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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
64 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY SPRING 2 0 1 3 serve as remedies for our mental afflictions. He taught the Vinaya in order to serve as a rem- edy for the affliction of attachment, the sutras to serve as a remedy for the affliction of anger or aversion, the Abhidharma to serve as a remedy for the affliction of bewilderment, and the secret mantra to serve as a remedy for all three afflic- tions. All of the Buddha’s teachings were given in order to provide us with the means needed to overcome the three afflictions: attachment, aversion, and apathy (or bewilderment). If these teachings serve as remedies to these afflictions, they are working. If they do not serve as rem- edies to these afflictions, they are not working. The correct way to approach any of the Buddha’s teachings is to start with the recognition that we are afflicted, that we have kleshas. With that understanding, we see ourselves as persons who are ill; we see the Buddha as a physician and the dharma he taught as medicine that we take in order to cure the illness of the three poisons. If this medicine does not cure that illness, it is not working; in some way we are not absorbing it and it is not countering the illness. Lord Gampopa composed a template for the dharma path that we call The Supplication of the Four Dharmas of Gampopa: “Grant your bless- ing that my mind may go to the dharma / Grant your blessing that the dharma may become a path / Grant your blessing that the path may remove delusion / Grant your blessing that delusion may arise as wisdom.” If our practice of dharma and our involvement with dharma does not heal our kleshas, does not change or improve our minds, then our minds are not turning toward the dharma. If our minds do not go to the dharma, dharma cannot possibly become a path, and there is therefore no path to remove delusion. If delu- sion is not removed, we will never experience the original wisdom that is our true nature. The only way to achieve awakening is by transforming the a single intention: to free all beings from suf- fering and from all causes of suffering. At the very inception of their path, these great beings are motivated by aspiration bodhichitta, which is the aspiration to achieve perfect awakening for the benefit of others. On that path, they imple- ment this aspiration through implementation bodhichitta—the practice of the six paramitas and so forth. And finally, in reliance upon those two types of relative bodhichitta, they discover absolute bodhichitta. That is to say, at the culmi- nation of their path they recognize immaculate, flawless, perfect nature or true being. That nature has always been perfect and unchanging but was obscured by the clouds of our ignorance. When that nature is revealed at the culmination of the path, that is buddhahood. Therefore, we can see that the achievement of buddhahood begins with the motivation of aspi- ration bodhichitta and is cultivated by implemen- tation bodhichitta. Finally, it manifests through the discovery of absolute bodhichitta. We must look at the actual motivation and the actual behavior of the great masters we wish to emulate. If you want to emulate the buddhas and bodhisattvas, then study the behavior of the lineage masters. Recognize how unselfish they have been, how compassionate they have been. For example, consider the life of the first Gyalwang Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. He medi- tated for long periods in a hut so small that he could only fit into it in the meditation posture. The Gyalwang Karmapa became the Gyalwang Karmapa through intense practice done for the benefit of others, not through selfishness or some kind of self-aggrandizement. The Medicine of Dharma The Buddha taught 84,000 aggregates of dharma, and the purpose of all of these teachings was to Engaging in a virtuous action with an impure motivation is like eating a delicious food that has been mixed with poison.