The Bodhi resolve is the king among all good things. It can arise only due to certain causes and conditions. In general, there are ten causes and conditions, which will now be discussed. What are the ten?
The first is mindfulness of the Buddhas' deep kindness.
The second is mindfulness of our parents' kindness.
The third is mindfulness of our teachers' kindness.
The fourth is mindfulness of donors' kindness.
The fifth is mindfulness of living beings' kindness.
The sixth is mindfulness of the suffering of birth and death.
The seventh is reverence for our own spiritual nature.
The eighth is repenting of karmic obstacles and reforming.
The ninth is the wish for rebirth in the Pure Land.
The tenth is the wish to cause the Proper Dharma to remain long in the world.
The Bodhi resolve is the resolve to seek wisdom. Bodhi refers to the Path of Enlightenment, as opposed to the path of nonenlightenment. We living beings are unenlightened. If we were enlightened, we would resolve our minds on Bodhi. Those who are unenlightened do not resolve their minds on Bodhi.
The Bodhi resolve is the king among all good things. No other good deed is as important as bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. But the Bodhi resolve is such that
it can arise only due to certain causes and conditions—the causes that we plant and the aiding conditions that help the Bodhi resolve. We plant the causes themselves, and then there are conditions which help them to develop. Why do we bring forth the resolve for Bodhi?
In general, there are ten causes and conditions, which will now be discussed. What are the ten?
The first is mindfulness of the Buddhas' deep kindness. We living beings do not realize the kindness, compassion, joy, and renunciation that the Buddhas feel toward us. There is no way to describe such kindness. One could never finish describing it. That's why it is said to be "deep." It is the deepest of the deep. Take a look. The Buddha cultivated blessings and wisdom for three asamkhyeya eons and developed the marks and characteristics for a hundred eons, all with the sole purpose of rescuing you and me and other living beings of the present, so that we can leave suffering and attain happiness. Therefore, the Buddha first sets an example through his own cultivation, undergoing all kinds of miserable and unbearable states. Therefore, the Buddha's kindness is the greatest.
The second is mindfulness of our parents' kindness. The Buddha's kindness is hard to requite. We ought to resolve our minds on Bodhi in order to repay it. Our parents have also shown us kindness. They gave birth to us. We stayed in our mothers' wombs for ten months, drank our mothers' milk for three years, and were raised by our parents until we grew up. It was not easy for our parents.
The third is mindfulness of our teachers' kindness. Our teachers are people from whom we study the Dharma and learn wisdom. They patiently instruct and admonish us, teaching us in various ways. We ought to repay their kindness as well.
The fourth is mindfulness of donors' kindness. Donors are Dharma protectors. When we leave the home-life to cultivate the Way, Dharma protectors give us support and protection. Their kindness is weighty as well. If we fail to resolve our minds on Bodhi, then as it's said, "Before the three thoughts are ended, even water is hard to digest." [Three thoughts = past, present, and future thoughts.] Before you have swept away thoughts of the three periods of time, you will find it hard to accept even a sip of water from a donor. That describes the kindness of the donor.
The fifth is mindfulness of living beings' kindness. Living beings also show us kindness. All living beings have considerable affinities with us, so we ought to repay their kindness.
The sixth is mindfulness of the suffering of birth and death. Intense mindfulness of birth and death also motivates us to bring forth the Bodhi resolve.
The seventh is reverence for our own spiritual nature. "All living beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas." Since we have the Buddha nature, we ought to resolve our minds on Bodhi and bring our Buddha nature to full realization. Therefore, we should honor our spiritually bright, enlightened nature.
The eighth reason for bringing forth the Bodhi resolve is for the sake of
repenting of our own karmic obstacles, thereby obliterating them and reforming ourselves.
The ninth is the wish for rebirth in the Pure Land. We seek to be rebom in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, so we can see Amitabha Buddha.
The tenth is the wish to cause the Proper Dharma to remain long in the world. If we can resolve our minds on Bodhi and truly cultivate the Way, then the Proper Dharma will remain long in the world.
On the other hand, if we do not bring forth the Bodhi resolve to cultivate the Way, then the Proper Dharma does not exist in the world. Therefore, we need to have these ten causes and conditions. No matter who you are, you ought to bring forth the Bodhi resolve; you ought to cause it to arise. You shouldn't think that the matter of whether or not you cultivate has nothing to do with anyone else; we are all interconnected with the rest of the world. Therefore, if we resolve our minds on Bodhi, the Buddhadharma will remain long in the world. If we don't do that, however, the Buddhadharma will perish.
To be continued