Thursday, June 21, 2012


Having been exposed to the four Noble Truths and 8 fold paths for many times, it is a refreshing Dharma Enrichment Camp that I find myself learning something new to me: Bodhicitta.

Long ago, when I first started to seriously learn Buddhism, I faced a choice between aiming for Arahantship or Buddhahood. I opted for Arahantship as I can’t imagine the insecurity of having to train the 10 perfections up for so many lifetimes. There was a few times however, especially when I see the suffering of others, that I wished to become a perfectly enlighten one. To save all sentient beings, or at least those that are ready.

The 1-Day Dhamma Enrichment Camp with Ven Dr. Karma Lekshe Tsomo on 17th June 2012 at BGF Centre organized by Buddhist Gem Fellowship is just the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.

Venerable started by clarifying that Bodhicitta is inherent in all traditions as the Buddha is. And that to gain enlightenment, one does not need Bodhicitta as not all will choose to become a fully enlightened one. Then she explained the history of her linage.

After lunch, she said that there are 3 steps to get to the first stage of Bodhisattva:

  • Renunciation,
  • Bodhicitta,
  • Direct insight into emptiness.

“And yes, this will be in the examination.” She said, a reflection of her job as an Associate Professor.

She also explained about the 7 points of generating Bodhicitta.

  1. Realise that all sentient beings had been our mother, father, spouse etc… since there is no beginning,
  2. Recognising the kindness of sentient beings,
  3. Wanting to repay their kindness,
  4. Wishing all to be happy,
  5. Wishing all to be free from suffering,
  6. Having that special thought: all sentient beings can be saved from suffering, who will save them? I will.
  7. Realising that by becoming a Buddha can one save all sentient beings from suffering by expounding the Dharma.

There was a question. Since it is impossible to save all sentient beings, since countless Buddhas has passed and we are still here, suffering. Why not say: I vow to save all living beings until parinibbana? I recalled my question of this nature too when I was in a Zen meditation retreat recently. I commented to the Master that saving infinite sentient beings is impossible. He said: that is thinking mind. The spirit of it is like Superheroes, they say, “I want to save the whole world.” Then they become a superhero. They don’t see the impossibility, they see the spirit of it.

Venerable explained that Arahants are the ones who saves sentient beings until their passing away. Whereas a Buddha with perfect compassion, is capable of saving all sentient beings even after parinibbana. In a sense I think that it does mean that Buddhas can make predictions for Bodhisattvas, that they will one day become a Buddha. And they also inspire us to become Buddhas ourselves. In this sense, all Buddhas are links to inspire and predict the next Buddhas, all who are working towards the liberation of all sentient beings.

As usual, the practise is gradual training, so don’t expect to be a first stage Bodhisattva right after you read this!

Having started the session as a stranger, I ended up at the end of the day knowing some spiritual friends who are kind and welcoming.

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