“By presenting the dharmic path as a natural progression that begins with the hinayana, expands into the mahayana, and reaches its fruition in the vajrayana, Trungpa Rinpoche provides the reader with a complete map of the spiritual journey from confusion to enlightenment.”
"In teaching about the three stages of the path, Trungpa Rinpoche presented each stage as having its own integrity and power, and taught his students to see each stage as complete in its own right. He especially cautioned students not to denigrate the hinayana or skip the mahayana in favor of what they might consider the more powerful and exotic vajrayana, but to see the three stages, or yanas, as an interconnected whole, and as one continuous journey."
"'[The hinayana] is to be understood as the life force that carries on whether you are going through the hinayana, mahayana, or vajrayana. . . . The hinayana should be regarded as life's strength.'
Trungpa Rinpoche made it clear that hinayana teachings are not just introductory, but reverberate throughout the path; they are the foundation on which the entire path is built."
"The mahayana is called the great vehicle. [...] As the second of the three vehicles, or yanas, the mahayana is known to be a great and powerful journey. Why is it so powerful? Its power comes from the realization of your own potential; it comes from the realization that you are a worthy person. You have the potential to be without aggression or passion, to be a person without problems. You could be thoroughly, utterly, completely good. You could be a person with basic sanity and goodness."
"In the Buddhist sense, the term yana is used in a more subtle way to refer to the path itself or to the practitioners.
Once you step into the mahayana, you do not have much control. It goes by itself and there is no reverse, none whatsoever. Everything goes forward. Furthermore, there are no brakes and no steering wheels, and the vehicle does not need any fuel. In fact, the road moves rather than the vehicle. [...] There is no way of getting off or taking a break. The journey takes you over."
“The Mahayana begins with the discovery of bodhichitta, the heart or mind of awakening. Bodhi again means ‘awake,’ and chitta means ‘heart,’ or ‘mind’; so bodhichitta means ‘awakened heart.’ In Tibetan it is known as changchup kyi sem. Changchup means ‘awake,’ kyi means ‘of,’ and sem means ‘consciousness’ or ‘cognitive mind’; so changchup kyi sem means ‘mind of awakening,’ [...] You are waking from the three poisons: passion, aggression, and ignorance or delusion.”
“However, passion, aggression, and ignorance are not regarded as deep-rooted problems; they are simply phases we go through, like any other phase. But although they are simply phases, they are obviously obstacles. The problem with such situations is that they occupy your time and space, so they prevent you from being in a state of wakefulness.”
“Kündzop means ‘relative,’ kün means ‘all,’ and dzop means an ‘effigy,’ or ‘outfit,’ and changchup-kyi-sem means the ‘mind of enlightenment,’ or ‘bodhichitta’; so kündzop changchup-kyi-sem is an ‘effigy of bodhichitta,’ or ‘relative bodhichitta.’”
”Kündzop is like a scarecrow; it is an outfit that fits the world. Kündzop is a kind of facade or medium. If you are a painter, you use paint as a medium, not the meaning. You could represent things much better if there were a greater medium, but since there is not, you use what exists around you. In any communication, you use whatever medium is available, so in a sense your presentation becomes a facade or superficial.”
“Relative bodhichitta is the common practice of involving yourself in the world with benevolence, fearlessness, and kindness. It is the manifestation of your friendliness and deliberate training, and it is helped a great deal by the experience of vipashyana, or awareness, which brings reminders of all kinds.”
“Dam means ‘ultimate,’ and tön means ‘meaning’; so töndam means 'ultimate purpose,' 'ultimate meaning,' or 'ultimate goal.' Changchup-kyi-sem, again, means 'bodhitchitta'; 'so töndam changchup-kyi-sem means 'ultimate bodhichitta,' or 'absolute bodhichitta.' This type of bodhichitta is based on an enlarged sense of egolessness. It is based on emptiness, or the shunyata experience."
"In basic egolessness, you have a sense of nonexistence, but it is still a conceptualized notion of nonexistence. You still have a nonexistent but changing world around you. But with ultimate bodhichitta there is no world outside, no world separate from yourself. From the point of view of ego, there is a total nonexistence of personality. That ultimate understanding of egolessness comes from your vipashyana experience becoming more outrageous."
"True bodhichitta combines spaciousness, sympathy, and intelligence; or shunyata, compassion (karuna), and knowledge (prajna). In order to be exposed to intelligence, or prajna, you have to understand that it is not worth struggling, that you have to give up ego fixation. In order to be exposed to sympathy, or compassion, you have to give up territoriality, possessiveness, and aggression."
"And in order to relate with spaciousness, or emptiness, you have to realize that there is no point trying to use metaphysical anologies or the language of nonreference point as another reference point; you just need to relate with yourself.
Bodhichitta is fundamental to the teachings of the Buddha. It is the basis of being awake and open. Without bodhichitta we cannot survive, we cannot function. In the mahayana we are acknowledging that such a quality exists in us."
"With bodhichitta, the heart or chitta comes first, and bodhi comes later: the heart awakens. So we begin by developing a particular kind of heart, one that is not connected with personal longevity, personal entertainment, or egotism. First we develop heart, and then we develop what heart is all about, or enlightened heart."
"Enlightened heart is expansive and awake. It is not territorial, and it does not demand that we gather our own flock of egotistic companions. When we look into that quality of basic wakefulness beyond our own territoriality, we find ourselves having a taste of enlightenment for the very first time."
"In the hinayana, we may have had a glimpse of gentleness, goodness, and precision, but we never had a taste of the mind clicking in and awakening on the spot, as it should. That has not yet happened. But in the mahayana, it is actually happening. That is why it is very important for us to join mindfulness and awareness, or shamatha and vipashyana."
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