Where are the bodhisattvas?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2516
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

I've been compiling various doubts I've wrestled with over my short five years practicing Buddhism. I'm hoping to release a kind of Q&A to help other practitioners stuck on the same crap.
I would love your perspective on the following.

It is said that buddhas and bodhisattvas have both compassion and the wisdom to employ this compassion to benefit beings.
Yet one needn't look far to see cruelty heaped on misery heaped on natural disasters and decay in this world.
Some even insist on pursuing the very cause of their misery, while others struggle with all their might to overcome adversity yet fail.
Where is this perfect help from enlightened beings? What forms does it take?
Most vitally, how can we recognize it and therefore establish faith in the efficacy of this path which promises to establish us as as buddhas and bodhisattvas, to best help beings?

One response may be that buddhas and bodhisattvas cannot remove all the conditions leading to the suffering of beings.
Just as we can attempt to feed and clothe a homeless person, if they are poor because of a drug addiction, our actions will ultimately not bear on that condition.
But this seems to imply that a bodhisattva's help is no more efficacious than that of an ordinary person.

Thank you for your time :group:
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
User avatar
Redfaery
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:14 pm
Location: Smalltown USA

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Redfaery »

I'm not really sure I can answer your question adequately, but I've had experiences that have convinced me that the buddhas and bodhisattvas are really there, and can really help us. More importantly, they can help us help ourselves. They make us realize that we are the ones who have to change. What is the line? "The Buddha cannot wash away your sins with water," I believe it is. But there is the catch, I believe the Buddhas help us realize we are dirty in the first place.
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!
Malcolm
Posts: 32635
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Malcolm »

Monlam Tharchin wrote: But this seems to imply that a bodhisattva's help is no more efficacious than that of an ordinary person.
Correct, if all you are interested in is food, clothing or medicine.

But if you are interested in Dharma teachings, they are much more helpful.
User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Boomerang »

Why and how did you initially become interested in Buddhism?
User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2516
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Malcolm wrote:
Monlam Tharchin wrote: But this seems to imply that a bodhisattva's help is no more efficacious than that of an ordinary person.
Correct, if all you are interested in is food, clothing or medicine.

But if you are interested in Dharma teachings, they are much more helpful.
Without these things, beings cannot invest time or energy into the Dharma, can they?
Boomerang wrote:Why and how did you initially become interested in Buddhism?
Is this an example of such activity, initially bringing beings into Buddhist practice?

For a bit of background, this issue is a tricky one for me.
Through nembutsu, I have had many experiences of what I can only call Amitabha Buddha.
And yet suffering runs rampant while bodhisattvas and buddhas are said to be numberless with boundless compassionate activity.
It's not clear to me how to reconcile the two, despite being fairly certain Amitabha "exists" and has influence of some kind.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
Malcolm
Posts: 32635
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Malcolm »

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Monlam Tharchin wrote: But this seems to imply that a bodhisattva's help is no more efficacious than that of an ordinary person.
Correct, if all you are interested in is food, clothing or medicine.

But if you are interested in Dharma teachings, they are much more helpful.
Without these things, beings cannot invest time or energy into the Dharma, can they?
That is why bodhisattvas give food, clothing and medicine, if that is more relevant to a person's situation.
User avatar
Boomerang
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:34 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Boomerang »

Monlam Tharchin wrote: And yet suffering runs rampant while bodhisattvas and buddhas are said to be numberless with boundless compassionate activity.
It's not clear to me how to reconcile the two, despite being fairly certain Amitabha "exists" and has influence of some kind.
I think the simple truth is that Amitabha isn't as powerful as you want him to be. There's more to samsara than this planet Earth. Sentient beings are limitless, and bodhisattvas aspire to save them all. The fact that Amitabha's name is even spoken on this planet is a one in a trillion occurrence.

I'm certain if all 7 billion humans on this planet began chanting Amitabha's name and devoted their hearts and minds to the 3 jewels, they would suffer a lot less. Maybe this Earth would even look like a pure land. But that isn't going to happen. Why? Because they aren't interested, or they've never even heard of him in the first place.
User avatar
Karma Dorje
Posts: 1370
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Karma Dorje »

Monlam Tharchin wrote: For a bit of background, this issue is a tricky one for me.
Through nembutsu, I have had many experiences of what I can only call Amitabha Buddha.
And yet suffering runs rampant while bodhisattvas and buddhas are said to be numberless with boundless compassionate activity.
It's not clear to me how to reconcile the two, despite being fairly certain Amitabha "exists" and has influence of some kind.
The sun shines always exactly the same way. However, if you live in a cave you may never behold it's warming rays. In order to experience the sun you have to come out of the cave even just a little.

The kleshas are a cave of our own making. We must meet the grace and blessing of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas with our own devotion to them and effort to be free of our afflictive emotions.
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava
User avatar
Footsteps
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:53 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Footsteps »

Karma Dorje wrote:
Monlam Tharchin wrote: For a bit of background, this issue is a tricky one for me.
Through nembutsu, I have had many experiences of what I can only call Amitabha Buddha.
And yet suffering runs rampant while bodhisattvas and buddhas are said to be numberless with boundless compassionate activity.
It's not clear to me how to reconcile the two, despite being fairly certain Amitabha "exists" and has influence of some kind.
The sun shines always exactly the same way. However, if you live in a cave you may never behold it's warming rays. In order to experience the sun you have to come out of the cave even just a little.

The kleshas are a cave of our own making. We must meet the grace and blessing of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas with our own devotion to them and effort to be free of our afflictive emotions.
The sun does not always shine the same way, just look at the solar flare cycles. Studying the world around us and practicing buddhism, especially if we've taken the bodhisattva vow, is a part of buddhism. The sun goes through cycles just like the moon and people. These cycles influence the things the sun relates too. Such is the interrelation between things.

...

Bodhisattvas are fully equipped with the ability to remove conditions of suffering, just not all conditions to suffering.

For instance, a bodhisattva may impart the understanding to remove some of the suffering of the emotional attachments associated with aging by imparting a societal respect for the elderly in their teachings. Each time a bodhisattva does doe measures a mark in human(soul) evolution.
"Don't interrupt the mountains or the lake."
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7951
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Astus »

Monlam Tharchin wrote:It is said that buddhas and bodhisattvas have both compassion and the wisdom to employ this compassion to benefit beings.
Yet one needn't look far to see cruelty heaped on misery heaped on natural disasters and decay in this world.
Some even insist on pursuing the very cause of their misery, while others struggle with all their might to overcome adversity yet fail.
Where is this perfect help from enlightened beings? What forms does it take?
The fundamental doctrine of Buddhism is karma, and that means everyone experiences what they are conditioned to experience. Through faith and devotion one can have buddhas and bodhisattvas manifest, but not otherwise. That is also the reason behind Amitabha being unable to simply deliver beings to the Pure Land - people have to intentionally aspire for such a birth, hence the necessity of faith, vow, and practice. What you propose, the problem of evil, does not apply to Buddhism, because not even buddhas can magically make any being's karma change. But we can change our own conditioning through mindfulness of gods, bodhisattvas, and buddhas.

At that time Śāriputra was influenced by the Buddha’s numinous charisma to have this thought: “If the bodhisattva’s buddha land is pure according to the purity of the bodhisattva’s mind, then when our World-honored One was a bodhisattva his mind must have been pure. Nevertheless, this buddha land is so impure!”
The Buddha knew what he was thinking and asked him, “What do you think? Although the blind do not see them, can the sun and moon be anything but pure?”
[Śāriputra] answered, “No, World-honored One! This is the fault of the blind, not that of the sun and moon.”
[The Buddha said], “Śāriputra, it is through the transgressions of sentient beings that they do not see the purity of the Tathāgata’s (i.e., my) buddha land. This is not the Tathāgata’s fault! Śāri putra, this land of mine is pure, but you do not see it.”

(Vimalakirti Sutra, ch 1, BDK Ed, p 78)

"Those endowed with unpolluted faith and so forth,
having cultivated the qualities of faith and so on,
will see in their own minds the Buddha’s appearance,
which is perfect and has special signs and marks.
They will see the Buddha while he is walking,
while he is standing, sitting, or resting in sleep.
They will see him in manifold forms of conduct:
when explaining the teaching leading to peace,
when silently resting in meditative equipoise,
or when displaying various forms of miracles.
Possessed of great splendor and magnificence,
[the Buddha] will be seen by all sentient beings.
Once having seen this, they too will wish
to fully join what is named “buddhahood,”
and adopting its causes in a genuine way
they will attain the state they longed for.
These appearances are totally free from ideation
and do not involve the slightest movement at all.
There is nothing of this kind, and yet nevertheless
they are accompanied by great benefit in the world.
“This is the appearance of my own mind.”
Worldly beings do not have such insight.
Yet, their seeing of this visible kaya
will become meaningful for these beings.
Relying on gradually beholding this form,
all those who follow the [Great] Vehicle
will see their genuine inner dharmakaya
by means of the eye of primordial wisdom."

(Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra, p 61-62, tr Fuchs)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
pael
Posts: 558
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:49 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by pael »

How you can contact with bodhisattvas?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering
User avatar
Footsteps
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:53 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Footsteps »

“This is the appearance of my own mind.”
Worldly beings do not have such insight.
This portion is intriguing...

Do you not have awareness of your own mind, even if that awareness only appears in fleeting glimmers?

A question for all practitioners. I am curious, as awareness of mind I had always thought to be a human condition, rather than a buddhic condition...
"Don't interrupt the mountains or the lake."
User avatar
Footsteps
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:53 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Footsteps »

pael wrote:How you can contact with bodhisattvas?
There are bodhisattvas around everywhere. They are incarnate now. Being a bodhisattva does not entail miraculous powers. It merely entails a soul course of incarnations and actions directed by bodhicitta. Note, I said "directed by", rather than demonstrating mastery.

Hence, you may contact a bodhisattva easily, but if you are expecting works of miracles, they may not arise, as each bodhisattva is at their own particular level of evolution, which may or may not include demonstrable "miracle working". Likewise, those bodhisattvas capable of miracle working only preform it based on merit. One must have sufficient merit to receive blessings from an outside source.
"Don't interrupt the mountains or the lake."
AlexMcLeod
Posts: 368
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:54 am

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by AlexMcLeod »

pael wrote:How you can contact with bodhisattvas?
Purify your mind and they will make themselves known to you.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7951
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Astus »

Footsteps wrote:This portion is intriguing...
Do you not have awareness of your own mind, even if that awareness only appears in fleeting glimmers?
It means ordinary beings do not realise that all experiences are mental fabrications.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
User avatar
Footsteps
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:53 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Footsteps »

If they are afforded with the awareness of their own minds, they will be afforded with the seed of awareness of which you speak. Thus, it will dawn on them that there is more to mere mental perception as they come to understand the limitations of mental perception...a natural state of development of the human soul.
"Don't interrupt the mountains or the lake."
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

if you make silence, you will get to hear them.
if you too quiet, you can go talk to them.

:anjali:

Tuṣita (Sanskrit) or Tusita (Pāli) is one of the six deva-worlds of the Kāmadhātu, located between the Yāma heaven and the Nirmāṇarati heaven. Like the other heavens, Tuṣita is said to be reachable through meditation. It is the heaven where the Bodhisattva Śvetaketu (Pāli: Setaketu "White Banner") resided before being reborn on Earth as Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha; it is, likewise, the heaven where the bodhisattva Nātha ("Protector") currently resides, who will later be born as the next Buddha, Maitreya.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tushita


:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. https://translate.google.com.br/

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7951
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Astus »

Footsteps wrote:If they are afforded with the awareness of their own minds, they will be afforded with the seed of awareness of which you speak. Thus, it will dawn on them that there is more to mere mental perception as they come to understand the limitations of mental perception...a natural state of development of the human soul.
It seems you have not familiarised yourself yet with the meaning of mind only in Buddhism. Might as well start here.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Sentient Light
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm
Location: Pacifica, California

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Sentient Light »

Our reality is manifest of mind. Prayer, calling upon the bodhisattvas for their aid, results in reality manifesting through the media of mind. Thus, we certainly receive their protection, when faith and practice are put together. When we can directly perceive the emptiness of reality as it is experienced, then the bodhisattvas reveal themselves to us through our own Buddha-nature, which is the Dharmakaya itself, and thus purify our experience of reality. The bodhisattvas certainly have miraculous powers, able to influence and affect the mind-manifest nature of reality, but that will not change samsara as it is experienced by other beings.

Vasubandhu writes about hell in his abhidharmic works, and how the guards doling out the torture in hell are the mind-manifest projections of the denizens of hell, because surely no one not subject to that torture would actually be born there. The human realm is no different: all the pleasures and pains that we perceive in this world, that we participate in, moving from this pleasant thing and away from that unpleasant thing, all this is merely the projections that our defiled minds, with our desires and fears, imbue into the phenomena that we discriminate into existence. In truth, all is quiescence; all is empty of essence; it is this realization that the bodhisattvas usher us toward, and all their miraculous powers move us in this direction, provided we practice with diligence. Once we can see clearly, we understand that all the turbidity in the world is like a trick of light.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:
User avatar
Nosta
Posts: 891
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: Where are the bodhisattvas?

Post by Nosta »

AlexMcLeod wrote:
pael wrote:How you can contact with bodhisattvas?
Purify your mind and they will make themselves known to you.

I never heard them or come to know them. But I also know that my mind is very impure, more than ordinary people: whenever I try to meditate, my mind jumps like a wild crazy monkey!
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”