Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Duncan Dec 26 1993
We are involved in talking about the qualities of Buddha's body, speech and mind. For ourselves as individuals, we are the product of two activities which we are engaged with. One activity is the activity of our love and kindness, and the other activity is that of our intelligence. Right now we are the expression of our activities of love and intelligence. So if we were to take those activities and bring them to perfection, we would produce the attainment of enlightenment in that the enlightened being, whether man or woman, is the perfection of two qualities, the perfection of love and the perfection of wisdom.
That expressed by the Buddha is expressed in physical form being that the activities of love and those motivated by love and compassion produce a beautiful form. So when we look at the Buddha, the Buddha's form is very exquisite and attractive. There are said to be thirty-two major and eighty minor marks for the Buddha. Such things like the hair swirl at the center of the forehead, the crowning ushnisha, it is said that if you were to see the Buddha, he would have dharma chakras in the palms of his hands and the soles of the feet. The proportions of the body are very beautiful. It is said that if one sees the body that one feels greatly inspired by that vision.
The reason that body has quality is that the Buddha's activities are fully motivated by love and compassion. So if you think of great bodhisattvas,being which aspire by their motivation to become enlightened, then their activities are of love and of wisdom. So in that way, if you think of yourself in your movement forward in life, as much as you can activate or motivate with a sense of love and caring for others, and with empathy and a sense of compassion, all those activities, whatever they be, such as when the bugs crawl out on the sidewalk in the spring, and you just pick them up, every activity that you do in even such a mundane activity as that, is expressing your live and compassion.
And regarding out relationships with others. If we can have a sympathetic ear for others and can hear what they are saying and try to offer advice, even just offering time to someone, there is the activity of love and compassion. All those activities are what create your physical being. And as you develop and grow through your spirituality as a bodhisattva, it will be finally expressed in the form of being a fully enlightened being with the major and minor marks. So the Buddha's form is said to be the product of the activity of love and compassion.
As for the Buddha's wisdom or mind, that is his understanding of wisdom. From our position moving forward toward our attainment of enlightenment, it initially starts as our intelligence, our ability to look at situations and understand them. The essential wisdom is the wisdom of the law of cause and effect. Any activity that we view in life around us, is viewed with the eye that the experience the person is having is in relationship to that person. So if someone is having good experiences, it is the product of their karma. If someone is having bad experiences, it is the product of their karma. So in that way, in looking at someone, it is not that one should look disdainfully upon them, but you should look at at them as an expressions of their karma. So if someone is experiencing something, they are experiencing the ripening results of their karma, and if someone is doing activity, they are creating karma.
On the side of wisdom, looking at other beings, being conscious of them in their activities and seeing the things they experience, in regards to anything, whether one experiences great prosperity or popularity, great success, all are the product of activity in positive things, and if people experience negative things, it is of course in proportion to negative karmic activity of the past. You could say that is your relative wisdom, understanding any individual in the relative plane.
On the ultimate plane, we assume it is the wisdom of understanding the final nature of reality, and that is that the ability to understand that no phenomena is unto itself singular or individual. All phenomena are interrelated and interdependent and actually dissolve into that interdependence. If you try to find any object, any of the objects in from of me, if you investigate and try to find it's final nature it will dissolve into full interdependence which cannot be established or delineated other than there is the full matrix of interdependence.
Those two things, the activities of love and the intelligence of wisdom are the two activities that create the body of the enlightened being. So in your meditations, if you reflect on a Buddha or statue, you should always have the reflection of this, that the body of the Buddha is the expression of infinite activities of love and deep profound wisdom, understanding the nature or reality. It is just not a body produced from chaos. When we think of Buddha Shakyamuni of 2500 years ago, that specifically the product of many great thousands of years of the activities of love and wisdom. And if we think of ourselves, then we are of course are always on the path of accumulating activities of love or wisdom.
In regards to qualities, we have dealt with the qualities of the Buddhas hold mind, and I was going to follow up with the qualities of the speech and body. If you have the understanding of what produces an enlightened being, then when you think of the Buddha's speech, it is said that it is exquisite to listen to in the sense of the way the Buddha projects the words and thoughts that he is using with the quality of deep understanding. It is not like for example, when I teach I say the word love, so it is the word love. But when Buddha expresses the word love, there is the whole being of that, what it means to have love or compassion. Or when the Buddha expresses the word wisdom. People can immediately have realization from the power of his words. And it is because the Buddha has fully realized those words. When he speaks them, one, the concept being transmitted is done so with full conscious awareness of the full details, full depth of that concept.
And also it is said that the quality of the Buddha's speech, the empathy, is said to give great bliss to your ears. So when you listen to it, it dissolves your own sense of fear or anxiety you may be having because the Buddha's speech has such quality that the tone of it gives you a joy. I am sure we have met with people who when they have spoke, we sense a lot of warmth in their voice. There is quality and depth in that person. All of those are because the person is close to the subject matter. The closeness of the subject matter gives the qualities, also the qualities of character. A person who is kind and has empathy, emotions and feelings which bring warmth within us, if a person has those, then of course we can pick up that in the speech too!
So when we think of the Buddha if he were to give us teachings, we should think along the lines that his speech actually transmits the whole depth of his being. So it is said that when we listen to the speech of the Buddha, it bestows realizations just to hear it. It also says that his speech addresses issues which are specific to ourselves as individuals. So in the example given it is said that if there are a thousand people in the audience and the Buddha was to utter one sentence, each would hear it their own way, understanding their own realization. It would be addressing their own issues. It is said that is the power of the Buddha's speech, that it actually has profundity on an individual basis.
So that is the qualities of the Buddha's speech. It has great quality to listen to. It invokes in you various superlative emotions and a sense of peace and serenity. It can invoke wisdom and realizations, and it addresses personal issues regarding yourself as an individual. So when you think of the Buddha, think of him as having speech like that. That your body gets a thrill in it as the Buddha speaks each word.
Regarding the qualities of his body, the whole physical expression of the Buddha is full embodiment of all the activities that have led to his full enlightenment. So the very pores of his skin are said to be omniscient, that they have fully enlightenment mind, and that each pore can manifest a full Buddha field. It is said that the Buddha held up the end of his finger and upon it could appear the universe just in that one tip! If you went into that you find in the center of that universe another Buddha holding up his finger tip with another whole solar system. And so on. Such is the depth of the Buddha's being. So the very pores and molecules of Buddha's body have deep wisdom. And also of course, are only a manifestation of love and compassion.
I like to relate, that if you think of bodhicitta, which is the wish for enlightenment, bodhicitta is the activity that says I am going to work for the benefit of sentient beings. If we think of ourselves. We are saying we would like to work for sentient beings. So we have these thoughts in the morning, and then in the day we do various activities. If you were to take that to the final attainment when one attains enlightenment, one's intention has always to have been beneficial to sentient beings, with that intention, when the final stage of enlightenment is attained, you can say that the whole physical manifestation is only a manifestation of love. That the Buddha's body does not manifest for any other reason other than love and compassion for sentient beings.
So when you meditate on the body of the Buddha, you could that think that this person is fully receptive to helping me and to assist me. So from our side, should come a resonance or response to the fact that the Buddha is fully receptive. And it does not matter how ugly we are or how much we may think we have some bad quality, those thoughts of thinking the Buddhas doesn't like me because I am a lousy person. Actually then we would be making problems for ourselves. Because, from the Buddhas side, it does not matter how ugly we are or how much we have bad breath, the Buddha does not move away because we have something wrong with ourselves. The Buddha's compassion and receptivity is fully there. He or she is not affected by some small problem that we may have. And that is really important. If you do meditation on the Buddha and think today the Buddha loves me because I was good, and tomorrow he won't love me because I was bad, if we have that sort of mind then we are our own worst enemy because we are putting space between ourself and the Buddha when there is no real space there.
So in our meditations, right now we do not have Buddha Shakyamuni. But if we have sincere faith, it is possible that we could have a vision of Buddha Shakyamuni or Manjushri, or Tara, any of the deities that we pray and meditate to. They could manifest. So from our side it is important to have a sense that this being is fully receptive to my needs, fully receptive and conscious. Maybe more realistically, what are my real needs versus just my wishes. So when you meditate and sit peacefully and bring the vision of the Buddha in the space before you, we should have that vision, give that they are fully open and receptive to us, and also when they speak, we should have it that we have a thrill within our body to hear their speech and know they are addressing our issues. And know that the mind is fully attuned and open and has no limitations or hesitancy in dealing with us, in being fully conscious of our state of existence. The Buddha has a consciousness that fully penetrates us and is fully capable of appreciating us for who we are and the thoughts we have and such.
It is said it is important to have these thoughts when we meditate. If we do not appreciate this, we are not then actually invoking anything in ourselves. And it is important to appreciate that whatever you understand of the state of enlightenment, you actually in understanding it, are creating it within yourself. And that is an important facet. If you think that the Buddha is just some incredible being who is going to come along and give you all the answers, and it is just so perfect, that it a little simplistic. If you can become deeper and feel the quality of the Buddha as you meditate upon the Buddha, that the Buddha's energy is of such a quality, The Buddha's mind is such a quality, the Buddha's speech is of such a quality, and you can add to that to give it texture.
What does it mean for someone to have the ability to talk to you in a way that is fully resonant with who or what you are? Understands you? What would that person be like? So as you meditate, if you can appreciate the qualities that would have to include, it is awakening within you your own Buddha nature. It is bringing the Buddha that is within you more consciously active, making it more part of your being. And that is where really the blessings of meditating on the Buddha come in. Because, he cannot come along and zap you and make you enlightened. If they could do that, they would have already done it to us. So we have to appreciate that they are there to inspire us and if we have good fortune, we can rely on the Buddha's teaching, if we have better fortune, we may have a vision of the Buddha or receive teachings in our dreams sometimes. l Those sorts of things are possible. And in that way we can receive the blessings of the Buddha.
Finally, by working through our delusions when we have those problems, then we find we actually attain the state of enlightenment which is something important to appreciate. Our practice is not just to end up being the foot stool of the Buddha. Rather that we become the Buddha ourselves. Our practice is integrating us into the great enlightenment stage, it is not that we are going to end up less than that. We are going to become fully enlightened if we practice properly.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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