Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Sevenfold Cause-and-Effect Method

If we have been reborn time after time, it is evident that we have needed many mothers to give birth to us. ...the first cause bringing about bodhicitta is the recognition that all beings have been our mother.

The love and kindness shown us by our mother in this life would be difficult to repay. She endured many sleepless nights to care for us when we were helpless infants. She fed us and would have willingly sacrificed everything, including her own life, to spare ours. As we contemplate her example of devoted love, we should consider that each and every being throughout existence has treated us this way. Each dog, cat, fish, fly, and human being has at some point in the beginningless past been our mother and shown us overwhelming love and kindness. Such a thought should bring about our appreciation. This is the second cause of bodhicitta.

As we envision the present condition of all these beings, we begin to develop the desire to help them change their lot. This is the third cause, and out of it comes the fourth, a feeling of love cherishing all beings. This is an attraction toward all beings, similar to what a child feels upon seeing his or her mother. This leads us to compassion, which is the fifth cause of bodhicitta. Compassion is a wish to separate these suffering beings, our mothers of the past, from their miserable situation. At this point we also experience loving-kindness, a wish that all beings find happiness. As we progress through these stages of responsibility, we go from wishing that all sentient beings find happiness and freedom from suffering to personally assuming responsibility for helping them enter this state beyond misery. This is the final cause. As we scrutinize how best to help others, we are drawn to achieving the fully enlightened and omniscient state of Buddhahood.

From: An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by The Dalai Lama, edited by Nicholas Vreeland

8 comments:

Dan said...

Indeed!

Don Iannone said...

Thought you'd agree Dan. Thanks.

Imemine said...

Beliefs don't lead to enlightenment. Love, especially parental love, is natural and strong and proves we are truly enlightened.

Don Iannone said...

Thanks Imemine...I suggest you request a personal meeting with His Holiness on this matter.

dumbdodi said...

THANKS A LOT

Don Iannone said...

Dumbdodi...thank His Holiness. I give thanks for his guidance and inspiration.

Mike said...

I missed this post! The Dalai Lama describes a beautiful method of generating compassion here. Thanks for posting!

Don Iannone said...

Thanks Mike. It is a good one.

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