Bodhisattvacharayvatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verses 81-83

Transglomeration: [81] Certainly, I wish and Vow that all sentient beings attain Buddhahood, venerated and honoured throughout the entire three-world system; so, why am I burnt up inside with resentment and jealousy when I see them graced with just a little fleeting and ordinary respect and honour?   [82] If there is someone for whom I provide food (like giving a chicken) and for whom I otherwise hold responsibility, manages, either by themselves or through someone else, to find their own provisions or to make their own living, isn’t this a big favour to you, doesn’t his relieve your responsibility?   And yet, am I delighted with this, or is it that, yet again, I become annoyed and upset?   Why am I not happy with this if I am concerned for others’ welfare?   [83] What that is good is not wished for others, one who wishes for their Enlightenment?   How could I begrudge anything for them?   How could I wish for them to attain Awakening?   Where is the Bodhichitta in them who feel perturbed and angry when others find any good fortune?

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 80 therefore reminder of the Vow of Bodhichitta taken for the sake of all sentient beings:
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 81-83 [81] if I wish all beings Enlightened and venerated, why begrudge a little honour
[82] if I have care of all beings, why resent their self-reliance
[83] if I am angry about even this, where is my Bodhichitta?

Switches: [81] if I want beings to be venerated (because I have brought them to achieve Enlightenment), why don’t I want them to have a little veneration now; the mismatch between what we say we wish for others in our prayers, and what we actually feel now; how can my purview be so miserly towards others’ gain (if I want to hold Bodhichitta); [82] I have the responsibility for the welfare of others, but am resentful when they find it themselves – I wasn’t really concerned for their welfare, but my esteem as their provider; if I am perturbed that others have found gain/happiness independent of me, then I am wanting to be the Great Benefactor, and am not really concerned with others’ gain; [83] just how much do I really have the mind which wishes others happiness and gain

Embroidery: this is the conclusion of the sub-section, starting with verse 76, which explores the resentment-anger that comes from jealousy and is, in the end, an ongoing day-by-day betrayal of the Vow of Bodhichitta; when the Vow has been entered into (… for the sake of all mother sentient beings), there is a sense that the ‘sake’ comes much later, when they become Enlightened, and anyway I’ve got to sort myself out first before I can be of any use in their Enlightenment; no, it starts, the benefit to others starts, the moment the Vow is taken and is involved in how I interact with all beings, both face-to-face and as various wholes; this is not some far-off event which I needn’t worry about yet, but something immediate which I have to see to if I am not to be the embarrassment of someone claiming the Vow but acting otherwise;

Reflection: I am finding this to be a wake-up call – I have just been told off by Śāntideva to stop pussyfooting around; these are not inspiring, mind-opening verses that take me off somewhere else, yet again, but verses that talk to me right under my own skin … don’t pretend to be the Bodhisattva, that is no use to anyone …

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