Buddhist Philosophy 1.8.0
The seven steps in the cause-and-effect method for developing the wish for enlightenment; explain briefly why each is necessary for the next.
- Recognize that all living beings have been your mother. Equanimity is necessary to do this because, if you hold some close and others distant, you cannot see everyone as a kind mother, deserving your ultimate help—you would exclude some people.
- Remember the kindness they have given you when they were your mothers. The first step leads to this one because, if you do not see everyone as having been your mother in the past, then you cannot see everyone as having been kind—you won't think about the good they did for you, if you don't see them all in a beneficent role.
- Decide to repay the kindness of your mothers. The second step leads to this one in that—if you don't see your mother as having been kind to you—then you have no reason to pay her back.
- Love all people with the intensity of a mother for her only child, and wish that they could have every good thing. The previous three points lead to this, for once you recognize everyone as mother, acknowledge her kindness and your debt, and agree to help her in return, the natural result is to want to give her every good thing.
- Feel great compassion for all living beings; want them to be free of suffering. The fourth step is a cause for this because—if you do not want them to be happy, to the point of intense love—then you have no reason to want them to be free of suffering.
- Decide to help everyone even if you have to do it all yourself; regardless of the difficulty, without being discouraged, if no one helps you. The fifth step is a cause for this sixth one because—if you do not want them to be free of suffering—you will certainly not choose to remove their suffering.
- Achieve the wish to become enlightened for the sake of every living being; that is, develop bodhichitta and become a bodhisattva. The previous step is the cause for this since—once you are determined to help everyone—then you must gain the capacity to do so, by becoming a fully enlightened Buddha.