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Verse 26-1: Filled with good qualities

Verse 26-1: Filled with good qualities

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

  • Seeing filled containers with a generous mind
  • Wishing good qualities for others
  • Benefitting teenagers through positive wishes

Verse 26 says,

“May all beings be filled with good qualities.”
This is the prayer of the bodhisattva when seeing a filled container.

Isn’t that nice? We see filled containers all the time. Our water jugs over there, they’re only half filled, but we do manage to see filled containers. Every time you see a filled container, think, “May all beings be filled with good qualities.” I think that’s just a lovely way to train the mind. So often when we see different things in our lives: “Oh, that container, what’s it filled with? Oh, something good!” Then attachment arises. “Oh, something I don’t like!” Aversion arises. “Why isn’t it filled more? Why isn’t it filled less?” You know the whole way our mind thinks. Just cutting that off and just thinking, “May all beings be filled with good qualities,”

And then thinking about the kinds of good qualities that we want all beings to be filled with, like the determination to be free, and love, and compassion, and generosity, and ethical conduct, and fortitude, and effort, and concentration, and wisdom, and so many magnificent qualities. Really wishing others well whenever we see a filled container.

It’s a nice practice to continually train our mind to wish others well. Even when we see people who seem to have a dearth of magnificent qualities, to train our mind to wish that they be filled with good qualities. Instead of saying, “Why are they like that? They should be different!” Just turn around and have a good wish for them, “May they be filled with good qualities.”

I was thinking, especially because [to audience] you’re a teacher, and you see all these kids. You’re teaching 13 year olds, that’s a challenging age. Well, I can’t really think of a good age for human beings, but 13 is especially…. [laughter] When you see the kids kind of acting out their different trips, turn around and wish them well and think, “May they be filled with good qualities.” Say that to them and give them a positive wish, a positive vision for their future, because I bet you … for them to hear some kindness, somebody really encouraging them, is so beneficial, gives them a good vision of what they can become.

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.