There is a composite of 18 downfalls, which people who wished to take the engaged Bodhisattva vows should study and understand a little.
To praise oneself and criticise others for personal gain
To refuse to give wealth or Dharma out of miserliness
To fail to forgive people who ask for forgiveness
To give up on the and Sangha
To steal offerings
To reject the Dharma
To harm the Sangha in some way
To commit the 5 heinous deeds
To hold a wrong view
To destroy villages, towns etc
To teach emptiness to the untrained
To turn people away from the Dharma
To make people give up pratimoksha discipline
To disparage sravakas and pratyekabuddhas
To lie about realisations
To receive offerings under false pretences
To make harmful rules
To abandon bodhicitta and helping sentient beings
In the morning people received the aspiration Bodhisattva vows. However, an aspiration doesn’t make things happen. The difference between aspiration bodhicitta and engaged bodhicitta is the difference between someone who wants to do something and someone who does it. Aspiration has to be transformed into action. For example, working to protect the environment saves the lives of many sentient beings. We need to protect the snow mountains so that the snow doesn’t melt and so that all the great rivers of the world can continue to flow. Protecting these rivers will save millions of sentient beings who either live in them or depend on them. It is very important to take action. Quoting from the first line from the Four Immeasurables prayer: May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness, His Holiness warned that sometimes when we recite this we are merely paying lip service, whereas we should be creating something concrete and helpful.
Engaged bodhicitta does not require extreme sacrifices such as cutting off a hand. Such actions have to be practised skillfully, as, for example, in one of the Jataka stories, somebody gives an eye, makes a dedication, and then the eye comes back. Somebody who is highly advanced can only do this. You have to be able to give without any regret. But it is not necessary to go to these extremes: you can make a start in small ways at your own level.
We are gathered here in this really holy and sacred place of Bodhgaya. The Buddha foretold that if people in the future, who had not been able to meet him, went on pilgrimage with pure motivation and devotion to places where he had been, it would be the same as meeting him. Our mind is the main thing. Someone said once, “We are so deluded and so ignorant, it is extremely fortunate that I see my lama as a human being, and not as a dog or a donkey.”
We hold our future in our own hands, to use the occasion to create something good for the future, so we should use this opportunity. Sometimes one action can achieve many things.
Lamp for the path to enlightenment – teachings by the Gyalwang Karmapa: Day three
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