Bodhichitta, Maitri, Shunyata

Chapter 4 of Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chödrön offers insightful comments on two words, maitri and shunyata. She describes them as aspects of bodhichitta, which means "awakened heart":

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated maitri as "unconditional friendliness with oneself." This unconditional friendliness means having an unbiased relationship with all the parts of your being. So, in the context of working with pain, this means making an intimate, compassionate, heart-relationship with all those part of ourselves we generally don't want to touch ... kindness toward all qualities of our being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don't belong, as if we've just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Maitri means sticking with ourselves when we don't have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness to others.

... One of the meanings of compassion is "suffering with," being willing to suffer with other people. This means that to the degree you can work with the wholeness of your being—your prejudices, your feelings of failure, your self-pity, your depression, your rage, your addictions—the more you will connect with other people out of that wholeness.And it will be a relationship between equals. You'll be able to feel the pain of other people as your own pain. And you'll be able to feel your own pain and know that it's shared by millions.

... Absolute bodhichitta, also known as shunyata, is the open dimension of our being, the completely wide-open heart and mind. Without labels of "you" and "me," "enemy" and "friend," absolute bodhichitta is always here. Cultivating absolute bodhichitta means having a relationship with the world that is nonconceptual, that is unprejudiced, having a direct unedited relationship with reality. ...

Hmmmm ... sounds as though maitri is a bit like "0" (nonattachment), and shunyata is "1" (oneness) — but perhaps in the sense of not being attached to separation?

(cf. 01 (2013-11-05), ...) - ^z - 2014-07-16