Bodhi-chitta PDF Print E-mail

It is not oneself alone but all sentient beings that are afflicted by sufferings. We have to think not only of our own welfare but of the welfare of all. Our thoughts and actions should be altruistic. Not to speak of beings of a higher plane, even the lowest creature experiences and therefore shuns suffering and misery. As Arya deva, a Madhyamika philosopher has said:

Mental suffering plagues the high,
Physical suffering plagues the low.
Mental and physical suffering,
Eternally consumes this world.

Living beings desire peace and happiness and want to avoid sufferings. And yet they are helpless as they do not know how to seek happiness and discard sufferings. In the context of this universal helplessness. One has to work hard to dissociate beings from what causes them sorrow, and to establish them in the realm of happiness and comfort. Of course, to discard sufferings and acquire happiness, every being has to make the effort himself to obliterate the cause of his suffering, and to determine the cause of his happiness. Apart from this, there is no other way. As the Exalted One has said:

"Sins cannot be washed even by all the Buddhas. The hand cannot erase the sufferings of living beings. Knowledge cannot be transferred bodily from one to another. The infallible Truth of the holy Dharma can alone eradicate sufferings."

Sufferings cannot be obliterated by a touch of the hand in the way odour is washed off by water, and the pain is removed by picking out the thorn. Nor is it possible for the Blessed one to transfer His intellectual knowledge physically to another being. Then, what is the way out? Buddha says: "Aided by the knowledge that Nothing is, you will cross the Flood." Beings can be liberated from sorrow by showing them the things that are to be practiced and the things that are to be relinquished. The being who can show the perfect path, and can suit his teaching to the particular mentality, aptitude and physical health of the individual is the Buddha alone. So, it necessarily follows that the attainment of Buddhahood is the inevitable pre-condition for the salvation of all living beings. A man stricken with thirst quenches his thirst by drinking water, but must have a vessel to drink with. So also, the main purpose of acquiring the status of Buddhahood is to strive to make all sentient beings free themselves from sufferings and their causes. But to do this one must first realize the status of Buddhahood. A mind with such a thought-motive, set on attaining enlightenment, is known as Bodhi-chitta.

By H. H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet