The Importance of Aspiration Prayers, What to do in Bodhgaya


Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya, 13 December 2014

The Importance of Aspiration Prayers—What to do in Bodhgaya

Under the Bodhi Tree, Bodhgaya, 13 December 2014

During the latter part of 2014, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche organized drupchens in both Lerab Ling and Bir before making his way to Bodhgaya in December. Quite by chance, under the Bodhi Tree he bumped into two students who had attended the drupchens. Eager not waste such a precious opportunity, they quickly asked Rinpoche to grant them the lung (reading transmission) for the Manjushri Nama Samghiti (The Tantra of the Names of Manjushri). A reasonable, even an auspicious request, you might think. But no. For those with the merit to find themselves under the great Bodhi Tree, said Rinpoche, to ask for a lung is rather missing the point…

Buddha Shakyamuni felt boundless compassion for every single being. It is said it was this boundless compassion that moved him to make five hundred ‘mighty aspirations’ for sentient beings, the direct result of which was that he awoke fully to enlightenment—which shows us just how crucial it is for us to make aspiration prayers. You can receive a reading transmission anywhere, but you will only become a ‘buddha’ through the power of aspiration.

The aspiration for enlightenment arises out of your compassion for all sentient beings, and it's this compassion that motivates us to make the aspirations that eventually result in buddhahood. So the first step towards buddhahood is to arouse your compassion.

Sentient beings in the three-thousand-fold world system are deluded by their own thoughts. We all imagine a ‘self’ where there is no ‘self’. And based on this fundamental misperception, samsara’s delusions unfold. If you undertake countless bodhisattva activities, you will eventually perfect the accumulations of merit and wisdom; the more merit you accumulate, the more obscurations you eliminate. Once you have eliminated every single obscuration, you will become a buddha, here, on this very spot.

A ‘buddha’ is someone who has realized emptiness, whereas sentient beings dwelling in the realms of existence are deluded—right? So delusion must be recognized for what it is. And once you know delusion, you will have acquired ‘wisdom’. The epithet, ‘the Omniscient One’ tells us Buddha has omniscient wisdom—those without wisdom are called ‘sentient beings’, while those with wisdom are called ‘buddhas’. And here, under the Bodhi Tree, is where that wisdom is realized.

The attainment of enlightenment is the result of an immense amount of bodhisattva activity. Once you become a buddha, though, that’s it! Your enlightened qualities will spontaneously benefit all sentient beings everywhere, in perpetuity. You can witness the activity of ‘enlightened qualities’ right here, around the Bodhi Tree. Everything you see is the enlightened activity of the Buddha. It is said that here, at the Vajra seat, reside all the one thousand and two Munis of this aeon, and that every single day—every instant!—a vast number of sentient beings benefit as a result. Take yourself, for example; you are a businessman, yet you've travelled here to the Bodhi Tree. This means you have great merit because the majority of this world’s businessmen never come to Bodhgaya. There are monks and beggars all over the place, but no executives in business suits—do you see any? Bodhgaya is also the most sacred place for practitioners of Dzogpachenpo. Shri Singha and Manjushrimitra spent their lives here, and Guru Rinpoche remained here for two hundred years.

Translated by Gyurmé Avertin
Edited by Janine Schulz

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