Thursday, September 28, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Sympathetic Joy Part 2

The third immeasurable line starts this way. We have seen sdug bsngal before, it's suffering.

med pa is a form of negation, it means non-existent, absent, free from. This is connected to the first part, sdug bsngal. Notice the 'i at the end of med pa, it means that there is a genitive particle that binds this with the next construct, bde ba.

bde ba is happiness. So when you combine this sequence, it becomes happiness of no suffering.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Sympathetic Joy Part 1

The third immeasurable is dga' ba, in Sanskrit mudita. It's one of those hard words to translate, typical ones is joy, bliss, rapture, happiness, or sympathetic joy that I selected this time.

The third verse will clarify it all, but to sneak some information in, this is the happiness that enlightened beings experience every moment of their existence. So it's not samsaric happiness that comes and goes. The word bliss is used to express this state, but it's close to being misunderstood as a big bliss-out trip -- and that's neither the state, as enlightened beings are totally aware and blissful at the same time.

The closest example I could think of is a summer morning on vacation when someone is awake and has no worries, and could just experience everything without any kind of negativity, and multiply that state with an infinite number...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Compassion Part 4

This is the whole second immeasurable: may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

The sufferings could be classified into three kinds, sdug bsngal gsum:

sdug sgnal gi sgud bsngal, the suffering of suffering. This is ordinary suffering, headaches, cold, sore throat and so on.

'gyur ba'i sdug bsngal, the suffering of change. This is based on wrong world views where the assertion is that nothing will change, a new car will always be new, the new job will always be rosy, and so on.

'du byed kyi sdug bsngal, the all-persistent suffering. This is stuck in samsara, where all the sufferings are present.

So the second immeasurable is to wish and act that all sentient beings are free from these sufferings.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Compassion Part 3

This is the end of the second immeasurable verse.

bral ba means to be rid of, separated from, or free from. Notice the r at the end, it's a particle, general subjucation particle. It makes a relationship between the bral ba and the verbs or parts to the right.

We lookd at gyur cig before; it's indeed a very common expression, especially in aspiration prayers, may it be so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Compassion Part 2

The second line, the one about immeasurable compassion, snying rje, starts with this sentence.

sdug bsngal is suffering, another very common term when reading Buddhist texts. The rest part, dang sdug bsngal gyi rgyu, looks familiar from before. So this is suffering and the causes of suffering.

Also notice that the sentence implies that we are dealing with sems can thams cad.

All together, the second immeasurable has to do with all sentient beings, and their sufferings including the causes for their sufferings.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Four Immeasurables - Compassion Part 1

The second of the four immeasurables, tshad med bzhi, is snying rje, in Sanskrit karuna, compassion.

The definition of snying rje is to free all beings from suffering and the causes of suffering, so it's not hard to figure out what the second immeasurable is.

snying is heart, and rje is great, a word added to the end of other nouns to increase the definition, so another way to translate this, and to remember that snying is heart, is great heart. This translation also gives the translated sentence a nice boost of positive emotion, as well, so it could be used from time to time, as long as it's clear that we are dealing with compassion.

There are forms of compassion, from wanting to help someone over the street, to the level of snying rje chen po, mahakaruna, great compassion, which is indeed the wish to remove all suffering from the lives of everyone, and do something very active to get to a state where someone could actually do this.

Se also this earlier posting of the differences between byams pa and snying rje.

As we have gone through the first line, and the formats are very similar, we could now progress faster through the rest of the lines, with the exception of the last of the four immeasurables, as it's a long sentence.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Loving Kindness Line


So here's the first line of the four immeasurables: May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

This is the limitless loving-kindness aspiration as well as activity, to make sure all sentient beings, whoever they are, known or unknown, friend or foe, that they all should be happy and have all the causes of happiness. The amount of sentient beings is limitless, so the karma created from this thinking and action is also limitless.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Loving Kindness Part 4

The last part of the first immeasurable line ends with dang ldan par gyur cig.

dang ldan par refers to the earlier section, bde dang bde ba'i rgyu, happiness and the causes of happiness. dang ldan pa is a possessive particle combination, we looked this this some time ago at this entry. It could be roughtly translated as imbued with, possessed with, or having. Maybe having is here a good translation, even if it's good to know about the alternatives. So we are dealing with having happiness and the causes of happiness. But also note that this ends with an r, dang ldan par, where the lonely r is another particle, it connects the verb expression we are looking next with the possessive combination.

gyur cig is another common expression that we looked at here. It is an expression found in many verses, means may it be like that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Loving Kindness Part 3

The middle part of the first immeasurable has this section, bde ba is happiness, also sometimes bliss, but in this specific case it is translated as happiness. In tantric texts this would most likely be bliss. It could even be shortened to bde.

In Sanskrit this is sukha, as in Sukhavati, realm of bliss, in Tibetan bde ba can -- the place that contains bliss. The tantric form is the mahasukha, great bliss. Sukhavati is the pure realm of Amitabha, arealm where a practitioner could take rebirth during bardo through a combination of pure faith, merit, and single-pointed determination to get there.

dang is the binding particle, binding to bde ba'i rgyu. rgyu is cause or causes, and there's a genitive particle between bde ba and rgyu, the 'i letter, so when you combine this from right to left it is the causes of happiness. rgyu is another of those words good to learn, as it's used to define causes of all kinds.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Loving Kindness Part 2

The first line of the four immeasurable verses, loving kindness, starts with these words. The blog has gone through this expression before, it's a very common one, so it's highly recommended to learn it, as you will see this over and over again.

sems can is sentient being(s), thams cad is all, sarva in Sanskrit. So the line starts with the object of all sentient beings.

For those who want to learn the letters, the first letter after the long stroke, shah, is the letter sa, but the long line above it turns it into se, the line on top means an e-vowel. Tibetan does not have any vowels per se, rather the letters are ornamented with signs that indicates the vowel itself.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Four Immeasurables, Loving Kindness Part 1

The first of the four immeasurables, tshad med bzhi, is byams pa, in Sanskrit maitri, loving kindness. This is the wish that all sentient beings may be happy.

byams pa is also the Tibetan name for the Bodhisattva or Buddha Maitreya. Depending on the presentation, byams pa is either a bodhisattva, or an already enlightened being, Buddha.

Sometimes byams pa is also shortened down to byams.

If you are brand new to Tibetan letters, the last letter between the dot (tsek) and the stroke (shah) is pa.

See also the earlier posting about byams pa versus snying rje.

Next we will go through the first line about byams pa in the verses on the tshad med bzhi.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Four Immeasurables

tshad med bzhi is the four immeasurables. You would encounter this term and the four immeasurables in many places, especially in practice texts where it is common for the practitioner to recite and meditate on these four in the beginning, so it's good to learn the translation. This way when you look at practice texts you could quickly find the verses and know what they are.

tshad means measure, med is a negation, so tshad med means immeasurable. bzhi is four, so there we have the four immeasurables. Now, there are other translations of this term, the four unlimited states, and so on, but I like this term myself, as the idea is that by cultivating these four, the benefits are immeasurable.

Sangye Khadro has a beautiful commentary on the four immeasurables here.

Next we will first present the four immeasurables, and then go through a very common four-liner foun in many practice texts (in this case Sakya practice texts) where the four immeasuables are cultivated.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bodhisattva Way Of Life - Author, translator and history

Now, the end of the text usually has the information about the author, the translators involved, and the history behind the text, commentary, and the translation.

You could go to to the end of the Alex Berzin translation and compare this with the end of the ACIP version of the Bodhisattva Way of Life. Note that it is very common that various Indian texts where translated and retranslated many times.

In many cases the texts also end with a beautiful sign-off, in Sanskrit, such as sarva mangalam, may everything be auspicious.