Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Great Compassion (Bodhisattva)

  Great Compassion comes when you stop picking and choosing among living beings you cross over. What are these beings? How do you take them across? The Sixth Patriarch's Sutra explains that the living beings you take across are just the thoughts in your mind, the thoughts that arise from your self nature. WHen the Bodhisattva really does his work he crosses over all his thoughts without discriminating among them. He can't take a vacation at any time. He has vowed to take all beings (thoughts) across to emptiness. The bodhisattva separates from thought and leaves defilement:
	The sentient one when enlightened
	    leaps out of the dust.
	His six perfections and myriad practices
	    are nurtured at all times.
			-- Master Hua
			Ten Dharma Realms

Great compassion can manifest when one realizes that the self nature is basically without any differences. It's all one and the same substance and he is part of it; it's in the self-nature that he connects with all that lives. This is where he does the work of taking all beings across, taking all thoughts back to their source.

	When a single thought is not produced
	The entire substance manifests.

The Bodhisattva practices Great Compassion, and as he practices, his realization increases. There is no realization without practice, guided by vows. When he vows to take all living beings across, his vow is the beginning of compassion. When he sends all thoughts back to the self nature, that is actual practice. Why? Because living beings are thoughts and thoughts are living beings.

The master wrote this verse:

	Truly recognize your own faults;
	Don't discuss the faults of others;
	Others' faults are just my own.
	Being of the same substance
	    is called Great Compassion.

Your own faults from failing constantly to take across living beings. Being lazy and not working diligently is a big fault; it is not the practice of the Bodhisattva.

Don't discuss the faults of others. "Others" are just thoughts in your own head. What you see as a fault in someone else comes from your discriminating mind.

Others' faults are just my own. You should return the light all the time. Shine the light on the projections of the mind and get to work crossing them over.

Being of the same substance is called Great Compassion. All thoughts come from the self-nature. When they filter up into the mind they get discriminated into good and bad, right and wrong. When the Bodhisattva practices Prajna wisdom and wipes away all thoughts as they arise, he is returning to his self-nature, to the original, fundamentally pure substance that he shares with all living beings. This is truly taking all living beings across.

"At all times he nurtures them." He must do it constantly for Great Compassion to manifest.

"At all times" in the Buddhist sense means from thought to thought, minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, through months, years, life to life, kalpa to kalpa. Time loses its meaning. For the Bodhisattva who has vowed to save all living beings, one thought of purity, one act of Great Compassion extends throughout all time and space to the ends of the Dharma realm. What could be more liberated, more independent than the scope of Great Compassion?

Practices are the measure of the Bodhisattva. In order to stay on the Middle Way he must maintain his Dharma-methods no matter what circumstances arise. If a good state appears he cannot turn from his practice. If an unpleasant scene develops, the Bodhisattva nurtures his practice all the same, taking tender care of his most valuable possession, the jewelled Dharma-raft that can ferry all beings from suffering to the other shore of bliss.

-- Volume 2, Page 95-97