Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva
Chapter VI– verse 114
Transglomeration: But note, that stock – that field – of greatness of sentient beings is not an innate quality in and of itself, but only equal in the karmic fruits that it achieves, so it is in this respect that the quality of greatness of sentient beings as a whole is thereby alike to the Conquerors.
~~~ “BCA” ~~~
V. 112b/cd-113 Enlightenment is attained through both, therefore why value one and not the other?
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 114 – beings equally cause Buddhahood
Stitching: @ effect (↓) (greatness sentient beings = greatness Buddhas)
Overstitching: it is in the effects (↓) (not in itself) that the greatness (māhātmya – great being-ness) of sentient beings is equal to the Buddhas
Reflection: this is qualifying the conclusion of verse 113 (‘how is it that I would not have the same respect towards sentient beings as I do towards the Conquerors?’): that we do not respect sentient beings because of their qualities but because of the effects of allowing all sentient beings into our concern and care; we allow sentient beings into our concern and care by developing love for their state of well-being and compassion for their suffering; in developing our love and compassion, we rid ourselves of the self-cherishing I-first, I-first, I-first; because they are infinite, our concern and care for their well-being and suffering is also infinite, and because we have generated infinite love and compassion, we have entered into a state of being far beyond our usual state of being of local, parochial self-concern-only and far into māhātmya (great being-ness, rather than small, or self, being-ness); in this way we have progressed far towards becoming Enlightened ourselves and thereby fulfilling our Vow to ultimately benefit all beings; so the effect of (developing love and compassion for all sentient beings) has been that one has been brought so much more closer to realising one’s own Buddha-nature – the ultimate in great being-ness ; therefore the effect of developing love/compassion for all sentient beings brings one to the māhātmya (the infinity of beings in a state of suffering – saṃsāra) of sentient beings and therefore closer to the māhātmya of Buddhahood (being released from saṃsāra), so the māhātmya of sentient beings leads to the māhātmya of Buddhahood
Practice: like those lenses that opticians slip into the testing frames to determine your prescription, when the right one falls in, you can see everything clearly – that’s the one: this verse puts the lens of seeing sentient beings in a whole new light, not because they are in themselves great, but because they are the means to making great realisations ; and they’re not just any-old-means-will do, they are the only means to make this realisation great, rather than just a personal liberation ; they really are the field within which one operates.