One of the Four Immeasurable Qualities is compassion, Tibetan: snying rje, pronounced nying jé. The definition of compassion is the wish that others not experience suffering. Therefore, nying jé is the practice and aspiration that all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. This feeling of genuine compassion is developed towards all sentient beings without preference or bias, and until the quality is completely perfected and unshakeable. When this quality is perfected and fully realized, it is known as jang chub sem, the mind of enlightenment. Those practitioners who have developed this quality are known as sempa, Tibetan: sems dpa’, mind warriors or mind heroes. (Sanskrit: bodhisattva). There are three types of sempa: (1) yungdrung sempa: indestructible mind warriors, (2) yungdrung sempa sems pa chen po, great indestructible mind warriors, and (3) yungdrung sempa sems pa len mépa, indestructible, non-returning mind warriors. As practitioners, we aspire to develop our minds in the same way as the sempa and therefore obtain the capacity to be of benefit to other sentient beings.
In the presence of the places of refuge visualized in the sky in front of you, earnestly reflect that not even one single sentient being, during this or previous lifetimes, has not acted as your mother, father, child or friend. These sentient beings are wandering throughout cyclic existence. Generate a genuine feeling of how worthy of compassion is all of their suffering and misery. “Now, because I am powerless to help those sentient beings who are as vast as the sky, I will obtain buddhahood while enclosed in this physical body. I will patiently lead and guide them until cyclic existence is empty.” Think in this way and perform the recitation.From the Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung preliminary practice of Establishing a Foundation of Immeasurable Compassion in order to Generate the Mind of Enlightenment
Compassion is the foundation of all Yungdrung Bön teachings. In order to support practitioners in developing this quality, the Yungdrung Bön teachings give seven progressive steps, or causes, for developing perfected compassion within the mind-stream.
- Ma Shé, Knowing the Mother: We reflect that throughout our countless lifetimes, every sentient being has at one time been our very own mother. We open ourselves to deeply experiencing this connection with each sentient being, whether human or nonhuman, friend, enemy, or stranger.
- Drin Dren, Remembering Their Kindness: We reflect in detail regarding the kindness that we have received from other sentient beings throughout countless lifetimes. Since each of them have acted as our mother, they have all sacrificed themselves in order to nourish and protect us.
- Drin du Zö, Returning the Kindness: Having deeply experienced a feeling of being cared for by the countless sentient beings who are as vast as the sky, we generate a feeling of wanting to repay their kindness.
- Jampa, Love: We generate a sincere feeling and wish that all these sentient beings experience happiness and have the causes for happiness.
- Nying Jé, Compassion: We generate a feeling and wish that all these sentient beings be free from suffering and misery.
- Lhak Sam, Profound Altruistic Motivation: Engaging in spiritual practice in order to attain realization and develop the capacity to help other sentient beings, we open ourselves to the spontaneous actions that arise from the foundation of compassion.
- Jang Chub Sem, the Mind of Enlightenment: Again and again having practiced in this way and ripened our mind-stream, we obtain the fully perfected, unbiased and indestructible mind of immeasurable compassion.
Among all sentient beings who are as limitless as the sky, not even a single one has not been my mother, father, child, or friend. They are in the thick darkness of churning cyclic existence, how sad!
For the sake of all of those, I will establish the foundation of complete buddhahood and engage in this profound practice. Having obtained the path of liberation and bliss, I will continually think of sending loving kindness to them.From The Practice to Continuously Maintain Regarding the Precious Lamp that Shakes the Depths of Cyclic Existence, the MA TRI Tantra, Composed by Drenpa Namkha
From the Forty-three Trainings for an Enlightened Mind composed by Sherap Gongyal Rinpoché:
The sentient beings of the three worlds have the same nature as my mother and father. What benefit is my own happiness when they are suffering? Because of that, in order to liberate the limitless sentient beings from the ocean of suffering and misery, I generate the mind of enlightenment.
Without exception, suffering and misery arise from desiring happiness for only myself. A perfect buddha arises from a mind that benefits others.
Rejoice in benefiting others with this condition of having attained a completely pure human body, and without distraction, work single-pointedly to accomplish being of benefit to others as though it is of the greatest importance.
Regardless of whether a practitioner is of lower capacity or the highest, or if they are practicing a causal vehicle or the highest dzogchen view, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap has taught that the foundation for all of these is compassion.
Because it unites method and compassion,
how marvelous is the great Bön!Buddha Tönpa Shenrap instructing his disciples regarding the Nine Ways of Bön in the Zi Ji
Translations from Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.
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