#14: The way of the bodhisattva

14 April 2010 - 1:27am Comments Off

So what are your thoughts regarding the situation of the three guys who were poisoned and you are supposed to be the third guy still standing like General Custer? Don’t be lazy, go back to the previous article and find out what I am talking about here!

I can’t read your minds so I will try to make some guesses. Maybe some of you took pity on the first guy who died. He could be young and handsome; he could be old and ugly. Maybe some of you think it’s his karma. Maybe some of you may develop fear and repugnance on seeing the second guy going through the ugly stages of poisoning. He may be young and handsome too, just like you (okay, young and pretty for the girls reading this!). Perhaps some may think the pain the person is going through is a process of purification.

Maybe, since you are still standing, you think your luck will hold and you may somehow escape the fate of the other two people. Perhaps the philosopher in you starts to wonder why God is punishing them and not you! All the above thoughts, whether noble, kind or unkind, scientific or spiritual is not going to be very helpful for the third person, you, isn’t it? Why? Because they do not provide a clear solution to your problem, and hoping the problems will go away on their own is mere wishful thinking.

When Shakyamuni saw the signs of birth, old age, illness and death in others, he realised that he too would have to face the same miserable fate. He realised he had the same causes of suffering – he had the Three Poisons in him. He didn’t like that prospect at all.

Unlike us, Shakyamuni did not sit back and baabaa like a sheep heading for slaughter, or pretend it is not going to happen like how his father tried to convince him. Shakyamuni wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He was determined to find a way out… which he did and the rest is Buddhist history.

For those who have taken refuge, who know something about how you can change things through karma, who understand that there is a way out of all our suffering, we have the option of thinking like a bodhisattva.

Now, imagine what a bodhisattva-to-be would think during the triple poisoning drama.

“All my friends, loved ones and everyone in this planet have been poisoned including myself. The suffering I witness will be what all living beings, without exception, will have to go through. I am most fortunate to have met Buddha’s teachings which promises a supreme antidote for the Three Poisons. There is no other medicine in this universe which can do the job satisfactorily and bring about a permanent cure. Others may have also heard of Buddha’s cure, but I cannot depend on them achieving it.

Who else can I entrust this responsibility, other than myself? I am still standing. I don’t think like a sheep. I am not infirmed. I live in a place where, thanks to kind sponsors, the methods to effect a cure are available in beautiful centres like Kechara. I have access to kind teachers who can show and guide us exactly what to do.

Right now I possess all the necessary conditions to cure myself and others. Truth be told, if we are honest, logical and have even a tiny morsel of wisdom and compassion in us, we will find we have no excuse for not going the way of the Bodhisattva.”

In fact, the more you reflect on this, the more you will feel it is perfectly natural to think like this; the more you will wonder why you did not think this way in the first place. If there is such a feeling, awareness arising, we are beginning to re-acquaint ourselves with our true nature. We are a Rajah Brooke, not a larvae.

Don’t settle for less.



NEXT: On the Way: The Seven-Fold Cause and Effect Method

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