BA1_9-10 The General Benefits of Bodhicitta


BA9/BA1_9-10 is Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s teaching on the 9th and 10th stanzas of the first chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara. This continues on the general benefit of bodhicitta which was started in stanza six.

Stanza 9 is about how the generation of bodhicitta — the highest aspiration and motivation to work for the highest benefit for all beings — changes one’s identity and status. Five different examples demonstrating the benefits of generating bodhicitta are given in the next few following stanzas, starting from stanza 10 which Rinpoche explains in this teaching.

To view the video, simply click on the image to view all the Chapter 1 videos.

If you prefer listening to the teaching in audio, use the audio player below.

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The audio as well as the audio translations in different languages and the transcript of this teaching are all available on Chapter 1 page.

We are also studying the commentary transcript on Chapter 1, which you can download here and in the Library section. Further recommended reading: the commentary book by Kunzang Pelden (Khenpo Kunpal), The Nectar of Manjushri’s Speech, p. 47-48.

You’re questions are most welcome. Please log in and leave your questions for Rinpoche as a comment below, or send them via email to studyquestions[at] It is helpful if you can use one short paragraph and, if possible, less than 80 words. Any questions longer than that may have to be edited so please be concise. Questions will be collected from here on December 1, 2010, and included in Rinpoche’s answers video. After that date please send any questions relating to this video teaching via email to studyquestions[at]

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8 thoughts on “BA1_9-10 The General Benefits of Bodhicitta

  1. Jeff Holloway

    This shedra is like finding gold in the common Internet and I offer my heart-felt thanks to Rinpoche and all his students for bringing this treasure to us. Respectfully, Rinpoche, I wonder if you could say something about examples such as “alchemy” used in verse 9. This and several other examples in the Bodhicharyavatara (and other teachings) are very difficult for me.

    I think the message is clear without the example: bodhichitta transforms common potentiality, such as a human life, into a life form of immeasurable value because it is a commitment to truth and the happiness of all beings. But for me, the example of alchemy detracts from the message. First, alchemy isn’t true. Base metal cannot be transformed into gold and therefore the example does not help me believe in bodhichitta. And second, if we could produce gold at will it would become worthless, whereas the value of bodhichitta increases whenever it is created because its value lies in bringing all beings to enlightenment.

    There are many examples like this. I realize I could ignore them, but they are an integral part of the teachings, so my question is, “how can I adjust my thinking to either be able to use such examples profitably or at least not be distracted by them?”

    1. heidi trondsen

      I think maybe it could help if you understand the word “alchemy” a bit more symbolically. It is about transforming something base into something more precious. The alchemists were ultimately involved in an inner transformation process. In this sense an alchemist is a great transformer. Like a good vajrayana-practitioner. Who takes whatever comes and turns it into the path. Like anger comes, and you use the energy (instead of acting out) and it becomes clarity and presicion.. Or pain in the heart comes, longing and clinging and all that, and then you turn it into compassion for yourself and others. You have this suffering, and then you use that very suffering to generate compassion. It’s like the neurotic energy is turning into it’s enlightend potential. The lotus growing out of the mud. That’s how I understand it… Hope it helps… Heidi

      1. Jeff Holloway

        Thanks Heidi, this makes sense to me and I can work with it. I’ve come across many stories and examples in Tibetan Buddhism that cause me to trip up like this. I will try to apply the key of thinking more symbolically and, as Rinpoche mentioned in QA5, understanding all practices to be devices for internal development.

  2. Lynda

    Rinpoche, would the way to generate and to develop bodhicitta in my everyday life be to remember the bodhicitta aspiration whenever I find myself in contact with other people, at home, at work, everywhere?
    thank you,

  3. olesom

    Dear Rinpoche,
    Thank you for your precious teaching on the importance of nurturing and developing bodhichitta. I am a little puzzled at the following wording in the tenth stanza: “Let us grasp it [bodhichitta] firmly”. In my limited experience compassion arises only in a state of acceptance and letting be, whereas trying to grasp wholesome states of mind while they occur make them disappear. Is the use of the word ‘grasp’ a weakness in the translation, or is there some pedagogical reason for its use? I seem to rememeber having read something along the lines that since we have a grasping mind, Shantideva says that we should grasp bodhichitta if we are to grasp. But I am not quite sure about this recollection.

    My best wishes, Ole

    1. heidi trondsen

      I think in the beginning you have to grasp it a little, keep it very precious like Rinpoche says, to keep yourself going in the right direction when the going gets tough (and boddhicitta doesn’t arise so eaily due to old habits)… Ultimately you don’t grasp anything, bodchicitta is our natural state, behind it all, luckily…

  4. ledain


    By perceiving the différences beetwen samsaric activities an Bodhisattvas activities, I conceive that the activity of a Buddha is an unlimitless – permanent and universal – action to help beings.
    Is that right, and is that the whole activity of a Buddha ?

    Thank you deeply
    Christian Ledain

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