Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Absolute and relative bodhicitta

I'm not sure I entirely get the technical differences between absolute and relative bodhicitta.

Does anyone have a clear grasp by chance?

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2016

    Absolute boddhicitta is to love all sausage, relative is not to be a dharma slut ...

    :3

  • Where did you come across those terms? I haven't heard them before.

    Creek
  • They enter Buddhism in Mahayana and Vajrayana which is not within the vehicle that is Hinayana (Theravadin). The 'southern' schools tend to be Hinayana, the northern schools Mahayana and Vajrayana.
    Hinayana 'smaller vehicle', the first turning of the dharma wheel. Buddhahood for oneself.
    Mahayana 'great vehicle', the second turning of the dharma wheel. A person decides against buddhahood to remain in this world to support others get to beyond suffering (this is a bodhisatva).
    Vajrayana 'diamond way', third turning of the dharma wheel. Express route to enlightenment and being a bodhisatva.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @lobster, sometimes honestly, I despair of you....

    @Dakini, the terms are apparently prevalent in Mahayana Buddhism.

    Absolute bodhicitta is direct insight into reality, or pure illumination, or enlightenment.
    Relative or conventional bodhicitta is the ... desire to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

    From here.

    dhammachickDhammaDragonBunks
  • @federica said:
    @lobster, sometimes honestly, I despair of you... :star:

    Absolute bodhicitta is direct insight into reality, or pure illumination, or enlightenment.

    I've read that a few times and from what I gather it means shunyata. That said, if it's shunyata that's being referred to why don't they just say shunyata as opposed to absolute bodhicitta and how do shunyata and absolute bodhicitta cohere?

    Relative or conventional bodhicitta is the ... desire to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

    How does this differ from being a bodhisatva or a buddha? Why would they need a new word if it means the same thing?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2016

    A Buddha is a perfect exemplar and a Boddhisattva is an effective examplar but not perfect. So in other words the Boddhisattva is moving towards the perfection of inner and outer effectiveness that the Buddha has.

    So in that sense the boddhicitta of the Buddha Vajra/Sausage is to all. The love of the Boddhisattva Bunny is through the subtle or not so subtle flaws but continual deepening of realisation ... o:) Yab-yum as they say in Tantra hot dog speech ...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I have no idea. I don't follow Mahayana, so I think someone who does would be better equiped to respond to your questions.... I'd be interested to see what they say....

  • @lobster said:
    A Buddha is a perfect exemplar and a Boddhisattva is an effective examplar but not perfect. So in other words the Boddhisattva is moving towards the perfection of inner and outer effectiveness that the Buddha has.

    Are you sure? With what you're saying here, what's the difference between an arhat and a bodhisatva.

    So in that sense the boddhicitta of the Buddha Vajra/Sausage is to all. The love of the Boddhisattva Bunny is through the subtle or not so subtle flaws but continual deepening of realisation ... o:) Yab-yum as they say in Tantra hot dog speech ...

    I'm so sorry but the Sausage thingo isn't really doing it for me. I'm not a very clever bear. I don't understand :confused:

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Yeah, that's the thing about @lobster.... he's serious and deep, knowledgeable and note-worthy - then he's utterly crackpot, and nobody can get much sense out of him.
    Just don't ask him about his cushions....

  • @federica said:

    >

    Just don't ask him about his cushions....

    ok, I won't.

    federicalobster
  • An arhat is the the third Theravadin equivalent of a Boddhisatva. Both are realised but not with the depth of an idealised Buddha.

    In the Theravada sangha the following or enactment of the vinaya is the personification of arhat qualities, with the aim of integrating them into real arhat knowing. In a similar way in Mahayana paths we may act like the Boddhisattva until the real deal kicks in - as soon as possible ideally ...

    I am not much concerned with how deep the Buddhas realisation was. The god like status afforded religion starters and usurpers is easy for fraudsters to project. The important thing is finding the way and staying the course ...

    The dharma surrounds us even in the mundane and apparantly not-Boddhicitta.

    It is all Love and all empty ... but that is another story ...

    federicaFosdick
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    Are you sure? With what you're saying here, what's the difference between an arhat and a bodhisatva.

    What do you want from us? Links to sources because you can't\won't take us at our word? You've already had one source provided. Try this source as well - http://thubtenchodron.org/2009/02/altruistic-intention-introduction/

    Am I sure? Sure enough to quote it to you.

    DhammaDragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Calm your tits, woman....

    Bunks
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    How does this differ from being a bodhisatva or a buddha? Why would they need a new word if it means the same thing?

    A Buddha is someone who has attained Enlightenment.
    A Bodhisattva is a person who has attained Enlightenment, but has vowed to return to samsara to aid all sentient beings on their paths to Buddhahood.

    For information on relative and absolute bodhicitta, you should read Atisha’s 59 mind-training or lojong slogans, which you can find in Chögyam Trungpa's "Training your mind."

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    Calm your tits, woman....

    Fine. But I don't understand the line of questioning from the OP on a multitude of threads. Is it for information from people who've been studying Buddhism or just a trawl for links?

    And I might add if I took that tone with people in the forum, multiple responses telling me to pull my head in would ensue.

    Perhaps I'm just a shit practitioner, I'm willing to wear that given the thought provoking threads I've been reading (and no, there's no sarcasm or malice in this statement).

    It's OK, I'll be away for a few weeks anyway so the forum gets a reprieve from me :+1:

    DhammaDragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    We'll miss you. And you know I'm thinking of you honey, and hoping for a great update.
    Love you <3

    BunksDavid
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Absolute and relative terms are used a lot in Mahayana and Vajrayana. I'm not sure I have the best words to accurately describe them. One of those things that when I try to grasp and zero in, the clarity fizzles, lol, like trying to grab at something in a 3D movie. This is, of course, just how my teacher explains it.

    Things that are relative, bodhicitta or whatever else, are more here-and-now, human life reality things. An example of relative bodhicitta would be working to learn how to love and be compassionate for others and yourself. It is learning to be and love completely openly and freely, with no expectations. To be fully vulnerable and not afraid to do so. It is more a focus on doing things, at performing virtuous acts A sustained practice can then lead to absolute bodhicitta.

    Eventually, your practice will arrive at a place beyond here-and-now human reality. Absolute bodhicitta is to go beyond the human level of everything. It is to be able to dwell in a high level of consciousness. It is more of an large picture, overall view and being able to function as part of it rather than just observing it like we do in our typical human lives.

    Reading up on Lojong mind training would give you a better idea. The first part of Lojong is absolute bodhicitta. The rest is relative.

    lobster
  • @karasti said:
    Absolute and relative terms are used a lot in Mahayana and Vajrayana. I'm not sure I have the best words to accurately describe them. One of those things that when I try to grasp and zero in, the clarity fizzles, lol, like trying to grab at something in a 3D movie. This is, of course, just how my teacher explains it.

    Things that are relative, bodhicitta or whatever else, are more here-and-now, human life reality things. An example of relative bodhicitta would be working to learn how to love and be compassionate for others and yourself. It is learning to be and love completely openly and freely, with no expectations. To be fully vulnerable and not afraid to do so. It is more a focus on doing things, at performing virtuous acts A sustained practice can then lead to absolute bodhicitta.

    Eventually, your practice will arrive at a place beyond here-and-now human reality. Absolute bodhicitta is to go beyond the human level of everything. It is to be able to dwell in a high level of consciousness. It is more of an large picture, overall view and being able to function as part of it rather than just observing it like we do in our typical human lives.

    Reading up on Lojong mind training would give you a better idea. The first part of Lojong is absolute bodhicitta. The rest is relative.

    This is really helpful. Thanks!

  • @karasti, @DhammaDragon Thanks for the recommendations about the lojong slogans.

    I guess the thing that confused me is the word 'bodhicitta' - I'd always imagined it as heart-mind which made me think that it was more emotional in tone than one of the habit of conceptualisation and reification.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Tiddlywinds the sense I get about it is that in other cultures, it is inherent and needs few words to explain. In Tibetan Buddhism it is such a part of their culture that there is no need to explain it, it is just experienced. Trying to explain such a topic, and then translate it to a Western world that has no grasp of a heart-mind connection is quite difficult and I think trying to do so, it loses something. Bodhicitta IS heart-mind. But it is a recognition that they are not separate. In the western world, we point them out as heart and mind. In Tibetan they are not different. Tibetans will actually put their hand over their heart when they refer to what we think of as mind. It is a unity not a separation. Absolute bodhicitta, i think, is the completely assimilation of heart and mind or body and mind. It is the loss of that separation. Thinking mind and emotional health are entirely intertwined. But we keep them separate. Relative bodhicitta is practicing to bring them together. Absolute bodhicitta is achieving that unity.

    lobster
  • @karasti said:
    Absolute bodhicitta, i think, is the completely assimilation of heart and mind or body and mind. It is the loss of that separation. Thinking mind and emotional health are entirely intertwined. But we keep them separate. Relative bodhicitta is practicing to bring them together. Absolute bodhicitta is achieving that unity.

    This is a really helpful way of seeing it. It links shunyata to absolute bodhicitta. We see them as separate but in truth, they're connected. I see what it is now. Thanks.

    lobster
  • @federica said:
    @lobster, sometimes honestly, I despair of you....

    @Dakini, the terms are apparently prevalent in Mahayana Buddhism.

    Absolute bodhicitta is direct insight into reality, or pure illumination, or enlightenment.
    Relative or conventional bodhicitta is the ... desire to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

    From here.

    Thank you. I'm not familiar with those at all, and I've studied a bit with various Tibetan teachers. It just goes to show that even after years on New Buddhist, one can still learn something new! :)

  • There are two kinds of bodhichitta: relative and absolute. Relative bodhichitta includes compassion and maitri. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated maitri as “unconditional friendliness with oneself.” This unconditional friendliness means having an unbiased relationship with all the parts of your being. So, in the context of working with pain, this means making an intimate, compassionate heart-relationship with all those parts of ourselves we generally don’t want to touch.

    Relative bodhichitta also includes awakening compassion. One of the meanings of compassion is “suffering with,” being willing to suffer with other people. This means that to the degree you can work with the wholeness of your being—your prejudices, your feelings of failure, your self-pity, your depression, your rage, your addictions—the more you will connect with other people out of that wholeness. And it will be a relationship between equals. You’ll be able to feel the pain of other people as your own pain. And you’ll be able to feel your own pain and know that it’s shared by millions.

    Absolute bodhichitta, also known as shunyata, is the open dimension of our being, the completely wide-open heart and mind. Without labels of “you” and “me,” “enemy” and “friend,” absolute bodhichitta is always here. Cultivating absolute bodhichitta means having a relationship with the world that is nonconceptual, that is unprejudiced, having a direct, unedited relationship with reality.

    From: http://www.lionsroar.com/turn-your-thinking-upside-down/?utm_source=Lion's+Roar+Newsletter&amp;utm_campaign=fcb5b69ffd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_21&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_1988ee44b2-fcb5b69ffd-21609961&amp;mc_cid=fcb5b69ffd&amp;mc_eid=fbe8899657

    lobsterKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2016

    Tee Hee!

    Outstanding @Tiddlywinds
    This seems the best answer so far. I realise it is quoted. Just goes to show asking the question is part of the answering ... Bravo. I found it very useful. B)

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2016

    In the introduction to Chogyam Trungpa's "Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness," relative and absolute bodhicitta are well described, as above:

    "Relative bodhichitta comes from the simple and basic experience of
    realizing that you could have a tender heart in any situation. Even the
    most vicious animals have a tender heart in taking care of their young,
    or for that matter, in taking care of themselves. From our basic training
    in shamatha-vipashyana, we begin to realize our basic goodness and to
    let go with that. We begin to rest in the nature of alaya--not caring and
    being very naive and ordinary, casual, in some sense. When we let
    ourselves go, we begin to have a feeling of good existence in ourselves.
    That could be regarded as the very ordinary and trivial concept of having
    a good time. Nonetheless, when we have good intentions toward ourselves,
    it is not because we are trying to achieve anything--we are just trying
    to be ourselves. As they say, we could come as we are. At that point we
    have a natural sense that we can afford to give ourselves freedom. We can
    afford to relax. We can afford to treat ourselves better, trust ourselves
    more, and let ourselves feel good. The basic goodness of alaya is always
    there. It is that sense of healthiness and cheerfulness and naivete that
    brings us to the realization of relative bodhichitta.
    Relative bodhichitta is related with how we start to learn to love
    each other and ourselves."

    Absolute or ultimate bodhicitta:

     "Ultimate bodhichitta is similar to the absolute shunyata principle. 
    

    And whenever there is the absolute shunyata principle, we have to have a
    basic understanding of absolute compassion at the same time. Shunyata
    literally means "openness" or "emptiness." Shunyata is basically
    understanding nonexistence. When you begin realizing nonexistence, then
    you can afford to be more compassionate, more giving. A problem is that
    usually we would like to hold on to our territory and fixate on that
    particular ground. Once we begin to fixate on that ground, we have no way
    to give. Understanding shunyata means that we begin to realize that there
    is no ground to get, that we are ultimately free, nonaggressive, open. We
    realize that we are actually nonexistent ourselves. We are not--no,
    rather. Then we can give. We have lots to gain and nothing to lose at
    that point. It is very basic."

    lobster
  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited November 2016

    Damn, now I had to look up bodhicitta.

    Personally, I don't think it exists. It's an idealized sort of thing, or more of an aspiration. When we begin to wake up, either by degrees or suddenly, it is there. But we don't STAY there, we always have to practice to keep our old dualistic habits from running us. Anyone who has had some awakenings has experienced that they themselves are not what they thought they were and that everything is empty of meaning (which is not to say it is meaningless). While our egos are a fabrication, we do exist, this body and mind exists, and is connected to all things..... it IS all things. But again, this is an experience that fades almost as suddenly as it comes. But still, it changes us because the realization remains.

    To awaken and help all sentient beings, that is enough. No one is perfect, we all fail at times, then renew our vows or intent. I think people get way too hung up on words and concepts when simply sitting in meditation and practicing mindfulness is what the path is about. I probably sound like a broken record on that. Buddhism is absolutely not an intellectual pursuit, but it attracts people who like to intellectualize things. It took me decades to make any progress on that, and it's always still there, the wanting to explain what is unexplainable rather than just experience it as it is.

    Nice video. Is that what the song means when it goes "Oh, I'd love to be an Oscar Meyer wiener"?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    it is an aspiration. That is the point. Just like enlightenment is an aspiration. But it is achievable. Most athletes won't be Olympians but that doesn't mean many don't grow greatly in their attempts. And it doesn't make it non-existent just because it's not so easy to get there.

    lobster
  • Bodhicitta is an innate component of enlightenment. There is an interdependence between 'increase in Love/Bodhicitta' and increased mindfulness/wisdom. Symbolised as yab-yum, bell and dorje in Tantra. That is my experience.

  • @smarino said:

    everything is empty of meaning (which is not to say it is meaningless).

    This is the perfect difference between nihilism and Buddhism. I think I got stuck on this difference as a teacher. It all seemed so meaningless where as it would have been more useful to understand that it's all empty of meaning. Much nicer place. Thank you!

  • @lobster said:
    Bodhicitta is an innate component of enlightenment. There is an interdependence between 'increase in Love/Bodhicitta' and increased mindfulness/wisdom. Symbolised as yab-yum, bell and dorje in Tantra. That is my experience.

    Such a beautiful sentiment.

Sign In or Register to comment.