Lecture given at Bodhi Path Buddhist Center,
Washington D.C. in 2002
begin every teaching with prayers to the Refuge, to the Bodhisattva
commitment, and to the Guru-masters.
in Tibetan means protection, in the Buddhist context, it means
to be protected by all the completely enlightened beings who are
the Buddhas. We are also protected by the truth of the Dharma,
the teachings of the Buddhas. In addition, we follow the Sangha
who act as our guides on the Path of Dharma. These are beings
who have already achieved a certain level of enlightened wisdom
through their own Dharma practice. They are therefore qualified
guides for us. We seek to be connected to these three aspects
of Refuge to avert our deviating into the wrong direction. We
wish to stay on the right path.
second prayer reflects the importance to develop the Bodhicitta
attitude. When we go to receive the Dharma, or when we practise
the Dharma, we are not doing it to solely benefit ourselves. It
is natural that we initially seek out the Dharma for our own sake.
But we must at the same time, start to learn to be concerned for
other beings as well. We learn to adopt an attitude, or an aspiration
that we may become useful to others. We try to share always with
others whatever knowledge we may acquire. This open, and genuine
altruistic care and concern for others is Bodhicitta.
we pray to the Guru as in Guru Yoga, we seek to receive the essence
of the knowledge and capacity of our Buddha nature mind. This
is accomplished through our connection to the qualities of the
Guru which will lead us to realize the essential meaning of the
Dharma thereby we become liberated from our suffering and our
illusions. This is just what the Buddha had taught us, to begin
to step away from samsara and towards nirvana through a process
of our own awakening to the truth.
we say the prayers, we try to keep our understanding in mind concerning
Refuge, Bodhicitta, and our connection to the realized masters.
term, Buddha, in Tibetan, means someone who is totally enlightened,
San Gye. He is someone whose knowledge is complete, or all knowing.
In Indian, the term is Bhagavan. A little more than 2500 years
ago, the Buddha explained that all beings could improve their
conditions by connecting to the truth. We should first try to
understand and then to act according to the truth. This will inevitably
bring about better and beneficial results for oneself as well
as for others.
Buddha explained that each and every being has an innate and basic
potential. This potential is wisdom, and it can be developed.
Just as he himself developed his wisdom and reached enlightenment,
similarly, we can also achieve this same result. The Buddha then
taught extensively and exclusively to reach this one goal. He
explained in great details the obstacles preventing us from developing
our inner potential. He elucidated the methods, the practices
as remedies to help us overcome our obstacles. He taught the path
of meditation as the means to develop our innate wisdom.