How to Develop the Bodhi-Citta

CW27

Part I

Written by Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
Edited by Dr. Yutang Lin



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I   What Does Bodhi-citta Mean
Chapter II   How to Develop the Bodhi-citta of Will
Chapter III   How to Perform the Bodhi-citta of Conduct
Chapter IV   How to Develop the Bodhi-citta of Victorious Significance
Chapter V   How to Develop the Bodhi-citta of Samadhi
Chapter VI   How to Develop the Bodhi-citta of Kunda Which Contains the Red Bodhi and the White Bodhi in a Psycho-Physical System of Holy Quality

Chapter VII Conclusion


Chapter I: What Does Bodhi-Citta Mean?

Bodhi-citta is a Sanskrit term which is borrowed from the one in the consequence position to be used as the one in the causal position (ed. note: a complete explanation of the positions of cause and consequence may be found in C. M. Chen's book Buddhist Meditation: Systematic and Practical.) Bodhi-citta, means "an enlightened mind" or "heart" or "the final awareness wisdom of a Buddha who is in the consequence position"; yet it can be borrowed by a Bodhisattva in all stages of his development in order to imitate and practice it in the causal position. Hence, it is a most important term; every practice of Buddhism starts with it and aims at it.

The public translation department of the T'ang Dynasty set up a rule covering five kinds of non-translatable terms, viz: 1) those with esoteric meanings 2) those with several meanings 3) those without equivalents in the translator's country 4) those which would be less impressive when translated 5) those which were old and established. This term Bodhi-citta belongs to numbers 4 and 5. Dr. Herbert V. Guenther in his translation of The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (p. 112) translated Bodhicitta as "enlightened attitude". I am not in agreement with this.

"Attitude" is a psychological term and can only partially cover the meaning of Bodhi-citta. The Chinese translation "Bodhi-Hsin" seems to be better as the word "Hsin" has an original meaning of "heart" in the physical sense which may also cover the esoteric meanings since the fourth kind of Bodhi-citta of Samadhi is visualized in the heart and the fifth Bodhi-citta of Kunda likewise lays most emphasis on Red Bodhi and White Bodhi, both of which are psycho-physical. "Hsin" also means "mind" psychically and means "essence" philosophically, which may cover the third category of Victorious Significance.

Among the five kinds of Bodhi-citta systematized by me are the following:

  1. Bodhi-citta of Will
  2. Bodhi-citta of Conduct
  3. Bodhi-citta of Victorious Significance
  4. Bodhi-citta of Samadhi
  5. Bodhi-citta of Kunda
The term "enlightened attitude" only covers the first Bodhi-citta. The second kind has a clear meaning of action but not of attitude. The third one is philosophical. The fourth and fifth are more or less psycho-physical. All of these meaning are not included in the term "attitude". The Chinese word "Hsin" seems to be a better choice than "attitude" but the problem is that only Chinese scholars may recognize it. Hence, in my humble opinion it is better to do without translation.

Regarding the correspondence of Bodhi-citta with the three yanas we may say: The Bodhi-citta of Will is practiced by all yanas; the Bodhi-citta of Conduct is practiced partially by Hinayana and thoroughly by Mahayana and Vajrayana. As the Hinayana lays most stress on doing Goodness and holding steadfastly to their vinaya, whenever profitable Bodhi-citta conduct includes any evil, the Hinayanists would not be able to do it. For instance, Buddha converted a beautiful lady by accepting her evil request and saved 500 merchants by killing a robber. "Every sweet has its sour, every evil its good" - even Emerson who was a layman said such things; nevertheless, the Hinayana would not consent to evil action for the sake of good results. The Bodhi-citta of Samadhi and that of Kunda are only practiced by Vajrayana. As for the most important Bodhi-citta of Victorious Significance, it should be practiced by all yanas, yet many practitioners neglect it. In this booklet I have to ask their attention so they may retain a deep impression of its importance.

To save a lengthy statement or dissertation a list of Bodhi-citta correspondences is offered below:

BODHI-CITTA DOCTRINE YANA POSITION CONSEQUENCE
Of Will exoteric all three yanas causal nirmanakaya
Of Conduct exoteric Hinayana partly; Mahayana and Vajrayana entirely course sambhogakaya
Of Victorious Significance exoteric Hinayana partly; Mahayana and Vajrayana entirely course dharmakaya
Of Samadhi esoteric Vajrayana Yogic Tantra consequence sahajakaya
Of Kunda esoteric Vajrayana Anuttara Tantra consequence Mahasukha prajnakaya

As the Vajrayana in ancient times had not breathed a word about its own particular Bodhi-citta to the multitudes, all the essays on Bodhi-citta written by the sages were limited to the first three kinds. Now, however, the Hevajra Tantra has been translated into English; every reader may purchase it. The Tantra is no longer like a needle in a haystack. It comes to every man's and woman's ears. With the great convenience of world-wide communication, international religious comparative study is going on very East and each religion likes to put their most secret, most sacred doctrines into the light of the whole world. In our age if one is still keeping the Vajrayana in secret, he is like a thief who steals another's bell and hides his own ears in hope that the sound of the bell would not be heard by the other. It is really foolish!

Much the more since I am the only person of this age who emphasizes the whole system of Buddhism, I should connect the two doctrines, exoteric and esoteric, into one system. I shall deal with them separately in detail in the following chapters.

Before presenting the description of each Bodhi-citta, some terms which may be easily confounded should be discriminated in order to let the reader and practitioner get a clear understanding of the significance of those terms for their contemplations and performances.

A Chinese essay titled "Discriminations between Goodness, Love, Great Compassion and Bodhi-citta" was written by me many years ago, published in Hong Kong and was presented freely to various famous libraries of the world. I hope someone will translate this essay of mine into English someday. Here I can just translate a few points from that essay:

  1. Bodhi-citta is not only goodness; the Bodhi-citta of Conduct surely connects with goodness, but the latter can not be called Bodhi-citta because the motive and the consequence of the former is aimed at full-enlightenment, and the latter at heaven only.
  2. Bodhi-citta is not worldly love; a worldly love is a sorrow and a poison which causes us to fall into an animal state. A Vajra love is a reasonable love deriving from the sunyata truth but not from passion or emotion. Bodhi-citta even contains such a reasonable vajra love which is quite different from worldly love. On pretext of this some people refuse renunciation by saying "I should love my parents and my wife and my children; without loving them, what is my Bodhi-citta?!" This is quite wrong. Without Bodhi-citta one does not really love his family and renunciation is a practical step toward developing Bodhi-citta. He who leaves his family may still have the reasonable love when he practices Bodhi-citta in solitude.
  3. Bodhi-citta is not the same as great compassion; great Bodhi-citta is a virtue possessed partially by Bodhisattvas, and completely by Buddhas. It is a term in the consequence position. Bodhi-citta, as I have said before, is a term borrowed from the consequence position yet used as a term in the causal position. One should develop Bodhi-citta first before great Compassion is gained. Many Buddhists, even scholars, confuse these two terms, thus confounding the issue. Some very well-known essays write of Bodhi-citta but actually only describe compassion.

  4. A very common definition of Bodhi-citta which is known to every student and scholar is this:
  5. "For the sake of ultimately saving others one must continuously practice until Buddhahood is achieved."

    This definition consists of three parts: 1) "ultimately saving others". It is why Bodhi-citta has been confused with goodness, love, and compassion (but the adverb "ultimately" has been ignored). 2) "continuously practise". It is why every kind of practice is connected with Bodhi-citta. Hence, five kinds of Bodhi-citta influence the whole system of Buddhist practices, including the three yanas. It should not be confined only to compassion alone. 3) "until Buddhahood is achieved". It is why Bodhi-citta has the two great important parts: one is compassion, the other is wisdom. Both make the noble name of Buddha as the Noble-Two-Foot. Many have neglected the factor of wisdom, and overemphasized that of compassion. By practicing compassion without wisdom, Buddhahood will never be gained.

After all confused terms are clarified, we may then set forth the "5 Hows" in the following chapters:


Chapter II: How to Develop the Bodhi-Citta of Will?

Even in the realm of worldly knowledge men know will is a power. Clarence Day who said, "Will and wisdom are both mighty leaders of our times," worships the will. Max Lerner said, "Man's will creates the things that paralyze his brain and brutalize his heart." The doctrine of three yanas all emphasize that practitioners should develop their Bodhi-citta of Will before any other practice is done. Where there is the will, there is the way. Even an ill will may get a chance to succeed. Two real stories may be mentioned here:

  1. One was told by my friend Mr. Chang Shen Chen. He was born in a Buddhist family. His grandmother advised him that when he passed over the dangerous hills where robbers usually gave trouble to rich passengers, he should carefully repeat the incantation of Tara. Mr. Chang complied with her advice and had no trouble. But once he seemed doubtful of the incantation and purposely stopped. and with a feeling of ill-will said to himself, "If the incantation is really useful, this time I might meet the robbers!" Just a minute later after having the ill-will feeling, he met robbers and escaped just with his life.
  2. The other story was told by Chang Yu-Nea-Tzih. She is now in the U.S.A. She is a graduate of Chin-Lin College which is a Christian school, but her husband Garma C. C. Chang is a Buddhist. When they met me in Kalimpong it was only a few months after their marriage. Certainly she had not yet followed the bent of Buddhism at that time
  3. Her husband asked me to perform a Homa sacrifice to Tara. She saw that all those precious things would be put into the fire It seemed to her just like casting pearls before swine. Her doubt was continuously kept in her mind until sleep. She had a feeling of ill-will and said to herself, "If it can be really inspired by Tara, try to send me a bad dream to cudgel my brain." Thereupon she very easily fell into a dream. Many corpses and skulls were present. After she as awakened by such a terrible vision, she created ill-will again: "It is not enough proof unless I get a disease very soon. Immediately she suffered a high fever. She, however, never satisfied, was so bold as to vow a very dangerous thing by saying, "Please try to make me run a risk even between two fires on the next day!" which was the day before the date of Homa chosen by me.

    The next evening she had a small quarrel with her husband. The latter came to me and said, "I heard that when you were invited by Mr. Lee Pai Hwa of Quen-Min, with your forefinger pointing on Mr. Lee's body his demon departed and he felt his body become very light. Was it true?" I replied "yes!" Then he asked me to do the same to him and said, "If I get such a light sensation, I would like to leave my wife and follow you to be a hermit." I refused. It was because the demon of Lee was a demon only of the bad habit of opium! At that time I did not know that they had had a quarrel. And a most dangerous thing happened to his wife when C, C. Chang left her and came to me. She had taken a large quantity of poison adding some brandy and then made two Wills; one Will was intended to be given to the police. It said that her suicide was by her own will and in no way concerned her husband. The other Will provided for giving ten thousand rupees to her servant Mr. Wong Qua Chong.

    It was extremely fortunate that her servant came to call her to dinner just after the Will was written for him. After finding out such a dangerous thing, he immediately called the doctor and all poisons were ejected through the doctor's treatment. She was saved!

    Actually the contention of their quarrel as it stood was a pretty, lovely, beautiful private secrecy, as she told me frankly the next morning when I went to her house to perform the Homa. But as the ill-will invoked proved to be very dangerous, it almost resulted in divorce of one half and in death of the other. How powerful is the Will!! It is written in Confucius' Analects: "The commander of a force of a large state may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from him." No one can rob us of our free will. He who is firm in will molds the world to himself, With will one can do anything; ill-will does evil, good will does good, Bodhi-citta of will leads us to Buddha's full enlightenment.

Since the good will is difficult to achieve, some suffering might happen in its course, yet sooner or later it will succeed. Tennyson has written:

"O! Well for him whose will is strong,
He suffers but he will not suffer long!
He suffers but he cannot suffer wrong!"

Many Buddhas have set their good examples for us. The Chinese Pureland School which has induced or lured many souls to its teachings is a school of will based upon the 48 great vows of Buddha Amitayus. The Buddha of Healing has 12 great vows. Gautama and the future Buddha Maitreya both have 4 great vows. The great Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has 32 vows; Manjusri and Samantabhadra both have 10 great vows. I introduce here neither the too long vows numbering 48 nor the too short vows numbering 4. The 12 great vows of the Healing Buddha are listed below:

  1. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED UNEXCELLED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, MY BODY SHOULD BE SHINING LIKE A BRILLIANT LIGHT THROWING BEAMS ON INFINITE AND BOUNDLESS WORLDS, ADORNED WITH A RETINUE OF THIRTY-TWO FORMS OF THE GREAT MAN AND WITH EIGHTY PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BUDDHA, I SHALL MAKE ALL BEINGS EQUAL TO ME.
  2. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, MY BODY SHOULD BE LIKE A CRYSTAL IN SPOTLESS PURITY BOTH WITHIN AND WITHOUT, WITH SPLENDOROUS RADIANT LIGHT IN THE MAJESTY OF ITS VIRTUE, SITTING SERENELY, ADORNED WITH THE AUREOLE, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN AND THE MOON, I SHALL REVEAL MY GREAT POWER TO ALL THE BEINGS IN OBSCURITY IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY ACT FREELY ACCORDING TO THEIR BENT.
  3. I VOW THAT, HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, I SHOULD GRANT BY MEANS OF BOUNDLESS WISDOM TO ALL BEINGS THE INEXHAUSTIBLE THINGS THAT THEY MAY NEED SO THAT THEY MAY BE FREE FROM ANY WANT.
  4. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED WITH TRANQUILITY FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, I SHOULD BRING THOSE WHO HAVE GONE THE HETERODOX WAYS TO DWELL IN THE WAY OF BODHI; AND THOSE WHO TRAVEL ON THE VEHICLE OF THE SRAVAKA AND THE PRATYEKA-BUDDHA WILL BE ENABLED TO STAND FIRMLY ON THE GREAT VEHICLE OF THE BODHISATTVA.
  5. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, I SHOULD LEAD THE INNUMERABLE BEINGS TO OBSERVE ALL THE MORAL LAWS OF PURE LIVING AND TO KEEP THE THREE KINDS OF VINAYAS. SHOULD THERE BE ANY RELAPSE OR VIOLATION, THEY SHALL BECOME PURE AGAIN AND NOT FALL INTO EVIL STATES WHEN ONCE THEY HEAR OF MY NAME.
  6. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, THOSE BEINGS WHO ARE PHYSICALLY INFERIOR WITH IMPERFECT SENSES, SUCH AS THOSE WHO ARE BLIND, DEAF, MUTE, CRIPPLED, PARALYZED, HUMP-BACKED, UGLY, STUPID, LEPEROUS, INSANE OR SUFFER ANY KIND OF ILLNESS, SHALL ALL REGAIN THEIR NORMAL APPEARANCE AND BECOME INTELLIGENT WHEN THEY HEAR OF MY NAME. ALL THEIR SENSES SHALL BE PERFECTLY RESTORED AND THEY SHALL NOT SUFFER FROM DISEASE.
  7. I VOW THAT, HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, THOSE WHO ARE TORMENTED BY DISEASES AND ARE WITHOUT HELP, REFUGE, DOCTOR, MEDICINE, RELATIVES AND HOME, ALL OF THESE POOR AND MISERABLE BEINGS SHALL BE FREE FROM DISEASES AND TROUBLES AND SHALL ENJOY PERFECT HEALTH OF BODY AND MIND ONCE MY NAME REACHES THEIR EARS. THEY SHALL HAVE FAMILIES, FRIENDS, AND PROPERTIES APLENTY AND SHALL ALL BE BROUGHT TO THE SUPREME ENLIGHTENMENT OF BUDDHA.
  8. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, THOSE WOMEN WHO ARE TORMENTED BY THE VARIOUS SUFFERINGS OF THE FEMALE SEX, WHO ARE MUCH WEARIED BY THE FEMALE BODY, SHALL BE TRANSFORMED INTO MEN IN THE NEXT REBIRTH ONCE THEY HEAR MY NAME AND SHALL ATTAIN THE SUPREME ENLIGHTENMENT OF BUDDHA.
  9. I VOW THAT HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, I SHALL LET ALL BEINGS ESCAPE THE EVIL NET OF MARA AND LET THEM BE FREE FROM NON-BUDDHIST CULTS. IF THEY SHOULD HAVE FALLEN INTO THE DENSE FOREST OF FALSE DOCTRINES, I SHOULD ASSIST AND LEAD THEM TO THE NOBLE TRUTH AND GRADUALLY INDUCE THEM TO PRACTICE THE DHARMA OF THE BODHISATTVA SO THAT SOON THEY SHALL ATTAIN THE SUPREME ENLIGHTENMENT OF BUDDHA.
  10. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, ALL THOSE WHO ARE JUDGED AND CONDEMNED BY THE ROYAL LAW TO BE BOUND AND WHIPPED, ENCHAINED IN PRISONS, SENTENCED TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, AT THE MERCY OF NUMEROUS OTHER DISASTERS AND INSULTS, AFFLICTED WITH SORROWS AND ANGUISHES, AND TROUBLED IN BOTH BODY AND MIND, SHALL WHEN THEY HEAR OF MY NAME, ESCAPE EVIL KALPAS THROUGH THE AWE-INSPIRING MAJESTY OF MY BLESSEDNESS AND VIRTUE.
  11. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, I SHALL BRING IT TO PASS THAT ALL WHO ARE TORMENTED BY HUNGER AND THIRST AND THOSE WHO IN ORDER TO OBTAIN FOOD HAVE DONE EVIL KARMA WILL BE SATIATED FIRST WITH SUPERIOR DRINK AND FOOD IF THEY CAN CAREFULLY REMEMBER MY NAME AND CHERISH IT, THEN I SHOULD LET THEM TASTE THE FLAVOUR OF THE DHARMA AND EVENTUALLY THEY WILL COME TO LEAD A TRANQUIL AND HAPPY LIFE.
  12. I VOW THAT, AFTER HAVING ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, ALL BEINGS WHO ARE POOR AND NAKED, TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT BY MOSQUITOES AND WASPS, BY COLD AND HEAT, WHEN THEY HEAR MY NAME AND CAREFULLY REMEMBER AND CHERISH IT SHALL RECEIVE WONDERFUL GARMENTS OF ALL KINDS AS WELL AS VALUABLE ORNAMENTS, CHAPLETS OF FLOWERS FRAGRANT , AND VARIOUS KINDS OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC SHALL RESOUND; WHATEVER THEY DREAM OF THEY SHALL HAVE IN ABUNDANCE.

I was asked by the Ven. Bhikshu Sangharakshita: "Were those vows of Buddhas developed before or after their full enlightenment?" I replied: "Most of them were developed before their full enlightenment; as I have said, Bodhi-citta is a kind of practice in the causal position. Nevertheless, when one is already enlightened one may develop some special vows again which are not for practice but for blessing. It can be exemplified by Kuntu Zanpo's twelve vows in the Nyingmapa School; these twelve vows are repeated by every believer of their school:

  1. Samsara-Nirvana are not two lands.
    But one may be made as two paths, two ends.
    Through this prayer one attains Buddhahood,
    In the sacred Dharmadhatu abode.

  2. The unity of world and Nirvana is indescribable!
    Awareness of the full enlightenment is inconceivable!
    He who is without awareness wanders in Samsara.
    May all beings realize the true nature ineffable.

  3. The nature is without cause and condition.
    Awareness arises spontaneously within.
    There is no existential primacy.
    It is untainted by darkness of anything.
    All those manifest forms could not defile it.
    There is no fear but pristine awareness which dwells in.
    Even when the three great realms have been destroyed,
    Awareness still remains there without strain.
    Unattached to the five desirable sensations
    Spontaneous perception arises without thinking.
    Five poisons material are not existing.
    To the awareness there is not any obstruction.

  4. In this nature there is the Primordial Buddha.
    His five wisdoms are symbolized by the five Buddhas.
    The wisdom natures form forty-two peaceful Buddhas.
    But their powers form fifty-eight wrathful Buddhas.
    All beings of the three great realms have faith in those.
    They will get the five wisdoms and become Buddhas!

  5. I emanate many incarnations to teach,
    With many kinds of Law for whosoever each!
    Let all beings who are suffering in Samsara
    Depart from the sorrow of evil ocean's beach!

  6. Unawareness is the basis of delusion!
    It rouses five poisons and endless suffering!
    Through this prayer the prayer of Adi Buddha,
    Let all beings depart from their inclination.

  7. The inborn Ignorance causes clinging.
    To the self-and-others division.
    Through this prayer of Adi Buddha,
    Let them depart from the delusion.

  8. When duality is there, lust appears.
    It leads to tortured spirit area.
    Through this prayer of Adi Buddha,
    Comes bright awareness of one's own sphere.

  9. When hated object is considered,
    It leads to great violence and murder.
    Through this prayer of Adi Buddha
    One is saved to be a freeholder.

  10. When pride is to develop
    Even a god has no hope.
    Through Adi Buddha's prayer
    Wisdom of equality may rise up!

  11. When one is dull, lazy and foolish,
    It leads one to become beasts and fish.
    Through this prayer of Adi Buddha
    Bring one's own wisdom to accomplish.

  12. All beings are with me without exception
    Yet wander in six realms in delusion.
    Through this good prayer of Adi Buddha,
    May all attain Buddha's realization!!

I myself developed 10 vows when I was twenty-three. They have been translated into English in my book Buddhist Meditation: Systematic and practical. I will not list them again here. Those are my general vows; I also developed a particular set of vows when I was thirty-nine. An astrologer foretold that I would die at the age of forty. I then developed nine vows of non-death. They can be translated as follows:

  1. BEFORE I ACCUMULATE ALL THE REALIZATIONS OF TA***A, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  2. BEFORE I FULFILL ALL THE WILLS OF MY GURUS, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  3. BEFORE I GET ALL THE ATTAINMENT OF MY YIDAM, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  4. BEFORE I OFFER PLEASURE AND SATISFY ALL THE DESIRES OF THE DAKINIS, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH
  5. BEFORE I FULFILL ALL THE OATHS OF ALL MY PROTECTORS, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  6. BEFORE I PILGRIMAGE TO ALL THE BUDDHA LANDS, WORSHIP ALL THE BUDDHAS, AND PROMOTE ALL THE BUDDHA'S TEACHINGS I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  7. BEFORE I FULFILL ALL THE VOWS OF ALL BODHISATTVAS, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
  8. BEFORE I CONVERT ALL THE ARHATS INTO MAHAYANA, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH
  9. BEFORE I SAVE ALL THE SENTIENT BEINGS IN OR OUT OF MY BODY, I WOULD BE NON-DEATH.
Now I have passed the dangerous age of forty. I still repeat these vows until the nine holy karmas related to the vows are thoroughly performed.

Developing the Bodhi-citta of Will belongs to practical knowledge which comes after the two knowledges of hearing and thinking. One should learn all those ancient Bodhisattva's Bodhi-citta from sutras, Tantras, and biographies A Mahayana sutra named Flower of Great Compassion contains many good vows of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Such a doctrine full of tears never has been paid attention to by those Hinayana believers. It is a pity.

When I prepared to pilgrimage to India, I passed Mr. Garma C. C. Chang's home and stayed there for a few days. I asked all his family, servants, and maidservants to each write their good vows, and promised that I would repeat them before Gautama Buddha when I arrived at Bodhi Gaya. The contents of their vows, nine out of ten, were centralized upon themselves and a little extended to their parents and relatives. From Chang's place I flew to Yunan province and stayed with Professor Lo. Ying-Chung who was a very learned Buddhist. I also asked him to do the same. He then developed ten vows which are worthwhile to translate below:

  1. FOR LEADING ALL THE PARENT-LIKE SENTIENT BEINGS TO ATTAIN SAMYAK-SAMBODHI MAY I IN THIS LIFETIME PERFECTLY DISCOVER MY PROFOUND WISDOM AND GREAT COMPASSION AND MY DHARMAKAYA BE ACHIEVED AS WELL AS ALL BUDDHAS IN THE TEN DIRECTIONS.
  2. FOR UNFOLDING THE DHARMADHATU AND CARRYING ON ALL THE INEXHAUSTIBLE COMPASSIONATE VOWS, MAY I IN THIS LIFETIME ATTAIN THE PERFECT SAMBHOGAKAYA AS WELL AS ALL THE BUDDHAS IN THE TEN DIRECTIONS.
  3. FOR INDUCING ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF SENTIENT BEINGS TO PRACTICE VARIOUS DHARMAS UNTIL ATTAINING SAMYAK-SAMBODHI, MAY I IN THIS LIFETIME ACHIEVE NIRMANAKAYA WITH NUMBERLESS INCARNATIONS AS WELL AS ALL BUDDHAS IN THE TEN DIRECTIONS.
  4. FOR LEADING ALL SENTIENT BEINGS TO BE FIXED UPON THE SACRED AND SECRET MAHAMUDRA AND TRULY REALIZE THE NON-DISCRIMINATING WISDOM, MAY I IN THIS LIFETIME ACHIEVE THE SAHAJAKAYA AS WELL AS ALL ANCIENT BUDDHAS.
  5. FOR LEADING THOSE WHO ARE IN THE NATURAL SUNYATA ENTITY TO GET THE FUNCTIONS OF TA***A AND SO THAT EVEN THE LAST UNBELIEVING ONE OF THE KALI AGE WOULD NOT BE SET ASIDE, MAY I IN THIS LIFE BE ABLE TO PROMOTE ALL THE DOCTRINES OF ANUTTARA YOGA AND REVEAL MY MAHASUKHA-PRAJNAKAYA AS WELL AS THE GREAT GURU PADMASAMBHAVA.
  6. FOR REVEALING THE WONDERFUL WISDOM WITHIN THE DELUSIONS, AND RENOUNCING ALL THE PAINS OF ALL SENTIENT BEINGS, MAY I ALWAYS ABIDE IN THE PERMANENT-SILENT-LIGHT AND LET ALL THE BEINGS IN THE SIX REALMS REALIZE THE NATURAL EMANCIPATION.
  7. FOR INDUCING NUMBERLESS SENTIENT BEINGS TO ABIDE IN THE DHARMA-POSITION AND ALL ACHIEVE EVERY KIND OF BODHI MAY I ESTABLISH THE SUKHAVATI AS WELL AS AMITABHA.
  8. FOR LETTING ALL SENTIENT BEINGS REVEAL THE EQUAL AND RIGHT WISDOM FAR APART FROM EVERY DISCRIMINATION, MAY I BE ABLE TO INDUCE ALL THE OUTSIDERS, DEVAS, AND DEMONS INTO THE DHARMADHATU OF THE TATHAGATA.
  9. FOR LEADING ALL THE SENTIENT BEINGS TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH FAR APART FROM FALSE VIEWS, MAY I BE ABLE TO GUIDE THEM SKILLFULLY TO ENTER INTO THE BUDDHA'S INTELLECTUAL SPHERE .
  10. FOR LEADING THE SENTIENT BEINGS TO PRACTICE THE BUDDHA DHARMA AND FULFILL ALL THE BUDDHA'S GOOD VOWS, MAY I AND ALL SENTIENT BEINGS RECEIVE ALL THE SPIRITUAL FOODS TO ACHIEVE THE GREAT PERFECTION IN THIS LIFETIME.

For those who have never developed their own good vow, usually the five great vows and the four boundless wills of Maitreya Buddha are quoted and repeated in every ritual.

  1. the five great vows:
    1. I VOW TO SAVE ALL THOSE NUMBERLESS SENTIENT BEINGS.
    2. I VOW TO ACCUMULATE ALL THOSE NUMBERLESS WELFARES AND WISDOMS.
    3. I VOW TO LEARN ALL THOSE NUMBERLESS DIFFERENT DHARMAS.
    4. I VOW TO SERVE ALL THOSE NUMBERLESS BUDDHAS.
    5. I VOW TO ATTAIN ALL THOSE SAMYAK-SAMBODHIS.

  2. The four boundless vows (or minds):
    1. MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS HAVE PLEASURE AND ITS CAUSES.
    2. MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS LEAVE PAIN AND ITS CAUSES.
    3. MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS NOT DEPART FROM THE REAL PLEASURE WHICH IS WITHOUT PAIN.
    4. MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS DEPART FROM DISCRIMINATIONS, LOVE, AND HATRED, AND ABIDE IN THE GREAT AND EQUAL RENUNCIATION.

I was told by my Buddhist friend, Mr. Chang Shan-Chen, that he took all the vows of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas after I asked for his own vows. Such an attitude is representative of a large number of Buddhists. Was it right? It was not wrong, but it seemed to be too lazy and too cool. In our Kali age there are so many pitiful persons and events, and so many downs and ups of life that fall to one's lot. Each may have his special chapter of accidents which may be a motive to develop one's own good vows if he could be a kind Buddhist. That was why I asked all of my friends to develop their own good vows. In the following statement I would like to suggest some principles which one may use to develop his good vows.

  1. Bodhi-citta of Will is altruism but not egoism. It lays more stress on others than on oneself. Dr. Walter Reid Hunt is a Christian pastor from Mass., U.S.A. He wrote ten morning wills introduced and translated into Chinese by Chou Chan Shong. They were published in the central newspaper of Formosa. Each will centralized upon himself. For instance, the third will: "I wish I had a little quiet house."; the seventh: "I wish I have a loud laugh. " These kinds of will to a Christian are not so bad. They are probably a little better than daily bread. But to a Buddhist who should destroy his ego, they are not Bodhi-citta of Will. Hence, those common persons will is not fixed in Buddhism but in their self-interest; as Abraham Lincoln said: "Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest." But Buddhist wills should spring from altruism and unconditioned excellent morality.
  2. Bodhi-citta is cosmic in the Buddhist sense -- the Ten Dharmadhatus include four kinds of excellent states beyond the transmigration and six states within the transmigration, but these are not cosmic in the non-Buddhist sense which only includes the six states. And much the more, the cosmic aspect is not at all like an individual who has some particular conditions connecting him with his parents, relatives, countrymen, and party. Cosmic Bodhi-citta is unlike Bean Anouilh Cecile's saying: "One cannot weep for the entire world. It is beyond human strength; one must choose." But a Buddhist is not like the common human being who is self-centered. He must have compassion covering all the ten Dharmadhatus; he must be equally sympathetic to everyone - even cries to the extend that tears are mixed with blood. As for those Tantric Buddhists, their conception of a human being is to be meditated away. They think of themselves as the same as the yidam who transcends human strength. never should a practitioner choose someone to pity.
  3. Bodhi-citta of Will is aimed at the full enlightenment; hence, it is more extra-mundane than mundane. In non-Buddhist religions, matter, body, substance, flesh and blood, physics, somatology, physical sciences, positivism, materialism, pragmaticism, and experimental philosophy are mundane, but commandments, concentration, meditation, spiritualism, idealism, God, heaven, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and supernatural power are extra-mundane. But to a Buddhist even God, heavens, angels, commandments, concentration, meditation, godly omnipotence, godly omniscience, godly omnipresence, the five previous supernatural powers are all mundane; there are only the sunyata, the Chan, the five Buddhist wisdoms, the full enlightenment, the unabiding Nirvana, the great compassion in the Buddhist sense, the non-egoism, the Anasrava supernatural power (the last one among the six), the Dharmakaya, the Sambhogakaya, the Nirmanakaya, the Sahajakaya, the Mahasukha-Prajnakaya, the Mahamudra, the great Perfection, and the non-death yoga which are extra-mundane. One should skillfully distinguish between them. He who says every religion is the same is quite a fool!

Chapter III: How to Perform the Bodhi-Citta of Conduct?

After one has developed the Bodhi-citta of Will, certainly one should put it into practice. "Conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern," Matthew Arnold warned. And the conduct of our lives is the true mirror of our doctrine. If one's conduct does not follow his vows, it is just like Samuel Butler's song:

"Oaths are but words,
and words but wind
Too feeble and implement to bind!"

Buddhists should not be like this! However, to develop a Bodhi-citta of Will is easy, but to put it into practice is very difficult. One has to train oneself in daily activities with the good vows, then one may carry on one's own vows in one's conduct until each action in daily life is fixed in one's special vows. There is very good bridge taught in the Avatamsaka Sutra. It is concentratedly collected in a chapter called "Pure Conduct". When I was 22, I practiced the repetition of the Pureland School. In this school of Buddhism two doctrines are emphasized; one is the performance of the good vows of the great Bodhisattva Samantabhadra; the other is the above mentioned "Pure Conduct." Both are chapters of the Avatamsaka Sutra. As the Sutra is in a large voluminous book, the chapter of Samantabhadra's good vows has been separately printed for a wide distribution. But the Pure Conduct chapter has been neglected. Therefore I wrote it in Chinese calligraphy in many copies to present to my Buddhist friends when I was twenty-three. I also encouraged Mr Lee Shih Hwa of Hong Kong to reprint it in many thousands of copies and to send it freely to all famous libraries in the whole world when I was forty-six. Now I translate the chapter completely below. I always thought that good vow without conduct is like a lie. It is like the delusive hope as Mary Wrother said in her poem:

Hope tells a flattering tale,
    Delusive, vain and hollow.
Ah! Let not hope prevail
    Lest disappointment follow!

But when the Bodhi-citta of Conduct is closely followed, the good vow adds leather to the heel "I will this, I command this, let my will be the voucher for the deed." One should thus encourage oneself as Juvenal did. However, the beginners usually make a vow at one time, but forget it at another time of practice. For them the following stanzas of the "Pure Conduct" chapter should be repeated and practiced daily.

      "Pure Conduct"
       
    When Bodhisattva is at home,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To know voidness of family,
    And be rid of all the painful things!

    When he serves his parents,
    He must wish all beings,
    To serve Buddha nicely
    And offer all the best things!

    When he is with wife and sons
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Be equal to kinsmen and foes,
    And rid of lustful worldly things!

    When he gets desirous things,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To dig out the arrow of lust,
    And abide in the most quiet realm.

    When he joins in a music meeting,
    He must wish all those sentient beings,
    Enjoy themselves with only Dharma,
    And know all good sound is nothing!

    When he goes into the palace,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Be enabled to go to the Pureland,
    And purify their unclean things!

    When he puts on some ornaments,
    He must wish all those sentient beings,
    To take off all those false honours,
    Reach at the true palace of kings!

    When one goes up to the tower,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Climb up to the Dharma attic,
    Have a right view to all things!

    When he is giving alms,
    He must wish all beings,
    To void all those desires,
    Give up all worldly things!

    When he joins into a meeting,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To get all Buddha's wisdom,
    And renounce all evil things.

    When he falls into affliction,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To do all things at his will,
    Without any obstacles therein!

    When he leaves his family,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To get ordination soon,
    And gain liberty within!

    When he goes to the Temple,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Be enabled to give lectures,
    As a right Dharma king!

    When he visits his Gurus,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To serve his Gurus nicely,
    Work for Gurus out and in!

    When he seeks to be a Bhikshu,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To get the Avinivartaniya (no regress),
    Have no obstacles within!

    When he gives up the layman's dress,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To take pains for all good Karmas,
    And be rid of all the evil things!

    When he is cutting his hair,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To get rid of all sorrows,
    Reach the holy and final realm!

    When he is putting on the robe,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Practice the course of Buddhism,
    Defiled not by any kind of sin!

    When ordained as a Bhikshu,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To take the Buddha's best example,
    and save all beings from many sins!

    When he takes refuge in the Buddha,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To flourish the seeds of Buddha,
    Develop a supreme being!

    When he takes refuge in Dharma,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To study the profound knowledge,
    and gain the ocean-like wisdom!

    When he takes refuge in the Sangha,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To be able to control the group,
    No obstacle happens within!

    When he studies the vinaya,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To learn all silas skillfully,
    And be rid of doing evil things!

    When he listens to the Guru,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To have all kinds of good manners,
    Do all good things with blessing!

    Accepting the Gurus's teaching,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Get the wisdom of non-born,
    Reach the state of non-dwelling.

    Receiving the complete vinaya,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To have all the convenience to
    Get all the profound doctrine.

    When he enters into a hall,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To reach the supreme Dharma home,
    Dwell in the state of non-moving!

    When he arranges the mattress,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Develop all good Dharmas,
    Able to see the real truth within!

    When he is sitting straight,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To sit on the Bodhi-seat,
    Mind attached to no thinking!

    When he crosses his two legs,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To have firm foundation,
    Reach the stage of non-moving

    When he practices Samadhi,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Have Samatha to control mind
    And no worldly thought remaining.

    When he practices Samapatti,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Can see the entire reality,
    And have no kind of rebutting!

    When he stops his Samadhi
    He must wish all sentient beings
    See the actions of Dharma,
    All vanishes into nothing.

    When he is standing
    He must wish all beings,
    Liberate their minds,
    Stand without moving!

    When he starts to walk,
    He must wish all beings,
    Leave the ocean of death,
    Keep on good practising.

    When he wears trousers
    He must wish all beings,
    Wear the clothes of merits,
    Always have shame within!

    When he tightens the girdle,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Keep all the good merits well,
    Don't let them be relaxing!

    When he puts on the coat,
    He must wish all beings,
    To be a winner of Law,
    Do have the other-shore-wings!

    When he wears samahati (Bhikshu robe),
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To get the first position of the world,
    And attain the Dharma of non-moving!

    When he holds the branch of willow,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Do get the wonderful Dharma,
    Finally purify all sins.

    When he chews the willow branch,
    (
    note: Indians used to chew willow to clean the teeth)
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Do have their mind purified
    And cut off all the sorrow-twines!

    When he goes to the privy,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Do renounce all the sorrows,
    And be rid of every sin.

    When he washes his two hands,
    He must wish all beings,
    To renounce the Saha world,
    With very speedy wings!

    When he bathes his body,
    He must wish all beings,
    To become most holy,
    Without any defiled things.

    When he washes his two palms,
    He must wish all beings,
    To have two pure hands,
    To do all the pure things.

    When he washes his face,
    He must wish all beings,
    To enter the pure gate,
    Be defiled by no-thing.

    When he holds a monk's staff,
    He must wish all sentient beings.
    To be able to give great alms.
    Show the true path within!

    When he holds the Bhikshu's bowl,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To become the best Dharma vessel,
    Receive heaven's and men's offering!

    When he starts a trip,
    He must wish all beings,
    To go on the path of Buddhism,
    Reach the state of non-practising.

    When he is walking on the road,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Be able to practice Buddhist course,
    And reach the Nirvana within!

    When he passes over some land,
    He must wish all beings
    To walk on the Pureland,
    No obstacles by any thing!

    When he ascends a highway,
    He must wish every-being
    To pass beyond the three realms,
    No fear or shame within!

    When he descends a slippery way,
    He must wish all beings
    To have humility
    And grow merit therein !

    When he sees the declivity
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To renounce all evil paths
    Get rid of all false views within!

    When he sees the straight way,
    He must wish all beings
    To have straight and good mind,
    No lie flatters therein!

    When he sees much dust
    He must wish all beings
    To renounce all the dirt,
    Keep pure Dharma within.

    When he sees the dust on the way,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Have their minds kind and merciful
    And practice the great compassion!

    When he sees a dangerous way,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To abide on the right path
    And be rid of all kinds of sin.

    When he joins an assembly,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Be able to give profound speech
    And make all in harmony.

    When he sees the great pillar,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To be rid of all kinds of struggles
    and renounce angry fighting.

    When he sees the forest,
    He must wish all beings
    To be respected by men
    And by the God as the best!

    When he sees the high hill,
    He must wish all beings
    To have excellent merit,
    None higher than him still.

    When he sees a tree with thorns,
    He must wish all beings
    To cut off all obstacles,
    Poisons couldn't harm upon.

    When he sees tree with many leaves,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To achieve the best of Samadhi,
    Save men from hot place to leave!

    When he sees the flower blossom,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To get supernatural power
    Which is like a flourishing plum.

    When he sees tree with flowers,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To have magnificent forms
    Like the thirty-two manifestations.

    When he sees the fruits,
    He must wish all beings
    To learn the best Laws
    Leading to the Bodhi.

    When he sees the great river,
    He must wish all beings,
    Swim in the Dharma sea
    As Buddha's wise ocean.

    When he sees the straight stream,
    He must wish all the beings,
    Quickly realize all Laws
    In only one tasting.

    When he sees the pool,
    He must wish all beings,
    Get verbal merits,
    Be skillful in preaching!

    When he sees the well,
    He must wish all beings,
    Utter good lectures,
    Reveal truth as well!

    When he sees the spring,
    He must wish all beings
    Increase all wisdoms
    Without exhaustions.

    When he sees the Bridge,
    He must wish all beings
    To save all the men,
    From dangerous things.

    When he sees water flowing,
    He must wish all beings,
    To get merit at will,
    And wash away all evils.

    When he sees the tendered garden,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To cut off all lustful grasses,
    Rid all the five desirable things!

    When he sees the Ashoka forest,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To renounce the worldly pleasure
    And get comes neither sorrow nor sin.

    When he sees a green house,
    He must wish all beings,
    To practice Dharma,
    Grow Bodhi therein!

    When he sees a man with ornaments,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To have thirty-two excellent forms
    And get the full enlightenment.

    When he sees a man without ornaments
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Renounce the worldly adornments
    Practice Dhuta conduct as those saints .

    When he sees the man of pleasure,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To get best pleasure from Dharma,
    He should practice without ceasing!

    When he sees the man of non-pleasure
    He must wish all kinds of sentient beings
    Toward every worldly task
    Have no attachment or sin.

    When he sees the happy man
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Always get happiness
    And be glad to give offerings.

    When he sees the painful man,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To have the basic wisdom,
    Rid of his sorrow and sin!

    When he sees the healthy man
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Turn into the true wisdom
    Never have any kind of pain.

    When he sees the rich man,
    He must wish all beings
    To know impermanence,
    Be rid of struggle and sin.

    When he sees the gentle man,
    He must wish all beings
    To have faith in Dharma,
    And in all holy men.

    When he sees the ugly man,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Toward all evil things,
    Have no more pleasure within!

    When he sees the grateful man,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Toward all those weak persons,
    Don't return to them bad things.

    When he sees a shramana,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To enjoy themselves in quietude
    And get the first position.

    When he sees Brahman,
    He must wish all beings,
    To have pure conduct,
    Get rid of all sins!

    When he sees the Dhuta,
    He must wish all beings,
    To learn asceticism,
    Reach the state of Buddha!

    When he sees the practitioner,
    He must wish all kinds of beings,
    To hold all kinds of practice,
    Don't be apart from the Dharma.

    When he sees man wearing armour,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Wear clothes of all kinds of goodness!
    And be guided by the Dharma king!

    When he sees man without armour,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Do renounce every evil.
    Don't commit any kind of bad thing.

    When he sees man who likes debate
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Subdue all kinds of outsiders
    Rid their heretic discussion!

    When he sees man of right life,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To get the pure livelihood,
    Don't assume a good living!

    When he sees the king,
    He must wish all beings
    To be king of Law,
    Guide them free of sin.

    When he sees the prince,
    He must wish all beings,
    Born in a good race,
    As Buddha's offspring!

    When he sees the elder,
    He must wish all beings
    To have a skillful learning,
    Do no evil thing!

    When he sees a great official
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To keep the right mind often
    And do all kinds of good things.

    When he sees the city wall
    He must wish all beings,
    Keep their heal thy body
    Have no disturbance as well.

    When he sees the capital
    He must wish all beings
    To collect all merits
    Let their mind be blessing.

    When he lives in a forest
    He must wish all beings
    To be respected by all
    Gods and all human beings.

    When he goes to a village to beg,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Enter into Dharmadhatu
    Their minds have no obstacle or sin.

    When he stands by the gate,
    He must wish all beings.
    Come into the door,
    Of Buddha-Doctrine.

    When he enters into a family,
    He must wish all kinds of sentient beings,
    To get the Buddha's courage exactly,
    Keep the three periods in equality!

    When he sees the stingy man,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Never try to depart from
    That belonging to the Doctrine!

    When he sees the generous man,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    Ever renounce the three bad worlds,
    In which there is nothing but pain!

    When he sees his bowl empty,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    Their mind is clean and so pure,
    Within which there is no sin.

    When he sees his bowl full,
    He must wish all beings
    To have accumulated all
    Merits which will not fall !

    When he is respected,
    He must wish all beings,
    Humbly to practise
    All of the teaching!

    When he is not respected,
    He must wish all beings,
    Do not do any evil,
    Which may commit some sins.

    When he sees a man of shame,
    He must wish all beings
    To get rid of disgrace
    To keep the state of good fame.

    When he gets sweet food,
    He must wish all beings
    Fulfill all good wishes,
    Rid of lustful mode!

    When he gets bad food,
    He must wish all beings
    To get good Samadhi,
    Taste the nectars therein!

    When he gets soft food,
    He must wish all beings
    To have great mercy,
    Mind is meek therein!

    When he gets coarse food,
    He must wish all beings,
    Be rid of worldly lust,
    Mind is pure therein!

    When he is taking a meal,
    He must wish all beings,
    To get the food of Chan,
    With happiness to fill!

    When he is tasting a sweet,
    He must wish all beings,
    To get supreme nectar,
    As Dharma food to eat!

    When he finishes the meal,
    He must wish all beings,
    To fulfill all Karmas,
    Nothing is remaining still!

    When he is to speak,
    He must wish all beings
    To get good ability,
    Spread widely the teaching.

    When he is going out,
    He must wish all beings
    To know the true wisdom
    And leave the three realms, no doubt!

    When he swims in water
    He must wish all beings
    To have no dirt
    And all parts are clean.

    When it is very hot
    He must wish all beings
    To renounce all sorrows
    All pains are finishing!

    When it becomes cool
    He must wish all beings
    To get the assurance
    Purify the soul.

    When he recites the sutra
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To remember the Dharmas,
    Never forget the teaching!

    When he sees the Buddha
    He must wish all beings
    To be like the All-Good,
    So handsome and well-being.

    When he sees the pagoda
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To be respected as the temple
    Receives alms as all Buddhas do.

    When he looks at the pagoda
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To be respected by all gentlemen
    And heavenly beings like a Buddha .

    When he worships the pagoda
    He must wish all zentient beings
    To achieve the best realization
    That his hair tuft could not be seen!

    When he goes around the pagoda
    He must wish all kinds of sentient beings
    To achieve all the Buddha's wisdoms
    And do all things without mistaking.

    When he goes around the pagoda three times
    He must wish all kinds of sentient beings
    Follow Buddha's path with diligence
    Have no laziness nor mistaking!

    When he praises Buddha's virtues,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To collect merits of sages.
    And be praised by all men!

    When he praises Buddha's countenance,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To attain Buddha's body,
    Realize the non-form experience!

    When he is washing his feet,
    He must wish all sentient beings,
    To have supreme power,
    Walk without limit.

    When he sleeps regularly,
    He must wish all beings
    To get the comfort,
    Mind's quiet is keeping!

    When he awakwes,
    He must wish all sentient beings
    To achieve all wisdoms,
    Look in all directions!

The above stanzas exemplify a Bhikshu. When I was young I had a plan to add some more stanzas exemplifying five classes: scholars, farmers, laborers, merchants, and soldiers. I am sorry that I have had no time to do it. Some more important works such as meditations, yogic exercises, and other Buddhist literature works which cannot be found in the Tripitakas I have done by myself. This old plan was neglected so long I hope there are some other scholars who may be glad to do it.

When one follows these stanzas of Pure Conduct one's every action may be in correspondence with the Bodhi-citta. There are no limitations in these stanzas. One may develop the Bodhi-citta of Will in every action, in every profession, on every occasion, at all times, as John Wesley said in his Rules of Conduct:

Do all the good you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the time you can,
As long as ever you can!

Furthermore, in the above stanzas, though the Bodhi-citta of Will corresponds with daily conduct, they are two things united. They are not the Bodhi-citta conduct themselves, as daily conduct is not actually based upon the Bodhi-citta of Will. Hence, to perform the Bodhi-citta of Conduct, which may not be the same as daily life action and since some more profitable conduct other than that of the daily layman's life may be followed, sentient beings should be guided by the Buddhist principles. I, therefore, offer them below. May they guide all my readers to perform the Bodhi-citta of Conduct fruitfully and meaningfully.

Coleridge said: "The more oath taking, the more lying generally among the people." It is because they have no principles to guide their conduct to be commensurate with the oath concerned. Cicero said, "An oath sworn with the clear understanding in one's mind that it should be performed must be kept." What is the clear understanding? It is certainly found in the principles of Buddhism; so the following offered principles should be carefully carried on:

  • One must perform the Bodhi-citta of Conduct according to the Vinayas:

    1. Vinaya of five precepts; These five belong to every religion. If one commits the act of killing either man, animal or insect, one is not performing the Bodhi-citta of Conduct. I often see many Buddhist laymen who always kill chicken, fish, dove, prawn, duck and some other animals for their food. I dare to say 98% of Chinese Buddhist families have committed killing. On the other hand, in the West many have become vegetarians. They are hopeful Buddhists. The other four precepts must also be followed. One must abstain from stealing, lust, lying, intoxicants as well as killing.
    2. Vinaya of right profession; When one takes refuge in the Three Gems, he should exchange his bad profession for a good one.
    3. One should not be an executioner, hangman, electrocutioner, firing squad member, headsman, scoundrel, robber, blackguard, cut-throat, jailbird, blood hound, bloodsucker, butcher, hag prostitute, siren fury, Jezebel, pimp or panderer. One should not make wine spirits, cigarettes, or sell them, or peddle poisons, such as opium and morphine, When I pilgrimaged to Varanasi I discovered some Buddhists and Hindus who took advantage of pilgrims and actually peddled some opium and morphine there where there is a center of poison business. I was very sad. I also felt entrusted by Buddha and the Bodhisattvas to advise them that anyone who does such a business will surely fall into hell. I did advise them, but only a few persons believed it
    4. Vinaya of Bodhi-citta: There are four negative and four positive items:

      1. Do not cheat spiritual teachers and persons worthy of worship.
      2. Do not make others feel ashamed without cause.
      3. Do not, out of spite, say improper words to a bodhisattva who has adopted the Bodhi-citta.
      4. Do not behave meanly to sentient beings.

      The other four are:

      1. A lie willingly told, even to save one's own life, is wrong. (Peter did not admit Jesus as his guru to save his own life for three times. It was a lie. Buddhists should not do so.)
      2. To set all sentient beings on the path of the good and wholesome in general and of the Mahayana in particular.
      3. To consider a Bodhisattva who has performed the Bodhi-citta as the teacher - the Buddha - and to proclaim his virtues in the ten regions of the world.
      4. To love all sentient beings without ever behaving meanly to them.

    There are 4 articles of those won by evils, 5 mulapattis of the king or a leader, 5 mulapattis of the officials or officers, 8 mulapattis of entering into the Mahayana, 46 pattis of Bodhisattvas, 14 ethics leading to acquiring the good Dharma, and 11 ethics leading to work for the benefit of others. Readers are advised to read my booklet No. 12 Mahayana Silas. All the above vinayas are included therein.

  • A vinaya of the four principles of Bodhi-citta may be a totality for all kinds of conduct; one should always keep them in mind;

      1. Things benefiting both others and oneself should be done.
      2. Things benefiting others but not oneself or which even harm oneself should also be done.
      3. Things benefiting nobody should not be done.
      4. Things benefiting oneself but harming others should not be done.

  • One must perform the Bodhi-citta of Conduct according to the Charity Perfection. There are three kinds of charity:

    1. Giving alms of wealth
    2. Giving alms of Dharma
    3. Giving alms of fearlessness!

    There are eight fields of welfare within which one should act with Charity:

    1) Buddha, 2) Sages, 3) Bhikshus and Bhikshunis, 4) Acraryas, 5) monks or nuns, 6) father or mother, 7) any sick person or patient.

    In another source, the eight fields are described as follows:

    2) To build good wells and roads, 2) To build bridges, 3) To repair dangerous roads, 4) To honor one's parents, 5) To make offerings to Bhikshus and Bhikshunis, 6) To help the patients, 7) To save those who are ill or poor, 8) To offer food to the public without any condition.

    One should try to be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, and enemy to none. Walk groundly, talk profoundly, serve roundly, give aboundly -- thus sleep soundly. Make yourself accessible to all; do not make life hard for any. Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, teach more; hate less, love more; and all good conducts are yours.

    He whose power is sufficient to give his life in order to save others should do it. Many Bodhisattvas have set many good examples. I have introduced them in my other works (see page 24 of Booklet No. 36). I do not repeat them again here.

    The Tantric methods of giving alms have some special rituals:

    1. There is a ritual of giving alms to the ghost which the exoteric school also uses very often in every Mahayana monastery. The ritual only requires a cup of water; seven or more grains of rice may be put into the water. There are some incantations to transform these materials into a large quantity and pure quality, delicious taste and different kinds.
    2. There is a ritual to give alms with one's own body which every man and woman, either rich or poor, either healthy or ill, either old or young does possess.

      One should visualize one's own body as a dead body and cut each part of the body to make offerings to the Three Gems, all ghosts, and all demons. There are some stanzas and some incantations and some visualizations written for that ritual. Please refer to the book Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines by Evans-Wentz.
    3. An agreeable attitude to the good conduct done by others is always as useful as the alms done by oneself.

      When one sees that somebody is going to do some good and beneficent action, one should think, "What goodness he is doing; I'm very glad to see it." He who thinks in this way will share the same merit as the doer.

      For instance, when one sees that a monastery is making public tea for all the Lamas, if one puts even a blade of tea leaf inside the boiler, he might share the merit which comes from making offerings to the Lamas.

    4. Bodhi-citta of Conduct through breath:

      When one exhales one should think that the breath radiates forth to every evil being and takes their sin, disease, demons, distress, low-self, and high-self, and returns these to one's own body. When one retains the breath inside, he should think that those bad things taken from those sinful beings become a great force to destroy one's own egoism, pride, and the root of Avidya ("ignorance") until only the Bodhicitta remains.

      When one exhales the breath again, one thinks that one's own wisdom, merit, Samadhi, and realization become a bright light which comes into every sentient being, making them fully enlightened. And last but not least, the being who receives this light will change his mind, habit, thought and attitude to be in accord with Buddhism.

      The above four methods of good Bodhi-citta conduct may be practiced by even poor man who has no money.
  • One should practice the Bodhi-citta of Conduct according to the Patience of Prajnaparamita or "Perfection" in the following instances:
    1. When one is harmed or obstructed by some persons.
    2. When one does good conduct and meets some miseries.
    3. When one wants to attain the Sunyata truth, but is hindered by sorrows or false views from one's own ignorance accumulated in past lives.

    For saving sentient beings and practicing the Bodhi-citta conduct with patience one should pass all the eight hardships:

      1. Finding food and clothes after complete renunciation.
      2. Worshipping the Three Gems and the spiritual teachers.
      3. Listening to the Dharma.
      4. Explaining.
      5. Discussing.
      6. Making a living experience of it.
      7. Devoting oneself to spiritual exercises instead of sleeping in the first and last parts of the night.
      8. The hardships that result from striving to do all this for the sake of sentient beings.

    It is said of the effectiveness of Bodhi-citta conduct with patience in our lives, that even though we do not look for it, we become beautiful, healthy, famous, and long-lived and attain the position of a universal monarch in our lives. So we should always think of the benefit of the Bodhi-citta conduct done in patience, and also encourage our selves to do it very often.

  • One should practice the Bodhi-citta of Conduct with diligence.

    One should know that self-nature without spiritual exercise is like a seed shut up in a pod, and Bodhi-citta conduct without performance is nothing at all. One must get rid of:

    1. Lassitude and give up sleepiness, restfulness and dreaminess.
    2. Idleness is faintheartedness from thinking, "How can dejected people like myself ever attain enlightenment even if we try to do so?"
    3. Gross laziness is the cause of real misery; one must give it up.
  • One must perform all the Bodhi-citta conducts with the following five kinds of diligence:
    1. Ever active -- one must make continual efforts without getting weary in body or mind.
    2. Devoted -- one should act with deep devotion: joyfully, eagerly, and quickly.
    3. Unshakable -- when one meets some interruptions, conflicting emotions, and misery, one should keep patience and should not be shaken by them.
    4. Never turn back -- even if one is hurt or mocked or upset by others, one should still go on with the Bodhi-citta conduct and never turn back.
    5. Indefatigable -- one should exert oneself, but not keep any high opinion of oneself. One should act without pride or passion.

    Charles Kingsley said, "Thank God every morning when you get up that you have some thing to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not; Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know." Much the more, one who has developed the Bodhicitta of Will must willingly do the Bodhi-citta of Conduct, but not by being forced by either God or man.

  • Shakespeare is so wise a poet but he is never proud of his wisdom, but only of his diligence, as he wrote in his work "King Lear": "That which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence". Hence, the person who practices Bodhi-citta of Conduct with only the previous Prajnaparamitas, but without diligence, will not be able to carry out all his good conducts to their full extent.

  • One should practice Bodhi-citta with concentration.
  • When one practices the Bodhi-citta of Conduct with concentration, one's mind has become harmonized; one sees every action and its related persons and circumstances according to their true nature; one may be steeped in great compassion for sentient beings. If one has no concentration, his tranquility is not realized; super sensible cognition does not rise; then one is unable to work for sentient beings reasonably and fruitfully, and one's movements, words, and thoughts are not restrained. Without concentration conflicting emotions are rampant; one is addicted to worldly talk, open to the attacks of Maras, and steeped in carelessness.

    It is also written in the vinaya of the Bodhisattva that "a Bodhisattva should not neglect to practice concentration at least three times a day."

  • One should practice Bodhi-citta of Conduct according to the wisdom of Sunyata.
  • The most important discrimination between the good conduct done by non-Buddhists and the Bodhi-citta conduct done by Buddhists is what is called "Bodhi" -- Bodhi is the full enlightenment and this is of the sunyata truth which was discovered for the first time by Buddha Himself, but not by any God. Hence, our Bodhi-citta of Conduct should begin with this philosophic motive and continued through this philosophic course and ended at this philosophic embodiment of assurance of realization.

    Each Bodhi-citta conduct should be qualified by this sunyata wisdom. To make this qualification strong and confirmed, one has to practice it according to the following course:

    1. The three important essential points in each course of Bodhi-citta conduct have been taught by the great sage Milarepa.
      1. Beginning with a prayer such as saying, "For the sake of every sentient being to get full-enlightenment, I do this."
      2. Holding the truth of sunyata that every Bodhi-citta conduct is in the nature of sunyata; there is no admission to the volition of "I" or "mine" when the procedure of the good conduct is going on.
      3. Ending with a parinamana ("turn the merit to") to help all sentient beings attain the full enlightenment.

    2. The Three Wheels of sunyata should be used to measure all the Bodhi-citta conducts .
      1. The giver or doer is himself sunyata; there is neither high-self or low-self .
      2. The methods or means which are used in the conduct are also of sunyata.
      3. The man or woman to whom you have given or benefitted is also of sunyata.

    Such a measurement is taken by the practitioner to certify his Bodhi-citta conduct. Such conduct is aimed at the full-enlightenment, and not at any kind of heaven. The practitioner is thus able to ultimately help sentient beings.

    One must distinguish those merits for getting good rebirth in heaven and those for the PureLand. It all depends upon the manner of the doer. If he has some volition of egoism or he does not know how to turn the merit into sunyata, he will fall into heaven. If he has measured his conduct well with the measurement of sunyata, he will get the full enlightenment This important discrimination should be well-recognized. Otherwise even if he has taken refuge in the Three Gems, has practiced many kinds of meditations, has repeated incantations many times, has lived in a hermitage for many years, and has seen many visions or lights, he is still an outsider or a Buddhist who is only able to get rebirth in heaven, just as believers of other religions. As the sunyata is a very important condition, the third kind of Bodhicitta which is called "Victorious Significance", is especially practiced.

    To sum up all the important practices in this chapter I would say:

    1. As the first step of Practice I have introduced the "Pure Conduct" stanzas. Even if it seemed to break the record, occupying so many pages, I emphasize its practical value. Common people who have never been trained do their daily conducts with any control, and give a loose rein to their habitual actions which have been shaped by Karma for many past lives. Having never been taught about Bodhi-citta the pure conduct stanzas are a must for such types of new students. In this stage a person's Bodhi-citta of Will and his habitual daily life actions are two separate things. They just meet, but the one does not control the other. However, as they are brought into some form of correspondence, the Bodhi-citta of Will does get an opportunity to influence the daily actions. For instance, Tibetan robbers usually kill a person with knife in hand and incantation in mouth. Although it does not help or redeem the sin, yet it seems better than no incantation at all. The other story taught by my Root Guru Rona Rimpoche was this: When three robbers were chased by some police, the two who ran very fast and did not repeat an incantation were seized and punished, but the one who ran slowly skulked off. He seemed to disappear in the sight of the policemen. As the Pure Conduct stanzas have shown every action to be accompanied with the Bodhi-citta of Will, so each action may be influenced to become good in the future if not all immediately,
    2. When the Bodhi-citta of Will corresponds with the conduct of daily life, it becomes stronger. At least the bad habits from past bad karmas get no chance to flourish, and the good ones have the opportunity to identify with the Bodhicitta. Hence, through the first stop of pure conduct one is able to control one's actions and bring them under the guidance of the Prajnaparamitas. These Prajnaparamita Bodhi-citta conducts have been introduced above.
    3. When every conduct is fixed with the right Dharma in general, then in particular one's vows which one has developed according to the advice given in the second chapter have an opportunity to carry on throughout one's whole life.
    4. Some of the good wills or vows of Bodhi-citta may succeed easily but it is also easy to commit volitional or prejudicial actions; some of the good wills or oaths need samadhi to help in their accomplishment, or may even be in want of the supernatural powers of Buddhahood to affect their achievement. Hence one has to practice the Bodhi-citta of Victorious Significance to get rid of volition, and in order to learn and meditate the Bodhi-citta of Samadhi in esoteric doctrine and the Bodhi-citta of Kunda in the Anuttara Tantra; then all of the vows might succeed in this life time. These three kinds of Bodhi-citta will be dealt with one by one in future Chapter,
    5. ... CONTINUE


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