Teaching on Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara, Rinpoche continues from the 8th chapter, ‘Meditative Concentration‘, which was started in 2018. In the beginning of part 1 Rinpoche first gives a short summary of the whole text and then of chapter 8 as far as was discussed in the previous year’s teaching, which was about preparing the ground for meditation in our mind. In part 6, we go to the 9th chapter, ‘Wisdom’. Each session ends with some very interesting and helpful questions and answers.
Outline of parts 1-12 and some notes
8th Chapter: Meditative Concentration
Part 1: Stanzas 101- 106. Meditation on bodhichitta. Sameness of self and other.
Part 2: Stanzas 106- 120. Benefit of compassion. Equanimity. Exchanging self with others, “the most sacred mystery”.
Part 3: Stanzas 121- 133. Letting go of self-clinging. Princess who was about to grow a tail. Jataka story of a young man and dead mouse.
All the joy the world contains
has come through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself. 
Part 4: Stanzas 134- 173. Necessity of exchange. The actual practice of exhange. With the support of discipline, ‘tsultrim‘ (Tib.), acting in the right way according to the situation.
Part 5: Stanzas 174- 187. Giving in to comfort and desires, we become increasingly sensitive and are never satisfied. Instead we should put our mind at peace and under control. All obstacles to shamatha meditation removed, compassion and also wisdom will arise naturally.
9th Chapter: Wisdom
Part 6: Stanzas 1- 9. All the previous chapters were taugth in order to generate wisdom. Wisdom, understanding of the true nature of everything, is the antidote to ignorance and thus the direct cause of enlightenment. Two truths.
Relative and ultimate,
These the two truths are declared to be.
The ultimate is not within the reach of intellect,
For intellect is said to be relative. 
Part 7: No specific stanzas discussed in this part. Chapter 9 is written in form of debates with different philosophical views and refutations of their views. Concept of two truths is found in all Buddhist philosophical schools. In Mahayana, foundation is the union of two truths, path is two accumulations, and result is two kayas. – Two selflessnesses (anatma). 18 emptinesses. 4-8-16-32 extremes. To experience the ultimate truth you have to be free from grasping and concepts. That is very difficult for us, so we need meditation, learning to relax and go beyond self-clinging.
Part 8: Stanzas 9- 15. Debates with Shravakas. Because everything is relative truth, anything can happen. Stanzas 15- 25. Debates with Chittamatrins, who have the concept of rang rig, self-knowing which knows self and others. Under Shantideva’s Madhyamika investigation, everything remains illusory.
It’s not indeed our purpose to disprove
Experiences of sight or sound or knowing.
Our aim is here to undermine the cause of sorrow:
The thought that such phenomena have true existence. 
It is necessary to experience selflessness in order to end suffering, but that doesn’t end the seeing. Only the see-er is gone. The ultimate nature is inexpressible but it is experiencable. The Buddha expressed what he discovered as profound, peace, free from elaboration (free from any one way of thinking), clear light, uncompounded. Like amrita, very delicious and healing. It is something we all have, but have not yet discovered. When it is discovered, it is said you see you have always been a buddha. You awaken as the primordial buddha. But this is not easy for 4 reasons: it is too easy, too near, too deep and too good.
Part 9: Stanzas 26- 34. Debates with Chittamatrins regarding emptiness. Stanza 34 is the heart essence of Chapter 9:
When something and its nonexistence
Both are absent from before the mind,
No other option does the latter have:
It comes to perfect rest, from concepts free. 
Stanzas 35- 39. Debates regarding the result. Blessing of the Buddhas’s activity happens spontaneously, effortlessly and, like the Sun or the Moon, shines equally for all who are open to receive it. Story of the 12 years long debate of Chandragomin and Chandrakirti.
Part 10: Stanzas 40- 55. Debates regarding the Mahayana path. – All sutras of the Buddha have the same teaching. Yana by yana the teaching is clarified and explained in more detail and in different terminology. – In order to become free from samsara, we must deeply understand shunyata.
Part 11: Stanzas 56- 67. Selflessness of the self. Story of a king who wanted the shirt of a happy man. Consciousness.
Part 12: No specific stanzas discussed, only questions and answers. Some of the topics: sutras, meditation, study of Bodhicharyavatara and other texts in Tibet, experiencing selflessness.
Photos thanks to Paul O’Connor and Rigpa International Facebook page.
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