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Michael John Smith

Thoughts On Bodhicitta

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I have come to certain conclusions about the compassionate wish for enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings – bodhicitta – the Mahayana motivation. I think realizing each of the six perfections – generosity, morality or ethics, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration or meditation and wisdom – is motivated by the four immeasurables – love (to wish that sentient beings possess both the causes and the results of happiness), compassion (to wish that sentient beings be free from the causes and effects of suffering), joy (to wish that sentient beings never be apart from happiness) and equanimity (to wish that sentient beings be free from attachment and aversion).


This means we generate generosity and give away our possessions, body and merit because of our love and compassion for our fellow human beings and our emphatic joy for their happiness and wish that they be free from attachment and aversion. Likewise we are moral and keep the precepts for the same reason – the same thing motivates us – love, compassion, joy and equanimity. This motivation is also behind our realization of patience, enthusiastic perseverance, meditative practice and indeed the wisdom, which underlies all the perfections.


Of course in reality we possess all of the six perfections and all of the four immeasurables – they are the wisdom and compassion aspects of our Buddha –nature – perhaps we can call one the reality and the other the means but in practice this is not important.


Because they represent the two aspects of the Buddha’s mind, we can surely try to put each and all together into our daily practice.

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