Tuesday Night Teachings March2017

Verse 1
Having gained this rare ship (a human rebirth)
of freedom and fortune,
Hear, think, and meditate unwaveringly night and day
In order to free yourself and others
From the ocean of cyclic existence —
This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

Gyalsé Ngulchu Tokmé (Tib. རྒྱལ་སྲས་དངུལ་ཆུ་ཐོགས་མེད་) (1297 – 1371), was born in Puljung, south west of the great Sakya Monastery. An extremely learned scholar, he studied an infinite number of teachings from all traditions. His every instant was devoted to the Dharma which he spread through composition, teaching and debate.

He could teach with total confidence on any subject or text. Also, he was able fully to take upon himself the suffering of others and to give them his well-being, and without any expectation as to the result, he was extremely generous to all, particularly the poor, the destitute and the suffering. He passed away at the age of 74.

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Gyalsé Ngulchu Tokmé has given, in 37 verses, the entire structure of a Bodhisattva’s path: from first engendering bodhichitta in one’s mindstream, to maintaining, and then further developing this bodhichitta up to the level of enlightenment.

The main body of the text is divided into 3 parts, the first which deals with the causes that give rise to bodhichitta (the mind of awakening).

The mind training of a superior individual is discussed in the second part of the text, where the central topic is how to engender supreme bodhichitta. In this second section there are 5 main divisions that give advice on how to develop bodhichitta and how to keep it from degenerating.  First one should realise the equality of self and other and learn how to exchange one’s own happiness for another’s suffering.  Secondly the text shows how to bring all situations of worldy life, including obscuring emotions and mistaken views, onto the path, or how to integrate them into one’s practice.  The third is how to practise the six perfections. The fourth describes how to work with one’s negative side and failures, and finally, there is a summary and dedication.

The third main section is the conclusion, which contains a recapitulation of the purpose of the text, the reasons that establish its integrity in relation to the tradition of the teachings, … an apology for any errors that might be found, and a dedication.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO

The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas Chant
 
Recorded by the Sravasti Abbey Sangha in April, 2010

Sravasti Abbey is a Buddhist monastery in the Tibetan tradition; it was established in October 2003 by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron and is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for western nuns and monks in the United States.