The Great Chariot

by Longchenpa | 268,580 words

A Commentary on Great Perfection: The Nature of Mind, Easer of Weariness In Sanskrit the title is ‘Mahāsandhi-cittā-visranta-vṛtti-mahāratha-nāma’. In Tibetan ‘rDzogs pa chen po sems nyid ngal gso’i shing rta chen po shes bya ba ’...

Part 10b.4) The six perfections: Exertion

4.a) How it is for individuals who have it

Now there is the explanation of the perfection of exertion. For individuals:

For those with joy in the wholesome nature of exertion,
Good dharmas are not exhausted, but gathered up like clouds,
Or bees within a cluster of fragrant lotus flowers.

The scriptures say:

By exertion enlightenment exists,
But by non-exertion it does not.
By exertion all that is good is gathered.
By exertion good qualities increase.

4.b) The incompatible aspects With exertion:

What does not accord with this is three kinds of laziness,
Being attached to bad actions, discouragement, self-deprecation.
Not accomplishing good is the source of every evil.
The excellent deteriorates, and troubles grow.

With laziness, faults increase, virtue is obscured, and our wishes are not accomplished. To give the divisions, there are these:

Laziness attached to bad actions concerns acts that hinder holy Dharma, and distract the mind from it, like always being preoccupied with business.

Seeing difficulties, joining ourselves to the thought “Surely it can’t be done,” is the laziness of discouragement.

“Someone like me couldn’t do it!”-- such a discouraged attitude is the laziness of self-deprecation. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

There is the laziness of attachment to bad actions That of discouragement, and that of self deprecation.

4.c) The measureless good qualities

As for the good qualities of the opposite of laziness, exertion:

Whoever has exertion is praised by all the world.
Whoever has exertion, accomplishes human wishes.
Whoever has exertion, their virtues will increase.
Whoever has exertion will pass beyond suffering.

To summarize the immeasurable benefits of exertion, we will be praised by worldly ones and will be successful in our aspirations. Good qualities will increase. Buddhahood will be attained. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

That only with exertion enlightenment exists,
Is like there being no motion without the element wind.
So without exertion no merit will arise.

4.d) The instruction that we must have exertion as a means to these benefits:

Regarding exertion:

Whether in the highest dharmas of worldly goodness,
Or in those of the path that leads beyond the world,
There are defiling dharmas and those that are undefiled.
So that the bad is abandoned and the good accomplished,
Let us make strong exertions, and truly stay with them,
So long as buddhahood has yet to be accomplished.
Going ever-higher to greater and greater truth,
Let us strive as long as that without slackening.

For as long as we have not attained buddhahood, we should try to attain its superior qualities. In doing so, we should rejoice in good actions. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

What is exertion? Joyful pursuit of goodness.

As for the divisions, the armor of exertion is practicing virtue as a cause of overcoming the four maras.

The exertion of preparation completes the five paths and ten bhumis.

From that comes the exertion that accomplishes the goals of sentient beings, which is the cause of accomplishing the goals of oneself and others.

There are the also three exertions in Dharma by exertion in body, striving in speech, and endeavor in mind. Also the Compendium (kun las btus pa) says:

There are the exertions of armor, preparation, absence of despondency, irreversibility, and never regarding as enough, with the mind completely joyful.

The Lankavatara Sutra says:

Exertion is that by which there is striving before and after midnight. Having seen what accords with yoga, exertion in eliminating discursive thoughts is the perfection of exertion.

The Mahayanasutralankara says:

Truly rejoicing in what is virtuous
Having reliance on faith as well as zeal,
Increases the virtues of mindfulness and so forth,
Which are the antidotes for all the kleshas.

With such qualities as nonattachment,
Among which seven kinds[1] are to be found,
Having completely known this sort of exertion,
The wise establish true accomplishment.

Joy in virtue is the essence. Having faith and zeal is the cause. Increasing mindfulness, samadhi and so on is the fruition. Possessing a happy mind without the three poisons is possession of the quality.

If it is divided, in each of the three trainings,[2] by body it is always produced and is devotedly produced, by speech it is always produced and is devotedly produced. By mind it is always produced and is devotedly produced. With those two for each and armor-exertion that makes seven kinds. As for the qualities, the Mahayanasutralankara says:

The armor-application of the buddha sons is the nature of the exertion which is
        without example
Having destroyed the hosts of their own and others kleshas, they attain the fruition of
        true enlightenment.
By this same exertion, all beings are established within the nature of the three
With this completely accomplished by the wisdom of exertion, they are established
        without exhaustion in the realms of purity.

Footnotes and references:


See commentary below.


The three higher trainings in discipline, samadhi and prajña. 1) lhag pa tshul khrims kyi bslab pa. 2) lhag pa ting nge 'dzin gyi bslab pa 3) lhag pa shes rab kyi bslab pa.

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