What it means to share our favorite pizza with someone else? What it means to repay the kindness of our parents & people around in deepest sense? What it means to be a ‘True Warrior’?
For Bodhisattva Shantideva, it is not an uncanny affair but an ‘indispensable attitude’ or a ‘truth’ for fulfilling our own aspiring vision of ‘paradise’ of peace & harmony, yet we keep on forgetting such a simple raw blatant truth, we miss it. Though, we don’t miss to ‘look’ but we do miss to ‘see’ it, we ‘hear’ but we don’t ‘listen’, Shantideva keeps on striking the same chord again & again through his amazing lines of reasoning on ‘meditation on bodhichitta’ in the text Bodhicharyavatara.
I am fortunate along with many other friends to study this awesome text with, Khenpo Urgyen’s in-depth commentary & our eloquent translator Joost, and right now we have just finished with the meditation chapter. Part of the chapter was on generating bodhichitta through ‘equalizing & exchanging self with others’. In the text it says,
“First of all, I should make an effort to meditate upon the equality between self and others. I should protect all beings as I do myself, because we are all equal in (wanting) pleasure and (not wanting) pain.”
Taking this simple truth into consideration & habituation, would result in or become ‘THE simple ground’ for reconciliation & peace. Secondly, there is the exchanging of self with others in meditation, as the text says,
“Thus whoever wishes to quickly afford protection, to both the self and other beings, should practice that holy secret: The exchanging of self for others.”
Interestingly, in this alchemical process of mental transformation, Shantideva prescribes to indulge in throwing arrows of afflictions on ‘others’ i.e ‘meditated self’. As in the text,
“Take others- lower, higher, equal – as yourself, identify yourself as “other”. Then, without another thought, immerse yourself in envy, pride and rivalry.”
And quite amazingly the bounty of negative emotions ricochets or gets self- liberated, since it is not only improper ‘to fire’ onto the meditated-self, but equally ridiculous ‘to even point’ to one’s-own-self. Similarly there are many other wonderful reasoning that Shantideva framed, are simply awe-inspiring to even contemplate a bit, the marks & signs of a ‘True Warrior’. Such a drastic shift of perspective not only contributes to personal peace & awesomeness but also caters to the much-needed global peace & security. As beautifully highlighted by Shantideva:
“Thus, because they love to pacify the pains of others,Those whose minds are attuned in this way,Would enter even the deepest hell,Just as a wild goose plunges into a lotus pool.”
“Will not the ocean of joy,that shall exist when all beings are free,be sufficient for me?What am I doing wishing for my liberation alone?”
~ Nawang from India