Comment on The Three Gates

Over the past few months, at the Tuesday evening Insight teachings, Geshe-la has been starting the evening by giving a commentary on many different aspects of Atisha's Refguge and Bodhicitta Prayer, the one we normally use. One night, he also talked about the 'Three Gateways'. But the slant was slightly different from that recorded by Rob in his March 2 posting. Put the two together for a clearer picture. Here are my notes…

Geshe Sonam’s Insight Teaching on 4 February 2014 at Hayagriva Buddhist Centre

(Notes taken by Len Warren)

The Three Gateways of Refuge, Bodhicitta and Wisdom

The ‘three gateways’ are refuge, bodhicitta and wisdom. The Buddhist teaching on selflessness is what makes our refuge stand out. Then, for a mind of bodhicitta, we need to distinguish this from lesser aspirations. The Dharma was recorded in Pali (Theravadin path)and Sanskrit (Mahayana path), according to the dispositions of the disciples. The ‘root-yana’ in Pali focuses on one’s personal liberation from cyclic existence and the means to achieve this. The ‘Great Vehicle’ focuses on the path to place all beings in enlightenment. The root-yana is the foundation for the Mahayana. The Great Vehicle is the more extensive because its focus is all sentient beings. It is not that one path is ‘better’ than the other: the two paths arose depending on the dispositions of the disciples. 


Lord Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths in Pali. 


The Mahayana is ‘vast’ in terms of these four aspects:






Space has no limit; and the sentient beings therein have no limit; this is the vast focus of the Great Vehicle. The mind is vast in its intention which is the aspiration to enlighten all beings. To fulfil that intention, the path is that of the Six Perfections – a vast method. The result is the abandonment of both gross and subtle obscurations to enlightenment. The altruistic mind is both vast and profound.

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