General Series Editor, John F. Avedon
Editor, Donald S. Lopez, Jr
CHAPTER 9 THE BODHISATTVA IDEAL
CHAPTER 10 THE BODHISATTVA DEEDS
With deep gratitude, I now prostrate my appreciation to:
Nguyễn Thúy Phượng Nguyệt Tuệ Huy
Buddhism is a religion of the truth. Buddha is a great healer.
The three Collections of the Buddhist Canon consists of 84,000 wonderful Dharma Paths, which are 84,000 miraculous medications to be used to cure 84,000 kinds of “illness caused by delusions” of sentient beings. It therefore, brings about harmony and happiness to those who BELIEVE IN and who APPLY that endless source of awakened and liberated Dharma lights during the course of their ordinary lives.
“The Way to Freedom” is one of the Dalai Lama’s great teaching volumes which could bring peace to life. People from all walks of life, all around the world are currently welcoming it with full admiration and pleasure.
This volume consists of ten chapters. For instance, in chapter IV- “THE DEATH,” he taught:
Upon mentioning “THE DEATH,” he taught that people should diligently fulfill the virtuous deeds in this life so he or she could rely on these as a good fruition for many future lives.
Upon taking a vow to follow the Bodhisattva’s path, a Buddhist disciple should learn how to forget his “SELF”- so that he can serve the True Buddhist Law and serve all beings…: a Buddhist disciple should know to suffer before his fellow being suffer and enjoy after the joy of others.
Examining carefully every single thought and single word of the supreme monk’s collection- The Way to Freedom- we see each thought and each word is overflowing with LOVE for human beings and for all beings. It is just like a bunch of beautiful lotus flowers, blooming and exhaling their fragrance to refresh all the painful spirits and it is just like sunshine, causing all dark clouds of life to disappear.
Today, Nguyễn Thúy Phượng- Nguyệt Tuệ Huy is devoting herself to translating the above mentioned textbook from English to Vietnamese; this is a genuine contribution of her share to the “Propagating the Dharma for the sake of others’ mission.” I praise her deeds and highly recommend this to all readers.
Written at Giác Minh Pagoda, Saigon
Springtime of 2543-1999
Thích Đức Nhuận
To practice Buddhism is to wage a struggle between the negative and positive forces in your mind. The meditator seeks to undermine the negative and develop and increase the positive. The teachings in this book are meant to transform the mind; to read or listen to a single passage can bring great benefit.
There are no physical markers by which to measure progress in the struggle between the positive and negative forces in consciousness. Changes begin when you first identify and recognize your delusions, such as anger and jealousy. One then needs to know the antidotes to delusion, and that knowledge is gained by listening to the teachings. There is no simple way to remove delusions. They cannot be extracted surgically. They have to be recognized, and then, through the practice of these teachings, they can be gradually reduced and then completely eliminated.
The more one comes to understand the Dharma, or Buddhist teachings, the weaker will be the grip of pride, hatred, greed, and other negative emotions that cause so much suffering. Applying this understanding in daily life over a period of months and years will gradually transform the mind, because, despite the fact that it often seems otherwise, the mind is subject to change. If you can compare your state of mind now to your state of mind now to your state of mind after you have read this book, you may notice some improvement. If so, these teachings will have served their purpose.
In the present eon, the Buddha appeared over 2500 years ago in the form of Shakyamuni, the sage of the Shakya clan. He took ordination as a monk and engaged in arduous yogic practices. Seated in meditation under a tree in a place called Bodh Gaya in northern India, he achieved complete enlightenment. Subsequently, he gave myriad teachings designed to suit our diverse interests and dispositions. Some he taught how to gain a better rebirth and others how to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The extensive and profound scriptures containing those teachings, called sutras, outline the methods and means to bring happiness to all beings. Derived from the Buddha’s experience and logically sound, these teachings can be practices and tested by anyone.
In Tibet, the Buddhist teachings were compiled to reveal the stages of the entire path to enlightenment in a single book. In the past, many people have been able to achieve the state of complete enlightenment by replying on these same instructions; they are suited to anyone with an untamed mind. Though we realize the harm caused by our delusions, such as the damage done to ourselves and others when we act out of anger, we still fall under their influence. Thus an untamed mind throws us recklessly into the abyss instead of stopping when it sees the edge.
We have been propelled into this cycle of suffering by our delusions and the actions they provoke, which are known as karma. Because of the cause-and-effect relation between our actions and our experience, we spend our lives enduring all sorts of ups and downs, in trouble and confusion. To be totally free from the weight of past deeds and from the thralldom of desire, hatred, and ignorance is called liberation, or nirvana. When we are able to eliminate delusions and karma by realizing the natural purity of the mind, total peace follows and we gain complete freedom from the cycle of suffering.
If we can do good deeds, such as saving the lives of animals under threat of death, we can accumulate the conditions necessary for gaining rebirth as a human being. If we undertake the serious practice of the Dharma, we will be able to continue our spiritual progress in our lives to come. But this life is precious and unpredictable, and it is important to engage in practice while we have the opportunity. We never know how long that opportunity will last.
What we do now, according to the law of karma, the principle of cause and effect, has consequences for the future. Our future is determined by our present state of mind, but our present state of mind is overrun by delusions. We should aspire to achieve enlightenment. If that is not possible, we should seek to gain freedom from rebirth. If that is not possible, we should at least plant the seeds for a favorable rebirth in the next life, without falling into lower realms of existence. At this auspicious juncture, when we are free of obstacles to hearing and practicing the Dharma, we must not let this rare opportunity pass.
However, freeing ourselves from suffering is only part of the quest. Just as you do not want even the slightest suffering and want only happiness, so also does everyone else. All beings are equal in the sense that all have a natural tendency to wish for happiness and freedom from suffering. Knowing this and still working only for our own liberation makes the accomplishment a small one. But if our underlying motivation is to be able to help others, we can attain the omniscient state and with it the capacity to benefit every living being. We can become Buddhas ourselves.
If our present state of mind is poor and our capacity limited, how can we fulfill the wishes of others? The mere wish to help them is not enough. First we much achieve the ability to perceive the diverse aspirations of others. In order for our perception to be clear, we much eliminate all the faults that prevent us from seeing things as they are. The obstacles to omniscience are the imprints left by such delusions as desire, anger, pride, and ignorance. Even after delusions have been eliminated the mind retains their imprints. But because the true nature of the mind is clear, pure, and knowing, it is possible to purify the mind thoroughly and so attain that clarity of awareness known as omniscience.
The principle motive impelling the Buddha to achieve all his great qualities of body, speech, and mind was compassion. The essence of our practice too should be the wish to help others. Such an altruistic wish is naturally present within our hearts in the acknowledgment that others are just like us in wishing to be happy and to avoid suffering. It is like a seed, which we can protect and help to grow through practice.All the teachings of the Buddha essentially to try to develop this kind heart and altruistic mind. The Buddha’s path is founded on compassion, the wish that others be free from suffering. This leads us to the understanding that the welfare of others is ultimately more important than our own, for without others, we would have no spiritual practice, no opportunity for enlightenment. I do not claim to have great knowledge or high realization, but remembering the kindness of my teachers, who gave these instructions to me, and with concern for the welfare of all beings, I offer these teachings to you.
 Original English Version
 A BIG DEATH means a person should let all the evil and wrongful habits as Greed,Hatred,Ignorance die…so that he or she can be reborn as a new person:a person with perfect virtue,who leads a life as wholesome as a lotus which has risen from the dirty mud,yet is has stayed clean.That life is a life filled with BUĐHA MIND.
Typing: Kim Thu & Kim Chi
Update: Vinh Thai
Cập nhật: 9-2007