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  • Dianne McKinnon

The purpose of the Dharma

Geshe la opened with a quote from Je Tsongkapa.

“In regards to one who finds themselves in an era of time when the Buddha has already come, spoken the wisdom words of Dharma, and those teachings remain and can be learned - such a one should consider what amazing great fortune that is! For the meaning of the Dharma when studied and practiced, and when the certainty of that meaning arises in the mind stream, is incredible virtue, a merit that will lead to one becoming an Enlightened being.”

The purpose of the Dharma is to transform our mind. Presently we hold to two main (strongly habituated) mistaken notions, and due to the perspective of those there is mistaken thinking - actions ensue, and karmic imprints are collected. A circle of unpleasantness and pain are experienced as result.

This mistaken way of thinking which holds us back from a state of freedom can be rectified (mind transformed into its right state) through the merit of Bodhicitta and the wisdom of the view.

The two mistaken notions are:

1. A holding on to a strong sense of identity – and cherishing that above all else;

2. Holding to and fixating on a sense of a solid outer reality

These two are the source of all our suffering.

How does the dharma transform these mental attitudes?

1. The development of bodhicitta - when we begin to place others before ourselves, our self clinging and self identification naturally subsides.

2. When we realize the view (see the emptiness in out outer world/reality) we no longer cling to a solid fixed outer reality. The Dharma path transforms our mind and puts an end to these long-standing notions.

The Ground - the Two Truths (ultimate and conventional)

The Path - the two methods (virtue and wisdom)

The Result - the two Kayas of the Buddha (nirmanakaya and dharmakaya)

The purpose of the Dharma is not to convert people into “being Buddhist,” but rather to bring happiness, by establish a way of being and understanding that is free from suffering. This is done through careful analysis and practice of the teachings. As, according to the scriptures, mere belief or blind faith is not what should be employed.

Geshe la gave commentary on Shantideva’s, Way of the Bodhisattva that are particularly concerned with dealing with anger. How do we act when we’re filled with anger ? How is it that we can bear with a difficult situation without resentment or flying off the handle? How do we control our anger?

We will continue today where we left off in the chapter on training in Patience.

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