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Is the practice of a Bodhisattva
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Generally, when one thinks of knowledge, what comes to mind is worldly knowledge, the sort that enables us to manufacture cars, make computers, or cure sickness. Here the text speaks of a different kind of knowledge, superior knowledge that transcends the world. Superior knowledge recognizes the selflessness of the individual and of phenomena, and it is united with skillful means-loving kindness and compassion. For knowledge to be superior, it must transcend conceptualizing the three spheres--that is, of there being someone performing an action, an action itself, and an object of the action. If we have perfected the first five paramitas, but lack nonconceptual wisdom united with bodhichitta, it will be impossible to attain enlightenment. Applying this sixth paramita to Maitreya's four qualities:
One possesses nonconceptual primordial wisdom.
One can perfectly fulfill all wishes,
And one ripens sentient beings along the three vehicles
If we perfect superior knowledge, we realize the true nature of mind itself. Milarepa said, "There is no other superior knowledge than to realize the true nature." In other words, if you realize the true nature, then you have realized the paramita of superior knowledge.
If you have not analyzed your own confusion,
Here is an episode in Milarepa's life that is pertinent: Yet another university geshe (this one named Dalo) tried to discredit Milarepa by challenging him to a public debate. When Dalo failed to defeat the Jetsun, the scholar became so enraged that he took a handful of dirt and flung it in Milarepa's face. Seeing this affront, his disciple Rechungpa lost his temper. "The Dharma must be properly maintained. Such behavior isn't Dharmic. I must defend teacher, my guru," Rechungpa rashly concluded. He picked up a stick and was about to thrash Dalo when Milarepa called out, "Wait a minute! Calm down and meditate on patience!" And then he sang this song:
Rechungpa, please practice patience. Otherwise you will violate the Dharma
This story shows how important it is to continuously analyze your body, speech, and mind for signs of confusion. And having analyzed your delusion, you must give it up. This is the true practice of a Bodhisattva. In their delusion, Dalo and Rechungpa failed to analyze their behavior or see that they were at fault. Perhaps most practitioners who act against the Dharma as a result of anger do so because they cannot recognize or analyze their behavior. Under the sway of delusion, they violate the Teachings.
When the debate between Dalo and Rechungpa took place, all the inhabitants of the valley, along with the sponsors who had been invited for a great feast and puja, witnessed the scene. They witnessed Dalo become enraged, Rechungpa lose his temper, and Milarepa remain peaceful, even smiling, when Dalo threw dirt in his face. So their faith and trust in Milarepa grew, and their respect for Dalo and Rechungpa declined.
Gampopa was Milarepa's sun disciple and Rechungpa, as foretold by the yidam Dorje Phago (Vajrayogini), was his moon disciple. . Yet even such a close disciple as Rechungpa could not control his anger. In the same way, when we get angry we should be very careful. Anger will of course arise, but when it does we have to be very careful about how we view and handle it.
Another story about the consequences of anger concerns a main disciple of Patrul Rinpoche, Nyoksho Longtok. One day, Nyoksho Longtok and Patrul Rinpoche set out on a journey. They had not proceeded very far when thieves attacked them and seized everything they had brought with them. Being a person of great physical strength, Nyoksho Longtok began to assault the men with his walking stick. Patrul Rinpoche cried, "Stop! Stop! Meditate on patience, meditate on patience!" In his anger, the disciple turned a deaf ear to his guru's entreaties.
Again Patrul Rinpoche called out, "Be patient, meditate on patience!" But Nyoksho Longtok continued to flail the robbers as hard as he could. So overpowered was he by rage that he had thoroughly beaten and routed the thieves before even noticing that Patrul Rinpoche had gone away and left him behind.
When he came to his senses, he began searching for his master. After a long time, the disciple found Patrul Rinpoche, who refused to see him. When Nyoksho Longtok asked why, Rinpoche replied, "I told you to meditate on patience, but you didn't listen, you were too angry." And for many months afterwards, Nyoksho Longtok was not allowed to see Patrul Rinpoche because in the grip of delusion he had not attended to the words of his teacher. He had not been able to analyze his delusion and see through it. The same can happen to any of us if we are not careful and do not analyze our anger when it arises.
When the robbers stole Patrul Rinpoche's and Nyoksyho Longtok's possessions, Rinpoche intended that he and his student mentally dedicate all their goods to the thieves and pray that the stolen items might benefit them and all sentient beings. The incident would then have been an opportunity to practice the paramitas of generosity and patience. Blinded by delusion, Nyoksho Longtok could not listen to his teacher and therefore lost this opportunity.
One Mahayana prayer for the perfection of patience says, " I pray that in this and all my lifetimes I will be able to make no mistakes arising from anger, but instead be patient."
You speak of the faults of other Bodhisattvas,
You, yourself, will degenerate.
Therefore, never to mention the faults of those
Who have entered the Mahayana path
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.
One stanza in The Seven Points of Mind Training directs the reader to think that all positive qualities belong to other sentient beings and that all faults are one's own. This is the correct attitude. Generally, most people think just the opposite: someone else is always wrong, while they are always right. This attitude is to be given up. Patrul Rinpoche advises students to acknowledge their own deficiency first; and then, when they recognize it in someone else, to pray that the guru grants blessings to them both. It is always beneficial to see that the perceived fault in yourself is greater than it is in the other. Then you know that person is no different from you.
Desire for gain and honor leads to argument,
And activities of listening, reflecting and meditating decline.
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