Patron Sets Us Text To Study

In January 2010, our Patron kindly gave us the following text to study.





THIRTY-SEVEN PRACTICES OF BODHISATTVAS
By Gyalsey Thokmay Sangpo

Published by the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 2009


Namo Lokeshvaraya !

You see that all phenomena neither come nor go.
Still you strive solely for the benefit of beings.
Supreme Guru and Protector Chenrezig,
To you I continually bow with body, speech and mind.

The perfect Buddhas, the source of benefit and happiness,
Arise from practicing the genuine Dharma,
Which in turn depends on knowing how to practice.
So here I’ll explain the Bodhisattva practices.

1
Now that you have obtained this precious human body, the great boat so difficult to find,
In order to free yourself and others from the ocean of samsara,
Listening, reflecting and meditating with diligence day and night
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

2
Passion towards friends churns like water;
Hatred towards enemies burns like fire;
Through the darkness of ignorance one forgets what to adopt and what to reject.
To abandon one’s homeland is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

3
Giving up inhospitable places, mental afflictions gradually decrease.
With no distractions, virtuous activities naturally increase.
When mind becomes clear, conviction in the Dharma is born.
(Therefore) seeking solitude is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

4
Friends and relatives acquainted for long will separate.
Possessions gained with exertion will be left behind.
Consciousness, the guest, will leave the guesthouse of the body.
To let go of this life is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

5
When friendship with someone causes the three poisons to increase,
Degrades the activities of listening, reflecting and meditating,
And destroys loving kindness and compassion,
To give up such a friendship is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

6
When in reliance on someone your negativities diminish,
And your positive qualities grow like a waxing moon,
To cherish such a spiritual friend more than your own body
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

7
Themselves captive in the prison of samsara,
Whom can the worldly gods protect?
Therefore the seek refuge in the Three Jewels, who do not betray you
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

8
The suffering of the lower realms, so difficult to bear,
Is what the Buddhas taught to be the fruit of negative actions.
Therefore, even at the cost of your life,
Never to commit negative actions is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

9
Happiness in the three realms, like dew on a blade of grass,
Is subject to instantaneous fading away.
To strive for the supreme state of liberation
That never wavers is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

10
From the beginningless time your mothers have cherished you.
If they now suffer, what good is your own happiness?
Therefore, in order to liberate limitless numbers of sentient beings
Cultivating Bodhicitta is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

11
All suffering comes from yearning for your own happiness.
The perfect Buddhas are born from the intention to benefit others.
Therefore, to truly exchange your own happiness
For the suffering of others is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

12
Even if someone driven by excessive desire steals all your wealth
Or incites someone else to steal it,
To dedicate to this person your body, possessions and all your virtue
Of the three times is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

13
If someone cuts off your head
Even when you have not done the slightest wrong,
Through the power of compassion
To take his misdeeds upon yourself is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

14
Should someone slander you
In a billion worlds,
With a loving heart, to proclaim his good qualities in return
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

15
If in the middle of a crowd of people
Someone reveals your hidden faults and abuses you for them,
To see him as a spiritual friend and to bow with respect
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

16
If someone whom you cherish as dearly as your own child
Takes you for an enemy,
Then, like a mother whose child is sick,
To love that person even more is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

17
Even if someone who is your equal or inferior,
Driven by arrogance seeks to disparage you,
To place him on the crown of your head with the same respect you would accord your guru
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

18
Though gripped by poverty and always scorned,
Though stricken by acute illness and possessed by evil spirits,
To take upon yourself the suffering and negativities of every being
And never get discouraged is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

19
Though famous and prominent, someone to whom others bow,
Though you amass the riches like that of the god of wealth,
To see that worldly splendour has no essence
And thus to be without arrogance is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

20
If you have not pacified the enemy of your own anger,
Combating outer opponents will only make them multiply,
Therefore, with an army of loving kindness and compassion,
To tame your own mind is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

21
Sensual pleasures are like salt water;
The more you partake of them, the more your craving will increase.
Therefore, when something arouses attachment,
To abandon it immediately is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

22
All appearances are your own mind,
And mind itself primordially transcends all mental fabrications.
Knowing this, and to remain free from apprehending the signs of subject and object
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

23
When you encounter objects that please your mind,
Like rainbows in the summer season,
Though they seem beautiful, not to view them as real and to give up attachment to them
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

24
All suffering is like the death of your child in a dream.
To take such delusive appearances as true, how exhausting!
Therefore, whenever you encounter unpleasant circumstances,
To see them as deceptions is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

25
If those who aspire to enlightenment willingly give up their bodies,
What need is there to mention external objects?
Therefore, with no hope of reward or benefit,
To give with generosity is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

26
If lack of discipline prevents you from benefiting yourself,
Then your wish to benefit others is just a joke.
Therefore, to observe discipline with no longing for worldly existence
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

27
For a Bodhisattva who seeks a wealth of virtue,
Every harm perpetrator is like a precious treasure.
Therefore, without feeling irritation to all,
To cultivate patience is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

28
If Shravakas and Pratyekabuddhas, who strive for their benefit alone,
Expand effort as if to extinguish a fire burning on their heads,
To cultivate joyous effort, the wellspring of positive qualities,
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

29
Vipasana perfectly endowed with Shamatha
Completely conquers all afflictions.
Knowing this, and to cultivate meditative concentration that transcends the four formless states
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

30
The practices of the first five perfections
But without wisdom cannot achieve perfect enlightenment.
Equipped with skilful means and cultivating the wisdom of non-conceptualising the three spheres
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

31
If you do not analyse your own faults
You might put on a Dharmic fa├žade while behaving in a non-Dharmic way.
Therefore, to continually analyse your faults and then discard them
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

32
If compelled by your own afflictions you speak of the faults of other Bodhisattvas
You yourself will degenerate.
Therefore, never citing the faults of those who have entered the Mahayana path
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

33
Desire for gain and services leads to mutual arguments,
And activities of listening, reflecting and meditating decline.
To relinquish attachment to the households of friends, relatives and donors
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

34
Harsh words disturb the minds of others
And disintegrate a Bodhisattva’s conduct.
Therefore, to give up harsh and unpleasant speech towards others
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

35
Once you become accustomed to afflictions, they are hard to undermine with antidotes.
Therefore, with the remedial weapons of mindfulness and introspection,
To forcefully eliminate afflictions such as attachment, the moment they arise,
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

36
In brief, wherever you are and whatever you do,
Always examine the state of your mind.
Continuously working for the welfare of others
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

37
To dedicate the merit thus accumulated through these efforts to enlightenment
With the wisdom free of concepts of the three spheres,
In order to eliminate the suffering of all infinite beings
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

**************************************

By relying on the words of genuine masters,
I explain the meaning taught in the sutras, tantras and (other) treatises,
In the form of these thirty-seven Bodhisattva practices
To benefit those who wish to train on the Bodhisattva’s path.

Because my intelligence is small and my studies few,
I lack linguistic skills to please the scholars.
Yet, since they are based on sutras and the teachings of the genuine masters,
I believe these practices of a Bodhisattva are flawless.

Nevertheless, since the vastness of a Bodhisattva’s conduct is difficult to fathom
By someone like me with an inferior intellect,
I pray to the genuine masters to consider with patience
All my flaws such as contradictions, incoherence and so on.

By the virtue of the merit gathered here,
And by the power of conventional and ultimate Bodhicitta,
May all beings become like the benefactor Avalokiteshvara
Who dwells neither in the extreme of samsara nor in that of peace.

*****************************

Translated by Geshe Dorje Damdul, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, HP, India.
2009.
Published by Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
Printed by Archana Press, Delhi.

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