Middle Length Lam Rim Lesson 4 1 As mentioned in the verse in The Foundation of All Good Qualities:Just I have fallen into the sea of samsara, So have all mother migratory beings. Please bless me to see this, train in supreme bodhicitta, And bear the responsibility of freeing migratory beings. In order to generate the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings within our mental continuum, we must first understand and recognise that we ourselves have fallen into the sea of samsara and been tormented by various kinds of sufferings. We can recognise the suffering of suffering and the suffering of pain easily. What about the suffering of change and suffering of conditionality, which are difficult for us to realise even though we are experiencing them? We do not see these contaminated experiences of pleasure as being in the nature of suffering but see them as real pleasure and grasp at them. We are so attached to them. And because of them, we start to create negative actions and accumulate negative karma that cause us to circle in samsara continuously. Therefore, before training on the path of the person of great capacity, we must engage in the preliminary practices on the paths that are shared by the persons of small and medium capacity. This is because we ourselves must first understand the kinds of suffering that can be found in the three lower realms and also the general and specific kinds of suffering that are found in cyclic existence. After gaining some understanding of these kinds of suffering, then we should meditate on them until we elicit some sort of experience within our mental continuum. It is only when we have a good understanding and some experience of the various kinds of suffering that sentient beings have to endure that we can generate compassion. Only after the generation of compassion can we then generate the wholehearted resolve and bodhicitta. The gradual training has three sections:1. Training the mind to be intent on others' welfare 2. Training the mind to be intent on enlightenment 3. Identifying bodhicitta, the fruit of the training 1. Training the mind to be intent on others' welfare Training the mind to be intent on others' welfare has two parts: 1. Establishing the basis for developing this attitude 2. The development of the attitude of being intent on others' welfare 1. Establishing the basis for developing this attitude Establishing the basis for developing this attitude has two parts: 1. Achieving impartiality towards living beings 2. Having affection for all beings Establishing the basis means producing the mind of impartiality or equanimity. Why do we have to train in equanimity from the beginning? If we do not establish an even-minded attitude towards all sentient beings, then we may have attachment to some and hostility to others. The love and compassion that we generate will be influenced by attachment or hostility. However, if we have established an even-minded attitude towards all sentient beings from the beginning, then the love and compassion that we generate on the path will not be influenced by attachment and hostility. Yangsi Rinpoche pg 308 Equanimity means eliminating the biased mind that discriminates, that encourages us to feel close to some and distant from others. A mind of equanimity considers oneself and others to be the same, and it is completely free of the extreme attitudes of being overly attached to some and very distant from others. (a) Achieving impartiality toward living beings From the outset, establish an even-minded attitude; eliminating the bias that comes from attachment to some living beings and hostility to others. Otherwise, any love or compassion you feel will be biased; you will never feel unbiased love or compassion. So, cultivate impartiality. Immeasurable impartiality is said to be of two types: (1) wishing that living beings were free from such afflictions as attachment and hostility, and (2) being even-minded yourself after you have become free of attachment or hostility towards living beings. Middle Length Lam Rim Lesson 4 2 Between these two, the latter (2) applies to us at a personal level when we try to be even-minded towards all sentient beings without being affected by attachment or hostility. The steps for cultivating immeasurable impartiality are as follows; Since you can easily be impartial to a person towards whom you have neutral feelings, first take as the object of your meditation such a person, someone who has neither helped nor harmed you. Achieve an even-mindedness toward this person, removing your attachment and hostility. It will be easier for us to cultivate immeasurable equanimity if we first take a neutral person as our object of meditation as such a person has neither helped nor harmed us. Once you have attained this, then cultivate even-mindedness toward a friend. Your lack of even-mindedness towards this friend is either due to the degree of your attachment for him or her or because of the bias from your attachment and hostility. We then apply the equanimity that was cultivated towards the neutral person towards our loved one. If we have some feeling of attachment instead of even-mindedness, this indicates that we do have not equanimity. We need to reduce our attachment towards our loved one and move our mind towards even-mindedness. After you achieve an even-mindedness toward this friend, cultivate it toward an enemy. Your lack of even-mindedness toward this person is due to your hostility, viewing him or her as totally disagreeable. After you are even-minded toward this person, finally cultivate it toward all living beings. After having even-mindedness towards our loved one, we then take our enemy as our object of meditation. If we have some feeling of anger or hostility towards our enemy instead of even-mindedness, this indicates that we do not have equanimity. We need to reduce our anger or hostility towards our enemy and move our mind towards even-mindedness. What should we do when we discover we have attachment towards our loved one and hostility towards our enemy? There are two methods:1. From the viewpoint of other sentient beings: We are all equal and want happiness and not suffering. From this viewpoint, it is inappropriate to hold some close and others distant. 2. From one’s own viewpoint: If it is true that I have been taking rebirth continuously in cyclic existence since beginningless time, then all beings have been my friends. To whom should I be attached? To whom should I be hostile? Question: Well then, what meditation eliminates attachment and hostility toward these three persons? Reply: Kamalasila's second Stages of Meditation offers two approaches: (1) Contemplate as follows, "From living beings’ view-point, all equally want happiness and do not want suffering. Therefore, it is inappropriate to hold some close and to help them, while keeping others at a distance and harming or not helping them." (2) Contemplate as follows, "From my viewpoint, if I have continuously been reborn since beginningless time, all beings have been my friends hundreds of times. To whom should I be attached? To whom should I be hostile?" In accordance with my previous explanation in the section on the fault of uncertainty, think about how all friends and enemies can quickly change. By thinking in this way, stop both hostility and attachment. By contemplating the kind of suffering that is experienced in samsara, with the fault of uncertainty; where a friend can become an enemy, we should stop both hostility and attachment. For those beings towards whom we have strong attachment, we can reduce the attachment by thinking that they had harmed us many times in past lifetimes. As for the enemy, we can reduce the anger and hostility by thinking that they had benefited us countless times even though they have harmed us in this life. We should attempt to cultivate the even-minded attitude that we have towards the neutral person towards our friends and enemies of this life. The love and compassion that we develop are normally mixed with anger or attachment and is not pure. Therefore, we should train our mind in immeasurable equanimity from the beginning so that the love and compassion we generate will be fully qualified and not influenced by anger or attachment. In this context your contemplation requires you to make the distinction between friend and enemy. It is not the notion of friend or enemy that you need to stop but the bias that comes from attachment and hostility, which are based on the reason that some people are your friends and others your enemies.