a teaching by Khandro Déchen

Non-possessive, non-controlling absence of tenure is called ‘vajra greed’ or ‘non dual greed’ – greed on behalf of others. Greed on behalf of all beings is both the maximum possible avarice, and the ultimate generosity.

The Paramitas—ultimately—are actions which are free from the crimp of duality – actions which arise spontaneously from the non-dual state. They are the actions of the bodhisattva—the awakened-mind warrior—who has gone beyond the confines of referentiality, and who dwells within the meaning of ocean and its ornamental waves. In Tibetan the word which equates to ‘bodhisattva’ is ‘changchub sempa’ (byang chub sems dPa). Changchub sempa has a specific meaning which differs from the Sanskrit word, which means ‘one who has Bodhi’ or ‘one who has awakened-mind’ or ‘one who has the compassionate Mind of enlightenment’. The Tibetan spelling should be ‘byang chub sems pa’ – but we find instead that it is ‘byang chub sems dPa’. ‘dPa’ is a contraction of the word ‘dPa bo’ which means ‘warrior’ rather than ‘pa’ which means ‘person’. Changchub sempa therefore means awakened-mind warrior.

The first of these examples of appropriate spontaneity is generosity (jinpa sByin pa dana paramita).

The awakened-mind warriors delight in unbounded wealth because their appreciation is unlimited. Appreciation generates generosity which knows no limits. It is unobstructed by the self-referencing territorialism which generates manipulative pusillanimity. Awakened-mind warriors need no territory. Their refuge is the security of insecurity. Their refuge is the territory of intrinsic space, which is self-validating without the requirement of reference points. Objects, circumstances, and people—as subjects of appreciation—are not required to be fixed or frozen by awakened-mind warriors. Objects, circumstances, and people are not employed for self-validation – and are therefore free to move. It is their natural reflex to move in the direction where they facilitate the greatest pleasure and satisfaction.

The Vajrayana view of wealth is grounded in the understanding that one owns everything that enters one’s sense fields. We own whatever we appreciate, to the extent that we appreciate it and for the duration that we appreciate it. We do not require personal ownership in order to own. Our ownership does not restrict the ownership of others, because our ownership is simply that of appreciative faculties.

This non-possessive, non-controlling absence of tenure is called ‘vajra greed’ or ‘non-dual greed’ – greed on behalf of others. Greed on behalf of all beings is both the maximum possible avarice, and the ultimate expansion of generosity.

Vajra greed is non-dual acquisitiveness – everything going where it needs to go, with respect to where and by whom it will be most appreciated.

If my interest is in appreciation, then if you want something more than me—in terms of your capacity to appreciate it—then that is where it should naturally go. To focus on someone else’s greater appreciation is a far more profound experience of avarice for me than if I sought sole possession. Generosity—in this view—is that sense of connection, the sense of energy in relation to other people and their infinitely varied circumstances.

For those practitioners who have capacity, generosity is the non-referential acknowledgement of a superior position – a self-existent position of profound responsibility.

It is an interesting perceptual phenomenon, that adults are regarded as equal – regardless of their capacity, and regardless of their level of interpersonal responsibility. People are patently not equal with regard to many variables. When we say ‘people are not equal’, we are not saying ‘people are not intrinsically equal’. People are all equal as beginninglessly enlightened beings – but in terms of their capacities, they are unequal. In terms of generosity, those with greater capacity—in whatever area—should naturally wish to help those who lack capacity.

We often assume that because someone is an adult, that they have our level of responsibility. If they do not, then we judge them according to that criterion as being deliberately culpable of lack of responsibility. Compassion as generosity is not feasible with such a view. If everyone is equally responsible for their acts, then we are impelled to judge them accordingly. We assume that they know what they are doing on the basis that we would appear to know what we are doing.

This view has nothing to do with shoring up self-esteem – but everything to do with bearing responsibility. As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who has to forgive’. As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who makes the first move towards better relationships.’ As an awakened-mind warrior, one takes responsibility for being ‘the one who does not become angry in the face of those who are locked in neurotic patterns’.

A mother forgives the child who drops his dinner on the floor. She acknowledges her child’s incapacities. Her generosity provides instantaneous forgiveness. Her generosity provides opportunities for her child to acquire greater motor skills.

In this way the awakened-mind warrior develops infinite generous capacity to act for the benefit of everyone and everything, everywhere.

The Ten Paramitas

(Parol-tu Chinpa Çu – pha rol tu phyin pa drug phar bCu)

1.    Generosity (jinpa – sByin pa – dana paramita)
2.    Discipline [energy / morality] (tsultrim – tshul khrims – shila paramita)
3.    Patience (zopa – bZod pa – kshanti paramita)
4.    Diligence (tsöndrü – brTson ’grus – virya paramita)
5.    Openness [transcendental knowledge or insight] (samten – bSam gTan – dhyana paramita)
6.    Knowledge (shérab – shes rab – prajna paramita)
7.    Method – skilful means (thab – thabs – upaya paramita)
8.    Aspiration power (mönlam – sMon lam – pranidhana paramita)
9.    Strength (tob – sTobs – bala paramita)
10.  Primordial wisdom (yeshé – ye she – jnana paramita)

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