Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Questions Answered-Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 414 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: Questions Answered-Khenpo Sodargye
« on: October 02, 2016, 04:13:44 pm »
Questions Answered

In The Sutra of the Wise and the Fool, the Great Biography of Buddha Shakyamuni, or other scriptures, there are many stories about how the god Indra, in order to test the sincerity of Buddha’s aspiration, purposely created havoc while the Buddha was practicing the paramita of generosity. It puzzles many people: Why should Indra make so much trouble for the Buddha?

As a matter of fact, this came about as a result of Indra’s power of aspiration. When the Buddha was on the Bodhisattva path, Indra, like Devadatta, made vows to help the Buddha accumulate merits swiftly. To do so they manifested in various forms toward which the Buddha would practice his patience or make body offerings. The deed of offering one’s own body, unlike a material offering that is relatively easy, has been achieved only as rarely as one sees stars in the daytime. However, without such a dramatic offering on the part of the Buddha, worldly people would not come to appreciate his extraordinary qualities.

Others raise the question: The Buddha often offered his own wife and children to flesh-eating rakshas in order to perfect the accumulation of merit. Aren’t such acts harmful to other beings?

To begin with, the Buddha’s activity could only bring tremendous merit to his wife and children; there was no harm to them. Furthermore, his motivation was not in self-interest. It was wishing for swift enlightenment in order to liberate multitudes of beings from dire suffering. There was neither a single trace of selfishness nor the tiniest bit of self-serving. A Guide to Bodhisattva’s Way of Life says: “For it is taught that in times of generosity, the rules of discipline may be suspended,” and: “The great should not be supplanted by the less, and it is others’ good that is the highest goal.” Hence there are times a Bodhisattva is permitted to actually commit harmful acts of body and speech, provided the intention is pure bodhichitta. The Chapter on the Three Increasing Activities says: “The Bodhisattvas are permitted to commit the seven harmful actions.” Similar teachings can be found in The Sutra of Great Secret Skills.

The story of Captain Great Compassionate Heart tells how the Captain killed the Black Spearman in order to save him from incalculable sufferings in samsara and, at the same time, to benefit many other beings. Brahmin Lover of the Stars, to save a maiden madly in love with him from killing herself, broke his vow of chastity. Therefore, the most crucial point is the motivation. Doing good deeds superficially without pure motivation is like climbing a tree to catch a fish.

26th of February, Year of RenWu
April 8, 2002

 


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