What is a Great Disciple? (Part 7)

Great Disciples (cont.)

After making abundant offerings to the Buddha, the follower announces their aspiration.  The Buddha directs his mind into the future and sees that the follower will attain the fruition of their aspiration under some future Buddha.  The prediction is then made known to the follower.

This aspiring disciple of the Buddha must then devote successive lifetimes training and practicing, acquiring the merit and knowledge necessary for fulfillment of their aspiration.  As part of this training, they must practice the ten sublime virtues or pāramī, the Pāli counterpart of the pāramitās of Sanskrit Buddhism.  The ten sublime virtues are: giving, virtue, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness, and equanimity.

To fulfill their aspiration to great discipleship, these sublime virtues must be practiced for one hundred thousand aeons.  If the aspiration is to attain chief discipleship, then these sublime virtues must be practiced for one incalculable and one hundred thousand aeons.[1]

In this brief account, we see that the Dhamma, though as clear as a wolf in midday running through the alley, as easy to practice as opening the door for a perfect stranger, and as much a part of us as our own skin and bones holding together our blood and organs, requires aspiration, diligence, patience, and, perhaps, lifetimes of falling down and getting back up.

The aspiration to relieve our present suffering may get us through a few sittings.  The aspiration to relieve the suffering of ourselves and those around us may get us through a few years of sitting.  The aspiration to relieve the suffering of all beings in our lifetime may get us through a few lifetimes of practice.  But the aspiration to relieve the suffering of all beings across all planes of existence, across all times and ages, will at least get us to penetrate this present moment with the bright eyes and subtle smile of a Buddha!


[1] Great Disciples, p. XXV.

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