Extracted from the website of Buddhist Vajrayana Charity Funds Association and translated (菩提心與菩薩道) into English:
|Bodhi Heart and Bodhisattva Path|
|Although today we may all have learnt Buddhism and some may even have become monks or nuns; in reality, it could be said that we are not certain ourselves if we have already initiated the Bodhi Heart. This is because one can genuinely initiate the Bodhi Heart is not easy at all. Try to imagine, the reason why Sudhanakumara (Good Fortune Boy) could joyously initiate the Bodhi Heart as he listened to Buddha Dharma, was due to his utmost good root and meritorious virtue as causal conditions. As 【The Avatamsaka Sutra華嚴經】said: “Since Sudhanakumara lived in the world, he had already made offerings to all Buddhas of the past, having deeply planted his benevolent root and acquired great extensive belief and understanding. (He was) Always in a state of happiness and purity, within close proximity of good friends/virtuous friends/spiritual guide/spiritual advisors (Sanskrit: Kalyana-mitra, 善知識) and without fault in all body, speech and mind. He cultivated the Bodhisattva Path, sought all wisdom, and became the Buddhist ritual tool. With a mind of purity, just as emptiness, He transferred the Bodhi, without any obstacles.”
Those with Bodhi Heart have the same heart in cultivating the Buddha Path. Initiating the Bodhi Heart is to set a target for oneself: to accomplish Buddhahood and to fulfil the Three Awareness. 【The Avatamsaka Sutra】said: ‘Three Aeons of Tathagata were all born from the Bodhi Heart.’, ‘If one cultivates all the wishes of the Bodhisattva, one must first initiate the Heart of Bodhi’, ‘Because the Bodhi Heart gives birth to all Bodhisattva Practices’.Why is it said that it’s not easy to initiate the Bodhi Heart? The reason is due to one’s own insufficient self-confidence and the lack of bravery in believing that one can possess pure awareness. Even if one may have such a belief, one dare not acknowledge its existence, not to mention be willing to accept this as our original appearance (original nature/true nature)? The Buddha compassionately and unceasingly reminds us that we must clearly recognise ourselves and we must resume to self-nature. However, if the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance have not been eradicated, whilst one may have initiated the Bodhi Heart at the start of learning Buddhism, one will never be able to practise with the same sincerity and immediate commitment as Sudhanakumara, and make that single heartfelt wish to entreat the ‘Anutta-samyak-sambodhi’. The Buddha said, ‘Once the heart is controlled, there is nothing that cannot be done’. If cultivators can maintain the realm of ‘One Heart’ at every moment, then the chance of enlightenment is highly likely! However, to keep the state of ‘One Heart’ every day for 24 hours a day is truly difficult!
【The Avatamsaka Sutra】said: “To forget the Bodhi Heart when practising Benevolent Roots, is the practice of the Devil.” Hence, in all circumstances, one must never forget that one is a Buddhist disciple who has already initiated the Bodhi Heart. Moreover, one must continuously remind oneself that one needs to maintain this at every moment, to cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, to practise being a Bodhisattva Practitioner; just like Sudhanakumara, who diligently strived for the path of supreme absolute truth without ever retreating.
Since one has initiated the Bodhi Heart, one must cultivate the Bodhisattva Path. Having said that, is it easy to cultivate the Bodhisattva Path? I believe everyone would say: “Being a Bodhisattva is so hard!” This is because the duties of a Bodhisattva are ‘to carry out what is difficult to do’, ‘to endure what is difficult to endure’, and ‘to cultivate what is hard to practise’. Yet we, as ordinary people, want to ‘transcend the worldly thoughts and enter sainthood’; it is, of course, not easy and would not be achievable without putting in a lot of hard work. Hence, how could one apply this hard work? We must firmly remember what Manjusri Bodhisattva said: ‘If one wishes to achieve such ultimate wisdom, one must be determined to seek the knowledge of truth and benevolence’. Since our aim for cultivating the Bodhisattva Path is also to achieve all wisdom and to affirm supreme awareness. We must instantly make a commitment to seek the real good advisors who are kind and knowledgeable, to be near and make offerings, to diligently and humbly learn Buddha Dharma; just as the Sutra said: ‘If a Bodhisattva is close to good friends/virtuous friends/spiritual guide/spiritual advisors, then he/she can diligently progress without going backwards, and cultivate the transcending limitless Buddha Dharma’.Learning the Buddhist Path places great importance on initiating the Bodhi Heart, initiating the Bodhi Heart is precious for cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, and to cultivate the Bodhisattva Path one must have the teaching and guidance of those with benevolent knowledge. Therefore, it is said, ‘to be near and make offerings to good friends/virtuous friends/spiritual guide/spiritual advisors is very important, it should not be overlooked, and it is a magnificent matter indeed!