Bodhisattva Attitude: How to Dedicate Your Life to Others

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Bodhisattva Attitude is the first book in our new Heart Advice series, a series of core teachings—the "heart advice"—taken from the experiential instructions of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The topic of Bodhisattva Attitude is how to develop bodhicitta by practicing it throughout the day, from start to finish. The book is drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s essential teachings given from 2008 onward and is edited by Ven. Sarah Thresher.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at Kopan Monastery, Nepal, 1974. Photo: Wendy Finster.
The Verses

If you wish to benefit yourself, generate the sublime thought of enlightenment,
If you wish to benefit others, generate the sublime thought of enlightenment,
If you want to serve the teachings of the Buddha, generate the thought of enlightenment,
If you desire happiness, generate the thought of enlightenment.
                       - Khunu Lama Rinpoche 20

 

 

 

1. Bodhisattva Attitude 21

The Verses

I shall give away fully with no sense of loss
My body, enjoyments and all merits of the three times (past, present and future)
To accomplish the work for all sentient beings.

By giving away all, I will be liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering
And my mind will achieve the sorrowless state.
Since I have to leave everything (at death)
It is best to (now) give it away to every single sentient being.

Having given this body to sentient beings
To use however they want that makes them happy,
Whether they always kill, criticize, beat me or whatever,
It is totally up to them.

Even if they play with my body,
Ridicule me, put me down or make fun of me,
Whatever they do, since I have given this body to them,
What is the point of retaliating?

Let this body only do actions that cause no harm to others,
And whoever looks at or thinks of me,
May it never be meaningless for them.

Whoever focuses on me—
Whether with anger or devotion—
May that always be the cause for them
To achieve every success.

May all who say unpleasant things,
Harm, mock or make fun of me
Have the fortune to achieve enlightenment.

May I become a guide for those who are guideless,
A leader for those who are entering the path,
A ship, a boat and a bridge
For all who wish to cross (over water).

May I become a beautiful garden for those who seek one,
A light for those who look for light,
Bedding for those who wish to rest
And a servant for all who want me as their servant.

Like a wish-granting jewel,
A wish-fulfilling vase, powerful mantra,
Great medicine and a wish-granting tree,
May I fulfill all the wishes of sentient beings.

Just like the sky and the great elements
Earth, (water, fire and wind),
May I always be the means of living and the cause of happiness
For sentient beings equaling the limitless sky.

As long as space exists,
As long as sentient beings exist,
May I too abide and eliminate the suffering of sentient beings.


NOTES

20 The Jewel Lamp: A Praise of Bodhicitta, v. 26. Translated by Lama Zopa Rin­poche, Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga Commentary, 14 February 2010, Amitabha Buddhist Centre. (Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen’s book has been published in English as Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea.) [Return to text]

21 These verses are from the great bodhisattva Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, ch. 3, vv. 11–21. Translated by Rinpoche from a prayer at the end of Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen’s commentary to the chöd practice, which is in volume 16 of his Collected Works. Rinpoche adds an additional concluding verse from the Guide, ch. 10, v. 55. [Return to text]