In Buddhism a bodhisattva is a being who vows to work for the enlightenment of all beings before attaining his or her own liberation. It is the ultimate sacrifice beyond giving up one’s possessions, bodies or ideas. I remember the first time I took this vow I was awe-struck by its profundity. I try to honour this vow by putting into practice the spirit of enlightenment for the benefit of all beings but my efforts at cultivating love, compassion, joy and equanimity are weak and I struggle specially with the aspiration of equanimity,
“May all beings come to rest in the great equanimity beyond attachment and aversion to ‘friends’, ‘enemies’ or ‘strangers'”.
My continuous choosing between likes and dislikes, good and bad, pure and impure keeps me bound and unsatisfied. How to be even-minded and see the oneness of everything in all occasions? Choosing and picking is deeply ingrained in me. The pleasant keeps me safe and the unpleasant might be a threat so I stay away from it. This mechanism of preservation has served me well many times but under the cover of pride it has also contaminated everything I think, do and say. Perhaps to get rid of that bad taste I have always been interested in meditation and the possibility of being free from the tyranny of duality.
When I meditate I try to become one with my practice but when an unexpected sound, sight, thought or emotion appear I feel I have gone stray, away from the goal. This is when I am in hell trying to get to heaven as if these where two separate destinations. But where can I stray? Everything comes from mind, everything is mind. The goal, the thought and the practice are all mind, that which sustains me and the entire universe. So what to do? Not pushing away, not holding on, not naming, not thinking. Just trusting and resting in deep infinite relaxation. Then thoughts, sounds and forms appear and disappear like visions, apparitions or dreams, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant but always even, undifferentiated and luminous. At that moment there is no split between heaven and earth and I can choose or not choose but in both cases there are no traces left like the path of a bird in the sky. This land where I stand becomes the pure lotus land and this very body the body of the bodhisattva enjoying freedom in even mindedness.
You may ask if there is no difference between heaven and hell, right path or wrong path, why to be good instead of bad since everything is That. Yes, indeed, everything is That, but it is also true that the cause and effect of positive and negative actions, thoughts and words is absolutely certain. This is a very important question which takes us to the importance of the proper teaching and the proper teacher. The proper teacher is one who is a bodhisattva, of whatever tradition, whose only mission in life is the spiritual welfare of all beings. He or she embodies compassion and wisdom and understands the laws of karma.
May this explanation serve to choose the right teacher and may your choosing come from your equality wisdom beyond attachment or aversion.