Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Verse 33-3: Had we not met the Dharma….

Verse 33-3: Had we not met the Dharma….

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

  • Remembering how our lives were before we met the Dharma
  • Imagining having not met the Dharma, what direction our lives would have gone

“May all beings repay the kindness of all buddhas and bodhisattvas.”
This is the prayer of the bodhisattva when seeing someone repaying another’s kindness.

Yesterday we talked about the kindness of mother sentient beings, and we also included the kindness of the Three Jewels. That’s a huge topic for a short motivation, especially since we have precepts tomorrow.

In general, I think the best way to approach this is to remember our lives before we met the Dharma. Look at what was going on, what we were thinking, saying, doing. Then imagine not having met the Dharma, and having just continued on in the way we were at that time. What do think would have happened to your life? What would you have done? What situations would you have placed yourself in? What things would you have said? What would you have believed? Who would you have trusted? Where would your refuge from suffering have been?

Just play it out. Go back to that time, right before you met the Dharma. See where you were at. Press the pause button on the rest of your life following the Dharma and just play it out, going on from where you were. That’s when you really begin to get a sense of the kindness of the Three Jewels.

I think this meditation is very very important to do, otherwise we don’t really appreciate the effect of meeting the Dharma and we take it for granted. We also think, “Oh I haven’t gotten anywhere, I’m just doing the same old stuff.” When we really look at where we were and the direction our lives would have taken had we not met the Dharma, then we see the change that’s happened and that that change has come due to the kindness of the Three Jewels. Do that meditation.

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.