by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes How the Perfection of Energy, etc., are fulfilled contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as on Miscellany. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
Just as a general, intent on vanquishing his foes, strives ceaselessly, even so the Bodhisatta, who seeks to overcome the enemies of defilement unaided and who wants other beings to make similar conquests also, works arduously all the time in fulfilment of the Perfections.
Therefore the Bodhisatta continuously reflects with mindfulness: “What have I accumulated in the way of requisites of merit and wisdom today? What have I done for the welfare of others today?” Reflecting thus every day, he works energetically to be of service to other beings.
In order to help beings, he gives away generously his possessions including his life and limb. Whatever he does bodily or verbally, he does so with his mind inclined towards Omniscience;whatever merit he accrues from such action, he dedicates to the attainment of full Enlightenment.
He turns away, with a mind for emancipation, from objects of sense pleasures, even if they are of superior kind or in small amount, not to speak of inferior objects of sense pleasures or in abundant quantity.
He always works assiduously for the welfare of beings.
He bears with patience, all sense objects, whether desirable or undesirable.
He stands firm on truth, not deviating from it even at the stake of his life.
He suffuses all beings, not making any discrimination, with loving-kindness and compassion. Just as a father wishes to take upon himself the suffering of his children, even so he wishes to take upon himself all the suffering that would befall on beings.
He rejoices in the meritorious deeds of all beings. He keeps reflecting on the greatness of Buddhas and the greatness of their powers. Whatever action he does, bodily or verbally, he does so only with his mind inclined towards Perfect Enlightenment.
In this manner, the Bodhisatta, being constantly devoted to meritorious deeds, such as dāna, etc., makes an incomparable accumulation of requisites of merit and wisdom day by day.
Furthermore, having relinquished his own life and limb for the use and protection of beings, he seeks ways and means and applies them for the alleviation of various kinds of suffering borne by beings e.g. hunger, thirst, cold, heat, wind, sun, etc.
Whatever happiness he derives from removal of the said afflictions, the various physical and mental comfort that results from staying in delightful parks, gardens, mansions, pools, and forest abodes, the bliss of jhānic attainments enjoyed by Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, Ariya-sāvaka and Bodhisattas after renunciation, as he has heard from others, he wishes to make all this happiness available to all beings without distinction.
(All the activities of the Bodhisatta, so far described, relate to those he engaged in before he has attained jhānas).
When he has become accomplished in jhānas, he endeavours to bestow the fruits of jhānas he himself has enjoyed such as, rapture, calm, happiness, concentration, knowledge of things as they really are, on beings so that they may also relish them even as he has done for himself.
Furthermore, he sees beings engulfed and helpless in the great suffering of the round of rebirths (saṃsāra vatta dukkha), in the suffering caused by defilement (kilesa dukkha), and in the suffering caused by kamma formations (abhisankhāra dukkha) which keep beings in saṃsāra.
This is how he sees the suffering beings: he distinctly sees beings, as inmates in the realms of misery (niraya), experiencing continuous, intense agony for a long time, being cut up, severed, amputated, pulverized and subjected to fierce burning.
He distinctly sees beings, as animals, undergoing great suffering through mutual animosity, oppression, causing injury, killing one another, or having to toil in the service of others.
He distinctly sees beings, as ghosts, being enveloped in raging flames, consumed and withered by hunger, thirst, wind, sun, etc., eating on what has been vomited, on spittle, phlegm, etc., and throwing up their arms in lamentation.
He distinctly sees some beings, as humans, ruined in their search for means of livelihood; suffering punishment, such as cutting off their hands, feet, etc., for crimes committed by them;horrible to look at, ugly, deformed; deeply immersed in the mire of suffering, not distinguishable from the suffering of the inmates of niraya. Some humans, afflicted by hunger and thirst, due to shortage of food, are suffering just like famished ghosts. Some of them, being numerically and materially weak, are vanquished by the more powerful, forced into their services and made dependent on their masters for their livelihood. He sees their suffering not being different from those of animals.
The Bodhisatta distinctly sees devas of the six realms of sensual pleasures (who are seen only as happy ones by humans) suffering from restlessness as they have swallowed the ‘poison’ of sense pleasures and burning with fires of greed, hatred and bewilderment, like a blazing pile of dry firewood stoked up with blasts of wind, with not a moment of peace and always struggling desperately, dependent upon others for mere existence.
He distinctly sees the Brahmās of the Fine Material and Immaterial realms, after existing there for the long life span of eighty-four thousand mahā-kappas, succumb to the natural law of impermanence and finally plunge back into unsurmountable rounds of suffering of birth, ageing, and death, as do birds, propelled with tremendous energy, fly far into space or like arrows shot into the sky by a strong man.
Seeing their suffering vividly in this manner, the Bodhisatta feels a sense of religious urgency (saṃvega), and suffuses all beings with loving kindness and compassion without discrimination in the thirty-one planes of existence.
The Bodhisatta, who in this way accumulates, without interruption, the requisites of Enlightenment by way of good physical, verbal and mental actions, strives thoroughly and with constant perseverance in order that all the pāramīs may reach the height of fulfilment. Again, Energy, which is responsible for conveying him to Buddhahood, i.e., the repository of inconceivable, incomparable, extensive, undefiled, pure attributes, is of unthinkable might. Ordinary people dare not even hear about this energy of the Bodhisatta, much less exercise it.
To explain further: It is only through the power of this energy that the Bodhisatta develops, accumulates and fulfils the requisites of Enlightenment, which are the three aspirations towards Omniscient Buddhahood with the thoughts of attaining Buddhahood (Buddho bodheyyam), of achieving liberation (mutto moceyyam) and of crossing the ocean of saṃsāra (tiṇṇo tāreyyam); (as has been described in Chapter VI. ‘What are the basic conditions of the pāramīs?’) the four grounds of Buddhahood; the four ways of gaining friendship;the single function of compassion; reflection on the unique condition for Buddhahood by realization of Buddha qualities; being untainted with craving, conceit and wrong view concerning all things; perceiving all beings as his own dear children; not being wearied by suffering of saṃsāra while striving for Buddhahood; relinquishing everything that could be given away; and in so relinquishing, not being conceited with the thought: “There is none in the universe to match me in generosity.”; applying oneself to development of higher morality, higher concentration and higher wisdom; being unshakeable in the practice of these virtues; being joyful, happy and delighted with meritorious deeds; being inclined to three forms of seclusion; application to development of jhānas; being insatiable with blameless dhammas;teaching the Dhammas one has heard to others, out of goodwill; making great efforts to initiate meritorious deeds in fulfilment of the Perfections;unremitting perseverance intensified by courage; remaining unperturbed by accusations and wrongs of others; being firmly established in truth; gaining mastery over jhāna attainments; achieving power in abhiññās;comprehending the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta);accumulating the requisites for the four supramundane Paths through practice of Steadfast Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna), etc.; and becoming accomplished in the nine supramundane Dhammas. All these endeavours to develop, accumulate and fulfil the requisites of Enlightenment can be made only with powers of Energy. Therefore, the Bodhisatta has, from the time of forming the aspiration until attainment of Buddhahood, worked to perfect his Energy thoroughly, incessantly, assiduously without any relaxation, so that it will enable him to advance to higher and higher stages of distinguished Dhamma.
When this forward-driving (parakkama) Perfection of Energy has been fulfilled, the Perfections of Forbearance, Truthfulness etc., which follow it, as well as those of Generosity, Morality, etc., which precede it, become fulfilled since all of them are dependent on Energy for their perfection. Therefore, fulfilment of the Perfection of Forbearance and the remaining ones should be understood in the same manner.
Thus, benefitting others in various ways by relinquishing objects of offering, which contribute to the happiness of being, is fulfilment through generosity.
Non-destruction and protection of life, property and family of beings, not causing dissension, speaking endearing, beneficial words, etc., constitute fulfilment through morality.
Likewise, performance of many beneficial acts, such as accepting the four requisites given by beings and giving the gift of Dhamma to them, is fulfilment through renunciation; having skill in ways and means of promoting the welfare of beings is fulfilment through wisdom; striving with zeal, undergoing difficulties without slacking in the use of that skill is fulfilment through energy; bearing with patience all the wrong of beings is fulfilment through forbearance; not deceiving, not breaking the pledge of help to beings is fulfilment through truthfulness;remaining unshaken, even when his interests suffer as a result of rendering service to beings, is fulfilment through resolution; contemplating repeatedly the welfare and happiness of beings is fulfilment through loving-kindness;being unmoved, when helped or troubled by others, is fulfilment through equanimity.
Thus, the Bodhisatta endeavours for an accumulation of incomparable merit and wisdom, not shared by common people, made for the sake of infinite beings and his thorough, careful fulfilment of the basic conditions of the pāramīs, as mentioned above. All these undertakings may be taken in brief as practising the Pāramī-sampatti.
Footnotes and references:
The Four grounds of Buddhahood.
The four ways of gaining friendship (sangahavatthu); liberality (dāna);kindly speech (peyyavajja); beneficial action (atthacariya);treating others like into oneself (samanattatā).
Three forms of seclusion: kāya, citta, and upadhi-viveka; kaya-viveka means keeping aloof from companions; citta-viveka means being void of sensuous thoughts; upadhi-viveka means detachment from defilement.
The nine supramundance Dhammas: The Four Paths, the Four Fruitions and Nibbāna.