The first stage of bodhisattvahood arises at the path of seeing, if you remember that from the five paths, last time. And this refers to seeing the nature of experience--which is of course emptiness--and knowing that to be how things are.
In a lot of respects, this is where practice actually begins. Which may sound completely deflating because--I mean, "I have to get that far before I’ve even got to the beginning?" And in my opinion it’s very questionable, or it's a very interesting question to consider: what does this actually refer to in terms of our own experience?
These descriptions make it sound very lofty, as do the descriptions of the five paths, where in order to attain this you have to have twenty-four hour stable samadhi or stable attention. Which seems pretty far out there. Not too many human beings ever get to that stage. So, are we relegated to sitting--being like the person who is just looking in the window and seeing all of these wonderful things that we can never know? Or is there something else going on here, where we can actually relate to this?
And my own view which is not, probably, not a traditional view, is that this is very attainable. That is, we can come to see how things are through, through our own efforts. And when we do that, everything changes; we can’t go back to our ordinary way of living. And often a tremendous joy that comes with this, because now that we know that whatever state of mind arises, whether it’s peace or disturbance, it is simply a state of mind. It has no ground, it's not a thing in itself. And so we know the freedom in everything that we experience. And that’s why it is called The Joyful One
The full audiofile of this class and the other classes in this series can be accessed HERE.