Deep and Gentle Longing for Altruism
In gentler earlier times, I think calling and yearning for the awakening of the mind of bodhichitta was often inspired by less suffering ridden methods than used today. I have a book of love letters written in the 1600 and 1700’s. It’s very sweet and sincere. “I saw you buying a hat my lady, and my heart could hardly remain intact”. Beautiful poetry, “I can not forsake your image from my mind”. This imagery has a deep perfume of gentle longing and yearning. We not often see yearning with purity to it in our contemporary world, like these love letters. They continuously flow expression such as, “my heart, my love for you is true. I cannot tolerate being without your presence”.
It seems that modern society quickly degenerated into exhibited sensuality and cynical roughness that rips the glow and the dusting of starlight from the esoteric longing of these beautiful love letters. These love letters remind me spiritual beautiful poetry written toward the enlightened state. I used to write poetry like this in my just before life in the Tibetan language so I still remember the strong feeling. This uplifting quality and purity of intention and purity of aspiration is alive in this kind of poetry in this line of Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattvas Way of Life.
17. Although the result of the spirit of aspiring for awakening is great………..This longing for the resultant state of the Bodhi mind must happen and it must be heart-based like a sincere love letter rather than rough. By acknowledging this, subtle minds resonate and are encouraged to come alive within the system of development instead of just rising without purpose.
The only known method is steady daily practice that emphasizes compassion. Strong and sweet feelings experienced in meditation change the way we think about meditation and motivate us to do more so we can reinforce these wonderful feelings. Because of obstacles from this life and previous lives we also should work at developing a special kind of courage that is without anger or roughness that motivates us to continue when the sweetness just not arrive!
I had a conversation with a dear young woman who attended a couple of teachings, but is not a committed meditator. She said “Rinpoche, how do you just keep continuing meditation practice? I start and I do it for awhile, and then I get a feeling like maybe I shouldn’t do it, and then I just give it up and don’t do any practice at all.” I felt surprised to hear that because she was capable. I said, “Where’s you backbone that you would be so easily influenced to give up practice and meditation so easily? What are you, an inhabitant of a boneless chicken ranch?” “Well, maybe I am”, she admitted. We laughed, and I think she got it.
This aspiration to arise the genuine altruistic mind of a higher developed being definitely brings results. How? Because, with practice the mind is becomes continuously absorbed in a healthy new way. Very simply, while you’re thinking about bodhichitta, your mind is not delving into delusions.
I was recently at an airport, the plane was late so I wandering into a magazine shop to waste time. One magazine cover had a well-known person, with a banner headline “My favorite things are porn and water-skiing”. I thought he must feel pretty shy about saying something like this on the cover of the magazine, and then I realized this was not something that he felt shy about at all! In fact, he was expressing it just like telling his favorite movie, or I like the color blue. s I could see that his mind would be absorbed in the very things that interested him most! How much more wonderful when we place our minds toward what was actually going to produce quality benefits in the future.
So, even though the aspiring mind of bodhichitta has not actually done anything such as acts of a bodhisattva or saving all living beings yet, even that mind will produce so beneficial effects such as gaining human birth in the next life. How wonderful to have such grand aspirations.