Want to experience bodhicitta?

Please don't just read the transcript here.  Take a few minutes to listen to the interaction between Janet and Ken in session 5 of the retreat, A Trackless Path II. It's worth it!

Bodhicitta (from ATPII05: A Trackless Path II (retreat) 00:54:40.00 - 01:00:20.4)

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Janet: Can I do short follow-up?

Ken: Sure.

Janet: Bodhicitta, one problem that comes up, just one of the many problems, is that it has become so honorific in a way, you know, that a lot of the literature suggests that to experience it is so rare and so exalted--

Ken: Do you want to experience bodhicitta?

Janet: Sure.

Ken: Okay. [Laughter] We'll do this in the western context. Are you familiar with the Hubble Gap?

Janet: The Hubble Gap?

Ken: Yes.

Janet: Ah...not, no.

Ken: Okay. Then I won't worry about that. It would help but it's okay. So how many stars do you see in the nighttime sky?

Janet:  How many do I see? Dozens.

Ken: A few more, there are actually [laughter] for most people [laughter]. Tonight! Outside!

Janet: Okay, thousands.

Ken: Yeah, thousands, it's about four thousand, okay. What percentage of the stars in the Milky Way is that? In the Milky Way galaxy?

Janet: It's probably a millionth.

Ken: Yeah, it's some ridiculously small number, you're quite right. Okay. So imagine that around every one of those stars there is another planet like earth, and it has as many beings as earth has, like six, seven billion. Okay. Now how many galaxies are there in the universe?

Janet: I can't imagine.

Ken: Yeah, that's why I asked you about the Hubble Gap, but it is an unbelievable number. It dwarfs the number of stars in the Milky Way. And every one of those galaxies has as many or more stars as the Milky Way does. So I want you to imagine a planet around every one of those stars, and it's filled with beings like Earth too. Okay. It's a fairly large number we're talking about.

Janet: I'm getting boggled.

Ken: That's good, good we're in the right direction. Now, I want you to form the intention to free every one of those beings from the vicisssitudes of samsara.
         Janet: [Silence]
Ken: It takes a little while, but keep going. I mean...I'm not talking about the freeing them, it just takes a little while to work up to that, but keep workin' at it. Okay, Okay. That's good, that's good, hang on, right there, that's fine. Just right there, it's good. Okay. Now you're going to free every one of those beings. Are you clear about that?

Janet: I just feel completely flabbergasted.

Ken: Yeah, that's fine, but you're forming that intention. Please. You said you wanted to experience bodhicitta, you have to follow the instructions. [Laughter]

Janet: May I ask...I mean, is that part of it?

Ken: Just...just do it, Janet. Just do it. Stop mucking around, just do it.

Janet: Just do it?

Ken: Yeah, Nike. Nike. [Laughter] You're just limited by time and space.

Janet: [Unclear]

Ken: This is your follow up question. [Laughter]

Janet: Sorry about wasting your time folks.

Ken: So you got that? Just bring that really, really clear to mind. Now just take a few minutes. Really let it sink in. Okay. Now. Know that whatever you do, not a single being will ever be liberated. What happens? What did you experience right there?

Janet: Just fell right through...

Ken: That's bodichitta.

Janet: [Softly] Ohhhh...it's just so heartbreaking...

Ken: Yeah, but it was just total open, there's nothing.

Janet: [Whispering] Just complete opening.

Ken: That openness, that's bodhicitta.