Jamgon Kongtrul wrote:At the beginning, as soon as you wake up in the morning, generate very strongly the impetus:
Today, I shall keep the two bodhicittas with me.
During the day, maintain them with continuous mindfulness. At the end, when you go to sleep in the evening, examine your thoughts and actions of the day. If there were infringements of bodhicitta, enumerate the instances and acknowledge them, and make a commitment that such will not occur in the future. If there have been no infringements, meditate joyfully and pray that you and all other beings may be able to engage in bodhicitta even more effectively in the future. Practice these two activities regularly. Take the same approach to any infringements or violations of ordination.
Rabten & Dhargyey wrote:Every morning when we rise, instead of planning pointless activities that waste our time we should resolve to turn all actions of our body, speech, and mind toward the cultivation of the unsurpassable awakening mind. At the end of the day, we should meditate on the actions we have performed and try to recollect them all. If we have benefited either ourselves or others, we should rejoice and dedicate any merit toward the ultimate benefit of all. If, on the contrary, we have spent the day in useless activities, we should take caution against repeating such actions and make the decision to work from now onward with more awareness and intelligence.
The "two bodhicittas" are the relative/absolute dynamic found in many Buddhist teachings. Pema Chödrön explores the matter thoroughly in this article.Chogyam Trungpa wrote:The point of this slogan is to begin and end each day with twofold Bodhicitta. In the morning you should remember Bodhicitta and take the attitude of not separating yourself from it, and at the end of the day, you should examine what you have done. If you have not separated yourself from twofold Bodhicitta, you should be delighted and vow to take the same attitude again the next day. And if you were separated from Bodhicitta, you should vow to reconnect with it the next day.
When you get up in the morning, as soon as you get up, to start off your day you promise yourself that you will work on twofold Bodhicitta and develop a sense of gentleness toward yourself and others. You promise not to blame the world and other sentient beings and to take their pain on yourself. When you go to bed, you do the same thing. In that way both your sleep and the day that follows are influenced by that commitment.
Here's my stab at it.
Bodhicitta relative to what? To other beings and their experienced suffering. Bodhicitta absolute in what way? Awakened mind in itself, i.e. the direct perception of the illusory nature of all divisions, including between self/other. Said another way, "relative bodhicitta" is compassion as the buddhas' activity. "Absolute bodhicitta" is compassion as the buddhas' mind. It's like the sun: it sends forth warming rays of light because that is its nature. Likewise, absolute and relative bodhicitta are indivisible: the only place they are separated is in words.
From another angle, buddhas and bodhisattvas help beings spontaneously, effortlessly. We experience a foretaste of this when we reach out automatically to catch a friend who trips, or we feel our heart fill with anguish at the sight of a wounded animal. The difference between our bodhicitta and the buddhas' is we are often bound by our situations and personalities (i.e. our karma) and cannot help beings as we wish. Buddhas are not bound in this way.
Having some idea of what "two bodhicittas" might mean, let's get back to the slogan. I love how easy it is to bring into our lives, no matter what practice we do.
Upon waking, we immediately align our intention for the day: to bring what we have learned into our real lives in order to benefit others. This can take place in a formal way during a morning practice session. An example is this verse from Patrul Rinpoche in "Words of my Perfect Teacher":
What a beautiful way to begin the day!Patrul Rinpoche wrote:May Bodhicitta, precious and sublime,
Arise where it has not yet come to be;
And where it has arisen may it never fail,
But grow and flourish even more.
Then, after our day is done, we perform a sort of review of how we did, remembering and repenting for the ways we acted out of delusion. Having reflected in this way, we renew our vows to do better tomorrow.
I'd like to explore repentance some.
First, "repentance" looks like a heavy word, some sort of self-flagellation over sin. But repentance here is not about fault-finding or guilt. Why? Because in Mahayana Buddhism, humans are not innately sinful or irredeemable. In fact, the exact opposite. The mind is understood to be, as Bokar Rinpoche put it, like a white cloth which has been sullied by greed, hatred, and delusion. Since the cloth is white, it can become white again. Coal can never become white.
This is the supreme optimism of Buddhism: that we have, even in latent form, a fundamentally aware nature which spontaneously manifests immeasurable compassion, like the sun and its rays. What impedes this nature from manifesting fully? The veils of delusion, which themselves are transitory and compounded. Since they are transitory and compounded, they can be "washed out" like stains from the cloth with the detergent of study and practice. Awareness of these stains as stains and not as our basic nature is at the heart of repentance.
There are many repentance and purification practices. In the case of this slogan, I think something simpler is being referenced: I aspired to practice kindness today, and I managed to cultivate loving-kindness for fellow passengers on the bus. I aspired to be less angry today. I bit back my tongue when I stubbed my toe but was impatient with my wife later.
Specific examples, specific aspirations. Bodhicitta isn't off in the clouds; it's down here, arms-deep in the muck, like Kshitigarbha who pries open the gates of hell with his staff and plunges in, seeking beloved sentient beings.