Bodhisattvas and Arhats

Post sayings or stories from Buddhist traditions which you find interesting, inspiring or useful. (Your own stories are welcome on DW, but in the Creative Writing or Personal Experience forums rather than here.)
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Bodhisattvas and Arhats

Post by gloriasteinem » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:44 am

In days of yore, an older master was traveling along a country road, followed by a disciple carrying his bags. As they walked, they saw lands being tilled while farmers and oxen were strained to the utmost.

Countless worms and insects were killed in the process, and birds were swooping to eat them. This led the disciple to wonder to himself, "How hard it is to make a living. I will cultivate with all my strength, become a Buddha and save all these creatures." Immediately the Master, an Arhat able to read the thoughts of others, turned around and said, "Let me have those heavy bags and I will follow you." The disciple was puzzled but did as instructed and walked in front. As they continued on their way with the hot sun bearing down on them, dust swirling all around them, the road stretching endlessly in front, the disciple grew more and more tired. It wasn't long before he thought to himself, "There are so many sentient beings and there is so much suffering, how can I possibly help them all? Perhaps I should try to help myself only." Immediately, the Master behind him said, "Stop. Now you carry the bags and follow me." The puzzled disciple did as told, knowing he was not supposed to ask questions. He took up the bags again and walked behind. This sequence repeated itself several times. The Master walked in front with the disciple carrying the bags, then the disciple in front with the Master carrying the bags, back and forth, until they stopped for lunch. Then the disciple gathered his courage and asked the reason why. The Master said, "When you had exalted thoughts of saving all sentient beings, you had the Bodhi Mind, the mind of a Bodhisattva, and I as an Arhat had to follow you. But as soon as you had selfish thoughts, you were no longer a Bodhisattva, and being junior to me in years and cultivation, you had to carry my bags!"

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Re: Bodhisattvas and Arhats

Post by Jeff » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:38 pm

Very nice. Thank you. :smile:

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Re: Bodhisattvas and Arhats

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:34 am

thank you for that one

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Re: Bodhisattvas and Arhats

Post by joy&peace » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:27 pm

Wonderful. :meditate:
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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