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I compiled this short prayer to keep the wisdom of the Bodhicharyavatara close to me daily and spur me on.

To those who go in bliss, the dhammakaya they possess, and all their heirs,
To all those worthy of respect, I reverently bow. (1,1)

To the Buddhas, those Thus Gone,
And to the sacred Dhamma, spotless and supremely rare,
And to the Buddha’s offspring, oceans of good qualities,
That I might gain this precious attitude, I make a perfect offering. (2,1)

Until the essence of enlightenment is reached,
I go for refuge to the Buddhas.
Also I take refuge in the Dhamma
And in all the host of Bodhisattvas. (2, 26)

To perfect Buddhas and to Bodhisattvas,
In all directions where they may reside,
To them who are the sovereigns of great mercy,
I press my palms together, praying thus: (2,27)

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…objects of desire
Sweet honey clinging to the razor’s edge

-Shantideva, Bodhicharyavatara 7:65

The depth of this quote is limitless. One can reflect on the nature of desire and thirst (tanha) in general, our attachment to and pursuance through volitional acts (kamma) of that which we desire, and the fruits (kamma-phala) thereby produced.

We can come to know that while we will be separated from the objects of our desire when we die, the fruit of our kamma will not be similarly left behind-the razor’s edge…. and yet, like a child, we act as though the opposite were true.

We can reflect on how the phrase ”objects of desire” is not limited to our thirst for sensual objects (kama-tanha), but can also concern for instance, our thirst for or attachment to ideals or beliefs (dhamma-tanha), our desire for certain things to exist (bhava-tanha), and for other things to cease to exist (vibhava tanha).

Relatively speaking, we can split hairs by contrasting ”good’ kamma (kusala) and ‘bad’ kamma (akusala), and so we can talk about of ‘good’ desire (I want to meditate, I want to be Enlightened, I want world peace) and contrast this with ‘bad’ desires…

but we can also meditate on the fact that in the end, both are based on desire/thirst and so in final analysis contribute to our participation in the cycle of continuity (samsara)- thereby illuminating the ultimate nature of the ‘razor’s edge’.

These thoughts and questions arose as I was reading The Way of the Bodhisattva a few nights ago.

In Chapter 6, on Patience, there is the very powerful , paradoxical conclusion that when other sentient beings ‘harm’ us- do things we do not like – we should not respond in anger because first of all, ‘they’ are not responsible for  the unpleasantness, but instead “such and such conditions “ or “causes and conditions”. But secondly,  this unpleasantness, in fact, is directly due to our negative karma – which compels (for lack of a better word) this unpleasantness to be done to us.

Those who harm me rise against me
It’s my karma that has summoned them
And if through this these beings go to hell
Is it not I who bring their ruin?

The ‘enemy’ doing this harm is really a tool and not the cause of the unpleasantness. Therefore, if anything, we are responsible for causing the negative karma that the ‘enemy’ is accruing in their actions toward us. This is profound and gives one pause before reacting to any act of unpleasantness perpetrated on us by anyone. However, I find myself with a few questions.

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