LAMRIM CHENMO (10)



GENEROSITY



HOW TO TRAIN IN GENEROSITY


This has three points: the nature of generosity, its subdivisions, and how to generate generosity in one’s mind.



THE NATURE OF GENEROSITY


The nature of generosity is a virtuous intention to give and the actions of body and speech motivated by it. It is the intention at the time the body and speech engage in generosity. The completion of the perfection of generosity does not depend on having eliminated the poverty of sentient beings by giving things to them. Rather, generosity is perfected when one’s miserly grasping is destroyed and when one has become completely familiarized with the mind of giving to others along with its effects.


ITS SUBDIVISIONS


This has two points: subdivisions from the point of view of individual bases and subdivisions of the nature of generosity itself.


SUBDIVISIONS FROM THE POINT OF
VIEW OF INDIVIDUAL BASES


The Bodhisattva Pratimoska teaches that generosity of material things is generally practiced by lay bodhisattvas, whereas ordained bodhisattvas should practice the generosity of the Dharma rather than the generosity of material gifts. Moreover, the Compendium of Trainings says that it is prohibited for the ordained to give gifts after working for material things, considering that it interrupts studies and so forth. However, they should give material things if they obtain them in great quantities through the power of previous merit without harm to their virtuous activities. Sharawa also said, “I will not talk to you about the benefits of giving; I will talk instead about the faults of grasping”. This is the talk of one who was not pleased that the ordained were giving gifts, having toiled to obtain and accumulate wealth and often damaged their ethics.



SUBDIVISIONS OF THE NATURE OF GENEROSITY ITSELF


The generosity of the Dharma is to unmistakenly teach the holy Dharma, to teach the worldly aims of actions such as crafts and so forth in a way that is logical and free from wrongdoing, and to make others engage in upholding the basis of the trainings. The generosity of fearlessness is to thoroughly protect others from fear of humans such as kings, bandits, and so forth, fear of nonhumans such as lions, tigers, and so forth, and fear of the elements such as water, fire, and so forth. The generosity of material things is to give material things to others.


HOW TO GENERATE GENEROSITY IN ONE’S MIND


Generosity is not perfected by merely destroying all miserliness toward one’s body and wealth, [159] because the two types of Hinayana arhats without exception have also abandoned that along with all its seeds, given that miserliness is included in the factor of attachment. It is necessary not only to eliminate the obstacle to giving, which is miserliness or clinging to all things, but rather to generate from the depths of one’s heart the thought of giving away all one’s possessions to others. For that, it is necessary to meditate both on the faults of clinging to things and on the benefits of giving.

As taught in the Moon Lamp Sutra (Candrapradipasutra), the former [the faults of grasping] are that the body is unclean, the life force fluctuates like water gushing down a steep mountain, and both body and life force are under the power of karma, thus lacking an independent self. Therefore you should see things to be false, like a dream or a mirage, and cease your attachment to them. If you do not counter your attachment, you will come under its power, accumulate great faulty conduct, and go to the lower rebirths.

The second, the benefits of giving, are as taught in the Compendium of Trainings:

In this way, my body and mind
pass away in every instant.
If I attain permanent
untainted enlightenment
with this tainted impermanent body,
is it not obtained for free?

Entering the Bodhisattva Way (3.10) describes how generosity should actually be generated:

I give away with no sense of loss
my body as well as my possessions
and all my virtues of the three times
to accomplish the welfare of all sentient beings.

Like that, taking body, wealth, and roots of virtue as your object, familiarize yourself again and again with the thought of giving them away to all sentient beings.

Since your current determination is immature and of little strength, you should not actually give away your flesh and so forth, even though you have already mentally given away your body to sentient beings. Nonetheless, the Compendium of Trainings says that if we do not train in the thought of giving away our body and life now, we will also not be able to do so in the future owing to a lack of familiarity with it. Therefore it is necessary to train in that thought from now on.

Thus it is an afflicted infraction when out of craving you use food, clothing, and so forth that you have sincerely given away to sentient beings, having forgotten the thought “I will use these for the welfare of others” and instead using them for your own welfare. [160] It is a nonafflicted infraction if, without this craving, you forget the perception that includes all sentient beings or if you are attached to those things for the sake of another sentient being. It is stealing if you use for your own sake those things dedicated to others, knowing they are someone else’s property. If those things are valuable, it become a defeat of the pratimoska vow. On the other hand, there is no fault if you use them thinking, “I will use this sentient being’s wealth for his [her, their] own welfare”. This is mentioned in the Compendium of Trainings.

It becomes a defeat when you have dedicated something with a sincere thought to a sentient being who is a human and he [she] is aware of it and also holds it to be his [hers]. The factors for it to become a defeat are present if you take it for your own welfare, aware that it belongs to someone else, and if it is of some value. That is the intention here. Apart from that, Bodhisattva Levels teaches that merit increases immeasurably and with little effort through training in the determination to emanate immeasurable varieties of offerings and to give them with clarity to sentient beings from the depths of one’s heart. That is the generosity of the wise bodhisattva.

Training in the perfection of generosity will be very powerful it, at the time it occurs, it is endowed with the six perfections. Specifically, the six are made complete if there is, at that time, the ethics that restrain the mental attention of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas; the determination and patience derived from aspiring to the qualities of omniscience, and patience when abused by others; the joyous effort that generates the aspiration for increasing that more and more; the meditative stabilization that is a single-pointed mind not mixed with the Hinayana and that dedicates that virtue to complete enlightenment; and the wisdom that understands the object given, the act of giving, and the recipient to be like illusions.





ETHICS



HOW TO TRAIN IN ETHICS


This has three points: the nature of ethics, its subdivisions, and how to generate ethics in one’s mind.



THE NATURE OF ETHICS


Ethics is the mind of abandonment – a mentality turned away from harming others – together with its basis. This is mainly from the point of view of the ethics of restraint. Ethics is perfected through thoroughly completing one’s familiarity with this mind more and more. It is not that you externally establish all sentient beings in freedom from all harm without exception. Entering the Bodhisattva way (5.11) says:

The perfection of ethics is taught as
achieving the mind of abandonment. [161]


ITS SUBDIVSIONS


This has three points: the ethics of restraint, the ethics of gathering virtuous qualities, and the ethics of bringing about the welfare of sentient beings.



THE ETHICS OF RESTRAINT


From the point of view of being accompanied by a motivation, the ethics of restraint is the ten abandonments that abandon the ten nonvirtues. From the point of view of its nature, it is the seven nonvirtues. This is the intention of the statement in Bodhisattva Levels that the ethics of restraint in the mind of a bodhisattva is the seven types of pratimoksa vows. When those who possess the pratimoksa vows possess the bodhisattva vows, the ethics of restraint is the actual lay or monastic pratimoska vows and the abandonments and vows common to them in their minds. When those who are unsuitable as bases for the pratimosksa vows possess bodhisattva vows, the ethics of restraint is the abandonments and restraints of abandoning either the natural misdeeds or the proscribed misdeeds that are common to pratimoska. Although the pratimoska vows in the mind of a bodhisattva are ethical vows, they are not actual bodhisattva vows, whereas the other vows share a basis with the bodhisattva vows.



THE ETHICS OF GATHERING VIRTUOUS QUALITIES


The ethics of gathering virtuous qualities is to observe virtues such as the six perfections and to generate those that have not yet arisen in one’s own mind, to not degenerate those that have arisen, and to increase them more and more.


THE ETHICS OF BRINGING ABOUT THE
WELFARE OF SENTIENT BEINGS


The ethics of bringing about the welfare of sentient beings is to accomplish appropriately the welfare of sentient beings in this and future lives through ethics free of misdeeds.


HOW TO GENERATE ETHICS IN ONE’S MIND


Pure ethics depend on practicing what should be engaged in and avoided according to the formulated rules of the Buddha. Furthermore, they follow the strong and firm wish to guard one’s ethics. For them to arise, you must meditate for a long time on the faults of not guarding them and the benefits of guarding them. This was explained above in the context of persons of medium capacity.

The Compendium of the Perfections (2.48) also says:

You cannot attain your own welfare with degenerate ethics,
so where would you get the power for the welfare of others?
Therefore it’s wrong for those who make good effort
for others’ welfare to loosen their respect for ethics.


And (2.60-61):

As for these ethics, the path of special attainment, [162]
they make one equal to the naturally compassionate.
They are of the excellent nature of pure wisdom;
free from errors, they’re called “the best of ornaments”.

They are a salve not at odds with ordination,
a pleasant fragrance that permeates all three realms.
Those who have ethics will be nobles among humans
even if they look the same on the outside.


This means that in reliance upon ethics, your mindstream improves more and more, you become similar in training to the great beings who are naturally compassionate, and you attain the pure wisdom that has abandoned all seeds of faulty conduct. Although other ornaments do not beautify the very young or very old, the ornament of ethics is the supreme ornament for whoever possesses it, whether young, old, or in between, since it pleases everyone. Although other fine fragrances are one-sided, only spreading in the direction of the wind, the scent of ethics’ fame spreads in all directions. Although the ordained are prohibited from using ointments such as sandalwood, which cool the torment of heat, the ointment that protects from the torment of the heat of the afflictions is suitable and not prohibited from them. Even though the same in possessing the signs of ordination, those who possess the jewel of ethics are more outstanding than anyone else.


Again from the same text (2.62-64):

Without expressing a word, without much effort,
resources and services needed for practice gather.
The whole world bows low without intimidation;
power and wealth are gained without effort and work.

All beings, including the ones he never knew,
bow to a being endowed with ethical discipline,
even if his lineage may be unworthy of mention
and even if he did not help or benefit them personally.

Even the dust made auspicious by his feet
is raised to the head for its sanctity. Gods and humans
prostrate so it touches their heads and carry it
everywhere.


Thus one should think about the benefits as expressed here. Although there are three kinds of ethics in the beginning it is important for bodhisattvas to have the ethics of restraint, which is to practice what to engage in and avoid according to the formulated pratimoska rules of what is common with them. If this is guarded, the others will also be guarded; [163] if it is not guarded, the others will not be guarded either. Therefore the Compendium of Ascertainments says that if the ethics of the bodhisattva vows degenerate, all the vows degenerate. Whoever thinks that the pratimoska vows are for sravakas and rejects their formulated rules of engagement and avoidance, saying, “I must train in the other bodhisattva trainings,” has thus not grasped the essential point of the training in bodhisattva ethics, for it is taught many times that the ethics of restraint is the basis and domain of the two subsequent sets of vows.

The main ethic of restraint is to abandon the natural misdeeds. The synthesized essential points of the great faults of the natural misdeeds are that one should abandon the ten nonvirtues. Therefore you should repeatedly generate the mind of restraint that is not even tempted toward them. The Compendium of the Perfections (2.8-9) says:

The path to the bliss of high birth and liberation
is to not violate these ten paths of action.
Abiding in them, you will have as a special effect
the intention to benefit sentient beings.

“Completely restraining one’s speech, body, and mind,
in summary, is ethics,” said the Victor.
This is the basis comprising all ethical conduct,
without exception, so thoroughly train in it.


In brief, the practice of ethics is to take this [restraint from the ten nonvirtues] as the basis and repeatedly train in the mind of restrain that trains in the precepts of whatever ethics one has undertaken.

Ethics are made to possess the six perfections like this: generosity is to abide in ethics oneself and establish others in them, and the remaining perfections are as above [in the presentation of generosity].




PATIENCE



HOW TO TRAIN IN PATIENCE


This has three points: the nature of patience, its subdivisions, and how to generate patience in one’s mindstream.


THE NATURE OF PATIENCE


The nature of patience is the mind abiding at ease without being overwhelmed by harm and suffering, as well as a very staunch belief in the Dharma. Its opposites are hatred, disheartenment, lack of belief, and dislike. The completion of the perfection of patience is just to fully cultivate the mind that ceases one’s anger and so forth; it does not depend on getting rid of unruly sentient beings.


ITS SUBDIVISIONS


There is the patience of disregarding harm done by others, [164] the patience of accepting the suffering that arises in one’s own mindstream, and the patience of a mind certain about the Dharma.



HOW TO GENERATE PATIENCE IN ONE’S MINDSTREAM


It is necessary to meditate on the benefits of patience and the faults of impatience. Think about how later on you will have few enemies, you will not be separated from dear ones, you will experience much happiness and mental ease, you will die without regret, and you will be reborn among the gods after this body has perished. The Compendium of the Perfections (3.3-5) says:

For those with a mind that neglects the welfare of others
it was taught that “the best of ways is patience”.
Patience protects that which is good and excellent
in the world from the faults of anger.

It is the best of ornaments for the strong,
the peak of power for those embracing austerities,
a torrent of water for grassland fires of malice.
All harm is removed by patience in this life and others.

The arrows of words of unruly beings are wrecked
against the armor of patience of excellent beings.
Thereby they turn into excellent flowers of praise
and become attractive garlands of fame.


And (3.8):

Patience is also the workshop where bodies are made
with beautiful qualities and adorned with the signs [of
a buddha].

Meditate on the benefits as taught here until you reach a strong and stable certainty about them.

Second, Entering the Bodhisattva Way (6.1) says:

An instant of anger destroys everything
that has been gathered in a thousand eons –
all those good deeds, whatever they are,
like generosity and honoring sugatas.

This appears to have been composed in accordance with Aryasura’s Compendium of the Perfections. The Play of Manjushri Sutra (Manjusrivikriditasutra) says that is destroys the virtue accumulated over a hundred aeons.

Some explain that the object of that anger must be a bodhisattva, whereas others assert that it is any object in general. The former accords with Entering the Middle Way (3.6):

Therefore, through anger toward a child of the victors,
the virtue from giving and ethics one has amassed
over a hundred eons is crushed in an instant. [165]

As regards the person in whom anger arises, even bodhisattvas destroy their roots of virtue if they get angry, so needless to mention this is the case for one is not a bodhisattva and who gets angry at a bodhisattva. The Entering the Middle Way Autocommentary says that whether or not it is certain that the object is a bodhisattva and whether or not the reason for the anger, seeing faults, is true, the destruction of virtue is similar to how it was explained above. In general, anger does not need to be directed at a bodhisattva in order for it to destroy roots of virtue. A passage quoted from the Sarvastivadin scriptures in the Compendium of Trainings says:

If a fully ordained monk prostrates with extended
limbs and a clear mind to a stupa of hair and nail
relics, he will come to enjoy as many thousands
of universal monarch kingdoms as there are particles
of dust that cover the ground all the way
down to the golden foundation.

And:

Even those roots of virtue will be destroyed if
he injures or disparages one of pure conduct.
Therefore, if one should abandon even anger at a
charred log, how much more so at a body endowed
with consciousness!


Some scholars say that “destruction of roots of virtue” means that the potential of earlier virtue to quickly bring about its effect is destroyed, and the emergence of its effect is delayed, so that the effects of hatred and so forth emerge first. Their respective effects do emerge, however, if they eventually meet with suitable conditions, for no mundane path whatsoever can eliminate the seeds that are to be eliminated, so it is impossible for seeds to be eliminated by the mental afflictions.

This is not a reliable reason. Even though ordinary beings purifying nonvirtues by means of the four opponent powers do not eliminate their seeds, it is impossible for the fully ripened effects to emerge even if the conditions are met later on. Once the peak and forbearance levels of the path of preparation have been attained, although wrong views and the seeds of nonvirtues that become the causes of lower rebirths have not been abandoned, wrong views and rebirths in the lower rebirths are impossible even if these seeds meet with their conditions.

Vasubandu states in the Treasury of Abidharma Autocommentary, “As for the karma that produces cyclic existence, some is heavy. [166] Accordingly, either a virtuous or a nonvirtuous karma, by ripening sooner, can temporarily block the occasion for another karma to ripen. However, it cannot be posited nor has it been taught that is can destroy virtuous or nonvirtuous karma. “Destruction of roots of virtue does not mean the mere temporary postponement of its ripening. Otherwise it would have been necessary to teach that all strong nonvirtues destroy the roots of virtue. Therefore, with respect to this, as Master Bhaviveka has said [in his Blaze of Reasoning] and as was explained above, neither nonvirtues that have been purified by the four powers nor roots of virtue that have been destroyed by wrong views or harmful intent can bring about their effects even if later on they meet with the conditions, just as a seed that has been damaged cannot product a sprout even though the conditions are met.

Moreover, even though accumulated bad actions are cleared away by purifying them with the four powers as described above, this does not contradict the fact that they delay the arising of the higher paths. This, in some people, the effects of giving gifts and guarding ethics, such as the arising of excellent wealth and bodies, are destroyed. However, owing to the effect corresponding to the cause, familiarization with giving and the mind of abandonment, the roots of virtue of generosity and ethics arise again easily and cannot be destroyed. In others the arising of the effect corresponding to the cause as a continuum of similar type – inner ethics and so forth – is destroyed, but the arising of an excellent body, wealth, and so forth is not destroyed. Again others, as described above, will have some realizations of the path that enable them to completely traverse it within one eon unless anger towards a bodhisattva who has obtained his prophecy arises in their minds. If one thought of anger arises, their traversal of the path within one eon will be delayed although the path that exists in their mindstream is not relinquished. In brief, I think that when it comes to purifying nonvirtue, not all its efficacy is necessarily purified: isn’t it likewise the case that when it comes to the destruction of virtue, not all of its efficacy is necessarily destroyed?

Nonetheless this is an important point, and since it seems necessary to analyze it in reliance upon the Buddha’s [167] unique scriptures and the reasonings based on them, you should look at the Buddha’s excellent teachings and analyze.

Thus the invisible faults of anger are that it propels very unpleasant fully ripened effects and prevents the emergence of other very pleasant fully ripened effects. The evident faults of anger are taught in Entering the Bodhisattva Way: you do not experience peace of mind and certainty, previous joy and happiness are ruined and not achieved later on, sleep does not come, and the mind does not remain at ease. If your hatred is strong, even those you nurtured with kindness forget about your kindness and kill you, even friends and relatives get irritated and abandon you, even those you gather through generosity do not stay, and so forth. Entering the Bodhisattva Way (6.2) says:

There’s no bad action equal to hatred;
there’s no austerity equal to patience.
Therefore patience should be practiced
earnestly and in various ways.

Thus you should contemplate the benefits and faults and make an effort to develop patience in many ways.

It should be understood from the Compendium of Trainings that hatred is not only faulty conduct that accumulates both major fully ripened effects and the destruction of roots of virtue. There are also holding wrong views that deny reality, abandoning the hold Dharma, despising and being arrogant toward beings such as bodhisattvas and gurus, and so forth.



HOW TO CULTIVATE THE PATIENCE THAT IS
UNCONCERNED WITH RESPECT TO HARM


If you investigate whether someone who harmed you was free not to harm you, you will find that he [she] did not harm you while in control; he [she] generated the desire to harm you out of causes and conditions such as the seeds of mental afflictions from previous habituation and improper attention. Also owing to them, he [she] engaged in activities that inflicted harm and thereby produced suffering in others, for under the power of another – the mental afflictions – he [she] had become as is their slave.

Anger is also unreasonable when someone harms you under the influence of something else without control. For instance, someone possessed by an evil spirit [negative energy connection (debt)] might under its power wish to harm you while you are trying to help him [her] get rid of it. Were he [she] to strike you, [168] you would not get even the slightest bit angry at him [her], and instead you would think, “He [she] is acting like this now because the evil spirit [negative energy connection (debt)] has robbed him [her] of his [her]freedom”. You would put effort into doing whatever you could to free him [her] from the evil spirit [negative energy connection (debt)]. A bodhisattva should also act like that. Four Hundred Stanzas (5.9) says:

Just as a doctor is not disturbed
by one who is gripped by a spirit and angry,
the Sage beholds the mental afflictions
and not the person afflicted by them.

Master Candrakirti also says [in his commentary]:

“This is not fault of sentient being;
it is a fault of the mental afflictions”.
The wise who have analyzed this in detail
are not disturbed by sentient beings.


Moreover, the experience of suffering is produced by the one who harms you, is the experience of the effect of a negative actions accumulated by you yourself in the past, and the action is thereby exhausted. If you cultivate patience toward it, you will not newly accumulate causes for experiencing suffering later on, whereas if you get angry, you will have to experience even greater suffering. It is therefore quite appropriate to bear minor suffering in order to turn away greater suffering, like when one is patient with bloodletting, burning, and so forth as methods for curing a serious illness.


HOW TO CULTIVATE THE PATIENCE
THAT ACCEPTS SUFFERING


If the suffering that has arisen is curable, aversion is unnecessary. If it cannot be cured, again, aversion to it is useless because it is without benefit and is even a fault. This is because even tiny suffering become extremely hard to hear if you are very intolerant, whereas even great suffering is bearable if your intolerance is subdued. The way to mentally accept suffering is to repeatedly train the mind, “If there were no such suffering, the desire to renounce cyclic existence would not arise. Therefore it has the excellent quality of exhorting my mind to liberation. It has the excellent quality of eliminating my arrogance since, when I am beset with suffering, my conceited superiority is destroyed. It has the excellent quality of making me shun bad actions because when I experience an intense feeling of suffering, since it arises from nonvirtue, I must turn away from its cause if I do not want this effect. It has the excellent quality of making me delight in accomplishing virtue, since owing to the torment of suffering, I wish for happiness, and to get that I must accomplish virtue. [169] And having understood that compassion is generated for the beings of cyclic existence, I think, ‘In proportion to my own experience others also suffer,’ and so this suffering fulfils my wishes”.

Furthermore Entering the Bodhisattvas Way (6.14) says:

Nothing does not get easier
as you get used to it.
Therefore bear even major harm
by first getting used to minor harm.


Thus your strength to accept suffering will grow if you don the armor of the intention to accept suffering and expose yourself to suffering in small steps.

The way to cultivate the patience that is dedication to a mind of certainty regarding the Dharma is to train in dedication to being unbiased regarding the following: the objects of clear faith, the Three Jewels; the objects to be actualized, the two selflessnesses; the object of desire, the great power of the buddhas and bodhisattvas; the objects to be adopted and discarded, the causes that are excellent conduct and faulty conduct as well as their effects; the object of meditation, enlightenment, which is the aim to be achieved; the method for attaining that, the path of the bodhisattva trainings; the objects of study and contemplation, the holy Dharma of the twelve types of scripture; and so forth.





JOYOUS EFFORT



HOW TO TRAIN IN JOYOUS EFFORT



This as three points: the nature of joyous effort, its subdivisions, and how to generate it in one’s mindstream.



THE NATURE OF JOYOUS EFFORT


Bodhisattva Levels explains joyous effort as a mind that is truly delighted to gather virtue and work for the welfare of sentient beings, as well as the actions of body, speech and mind motivated by such a mind.



ITS SUBDIVISIONS


Among the three, the first is armor-like joyous effort. When bodhisattvas undertake joyous effort, they don the armor of mental delight as a preliminary attitude before applying themselves to something. That is, even if to attain Buddhahood to eliminate the suffering of one single being, they must abide exclusively in the hells for a hundred thousand times ten million rounds of three immeasurable eons, they delight in it. Also with respect to their joyous effort on attaining complete enlightenment, they wear the armor of the attitude “If I will not give up engaging in joyous effort for that length of time, what need is there to mention that I will not give it up if the duration and suffering are less?” The joyous effort of gathering virtuous phenomena is to apply oneself to them for the sake of accomplishing the six perfections. The joyous effort of working for the welfare of sentient beings is similar to the above. [170]  



HOW TO GENERATE IT IN ONE’S MINDSTREAM


The benefits of undertaking joyous effort are as described in Ornament for the Mahayana Sutras (16.65-66):

Joyous effort is best among virtue’s accumulations.
By relying on it, one attains the rest.
Through joyous effort, one immediately gains
the best source of happiness, including mundane and
transcendental attainments.

Through joyous effort, one gains the worldly wealth
one desires.
Through joyous effort, one becomes totally pure.
Through joyous effort, one is liberate, passing beyond
the transitory collection.
Through joyous effort, one wakes to supreme enlightenment.

The Compendium of the Perfections (4.2) also says:
There is nothing that can’t be attained, that can’t be
accomplished,
for those who have great joyous effort and do not
dismay.


And (4.41-42)

All nonhumans like to benefit him.
He achieves all manners of concentration.

He passes days and nights experiencing results.
Through masses of excellent qualities, he won’t
decline.
Through aims more noble than concerns of humans,
he will flourish like an utpala flower.


The faults of not undertaking joyous effort are described in the Questions of Sagaramati Sutra:


For the lazy, enlightenment is in all ways very far.
In the lazy, generosity and so forth up to wisdom
do not exist. For the lazy, the welfare of others
does not exist.


The Application of Mindfulness Sutra also says:

The one foundation of mental afflictions
is laziness, no matter in whom.
He who has only laziness
does not have any Dharma at all.


You should think like this.
There are two adverse conditions for joyous effort: seeing that one is able to accomplish virtuous Dharma but not engaging in it, and the discouragement that thinks, “How could I ever accomplish anything like that?”


SEEING THAT ONE IS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH
VIRTUOUS DHARMA BUT NOT ENGAGING IN IT



This has two points: one postpones things thinking “There is still time,” or else one is overcome by attachment to bad activities. The antidote to the first is to meditate on these three thoughts: this body that you have obtained will quickly disintegrate, after death [171] you will fall into the lower rebirths, and it will be difficult to find such a good life once again. This was already taught above. The antidotes to attachment to bad activities are that you stop them by seeing that the holy Dharma is the cause for the arising of boundless joy in this and future lives, by seeing that meaningless idle chatter and the distractions of excitement and so forth degenerate the great aim in this life, and by seeing that it is the source that generates manifold suffering in future lives.



THE DISCOURAGEMENT THAT THINKS, “HOW COULD
I EVER ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING LIKE THAT?”



This discouragement is also of three types. There is the discouragement that thinks, “Since the objects to be attained, the excellent qualities of a buddha, are limitless, I cannot attain them”. There is the discouragement that thinks, “Since the method, giving away my arms, legs, and the like, is immensely difficult, I cannot accomplish it”. And there is the discouragement that thinks, “Since it is necessary to return to this place, taking infinite rebirths in cyclic existence, during that time I will be harmed by the sufferings of cyclic existence”.

There are also three antidotes. The antidote to the to the first is the thought “Even the buddhas did not already attain high paths right from the start. Rather, they were like me and became buddhas by going on to increasingly higher paths. Since the Blessed One also said that even those who are greatly inferior to me will attain Buddhahood, why should I not attain it too unless I fail to put in joyous effort?”

The antidote to the second is to think, “As long as the perception arises that it is difficult to give away my body and so forth, I will not give it away. However, when the time to give it away arrives, it will not be difficult but will be like giving away vegetables”.

The antidote to the third is to stop discouragement, thinking, “Because a bodhisattva abandons bad actions, their effects, suffering feelings, do not arise. Owing to his stable realization that cyclic existence lacks inherent existence, like an illusion, there is no suffering in his mind. If he thrives with physical and mental bliss even while remaining in cyclic existence, despair is pointless”.

Relying on favorable conditions for joyous effort has four types. The power of aspiration is to meditate on causes and effects so as to generate the aspiration to discard and adopt. The power of fortitude is to not pursue anything impulsively without first investigating it but, having investigated it, to engage in it until you complete it. The power of joy makes your makes your undertaking of joyous effort uninterrupted and insatiable, like a child engaged in a game. The power of suspension is to rest when your body and your mind are worn out owing to your joyous effort. [172] As soon as you have recovered, you start again.

In this way, in reliance upon stopping adverse conditions and relying on favorable conditions, undertake joyous effort until your body and mind become light like a piece of cotton carried by the wind.

When you train in joyous effort, do so in such a way that possesses the six perfections. The generosity of joyous effort is to abide in joyous effort yourself and to establish others in it. The remaining are as above.











(to be continued…)