segunda-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2015

An Explanation of Matchless Compassion

His Holiness Sakya Trizin 

An Explanation of Matchless Compassion

His Holiness Sakya Trizin - This teaching, given by the great Mahasiddha Virupa, is a method of training the mind to develop compassion.

Now, we can’t accomplish enlightenment without proper cause and conditions. In order to accomplish enlightenment we need to receive teachings. First we have to learn the teachings, and then after learning the teachings, we need to practice them in daily life. With such motivation, and with the body in a respectful posture, the voice in silence, and the mind concentrating on each and every word, we should receive the teachings.


This particular teaching is called ‘Matchless Compassion Yoga’. Here, yoga refers to meditation. Compassion is very, very important. It is the root of the Mahayana teachings, the Mahayana path, the Mahayana Dharma. If we lack compassion, whatever practice we do, whether generosity, moral conduct, patience, diligence, meditation, or even the very highest tantric practice, it does not become Mahayana Dharma. We may say it is Mahayana, or Vajrayana Dharma, but in reality it is not. It is Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle, Dharma. Therefore, it is very, very important to make sure that first we develop compassion. Without compassion, the other qualities of buddhahood will not arise.

The great sixth-century Indian master Chandrakirti wrote ‘Engaging in the Middle Way’, a very important text that explains the view of ultimate truth distilled in the philosophy of the Madhyamaka, or Middle Way, school. When Chandrakirti wrote the book, he first paid homage to compassion.

He didn’t pay homage to the Buddha or to the bodhisattvas or to other deities. He paid homage to compassion because, as he explained, shravakas and pratyekabuddhas are born from the Buddha: the Buddha gave the teachings, they practiced them, and on the basis of that, they gained nirvana. Thus, without the Buddha, they could not have gained nirvana.

Now, from whence is a buddha born? A buddha is born from a bodhisattva. A person first becomes a bodhisattva and then progresses on the bodhisattva path to accomplish full enlightenment. Without bodhisattvas, there are no buddhas. Now, from whence do bodhisattvas come? Bodhisattvas come from compassion, nondual thought, and enlightenment mind. It is from these causes that a bodhisattva is created. Thus the very root is compassion. The very first or original root of the great qualities of the buddhas and bodhisattvas lies in compassion.

When we fill a container with water, many drops of water are poured. The first drop, then the second drop, the third drop, and the accumulation of many drops eventually fill the container. Similarly, the very first root, the origin of the great qualities of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, is compassion. For us ordinary people, compassion is the very first seed or root of enlightenment within our minds. Therefore, compassion is crucially important.

Normally, we speak of loving kindness, compassion, and enlightenment mind, or bodhichitta. Loving kindness is like the love of every mother for her child. She wants her child to be physically healthy, mentally happy, and all of the wishes of that particular child to be fulfilled. Such kindly thoughts are termed loving kindness. Just as every parent loves his or her child, all of us have a certain amount of loving kindness. Not just we humans, but even fierce animals have a certain amount of loving kindness.

However, at the moment, our loving kindness is very limited, in that it is based on selfish reasons. Our kind and loving thoughts typically arise because the object of our affection is a relative or a friend, and the like. Such loving kindness is not complete. The loving kindness described in this teaching embraces every sentient being without discrimination, not distinguishing between those who are dearest to us and our most hated enemies. Such loving kindness is felt toward every sentient being without exception. Called universal loving kindness, it is very, very important. We must try to generate this loving kindness toward all sentient beings.

Next is compassion. There are many different levels of compassion. In general, compassion means to focus on a sentient being who is suffering—either physically or mentally—and have the wish for that being to be freed from his or her pain, freed from that suffering. This is called compassion. Of course we all have a certain amount of compassion. Whenever we see someone suffering, we all have some kind of feeling that wishes that particular being to be free of that suffering. But we do not have universal compassion, compassion toward all sentient beings. Ordinary beings lack this.


The special technique of this particular text is to practice compassion toward a difficult object, because when we can practice compassion toward the most difficult object, it will be easy to develop compassion toward all other sentient beings. An example of a difficult object is an enemy, someone who seeks to harm us. It is very difficult to give rise to loving kindness and compassion for our enemies. To do this, find a secluded place where there are no external disturbances or internal disturbances. It should be outwardly as well as inwardly completely peaceful. Your physical behavior should be completely balanced in the sense that you are not strenuously active and that you can completely relax.

First take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is vital. Then generate enlightenment mind. That is, think that for the benefit of all sentient beings, you must attain full enlightenment, and in order to attain enlightenment you are performing this practice. By taking refuge in the Triple Gem, you switch from the wrong path to the right path. By generating enlightenment mind, you move from the lower path to the higher Mahayana path.

Then visualize yourself in the form of any of the deities that you normally practice, such as Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, or Vajrapani. To be able to carry out your practice successfully, without obstacles, and also to receive blessings, visualize your root guru on the top of your head. For example, if you are visualizing yourself in the form of Avalokiteshvara, then the guru should be in the form of Buddha Amitabha, who is master of Avalokiteshvara’s buddha family or race. In other words, Avalokiteshvara’s guru is Buddha Amitabha, so if you are visualizing yourself in the form of Avalokiteshvara, then visualize your own root guru in the form of Buddha Amitabha on the top of your head.

Now I will explain the actual practice. Visualize in front of you the most hated enemy that you can think of, the being you see as having harmed you the most. Try to practice compassion toward this enemy. Try to develop a genuine feeling of compassion for your enemy. Wish that this particular enemy will be happy and will be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. As you continue to practice this compassion, it is also important to alternate with contemplation of the reasons you should have compassion for your worst enemy. Practice the two in tandem: practice compassion and also the reason why you should develop compassion for your worst enemy.

So, with full concentration and with a single-pointed mind, very diligently focus on your most hated enemy, who is causing you a lot of damage, pain, and misery. Practice compassion toward this enemy. With this feeling, recite, “Toward this very harmful enemy, may I develop sympathy and feelings of compassion.” Recite this many, many times until you have a real feeling of compassion.

Next is the reason why you have to develop compassion toward your worst enemy, and that contemplation proceeds as follows. Our individual mind has existed from beginning-less time. There is no moment of time that is the beginning of a particular person’s mental consciousness. The mental consciousness cannot appear out of nowhere, and it cannot appear from a completely different thing like the elements, or from our present physical bodies, because the two are very different.

Just as rice will not grow from wheat, wheat will not grow from rice. To grow rice we need a rice seed, and to grow wheat we need a wheat seed. Similarly our mental consciousness cannot arise from mere elements, because the elements, like the physical body, are things that we can see and feel. We can describe their particular shape and particular colours.

The mental consciousness is very different. It is something you can’t touch and can’t describe as having a particular shape or colour. Therefore, the mental consciousness must have arisen from a continuity of the same type as itself. One of the wonders of life is that it has no beginning; it has existed since beginning-less time. Samsara has no beginning. From beginning-less time until now we have been in samsara. It is impossible to describe the number of years, the number of eons, or the number of lives that we have experienced. Throughout countless lifetimes, countless eons, and countless periods of time we have been in samsara. We have taken many different forms: human forms, animal forms, god forms, hungry ghost forms, and hell realm forms. And of course, every time we have taken a physical body, we have had parents, because we need parents to have a physical body.

Thus, at one time or another, all sentient beings have actually been our very dear parents—our very dear mother, our very dear father—our very dear relatives, and our very dear friends. So in reality, this hated enemy is actually our own previous dear mother.

But, since we have changed lives, we do not recognize her. We see her as an enemy because we did not pay back the kindness and benefit that that mother gave us. We still carry an enormous debt and must repay her for her kindness and benefit. Now our very dear mother, our very dear father, our very dear relatives, and so on have appeared in the form of enemies requesting repayment of those debts. If we do not practice compassion, if we still look upon them as enemies and try to harm them, the result will be continuous suffering for ourselves and continuous suffering for others. When the hatred of both sides clashes, of course the result is deeply harmful.

Now, while we are free from all unfavourable conditions and while we have all necessary favourable conditions, it is vital that we take advantage of this golden opportunity. The best way to use this opportunity is to conquer our defilements—to conquer our hatred, to conquer our desire, and to conquer our ignorance. A person who can conquer the defilements is truly brave and can be called a real hero.

For whether our mental hatred toward our enemies harms others or not, it will definitely send us to the lowest hell realms, where we will have to experience unimaginable and enormous suffering. No external enemy can do as much damage as our own internal mental hatred can. Therefore, this time, instead of destroying the outside enemy, we must destroy our worst enemy, our own hatred, through the practice of compassion. With the weapon of compassion, any defilement, any hatred, can be destroyed.

Contemplate the reasons why we ought to develop compassion toward our worst enemy. In reality this most hated enemy is also our own very dear mother or our very dear father. This is the first reason that instead of hatred, we must develop genuine compassion toward our enemy.

The second reason is that not only is our most hated enemy our very dear mother, he or she has been our mother not just once but for many, many lifetimes. Every time this enemy has been our mother, she has given us so much love, so much care, so much protection, and saved us from so much danger. For this reason too, we need to practice compassion.

The third reason is that every time this enemy has been our mother, he or she has given us so much benefit, as much benefit as our present mother gave us. In the beginning, our present mother gave us this precious body, this precious life. Without our mother, we wouldn’t have life; without our mother, we wouldn’t have this body; without our mother, we would not have survived; without our mother, we wouldn’t have become a grown-up human being; without our mother, we would not have had the opportunity to practice Dharma.

When we were first born, we were just like a tiny worm that could do nothing. But our mother did not let us die and took so much care of us and gave us so much benefit. Thus it is said that the first guru of our life was our own mother. Likewise, our enemy has done the same things and benefited us so much. That is why we need to practice compassion.

In summary, we need to develop compassion toward our most hated enemy because (1) that enemy is in reality our own mother, (2) that enemy was our mother not only once, but in many lifetimes, and (3) every time that enemy was our mother, she gave us so much benefit, so much love, and so much kindness. For these reasons we need to develop genuine loving kindness and compassion toward our enemy.