By Geshe Thubten Khedrup - Ljubljana, 29th May 2004
Today we will talk about six causes and one effect. Maybe you have already heard about it any time, but it is important topic and we can talk about it again and again, until you get much more experience.
Briefly, this subject is about Bodhicitta. We will start with six causes.
1) The first cause of Bodhicitta is to recognize all sentient beings as your mothers.
2) The second cause of Bodhicitta is being mindful of their kindness.
3) Repaying this kindness is the third cause of Bodhicitta.
These three causes of Bodhicitta are the cause of sincere heart warming love.
4) The heart warming love is also the cause of Bodhicitta, it is its fourth cause.
6) The sixth cause of Bodhicitta is firm intention.
So these are the six causes. We will explain these six causes. Bodhicitta is the effect of these six causes, it completely depends on these six causes.
1. We have to think about the sentient beings as having been once our mother. How to do it?
At first, when we think about all sentient beings as our mothers, it is quite difficult. But we are not talking only about this life; we believe that we have been taking rebirth from beginningless time until now in this Samsara
. If you think of your mother; and your mother’s mother; and your mother’s mother’s mother and so on, you might get a small idea about how many sentient beings have been your mothers. If you think this way, there is nobody left who wasn’t a mother of us. And also in the future life, until we get enlightened, we still have to get rebirth in the samsara and we need to come through a mother. Our birth depends on a mother. And we have to grow up by our mother’s kindness and mother’s help.
2. Our mother is very kind to us. If we would try to measure our mother’s kindness, we would never be able to count it. If our mother’s kindness would have a physical form, there couldn’t exist a place, even all over the world, so big it would be; even the whole world is a small place for the mother kindness. And if we think of mother’s milk we have drunk in the past mothers and we’ll drink in the future, it would fill more then four oceans. So mother’s kindness is measureless for us, we can’t really think about it. So this way, all sentient beings were both our mother and father.
3. When it is hard to recognize all sentient beings as our mothers and think of them this way, remember mother’s kindness as we talk about now, about how mothers helped us, and that mothers many times sacrificed their lives for us. So if we think this way, a feeling like being in the fire appears; we can’t sleep without thinking about our mother, without thinking about sentient beings. If you get a slap on your head, what will you feel? Suddenly, you jump up and maybe run and the feeling will be very strange. So this way we have to think about mother’s kindness and how to repay it. Immediately and without thinking, we have to think about to repay our mother’s kindness. Think of mothers’ kindness this way.
How to repay your mother’s kindness? We can take an example. In front of you there are three people, very sick. One person is your mother, or friend, or relative, another your enemy, according to this life, and the third person is neutral. So in front of you there are those three people in great Suffering
. You have three feelings toward these people in this life. You get unhappy when you see that your mother, or relative, or friend in front of you is suffering. And you don’t think anything about your enemy, because he is your enemy, so you don’t feel unhappy about your enemy. You will feel neutral toward the neutral person.
Most of people have these three feelings towards these three types of people in life, but these three feelings are a sign that you are not trained on Bodhicitta or compassion. If you train to see this people the same as your mother, thinking how they helped you with love in previous lives and how they will help you also in future lives, you can understand how they are very kind to you. And if you practice on this meditation, you won’t have three different feelings about these three persons.
So this is the way to practice. First you practice your mind on your mother or relative or someone, towards whom you feel love or attraction or just pleasant feelings.
Secondly, after your mind gets stable on love towards your mother, or relative, you move your mind towards the neutral person. After you have practiced on your relative, it is easy to practice on a neutral person because he or she didn’t harm you and didn’t help you either. It is easy to feel love, happiness and attraction towards this neutral person. It is slightly more difficult then the previous practice. But it is easier then the last one.
So when you feel stable love, happiness and attraction towards the neutral person, then you can move to think about your enemy. Maybe this is very difficult. But it might not be, because we have reasons. "Enemy" comes from our mind. No enemy comes from nature. It doesn’t exist by its own side. It comes from our mind. So when our mind gets enough practice, there is no enemy anymore. Then everybody is like a friend and we find it easy to get close.
Maybe we can take an other example here. If you are on a small road in a forest and the road is full of thorns, you can’t walk like this, so you have to protect your feet not to get harmed. If you try to cover each thorn, it is not possible to walk far. But if you put shoes on your feet, then your problem is completely finished. You can easily walk on this road. Any thorns can’t harm you, because your feet are protected.
Like this, first get a practice to protect your mind, and then enemy won’t come. Our enemy comes from our mind, from our negative mind. Our enemy is very kind, only in this life we get some trouble with somebody, but naturally he is very kind, they are our mother, so we have to practice our mind to love them, to develop attention to them. So when you start to practice on this person, when you start to love this person, then your mind is getting flexible.
4. Each time after this meditation practice your mind will be happy and feel love towards everybody and nothing different towards others; and your mind will be like in a pure land! This mind is called heart-warming mind. This is the fourth cause of Bodhicitta.
5. After that mind it is very easy to generate compassion. You do not have a Great compassion
yet, but it is easy to get it. You have to train this heart warming mind some time, you will see how long you need to practice this meditation, and then your mind will automatically turn to compassion.
6. After we have generated compassion, our mind generates the great compassion. We know two compassions. One is compassion, as we said, and another is the great compassion. The great compassion is generated by thinking about ALL sentient beings.
What is compassion? Compassion is always thinking about the suffering of sentient beings in this samsara. With compassion one sees how we get rebirth because of deluded mind and how we get sick and have problems because of this deluded mind and many other negative things caused by this deluded minds.
A person who has this great compassion belongs to Bodhisattvas
When you have generated this compassion, always thinking about all sentient beings, and have the wish to liberate them, a very strong feeling arises inside and this you can recognize as compassion.
6. The sixth cause is a firm intention. After compassion you develop a great decision. This intention comes for a quite short time, not long. The person who makes this resolute intention decides something for ALL sentient beings. He recognizes all sentient beings as a mother, he remembers kindness of all sentient beings, thinks how to repay their kindness, for all the sentient beings, and then he or she has a heart-warming love, feels connected to all sentient beings, has a very strong feeling of happiness, and he or she knows the suffering of all sentient beings. So from theses reasons he decides: "all the sentient are very kind for me, so I have to do something for all the sentient beings now. In this samsara I can’t do anything for all the sentient beings even if I think a lot", so he decides to get enlightened for all the sentient beings. This is the resolute/firm intention mind.
Now, you know the six causes.
Then we have one effect. That is the Bodhicitta. Rinpoche(1) has explained Bodhicitta to you many times and also in the future Rinpoche will explain it more to you. He is very kind. I will explain it as far as I can.
Bodhicitta is the effect which is very important in the Mahayana
path. This is the tool of the Mahayana path. It is the first thing on the Mahayana path. Both in Tantra
path, it is impossible to go further without Bodhicitta. If somebody would generates Bodhicitta and falls from that, then he will be in Hinayana
. If you really want to climb on the Mahayana path, if you really like the Mahayana path, you must practice Bodhicitta and you must pray for it.
Bodhicitta is the root of all the benefit on the Mahayana path.
As you have heard there were 80 Pandits
in India and they always prayed for Bodhicitta. Only Bodhicitta. They didn’t care for Emptiness
, because Bodhicitta is the root of the Mahayana path and this way they tried to always think of Bodhicitta, to always pray for Bodhicitta. If they wrote a letter, just a short letter, they first wrote a short prayer to the Bodhicitta or Compassion.
It does not mean that Emptiness is not important or that they didn’t care about it. It means that comparing to the Compassion or Bodhicitta they cared more for Bodhicitta then for Emptiness. If they saw a text without a prayer of Bodhicitta or Compassion they thought this is not a qualified text. Bodhicitta was their usual prayer subject and usual object of meditation and they did spend all their life on Bodhicitta and Compassion.
Bodhicitta is very precious. It is a Wish-fulfilling Jewel.
I want to give you a small example. When at the same time a compassionate person and a butcher are walking on the road then birds and all the animals will follow the compassionate man or woman. They will run away from the butcher. That is the energy of compassion. We can see it. We know it from the world we live in. It fascinates from many aspects. This is the quality of Bodhicitta.
Now we will talk about other aspects of Bodhicitta.
There are three different kinds of Bodhicitta:
shepherd’s Mind of Enlightenment
, boatman’s Mind of Enlightenment, and king-like Mind of Enlightenment.
1. The shepherd-like Bodhicitta is like a person who thinks that all the cows should be sent before him and he is walking behind them. Bodhisattva [of this kind] thinks that he has to help all the sentient beings to reach Enlightenment before him and he is going to reach Enlightenment after them. This is the first Bodhicitta.
2. The second is boatman’s Mind of Enlightenment. This person is like a boatman with many beings on his boat and he cross the water with all sentient beings. This Bodhisattva wants to go to the Enlightenment at the same time as all the sentient beings.
3. The last one is king-like Mind of Enlightenment. Maybe this should be changed in President-like Mind of Enlightenment .This example comes from earlier times when there were many kings and they took an example from it. Now we have presidents…. This type of person thinks that he has to go to his seat first and then he will work for the people of his country. This kind of Bodhisattva thinks that first he has to reach the Enlightenment and after he gets to Enlightenment he will bring also all the other beings to Enlightenment.
We can end here now. Maybe you have questions?
Question: It is easier for me to imagine all sentient beings as being my children then my mother. Is it possible to generate Bodhicitta also this way?
Answer: This is almost possible, but not completely. Your mind will lack something. You would develop love, but the process of six causes wouldn’t be completed.
Question: What's about a girl, whose mother left her when she was very young and she never felt love of a mother. It would be very difficult for her to meditate on mother’s love. What could one do in her case?
Answer:The six causes is already an answer for this case. When you practice many many times, on the Equanimity
and the six causes, then one day her mind will change completely; I believe this one hundred percents. Because mind’s nature is very clear, it’s positive, it can move in any direction. It is like white cloth; if you have white material, you can put any color on it. Mind is like this, it depends on practice. When you practice enough, it is not possible that it stays unchanged.
Question: When I see somebody suffer, I have a need to do something. I have to satisfy my need to do something. Is this bad? Would it be better to meditate to get enlightened?
Answer:It depends. For example when you walk on the road, and on the side of it there is a big lake and you see one person drowning in water. Then you don’t meditate, right? You must do something to take him or her out. Meditation is a mind practice. This doesn’t mean that we should not help anybody or give medicine and things like that. It is necessary, but our help depends on the situation.
Question:Which of these three Bodhicittas is the best, shepherd’s, boatman’s or king’s?
Answer:I can’t choose which is the best, because all of these minds are valuable and precious. But the texts generally talk about the last one, the king-like meditation. Because I think it is more comfortable to meditate this way.