Chapter One verse One: ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’

January 15, 2010

Chapter: One verse One

“To Those who go in bliss, the dharmakaya they possess, and all their heirs,
to all those worthy of respect, I reverently bow.
According to the Scriptures, I shall now in brief describe the practice of the Bodhisattva discipline.”

‘To those that go in bliss’, is said to be a Title and Description of all the Buddha’s who have come. Shakyamuni Buddha being the most recent. Maitreya Buddha being the next.

But it also includes anyone of us, who has made peace their Perfect Home. How would you like your friends and co-workers to call you, ‘The One that Goes in Bliss?’ That, where ever you went, there was Bliss, and there was Peace, and others felt blissful, just being around you.

So, Shantideva is dedicating this work to the Buddhas, and to Us, the Buddhas-to-Be, and also To The Amount of Bliss we have allowed ourselves to tap into.

‘the dharmakaya they possess,’ Shantideva is dedicating this work to the universal Dharmakaya. Which is likened unto the TAO.

In the Trikaya Doctrine, which describes the three bodies of the Buddha, the first is, the NIRMANAKAYA. Which was the physical body Gautama Buddha, himself, that did actual things like drink water, sneeze, sweat, eat, poop, and so on, 25 hundred years ago.

Then you have the SAMBHOGAKAYA. Which is like an astral body, sometimes called a rainbow body, like we oft hear about in Astral Projections or in the Astral Plane. There are many stories about this kind of thing in all spiritual traditions.

But in Buddhism, we know of people whom travel quite freely outside their bodies during meditation. There are also plenty of stories about Buddha teaching the Dharma at several different locations all at the same time. Although, Buddha is quick to point out, these are not to be sought for, but treated a mere parlor tricks, compared to the real work of liberating yourself.

Next is the DHARMAKAYA. as in, “To those who go in bliss, the dharmakaya they possess,’ So, the dharmakaya in the Macrocosm is again, like the Tao. It is the Universe, the Void, the Anything that can be named and that which can’t. The compounded-trillion-plus universes collapsing upon one another for an infinite amount of Time, still does not fully describe Dharmakaya.

It is, in the Microcosm, the first thing…the fundamental building block of Everything. When everything is broken down to it smallest part, what is left? Do we call it Energy? What is energy? What is Dharmakaya? What ever ‘IT’ is, Thou art That!

Another Translation says instead of Dharmakaya, to ‘the dharma they have Mastered.’ Which is fine also. Because every tiny bit of Buddha’s teachings that we are able to internalize and fully live, is also the Dharmakaya. It is You, Was You, always Shall be You. The Buddha Nature. The Mystery continually surfacing as (Your name Here.)

‘And all their heirs.’ Shantideva’s reference to ‘heirs’ is very important here. He is letting us know that we are the rightful heirs to all of those Whom Go in Bliss. All of those who knew the Secret of Dharmakaya.

We are all Heir to BuddhaMind.. Now, think about it.

Imagine if you were very, very poor, starving to death. And your rich uncle passes away, leaving everything to you. What a blessing! And in a matter of seconds, you stop identifying yourself with that old, run-down apartment, terrible low-paying job, and ugly, broke down car.

And you start seeing yourself, thanks to the phone call from the Attorney, as the Owner of a Mansion, with Chefs, and maids, and expensive cars, and refrigerators full of food. And Everything that your uncle owned, has now become yours.

You have huge bank accounts, boats, and anything you could ever want. All you have to do, is make a trip to the attorney’s office, and sign some papers claiming yourself the rightful heir.

You are the Heir to Buddha, to every ounce of Positive Spiritual Power conceived by Any Being Anywhere, ‘IT’ is literally at your finger tips, but it will do you no good unless you claim it for yourself.

So now, This text we are studying, The Bodhicharavatara was a speech given by Shantideva at the University of Nalanda, and it was written down by others.

But It is basically, a Training Manuel for Bodhisattvas. And a Bodhisattva is on the Path to becoming a future Buddha. This being the case, why not start acting like a Buddha now. It will easily shorten the Trip.

So here we are, Shantideva telling us, that we are all Bodhisattavas, heirs to Buddha, we have everything we need to rescue so many Precious Lives out of the Ocean of Suffering.

I can almost guarantee, You are the only Buddha someone will see today .

‘To all those worthy of respect, I reverently bow.’ or as another translation puts it, ‘to all who merit veneration, I reverently bow.’ This is a very auspicious thing to do. We are all standing on someone’s shoulders.

What makes you the person you are? Was it a book borrowed from a friend? A word from a Teacher, at just the right time? There are a million things that were said and done by others, that make up the reason that I am sitting here today calm, sane, clothed, and in my right mind.

When I am ungrateful, may I stop, and just bow to them, whom are worthy of respect, for helping me in a multitude of ways. Those I know, and those I know not.

But, please realize, that not everyone has merited veneration. Sometimes as Buddhists, we get the idea that we have to be doormats. There isn’t a sign on our back that says, ‘Kick me, I’m Buddhist!’ Letting people walk all over us, doesn’t make us good Buddhists. There are times when we must stand up for ourselves and for others. That time is Now.

And in our spiritual pursuits, test your teachers well. We often find, that just because someone is called a Doctor, Lama, Monk, Tulku, Teacher, Pastor, or anything else, they may not merit veneration, or be worthy of your respect. I say this, because Buddha himself encouraged healthy doubt and reasonable questioning by those who would be his disciples.

Now the last verse here says, ‘According to Scriptures, I shall now in brief describe the practice of the Bodhisattva discipline.’

Be careful whenever you hear a speaker say, ‘I shall now, in brief.’ That means, that if you need to go to the restroom or something, you better get to it, because the speaker is going to talk for a long, long time after they say, ‘I’ll keep this brief’ or ‘in closing’ or ‘to sum this up.’

But in another translation, they have Shantideva saying, ‘According to Tradition,’ which doesn’t mean = Adhering to a cold, methodical belief system or Rigid Dogma. But he’s just saying, that his message for the evening, is going to come in the form of a normal dharma talk.
That they were going to receive a Great Treasure in a plain, earthen vessel.

And it’s like that in Buddhism. I’ve gone many times to hear, a so-called ‘Great Dharma Teacher,’ and sat there thinking, ‘This is nothing. This is boring.’ Only later, to understand how simple and profound it actually was.

And then he brings us to his purpose. ‘I shall now in brief describe the practice of the Bodhisattva discipline.’ or ‘entrance to the Bodhisattva discipline.’ Either translation is fine. We must all find our own ‘entrance’ into the Bodhisattva’s Path, and then Practice, Practice, Practice the Discipline.

We make mistakes, we fail, then we try again. We will never be perfect. And if we believe that Bodhisattvas postpone their own Nibbana, or Liberation, until every last being has made it there before them, then we can not look for some future time in which we will be happy.

The Path must be the Goal. The Journey itself must be the Destination. This Samsara…our Nirvana. “The Kingdom of God is spread upon the whole Earth, and men see it not!”

So, HMP is an attempt to study Shantideva’s ‘Way of the Bodhisattva’, and to practice behavior that helps ease the suffering and misfortune of others, whom, in this particular manifestation or incarnation, happen to be less fortunate than I .

If you would like to partner up with HMP and be involved in bodhisattva activities, please feel free to stay tuned, look around, make a donation, and be part of an ever-growing goodness!

(If any Merit is occurring Here, May it be transferred to all Sentient Beings.)

Jon Clark

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