Putting Doctrine Into Practice

The 8th chapter of the Bodhicaryavatara, titled “Perfection of Meditative Absorbtion,” can be looked at as the guide for putting all the doctrines previously discussed into practice. Before even embarking on a journey of becoming a Bodhisattva, one must follow the Buddhist doctrine of non-attachment and leave the personal life behind. All of the connections and relationships made, such as between family, friends, and other loved ones, must be dismissed if one is to become a Bodhisattva. This is because these human connection that we hold dear to ourselves will ultimately end in suffering, due to loss of life or loss of relationship.

Another Buddhist doctrine that is put into practice is the idea of No-Self. By denying the existence of a permanent self, you detach yourself from the ego that was conditioned by your upbringing, to help see equanimity among all beings of the universe. In this same vein of thought, in verse 102, Santideva says, “Without exception, no sufferings belong to anyone.” Here, Santideva is saying that the suffering of beings is dependently arisen, and therefore impermanent. It is thus the job of the Bodhisattva, to use the impermanence of suffering to his/her advantage and help rid the world of it.

One thought on “Putting Doctrine Into Practice”

  1. The importance of renunciation cannot be overemphasized, but we might want to consider what it means to “leave the personal life behind.” It may not be necessary to dismiss our loved ones and relationships if we can find a way to cultivate a kind of detachment alongside our love. This, in fact, is the challenge of the bodhisattva path. To remain equanimous, free from clinging, unattached, and non-grasping while simultaneously cultivating the most capacious, infinite, immeasurable compassion and love. Can we love others without clinging? If so, it might well be possible to combine the bodhisattva path with family life.

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