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Chapter 1: Atisha the Thrice Great

In these moments, you come to know: This very body the buddha, this very earth the lotus paradise.

And the last sutra:

Train with phrases in every mode of behavior.

Atisha is not an escapist. He does not teach escapism, he does not tell you to move from situations which are not to your liking. He says: You have to learn to function in bodhichitta, in buddha-consciousness, in all kinds of situations - in the marketplace, in the monastery; with people in the crowd or alone in a cave; with friends or with enemies; with family, familiar people, and with strangers; with men and with animals. In all kinds of situations, in all kinds of challenges, you have to learn to function in compassion, in meditation - because all these experiences of different situations will make your bodhichitta riper and riper.

Don’t escape from any situation - if you escape, then something will remain missing in you: then your bodhichitta will not be that ripe; will not be that rich. Live life in its multidimensionality!

That’s what I teach you too: Live life in its totality, and living in the world, don’t be of it. Live in the world like a lotus flower in water: it lives in water, but the water touches it not. Only then will bodhichitta flower in you, bloom in you. Only then will you come to know the ultimate consciousness, which is freedom, which is joy, eternal joy, which is benediction. Not to know it is to miss the whole point of life; to know it is the only goal. The only goal - remember it!

Remember, Atisha’s sutras are not philosophical, not speculative not abstract. They are experimental; they are scientific.

Let me repeat again: religion is a science in the sense that it is the purest knowing. Yet it is not a science in the sense of chemistry and physics. It is not the science of the outward; it is the science of the inward. It is not the science of the exterior; it is the science of the interior. It is the science that takes you beyond, it is the science that takes you into the unknown and the unknowable. It is the greatest adventure there is. It is a call and a challenge to all those who have any courage, any guts, any intelligence.

Religion is not for cowards, it is for people who want to live dangerously.

Enough for today.