The Bodhicittavivarana


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The Bodhicittavivarana

About this book

Nāgārjuna’s Bodhicittavivaraṇa is a seminal work rooted in the Guhyasamāja Tantra which presents incrementally and critically the philosophical systems of all 4 Buddhist schools of tenets in matchless, albeit arcane, verse culminating in a presentation of the Madhyamaka-Prāsaṇgika view of emptiness. Its publication, in conjunction with an exceedingly rare 14th century commentary, Ngawang dragpa’s ‘Garland of Jewels’, as well as the oral commentary of the lineage holder of the Tripiûaka, Khensur Kangyur sets it at the confluence of the scriptural, commentarial and experiential traditions for which the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is justly famous.

The Bodhicittavivarana by Nagarjuna with the interwoven commentary of Ngawang dragpa and the oral comentary of Khensur Kangyur Lobsang thubten. (Translated by Ilia Durovic)

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The document is a transcript of teachings on “The Bodhicittavivarana” by Nagarjuna, with commentary by Dagpo Gomchen Ngawang Dragpa and oral commentary by The Venerable Khensur Kangurwa Geshe Lobsang Thubten Rinpoche, translated by Lotsawa Ilia Durovic. Here’s a detailed summary of the key teachings:

  1. Good Motivation and Benefiting Others: The transcript begins by emphasizing the importance of generating a good mind and motivation, particularly one focused on benefiting others. This virtuous motivation enhances all deeds and leads to the accumulation of excellence.
  2. Empathy, Love, and Bodhicitta: It stresses the generation of empathy and love towards oneself and others. This forms the basis of bodhicitta, the mind striving to benefit others, which is the path to full enlightenment. The text encourages making each day meaningful by cultivating these qualities.
  3. The Path to Enlightenment and Bodhicitta: The teachings describe the path to full enlightenment as the perfection of wisdom, which includes conventional and ultimate bodhicitta. Arya Nagarjuna’s commentary on bodhicitta is highlighted as a guide for this journey.
  4. Importance of Dharma Teachings and Mindful Listening: The document underscores the fortune of receiving precious human rebirth and the opportunity to attend Dharma teachings. It advises listening to teachings with a concentrated and uncontaminated mind and retaining their essence for meditation and personal growth.
  5. Dharma, Virtue, and Overcoming Afflictions: Dharma is defined as the means to end desire, hatred, and ignorance. Virtuous actions and their results, such as happiness and liberation, are contrasted with non-virtuous actions leading to suffering.
  6. Role of Bodhicitta in Achieving Enlightenment: Bodhicitta is portrayed as pivotal in purifying non-virtuous deeds and avoiding rebirth in lower realms. It’s described as a powerful force that, once generated, leads to the accumulation of vast virtue and propels one towards enlightenment.
  7. The Mahayana Path and Compassion: The Mahayana path is introduced, with bodhicitta as its gateway. Compassion, essential for Mahayana practice, arises from contemplating the suffering of countless sentient beings and wishing to free them from it.
  8. Practical Aspects of Dharma Practice: The text advises on the practicality of Dharma practice, likening it to taking medicine or eating food. It emphasizes regular practice, faith in Dharma, and the importance of understanding the teachings of Buddha.
  9. Antidotes to Afflictions and Path to Enlightenment: Specific antidotes to afflictions like anger, desire, and ignorance are discussed. The path to enlightenment is described as a gradual process, requiring ethics, generosity, patience, and the realization of emptiness.
  10. Continuous Practice and Progression: Finally, the transcript highlights the need for continuous practice and gradual progression on the path to enlightenment. It compares spiritual progress to walking a path with steady steps, emphasizing empathy and love as foundational practices.

This transcript offers a comprehensive overview of Buddhist teachings on bodhicitta, compassion, and the path to enlightenment, with practical advice on how to incorporate these principles into daily life for spiritual growth and the benefit of all beings.