Second Excellence: The Path of the Mahayana.

Also known as the “Great Vehicle”, this movement arose within Indian Buddhism around the beginning of the Common Era. By the 9th century, it became the dominant influence on the Buddhist cultures of Central and East Asia, and it remains so to this day. The earliest sources for the tradition are the Mahayana sutras, which were scriptures compiled centuries after the Buddha’s death.

The bodhisattva, someone dedicated to the universal awakening or enlightenment of everyone, is central to Mahayana ideology. On the bodhisattva path, we follow teachings about generosity, patience, ethical conduct, meditative balance, and insight into what is essential. One seeks to live a life that benefits others. Here, we learn about the negative emotions of anger and aggression, and the emphasis is in developing boundless loving kindness and compassion for ourselves, coming to the realization that we are not separate from the people we have imagined are estranged from us. In the Second Excellence, we practice loving kindness and compassion until the supreme training of bodhicitta, the awakened mind, and then move on to the practice of the six paramitas.