Bodhicitta and the Spiritual Warrior

Photo by Dean Hocham, Flickr C.C.

Photo by Dean Hocham, Flickr C.C.


The way of the Bodhisattva is the way of compassion and wisdom, of realizing your own boundless potential. It comes from realizing that Enlightenment is our true nature, that we have a basic goodness and wakefulness that is fundamental to our being.

Bodhicitta is what the diligence of the Bodhisattva is based on. Bodhicitta means mind of awakening. It’s what helps us overcome the delusions that keep us from seeing our true nature. These delusions are things that we can overcome. They are impermanent like everything else. They may obscure our minds, but we can overcome them. Bodhicitta is our tool for doing this.

Relative and Ultimate.

Relative Bodhicitta is engaging the world with compassion in a normal way. Being kind, giving to charity, helping others, teaching the dharma. It’s the manifestation of our basic goodness.

Ultimate Bodhicitta is based on engaging the world without a self. This is helping in a way that isn’t dependent on a giver or receiver. It’s foundation is Emptiness, based on dissolving the boundaries between self and other.

Bodhicitta combines emptiness, compassion, and wisdom. To engage wisdom we have to work out overcoming our attachment to ourselves. To engage compassion we have to work on overcoming our possessiveness and aggression. To engage emptiness we have to learn to relate to our basic goodness in a way that is direct and complete.

Bodhicitta is central to Mahayana Buddhist teachings. It is the basis of being awake and freeing our minds.

We don’t really cultivate the awakened state as something separate from ourselves or as something new. We are trying to realize that we already have this basic goodness as part of our being. It has always been there. Dwelling in Bodhicitta brings us greater vision and potential. It brings us to boundless compassion for ourselves and others.

When we engage Bodhicitta we stop being so afraid of and controlled by our suffering. We gain new levels of patience and diligence. We also develop a kind of bravery. We are like spiritual warriors, willing to see the suffering of the world and face it in order to save ourselves and others.

This is the way of the bodhisattva.

Stay in touch with Daniel Scharpenburg on Facebook:
About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher and Ch'an Adept living in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. Daniel has a BA in English from KU and handles paperwork for a living.

His teaching style has been compared to that of the earliest Mahayana teachers and Ch'an Masters.

Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows in both the Nagarjuna and Asanga lineages and was transmitted the Caodong Ch'an lineage of Master Xu Yun.

Find out more about Daniel on his blog and connect with him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter