The teachings that we will be discussing in this course are very ancient and find their roots in times that are long forgotten by this humanity.
The term "Bodhisattva" is a Sanskrit word, which describes a certain kind of person, or a certain kind of psychology, which is far more ancient than even the Sanskrit language. So when we enter into the reception of this kind of teaching, it is good for us to keep in mind that the principles, the psychology, and the science that we are discussing is far more ancient than the terms, the words, and the traditions that we have in these days.
In this series of lectures, you will encounter a wide variety of terms, concepts, and ways of looking at things that you could relate to traditions we know in these days, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, the Hebrew tradition, and the Aztec tradition. But the fundamental root of this science, this wisdom, is far older than any of those traditions. It is a form of wisdom that is eternal, it is universal, and has always been present as long as humanity has been present; as long as there has been existence, there has been this science.
We call this teaching “Gnosis,” but it also has other names; in the East, it is called Dharma. Dharma has many meanings (it is a Sanskrit word), it means "truth," it means "law," it also has a strong reference to "action" - not just theory, but something that is active, something that performs an action and derives a consequence. The word Gnosis is Greek and is normally, in these times, translated simply as "knowledge." But the word Gnosis actually refers to active knowledge, like Dharma, or knowledge from experience, not just knowledge in the intellect; Gnosis is the knowledge that one knows because of experience, because of direct perception.
You may know this word "diagnosis," a word used in medicine; to “diagnose a patient” is how a doctor will observe or analyse - with his perception - a patient, in order to arrive at some analysis, some conclusion of the illness or condition. Gnosis is the same: "dia-gnosis." Gnosis is in that word because Gnosis is a “perceptive science,” it is a science of perception. What that means is that it is a science of consciousness, because it is consciousness that allows us to perceive.
Gnosis is not a science that is limited to the intellect. Dharma is not limited merely to the intellect. Dharma, or Gnosis, or Jnana (in Sanskrit), is a science to awaken consciousness, to utilize consciousness, and to develop it to its fullest potential. Therefore, I invite you to use your consciousness when you receive this wisdom.
Listen with more than just the intellect. The intellect is useful in its place, but it isn't the totality of what makes us what we are: it is only one portion. We also have an emotional center where we store our beliefs, our feelings, and when we receive this wisdom, we should receive it with our feelings as well, with our heart, but not even limit ourselves to just that. We also have our body, we have our motor center, our instinctive center, our sexual center, these other parts of our psychology and physiology. We need to receive this wisdom there as well, not merely in the intellect as ideas, not merely in the heart as a belief that we accept or reject, but also in our body, in our actions.
To understand Gnosis in these three aspects, these three ways, helps us to see how to understand it with the consciousness, because the consciousness is beyond intellect, it is beyond emotion, beyond feelings, beyond sensations of the body. Your consciousness is the root of who you are, but unfortunately the consciousness has become trapped in suffering, in pain, subject to what the Buddhists call the Wheel of Samsara. And this wheel is the wheel of life and death to which all of us are subject, and because of that we are tossed about by forces that we do not perceive, afflicted with all manner of suffering and pain, with very little power to control it. This is why this particular science is so critical.
Dharma or Gnosis indicates with precision the manner in which any person, in any place, at any time, can transform themselves, and learn how to utilize the consciousness in order to awaken and thereby conquer suffering. The means through which this wisdom has been expressed throughout time, throughout space, has varied according to the psychology of the humanity at a given time or place. In the east this root wisdom, this Gnostic wisdom, has been expressed as Buddhism, when the Buddha Shakyamuni came and gave his teaching. It has been expressed in Hinduism with all the great teachers that have arrived in the land of India to teach this Gnostic doctrine. It came in the Middle East through many teachers such as Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, and all the Prophets. It has also come in the west, in South America through Quetzalcoatl, through many other teachers, such as Samael Aun Weor, all of whom have taught and delivered this same wisdom.
Yet, in each case, that light, that science has a little different color, has a little different flavor, but in its root it is the same. That light, that wisdom, is Gnostic wisdom, whether you call it Aztec mysticism or Buddhist, in its root it is the same.
The transmitter of that light is the one light, which we call in the western tradition Christ, or Krestos, the Cosmic Christ, who is “the light of the world,” the Sun King Amon-Ra, the Solar God of the Egyptians, the Solar God of the Romans, of the Greeks, Quetzalcoatl, Kukulkan, Apollo, Avalokiteshvara, Chenresig. All of these names refer to the same entity, the same intelligence, who is not a person, but who is an energy, a root primordial wisdom, a root primordial intelligence, which is beyond form, which is beyond matter, which is beyond energy, but it is the root of them all.
The Christ illuminates and provides life to everything that exists. The fire in the heart of any sun, in the heart of any living creature, the fire in the heart of any atom, is the Christ. Without that light, there is no life. And this is why the ancients worshipped the sun; the esoteric meaning is that the sun is the giver of life. But that sun is inside each creature; that sun is inside all the atoms that make up the body that you are sitting in, and it is the same light that gives you the consciousness, that gives you the capacity to perceive. But unfortunately we perceive in the wrong way, because our consciousness has become trapped in a cage. Nonetheless, that light continues to radiate.
In the ancient Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, we see that light at the top of the tree: the Ain Soph Aur, the Ray of Creation, which when it manifest the first time, is that supernal triangle, the first three spheres of the Tree of Life, which we call the Solar Logos. Logos means “word” in Greek. That supreme light is the cause, the reason, the support for everything that lives and breathes. It expresses its knowledge, its wisdom, but humanity, beings, creatures, even the Gods, only receive that light through the filter of their mind.
We, of course, as we are, are in darkness; we rarely if ever see that light. It is very difficult for us to see that light in its pure form. Because of that, the light, the Christ, which in its root essence is pure love, manifests itself through messengers, who we call Prophets or Avatars. They are in essence just light bulbs: transmitters of the light. So if that light, the Christ were electricity (which it is), a Master, an Avatar, a Buddha, a God, or a Prophet would be the light bulb, which transmits that light. But of course, there are different qualities of light bulbs. All the light bulbs have different capacities, capacities to manage energy. Some can only manage so much, so they deliver the light according to their capacity, according to their flavor or tone, and this is what we call “religions.” Buddhism is the one light as expressed through a particular psychology, according to a particular need. Christianity is the same light through a different bulb. The Greek mysteries, the Roman mysteries, all had their messengers, who delivered that light, taught that light.
The most profound, the most powerful, the most capable transmitters of that light are of course the most awakened beings of all, those who are capable of harnessing that force, the energy, and transmitting it in as purer form as possible; these we call Bodhisattvas. These are beings who are different.
The Solar Logos, the Cosmic Christ, in the Gnostic tradition, is seen as having three primary aspects. These are, as I mentioned, the first three spheres on the Tree of Life, or the Kabbalah: in Hebrew, they are called Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. Kether is the first sphere; this word means "crown" and is the crown of life mentioned in the Bible. Kether is the Father, the root wisdom, the Ancient of Days, a terribly divine intelligence, consciousness, energy. The second aspect, or the second Logos, is called Chokmah; this Hebrew word means "wisdom." And the third is called Binah, and this Hebrew word means "understanding" or "intelligence."
These three aspects are one: they are a trinity, a trimurti, one thing with three faces, with three aspects. They express through one or the other aspect according to the need. It takes a lot of meditation in order to understand this three in one; the intellect will struggle.
What is important to note at this juncture, is that the second Logos, the second aspect of this one thing, is called Chokmah, which means "wisdom." In other words, the Cosmic Christ, the three in one, the Solar Logos, expresses itself as that wisdom when the light of the Christ descends; it is that wisdom, Chokmah, which is expressing itself in order to assist beings, in order to elaborate creation, in order to deliver its love. The way it does that in the most profound sense, the most potent, powerful, and pervading way, is through its messengers, those Bodhisattvas, the Prophets. They are incarnations of that light.
In other words, the mind, the I, the self, has been cleaned out of that person; all that remains is the glass of the bulb, perfectly clear, with no sense of I, no selfishness, and what remains is simply the light which expresses itself through conscious action. A beautiful example is Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus, Yeshua (which means Savior), was a human person, who worked on himself so intensely that he purified himself of all that is subjective, of all sense of self, and became the perfect reflection of that cosmic light, Chokmah, wisdom. That is why they call that light “the Son,” and this is why Jesus often spoke of himself as the Son; this is related to Chokmah. The son is the child who delivers the qualities of the father and mother; he expresses those qualities.
The word Bodhisattva is Sanskrit; bodhi means "awakened," "wisdom," and it also means "intelligence" - do you see there is a relationship? Chokmah in Hebrew means "wisdom," Binah in Hebrew means "intelligence," while bodhi in Sanskrit means "intelligence," "awakened," "wisdom." You see there, these are two distinct traditions in the minds of people of this time, but in their roots they come from the same source.
Sattva is Sanksrit also, and also has different meanings, but when combined with bodhi, sattva means "essence of." So bodhisattva means "essence of wisdom."
We are very fortunate to still have some portion of the wisdom teachings of many great Bodhisattvas, such as Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, and many others. There are many Bodhisattvas who were never recognized by humanity, but nonetheless have contributed, to try to assist humanity.
The teachings that have been delivered to this humanity over the course of the last few thousand years according to the needs of the age, and the needs of the psychology of the people who receive it. We are now in the age called Kali-Yuga, the Dark Age; in Hinduism, Kali is the consumer, the destroyer, the Goddess who destroys, who consumes, the Goddess of the abyss in other words. But this Kali-Yuga is really the age of the abyss, when the abyss is consuming humanity; this is very easy to see. What we call “human beings” are really little more than animals, who are driven entirely by desires; so this age of Kali-Yuga is a very dark time. Many great messengers have come to try to deliver the wisdom, the Dharma, to assist humanity. Some have come in the east, some have come in the west, some have been known publicly, and many have not. Nonetheless, the intention is always the same: to help, to assist, to ease the pain, to help beings come to the light.
Light and consciousness are the same. In the same way that wherever you find life, you find consciousness; wherever you find light, there is consciousness. So that “metaphor” is not really a metaphor, it is factual, and as we mentioned in other lectures, quantum physicists are discovering the truth of this, that light has intelligence.
The wisdom teachings have been delivered according to the needs of humanity, and there have been many forms of religion. Of course, humanity is always fighting over these forms, killing each other in the so-called “name of God,” in the “name of love.” Of course, to kill one another for religion has nothing to do with religion. The word religion actually comes from "religare," which means to unite, so how are you going to unite, if you are killing people. But the original religions, these wisdom teachings have been given according to the needs of the age, even though most are now degenerated.
Levels of Religion
We can look at a Buddhist model of teachings in order to understand religions, and we would say that there are three primary forms of religion. In Sanskrit these are called “yanas.” Yana means "vehicle," and a vehicle, like a car, is a technology that you use to get from one place to another: so too are the triyanas (three yanas), the three vehicles of the Dharma. And again, when I say Dharma, I don't just mean eastern traditions, I mean all religion, because all teachings can be organized according to these three vehicles.
The Foundational Path: Shravakayana
The first, of course, must be a foundational path, an introductory path, a teaching that can accommodate any person in order to provide them with the information they need to go further. So, what we would call a foundational path in the eastern traditions is called Shravakayana, from the word shravaka which means "hearer," someone who hears, someone who listens, and yana means "vehicle." The Shravakayana has been misnamed Hinayana. The term Hinayana is actually derogatory; it is inpolite. We should use the word Shravakayana or just call it the foundational path; this is much more respectful and indicates its true function.
The foundational path is that form of religion, that form of Dharma, which teaches to any person the very basics of spirituality, the very basics of how to understand the consciousness. In Buddhism, this includes things like the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths express the basis of life: that life is suffering. This is the first thing any spiritual aspirant must understand deeply, not just in the intellect, but by experience. To understand the nature of Karma, to understand the nature of suffering is the purpose of the foundational path. It is in this level of work that an aspirant is taught how to meditate, to concentrate, how to pray, how to self-observe, how to be aware, how to be mindful. But all of these things: mindfulness, self-observation, self-remembering, meditation, prayer, are all with one purpose: to comprehend the nature of suffering, to comprehend the nature of Karma.
Karma is a law which exists throughout time and space. If there were no Karma, there would be no existence. Because things do exist, we know there is Karma, because Karma simply says that everything has a cause. If there is an action, there is a consequence, and if there is a consequence, it was created by a cause, some action. So the Law of Action and Consequence is the whole point, the whole purpose of the studies of the foundational path. Not merely to study that intellectually, theoretically, but to find the causes of suffering in oneself; this is the purpose.
In our Gnostic tradition, we do this in many ways: by emphasizing the need to Self-observe, to analyze oneself, one's own behavior, one's own feelings, thoughts, and actions, and in doing so, to see the consequences of them. We seek to learn not just to observe mechanically, but to observe in order to gain comprehension, understanding, wisdom.
The understanding we seek is this: when we act, we create results. It is clear that at this moment we each do not understand this, because we continue to act in harmful ways. Each one of us, if we are sincere, if we sincerely analyze our own mind, we will find that probably within the last few hours we have had some quality or another that has arisen in our mind, which is harmful. It could be pride, it could be shame, it could be lust, it might be anger, it might be envy, or jealousy, or resentment, or fear, or gluttony, or greed; there is a multitude of qualities that can arise in our mind, which create suffering for us and for others.
If we truly understood that every thought we have has a consequence, if we really understood that every feeling that arises in your heart produces a result, do you really think we would persist in generating the feelings and thoughts that we have? Would we continue to be as we are if we really understood that when we feel anger towards another person we actually hurt them? We not perceive it physically, but what about psychologically? Even then, in Gnosis we study the nature of physical illnesses and their roots in psychological causes; some of our illnesses may have been stimulated by the negative feelings others have had towards us.
When we feel jealousy for another person, we hurt ourselves, and when we feel envy, we hurt everyone. When we feel pride, when we think from pride, when we act from pride, we harm. Therefore it is necessary for everyone to constantly analyze the mind, from moment to moment, to always watch the mind.
It is the mind, or in other words the ego, which has trapped our consciousness, our own light, in darkness, and causes us to see things in the wrong way. We then believe that our sense of self is real, that our sense, our feeling of pride is real and we want to feed it. We want to feel better about ourselves by getting an admirable job, by having an admirable role in life, by having money or status, by getting something that someone else has that we want, which is covetousness, but pride is in the root of these things. Perhaps we just have fear, fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, fear of rejection, so we act in order to satisfy those sensations: physical sensations, emotional sensations, and intellectual sensations. All that activity creates Karma.
Every time we act from pride, we think from pride, we feel and indulge in the sensations of pride, we create suffering, we create Karma. Therefore this foundational path has been expressed universally in all times and places, and this is why all the great religions emphasize moral purity, sanctity, the need to eliminate negative emotions. The phrase “negative emotions” does not just mean anger, or lust, or hate, it also means pride, which often feels very good. It also means gluttony, which always seeks to feel good. It also means lust, which always seeks to feel good. These are negative emotions: they are qualities of emotional energy, which vibrate in the Astral Body, which are negative, which are harmful.
So we see in any religion an emphasis on the need to change our psychology, to understand the Law of Action and Consequence. As the Bible says, "Every man will reap what he sows" - in other words, as you act you will receive; according to your actions you are given what you deserve. When we really comprehend that, we can start to become ready for the next level of instruction.
Change can begin when we really see, consciously comprehend, how our own ego creates Karma, how our own pride can make not only us suffer, but the ones we love suffer. As an example, we can observe any parent who loves their child, loves with a kind of love that is beyond just the intellect; it is even beyond description in many ways. There is a love there that is so deep; but if that parent listens to their pride and begins to teach their child in accordance with their pride, they may push their child to develop itself in a way that is against the child's own nature. For example, many parents, in order to feel good about themselves, to feel that they have done a good job as a parent, want their children to be rich, not for the benefit of the child, but for their own pride; or they want their child to be a doctor or a politician. So there is a mixture: there is the love for the child, but there is also that ego, which wants to see it’s own reflection, to be see itself as beautiful. This is an illusion and it is a root of suffering. We do this in many ways: we may have good intentions, but it is the results which speak. We may mean well, but if we create suffering, we accrue karmic debts.
But the one who takes this science, this Dharma, seriously, recognizes that in any situation in life something new can be created, some new quality is there ready to emerge. But it can only happen if we know how to do it; all religions emphasize this: it is called love, it is called compassion. That love the parent has for the child demonstrates a potential quality that we can develop. When the parent renounces their own desires and instead provides for the true needs of the child - even when those needs contradict the desires of the parent - then we see the beginning of a very special kind of active love. In Sanskrit, it is called Bodhichitta. As I mentioned, bodhi means "wisdom," "intelligence," "understanding," and chitta means "mind." When the bodhi, the understanding, the wisdom, the intelligence, perceives a cause of suffering and we respond with conscious, selfless action, then bodhi can be born in our own mind, that is Bodhichitta, that is "awakened mind," "intelligence," "understanding," "wisdom."
The Greater Path: Mahayana
That birth - even the aspiration to give birth to selfless love and compassion for others - is the beginning of the next stage of the Dharma, or the next major form of religions. We would call this the greater path, or greater vehicle. And in Sanskrit it is called Mahayana. Maha means "great" and yana means "vehicle" or "path." So the first distinguishing characteristic of Mahayana teachings is compassion, conscious love: Bodhichitta. The second differentiating factor of any teaching, which can be grouped as a greater vehicle, is the direct experience of Emptiness, of Shunyata, the Absolute. These two factors, these two aspects go hand in hand with each other.
Without a strong, experiential understanding of the nature of Emptiness, then compassion will remain weak... why? Real compassion, real love, Bodhichitta, is that awakened mind, the wisdom mind, that intelligence. But that wisdom, the bodhi, is the light of this Solar Logos, the Supernal Triangle: Kether, Chokmah, Binah. That is the Ray of Creation; but that light emerges from the Absolute (Emptiness) because of love. The essence of Bodhichitta is the love that Christ has for suffering creatures. That love emerges from the vast Absolute, the Emptiness, in which there is no self, there is no I, there is no ego, there is no suffering. The Absolute is beyond suffering; it is pure absolute happiness. From that point of view, a being who has merged with that light, who knows the absolute cognizance of existence, perceives suffering creatures and feels tremendous love and concern for all the suffering entities, which are below in the mud, in the muck. That creature, that intelligence, that being, can only have that compassionate point of view because that being understands the Emptiness of self-nature. The beings who are stuck in suffering, suffer, because they mistakenly believe that the “I” is real. They believe their desires can be satisfied.
Each one of us mistakenly believes that the sense of self we have is real. But if we learn to meditate, if we learn to observe ourselves, if we learn how to utilize the consciousness, we can have the direct experience of the Emptiness of that self.
The ego of pride that gives us our sense of self actually does not exist: it is an illusion, it is false, it is a lie, but we believe it is real. The only reason it is sustained there is because it has our energy trapped in it. The goal of the meditator is to break that vessel, the ego, to free the consciousness and thus free themselves of Karma, of suffering. That comes through (1) comprehension of suffering that we learn from the foundational vehicle, and it comes through (2) the compassion we learn from the greater vehicle, knowing that we have within ourselves root causes, which cause others to suffer. That compassion, born of the regret that we are hurting others, gives tremendous inspiration to change. But that inspiration to change, the motivation, is fed the more we understand the nature of the Emptiness of the self, because then we can see that not only are we mistaken in our sense of self, but so are others. Thus arises the longing to help them.
Within this context of any Mahayana teachings (of any religion), the student has to be acquiring experiential knowledge of these truths: to experience them, to know them personally; this is not intellectual, it is not a belief, it is a matter of personal, conscious knowledge. The one who really comprehends the terror of Karma, the true power of the Law of Action and Consequence, which is being fed and sustained by our own ego, begins to realize they need a faster way. Moving slowly from lifetime to lifetime, there is so much danger, because that sense of “I” is so hypnotic, that sense of self is so fascinating that we have a very difficult time staying on top of it.
In Gnosis, we understand that we have within us what we call the “Essence.” In Zen, they call this “buddhata.” In traditional Buddhism, it is called “tathagatagarbha,” which means “the seed or the embryo of the awakened one”: the Buddha-nature, in other words. This Buddha-nature is our own consciousness, which is an embryo, a seed that has within itself the potential to become a Buddha. It can become fully awake, beyond suffering, but it has to be grown. Unfortunately, it is trapped in the “I,” this false sense of self. It is the consciousness itself, our own consciousness, but that consciousness is very small, like a baby, and is not well developed. And unfortunately, 97% of it is trapped in the ego, in all those discursive elements like pride, lust, envy, anger, greed...
We need to free the Essence, to extract it from the ego. This is why we need to meditate, to learn how to work with the consciousness, to separate ourselves from the false sense of self, and experience the truth of the nature of mind. That nature is called Clear Light in Tantric Buddhism. The Clear Light is consciousness unmodified, unfiltered, pure, in its original state. All the Buddhists state that the original nature of mind is pure, clear, empty, and open, and without self-nature. And Samael Aun Weor stated the same thing: the mind in its natural state is pure and calm like a lake, and it can reflect all the contents of the universe. There is no self in that. There is consciousness, there is true individuality, there is an individual, but it is not self in the way we think of self. It is a kind of self-nature that is beyond self; it is beyond this limited cage that we suffer within.
The need to free the Essence, the consciousness, becomes very strong in the one who really comprehends Karma, and the one who is generating a lot of compassion from their understanding of Karma. They begin to realize they need a faster means, something more effective, more penetrating, deeper, to more quickly eradicate the causes of suffering, so that they will stop making other people suffer and stop making themselves suffer. That secret path, that higher path has many names, but it is what we would call the “esoteric” side of the teaching.
The Secret Path: Tantrayana
Christianity has an esoteric tradition, which is now mostly forgotten. In Buddhism, it has been well preserved in Tibet, and in some other countries. It is known by many names. One such name is Vajrayana: vajra means "diamond," "indestructible." So it is the Diamond Path, the Diamond Vehicle, the Indestructible Vehicle. And vajra also means “thunderbolt, lightning.” Indra, the God of Hinduism, uses a vajra as his weapon, just like Zeus or Jupiter. The symbol of Vajrayana is a thunderbolt, and you may see Lamas, like the Dalai Lama, who use a vajra in one hand and a bell in the other, and these symbolize method and wisdom, two complementary aspects of practice, which advance the development of Bodhichitta. Vajra also indicates a phallus, the sexual organ, because that is the creative force, creative energy, a very active energy that the practitioner needs to harness in order to eliminate the causes of suffering.
Vajrayana is a Tantric teaching; it is Tantra. And tantra, meaning “continuum,” or “stream,” or “flow,” is that science where the energy of the vajra is harnessed and utilized. So, Vajrayana can also be called Tantrayana, the “vehicle of the continuum.” Vajrayana can also be called Mantrayana, mantra is a sacred word, a word of power. So, the way the Tibetans translate Mantrayana is very interesting. In the works of Tsong Khapa (who was an incarnation of the Buddha Shakyamuni) he calls Mantrayana "the vehicle of the secret word," and if you know anything about Masonry or western occultism, you know that the lost word, the secret word, is very significant. So the same tradition exists in the east.
This vehicle of Vajrayana, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, is all one thing, it is a science of transforming energy. A mantra, a word, is a vibration. A vajra is an energy. Tantra is a stream of energy. So in each of these titles we are pointing to the same essential foundation.
In traditional Buddhism, Vajrayana is organized in different schools, in different groups, but generally there are four classes of Tantrism in ascending order.
The one who enters into the Vajrayana teachings, the Diamond Path, does so motivated by Bodhichitta, by compassion. This is a very important thing to think about. The one who is really given the secrets, the science, the wisdom of this higher aspect, is given them because their compassion for others has developed to the point that they need it. Unfortunately, in these times, all the students, especially in the west, want to enter immediately into the Vajrayana teachings, thus as soon as they hear of Buddhism they immediately want the highest Tantra, they want to skip everything before that and immediately receive all the secret, high aspects of a teaching. Do you know what we call that? We call it pride. And it is unfortunate. It is understandable: in their way, people that have that intention, that motivation, that desire, and want to transform themselves. This is a good thing, but that ambition needs to be tempered with realism. We need to be realistic. The stages of the path are presented with good purpose.
Levels of Teaching
In the Gnostic tradition, we teach all of these levels of the path, but in a very synthesized form. If you study the books of Samael Aun Weor, you will find practices which apply to all of these levels of the teaching. Meditation practices from each of the three vehicles can be found in the Gnostic books. Self-observation practices of varying degrees can be found. Various means of transforming energy can be found. And each of these apply to different levels of work.
This is not to say that those who are studying the highest aspect of a teaching, like Vajrayana (very difficult meditation practices), are better than anyone else; they are not: we are all equal, we are all trapped in suffering, but we each have different needs. The fact remains that these degrees of instruction are for everyone, at the time it is appropriate for each one. It is necessary to go through each level in the same way you go to school when you are a child. If you put a six year old child in a university level class, that child will only be a distraction and will receive nothing for their own growth; the same of true of the levels of instruction in religion.
In this Kali-Yuga, the Karma of humanity has become so heavy, so intense, the suffering is so strong, that the conscious intelligences which manage this teaching from a superior level of existence have made the determination that it is time to open the doors to the entire teaching, because time is short. The Karma that hangs over the head of humanity is so heavy, that these great compassionate beings made the decision, “Let them have everything, so they can use it while there is time; if they want it, good, and if they don't, we respect that.”
The truth is that in any given meditation practice, we can move through all three levels, like that, in one practice, we can utilize aspects of each level of teaching. Because they are just different ways of looking at the mind, different ways of working with the consciousness; there is not one better than another, they are all important, they all make one thing. But to understand how to use them effectively, we need to be experienced in both the practice and the theory.
Likewise, just as students each have their level in which they need to work, instructors also have their level. You may investigate the Gnostic wisdom in a given school and find that the focus is entirely in foundational aspects of the teaching; but do not criticize them: those instructors are teaching according to their own understanding, and according to needs of the student. As practitioners of Dharma we should always respect practitioners, at whatever level they work. What if you are judging a Buddha? Even Buddha taught foundational things to those who needed them; thus, we should be comprehensive and respectful.
Results of Study
But understand one thing: there is a great difference in the result of those practitioners who remain stuck in one level or another, and this happens. Because of the heavy Karma of humanity, some human beings, some people, will approach a teaching, let us say the foundational aspect, and remain in that teaching, and become attached to it; they do not go beyond it. Because of this, they limit their own development; that level of instruction can only take you so far. The person who is practicing in that level - maybe even stopping themselves in that level - is called a Shravaka. Remember, as we said, the foundational vehicle is called Shravakayana. The word shravaka means "listener", "hearer." This is someone who is hearing the teaching, listening to the Dharma, but has not accomplished it; someone who hears it, believes it, follows it, but has not accomplished it: that is, they have not escaped suffering.
The person who is following and studying the greater path is trying to comprehend compassion, Bodhichitta, and is meditating and transforming themselves according to that level of instruction, and when they have some accomplishment, some level of realization, they are called a Pratyeka (in Sanskrit). Pratyeka means "solitary." They are called solitary because they have not yet acquired Bodhichitta, and therefore can only save themselves. Some practitioners become stuck in this level, and thus do not understand those who go beyond it.
But the one who takes full advantage of the Mahayana and goes beyond it, can earn the right to be called Bodhisattva; but this term has very specific limitations, very specific aspects. In Gnosis we go a little deeper than the traditional Buddhist explanation of these yanas, because the development of the consciousness is not limited to the type of matter that we work with now.
In order to really become a channel, a vehicle of Bodhichitta, it has to be well developed.
We must not mistake the Bodhicitta with the Bodhisattva. The Bodhicitta is the awakened and developed superlative consciousness of the Being. The Bodhicitta emerges in the aspirant who sacrifices himself for his fellowmen, long before the Mercurial bodies have been created. We could never convert ourselves into Bodhisattvas without the complete work of the Interior Andrew. Any one can be a Sravaka or a Buddha Pratyeka with his Mercurial bodies, but this is not sufficient in order to be a Bodhisattva. Only those who have sacrificed themselves for the planetary humanities, through distinct Mahamanvantaras, deserve to be called Bodhisattvas.- Samael Aun Weor, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
Forms of Bodhichitta
Bodhichitta has different aspects, two primary forms: absolute and relative.
Absolute Bodhichitta is perfected, established Bodhichitta. It is divided into two aspects:
- First is the recognition that all existing beings have Buddha-nature, have a spark of God inside, have the Divine in them. We do not grasp that, because we treat other people badly. If we really understood that within each person is the seed of a Buddha, an Angel, is a portion of God, we would respect them, treat them in a good way, with love. But we do not. In Absolute Bodhichitta, the comprehension of the Buddha-nature leads to a perfect, spontaneous, active, cognizant or conscious love for all beings. You can call it "compassion," but the English word does not convey the full impact of what is meant here.
- The second part of absolute Bodhichitta is the recognition of the Absolute, the Void, the Emptiness, in all things; in other words, perfected Bodhichitta is the experiential and complete comprehension of the Absolute.
Thus, absolute Bodhichitta is comprehension of both (1) the Absolute and (2) Buddha-nature. And really, the one who has that is a fully developed Buddha, someone who is awake, fully.
The second kind of Bodhichitta is called "relative", and of course by "relative" we mean it is in a process of development. But this also has two aspects: the first is aspiration.
When we hear about Bodhichitta, when we hear about selfless love, compassion for others, this is a very inspiring thing. It is very beautiful, very virtuous. And when we feel in our heart a longing to know it ourselves, to become like that, to become compassionate spontaneously, then this is the aspiration to develop Bodhichitta. This is this first aspect of relative Bodhichitta; it is the longing to develop true cognizant love.
The second aspect of relative Bodhichitta is called application. Many people have the aspiration to be loving, they may be Christian, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or Gnostic, and may have the idea that to love all beings is beautiful, and they may aspire to that, but they might not act on it. It is a very different thing to act on the basis of conscious love, to actually do it.
Paramitas: The Perfections
And naturally, the application of Bodhichitta comes in levels. These levels have different names in different traditions. In traditional Buddhism, the application of Bodhichitta is described as having six major forms; in other words, to be a really compassionate person, to really, truly, renounce your own sense of self, and to serve other people, comes in the form of six primary aspects: these are called Paramitas. Paramita is a Sanskrit word, which means "perfection," so we can say “the six perfections.”
You will be interested to know that the Master Samael Aun Weor spoke of the Paramitas, but at the time he was teaching, the texts, the scriptures, that were relevant to the Paramitas, were not translated, and he spoke of this in a lecture that he wished that he had access to them so he could work with students to understand the Paramitas. Now we have them, fortunately, so there are a number of scriptures that we can draw on in order to comprehend the Paramitas. The most famous scripture is commonly or publicly called "The Way of the Bodhisattva", or "The Bodhisattva Way of Life." The actual name is Bodhicharyavatara.
The six perfections are virtuous activities. These are not just ideas or theories: these are ways of behaving. When a practitioner has perfected those six, they have become a fully enlightened Buddha. So the perfections, the Paramitas, are in themselves the path to becoming a Buddha. They are presented according to what are called bhumis in Sanskrit, which means "ground" or "level." Usually these are given as ten levels; we are going to talk about those in later lectures, and we are going to talk in detail about the Paramitas in subsequent lectures of this course. But for the purposes of today's lecture understand that the six Paramitas are the way we work through activity to perfect our Bodhichitta, to perfect our compassion, our conscious love.
Types of Awakened Initiates
In Gnosis we look at the same thing, but from a little bit different angle. Looking at it from the point of view of matter and energy, we can say that practitioners of the foundational levels of religion might not develop Bodhichitta, but they still can develop the bodies of the soul. Students (of any religion) who are working in either the foundational path or the greater path can receive the teachings of sexual transmutation, Alchemy, or Tantra, in order to create what in Tibetan Buddhism is known as the illusory body, what in Gnosis we call the bodies of the soul: the Solar Astral Body, Solar Mental Body, and Solar Causal Body. But as students of those two yanas, they will acquire those achievements without the development of Bodhichitta. The practitioner who works with the science of transmutation, scientific chastity, can build and create those internal vehicles but if they do it without Bodhichitta, the end result is a Pratyeka Buddha, a “solitary realizer,” or in other words a Nirvani. This is a person who has awakened consciousness to a degree, who has developed powers, who has the capacity to travel in the superior worlds and the inferior worlds, because they have developed in themselves vehicles, bodies, which give them that capacity to work consciously outside the physical body, but yet, without Bodhichitta they remain in that level, they remain what can be called “a selfish God.” If you have studied the Mahabharata, or Greek mythology, or Roman mythology, you see the Gods fighting with each other, the Gods are jealous, the Gods have wars, they have pride; this is because they are Pratyekas. They are Gods, Buddhas, who still have ego, who still have an “I,” but who remain attached to a sense of self. They do not have Bodhichitta in development.
Here we arrive at the profound difference between two significant paths.
An aspirant who is working on their Karma, who is working on their consciousness in order to comprehend nature, is working to transform themselves. That transformation is due to the understanding of Karma, and due to the use of energy, to change that energy and use it in a different way, specifically the sexual energy.
When any aspirant has advanced in the levels of initiation through the first, second, third, fourth and fifth degrees (these are Major Mysteries related to serpents of fire, or Kundalini), at the fifth degree they are presented with a choice. But let us understand the context. The first degree is related to the physical body, and to acquire that initiation the practitioner has to be in absolute chastity, physically, meaning they do not spill the sexual energy; they contain and harness that force in order to use that energy to transform themselves, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. And this is only possible by working with a spouse.
In Tibetan Buddhism, this is called Karmamudra, which means "action seal", and that is the science of the highest Tantra. Yet, that specific knowledge is known in the other forms, Mahayana and Shravakayana; some of them know how to work in chastity with a spouse, so you do find practitioners in these other forms that acquire these initiations.
The first initiatic degree is related to the physical body, the second related to the vital body or ethereal body, the third to the astral body (to emotions), the fourth to the Mental Body (to the mind, to the intellect), and the fifth to the Body of Will, Causal Body. These vehicles are the matter we use to act and create results. When we are here in our physical body acting, we have physical energy (physical body), we have sexual energy (Vital Body), we have emotional energy (Astral Body), we have mental energy (Mental Body), and we have energy of will (Causal Body), and all five of those we are using from moment to moment, creating consequences, creating Karma. If we are acting in the right way, we are creating Dharma from good results. So whichever level of the teaching we are working with, we need to grasp that.
The person who ascends through these initiations is incarnating the creative fire of Chokmah, Binah, and Kether into themselves through transmutation: the clue to do this is chastity. The forces of Chokmah, the Christ, the Son, descends through Binah (Shiva-Shakti, the Holy Spirit), the fire which descends on the apostles in the Book of Acts and illuminates them. That fire is delivered through the sphere of Yesod (the ethereal body), which is related to the superior part of our physical body, it is the body of energy, the body of chi. And that ethereal body has four aspects: the lower two are related with metabolism, calories and reproduction, all the physical functions of the body; and the higher two are related with perception: with the use of the consciousness. The forces of Chokmah, wisdom, are received by all the bodies, all these aspects, but primarily, centrally, through Yesod, the Ninth Sphere, which is sexual.
Transformation of Energy
According to how we use our energy, so we become. If we use our energies in harmful ways, we acquire Karma and we degenerate. Look at humanity: how is humanity using the energies they have? To feed lust, to feed hate, to feed pride; the result is that humanity is degenerating faster and faster. Life is not getting easier. We like to think it is; we have these ideals about technology and culture, but life is not getting easier. Look sincerely at the suffering of the world: look past what the media is telling us, what our books and movies and tv are telling us, and look at the facts of what is happening. Broaden your view and see how you are contributing to it through your own actions, through your own use of energy.
The root of the transformation of energy is sexual. It is the sexual energy that gives us life, that gives us continuity - that is the meaning of Tantra: continuity - that stream of forces, which comes from Chokmah, through Binah, into Yesod, into our sexual force, and gives us the capacity to create sexually, and to perceive.
Perception and sexuality are intimately related. Someone who is a dedicated fornicator, who very actively ejaculates their sexual energy, releases that sacred force from the body, and begins to suffer degeneration of perception, loss of dream memory, sicknesses, illnesses in the body, in the mind, and in the heart.
Those who acquire chastity, who save and conserve that energy, and transform it, awaken, they acquire new forms of perception, clairvoyance, astral travel, very strong dream recall, the ability to be awake outside of the physical body; these all come from chastity. This is why religions have always emphasized the conservation of sexual energy. The sexual energy when saved and transformed gives you new forms of perception, and new forms of creation.
So that transformation of energy, in combination with the understanding of Karma, in combination with working with a spouse, is what gives us the vehicle, the means, to advance through these initiations.
The Choice of the Initiate
When we arrive at the moment towards the completion of that fifth degree (related to our body of willpower), we are presented with a choice. This is not just a theory: this is an initiation that happens in the consciousness. And the choice is this: Is that initiate going to continue working little by little on the ego, to pay Karma slowly over time, to pay it little by little on what is called the Spiral Path, the Nirvanic Path, the path of the Pratyekas? Or will that initiate take the path of the Bodhisattva, the Direct Path?
There are some very major distinctions between these two. The first thing to understand is that anyone who has acquired that level of development has awakened a small percentage of consciousness and has developed internal bodies. In the internal worlds, that person's consciousness, the spirit, is called a Buddha. That does not mean that the physical person is a Buddha, it means that their Innermost (Chesed, Atman) has become a Buddha, is awake, has merged with the Divine Soul (Geburah, Buddhi), and can express the wisdom through that vehicle, the person, the physical person. Because of this, Blavatksy (the founder of Theosophy) called that person a Bodhisattva, but this is not completely accurate. A Bodhisattva has acquired that same degree of development as our first example: has awakened consciousness in the physical world, the ethereal world, the astral, the mental and the causal worlds and the worlds all the way to the sixth dimension; this person is awake to a certain degree, has consciousness to a certain degree; they experience Nirvana (the bliss of the superior worlds). But because the Bodhichitta is so strong in the Bodhisattva, because their compassion is so strong, they renounce all of those gifts. The Bodhisattva renounces their powers, renounces the happiness of Nirvana, and chooses to stay in the world with humanity, to help. So, the difference there is very important.
The initiate who chooses to take the Nirvanic Spiral Path decides to keep their powers, to keep their access to Nirvana, so that they can continue to experience that joy of having a percentage of themselves free from suffering. On the other side, the Bodhisattva, a walker of the Straight Path, renounces the happiness of Nirvana. Think about that!
Right now, we are in darkness; we suffer, we are tossed about by Karma, we don't know what is going to happen. Death is there at any moment to take us. Illness, sickness, and death - at any instant - can strike us like lightning. We have no certainty. We have a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, and our Karma is constantly ripening. We are always having problems. We are never quite getting to the goals we set. Our loved ones are sick and dying, or are afflicted by their own forms of suffering, and there seems to be nothing we can do.
Now imagine if you were to awaken your consciousness and you develop the ability to go out of your physical body and talk with the Gods, to talk with the Buddhas, to talk with Jesus, to acquire direct instruction from from beings that exist in superior worlds, to investigate your Karma directly, to see your past lives, to know what is going to happen in the future... could you renounce that?
Could you, because of love for other beings and other creatures, walk away from having the powers of clairvoyance, clairaudience, astral travel, remembrance of past lives; could you just walk away, because people suffer and they need you?
That is Bodhichitta. That is the true heart of the highest form of teaching that exists, because the Christ is love. The Christ is cognizant love, conscious love, which comes in order to assist, to help, to bring those who suffer out of suffering. The Pratyeka Buddhas cannot incarnate the Christ, because they remain selfish. They seek to retain that happiness of Nirvana for themselves, the pleasure of having power, and thus the Christ will not enter them. They remain as Buddhas, at their level, and they teach their doctrine, at their level; but they are not Bodhisattvas.
The Revolution of the Bodhisattva
A Bodhisattva is revolutionary. A Bodhisattva renounces their own self, their own wellbeing, their own needs, their own desires, in order to help others. This is not an easy thing to do, because as soon as a person chooses the Direct Path, they then have the responsibility to pay the entirety of their Karma very fast.
We are suffering now because we have Karma, and that means we are suffering the results of all of our previous activities. Whatever we are now is because of what we have done in the past; but that Karma is being applied little by little, because the One inside of us, our own inner Guru, has compassion on us and wants to help us come out of suffering. If all of our Karma was given to us at once, we would be obliterated, we couldn't take it.
The Bodhisattva has to take on all their karma right away and pay it. Remember Jesus, when he takes the cross in the Gospels, and how heavy it is and how much he suffers as he carries it on the road of initiation. That cross is a symbol of Karma, the burden that the initiate has to carry, to pay what they owe.
Regarding that, let me read to you a quote from the Master Samael Aun Weor from his book The Pistis Sophia Unveiled. In this passage you can clearly see the nature of the nature of the Bodhisattva path and how it encompasses all the paths (foundational, greater, and diamond) united in one.
We must liberate and emancipate ourselves from the Law of Causality.
We can make the great jump only by awakening and developing the Consciousness.
It is necessary for the Bodhichitta, which means the auric embryo, the awakened consciousness, to fall into the Illuminated Void.
Only thus can the Bodhichitta be free from the world of relativity.
The world of relativity is the world of combinations and of duality.
The universal machine of relativity is based on the Law of Cosmic Causality.
The Law of Cosmic Causality is the same as the Law of Karma.
The Law of Causality is the same as the Law of Action and Consequence.
We can submerge ourselves in the Illuminated Void by means of the Great Jump.
Thus, and only thus, can we liberate ourselves from the Law of Karma.
The world of relativity is based on constant dualism and therefore, on the chain of causes and effects.
We must break chains in order to submerge ourselves within the Illuminated Void.
The Illuminated Void, the Absolute, is the Emptiness itself, and it is Bodhichitta which gives us the capacity to reach that. Compassion, love, is key, because in its essence the Absolute, and its manifestation, is that: it is love.
When we understand how fragile we are, even the little bit of good quality that we have is easily overwhelmed by our own negativity. And we can observe that in ourselves in our own daily efforts. It is much more common for us to feel negatively towards others than to feel positively. It is rare to feel true selfless love for someone else.
There are ways for us to learn that, to transform ourselves. It is essential that students of Gnosis directly understand Bodhichitta and develop it. In fact, about this issue, the Master Samael Aun Weor stated something very clear,
The one who does not possess the Bodhichitta, even when he has created the superior existential bodies of the being, is still unconscious and absurd. - The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
This is how important Bodhichitta is. It is the entire basis upon which final and absolute liberation can be achieved. Without Bodhichitta, without conscious, cognizant love, which expresses the will of Christ, complete liberation is impossible: it can only be temporary. The Nirvanis, the Pratyekas, and Shravakas experience Nirvana, they acquire a certain percentage of liberation, they experience a certain degree of freedom, happiness, but they are still bound by Karma: they still have ego. Therefore their realizations are temporary.
In particular, when you see how heavy Karma is, how pervasive the ego is, you can recognize that the power of a Pratyeka Buddha to remain floating above suffering is very limited, because Karma is so very heavy. This is why in the traditions of the different world mythologies and religions, we see examples of Gods and awakened beings falling back into suffering all the time.
We cannot rely simply on developing virtue, or simply on developing the Solar Bodies; these do not guarantee anything: but Bodhichitta does.
Bodhichitta is a beautiful flower, which can be born in the heart of any person who develops it; whether you are single or married, you can develop Bodhichitta. And that power – the power of selfless, conscious love - can sustain you through any experience, if indeed you use it consciously.
I will recommend two practices to you that you can begin to use today. In addition to developing your continuity of awareness, by learning how to be constantly mindful of your activities, to watch your thoughts and feelings, when you get up in the morning, realize how fortunate you are to still have your body; without your physical body, you could not acquire what you need to acquire in order to complete this work. And then, generate in yourself the aspiration to be a good person, to become a better person, to discover and experience Bodhichitta in yourself.
There are numerous prayers that you can use to give you inspiration, to help you develop that quality of conscious love. You can recite and meditate on the passage from Corinthians where Paul writes about the nature of love; It is a beautiful expression of conscious love. You can also use the prayer of Saint Francis, which is another beautiful expression of love in service.
You can also use a passage from the book I mentioned earlier, which is "The Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life" (Bodhicharyavatara).
May I be a guard for those who are protectorless
A guide for those who journey on the road;
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.
May I be an isle for those who yearn for landfall,
And a lamp for those who long for light;
For those who need a resting place, a bed;
For all who need a servant, may I be a slave.
May I be the wishing jewel, the vase of plenty,
A word of power, and the supreme remedy.
May I be the trees of miracles,
And for every being, the abundant cow.
Like the great earth and the other elements,
Enduring as the sky itself endures,
For the boundless multitude of living beings,
May I be the ground and vessel of their life.
Thus, for every single thing that lives,
In number like the boundless reaches of the sky,
May I be their sustenance and nourishment
Until they pass beyond the bounds of suffering.
This passage can help you to start to feel the sense of Bodhichitta, to develop the aspiration, but then you have to start acting on it. So do this prayer in the morning; meditate, meditate on the passage, meditate on Bodhichitta; then during the day, do your practices to remain mindful and self-observing, to watch every action that you perform, even the smallest thought.
And here is the second practice: at night, review your day. But review your day from this point of view: meditate, close your eyes, relax, don't have any other distractions around, be quiet. Imagine your day like it is a movie, and review it in your mind. Close your eyes and relax; watch the movie. But with everything that you remember, have in yourself the question: “Was I acting from selfishness or compassion?” With each thought that you recall, with each feeling, each sensation, consider them from that point of view, “How did I act today?” When you find things that you want to change, meditate on those further and commit to yourself to not repeat those mistakes. And if you persist in this practice every day, setting the aspiration in the morning, reviewing your day at night, doing it every day, little by little you will start to see a change.
There is a story related to this of a great sage from ages past, who did this practice. But because he didn't trust himself, his own memory, and his own mind, he decided that he would rely on a little pile of stones to help him. So he gathered some black stones and some white stones. And as he sat in his meditation and reviewed his day, each time he found an event, a thought, a feeling, that he knew was wrong, harmful to himself or someone else, he would take a black stone and set it on a little pile. And any time he found a selfless and compassionate action, a good thought, or a good feeling, he would take a white stone and make a pile. Now as you probably expect, in the beginning there were no white stones, just black stones, but that sage took his practice so seriously that each day, he would watch himself carefully, and little by little white stones began to appear on the pile, till after years of practice, and a great deal of effort, no more black stones appeared, and he had created Bodhichitta as a work of will. We can aspire to follow that example.
The remainder of this course will delve very deeply into two primary sources to examine the path of the Bodhisattva in detail. Many of the things that we discussed today, will be elaborated upon and explained in much more detail. These two primary sources will be the Christian Gospels and the Bodhicharyavatara, which is the book by Shantideva called "The Guide of the Bodhisattva's Way of Life." It could be said that it is the most important book in Tibetan Buddhism, and the Christian Gospels, of course, are the most important books of Christianity. Both of these documents express the same teaching, which is the path of the Bodhisattva: the work that we have to do to follow in the example of these great teachers and to once and for all transcend suffering.
Questions and Answers
Question: If the Bodhisattva renounces all his powers, does that mean that he is no longer able to use those powers?
Answer: That is a very good question. Those who choose the Spiral Path make a mistake - not in choosing that path, because sometimes it is necessary. And I say that because the one who really needs to make that decision is the Being, the internal Buddha, not the aspirant, not the human soul. And so, there are cases in which that inner Being needs to take that path. So I in no way want to criticize that choice, but there is nonetheless oftentimes a mistake that is made by the human soul, in which they believe that those powers and those bodies are their real self. That is a mistake. The Nirvanis and Pratyekas become attached to powers, to having those kinds of experiences, conscious experiences. The Bodhisattva on the other hand does not make that mistake, because of the nature of Bodhichitta itself, which is conscious love.
Remember the two aspects of absolute Bodhichitta are (1) the recognition of Buddha-nature, and (2) the comprehension of the Absolute, or the Emptiness in all things. So a person who has Bodhichitta well developed will spontaneously comprehend that those bodies and those powers are also empty of self-nature, thus they do not become attached. Therefore, in that sense, it is an easy renunciation to make, because the Bodhisattva knows, “These don't belong to me anyway, why should I be attached to them? Why should I grasp at having some fancy sounding name, to having powers, or vestures, or initiations?” Those all belong to the Being anyway. They don't belong to the initiate: they belong to God. The Bodhisattva who makes the choice to renounce Nirvana, renounces the powers, and chooses to serve the Christ, and then will incarnate that force. Those capacities, the bodies, the powers, the consciousness, were all along the property of the Being anyway, but now they will be used by the Christ to help others. This means that the Bodhisattva in that sense still has powers, still has the bodies, but does not exert personal will over them. They may or may not have access to them, depending on the stage of the process that they are in, but the Being always uses them, the Christ will use them, sometimes without that Bodhisattva even knowing about it. There are cases of different Masters who would appear in multiple places at the same time, having the power of ubiquity; this is related to that.
Question: Is it possible for a Pratyeka Buddha to develop Bodhichitta?
Answer: Yes, any being can develop Bodhichitta. However, not all the Pratyeka Buddhas have Bodhichitta; they might, they might not. But a Bodhisattva must have it, because that is the basis of the Bodhisattva path. The Bodhisattva is created inside of the atmosphere of the Bodhichitta, it is like a womb in the consciousness, it is an environment of energy, whose nature is conscious love, and the Bodhisattva is the expression of that. Bodhichitta means "awakened mind," "wisdom mind." A Bodhisattva is the "essence of wisdom," so it is the expression of Bodhichitta.
The development of Bodhichitta is not some future event. The awakening of the consciousness does not happen in the future: it happens now. There is no future. All that exists is this moment. If you have the aspiration to develop the consciousness, to awaken the consciousness, and you have concern for the suffering of others, then act on it now, in your attitude, in the way you manage your thinking, the way you respond to the feelings that arise in your heart, in the way you respond to the sensations you feel in your body.
Tantra is a science to transform energy. In each moment, we are receiving energy of many kinds, both from inside and from outside. The first part of Tantrism is to take the energies that we have inside: sexual energies, emotional energies, mental energies, conscious energies, and utilize Bodhichitta to make those energies useful for others.
And we also need to take the energies that are coming from outside and transform them in the same way. This is very challenging: to learn how to receive the unpleasant manifestations of others with gratitude, with love, to reply with wisdom; not aggression, not anger, not pride, not resentment, not envy ... but with conscious wisdom.
This is something that we all should begin now, in this moment, and should learn to sustain, continually, with whatever experiences arise in life. I will give you an example. A good way to cultivate Bodhichitta and to cultivate self-awareness is to approach your day like this: Imagine that every being that exists is a Buddha, except you; everyone: every creature, every existing person, animal, plant, mineral, is already awakened, and is only here to show you yourself. So when someone comes to you and is yelling at you, screaming at you, accusing you of this and that, or treating you badly, or they are coming to you and treating very well, giving you praise, telling you how great you are, reflect in your mind: “This person is trying to teach me something about myself.” Don't be hypnotized by the experiences of life. In a way, one thing that is expressed in Tibetan Buddhism that is quite useful is that they say you should treat your existence as if you are an illusion, because really, you are. If you learn to experience life as though you are an illusion, that this self is illusory, that the body is illusory, it helps to break that hypnosis of the mind, to give you the capacity to utilize the consciousness as a wedge to break open the habitual transformation of impressions and to learn transform things consciously, cognizantly, with love; that is Bodhichitta. It is not simply to do it for your own welfare, but also for the welfare of those you interact with, and for the welfare of those you don't even see. Your actions affect people you don't even see. Meditate on that!
The instructors who teach the lectures and courses are volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Each has years of experience teaching and working with the practices and exercises that awaken the consciousness. Since the goal of dharma, yoga, or gnosis is to follow our inner Being, and to focus on divinity not terrestrial personalities, the lecturers remain anonymous, and do not broadcast their names, faces, or personal information. They do not have spiritual titles or names, do not accept followers, and live their lives anonymously like any other person in society.