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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
SPRING 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 45 Mahayana Once you have refined the perfect body of shila, samadhi, and prajna of the Hinayana, then the Mahayana outfit of bodhichitta, the mind of awakening, will fit well and look good. “The question is, what are you waking from?” asks Trungpa. “You are waking from the three poisons: passion, aggression, and ignorance or delusion.” There’s a simple pro gression. First, through the application of lovingkindness and compassion, your heart starts to awaken, which means being gentle with and respecting yourself. Then you begin to develop a particular kind of heart—the enlightened heart of wisdom and compassion, intellect and insight. No matter how remote this heart of compassion may seem, the Mahayana teachings say that it exists within us. Trungpa describes it as the “natural state of being awake, tender, and genuine.” In fact, our “first taste of enlightenment” is this experience of bodhichitta: “mind clicking in and awakening on the spot.” True bodhichitta, Trungpa explains, “combines spaciousness, sympathy, and intelligence; or shunyata, com passion, and knowledge.” The very foundation of the Buddha’s teachings and the centerpiece of the Mahayana journey is bodhichitta, the heart that generates warmth of compassion toward all beings and realizes the true reality of shunyata (twofold egolessness). It’s “the basis of being awake and open.” Trungpa gives a par ticularly pithy instruction on bodhichitta practice: In order to be exposed to intelligence, or prajna, you have to understand that it is not worth struggling, that you have to give up ego fixation. In order to be exposed to sympathy, or compassion, you have to give up territoriality, possessive ness, and aggression. Enlightened Genes The more we tame our mind, the more our inquisitiveness increases. “At that point, the possibility of further learning is taking place,” says Trungpa. The Mahayana teachings point out that our fundamental nature is tathagatagarbha, bud dhanature, or what Trungpa calls the “enlightened gene.” Whether we see it or not, Trungpa explains, this deeper nature manifests all the time in “some kind of gap, some discrep ancy in our state of being that allows basic sanity to shine through.” Even though such potential may appear to be hid den or stained, the stains can be removed since they are not part of the true nature. Such buddhanature is said to have two aspects: stained and unstained. Hence, the practice here is to eliminate the conditioned stains and realize the unconditional state of tathagatagarbha. Basic Goodness Exploring the reality of our mind further, we discover that the basic state of our existence is fundamentally good, something that we can rely on, and therefore, says Trungpa, “there is room to relax, to open up.” This is what Trunga Rinpoche calls “basic goodness.” The notion of basic goodness is derived from the traditional Tibetan Buddhist concept of kun- shi ngang-luk kyi gewa, meaning the natural state of virtue or goodness of the alaya—the level of consciousness that is the basis of all experience. For Trungpa, this “is the basis of the possibility of absolute bodhichitta.” In order to discover and nourish this precious awakened heart, we engage in the skillful practices of the Mahayana. Therefore, in the second volume, Trungpa guides his students Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, 1976 PHOTO BLAIR HANSEN FROMTHECOLLECTIONOFSHAMBHALAARCHIVES