I recently listened to the Dalai Lama (through his translator) say something on a karma related subject. He said that even a simple act of virtue like feeding an animal (even ants) when it is done with an altruistic attitude (intention of helpfulness and compassion) with the idea of benefiting those sentient beings that this is what is meant by the term “bodhicitta”. The word translates from Sanskrit this way: bodhi means enlightened or awakened and citta means mind or consciousness. So we could say that bodhicitta means awakened mind and it is the compassionate act of a bodhisattva practitioner. To take it further, A person who has a spontaneous realization or motivation of bodhicitta is called a bodhisattva.
I would not go so far as to refer to myself as a bodhisattva but the Dalai Lama says even a simple act of conduct or action done in virtue with the intention of helpfulness and compassion are transformed into conditions of full enlightenment. I think of conditions being transformed in such a way that awakening, at least in moments, is favorable. So even simple acts of loving intention, he said, are like an elixir that transforms base metals into gold.
Only a true Buddhist would consider feeding ants. That has never occurred to me to do, but maybe will since the great teacher Dalai Lama mentioned it. However, I do feed stray cats. There is one little Buddha-Cat who honestly cracks my heart open every time he comes with the others to eat. He had a lot of fear right after he was born–really significantly frightened more than his brother or sisters. Now, he is warming up to me and the other neighbor here who feeds him. Here’s the thing. The others dive into the food platter — a clear plastic party platter works well for them, each having their own compartment. However, while he may be positioned to eat, he doesn’t start until he looks up into your eyes and reaches his head up so as to rub noses with you.
Each time I feed this cat, my heart opens more and he makes it easy for me to create the mindstate of a Bodhisattva. I accept any conditions that would lead me to full awakening. This sweet cat is helping me; may he remain protected and happy.
PS it is said that His Holiness rescued his cat from the slums of Dharmsala.
This post is about a quick flash of a psychic insight that occurred in the midst of a social situation just yesterday at the gym. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged obviously. Keep berating myself –must be more consistent with blogging. Feeling like there’s nothing to say and ducking back into my hermit cave is no excuse. So here’s something.
Hmmmm. Where to begin? Well, you know how some people seem to put on airs, right? That phrase is used when people act as if they are from a higher class in society. There is a lady that fits this description at the gym. She’s a swimmer and when I, too, was swimming laps we met in the swim lanes and the locker room.
I stopped swimming due to the air quality of the indoor pool and our paths had not crossed for over a year but there she was yesterday waiting for a weightlifting class that I, too, planned to attend. She was discoursing quite authoritatively on the negative aspects of the class–this class that I love! How could she speak with such a demeanor when she’d not frequented any of the classes?
She began to gather listeners and explain how these new classes were of a lesser quality than the ‘old’ classes, asserting some kind of seniority as the expert witness.
Most of the others, including myself, began to scoff since the new strength training/weight lifting class is highly popular. Every class is nearly full! This woman was beginning to make a fool of herself.
Why? Why was she putting on those airs with a ‘sour-grapes’ kind of attitude’?
I could see it clearly the moment my irritation released and compassion substituted. She was nervous about taking the class for the first time and this was her way of making herself feel comfortable enough to be there.
I glanced in her direction several times during the hour-long session. She positioned herself in the back of the room but through the mirrors, it was obvious that she was struggling and not keeping up very well.
Compassion is a good platform for psychic insight.
Mistakes. Learning opportunities — that’s what they are. Negative karmic behaviors sometimes cause us to dump the toxic spills of our own minds onto others–loved ones, friends, etc., and we create oil slicks. If we allow our emotional fires to run rampant, it causes destruction. Compassion and forgiveness put out the fire and is what begins the cleanup and restoration in the emotional aftermath.
Yet, sometimes our own mental corruption is deeply ingrained. Healing deep imprints of karmic, habitual behaviors can be a challenge. It can feel like uprooting one’s very identity!
It is wise to recall that this identity is ego itself.
Lately, I’ve become more aware than ever before of where my energy is focused and what exactly is a good use of that emphasis and why. I have a few thoughts to share about that.
Energy, of course, is better spent on tending to our own gardens and enjoying our own flowers.
Smelling the roses is more worthy an endeavor, even if garbage dumps are around *and there always will be to some extent*. Enjoy the accomplishments of what you have grown and how you are progressing down life’s path–thus speaks my inner guidance.
Meanwhile, compassion and forgiveness make the best traveling companions.