Bodhi and contentment.

contentment IMG_0104

This is the penultimate article on Bodhi. The next topic will be the beliefs of the Cathars, a medieval Christian sect in Europe, and the similarities with Buddhist beliefs.

Bodhi mind, or generating Bodhicitta, is all about creating the aspiration for enlightenment. In other words, the intention to free oneself from all cravings and negative emotions, from all suffering. The motivation to become liberated is to be able to take all sentient beings with you to enlightenment, to the other shore of Nirvana. This involves not only deepening personal meditation and compassion, but also sharing that aspiration with others. It is said in the Nirvana sutra that if you keep such a thing to yourself it will corrode inside you and cause damage. Sharing such a glorious aspiration is something that can bring us closer to touching the human community at large, to realize the true purpose of enlightenment and, ultimately, faith.

A large part of generating Bodhicitta is to be content with life as it is and with you as you are. Of course, when you climb on to a spiritual path, you are hoping for change because you have become fixed in your views and are suffering as a result. and of course change is inevitable in the Dharma. However, most of the changes will happen in the mass of the iceberg below the surface of your conscious mind, in your unconscious mind. They will likely be subtle changes which you may not notice at first. The way to deal with this I have found is through trust, putting my trust in the qualified spiritual guides. After all, they know best what we should do to eliminate all cravings and suffering.

So, if we observe the moral laws, or Buddhist precepts as they are called, and then trust in the Buddhas and deities to guide us, we can be truly content. Every day I feel so reassured that my spiritual progress is inevitable and my moral conduct flawless, as long as I follow these simple guidelines.  Nowadays, life led by human desires is to me chaos: whereas leading a Buddha centred life is well-ordered and heavenly. I can no longer imagine making huge decisions about the way I live my life from my own limited and self-centred view of the world. It seems so pointless and wrought with the suffering of being trapped inside the prison of my mind.

In terms of material objects, I am certain that if I live altruistically, looking after others before myself, then the universe and the Buddhas will take care of my needs. But I have everything I need in my life nowadays, and I am working steadily towards nothing else except emptiness and enlightenment. Contentment is such a relaxed and serene state to experience. I recommend it. The positive views of plenty and abundance are so much more exciting than the negative views of scarcity and lack.

Chunda

In the Buddha’s final moments in human life as he reclined on his deathbed no longer able to deal with gravity, masses of devotees assembled to make their last offerings. The higher castes and enlightened offered opulent gifts, sacks of gold and herds of goats, the more lowly homemade food and drinks, but the Buddha refused to accept everything. Then a young blacksmith called Chunda appeared with his 15 friends. They offered a simple meal to the Buddha, and the Buddha accepted saying that Chunda had brought so many friends to meet the Buddha out of true Bodhicitta, the desire to share enlightenment with others. Chunda was so contented to be exactly who he was despite his lowly status compared with the majority of the congregation. So he could make sincere offerings of both his food and his friends. He had the quiet confidence that comes with contentment and acceptance.

We can all be Chunda if we put aside our craving and discontent.

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