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Entering the Conduct of the Bodhisattvas

Text Section 307

Most people in Tibet have an affinity toward Mahāyāna. They aspire to reach enlightenment; they aspire to become buddhas. In addition, at the time of Khenpo Kunpal, most Tibetans had received empowerments and thus had taken the refuge and bodhisattva precepts. Anyone who has developed bodhicitta has become an object of respect and worthy of offerings from all beings and gods. Such people will eventually become buddhas in the future.

Therefore, Khenpo Kunpal says one should treat all people with respect, confess the slander and disrespect one previously committed, and promise to abstain from similar negativities in the future. Everyone should be treated with pure perception and as an object of refuge.

In the sūtra context, training in pure perception [dag snang] means thinking that all sentient beings are bodhisattvas and, therefore, treating them with respect and kindness.

As it is said:

Whenever I detect flaws in others
May I look at my own mistakes.
May I recognize my own mistakes and
Practice pure perception.

gzhan gyi skyon la mthong ba’i tshe
rang gi skyon la mthong bar shog
rang skyon rang gis mthong ba dang
dag pa’i snang ba sgyur bar shog

If you perceive flaws and mistakes in someone, check carefully where your own negative thought and judgement about that person are coming from. A pure mind cannot see flaws in others. A buddha would never judge any being to be evil. A buddha will perceive beings as being caught up in their own bad dreams. He perceives the beings as well as their negative dreams, and he perceives them both as non-existing illusions. At the same time, he continues to perceive beings themselves as pure.

The perception [mthong snang] of a buddha and the knowledge [ha go ba] of a buddha do differ. Although a buddha has no impure perception, he recognizes beings’ impure perceptions. While knowing all perceptions of others, he himself is free from all impure perception [gzhan ngo’i snang ba thams cad mkhyen na yang rang ngo la ma dag pa’i snang ba med].

Thus, the purity of one’s perception depends on the purity of one’s own mind. A pure mind has pure perception. For example, it is said that pretas perceive water as consisting of pus and blood, gods perceive water as nectar, while human beings perceive water as water.

Our impure perceptions of the world are a magical display of our ignorance [ma rig pa’i cho ’phrul]. Based on this ignorance, various reactions such as likes and dislikes manifest. We are like people with an eye disease that causes them to perceive a white conch to be yellow.

We should not try to change the conch but rather find the cure for the affliction. The cure is to train our minds in bodhicitta and pure perception. The basis for pure perception is the fact that all beings actually are primordially pure [ye nas dag pa], primordially buddhas [nas nas sangs rgyas].

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