Bodhichitta

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Bodhichitta (byang chub kyi sems): lit. "the mind of enlightenment". On the relative level, it is the wish to attain/reveal Buddhahood for the sakes and benefit of all beings, as well as the practice of the path of love, compassion, the six transcendent perfections, etc., necessary for achieving this goal. On the absolute level, it is the direct insight into this ultimate nature. [MR]

Bodhichitta (byang sems), (byang chub kyi sems). 'Awakened state of mind,' 'enlightened attitude.'


[These several pages under the general heading of 'Bodhichitta' and it's various levels and aspects will for the most part have a repeat of this same defining/explanatory entry. The reasoning is in hopes that perhaps the reader may see how these tie together through the explanation.] [RWB]

Regarding Bodhichitta, in the section of The Light of Wisdom titled The Essence of Generating Bodhichitta it offers this in regards to The Different Types [of bodhichitta]:

"There are four different types of stages, from the devoted engagement of ordinary people - through buddhahood. [These 4 stages and] twenty-two types are taught using analogies in terms of their characteristics. Thus:

1) The bodhichitta of devoted engagement for ordinary people on the paths of accumulation (one the accumulation of merit, the other is nonconceptually transformative as the accumulation of wisdom, tshogs gnyis ) and joining. 2) The bodhichitta of pure superior intention on the seven impure bhumis (1 through 7 of the ten bhumis which are reflective of the last three pure bhumis, 8 through 10). Then, 3) The bodhichitta of maturation on the three pure bhumis. and 4) The bodhichitta of abandoning all obscuration comes about as a profound aspiration in relinquishing any obscurations (sgrib pa spang ba'i sems bskyed) to sangs rgyas kyi sa).

The twenty-two analogies given in the Ornament of Realization (Abhisamayalamkara) are:

  • These are like the earth, gold, the moon, and fire.
  • Like a treasure, a jewel mine, and the ocean,
  • Like a diamond, a mountain, medicine, and a teacher,
  • Like a wish-fulfilling jewel, the sun, and a song,
  • Like a king, a treasury, and a highway,
  • Like a carriage and a fountain,
  • Like a lute, a river, and a cloud--

Thus here we have twenty-two kinds.

These twenty-two are examples for pursuing the aim and so forth through dharmakaya. As these are combined with the five paths: pursuance, intention, and superior intention are the path of accumulation; hence application is the path of joining; the paramita of generosity is the path of seeing; and discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, discriminating knowledge, means, strength, aspiration, and wisdom are the nine stages of the path of cultivation; superknowledges, [the accumulations of] merit and wisdom (see above), the thirty-seven factors conducive to enlightenment (byang chub kyi chos sum bcu rtsa bdun), shamatha and vipashyana. recall and courageous eloquence--five altogether--comprise the special path of three pure bhumis together; and the banquet of Dharma, the singular journeyed path (see singularity), and the possession of dharmakaya comprise the three aspects of preparation, main part, and conclusion of the stage of buddhahood. You should know this: all of these can be combined with three more aspects: analogy, helper, and quality; for instance, the helper is the subject, the bodhichitta concurrent with pursuing the aim of enlightenment. The analogy is that this is like the earth, because it serves as basis for all virtuous qualities. [JOKYAB]

These are the two types defined according to their characteristics; aspiration, and application: the bodhichitta of aspiration is the four immeasurables, and the bodhichitta of application is the six paramitas. According to the system of Nagarjuna, the bodhichitta of aspiration is to pledge the effect and the bodhichitta of application is to pledge the cause. According to the system of Asanga, the intention is the bodhichitta of aspiration, and engagement is the bodhichitta of application. The bodhichitta of aspiration is the wish to attain buddhahood, like intenting to travel. The bodhichitta of application is to train in bodhichitta in and as all actions and experience, the means for attaining/revealing buddhahood, like traveling.