Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

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Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:56 am

Greetings,

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas, "sticking around" to assist all sentient beings (or even every single blade of grass!) to liberation.

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas striving to become Buddhas ASAP as a means to help enlighten sentient beings.

Are these different paths? Are there other paths that can be followed by the bodhisattva other than the two mentioned above?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby thornbush » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:09 pm

Stick around and help others along the way whilst striving .... :cheers: :mrgreen:
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby Drolma » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:26 pm

In commentaries on The Guide to the Bodhisattva's way of life you can hear Bodhicitta described as - primary mind with two aspirations. The first aspiration is to work for the benefit of all sentient beings and the second aspiration is to become a fully enlightened Buddha in order to do that most effectively.
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:58 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas, "sticking around" to assist all sentient beings (or even every single blade of grass!) to liberation.

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas striving to become Buddhas ASAP as a means to help enlighten sentient beings.

Are these different paths? Are there other paths that can be followed by the bodhisattva other than the two mentioned above?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

These are two sides of the same coin. The aspiration is to swiftly become a buddha for the benefit of all sentient beings because we can better assist all sentients as buddhas. But as you mentioned, those who have taken the vows intend to take rebirth in samsara until all beings are freed. An example of a bodhisattva is Chenrezig. For those who believe that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a manifestation of Chenrezig, HHDL is a manifestation of an enlightened being who is intentionally taking rebirth here out of great compassion. But nirvana, the pure lands, etc. are all right here and due to our deluded view we can't see them. So the bodhisattvas aren't traveling to any place to help us, though some may take a human birth. It is said that some bodhisattvas, such as Green Tara, can appear in any form to help us. Perhaps she is a beggar on the street, or that guy in the next car over annoying you.

I hope I haven't confused you. :namaste:
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:36 am

Greetings everyone,

Thanks for the comments.

I guess the notion of Buddhakaya makes the two "paths" I mentioned mutually compatible.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Different speeds on the bodhisattva path

Postby Will » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:01 am

I do not know the sutra, but in one of them is laid out the three options for a bodhisattva.

1 - The royal or kingly attitude; popular in tantra, wherein one becomes a buddha as fast as possible because a buddha can help most efficiently.

2 - The ferry boat captain; where one becomes a buddha at the same pace as the majority.

3 - The shepherd; who will wait and be the last to become a buddha.
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:35 am

Yes Will, that answers Retro's question nicely :smile: And the bit I mentioned about two sides of the same coin can be found here:

Three modes of generating an altruistic intention to become enlightened are described--like a king, like a boatman, and like a shepherd. In the first, that like a king, one first seeks to attain a high state after which help can be given to others. In the second, like a boatman, one seeks to cross the river of suffering together with others. In the third, like a shepherd, one seeks to relieve the flock of suffering beings from pain first, oneself following afterward. These are indications of the style of the altruistic motivation for becoming enlightened; in actual fact, there is no way that a Bodhisattva either would want to or could delay achieving full enlightenment. As much as the motivation to help others increases, so much closer does one approach Buddhahood.

--His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama at Harvard by of Tibet
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Re: Different conceptions of the bodhisattva path

Postby eijo » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas, "sticking around" to assist all sentient beings (or even every single blade of grass!) to liberation.

Sometimes I hear about bodhisattvas striving to become Buddhas ASAP as a means to help enlighten sentient beings.

Are these different paths? Are there other paths that can be followed by the bodhisattva other than the two mentioned above?

Metta,
Retro. :)


In all the traditions I know of, bodhisattvas strive to become buddhas as rapidly as possible. What they vow not to do is enter into parinirvana and disappear from the world and abandon us. Mahayana prayers typically entreat the buddhas to remain in the world or in their buddha-fields to continue their salvific activities.
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