Limitless beings

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avatamsaka3
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Limitless beings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

How could anyone save all beings if they are numberless? Wouldn't that mean a bodhisattva would never pass into final enlightenment?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:28 pm How could anyone save all beings if they are numberless? Wouldn't that mean a bodhisattva would never pass into final enlightenment?
I have heard different answers to this:

—that the phrase , “sentient beings are limitless, I vow to save them all” is intended as one of motivation, to encourage a person on the bodhisattva path to be fearless and not to give up when things seem impossible.

—that “limitless” can be interpreted two different ways. Usually, we think of “limitless” as some endless number, or even as a number that keeps increasing faster than you can subtract from it.

But “limitless” can also mean beyond the concept of numbers and limits altogether. In this way, it is similar to the phrase, “since beginningless time beings have wandered in samsara”, which doesn’t just mean “ever since a really long time ago” but also suggests that time itself has no beginning or ending.

Likewise, sentient beings can be described as “limitless”, I am limitless, you are limitless. Our ultimate nature free of obscurations is buddha. This is determined because the motivation behind all of the actions (good, bad, skillful, unskillful, both helpful and harmful) of beings is, ultimately, to have happiness and to be free from striving.
Most cling to temporary sources of satisfaction, over and over again, which only perpetuates the cycle of suffering.

We are constantly trying to return to the mind’s original state, which is perfectly at peace, free of confusion and grasping. Eventually, all beings will attain that, will be Buddhas. Eventually, when their karma is exhausted, all sentient beings will attain this ultimate state. Unfortunately, for most, it will take “countless” lifetimes.

The whole point of the Buddhist path is to reduce that to only a few lifetimes, or even to this lifetime. That’s why the human realm presents such a rare opportunity. Unfortunately, the fact is, even with our best intentions, we cannot liberate all sentient beings. But meditating about this should also become a motivation to realize one’s good fortune and to practice with even greater effort.

...
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
jimmi
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by jimmi »

Or it could mean just what it says ... that sentient beings are limitless and the bodhisattva vows to liberate them all, no strings attached.
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LastLegend
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by LastLegend »

No thing added or subtracted that’s limitlessness.

-ness is added to be funny and cute. Okay why can’t be cute?
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:28 pm How could anyone save all beings if they are numberless? Wouldn't that mean a bodhisattva would never pass into final enlightenment?
it means that how much time or sentient beings is not important. important is being determined and go on.

it doesn't mean one doesn't discovers one's buddhahood, it means one doesn't present dharma in the way historical buddhas until dipankara and shakyamuni did nor in the way that maitreya will do.

i can't resist to share this

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

My Sakya teacher really emphasizes Bodhisattvayana teachings, one of the texts we study is the Aspiration of Samantabhadra, it's worth taking a look at..not from a sort of "technical" standpoint, but just as is.

I think the thing to understand from these teachings is the expansive motivation, the Bodhicitta motivation is something you have to "tune into", and many phrases and teachings will help you do that. Now, I cannot answer the technical question asked here, but as I have been taught this stuff that is something of a distraction anyway, the point is to develop this limitless motivation....it's not a math equation.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Thundering Cloud
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by Thundering Cloud »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:28 pm How could anyone save all beings if they are numberless? Wouldn't that mean a bodhisattva would never pass into final enlightenment?
As javier mentioned, I think the point is to focus one's mind and intentions in a way that does not depend upon a phenomenological goal. I would add also that "innumerable" does not necessarily mean "infinite", but may more pedantically mean that no quantity can be meaningfully ascribed. As all phenomena are empty, conceptualizing the existence of any specific quantity of beings (including infinitely many) may be misleading and distract from one's purpose.
avatamsaka3
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Certainly cultivating bodhicitta is a wonderful thing. And there is great power in the motivation. I loved the video from HHDL.
Or it could mean just what it says ... that sentient beings are limitless and the bodhisattva vows to liberate them all, no strings attached.
So, for the sake of argument, let's take this approach. Would it be possible to achieve infinite bodhisattva activity?
GrapeLover
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by GrapeLover »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:59 pm Certainly cultivating bodhicitta is a wonderful thing. And there is great power in the motivation. I loved the video from HHDL.
Or it could mean just what it says ... that sentient beings are limitless and the bodhisattva vows to liberate them all, no strings attached.
So, for the sake of argument, let's take this approach. Would it be possible to achieve infinite bodhisattva activity?
Vimalakirti Sutra does say regarding bodhisattvas dwelling in the “inconceivable liberation”:
“Their practices are infinite;
And their spheres of influence are infinite;
Having perfected an infinite wisdom,
They liberate an infinity of living beings”
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seeker242
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by seeker242 »

GrapeLover wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:48 pm
avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:59 pm Certainly cultivating bodhicitta is a wonderful thing. And there is great power in the motivation. I loved the video from HHDL.
Or it could mean just what it says ... that sentient beings are limitless and the bodhisattva vows to liberate them all, no strings attached.
So, for the sake of argument, let's take this approach. Would it be possible to achieve infinite bodhisattva activity?
Vimalakirti Sutra does say regarding bodhisattvas dwelling in the “inconceivable liberation”:
“Their practices are infinite;
And their spheres of influence are infinite;
Having perfected an infinite wisdom,
They liberate an infinity of living beings”
Which one could argue is itself "the final enlightenment". In other words, saving all beings and final enlightenment are not two different things that oppose each other to begin with.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
avatamsaka3
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

In other words, saving all beings and final enlightenment are not two different things
Never heard that before!
jimmi
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by jimmi »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:59 pm Certainly cultivating bodhicitta is a wonderful thing. And there is great power in the motivation. I loved the video from HHDL.
Or it could mean just what it says ... that sentient beings are limitless and the bodhisattva vows to liberate them all, no strings attached.
So, for the sake of argument, let's take this approach. Would it be possible to achieve infinite bodhisattva activity?
It is possible. We are the beneficiaries. Can it be quantified or proven? No.
avatamsaka3
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Can it be quantified or proven? No.
So are we talking about infinite bodies, infinite hands, infinite something else?
jimmi
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by jimmi »

avatamsaka3 wrote: Wed Jul 22, 2020 3:56 am
Can it be quantified or proven? No.
So are we talking about infinite bodies, infinite hands, infinite something else?
I don’t know about infinite. Sounds like a quantifier.
We are talking about limit and no limit and how limitless expresses/energizes the bodhisattva’s intent.
What does bodies and hands have to do with it?
avatamsaka3
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

What does bodies and hands have to do with it?
Avalokiteshvara, if I remember correctly, is said in various sutras to have the capacity to manifest in a variety of different observable forms (bodies) at once. I was wondering if such a capacity could reach infinite levels. Chenrezig is also said to have very many arms: you may have seen the thousand-arm Chenrezi statues.
jimmi
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Re: Limitless beings

Post by jimmi »

Symbolic representations.
Does a bodhisattva need more than two arms, or even one or none?
Does/can/must a bodhisattva have form?

Suppose it could not reach infinite levels ... is the bodhisattva defeated?
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