Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

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Tenma
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Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Tenma » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:46 am

So bodhisattvas usually make the vow not to attain enlightenment until all sentient beings have achieved it. However, as these bodhisattvas have cancelled their enlightenment and there are many bodhisattvas, how are they exactly going to reach enlightenment with so many remaining from cancelling enlightenment?

markatex
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by markatex » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:41 pm

A bodhisattva vows not to enter nirvana until all beings are able to enter. Not quite the same thing. And a bodhisattva has, by definition, attained a degree of enlightenment.

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Vasana
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Vasana » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:27 pm

  • 'A commonly repeated misconception in Western literature is that bodhisattvas delay their own liberation. This confusion is based on a misreading of several different scriptural concepts and narratives. One of these is the Tibetan teaching on three types of motivation for generating bodhicitta. According to Patrul Rinpoche's 19th century Words of My Perfect Teacher (Kun bzang bla ma'i gzhal lung), a bodhisattva might be motivated in one of three ways. They are:

    king-like bodhicitta - to aspire to become a buddha first in order to then help sentient beings
    boatman-like bodhicitta - to aspire to become a buddha at the same time as other sentient beings
    shepherd-like bodhicitta - to aspire to become a buddha only after all other sentient beings have done so

    These three are not types of people, but rather types of motivation. According to Patrul Rinpoche, the third quality of intention is most noble though the mode by which buddhahood actually occurs is the first; that is, it is only possible to teach others the path to enlightenment once one has attained enlightenment oneself. [26] The ritualized formulation of the bodhisattva vow also reflects this order (becoming a buddha so that one can then teach others to do the same). A bodhisattva vow ritual text attributed to Nāgārjuna, of the second-third century CE, states the vow as follows: "Just as the past tathāgata arhat samyaksambuddhas, when engaging in the behavior of a bodhisattva, generated the aspiration to unsurpassed complete enlightenment so that all beings be liberated, all beings be freed, all beings be relieved, all beings attain complete nirvana, all beings be placed in omniscient wisdom, in the same way, I whose name is so-and-so, from this time forward, generate the aspiration to unsurpassed complete enlightenment so that all beings be liberated, all beings be freed, all beings be relieved, all beings attain complete nirvana, all beings be placed in omniscient wisdom." [27]

    Another reason for the misconception that a bodhisattva "delays" Buddhahood is that a bodhisattva rejects the liberation of the śravaka and pratyekabuddha, described in Mahāyāna literature as either inferior (as in Asaṅga's fourth century Yogācārabhūmi) or nonexistent (as in the Lotus Sūtra). [28] That a bodhisattva has the option to pursue such a lesser path, but instead chooses the long path towards buddhahood is one of the five criteria for one to be considered a bodhisattva. The other four are: being human, being a man, making a vow to become a buddha in the presence of a previous buddha, and receiving a prophecy from that buddha.'
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Vasana
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Vasana » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:28 pm

'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:27 pm

Basically a Bodhisattva willingly engages in actions that relieve the suffering of other beings, but generates the causes and conditions for their own rebirth in samasra (mainly because they may engage in actions which are contrary to the teachings in the Noble Eightfold Path).

What you are not understanding though my dear Tenma, is that sentient beings are infinite in number so even if there is a bodhisattva present for each sentient being and that bodhisattva helps that being be liberated, there are still infinite sentient beings left to be liberated.

infinity - infinity = infinity.

Basically a Bodhisattva takes the vow to remain in samsara forever. They do get liberated though since, even without wanting to, they accumulate the merit and wisdom to do so.
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Tenma
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Tenma » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:36 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:27 pm
Basically a Bodhisattva willingly engages in actions that relieve the suffering of other beings, but generates the causes and conditions for their own rebirth in samasra (mainly because they may engage in actions which are contrary to the teachings in the Noble Eightfold Path).

What you are not understanding though my dear Tenma, is that sentient beings are infinite in number so even if there is a bodhisattva present for each sentient being and that bodhisattva helps that being be liberated, there are still infinite sentient beings left to be liberated.

infinity - infinity = infinity.

Basically a Bodhisattva takes the vow to remain in samsara forever. They do get liberated though since, even without wanting to, they accumulate the merit and wisdom to do so.
So what is Kali Yuga? I thought the world was destroyed and everything was to restart. So even by Kali Yuga, there are still infinite beings? What's the point of the bodhisattva path when you can't save everyone and it will just be a "game over" by the time the Kalpa comes to an and?

So merit is the thing that leads to enlightenment?

Motova
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Motova » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm

I think it's safe to say that we'll be helping sentient beings forever.
To become a rain man one must master the ten virtues and sciences.

Tenma
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Tenma » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:33 pm

Motova wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm
I think it's safe to say that we'll be helping sentient beings forever.
So we will be reborn again to suffer despite achieving the state of nirvana?

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Vasana
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Vasana » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:30 am

Tenma wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:33 pm
Motova wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm
I think it's safe to say that we'll be helping sentient beings forever.
So we will be reborn again to suffer despite achieving the state of nirvana?
Yes and No. When viewed from the eyes of sentient beings it may seem that way but when viewed in the context of Prajnaparamita or from the perspective of a Bodhisattva on the Bhumis it's a little different. The different Bhumis carry with them more subtle levels of realizations and capacities to benefit beings in inconceivable ways. It's not an unbearable slog and the concept of rebirth and emanantion is realized on a much subtler level. The more wisdom you realize, the harder it is to forget upon rebirth until rebirth is it's self just a gesture of wisdom of compassion.

I think it's a topic that's overlooked is how overwhelming or discouraging such a great task may feel when we first learn about it but this can all be resolved by reading the Prajnaparamita and seeing how exactly the terms 'sentient being' and 'Bodhisattva' are to be understood and realized. Any gut reaction of discouragement towards what me might assume is an infinitely gruelling 'sacrifice' is due to our misunderstanding about the prajna-born ease and delight that Bodhisattvas have realized. It's no small task but at the same time it's no sweat for them and is actually said to be quite enjoyable and even blissful for those with Prajna, like roaming from one flower garden to the next, delighting in all of the sounds and sights of liberation.
Last edited by Vasana on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Vasana
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Vasana » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:34 am

  • 26.47 Then, Senior Su­bhūti replied to those divine princes as follows: “O divine princes, the astonishing singular difficulty for those bodhisattvas is not that they do not realize the uniformity of all virtuous attributes, by realizing which they would remain on the level of the śrāvakas or the level of the pratyekabuddhas, but, divine princes, their utmost difficulty is that they don the armor that resolves to establish innumerable, countless, and immeasurable hundreds of thousands of sentient beings in final nirvāṇa, while those sentient beings whom they would lead to final nirvāṇa are utterly non-apprehensible. [F.295.a]

    26.38
    “Those great bodhisattva beings who think they should seek to train all sentient beings and then, having really set out for unsurpassed, genuinely perfect enlightenment, don their armor, resolving to train all sentient beings, might as well think they should seek to train space. If you ask why‌, sentient beings should be regarded as voidness because space itself is void. Similarly, sentient beings should be regarded as emptiness because space itself is emptiness, and sentient beings should be regarded as essencelessness because space itself is essenceless. For this reason, divine princes, it is difficult for great bodhisattva beings who don the armor of great compassion for the sake of sentient beings who do not exist. Those who, for the sake of sentient beings, think they should don the armor of great compassion might as well think they should seek to do battle with space.

    26.39
    “Furthermore, the armor which great bodhisattva beings don and the sentient beings for whose sake they actually don their armor are both non-apprehensible. If you ask why‌, the armor should be regarded as void because sentient beings are void. If, when this is explained, great bodhisattva beings are not discouraged and not utterly disheartened, they do practice the transcendent perfection of wisdom. If you ask why‌, it is because the physical forms that are void constitute the nature of sentient beings, who are also void. Similarly, the feelings, perceptions, formative predispositions, and consciousness that are void constitute the nature of sentient beings, who are also void. Similarly, the physical forms, feelings, perceptions, formative predispositions, and consciousness that are void constitute the nature of the six transcendent perfections that are also void, and so on, in the same vein as before, up to and including omniscience.

    26.40
    “If, when it is taught that all things are void, great bodhisattva beings are not discouraged, not terrified, not fearful, not afraid, and will not be afraid, they do practice the transcendent perfection of wisdom.” [F.295.b]

    Then the Blessed One addressed Senior Su­bhūti: “Why, Su­bhūti, do great bodhisattva beings not become discouraged with regard to this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom?”

    26.41
    “Venerable Lord! Great bodhisattva beings do not become discouraged with regard to this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom owing to the non-existence of all things. Similarly, great bodhisattva beings do not become discouraged with regard to this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom owing to the fact that all things are void and calm. For this reason, Venerable Lord, great bodhisattva beings do not become discouraged with regard to this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom. If one were to ask why‌, Venerable Lord, it is because all things are non-apprehensible in terms of those who would be discouraged, the agent of their discouragement, or the object of their discouragement.

* http://read.84000.co/translation/UT22084-031-002.html
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

Motova
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Motova » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:53 am

Tenma wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:33 pm
Motova wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm
I think it's safe to say that we'll be helping sentient beings forever.
So we will be reborn again to suffer despite achieving the state of nirvana?
Buddhas don't suffer.
To become a rain man one must master the ten virtues and sciences.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Bodhisattva Rhetoric?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:58 am

Tenma wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:46 am
So bodhisattvas usually make the vow not to attain enlightenment until all sentient beings have achieved it. However, as these bodhisattvas have cancelled their enlightenment and there are many bodhisattvas, how are they exactly going to reach enlightenment with so many remaining from cancelling enlightenment?
This is how the Dalai Lama expresses it (here):
How rebirth takes place

There are two ways in which someone can take rebirth after death: rebirth under the sway of karma and destructive emotions and rebirth through the power of compassion and prayer. Regarding the first, due to ignorance, negative and positive karma are created and their imprints remain on the consciousness. These are reactivated through craving and grasping, propelling us into the next life. We then take rebirth involuntarily in higher or lower realms. This is the way ordinary beings circle incessantly through existence like the turning of a wheel.

Even under such circumstances ordinary beings can engage diligently with a positive aspiration in virtuous practices in their day-to-day lives. They familiarise themselves with virtue that at the time of death can be reactivated providing the means for them to take rebirth in a higher realm of existence.

On the other hand, superior Bodhisattvas, who have attained the path of seeing, are not reborn through the force of their karma and destructive emotions, but due to the power of their compassion for sentient beings and based on their prayers to benefit others. They are able to choose their place and time of birth as well as their future parents. Such a rebirth, which is solely for the benefit of others, is rebirth through the force of compassion and prayer.
I like the idea that adopting the attitude that we have been born out of 'the force of compassion and prayer' is 'the bodhisattva path'. It means that rather than regretting your life situation you can own it and turn it around so that instead of seeing it in terms of the consequence of 'karma and destructive emotions', it serves the purposes of liberation of beings.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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