider all sentient beings as referring to all those we encounter. 2) May we be free from suffering and its causes. There is no time limit on this aspiration. 3) May I free us from suffering and its causes. This intention is realistic only from the perspective of rigpa. 4) May the gurus and buddhas bless me, so that I may be enabled.
Meditation. Great compassion. Establish meditative equipoise by settling body, speech, and mind and mindfulness of breathing. Dissolve your ordinary identity by reflecting on the emptiness of your own body. In its place, your primordial consciousness crystalizes into an energy body. 1) Why couldn’t we all be free from suffering and its causes? Reflect on the whole world and specific people who come to mind. Draw the conclusion that freedom is possible because all sentient beings have buddhanature. 2) May we be free from suffering and its causes. 3) May I free us from suffering and its causes. Imagine your own buddhanature as a small white orb of light at your heart chakra. With every in breath, make resolve to free self and others and imagine others’ suffering in the form of darkness converging at and extinguished within the white orb. 4) May the gurus and buddhas bless me, so that I may be enabled. With every in breath, light from all enlightened beings come in from all directions and fills your body and mind. With every out breath, light flows out to all sentient beings, relieving their suffering and its causes.
Teaching pt2. Nothing can be said to be inherently virtuous. Motivation is key, and coupled with great compassion, the shamatha practices we’re doing here can also be quite virtuous.
Meditation starts at: 24:33
Today we’ll move from the kind of - the dimension of the four immeasurables to the dimension of great compassion, great loving kindness and so on. One of the very inviting aspects of the four immeasurables is that they’re not necessarily hinged with or connected with any particular world view. For example when His Holiness asked a group of psychologists, and was in the room, to create something that could be helpful for everyone in a secular fashion, and we developed cultivating emotional balance, since I choose all the meditations for it I could choose the four immeasurables because whether you’re a fundamentalist Christian or Atheist or Jew, Moslem whatever you may be, they’re wide opened, it’s not asking you to change your world of view but simply opening the heart in these various ways; then we move into, so there’s a great advantage there, and they all culminate in a sense of an aspiration or empathetic joy to simply taking delight.
But when we move to the Four Greats, The great, Great Compassion and so forth, then these clearly they have their root system in Buddhist world view.
I don’t quite know how one could develop these without embracing some of the core themes of the Buddhist world view, so let’s look at them.
The meditation is really focused right on a core kind of liturgy that just hits four points.
So it starts out in a familiar fashion and I will start out with compassion. I do think and I mentioned this before that among the four immeasurables I think there is a very meaningful sequence starting with loving kindness. A lot of people start and stop right there mettabhavana, the Vipassana tradition, very, very often they just go for mettabhavana, never mind the other three, why not? Very good, nice entry and so at the same time there is an immense richness among all four, so there is the sequence, “meta” and then compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity.
(2:19) When we move into the Four Greats I’ve never seen that there is necessarily any particular sequence to them but just intuitively and I don’t think that can be anything seriously wrong here, that if we consider that there is continuity, or there can be a continuity, a smooth transition from the Four Immeasurables to the Four Greats then we see that the Four Immeasurables culminate in a sense of evenness, this equality of others among friend, enemy and indifferent person; equality among self and others and so with that foundation then you may move right into more the bodhisattva realm and to my mind it’s just quite obvious this first step would be more naturally - Great Compassion because as one senses, really gets some taste, some experience of the equality of self and others, so you really do start moving to the realm of caring equally about the wellbeing of others as you do for yourself. I think as soon you open your eyes and look around, and you don’t have to look very far, what is most evident in this world of sentient beings, humans, animals and then others, is not what a great time everybody is having, some people are having great time and then of course it’s time for empathetic joy, but rather there really is a reality of suffering and if you understood those three dimensions of suffering then you know, well there it is. Whatever is on the surface there are underlying dimensions of suffering that are very, very real. And so Great Compassion seems to my mind a very natural and meaningful way to venture into this Mahayana realm.
(4:36) And with that now before I recite the liturgy, I would like to recite two very short statements from the Sutras, one is from the Accomplishment of the Dharmadatu Sutra, so a Mahayana Sutra and here the Buddha states: “through meditative equipoise one will come to see reality as it is”.
So we’ve heard that one before, it’s a very common refrain - when the mind is balanced you come to see reality as it is, by seeing all of reality as it is, a bodhisattva will develop Great Compassion toward all sentient beings. So that’s the sequence, one doesn’t hear necessarily so often, but first of all develop your, the dhyana or the meditative equipoise or let’s just call it shamatha, call a spade a spade, shamatha, first develop your shamatha and then develop Great Compassion.
(5:13) Now there’s a little refrain, a little liturgy that I’ve heard many, many time because I fly so often that is, when you’re getting the introduction, when you’re fastened in, remember the flight attendance comes along and says, and I haven’t memorized it, certainly I’ve heard it more than 100 times, but she says - in the unlikely case that there’s a sudden drop of air pressure, right, you’ll find this little dingle-dangle, drop from the ceiling, and it will be oxygen, and she shows you that and says - fasten it firmly over your own mouth and nose first before you attend to those around you even it’s a mother and child, mother don’t pass out, don’t think, oh my child, my child and then pass out…oh, oh, then you don’t save your child or yourself, right? So save yourself, put it on yourself and then save everybody else but if you pass out, you’re not going to be good for anything, clear? So I think that’s what he is getting at there, achieve shamatha first, save yourself, because man if you’ve achieve shamatha, no you are not out of samsara but you’ve definitely put on your oxygen mask, right, you’re doing okay, you’ve really found some genuine and real deep relief from suffering, physical and mental, if you’ve made it to that new base camp of shamatha, you’re really doing pretty well within samsara, you are in one of the definitely one of the penthouses, one of the penthouse suites in the nicer neighborhood, right?
(06:25) So once you’re there then he says develop Great Compassion, ok? Because you really then, as you develop it, then you won’t just suddenly meet with a sense of frustration, of dismay, of despair, a sense of - oh, I’d love to but I can’t, but I can’t, but I can’t. Now wait a minute, if you’ve achieved shamatha maybe you start - can, can, can, you know get into the action, there is the motivation now, use this wonderfully tuned mind of yours and get to work and really be of some benefit. So it’s a very simple statement but I think a very profound one.
(7:29) And then one very short statement, on from a text called “The expression of the Realization of Chenrezig”, and here the text says, and maybe it’s Chenrezig himself - “If one had just one quality it would be as if all the Buddha’s Dharma were in the palm of your hand”. What quality is that? Great Compassion.
(7:32) So the classic liturgy, which I’ve heard many times, but when I’ve heard it from outside it’s kind of like people just pass right through it, you know they just ….(whoosh) as part of the sadhana or something but blup…and strikes me as something very, very worthy to dwell in, to linger in, to really turn into a meditation; so I’m going to give you just a short preamble and then I will unpack it a bit more in the actual meditation, ok? But it starts with, and I will give the whole thing in Tibetan, (Alan gives the Tibetan ), which means:
Why couldn’t all sentient beings, or why couldn’t we all, be free of suffering and the causes of suffering? It’s a question. Why couldn’t we be free? And it’s not a rhetorical question; when one sees a person who is suffering a lot, or a group or a community, whatever it may be, when one sees – there’s the suffering; now why couldn’t there be freedom, not only from suffering, as maybe a drug would give you temporary freedom from the suffering, that’s good we want freedom from suffering, but freedom from the causes of suffering, right? Why couldn’t we be free of suffering and causes of suffering?
So it’s a question which then calls for an intelligent answer, not blind faith, not blind belief or disbelief, but really investigation. Why couldn’t we be free? There is a problem, why couldn’t that problem go away right together with its underlying causes?
(9:32)And I want to come back to the theme of all sentient beings. Again who are we talking about? Seven billion human beings on this planet, should we include the many, many more billion animals on the planet? How about we go into the Buddhist world view then we have pretas and hell beings and the asuras and devas and that’s just for one world system. Then we have our galaxies, then we have a hundred billion galaxies, ok, at what point does the mind just go wheeeeee? Like, may no sentient being anywhere, because I can’t imagine that many number, at what point is so many become none at all, you know just because there is no target? So I come back to this ever so helpful statement by Ge Losang Gyatso our teacher and our Abbot in the Buddhist School of Dialectics, thirty eight years ago and he said:
All sentient beings, practically speaking refers to every sentient being you encounter, every sentient being you encounter, not only in the flesh, not only physically but can you encounter Mother Teresa, can you encounter Napoleon, can you encounter Augustine? Yeah, in your mind’s eye, mentally can direct your attention to these individuals from the past, or that you’ll never meet, maybe they are far away in some distant country but mentally can you attend to them? Ok, you’ve just met them. Your mind has gone to them, so anybody who comes to mind, anybody who comes into your field of experience. Well if you include all of them, then for all practical purposes, if you leave no one out, everyone who comes to mind and everybody you encounter -then that’s all sentient beings, quite powerful, right? So I was reflecting on this and so as we consider may: (11:26) why couldn’t all sentient beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering? Then when you toss that up into the space of your mind then see who comes to mind, and maybe some very difficult person maybe has some really strong mental afflictions, maybe in the way they behave it’s really harmful, maybe one could say evil, or maybe you just see somebody in very dire suffering, either way, whether the person is manifesting more the causes of suffering - you really think this is boy a very, very disagreeable person, contemptible behavior and so forth, maybe that type, or this person is suffering so much, either way you are dealing with suffering and the causes of suffering.
So when we bring anyone to mind, anyone to mind, then we bring them to mind then we ask - why couldn’t you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering? Then there’s a, maybe the word target is not a good target, it’s like something you would shoot but you know what I mean, someone to whom you’re really directing your attention. Then you really have something to tend to:
(12:08) Why couldn’t you? Because we meet people, don’t we sometimes say – oh this person is impossible? This person is impossible, so mean and selfish, greedy or whatever, forget this person, it’s a right off, impossible. Or suffering, their suffering is may be so intense one may think, oh, what can one do and just throw the hands up. What can one do after all? Like that, as if that is the final answer; and the Maha- karuna comes back and says: think again, think again. So there’s the first question: why couldn’t we all be free of suffering and the causes of suffering?
(12:51) (Alan gives the Tibetan) – May we be free. So then having cleared that one out then finally there is no reason we can’t be free of suffering. So now don’t put a time limit on it, five years, five months, five lifetimes and now we’re Buddhism. So Paul Ekman, a very respected friend of mine doesn’t believe in reincarnation and I think he’s simply open minded, he is a very fine scientist, a very fine human being and within his framework, his working hypothesis is-when you die that’s it. And so from that framework, and he’s a very knowledgeable man, he’s recognized certain individuals who seemed to be so entrenched in what one can say is really evil habits, or maybe they are serial killers or what have you, they show no repentance, no remorse they have a life sentence in prison and Paul says you know, I think there are some people they’re just, they’re not going to turn around, I mean you’ll have to be just totally airy fairy to think that’s going to happen, they’re not going to turn around, they maybe even still rejoice you know, feel- no problem and they have a life sentence in prison whatever, or people who are not in prison, they’re out there in the world doing the same thing over and over again, evil, greedy, malevolent and so forth, they’re getting away with it, no remorse, oh heads of drugs cartel and so forth . Do they really look like they’re going to turn around soon when they’re just enjoying their wealth and their power and their fame and intimidating other people and so forth; so, might there be people, for whom one can say, well within the framework of this life I don’t see any hope? The answer is yeah. Does this mean that they’re absolutely hopeless? Who can say, who knows that much? Whenever we point to an individual -you are the head of a drug cartel, you with this disease, you with that mental affliction and so forth, who knows enough to say - yes I know this person even in this lifetime - totally hopeless? I can’t say that, I don’t know enough. What are the odds? I’d say oh probably very small for some individuals here and there. So there it is.
(15:01) But then when we move in the Buddhist world view, say well, this is one life, continuity is there, then we say ok, if the continuity is there and the underlying core is Buddha nature ,then no one is hopeless, so therefore since no one is hopeless - my we all be free of suffering and its causes.
So now let’s move into aspiration which kind of bring us to that same level of immeasurable compassion: may we all be free of suffering and its causes. So it looks like that was replication, true, that’s shows the segue, the transition, the smooth seemless movement from the Shravakayana approach then into the Mahayana, but then the third one brings us deeply into Mahayana territory and now you are really in Buddhist world view and that is:
(16:06) ( Alan gives the Tibetan) And that is – May I free us all, from suffering and the causes of suffering.
As soon that arises now we see it’s not simply an aspiration, that’s an intention: “I shall do it”. Sometimes in the Mahayana tradition they say - arouse this and don’t rely on others; - don’t think oh some other person, the Dalai Lama will get to it, or one of the great Rinpoches or Tulkus or Desmond Tutu, you know some of those really great people, at least somebody with a lot of power, Obama get elected again – you do it, Mitt Romney ( laughter) may you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering? (laughter) Sincerely, may we all, because we all have the causes of suffering. So it is very easy to say, who? Little Me? Ah shucks not me and point to the other guy, or the UN, they’ll do it, or whatever, you know thinking somebody else and the Mahayana says no, stop pointing the finger outwards, take it upon yourself.
Now clearly if one is adopting that, within the framework of this person, within this lifetime - I will liberate all sentient beings throughout the universe from suffering and the causes of suffering, then this is major psychosis, because it’s just silly, it’s completely flat out very sweet but totally sappy, crazy, whacko megalomania. So Mahayana Buddhism is not whacky, etc etc. Now we can ask, alright, so now we see this merging of wisdom with compassion again. If this is to be sincere, this is a real, an actual resolve, an intention. How can we move out of the realm of Loony-Tunes - of craziness? That is if, as I just said - if that resolve comes from identifying with this body, I Alan Wallace, imputed upon this body and this mind, I should do that? That’s crazy. It’s not going to happen, it’s a nice thought, it’s better than – May I kill everybody, but it’s not going to happen, it’s almost would be really a kind of a lie.
18:49 I and I alone will resolve the world debt and we’ll start with Greece and then move to the United States and so forth and I and I alone will do that. You’ll just sound like an idiot, so let’s not create idiotic resolve. Then if we go to the level, but this is one base of imputation, this body, this mind, it just doesn’t make any sense; to wish that we all may be free? Sure. To take on the resolve? Forget it, silly.
(18:40) Let’s go to a deeper dimension then, my substrate, consciousness carrying on from lifetime to lifetime to lifetime that little slender current of consciousness and energy of prana moving through time, hopefully gradually evolving towards enlightenment, it’s that and but, it’s a samsaric continuum of consciousness, it is my basis in samsara, right? So if I say that; if we say in my past life I was such and such, in my future life I will be such and such, I, I, then the I is being designated upon that basis, that continuum; otherwise I can’t possibly say I had any previous lives because this body and this coarse mind didn’t have any previous lives, it had no previous lives at all, right?
(20:02) The only thing that had a previous life is that continuum of energy consciousness, energy mind, and so that could be a basis of designation. May I experience maturation of a good karma, I’m accumulating in this life may I experience this in future lifetimes? Okay may I in future lifetime – the basis of designation is the continuum of consciousness. Does this make any sense still? And Miles I think has heard me say this before, you are quite right it’s just not realistic, one little one smidgen, almost like a cosmic worm, slithering through space time, choo-choo, like the Little Engine that goes – chug-chug- chug, one little unenlightened sentient being. I will relieve all the sentient beings, I will dispel all the suffering of the universe …chug-chug-chug - like all sentient beings would say that’s a nice promise, but man we would have to wait a long time, it’s going to be like this is going to be forever; so that doesn’t really strike me as quite realistic either.
21:11 So then of course where do we go? Basis of designation for I am - only one possibility and that’s down to the deepest level, down to rigpa, down to primordial consciousness; on that basis designating “I am”. I shall relieve all sentient beings from suffering and its causes. Now it actually is realistic. The dimension of consciousness transcending time, transcending space, embracing all of space and time and having from that dimension infinite capacity of wisdom, of power, of compassion.
(21:26) So my strong sense here is that when one arouses that, obviously with one’s consciousness mind, this is a meditation, when one arouses that resolve; some of you with background in Tibetan Buddhism, you know the phrase - calling the Lama from afar, there are various poems, various prayers, very sweet, really touch the heart when you’ve been separated from your Lama, maybe your Lama’s passed away, and having that sense: calling your Lama from afar –it’s a devotional practice of guru yoga and then it stirs the heart and then it opens up that conduit of blessing.
(22:17) Well in a similar fashion as we arouse this resolve: “May I free all sentient beings from suffering and its causes” - and that’s all dimensions of suffering, it’s like you are calling your own Buddha nature from afar, which in a way is kind of silly because your Buddha nature is not in someplace else. But it’s afar in a sense that we can’t see it, unless we have realized rigpa, it’s there but it’s hidden by veils, so it seems very far away, it seems simply to be an object of belief, of hope, of trust, of intuition. But it’s almost as if by calling it from afar, calling it from near, it stirs - because if you really understand when I say - may I do this, it makes no sense to say that from the superficial level or the medium level, it makes sense only from the deepest level. So if I’m going to arouse that response, something must stir from the depths, like – you calling me, you calling me? Because I hear you; and so something stirring there, something arousing, something motivating, activating this deepest dimension that is not simply luminous and clear and pure, but has tremendous potential, infinite potential.
So that’s that third phase. If one doesn’t believe in Buddha nature I think it makes no sense, I think it’s kind of hypocrisy, silly, sweet but empty resolve; but if one has that, that’s part of one’s world view, One can intuitive affirm that dimension - then makes sense.
(24:03) And then finally, (Alan speaks in Tibetan) now we are definitely deeply into Mahayana Buddhist territory when we come to the fourth, and that is:
May the Lama, and La literally means the deity or manifestations of the Buddha, so let’s just say the guru and the Buddhas. May the gurus and Buddhas bless me that I may be so enabled, I may have that ability - so calling the blessings of the guru, one guru, all gurus, one Buddha, all Buddha’s, they’re calling on them - please bless me that I may have that ability. There’s my resolve – but I can’t do it now, I can’t do it with my current limitations, so please bless me that I can have the ability, be endowed with the ability to carry through with that and then it becomes a very powerful resolve.
So that’s run through, let’s take it to the meditation.
(26:08) So before seeking to realize great compassion this text that we’ve read advises that we first settle our mind in a state of meditative equipoise, so let’s approximate that to the best of our ability by settling body, speech and mind in the natural states by quietly calming the conceptual mind with mindfulness of breathing.
To venture into this meditation in a most affective and meaningful way possible let’s dissolve, to the best of our ability, our ordinary sense of identity which will just get in the way because of its severe limitations. According to your ability reflect upon the emptiness of your own body that it consists of nothing other than empty appearances arising in space; upon your own mind - your coarse mind when you seek for it all are appearances, empty appearances arising in space; and when you look for yourself as something imputed upon the body and mind – there’s no one to be found. Dissolve your body, speech and mind and your own identity, your own personhood into emptiness.
Where you were there is emptiness and in that same place is primordial consciousness, all pervasive, and the energy of primordial consciousness; with this as your basis of designation, imagine that energy of primordial consciousness becoming crystalized in your own current form but purely a body of energy, radiant, incandescent, transparent, devoid of substance, empty of inherent nature.
And to the best of your ability rest in meditative equipoise, in the sense of your own presence in body and mind, luminous, clear, transparent, free of all obscurations, all afflictions of body and mind.
(32:45)Then arouse in your mind if you will, the first line of this liturgy:
1) Why couldn’t all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering?
And reflect deeply with respect to the whole world but specifically, with respect to people and individuals who come to mind, of course including yourself. Why couldn’t we all be free of suffering and the causes of suffering? And if you can embrace the reality that all sentient beings are imbued with Buddhanature, the potential for perfect awakening, then therein lies your answer - and let this lead to the second line of the liturgy -
2) May we all be free from suffering and its causes.
3) May I free us all – and when you arouse such a resolve, imagine once again symbolically, your own Buddha nature, your own pristine awareness as an infinite source of light at your heart, a small orb of light, and as you direct your attention outwards to others who are in suffering, imagine their suffering and its underlining causes in a form of darkness, and with each inhalation as you arouse this resolve - may I free each one - Imagine this darkness being drawn in, but in no way diminishing the light at your heart or of your entire form, drawn in and extinguished without trace, and with each in breath arouse this resolve of great compassion.
And then we move to the fourth line of lethargy:
4) May the guru and Buddha’s bless me that I may be able to carry through this resolve, that I may do so.
And let’s shift the visualization - with each inhalation imagine light converging in upon you from all sides, from all the enlightened ones above and below and from all the cardinal directions; with each in breath imagine cascades of radiant white pure light converging in upon you, the light of blessings of compassion, filling, saturating and empowering body and mind; and with each out breath, imagine this light then flowing out from your body mind, out to all sentient beings, relieving the suffering and the causes of suffering of each one, breath in the light breath out the light, vanquishing the darkness of suffering and its causes.
(49:16)This practice highlights the enormous importance, significance, impact of motivation. That is in shamatha practice if we look to some of the classic literature like the Lamrim Chenmo, the great Treatise by Tsongkhapa, when choosing an object it’s commonly said choose ( Alan gives the Tibetan for -) a virtuous object, like a Buddha image or Tara, Manjushri, an object that really arouses faith, that arouse virtue, right? A very good reason for doing that. At the same time Tsongkhapa himself and really all of great Lamas of Tibet, great, great gurus of India, they acknowledge that other practices like mindfulness of breathing are absolutely authentic, I mean they are referred to by Tsongkhapa himself, but there’s nothing virtuous, I mean, the sensations of the breath, is that a virtuous object? I don’t think so.
So how do we bring those two together? And the way we do it is kind of quite obvious, and that is - a Buddha image, of Shakyamuni Buddha, of Tara, Chenrezig, whatever, - virtuous by nature? If they were then anybody looking at it, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, anybody - Buddha nature, oh, there’s an image of the Buddha, they wouldn’t be thinking about blowing it up, right? So clearly an image of the Buddha doesn’t arouse virtue in everybody’s mind. And for the Art connoisseur – I think I can probably fetch five thousand dollars for that one. So some may be animosity, some greed, some I don’t like Tibetan art, I don’t care for it, it’s not my cup of tea - so indifference. So an image of the Buddha could arouse hatred, greed or indifference, right, quite clearly. So there’s nothing intrinsically virtuous about it, and is there anything really intrinsically virtuous about any object whatsoever? I don’t think so. So then it all comes back to your own mind, right?
(57:18) So with the practice of mindfulness of breathing, or settling the mind, are you just attending to an ocean of virtue when you settled your mind in its natural state? Oh it it’s so inspiring! If so then I congratulate you where are you so I can start offering prostrations. Likewise awareness of awareness, so it’s luminous, so it’s cognizant, that luminosity is not a virtue, not a virtue – virtue. Cognizance is not a virtue – virtue. It’s nice to have it although sometimes it’s nice to go to sleep too. So not by nature, no, it all comes back, it keeps on coming back, it always keeps on coming back to the quality of awareness that you bring to it and then simply that, the motivation.(53:03)
So I know at least a few of you have been challenged, even those who listen by podcast, those who are in retreat, not here, but elsewhere, a number of aspiring yogis around the world who are listening to the podcast here, and I know some of you sometimes receive some criticism, or some at least skepticism from loved ones around you, friends, people around you saying – You’re being so selfish, you took eight weeks off to come to Phuket when you could have been doing something good for the world, and there you are just doing something for yourself, going to a nice tropical place hanging out, watching your breath. What a slacker, you lazy people, while we’re all working hard you’re just hanging out there and then you finally found a teacher that said that you can even lay down while you do it. Man, you really had to reach to find a teacher, to say that, at least a real meditation teachers say you have to sit up, but you found someone from California, used to laying on the beach, you’ve found the most light weight meditation teacher on the planet and in one of the nicest places on the planet. Gosh, that’s so selfish!
So have a nice day, enjoy, because here we are laying down in a tropical paradise, and lunch is coming up in two hours.
(53:54) So on the other hand even for a noble profession like medicine – is it always one hundred percent pure altruism and motivation that inspires people to go into such a professional? It’s clearly not, not in every single case, or any other service like becoming a school teacher, maybe it’s just because it’s a really secure job, really secure, you got a nice pension.
(54:10) So there’s no activity out there that one can say - oh yes, anybody who goes into that, that line of work, that type of activity volunteering in a soup kitchen and so forth, there is no activity out there that simply guarantees – oh if you go there then your motivation must be pure. It’s not true. It’s always keeps coming back to the motivation. And so here it is, even for a simple practice, one that by nature seems to be quite ethically neutral, watching sensations in and out breath can become, really venture, can become a bodhisattva activity; or activity of tremendous significance of also impact, of consequences, spending 24 minutes watching your breath with the motivation of great compassion. But there it is, with the motivation of great compassion watching your breath, going for a walk, or by simply taking care of your own health. People take care of their own healthy for many, many reasons.
One can take care of one’s own health out of great compassion, thinking if I can balance and restore my body from illness, from injury, whatever it may be, if I can do so, I’ll be so much more effective to be able to follow the path myself and to be able to serve others.
(55:45) So in order to relieve the suffering and the causes of suffering of all sentient beings, I’ll do all I can to restore my own health. And a simple act that anyone would do, you don’t have to practice dharma to want to restore your health, that itself, every act you take to restore your own health, bodhisattva it, an act, an expression of great compassion so that’s virtue. Lying down I see - oh my body’s tired, I think I need to rest now, good, expression of great compassion because that’s the best thing you can do for a sentient beings right now. Don’t strive, don’t work, don’t arouse yourself, don’t exhaust yourself, that’s not in the service of sentient beings because you’ll damage your health, you’ll prevent it from being restored. Even lying down can be an expression of great compassion so there’s no limits here, no limits, always comes back to motivation, good? Now enjoy your day.
Transcribed by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Revised by Cheri Langston
Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti