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Old 01-12-2008, 01:35 AM
Location: California
3,904 posts, read 4,888,114 times
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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Selflessness in Context: Ultimate Bodhichitta
Let us return for a moment to the beginning of [the Heart] Sutra where the Buddha enters into the meditative absorption called "appearance of the profound" and Avalokiteshvara beholds the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom. Generally speaking, the expression "appearance of the profound" refers to the bodhisattva deeds, which are encompassed in the practice of the six perfections. Here, however, the expression refers particularly to the perfection of wisdom, known in Sanskrit as prajnaparamita. What the text means by "perfection of wisdom" is a direct, unmediated realization of emptiness that is also called "ultimate bodhichitta." This is not the direct realization of emptiness alone; rather it is this direct realization in union with bodhichitta--the aspiration to become a buddha in order to free all beings. This union of wisdom and method constitutes the first bhumi, or level of bodhisattva attainment.
The importance of this altruistic aspiration cannot be overstated. Bodhichitta is not only important as a motivating factor at the beginning of practice, it is also important as a complementary and a reinforcing factor during every stage of the path. The bodhichitta aspiration is twofold, comprised both of the wish to help others and of the wish to become enlightened so that one's assistance will be supremely effective.
--from Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated & edited by Thupten Jinpa
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