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Lama Yeshe on Bodhicitta

Lama Yeshe gave this teaching on bodhicitta and the bodhisattva vows on December 10, 1983, during the Sixteenth Kopan Meditation Course held at Kopan Monastery, Nepal.

I made a brief summary for you to read.


Loving kindness is the essence of bodhicitta, the attitude of the bodhisattva. Without bodhicitta, nothing works. And most of all, your meditation doesn't work, and realizations don't come.


Why is bodhicitta necessary for success in meditation? Because of selfish grasping. If you have a good meditation but don't have bodhicitta, you will grasp at any little experience of bliss: "Me, me; I want more, I want more. I want to be happy. Therefore I'll meditate."

Also, without bodhicitta it is very difficult to collect merits. You create them and immediately destroy them; by afternoon, the morning's merits have gone. It's like cleaning a room and an hour later making it dirty again.


We are all involved in human relationships with each other. Why do we sometimes say, "I love you," and sometimes "I hate you"? Where does this up-and-down mind come from? From the self-cherishing thought—a complete lack of bodhicitta.

If you want to be really, really happy, it isn't enough just to space out in meditation. Many people who have spent years alone in meditation have finished up the worse for it. Coming back into society, they have freaked out. With bodhicitta, no matter where you go, you will never freak out. The more you are involved with people the more pleasure you get. People become the resource of your pleasure. If you take a proper look deep into your heart you will see that one of the main causes of your dissatisfaction is the fact that you are not helping others as best you can.

Just because you feel miserable, why make others unhappy too? It doesn't help. You should try to control your emotions, speak evenly and so forth. Sometimes when people are suffering they close off from others, but you can still feel their miserable vibration. This doesn't help—others with even momentary happiness forget about leading them to enlightenment. To help the people around you, you have to maintain a happy, peaceful vibration.


Westerners need that kind of practice. So, when you come home from work, lie down comfortably and meditate on bodhicitta. This is most worthwhile. Much better than rushing in speedily, throwing down a coffee and dropping onto your meditation cushion to try to meditate. It doesn't work that way; your nervous system needs time and space.

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