Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas
Text Sections 248-249
The text sections 248 and 249 discuss absolute bodhicitta. ’Absolute bodhicitta’ [don dam sems bskyed] or ’transcendental bodhicitta’ [’jig rten las ’das pa’i byang chub sems] cannot be realized through ceremonies but comes about through meditation.
As Maitreya said in Asaṅga’s Sūtrālaṃkāra [mdo sde rgyan]:
When the perfect Buddha is pleased,
When the accumulations of merit and wisdom are well-gathered,
When non-conceptual wisdom concerning all phenomena has been born,
That is understood to be the absolute (bodhicitta).
The first step to let absolute bodhicitta arise is to please the Buddha or your master through the three delights [mnyes pa gsum]. The supreme way to delight your master is through practicing meditation [sgrub pas mnyes par byed pa]. This indictates that non-conceptual wisdom only arises when a practitioner relies on a master.
The second best way to delight your master is by serving him with body and speech [lus ngag gis zhabs tog]; and last, to delight him through material offerings [zang zing gi mchod pa]. By pleasing your master in these ways, the blessings will be granted. The blessing of the glorious root guru is indispensable for the realization of absolute bodhicitta.
The second step is to gather the two accumulations of merit and wisdom. The accumulation of merit is gathered through practicing the seven branches [yan lag bdun pa] or through any other kind of physical, verbal or mental merit. The accumulation of wisdom is gathered by practicing the recognition of mind essence. As it is said:
As far as the ultimate, the co-emergent wisdom, is concerned,
Know that it is foolish to rely upon any methods other than
Practices for gathering the accumulations and purifying obscurations,
As well as the blessing of the glorious root guru.
The Buddha was the direct master of the bodhisattvas. While Buddha was still present as the supreme nirmāṇakāya [mchog gi sprul sku], the bodhisattvas served him with great devotion. Even Buddha Śākyamuni himself, our sublime teacher [yongs ’dzin dam pa], served and pleased hundreds of buddhas and received meditation instructions from them in former aeons.
After gathering the accumulations of merit and wisdom for one incalculable aeon, he recognized non-conceptual wisdom [mi rtog ye shes], the absolute bodhicitta [don dam pa’i byang chub sems], and thus reached the first bodhisattva level. Having gained the realization of buddha nature, Buddha Śākyamuni traversed, over the course of another countless aeon, from the first through the seventh bodhisattva levels. During the third countless aeon, he traversed from the eighth bodhisattva level to the level of a perfectly enlightened buddha.
The absolute bodhicitta is realized only from the first bodhisattva level [sa dang po] onward, from the path of seeing [mthong lam] onward. On the paths of accumulation [tshogs lam] and of application [sbyor lam], absolute bodhicitta is not yet realized. The śrāvakas have not realized absolute bodhicitta at all.