Liberate all living beings

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Norden
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Liberate all living beings

Post by Norden »

Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?

如傑優婆塞
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by 如傑優婆塞 »

The Buddha said to Subhūti: “The bodhisattvas and mahāsattvas should subdue their thoughts like this:
All the different types of sentient beings, whether they be born from eggs, born from a womb, born from moisture or born spontaneously; whether or not they have form; whether they abide in perceptions or no perceptions; or without either perceptions or non-perceptions, I save them by causing them to enter nirvana without remainder. And when these immeasurable, countless, infinite number of sentient beings have been liberated, in actuality, no sentient being has attained liberation. Why is this so? Subhūti, If a bodhisattva abides in the signs of self, person, sentient being, or life-span, she or he is not a bodhisattva.”

“Subhūti, what do you think? You should not claim that the Tathāgata thinks ‘I will save sentient beings.’ Subhūti, do not think such a thing. Why? There are in fact no sentient beings for the Tathāgata to save. If there were sentient beings for the Tathāgata to save, it would mean that the Tathāgata holds the notions of self, person, sentient being, and life span. Subhūti, when the Tathāgata says ‘I,’ there is actually no ‘ I.’ Yet immature beings take this to be an I. Subhūti, as far as immature beings are concerned, the Tathāgata says that they are not immature beings.”
1

“Good friends, now that we have done the repentances, I will express for you the four great vows. You should all listen closely:
the sentient beings of our own minds are limitless, and we vow to save them all....

“Good friends, why don’t we all say [simply] ‘sentient beings are limitless, and we vow to save them all’? How should we say it? Certainly it’s
not me who’s doing the saving!

“Good friends, the ‘sentient beings of our own minds’ are the mental states of delusion, confusion, immorality, jealousy, and evil. All these are
sentient beings, and we must all [undergo] automatic salvation of the selfnature. This is called true salvation.

“What is ‘automatic salvation of the self-nature’? It is to use correct views to save the sentient beings of false views, afflictions, and stupidity
within our own minds. Having correct views, we may use the wisdom of prajñā to destroy the sentient beings of stupidity and delusion, automatically saving each and every one of them.When the false occurs, it is saved by the correct. When delusion occurs, it is saved by enlightenment. When stupidity occurs, it is saved by wisdom. When evil occurs, it is saved by good. Salvation such as this is called true salvation.
2

From an old thread, pay VERY close attention to the former Venerable Dr Huifeng

Hope it's all useful... :smile:

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seeker242
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by seeker242 »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
That's the $20,000 question! :smile:
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!

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Vasana
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Vasana »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am

Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings.
This is a misconception.
'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.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva
Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.
Perhaps the same misconception or misreading. Vowing to take rebirth and to send forth emanations for as long as there are sentient beings to be guided does not mean vowing not to attain enlightenment until the end of being's suffering.
Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
How do you know that the Buddha(s) are not still in the process of saving all living beings? (conventionally speaking.)

When you consider that Buddhism speaks in terms of unimaginably vast cosmic time-scales (with no ultimate begining or end) then there will certainly be a lot of progress towards guiding countless beings to the irreversible Bodhisattva Bhumis and Buddha-Hood.

More Bodhisattvas = eventually more Buddhas to guide = eventually more Bodhisattvas to guide = more beings who enter the path = more Bodhisattva and Buddhas = ...

But really, eventually the only way to explore this question is when you look at the mahayana tennets on shunyata in the Prajnaparamita sutras including the Diamond Sutra quoted earlier in this thread.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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Astus
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Astus »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings.
A bodhisattva vows not to attain the nirvana of the sravakas (aka nirupadisesa-nirvana) but the mahaparinirvana of the buddhas (i.e. apratisthita-nirvana), in other words, a bodhisattva aims for buddhahood and not arhatship.
Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
Buddhas do not stop liberating beings.

'Without conceptual thoughts or efforts, Buddhas manifest benefit for sentient beings spontaneously and unceasingly.'
(Gampopa: Jewel Ornament of Liberation, p 297)
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"

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
imo, what matters is that the boddhisatva unlocks himself from his own grief about an endless samsara because is detrimental to the correct perception of emptiness. when you came out of the rethoric of "an amout of sentient beings saved" and "an amount of sentient beings to be saved" a quantity isn't really important anymore.

what matters then is not the success rate, but to go beyhond action limitations regardless time and "revenue".

there are many crude, rude, perhaps disgusting (LOL) thruths in the mahayana way such as the endless samsara, decaying and impermanence, abscense of reliable happiness, etc. but one need guts, this is no kids play, that's why not everyone can deal with emptiness, which is like a panic button, an antidote for those.

i like to thing that boddhisatvas do what they want, and what they want is to apply boddhicitta, that's why they are called boddhisatvas, no? but if you are a buddha you aren't limited and you can apply it as well, in this case having mastered the thing and in consequence having endless boddhisatvas flocking towards you.

if i'm a boddhisatva then i want to learn from the buddha, because he is expert. right? so "postponing" buddhahood doesn't mean putting end to activity at all, so you don't actually need to refuse anything, you can do as you like.

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Grigoris
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Grigoris »

Vasana wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:39 pm
This is a misconception.
Not so much a misconception as a misunderstanding. When you vow to liberate all beings you may be forced to engage in actions that, although beneficial for (reducing the suffering of) sentient beings, are actually a cause of your own liberation being delayed.

You may be forced to steal, lie, kill, etc... in order to benefit others.

Although your motivation may be positive, the actions themselves bring consequences which will delay your personal liberation.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
Cannot recall offhand where in Nagarjuna's corpus I read this, but his explanation is a good one.

All beings are all the beings one had made karmic links with over many lifetimes. That is a very large number, but not all beings that have ever or will ever exist. That is one reason there are vast numbers of bodhisattvas & buddhas in the ten directions, so everyone has work to do.

Even the Bhadrakalpika Sutra - when a specific buddha is given, it mentions how many beings attained such & such a status due to that buddha's teaching and influence. Again, the numbers of beings helped forward on the path to buddhahood is large, but not infinite.
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by SunWuKong »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
One "being" at a time.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I recommend reading Myriad Worlds by Jamgon Kongtrul, the most clear elucidation of the Mahayana cosmology, including the relationship of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas with sentient beings. In fact, i'm going to go re read it now.
"...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."

-James Low

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Vasana
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Vasana »

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:40 pm
Vasana wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:39 pm
This is a misconception.
Not so much a misconception as a misunderstanding. When you vow to liberate all beings you may be forced to engage in actions that, although beneficial for (reducing the suffering of) sentient beings, are actually a cause of your own liberation being delayed.

You may be forced to steal, lie, kill, etc... in order to benefit others.

Although your motivation may be positive, the actions themselves bring consequences which will delay your personal liberation.
Surely all of that depends on the realization of the bodhisattva or aspirant and the context of any situation. Misidrecting or lying to someone with the intent to harm or kill someone wouldn't be negative for example.This Paltrul Rinpoche text speaks on the merits of committing nom virtuous acts for the benefit of others (it also advises beginners against doing this prematurely)

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-ma ... iderations
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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Grigoris
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Grigoris »

Vasana wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:56 am
Surely all of that depends on the realization of the bodhisattva or aspirant and the context of any situation. Misidrecting or lying to someone with the intent to harm or kill someone wouldn't be negative for example.This Paltrul Rinpoche text speaks on the merits of commuting nom virtuous acts for the benefit of others

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-ma ... iderations
Depends on your take, I tend to agree with Jigten Sumgon's analysis that motivation colours outcomes, but that actions have their specific outcomes (as per Pali Canon teachings).
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Vasana
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Vasana »

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:05 am
Vasana wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:56 am
Surely all of that depends on the realization of the bodhisattva or aspirant and the context of any situation. Misidrecting or lying to someone with the intent to harm or kill someone wouldn't be negative for example.This Paltrul Rinpoche text speaks on the merits of commuting nom virtuous acts for the benefit of others

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-ma ... iderations
Depends on your take, I tend to agree with Jigten Sumgon's analysis that motivation colours outcomes, but that actions have their specific outcomes (as per Pali Canon teachings).
Fair enough. I suppose it gets even more subtle when you throw purification, merit and the skillfull means in to the mix. This is probably why they say only the Tathagatas have complete knowledge of karma, causes and effects.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying

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Jerafreyr
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Jerafreyr »

Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
If bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all other beings attain enlightenment as well then how did the Buddha being a previous bodhisattva attain nirvana?

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SunWuKong
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by SunWuKong »

Jerafreyr wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:02 am
Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
If bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all other beings attain enlightenment as well then how did the Buddha being a previous bodhisattva attain nirvana?
Maybe because Buddhas do in fact save all sentient beings.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Grigoris
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Grigoris »

Jerafreyr wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:02 am
Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
If bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all other beings attain enlightenment as well then how did the Buddha being a previous bodhisattva attain nirvana?
King-like bodhicitta.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Norden
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Norden »

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:40 pm


Although your motivation may be positive, the actions themselves bring consequences which will delay your personal liberation.
Or maybe he will never attain the liberation or put suffering to an end, at least for himself.

Norden
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Norden »

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:44 pm
Jerafreyr wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:02 am
Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
If bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all other beings attain enlightenment as well then how did the Buddha being a previous bodhisattva attain nirvana?
Maybe because Buddhas do in fact save all sentient beings.
You missed it.
Buddha has attained parinibbana, but suffering is still existed. Hell is still there, animal realm is still there, samsara is still ticking.

Norden
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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Norden »

Jerafreyr wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 12:02 am
Norden wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:25 am
Hi all,

In Mahayana teachings, the aspiration or vow to save all living beings from suffering is more emphasized compare to Theravada teaching.
Bodhisattva vows not to attain nibbana before save all living beings. In East Asian Buddhism Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is said to refuse nibbana for the sake of all living beings, Dalai lama also has said once as long as there is suffering, he vows not to attain enlightenment or the end of suffering. Therefore, it's said it's a Bodhisattva path.

Question is, the goal of Buddhism is to end suffering. Samsara will always exist. Even the Buddha couldn't save all living beings, how is it possible for a Bodhisattva to save all living beings?
If bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all other beings attain enlightenment as well then how did the Buddha being a previous bodhisattva attain nirvana?
1. Maybe the Bodhisattva Siddharta vows were not like our Bodhisattva vows
2. Maybe he gave up his vow and attain enlightenment himself

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Re: Liberate all living beings

Post by Lobsang Chojor »

Norden wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:08 am
You missed it.
Buddha has attained parinibbana, but suffering is still existed. Hell is still there, animal realm is still there, samsara is still ticking.
The Buddha can't make you enlightened with a click of his fingers, you've got to study and practice the dharma.
Norden wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:11 am
1. Maybe the Bodhisattva Siddharta vows were not like our Bodhisattva vows
2. Maybe he gave up his vow and attain enlightenment himself
The Buddha demonstrated parinirvana to make sure we understand impermanence, if he never died we'd convince ourselves that we won't die.
"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
  • Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

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