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Verse 23-1: Lifting all beings from samsara

Verse 23-1: Lifting all beings from samsara

Part of a series of talks on the 41 Prayers to Cultivate Bodhicitta from the Avatamsaka Sutra (the Flower Ornament Sutra).

  • Remember the bodhicitta in everything we doing
  • Be more caring and mindful for the people around us

We are on Verse 23. Verse 22 was,

“May I walk toward the welfare of all beings.”
This is the practice of the bodhisattva when placing the foot down.

Then Verse 23 is,

“May I lift all beings out of cyclic existence.”
This is the prayer of the bodhisattva when lifting the foot.

When you put your foot down, you’re walking towards the welfare of sentient beings. When you’re lifting the foot, you’re lifting them out of cyclic existence.

We find this theme a lot in all of this is the whole idea is everything that we’re doing to remember the bodhicitta. Lifting sentient beings out of cyclic existence, walking towards their welfare. This is another kind of walking meditation to do, where you could walk very slowly and just contemplate this each time as you lift your foot: lifting sentient beings as you place your foot, walking towards their welfare.

Remember this as you’re walking from place to place or doing walking meditation. It’s this whole process of slowing down a little bit and being more aware of what we’re doing. By taking more care and slowing down when we’re walking, and having this thought in our mind, then as we encounter people during the day, as we do different tasks during the day, then our mind is going to be more on what we’re doing and more thoughtful about the people whom we’re interacting with, instead of the mind focusing on, “Let’s just get this done so I can cross it off my to-do list.”

I think remembering when we’re walking, “lifting sentient beings out of samsara, walking towards their welfare,” will help us—in general in our lives—be more caring and mindful for the people around us. It will also help us to maintain that strong bodhicitta motivation and to cultivate it by constantly reminding ourselves of it.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.