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Six Syllable Mantra of Avalokitesvara/Chenrezig:

Buddha of Compassion

 

May All Beings Benefit!

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The Four Immeasurables: 

Compassionate Qualities of Enlightened Mind

 

Immeasurable Love, Immeasurable Compassion, 

Immeasurable Joy, and Immeasurable Equanimity.

 

May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.

May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.

May they never be separated from the supreme happiness without suffering.

May they remain in the boundless equanimity free from both attachment and hatred

knowing the equality of all that lives.

The Four Immeasurables, Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Prayer 

 

Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace,

they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

 

This idea of universal responsibility is rooted in a very simple fact- in general terms, all others'

desires are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as

intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this

planet. If we adopt a self-centered approach to life, and constantly try to use others for our own

self-interest, we may gain temporary benefits but, in the long run, we will not succeed in achieving

even personal happiness; and world peace will be completely out of the question.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama from Heart of Compassion: A Practical Approach to a Meaningful Life

 

Individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of our entire

human community.  Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we

meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress

and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people.

 

It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same.  Ultimately, humanity is

one and this small planet is our only home. If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to

experience a vivid sense of universal altruism. It is only this feeling that can remove the self-centered motives

that cause people to deceive and misuse one another. If you have a sincere  and open heart, you naturally feel

self-worth and confidence, and there is no need to be fearful of others.  I believe that at every level of

society -- familial, tribal, national and international - successful world is the growth of compassion.

We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for

each of us to develop our good human qualities.  I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me

a genuine feeling of happiness. It is the time to help create a happier world.  

   

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, from The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom

 

 

The Buddha Shakyamuni's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)

This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness, and who knows the path of peace: 

Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle in speech.

Humble and not conceited, Contented and easily satisfied.

Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.

Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful, Not proud and demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing that the wise would later reprove.

Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be; whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,

The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,

The seen and the unseen, Those living near and far away, those born and to-be-born, 

May all beings be at ease!

 

Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state.

Let none through anger or ill-will Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child,

So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings:

Radiating kindness over the entire world, Spreading upwards to the skies,

And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

Freed from hatred and ill-will.

 

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down Free from drowsiness,

One should sustain this recollection. This is said to be the Sublime Abiding.

By not holding to fixed views, The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, 

being freed from all sense desires, is not born again into this world.

The following section is excerpted from 

The Door to Inconceivable Wisdom and Compassion

by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Sky Dancer Press, 1996

 

 

...There was a very famous Dzogchen master in the thirteenth century Tibet named Longchenpa who taught

that the entire conduct of the bodhisattva can be summarized into two aspects:  Aspirational Bodhicitta 

and Actualizing Bodhicitta.   [Bodhichitta: Enlightened Compassion]

Longchenpa went on to explain that the aspirational bodhicitta is actually based upon 

the Four Immeasurables: Immeasurable Love, Immeasurable Compassion, Immeasurable Joy, and Immeasurable Equanimity.

 

Because sentient beings are as limitless as space, our practice of these four virtues must also be

immeasurable. We can begin developing these in our heart by chanting aspirational prayers such as, 

"May all beings be happy, may the causes of their suffering be removed, may they always be joyful, 

and may they all remain in a state of equanimity."

 

The aspirational bodhicitta is mainly applied at the levels of mind and speech. Through practice, it becomes

the cause of the actualized bodhicitta. Once we accomplish this, we can perform actions with the confidence

arising from our Intention to benefit others.

 

The first of the Four Immeasurables is loving-kindness. Presently our loving-kindness is very partial, 

because we just love ourselves and our close friends, family members and relatives. Love is something we can

experience quite easily, and therefore through practice it can become profound and vast.

The Buddha Shakyamuni taught that there are one thousand and one Buddhas that will come into our world

during the superior aeon. Among those, three Buddhas have already come, so Shakyamuni is the fourth. 

The next, or the fifth Buddha, is known as Maitreya in Sanskrit, which means "loving-kindness." 

Buddha Shakyamuni spoke a lot about this future Buddha in the Mahayana Maitreya Sutra. 

He taught that Maitreya will realize buddhahood solely through the practice of Loving-Kindness.

When you really love, you feel respect for the person or beings who are the object of your love. 

This attitude of loving-kindness expands and increases by seeing and appreciating their good qualities. 

True love is based in pure perception and a respectful attitude toward yourself and others.

If you decided to be loving, you can easily develop the other three immeasurables: compassion, 

a joyful attitude and equanimity. So it is important that we know the value of love before we begin the 

other practices. The benefit of love is a very powerful and special. As soon as you generate an attitude of

loving-kindness, you will start feeling more calm and peaceful, and naturally share this feeling with other

beings. Your whole field of perception will be changed into something beautiful.

 

When you radiate true love, in that moment everyone is your friend. You will be able to see how nice 

everyone is, and they will see that you are also very special. Another power of loving-kindness lies in its 

ability to overcome serious obstacles. When Buddha Shakyamuni sat beneath the bodhi tree before his

enlightenment, hundreds of demons [also thought of as klesas: spiritual/psychologoical delusions, 

habitual behaviors, and attachments] were attacking him, but he conquered all of them by not getting angry.

By simply meditating on loving-kindness, he transformed each one into an ornament of his enlightenment.

 

Being open to the value of loving-kindness, one can easily develop the precious attitude of compassion

because its nature is the wish to remove the suffering of all beings. Love moves you to offer them some

assistance to get through and free them from misery. It weakens the structure of ego-clinging so that your 

true nature [that is, Buddha Nature] can break through and reach out to all sentient beings, sharing this

open-hearted attitude with everyone. Of course, you can feel compassion for yourself as well, but it is

primarily practiced in relation to other beings. Compassion helps create an opening or gap in your normal

habit patterns and weakens ego-clinging.

You have good reason to feel compassion for others, because every being is suffering. Although their

intentions are quite normal and similar to your own -- to be happy, joyous, and peaceful, their aspirations 

and what is actually happening are at variance. We would like to be happy, but often, if not constantly, 

we are facing many difficulties, misfortunes, and hardships.

Sentient beings normally act with good intentions. Even in trivial activities we are trying to achieve some joy,

peace, and freedom for ourselves, either directly or indirectly. Animals are doing this as well. 

In running, flying, digging, and moving, by day or night, their final goal is to achieve some kind of comfort

according to their understanding. In this way, the common goal of all sentient beings is the same. 

We have similar desires and objectives, yet we do not achieve what we want all the time. 

Why not? The major obstacle is ignorance.

 

...We already have the Four Immeasurables within the natural state of our mind, so practice is actually 

a matter of progressively clarifying and revealing them. To do this, we have to be purified of ego-clinging,

grasping, and attachment to dualistic knowledge and experience. Such activities obscure our primordial

nature and put severe limitations on these four precious powers.

As I have indicated many times, all beings already enjoy some degree of love, compassion, joy, and

equanimity. They are not qualities that we simply do not have or have never experienced. 

They are not beyond us in any way, like something we might discover out in space. The Buddha and

Shantideva both explain that these four are naturally inherent in our being.

When practiced impartially and consistently, love, compassion, equanimity, and joy lead to buddhahood. 

even when first beginning their cultivation, you will start to awaken to the inconceivable qualities of the

buddha-mind [within you]. Everybody has the opportunity to grow in this this way and realize Buddha Nature. 

This wondrous Truth is the supreme potential we have to develop.

 

....People often wonder why there are such great benefits associated with practicing bodhicitta. 

To account for this, Buddha Shakyamuni gave four reasons. 

 

First of all, when you grow in this way, you are not just doing it for one or two people. You are developing 

love and compassion for all beings, so there is great cause for an infinite expansion of merit. 

The practice truly brings joy and happiness to all sentient beings directly or indirectly, so it is a great source 

of spiritual energy and miraculous abilities. This is the first reason given to account for the

immeasurable power associated with the practice of bodhicitta: the infinitude of the objective focus -- 

all sentient beings.

The second reason given is that, when considering the experience of all sentient beings, you feel 

from the bottom of your heart that you would like to remove their misery. Since you are no only thinking 

of the misery of one or two friends, but you are aspiring to remove the suffering of all beings, the power of

this virtue expands infinitely. This is the inconceivable power arising from the aspiration to relieve all of their

suffering.

The third power is related to the fact that you would like to establish them in the unceasing happiness 

and joy of enlightenment. This is called the power of giving, the great aspiration to share happiness with all

beings.

The fourth power is associated with tireless endurance. As we have already mentioned many times, 

the bodhisattva's endeavor is not just for one or two days. His or her commitment perseveres until 

every single sentient being is totally free from suffering and realizes ultimate enlightenment.

On the basis of these four great factors, bodhisattvas accumulate great power to remove the troubles 

and obscurations of self and others.

 

Quotes used are excerpted from  The Door to Inconceivable Wisdom and Compassion,

by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Sky Dancer Press, 1996

 

WHAT IS BODHICITTA?

 

Bodhicitta is a mind (including thought, action, feeling and speech) totally dedicated to others and to

 achieving full enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings as fully as possible. Bodhicitta is often

called the ‘Wish Fulfilling Jewel’ , because like a magic jewel it brings true happiness.

There are two levels of bodhichitta:

(1) aspirational,
(2) engaged.

Aspirational bodhichitta is the complete wish to overcome our emotional afflictions and delusions to realize

our full potentials to bring all fellow beings to the enlightened state free from suffering.

 

Aspirational Bodhicitta has two stages

      1) Heartfelt wishing to become a Buddha to benefit all sentient beings.

      2) Pledging never to abandon this aim until it is achieved.

Developing the wishing state does not involve a pledge. With the pledged state of bodhicitta,

we promise to train in five actions that help us never to lose our determination.

The first four trainings determine our bodhicitta aspiration and pledge not to decline during this lifetime.

The fifth training is determination not to lose our intention in future lives.

 

Engaged bodhichitta means engaging in the practices and behavior that bring about this goal by

taking the bodhisattva vows to restrain from actions detrimental to it.

In taking bodhisattva vows the trainee bodhisattva vows to abstain from certain negative acts that would

 defer the bodhisattva reaching enlightenment and thereby to be of as much benefit to others as is possible.

 

The vows are:

(1) eighteen actions that, if committed, constitute a root downfall
(2) forty-six types of wrong behavior

 There are Four Trainings for Bodhicitta Resolve Not to Decline in This Life

1) Each day and night, recalling the advantages of the bodhicitta motivation.

2) Remembering, reaffirming and intensifying this motivation by rededicating our hearts to our

 enlightenment and the enlightenment of others, three times each day and three times each night.

3) Striving to build up positive mental states and deep awareness and wisdom. Benefiting and helping

others using all the skills and means at our disposal, as effectively as we can,

 and doing so with as much deep awareness of reality as is possible.

4) Never giving up trying to help anyone, or at least wishing to be able to do so,

no matter how difficult he or she may be.

 

 

 

Eternal Knot

Instructions for Spiritual Practice by Shakyamuni Buddha

from the Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya Vol. 1, 188-193 P.T.S. Ed.)

   Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason

and it is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all –

then accept it and live up to it.

 

"Take advantage of this human boat; Free yourself from sorrow's mighty stream!

This vessel will be later hard to find. The time that you have now, you fool, is not for sleep!"  

Shantideva, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, chapter VII, verse 14  

 

 

 

   

 


 

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