Talk:Bodhicitta

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Heartmind[edit]

This is quite a distinct variation of the earlier article, which however was based solely within the context of the Lam Rim tradition.

I wanted to comment on the suggestion that this article be merged with the one entitled 'Heartmind' - I have been a student of Tibetan Buddhism for about 17 years, and have never heard of Bodhichitta being translated as 'heartmind'. I don't consider it to be a good translation - it simply does not seem to mean anything. What would it mean to have a 'heart mind'? A far better translation is 'mind of enlightment' - because (in particular) the Sanskrit word 'bodhichitta' is a conjunction of the words 'bodhi' (meaning enlightement) and chitta (meaning mind). Much of what is in that 'heart mind' article also appears dubious. My feeling is that the article 'heart mind' should simply be deleted. Personally, I don't feel that the term 'heart mind' should even be mentioned as a translation of bodhichitta - I simply don't believe it is correct. --Darkstar9999 16:11, 5 May 2007 (UTC)darkstar9999


I've been looking at the History of this page, and found that prior to the changes made on 4 May 07, this article was actually quite reasonable. On that date, accurate information was deleted and quite a bit of amateurish, misleading rubbish added. I would like to revert it to how it was before those changes - but unfortunately I'm relatively new to Wikipedia and not sure (yet) of how one goes about that. --Darkstar9999 16:40, 5 May 2007 (UTC)darkstar9999


Hi, everyone. I wanted to note that the term "Hinayana" is quite loaded and controversial; there are no groups who self-identify with the term Hinayana, and it is considered by many Buddhist groups to be derogatory. Since this article is about a point of Mahayana and Vajrayana teaching and practice, it seems unnecessary to go into points of difference with other schools. It's quite simple to rephrase "Bodhicitta is what distinguishes Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna (or tantric) Buddhism from the Hinayāna schools." as "...Buddhism from other Buddhist schools." You can refer to the Hinayana article for more info on the debate, but it is considered respectful, and really more accurate, to refer to non-Mahayana, non-Vajrayana schools/sects of Buddhism by what they call themselves, not by what the Mahayana Buddhists call them. 71.192.43.152 (talk) 03:17, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I not only agree with the above comment, but in my more recent edits hope I have made it clear that it is only certain teachings and methods relating to the development of bodhicitta that are unique to particular schools, whereas bodhicitta itself, being closely related to buddha-nature, is not only independent of school but is part of being human. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 63.229.11.118 (talk) 06:09, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know, the first historical arising of Bodhicitta is supposed to have been in the Hell realm, where the Buddha and another sufferer were pulling a cart that was too heavy even for both of them and they were being whipped by devils. Suddenly the Buddha has a thought: why should both of us suffer like this? Let them just whip me and let at least this other person be spared. I very much doubt if 'Enlightenment' was foremost in the Buddha's mind at the time, or if at the time he even had any idea what it was. The idea that Bodhicitta is exclusively concerned with wishing that others become 'enlightened' would seem to be at odds with most of what I have read on the subject by e.g. the Dalai Lama and most other contemporary Buddhist teachers. The author of the last edits may hold that view, but I certainly don't see how the notion can be universally accepted as part of the definition. If this notion is to stay in at all it should, in my opinion, be in the main body of the article and be much better sourced. 63.229.11.118 (talk) 16:31, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Also, I don't see how a non-physical being such as 'Maitreya' can be quoted as a source in a supposedly-objective encyclopedia. For instance, in an article on Christianity, it would be OK to say 'the following statement is attributed to the historical Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John...' but not 'God said...' or 'the Holy Spirit commanded...' which would imply a belief system not necesarily shared by the reader of the article. 63.229.11.118 (talk) 17:54, 12 March 2008 (UTC)


The concept of bodhicitta (along with the other skillfull means) as one part of the two-fold path to enlightenment ( 1-wisdom and 2-skillful means, or 1-understanding of emptiness and 2-uncontrived bodhicitta ) has its fullest expression in the literature of the Mahayana. Though it is mentioned in earlier Indian Buddhist texts in Pali, it is the Sanskrit literature of the Mahayana which brought it into its fullest development. Among Mayahana schools, the "definition" of bodhicitta as a general concept is usually cited as the one given in the Ornament of Clear Realizations, one of the five texts dictated by Maitreya to Asanga (do a Wiki search on 'Tibetan Buddhist Canon' for the rest). This text is generally acknowledged by Buddhists as a dissertation by Maitreya -- he is cited as the author (even in translations sold by Amazon, for instance). This text by Maitreya is studied (meaning memorized) in all four major divisions of Tibetan Monasteries and cited by monks frequently in debate. If asked this question in debate "What is the definition of bodhicitta?" a monk would no doubt quote Maitreya and respond "It is the wish to gain full enlightenment to be of benefit to all sentient beings." That would be the beginning.

Is that the end of the meaning of bodhicitta? Of course not. There are different types and connotations of the word, and those belong in a lengthy description of the topic, which we should certainly have here if we want. But the uninitiated reader, perhaps a non-Buddhist, who is looking up this term for the first time and has no clue what it means should first be given the most common definition of the term as a starting point, and then be presented with a more thorough treatment of the subject. This is my opinion, but I'm open to suggestions because I am no expert on encyclopedia design. Far from it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.130.7.130 (talk) 20:06, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't see your post above with regard to using "enlightenment" in the definition of bodhicitta. The definition as put forth in the Sanskrit texts by Maitreya needs to have all of the parts: (1) the desire to gain (2) full enlightenment (Buddhahood) (3) for onesself (4) in order to benefit all other sentient beings. If one of these parts is left out, it is incomplete. We unenlightened sentient beings see the severe suffering of other sentient beings migrating in the six realms of samsara and are aroused by our compassion to help them. We may even take the bodhisattva vows to help all sentient beings' sufferings. But then we are struck with a reality attack and realize that we can't even help OURSELVES with our sufferings, our afflictive emotions like anger, and jealousy, and so forth. How could we possibly help all other sentient beings?

The answer is that we need nothing less than the capabilities of a Buddha. Buddhas do nothing but help other beings and they have special attributes that enable them to help other beings perfectly like clairvoyance to read their minds and their needs, the ability to emanate many Nirmanakaya and Sambhogakaya emanations of themselves into different world systems to teach other humans and bodhisattvas in pure lands, and so forth. We realize that the only way we can truly help all sentient beings is to become fully enlightened -- to become Buddhas ourselves. We want not just to attain nirvana (aka moksha, or liberation) which is freedom from our OWN emotional and cognitive afflictions, but we want to go beyond that and attain full enlightenment, endowed with all of the capabilities of a Buddha to help other sentient beings. And this wish -- to attain enlightenment for onesself specifically for the purpose of helping all suffering sentient beings in all world systems -- is bodhicitta. We develop it in a contrived way at first, and through meditation strive to have genuine, uncontrived bodhicitta. The moment we have that uncontrived bodhicitta in our mindstreams, we become bodhisattvas and begin the first level (bhumi) of the bodhisattva path. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.130.7.130 (talk) 23:25, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

absolute and relative (bodhicitta)[edit]

Quote: "Basically there are two levels of bodhicitta. They are the absolute bodhicitta and the relative bodhicitta. The relative bodhicitta is the wish or vow that all mother sentient beings attain Buddhahood. After making the vow or aspiration, one should engage in the actual activity of bodhicitta to actualize the vow or aspiration. Merely by making the vow is not enough."

As far as relative bodhicitta is concerned: how does this quotation go together with the text on the mainpage?

Austerlitz -- 88.75.92.10 (talk) 05:55, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

well done[edit]

This is a rather excellent article. It's not only mostly scripturally accurate, but captures much of the experiential reality of this process. It seems some of the authors must be actual practitioners. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zenji (talkcontribs) 00:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Well done! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.9.244.188 (talk) 13:16, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Bodhicitta - luminous mind[edit]

In Pali Canon and its commentaries there is no mention about bodhicitta. Luminous mind is the mind of the 4th jhana. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.249.15.132 (talk) 19:10, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


The term isn't used: the concepts that go to make up the Mahayana concept of Bodhicitta crop up a lot in the Pali canon. The article explains this correctly. I agree that the 'luminous mind' concept is not the only Pali term that overlaps bodhicitta. If you want to edit the article to that effect, go ahead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.126.71.18 (talk) 01:01, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

reaching enlightenment to benefit or benefiting to reach enlightenment[edit]

A Khenpo, who teaches at the Kagyu College in India, when asked, told me that bodhicitta means both compassion, or the wish to bring people out of suffering, and loving-kindness, or the wish to bring others to a state of happiness. Essentially, bodhicitta is a wish to bring all sentient beings to Enlightenment.

This page inaccurately states that bodhicitta is the wish to bring oneself to Enlightenment in order to then benefit all sentient beings. I believe that in the Theravada tradition this is the ideal, but it is the case in the Indo-Tibetan tradition that the ideal of the bodhisattva is to bring ALL sentient beings to enlightenment. There have been many bodhisattvas who have vowed to stay in Samsara until ALL beings are brought to enlightenment, for instance His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

I think that this page should be corrected to reflect the Tibetan ideal of staying in samsara in order to continue to benefit all sentient beings, and to withhold oneself from entering enlightenment. makeswell (talk) 18:31, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree, that would be better and more in accordance with at least my understanding. Don't have time to do it though (sourcing it would take a while) ChengduTeacher (talk) 14:13, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

lots wrong here.[edit]

The entire luminous mind section appears to be based on one text which is hardly an RS. I pulled it altogether. My understanding of Bodhicitta is at complete variance with this. I agree with the authors makeswell and ChengduTeacher here. (20040302 (talk) 15:13, 6 November 2013 (UTC))

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