Relative Bodhicitta

These teachings were recorded at the Rimé Institute in Belgrave, Australia on April 30, 2015

Hmmm, special topic today. Bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is very unique, special. Because one ways you look at is so simple. Just simple attitude. You could have anybody, anybody can have that attitude. Because just attitude alone, nothing else required. You don’t need knowledge required, you don’t need great wisdom, you don’t need, you know to…anything necessarily. Just simple attitude. Just one simple attitude changes the whole world. Changes your world, the changes environment, changes in future lives, the changes the whole path of enlightenment, everything. If you think very small way, the changes of how you see things and your family, changes as your…how you view your family, your view of your friends, view of the sentient beings, view of the insects and your property and you know, yer, the mosquito biting you and the insects you know the ants running in your kitchen, and you know everything. Everything small basic things just completely changed. How you see, how you cope and how you feel, everything. For this reason, if something big, somebody have wide knowledge and practising huge, something you know….(@ 29.41 uses Tib term). So there’s term call the qualities enlightenment of the 173, ok. Something like that so, those things all changed. You know like whatever you practising is completely changed, no matter the big or small. Everything, you know whatever your position is changed everything.

So even saying there Bodhicitta you could have any sentient being, the like…patimokkha path only, you now like pratimoksha, you know you have the pratimoksha path with you, on you, in you, you need to have received pratimoksha vow. So the pratimoksha precepts only thing receive, you know humans, and yer. Not the animals, not gods, not any other realms, only human, only desire realm, and within the desire realm, only human. But, and the Bodhicitta you could receive anybody and you could have anybody, any sentient being. So that’s why people believe that even Buddha Shakyamuni first had Bodhicitta in hell realm form. And so Bodhicitta can be anywhere, anytime, changes everything. So that is Bodhicitta.


So often people mixed with compassion, love, you know these attitudes, people you know like mix with this attitudes and emotions and feelings, they mix with this Bodhicitta. So people kind of like confusing idea. So our job is make very, very clearly the difference. People mixed everything because like if the Bodhicitta is like the parents and you have ten children and they all look like mummy and daddy, so that’s why people just confused. But you have to know who are the parents, who’s the source. The children can’t be the parents, just think of that. Or you can think of something you know like, something big, house or something and the everything else, the whole house is made from wood, and they are wood but they parts of wood they is not house. You can think that way as well.

So firstly, there’s many categories in different ways, the Bodhicitta. So the first one, probably the most primary division is the ultimate Bodhicitta, or you can say the absolute Bodhicitta and this relative Bodhicitta. So we leave that absolute Bodhicitta today and talk another time, probably next week. And today we are going to talk about the relative Bodhicitta.

So the relative Bodhicitta, is you have to just think the mind attitude. But remember mind we have primary minds, secondary minds, remember. So, Bodhicitta you know some scholars they believe the Bodhicitta is one secondary mind but the other scholars believe Bodhicitta is not secondary mind. Bodhicitta is the primary minds. So more likely should be the primary minds. Why? Because Bodhicitta is a…..also people can confuse with the secondary mind because Bodhicitta is working with secondary mind. So think of the water, bucket of water and then that is primary mind. So any colours of the paint, you change the colour of the water, think of the secondary mind. So the water mixed with that colour, so water is the same colour but still is water. So that is why the primary mind is like water and the secondary mind is this colours, you can change the colour. Or you can change the, let’s say the glass, thick glass you can change the colour with different fabrics or different colour paper, you put behind and you change the colour.

So for this reason Bodhicitta is motivated by these intention, you know, motivated by this intention to liberate all sentient beings. Because this intention is secondary mind, it is obvious, we don’t have same intention all the time. So whatever you intention arise at that moment, change your mind in that form. So our Bodhicitta mind is intention by leading the motivation by this liberate…wanted, not wish, people always say wish but wanted maybe more better, more accurate for Bodhicitta, wanted liberate all sentient beings. So that is your primary intention. As human being you can many other intentions but your main intention, as long as you are Mahayana practitioner, as long as you are Vajrayana practitioner, within the Mahayana and then your primary intention should be liberate all sentient beings so that’s why is Bodhicitta. Motivated that intention.


And then also, the Bodhicitta, support another secondary mind, as wisdom. So the wisdom sees the enlightened Buddhahood, yourself. Because the wisdom sees if you want liberate all sentient beings, and then yourself also have to reach enlightenment, Buddhahood, otherwise that is impossible. So that is why your wisdom sees that. And so that’s wisdom support the Bodhicitta. So then you say “oh what is Bodhicitta then? The first one is motivation, the second one is wisdom. So what is the Bodhicitta really is?” The Bodhicitta is the primary mind and that colour, that form, mixed with this intention, you know mixed with that, this wisdom, so that is primary mind is itself, with this colours, is the Bodhicitta, relative Bodhicitta. Then you say, “mmmm, ok” Not very clear maybe, my language is limited. But just have to think of this. The secondary minds they are comes and goes remember, but your Bodhicitta should not be comes and goes. As long as you are Bodhicitta, should be there all the time. So, is that means I have to have this intention every minute every second. No. As long as you establish the real Bodhicitta, they are always there in your mind in hidden way. You know your mind manifest in different colours, different ways at different times. But your primary mind always there with that intention and with that wisdom.

So how that possible? Which means, ok, yes you wanted new clothes, you wanted, you could have you know with your Bodhicitta, you could have, you wanted new clothes, you wanted new car, you wanted new house, you wanted many things. But if say somebody has million, three million dollar house, you can have it for free if you give up the Bodhicitta. So then in your mind you say “oh no, no, no, I don’t’ want it, that’s no way.” If like that and then that means you have Bodhicitta really. So because before you really wanted, dying for house, and now you given three million dollar house if you give up the Bodhicitta. But in your mind you don’t want to give and then the next, your friend maybe confused so saying “huh, are you crazy! You dying for a house in a couple of years with our conversations and bah bah bah bah. And now you rejecting this three million dollar house. Are you crazy?” But no matter your friends say, your family say, anybody say, you just can’t do it, you just can’t do it. You know that means your conscience saying no.

So what that conscience is the Bodhicitta, ok. So that means this conscience not all the time there. You want new clothes, you want many things, this and this but, that’s just like, is not your primary desire. It is not your….it’s just very minor, how you say, secondary, not something primary, so your primary mind is Bodhicitta, you can see that time. So that means is not really you just pretending give up Bodhicitta and then so you can have this house, not like that. But you genuinely, you have to give up this idea completely forever and then you can have this three million dollar house. But you couldn’t do it.

So that’s probably is relative Bodhicitta. If you want to test yourself ok. So that’s not always present in obvious level. If you really, active partitioner and very mindful, then yer, always present, possible. But even you not that active practitioner, even you not that super mindfulness person. So sometimes you didn’t really see but your Bodhicitta is there. So I would test that way. So that means Bodhicitta is always there in hidden way, and sometimes manifest and sometimes not manifest.


So now you can see, it is attitude but also not attitude alone. Is much more deeper than attitude. Associated with this attitude and this wisdom. So that is the Bodhicitta I think. Understood? Ok. That is the relative Bodhicitta. You have the relative Bodhicitta you don’t have to realise emptiness, you don’t have realise selflessness, you don’t have to achieve millions of qualities. That’s why I’m saying is so special, so wonderful, having Bodhicitta. Just some simple attitude changes everything.

So what do I mean changes everything? We say….(@ 48.37 uses Tib term). So, which means, who ever have that Bodhicitta, that person is bodhisattva. We don’t have to attain any other qualities. You don’t have to achieve anything. I mean you know like, you have to remember this, when I say bodhisattva, bodhisattva is not one level. There are many, many levels of bodhisattva. But when you start, what is identify the bodhisattva, who has that quality of mind. Whenever you had, that is bodhisattva, that is Bodhicitta, so then the person becomes bodhisattva. So that means…(@ 49.45 use Tib term). Means only the moment before, five seconds before, you didn’t have that attitude, but five seconds later, you have this, you got that attitude so, “oh yer I want to liberate all sentient beings. What ultimately I wanted is to liberate all sentient beings from samsara”. Not just liberate from one life, save life, like chicken somebody killing so you save their life, not talking about that. Liberate means, liberate from whole samsara. When you have that attitude you suddenly, you are bodhisattva.

Once you become a bodhisattva, at that moment, you are worthy of the worship from three realms. Ok, all three realms worship you, no problem. I mean no problem means, usually, who is less quality, people have to worship the good quality people. Worship means pay respect, serve them, anything. Why they do that? Because the less quality people, less quality less merit, they earn more merit, they develop more qualities. That is way they doing. But if the high quality, high merit person worship you, serves you, kind of like, dangerous your merits, and you earn more, not earn merit, instead you earn some kind of debt (laughs). Sometimes people really fixed on this, feel scared of. I think in Tibetan attitude if lama do something for you “oh no, no, no!” they just scared. But that’s also little bit extreme sometimes, so a little bit relaxed can be, little bit relaxed but kind of that idea also good. You have this idea, not so much scared you know, good teacher, good practitioner did something for you, is not so much benefits, you are too scared and too worry. That kind of is also form of selfish I think. But it is good to know, if you can do these things, is good for yourself. That is important to know because people don’t usually think that way. So what saying here is five seconds before you are not bodhisattva, but now you are bodhisattva. Which means all three realms worship you and severing you, you not get debt. Ok? You not get debt, good for them. Ok? That saying really….(@ 53.42 uses Tib term) which means all humans and gods, even the six realm gods, the desire realm gods and Brahma and even they worship you, is ok. Because you are bodhisattva. You are just new bodhisattva but still classify as

And another way we say, in shantideva say, once you have this relative Bodhicitta in your mind stream, I don’t know the name but there is a chemical you mixed and everything is gold? Student – it’s called alchemy. Alchemy ok. So I heard the monks talking in science and somebody say is that possible, and he said yes, possible but to do this is causes much more than the (laughs) gold itself, you achieved. So, but here we are not talking about that cost. Here we just have to know, if you have alchemy, then you turns everything gold, all your materials you change to gold and then you are rich tomorrow. That’s why it’s kind of like everything changes, means everything changes.

Which means somebody offering sandwich, homeless person with normal attitude. Just say “oh I just feeling sorry, I want to make sandwich for this homeless person hungry”. And somebody, I dedicate, because I want to liberate all sentient beings. So this is my part of that action you know, when you have Bodhicitta. You just no matter how you do is small, you just, you just know the part of your enlightened activity, and you classify in that way. No matter how you doing is small. You dedicate is for so big. And the other person just doing this, that’s it, simple, there is no other motivation, just simple motivation. Is still good quality but it’s limited. So Bodhicitta makes everything unlimited.


So what do you mean unlimited, you know I did this with Bodhicitta and my friend did without Bodhicitta and we just achieve the result, same thing. Yes that’s all on the obvious level ok. But the subtle level, subtle level your friend achieve, whatever achieve, the obvious level, that’s vey much. A little bit of merit in their mind stream, automatically. Even if they have no intention, but you have this special intention, so this changes everything in your world, you know you don’t see, but if you could see is huge like universe, like you know. So Bodhicitta changes like that. So that’s why now you can see, oh yer, compassion and love is part of Bodhicitta. Is small part of Bodhicitta, is not the arrange of Bodhicitta. So that’s why we have to, when you develop Bodhicitta, yes, we have to practice with love, kindness, compassion, you have to go that way.

So then we make another category, we say aspiration Bodhicitta and application Bodhicitta. In Tibetan say…(@ 56.05 uses Tib term). So aspiration Bodhicitta, little bit confusing you know. When you read the text….I question for you maybe this better. What you read from the text, is that aspiration of Bodhicitta and application of Bodhicitta is like, you have the same intention but you doing something for this. You apply your action. Is that time application Bodhicitta and then you have that same wish but you are not doing, at that time. Is time make differences of them or levels? What do you read? Anybody. What do you read? You read levels?

Student – level of commitment to the idea.

So that means

Student – aspirational, it’s still not committed to it, I would like to do it but I am not committed to it. Doesn’t mean I’m actually all the time…..

So that means that cannot classify your bodhisattva. If commitments, you cannot be bodhisattva who has aspiration Bodhicitta, right?

Student – I don’t think so

Or still Bodhicitta.

Student – it would be like… so that means bodhisattva doesn’t have to….to be bodhisattva doesn’t have to be committed

Student – you have to be committed. I wouldn’t say you were bodhisattva if just aspiring.

Ok so anybody read differently?

Student – explanation… I think is start from aspiration then the application…. is the ….can’t hear –

Yer, yer (laughs) but you know like who has aspiration of Bodhicitta, is that person bodhisattva? Yes, according to Jackie yes, according to Joe no.

Student – I think you can have aspiration but haven’t actually done something but does not mean you are not committed to the idea of it. You want to do it, you just haven’t maybe done something practical. So doesn’t mean… so you read that way so that means aspiration only, is not bodhisattva?

Student – no I don’t mean that. You can have the aspiration and you really want to do it and so your mind is full of the idea of doing it and you intend to do it, so you can have that intention and aspiration but I think you have to have intention and aspiration.

Ok that person is, do you classify as bodhisattva?

Student – I classify them as at the beginning of Bodhisattva…..


Student – the text says aspiration Bodhicitta arises when we have converted the mind’s attitude to one that is completely determined and focused on the wish for all beings to attain enlightenment. So I’d argue that if you reach the point where the mind is completely determined and focused upon that wish, then if that’s aspiration Bodhicitta, then application Bodhicitta is the natural extension. It naturally follows. You can’t have aspiration and then not have application Bodhicitta so I would argue they are bodhisattva already because that aspiration if it’s the entire focus of the mind it will translate into action as surely as night follows day.

Ok. Julie?

Student – From what I’ve understood, I think, yes it starts off as aspiration but it has to get to the point of being irreversible before you become a bodhisattva or have Bodhicitta, otherwise it’s just a wish to have it.

Ok. You agree.

Student – They say you don’t enter the Mahayana until you have spontaneous Bodhicitta which means not generating it, but it comes naturally

Student – It’s an insight. It’s actually an attainment, not just a wish.

Yes I know that but, is that in application? So the basic question is have to be bodhisattva, have to be have application Bodhicitta? Yes or no?

Student – Wouldn’t the two come together? That’s the fruit.

Student – I would say yes.

Have to be application Bodhicitta? Anybody agree with Joe? (laughs)

Student – I do.

Student – We all have the ….is pure already and everyone is bodhisattva already.
We are not talking about that level.

Student – There are different level of bodhisattva’s

Yes, but first level I’m talking about.

Student – I’d argue the intention is there, the pure intention, the all encompassing,… you know what I mean, that intention that covers absolutely everything, then you can’t separate it from the action. It will inevitably lead to the action. So it can’t just stop there unless you suddenly shot dead.

Student – But that degree of completeness comes after a fairly strong aspiration has developed…. but when you first enter into the aspiration but you just have a weak aspiration, it could be very weak right, and then it builds up stronger until it gets to that definition which you said was all encompassing. When you’re at all encompassing, like you said, you couldn’t separate it, you actually move with that. It colours everything so you’d have to be, at that stage, a c…., you have to go into it because it’s all encompassing. But it doesn’t start with all encompassing

Ok. So, this is very, I think text sometimes have a little bit vague and traditionally has been debate, but my decision, my understanding of my decision, you know, they both have to be Bodhicitta. So which means, to be bodhisattva you don’t have to be done something, you don’t have to have application. You have done, that’s what I believe. For me why? Otherwise how can be one second you are not bodhisattva and then one second you are bodhisattva. Is not. You do something, you done something, you done application, you done something, is not depending on that. Depending on your mind level. Your desire level.


So your….to be Bodhicitta is yes, have to be, how you say, have to be natural, naturally arise, not pretending, or trying. That is not Bodhicitta. That is training Bodhicitta. Anybody can train, anybody can try, anybody can prayer, anybody can do that. But if you really arises in your mind, that is the boundary of Bodhicitta or not, real Bodhicitta or not real. Is really arises in your mind. So that’s the first start. That could be both, either way. So otherwise, aspiration Bodhicitta is not category of Bodhicitta. If you say we have to be application Bodhicitta, and then ok, that means aspiration Bodhicitta is not category of Bodhicitta. That’s just reaching point of the Bodhicitta ok. So like that.

But you taking a vow, aspiration Bodhicitta or taking vow application Bodhicitta is a little bit different. So you can take vow aspiration of Bodhicitta, before you have Bodhicitta. You can do that. So what you do, you take a vow and you don’t do this downfalls, and you keep the vow and then you try aspiration, you keep try your aspiration. But when you want to taking vows of the application Bodhicitta, that means you really….so I mean, of course you can take, anybody both, but like, you keep breaking, you keep breaking so, how you say, that’s why is a little bit different. But remember bodhisattva vows, always should take. You know tantric vows, always you should take. Not avoid.

The attitude is different, you take opportunity always, and intention to not break. It is not intention to break. As long as you intention to not break and taking opportunity, you take, that’s the important. Not too much worry in the future, you know. Not too much pre planned. So like pratimoksha vow, is important to pre plan a little bit because the break level is so obvious level, kind of like physical level. So that’s why. Something obvious, big physical level break and then is not very nice and not easy to fix, so similar. So that’s why I think is little bit debatable.

Somebody have genuine aspiration, then becomes bodhisattva before you have done anything. So that means always have to understand this, bodhisattva vows, bodhisattva precepts and Bodhicitta different. You can have this Bodhicitta mind, you haven’t taken any bodhisattva precepts, you could have that. That bodhisattva attitude, Bodhicitta, is not depending on precepts. You taking precepts is helps, helps your increase your merits, it helps develop your Bodhicitta. Because you just don’t break these downfalls, that’s good enough for keeping precepts.

So Bodhicitta is your attitude, nothing to with vows, but if you are genuine Bodhicitta you not doing anyway. You know you not doing anyway, that still is not your vow necessarily, but, you can say is vow because if you are really genuinely Bodhicitta arise in your mind, you don’t have to take vows and promise and formally. That’s just naturally you become like that. So that’s why having Bodhicitta attitude is primary really, you know and taking vows and precepts is assisting.

So bodhisattva vows you can take every day. With yourself. You just imagine the bodhisattva’s, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, you can do this by yourself. So we have you know, like traditionally we receive with ceremony from our teachers, like that. But also we do with rituals, pujas, so I really want that. This here we making this book, practise book. Two categories. One is just Kalachakra practise and one is other prayers. So other prayers we already have now and then put other things, many other things, so we should have in the future we should have like Kalachakra day. Kalachakra puja. You know such and such dakini day, such and such puja. Something we should have those in the future, so we have to prepare those things. And sometimes we have day of Bodhicitta practise, how you say. Taking bodhisattva vows and those things. So we not taking bodhisattva vows from somebody else. We just take altogether.


So next week, if we can we do together ok. But that in the future. So why I’m telling you this because the points, I try to making points. So that is category of Bodhicitta. Aspiration and application, ok. And there is another category, three categories remember. One is like shepherd attitude, one is captain and one is like king attitude

King attitude means, I want to reach Buddhahood because I want to liberate all sentient beings. That is king attitude. I want to become king so I make wonderful my kingdom. Good kings attitude, ok. One saying “oh I want all sentient beings, me together reach Buddhahood”. That is captain attitude. So the other one is shepherd attitude, you know, you herd the sheep before you. So you want all sentient beings reach enlightenment, after that, you want to reach enlightenment. Until then you don’t want to reach enlightenment. You wish, you take a vow, “I will not be enlightenment until all sentient beings enlightened”. That is what Avalokiteshvara saying. Avalokiteshvara his vow, his manifestation of compassion of all the Buddha’s, that’s why he saying “ I will not reach Buddhahood until all sentient beings reach Buddhahood”. If you say which one better. There is no black and white answer. Depend which one you think is better, ok. But usually, what we practise, usually we practise the king attitude way. So our Buddha Shakyamuni, he reach Buddhahood like the king attitude, so we are doing the same thing. But we are not strict to doing this. Whatever you like, you can do that. Ok.

And there is another one 37, what you call, 37 categories in our book. So maybe not talk all of them. Any questions.

Student – the shepherds way, the kings way etc to me I would think that you would need to reach a certain point of realisation before you can all go together or help other people.

You mean captain attitude?

Yer. It just seems that you would need to, altogether and all getting there together, there needs to be someone leading you also. You can’t be all at the same level.

Student – someone needs to be steering the boat.

Student – yes, yes.

But you are steering the boat. That’s why captain attitude. Captain steering the boat but still they going together, not he going first. So doesn’t matter, this is all attitude, there is no right or wrong, no superior and inferior, so all attitude. Which one better for you individuals, that better for you ok. Anything else?

Student – Sometimes this question comes to my mind. There is no limit of the beings to keep taking birth. There’s not going to be end of beings to finish, is that so? So many beings they are going to keep coming, there’s is no end to it. So in that case Avalokiteshvara is the last one.

You should forget about you mean? If Avalokiteshvara the last one and then what?

There is no last one, there is no last one.

He doesn’t care, he doesn’t care if last one or not. That ‘s the answer (laughs) because we cares, because we have limited attitude and he doesn’t have limited attitude so he doesn’t care.

Student – the things is too they’re not new beings coming all the time. They’re just recycled beings. (laughter)

But how many times I said, Bodhicitta is not important analyse. Bodhicitta is the uniqueness, is, you know fearless, fearless compassion. And limitless compassion, leading the Bodhicitta, yer? So before I said the motivate by this motivation. And the wisdom see, the Buddhahood. Anything else not important. You don’t even think about. If we bring neurosis inside, and try analyse, we cannot analyse things, is obstacle of practise dharma. (laughs).

Student – I think I read somewhere and I’ve probably got this wrong….but something like that the joy comes from the action of Bodhicitta not the result, of getting the result…it’s enough just to…

Yer, that what I’m saying not important you have cycle of beings or new beings and have end of samsara or not end of samsara, that is not important. The important I have that attitude, until end of samsara, I want to be liberate sentient beings, that’s that primary important.

Student- ….not just effort, joyful effort

Yes joyful effort.

Student – I read something that….. that once you realised emptiness, that there are no beings to liberate so you don’t then have Bodhicitta, because you can’t have that motivation if you realise…

Then you have absolute Bodhicitta

So it changes

Yes you have absolute Bodhicitta, is not changed is there, all the time. So you reach the other side of the river, so you don’t need this boat, you throw away.

But isn’t Bodhicitta the motivation to liberate all beings from samsara.

Ok, do you cross the river, do you use boat? But after you cross, do you carry them or you leave there.

You leave

Same thing, as long as you not reach Buddhahood, absolute Bodhicitta, you practise relative Bodhicitta. Yes? When you reach Buddhahood, which means you reached that ultimate Bodhicitta, the relative Bodhicitta exhaust. Exhaust in your side which means you reach the behind the river, so you never use that, you not use that boat at all, because you don’t need it. It is not useful to you anymore, walking on the land. But whenever you need to come back, you use again (laughs). So for sentient beings, if you need that, the illusion of sentient beings, if you need that, then you use them. (laughs). That makes sense? (laughs)

Student – a little bit.

A little bit, that perfect makes sense. (laughs).

Ok. Finish. There is other few categories of Bodhicitta you can read in the book. All I said today is also in the book