Discover more from Timeless Luminosity Newsletter
2023, September, Issue 61
“Many people today are not interested at all in spiritual matters, and their lack of interest is reinforced by the generally materialistic outlook of our society.”
~Chögyal Namkhai Norbu~
I’m working on a lecture about the Ethics of Sustainability, which will be given in a series of talks at a university near me. It has become abundantly clear to me that materialism, this path of acquiring wealth, really leads nowhere. It doesn’t solve anything, and there’s nothing special about it. It’s killing our planet, along with our collective future well-being. This means that it will become increasingly difficult for people to awaken. When our world becomes dangerous, filled with emergencies, the importance of awakening is not so obvious.
Knowing how our own activities lead to just more suffering, it becomes abundantly clear that a Spiritual Path is required; and, this contradicts a materialistic path. Even if we find ourselves with great wealth, all we can be certain of is that we will have very big problems protecting that wealth, legal problems, obsessing about markets, finding ways to generate more wealth. It won’t make us happy or content, and it doesn’t lead to awakening. It only closes our heart and mind further, making us suspicious of others, less generous, more agitated. Wealth is really a bigger obstacle than poverty, because it’s much more difficult to simply let go. It also becomes more difficult to acquire the key that we really need for awakening.
As I have already mentioned many times, we must start with the key of Bodhicitta. This does not mean that we are ready to be completely altruistic. That takes more capacity than most people actually have. What this means is that we must first cultivate the aspiration to awaken for ourselves, which is a very deep and profoundly compassionate act. This is the first step in the path that leads to awakening. We don’t need to worry about more than that, at least not until our heart and mind opens just a little bit more.
When we are certain that we must awaken, then we can make further commitments, such as renunciation or taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We should not make such commitments, unless we are certain of our commitment to awaken, which is Bodhicitta for self.
This is not something we should approach with a materialistic attitude. It’s not like we are shopping for a religion, or some spiritual accessory that might make us look cool, or something spiritual that we’ve never heard about. We begin where we are, as we embark on this journey to awaken. We don’t change that. We simply start from a place of honesty. Once we have decided to embark, it’s important to your own Spiritual Path that you don’t have second thoughts. The key requires genuineness. That’s why we cultivate Bodhicitta before anything else.
Bodhicitta is something very powerful, not just a simple thought. It is what arises when we realize that nothing else will actually help us; and, so, we create a powerful and compassionate aspiration to awaken. If we don’t use that key, then nothing will ever happen that is any different than this eternal turmoil, where we have been helplessly floundering. We must be genuine and honest about our own commitment to awaken.
The first step with Bodhicitta is simply for ourselves, and this is a very powerful thing. Many egotistical practitioners, who claim to be at some very high level, haven’t even done this first step. We’re wasting our time if we have not cultivated a profound and irreversible commitment to awakening. Without the key, there’s no point to any of it. Sitting in meditation, helping others to awaken, transforming everything with your mind, receiving very profound ineffable teachings from great masters, none of it matters if you do not have this key already in your possession, as an essential part of your Spiritual Practice.
Spiritual Practitioners who are not genuine, create a lot of turmoil. If you’ve read my books, you know about the abuse I’ve endured. Since I had genuinely cultivated Bodhicitta, that did not derail my Spiritual Practice. This is another reason that you should make sure you have the right key, a genuine key, the key of Bodhicitta.
Once you have a solid foundation, once Bodhicitta arises within you with a profound level of commitment, you may become ready to help others to awaken. You may even be ready for much more advanced practices, such as utilizing Ultimate Bodhicitta. It’s important to take your time.
If you feel comfortable with your aspiration to awaken, then it’s time to feel uncomfortable again. With increased capacity we have the obligation, through our commitment to awaken, to increase our capacity further. Maybe we can increase our capacity enough so that helping others becomes effortless. If it is not effortless, then don’t proclaim that you are at that level of Spiritual Practice. It’s important to be completely genuine and honest, or there is simply no point. Our Spiritual Practice is not there to make us look cool, it’s there so that we might awaken.
Don’t be shy. Acquire this key that is freely available to all. Bodhicitta opens our heart and mind completely, so that we can awaken. Awaken now.
Blessings in Light,