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Dec 24
Dharma Teachings, Sakyong and Family
Six Ways to Lasting Happiness

By Sakyong Mipham

Bodhichitta has many translations: “mind of enlightenment,” “seed of enlightenment,” “awakened heart,” “open heart.” It is a venerable word and a venerable practice that has been done for thousands of years. When we think of bodhichitta, we have a hard time putting a shape or form to it because compassion and loving-kindness are so open and tender. On the other hand, we may feel that since we have love and compassion inherently, they will naturally emerge. It’s true that from a practitioner’s point of view, that is the inspiration. Nevertheless, we must practice uncovering bodhichitta so that that it begins to take root in our life.

There are many ways to practice aspiration bodhichitta. When we begin contemplative practice, we emphasize aspiration, mönpa: preparing ourselves, thinking about going, and planting the seed. To do bodhichitta practice, we use prajna, meaning “knowledge,” as a way of thinking about it or contemplating it; and we use the meditation practices we do on the cushion. We use the shamatha technique of resting the mind, and we bring up a particular thought or intention, and we use vipashyana to examine what it means.

The first stage of generating bodhichitta is to develop the attitude of equanimity. Equanimity is the ground on which the six instructions are all based. The point of cultivating equanimity is to open up our view. We have fixed ideas of friends and enemies, and based on that view, we see the world through lenses of good and bad: sharks are bad and bunny rabbits are good; democracy is great and communism is bad.

The meaning of equanimity is evenness, not choosing sides, being fair. Equanimity is not a matter of being unaffected by anything, but of letting go of fixed ideas. We want to develop compassion and loving-kindness for everyone and everything. We’re not choosing sides or being judgmental. We’ve leveled the playing field—we are not generating compassion for some and not others. For example, if you have two children who are fighting, you remain calm. You’ve had a greater experience of life and have seen all kinds of trials and tribulations, and you know that they’re arguing about something that’s not really important. You can approach them quite evenly, without having to choose a winner or a loser. You can help them because you have equanimity.

Read the rest of December’s Monthly Teaching on www.Sakyong.com.

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1 response to “ Six Ways to Lasting Happiness ”
  1. Sylvie Marie Kinčlová
    May 11, 2011

    Thank you!

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