Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Tough Questions - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 1342 times)

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Tough Questions

“Is there bodhichitta on the level of Buddhahood? Do the Bodhisattva vows require the Pratimoksha vows as the basis?” These questions have always been raised during the Dharma debate in Tibetan monasteries.

The answers to these questions are many and each holds a different viewpoint.

According to the superior viewpoint of Nyingma master Longchenpa, they can be summarized as: “On the level of Buddhahood, there is absolute bodhichitta, but not the bodhichitta conferred in rituals while on the path of learning. The Buddha’s compassion is free from concepts, infinite, and unconditional; once gained, such bodhichitta will never be lost.”

In the Middle Prajnaparamita Sutra it says: “I see all sentient beings with my Buddha-eye and I possess bodhichitta. Traveling to the realms of hell, hungry ghosts and animals of the eastern worlds as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River, I expound Dharma for all the beings there.”

According to views of Cittamatra, one must have kept at least one of the Pratimoksha precepts to receive the Bodhisattva vow. In Lamp on the Path to Enlightenment it says: “Only those who have kept at least one of the seven categories of the Pratimoksha vows are the fortunate ones to receive Bodhisattva vows. No one else can.”

According to Madhyamaka, every sentient being can have bodhichitta and thus possessing a human body is not required. The Jewel Heap Sutra (Ratnakūṭa Sutra) says: “When the treatises are thus expounded, numerous beings—gods, nagas, demigods, garudas, big-bellied ones and so on, all generate bodhichitta, the wish for unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment.

Therefore, these two points of view are not contradictory. As long as genuine bodhichitta is generated, the precepts in the Pratimoksha vows such as not taking life become perfect also.

These are really the priceless legacies of our lineage masters!

1st of February, Year of RenWu
March 14, 2002


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