Three Kinds of Persons
Understand that there are three kinds of persons
their small, middling and supreme capacities.
I shall write clearly
Their individual characteristics.
Know that those who
by whatever means
Seek for themselves no more,
Than the pleasures of
Are persons of the least capacity.
Those who seek
peace for themselves alone,
Turning away from worldly pleasures
avoiding destructive actions,
Are said to be of middling
Those who, through their personal suffering,
Truly want to
All the suffering of others,
Are persons of supreme
- A Lamp for the
Path to Enlightenment (Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana)
The "first level" above is also known as the "small scope",
which seeks a better life now and a better rebirth. The "second level" is
also known as the intermediate scope", which seeks to renounce
personal suffering, to attain liberation for oneself. The "third level" is also
known as the "great scope", which is the Bodhicitta aspiration, which seeks to
liberate others from suffering while liberating oneself.
It is possible
to "upgrade" our capacities through diligent spiritual practice along
the graduated path to full Enlightenment (Buddhahood)
by increasing our Compassion and Wisdom. However, we should not
pressurise others to "upgrade" their capacities. We should instead use skilful
means to encourage them to spiritually grow beyond their current capacity in
good time. Sometimes, others need more than this lifetime alone to
"upgrade" their capacities.
- Shen Shi'an