Apech

Bodhisattva vow

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The purpose of this topic is clarity on what exactly the Bodhisattva vow means.

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I have seen on here the oft repeated assertion that a Bodhisattva forgoes or turns back from enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings because of compassion. Most recently in a post by Vmarco on the boredom thread.

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This is really a distorted version of what the vow means but is one which seems to have the general agreement in the west.

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This is the bodhisattva vow taken from the Kagyu ngondro text:

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"Until I reach the essence of enlightenment I take refuge in all the buddhas, and likewise in the dharma and the assembly of bodhisattvas. Just as buddhas of the past gave rise to bodhicitta followed the bodhisattva path, and, through progressive training, established themselves into the stages of the bodhisattvas, likewise, for the benefit of sentient beings, I too, will give rise to bodhicitta, train in the bodhisattva path and stage by stage and gradually, as they did, become proficient."

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Or in a nutshell ... to benefit sentient beings I will strive towards buddha-hood.

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In the book "Buddhist Thoughts" by Paul Williams, Anthony Tribe and Alexander Wynne they say this:

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"It therefore becomes very problematic indeed to portray the bodhisattva, as do so many books in the west, as postponing nirvana."

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In other words it is hardly possible to work towards buddhahood for the benefit of sentient beings by refusing it or turning away. On the contrary you want to become a buddha i.e. achieve nirvana for the benefit of everyone. So it is just the motivation and not the goal which changes ... from 'I want peace=nirvana for myself' to 'I want to achieve it to benefit everyone (including myself)'.

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No forgoing, no turning back at all.

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I have heard it described differently in different places. I think there might be a trick in the wording though as there are unlimited sentient beings then helping them all is not possible as they are unlimited so by it's nature it is a never ending impossible task.. unless you gain an unlimited heart not bound by conventional restrictions ie if you attain Buddhahood.

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I have heard it described differently in different places. I think there might be a trick in the wording though as there are unlimited sentient beings then helping them all is not possible as they are unlimited so by it's nature it is a never ending impossible task.. unless you gain an unlimited heart not bound by conventional restrictions ie if you attain Buddhahood.

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Well, exactly ... if you wish to liberate sentient beings then the only way to do that (in Buddhist terms) is to achieve Buddha-hood.

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Well, exactly ... if you wish to liberate sentient beings then the only way to do that (in Buddhist terms) is to achieve Buddha-hood.

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Hello Apech,

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A great question. There is a clue to the answer in the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment where there is a discourse between Buddha and twelve Bodhisattvas who have awakened. Obviously we cannot know if these are the words of Buddha or if they were all Awakened but I think we can tell from some of the writing that there is a large amount of truth in it. Here is my view for what it is worth.

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A person who has Awakened realises the simplicity of the truth and instantly feels for those of us who are struggling along making it far more complicated than we need. Now such a person can really go one of two ways...firstly they are not bothered for they know that whether people Realise or not changes nothing and as a person thoughts of success, failure, suffering and not suffering have ended. However, we also discover in our hearts the seed of compassion which arises without and perhaps despite our thinking so we have a second way forward (the way of the Bodhissattva) that this person cannot rest without helping people to see the Truth. This inability to rest affects that person's calm and consequently they cannot remain mindful of Grace because the plight of others disturbs that quality. So end up with a person who is awakened, deeply settled and at peace but who finds that stillness disturbed by thoughts of wanting to help others. It is where that 'want' arises from that can mean there is still a thought of 'self' unless of course it comes from their true-heart (as a Taoist would say).

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Hope this helps.

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Heath

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Its a vow to work for the benefit of beings. It is also a vow to return if liberated, in the sense that when one is liberated, not returning is an option.

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the quote from shantideva is considered a suitable way to take the vow, its what i say in my morning prayers for example, but there is more to the vow than encapsulated in those words.

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to clarify, its not posponing nirvana, a bodhisattva can live in the state of nirvana, its that when they die they will be reborn until all beings are liberated. There are infinite beings in infinite worlds so its still problematic, but its not nirvana that a bodhisattva forgoes, its their own dissolution into the nothingness ne'er to return, that is renounced.

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all this according to my own understanding which is limited

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Its a vow to work for the benefit of beings. It is also a vow to return if liberated, in the sense that when one is liberated, not returning is an option.

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the quote from shantideva is considered a suitable way to take the vow, its what i say in my morning prayers for example, but there is more to the vow than encapsulated in those words.

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to clarify, its not posponing nirvana, a bodhisattva can live in the state of nirvana, its that when they die they will be reborn until all beings are liberated. There are infinite beings in infinite worlds so its still problematic, but its not nirvana that a bodhisattva forgoes, its their own dissolution into the nothingness ne'er to return, that is renounced.

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all this according to my own understanding which is limited

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I think your understanding is correct ... so the idea that a bodhisattva postpones or forgoes enlightenment is false. This dissolution ... which I assume is the Hinayana non-returner ... is the false goal ... nirvana as a kind of abstraction where you are just absorbed into the infinite ....the non-dual goal is that which is beyond both nirvana and samsara ... i.e. sunyata.

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I think your understanding is correct ... so the idea that a bodhisattva postpones or forgoes enlightenment is false. This dissolution ... which I assume is the Hinayana non-returner ... is the false goal ... nirvana as a kind of abstraction where you are just absorbed into the infinite ....the non-dual goal is that which is beyond both nirvana and samsara ... i.e. sunyata.

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i think that is pretty right on apech

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there is a goal which is beyond the hinayana goal of non-returning, beyond samsara, and beyond nirvana, but i don't think that buddha called it sunyata. I think he said it could only be realized, not expressed verbally, dualism in language being what it is and all. I am not sure he named it. I think nirvana can be expressed as "no-self" as it literally translates to extinguished (like a candle flame) and sunyata can be translated as emptiness. What the buddha was really pointing at is, in his own words, beyond concepts, hence the finger and the moon analogy. So there's no word in english sanskrit pali hindi tibetan that really can convey the primordial nondual state but yes it is talked about in all those languages

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again i could be wrong im just a student.. i dont think you can name that state although i think dzogchen (great perfection, great completeness) is an attempt to in tibetan.. still a finger really, just pointing

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Hello.

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Having wondered about these things and read much, here are some notes.

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Even Theravada acknowleges the distinction between pratyekabuddhas, shravaka arhats, and samyaksambuddhas. To be a samyaksambuddha is to be able to turn the wheel of dharma. In the Pali Cannon is the story that aeons ago the being who would become Shakyamuni Buddha made a vow before the samyaksambuddha of his time to become a samyaksambuddha himself, and spent aeons cultivating the ten perfections to this aim.

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http://www.accesstoi...i/wheel409.html

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Of course, this path is not emphasized in Theravada, and moreover it is said that the realization of a Buddha and an arhat is the same, only the capacity to help others is different. Among those that do emphasize the bodhisattva path (i.e. Mahayanists), there is quite a bewildering amount of literature containing many different stories about other beings who made such a vow (Avalokiteshvara, Amitabha, etc.), which inspired different ideas about what vows Mahayana-following humans should take. More radically different than Theravada is the notion that the realization of a Buddha is greater than that of an arhat, the former realizing twofold emptiness or the perfection of wisdom.

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These issues, and other ideas unique to Mahayana (e.g. Buddha nature) gave rise to many views on just what the relationship between arhats and bodhisattvas is. The conservative idea, as in Theravada, is that the Bodhisattva path is a choice, and a choice for very few courageous individuals at that. Related to this is the idea that the strength of a Bodhisattva's vows are what keeps him or her out of the stream that would inevitably lead to Nirvana once entered. At the other end of the specturm, there is the idea that Buddhahood is the where everyone ends up, and in particular that the Nirvana of an arhats is not everlasting, but eventually leads to the arousal of bodhicitta and entry into the bodhisattvayana. Both of these views had influence in China. But both agree that it takes many aeons to attain full Buddhahood. The big break that Chan made with the more orthodox branches of Chinese Buddhism was to say that the aeons of practicing the perfections to collect merit and wisdom were unnecessary, and that Buddhahood was right here, right now. Nichiren taught this also. From the Theravada/Early Buddhisnm view this is absurd: even if you could attain enlightenment in an instant, that does not qualify you to turn the wheel. Vajrayana follows the more traditional view, where the collections of merit and wisdom are still considered necessary, but the methods are said to reduce the time needed to do this down to as little as one lifetime (or less, if you believe some of the hagiographies of the mahasiddhas, but definitely not instantaneously).

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So, this question about vows. Wikipedia references "Words of my Perfect Teacher" that there are three types of Bodhisattva vow:

1. king-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to become buddha as soon as possible and then help sentient beings in full fledge;

2. boatman-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to achieve buddhahood along with other sentient beings and

3. shepherd-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to delay buddhahood until all other sentient beings achieve buddhahood. Bodhisattvas like AvalokiteΕ›vara and Śāntideva are believed to fall in this category.

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The article goes on to say that Maitreya was said to practice with the second type of aspiration, and that Tsongkhapa taught that second and third were very noble, but only the first actually possible (this fits the Theravada view on the matter).

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I remember reading the vows of Hsuan Hua, and one was to postpone enlightenment until all of samsara is emptied, so one can't really say that such a thing is an entirely mistaken idea.

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Now, other traditions don't have all the same technical jargon about bodhicitta, nirvana, sunyata, etc. but they do have the notion of beings who do not have any need to come to this world for themselves, but do so out of compassion. Thinking about things in terms of the infinite possibilities of worlds and planes other than this one was a major perspective changer for me personally.

Edited by Creation
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i think that is pretty right on apech

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there is a goal which is beyond the hinayana goal of non-returning, beyond samsara, and beyond nirvana, but i don't think that buddha called it sunyata. I think he said it could only be realized, not expressed verbally, dualism in language being what it is and all. I am not sure he named it. I think nirvana can be expressed as "no-self" as it literally translates to extinguished (like a candle flame) and sunyata can be translated as emptiness. What the buddha was really pointing at is, in his own words, beyond concepts, hence the finger and the moon analogy. So there's no word in english sanskrit pali hindi tibetan that really can convey the primordial nondual state but yes it is talked about in all those languages

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again i could be wrong im just a student.. i dont think you can name that state although i think dzogchen (great perfection, great completeness) is an attempt to in tibetan.. still a finger really, just pointing

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You are right ... I didn't mean to say they were some other thing called sunyata I meant to say they are both empty.

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Looking at the inner mechanics, in my opinion, it is to compare desire/actions for ones own gain and desire/actions for others (selfless).

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When trying to reach the ground of all things, selfless desire is going to greatly assist as it is much harder for the 'sense of self' to try and take ownership.

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A Bodhisattva is : Bodhi- enlightened. Sattva: Sentient Being.

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Just for the sake of saying, a Bodhisattva is a being who has realized enlightenment. Then, does the work of teaching others with affinities for those teachings, to realize enlightenment as well.

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When it is said that a Bodhisattva forsakes attaining the complete and perfect enlightenment until all beings are awakened, it means that all beings they have affinities with of the world of their mind. After eons when the merit and virtue is complete, and a being of the Bodhisattva process has fulfilled those vows, they will realize complete and perfect enlightenment.

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When "Buddhahood" is realized, they will still appear as a Bodhisattva for those with affinities, and appear as a Buddha for those who have the capacity to comprehend that state (basically other Buddhas).

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Bodhisattvas will also appear as normal people to those who have not yet realized any , or even some, awakening.

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So, when we see vows that state the forsaking of complete and perfect enlightenment, it is the expression of the heart of great compassion of the beings who wish to teach and transform all living beings ...who have affinities with them (for it can only be done if there are conditions with the Bodhisattva(s).

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Over time, they will attain complete and perfect enlightenment. Just like Guan Yin, who became a Buddha a long long long time ago, and many other Bodhisattvas the same. They utilize the Bodhisattva appearance to teach those with affinities.

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The Bodhisattva is just a manner of saying there is a deep and profound compassion for all living beings. Yet, the state of such a mind is met with holding/completion of vows, sincerity of practice and awakening.

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The purpose of this topic is clarity on what exactly the Bodhisattva vow means.

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I have seen on here the oft repeated assertion that a Bodhisattva forgoes or turns back from enlightenment for the sake of sentient beings because of compassion. Most recently in a post by Vmarco on the boredom thread.

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This is really a distorted version of what the vow means but is one which seems to have the general agreement in the west.

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Your sciential process is missing the point. First, why believe the literature you chose to include? Especially that of lineages solely seeking to promote their traditions?

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Sakyamuni Buddha is a good example of the Bodhisattva vow,...he did not seek enlightenment,...enlightenment was a consequence of his desire to understand dukkha. Likewise, a bodhisattva focuses on the liberation of sentient beings from their sentience, which as a consequence, leads to their own enlightenment.

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If you seek enlightenment for yourself, my guess is that you will never realize it. Going "inside" is an ego trick to sustain ego. Enlightenment is a consequence of going outside in an honest way, which leads to coming back into oneself as you go out, and thus cease coming and going. The realization of the reverse flow of forward moving things.

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Buddha said, "the Tathagata does not come and go."

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Lao Tzu said, "the Tao doesn't come and go."

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To be a Bodhisattva, one must "see" as a Bodhisattva. You (Apech) do not "see" as a Bodhisattva,...and therefore are unable to grasp the nature of a Bodhisattva, a Tathagata, or the Tao.

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If you wish to have an understanding of what a Bodhisattva vow actually indicates, I suggest the book Heart Attack Sutra, by prajnaparamita scholar Karl Brunnholzl.

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To "see" as a Bodhisattva is to have realized a level of liberation from sentience,...that is,...the cause of dukkha. While with all the liberated Bodhisattvas, Buddha agreed with Avalokitesvara when she said, "As soon as one sense-organ returns to the source, All the six are liberated."

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The only way to liberate sentient beings from their suffering is to liberate their sentience. In order to liberate sentient beings from their sentience, one must first liberate themselves. A Bodhisattva liberates themselves for the sake of Others. Selfishness cannot uncover enlightenment.

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As Lao tzu said, "the ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle; totally fascinated by the realm of the senses....if anyone threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go."

Edited by Vmarco

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When "Buddhahood" is realized, they will still appear as a Bodhisattva for those with affinities, and appear as a Buddha for those who have the capacity to comprehend that state (basically other Buddhas).

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Bodhisattvas will also appear as normal people to those who have not yet realized any , or even some, awakening.

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Do they appear only to buddhists or may I hope to get some help from them?

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Sakyamuni Buddha is a good example of the Bodhisattva vow,...he did not seek enlightenment,...enlightenment was a consequence of his desire to understand dukkha. Likewise, a bodhisattva focuses on the liberation of sentient beings from their sentience, which as a consequence, leads to their own enlightenment.

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If you seek enlightenment for yourself, my guess is that you will never realize it. Going "inside" is an ego trick to sustain ego. Enlightenment is a consequence of going outside in an honest way, which leads to coming back into oneself as you go out, and thus cease coming and going. The realization of the reverse flow of forward moving things.

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This is a point that -for me- is hard to understand.

We know that Shakyamuni took just one vow in his cultivation practice: "I will get enlightenment under this tree, or I'll die trying".

We may suppose that he didn't take bodhisattva's vow in secrecy because otherwise, he wouldn't leave his family (wife and young child)... in addition, he never helped other beings until full enlightenment... and the Gods had to come down from heavens to ask him explicitly to turn the Dharma wheel.

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Sure, probably he didn't seek enlightenment directly... because there was no clues that such a thing existed. But the lack of "compassion" elements remains.

So, how could you say that Shakyamuni is a good example of bodhisattva's vow?

Edited by DAO rain TAO

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A Bodhisattva Vow is simply a vow by the cultivator which resolves his mind to benefit living beings, in turn creating the merit and virtue to allow him/her to realize enlightenment. Upon making such a compassionate vow, it shows his/her already realization of enlightenment. With a mind unconfused, the cultivator thus places others benefit before his own, and offers it up as a service for living beings.

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Basically, a Bodhisattva gives, regardless if he has only one dollar, or one crumb of food, for the benefit of those he comes across.

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Bodhi= enlightened Sattva= Sentient Being.

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A Bodhisattva is thus one who is enlightened, and teaches others how to attain enlightenment.

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Shakyamuni Buddha, before appearing in the world as The World Honored One, was already a Buddha awaiting his time to come for the Saha world. He appeared as the mannerism he did to teach others the process, progress and realization of enlightenment.

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just like Maitreya Buddha at this time, who is awaiting his time in the Tushita Heavens. He is already a Buddha, yet his time for the world has not yet come. Though he does appear in our world to teach living beings, time is not ready for his overall teaching of the Dharma.

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Here is a link to the Bodhisattva Vows made by Master Xuan Hua:

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http://www.theosophy.com/theos-talk/200301/tt00625.html

Edited by 林愛偉
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Do they appear only to buddhists or may I hope to get some help from them?

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They appear to everyone they have affinities with. it doesn't matter if they are "Buddhist" in this life or not. For being a "Buddhist" is only the expedient means to the source teachings.

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This is a point that -for me- is hard to understand.

We know that Shakyamuni took just one vow in his cultivation practice: "I will get enlightenment under this tree, or I'll die trying".

We may suppose that he didn't take bodhisattva's vow in secrecy because otherwise, he wouldn't leave his family (wife and young child)... in addition, he never helped other beings until full enlightenment... and the Gods had to come down from heavens to ask him explicitly to turn the Dharma wheel.

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Sure, probably he didn't seek enlightenment directly... because there was no clues that such a thing existed. But the lack of "compassion" elements remains.

So, how could you say that Shakyamuni is a good example of bodhisattva's vow?

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i like this post.

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In past lives of Shakyamuni Buddha, before he realized fruition of the way, complete and proper enlightenment, he made many vows to benefit sentient beings.

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From my memory, which is an abbreviated version and just kindof cuts to the chase:

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In one life he was known as the "Patient Immortal" practicing patience. When a king went out hunting, he brought with him his many wives. Bored to death, they went walking around the forest and came across this ragged, dirty man. Thinking he was a beast, when he spoke to them, they were startled! They asked what kind of beast, or animal, etc, are you, and he replied he was neither, that he is cultivating patience.

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After a while the wives took to him, and began playing with his hair and touching his course skin because it was matted with dirt. He began to speak about dharma to them. Then, when the king was ready to go home, he found his wives laughing and giggling with this dirty fellow. Angry, he screamed what the hell are you doing with my wives? The patient Immortal replied that he was speaking dharma to them. The king asked what dharma, and he replied the dharma of patience. I am cultivating patience for the sake of living beings. I can not get angry.

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The king was taken aback, and dared him, saying we will see how patient you are. So the king cut off his hand, and asked if he was angry yet,, and he replied, No. Then he began to cut off his other hand, and both feet.

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Saying, I have cut off your 4 limbs, you must be angry. The Patient Immortal replied, not at all, I hold no anger towards you. The king was angry as hell, and concluded this man was a fraud, and or crazy. Then, the Patient Immortal said that if he held one ounce of anger in his heart towards the king, may his 4 limbs not grow back. Then, his four limbs grew back.

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After the Patient Immortal said that in the future when he realizes Buddhahood, the king will be the first to be taken across.

Thus when the Buddha did indeed realize Buddhahood, he went to the deer park and crossed over that king who was reincarnated as Ajnatakaundinya.

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The full story, is here:http://www.gbm-online.com/online/dharma/kali.html

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We can see that such a vow is for the benefit of living beings, thus the Buddha did indeed make a Bodhisattva vow at one point, and in many other lifetimes. Things stick, and when the time is ripe, one reaps the fruit.

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Thank you ^_^

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This means that it's not necessary to take vows in this life because maybe we made them in a previous life.

The main point is just to cultivate without a selfish attitude. And if we do that (like Shakyamuni did), then there's no problem in not taking formal vows.

Am I correct?

Edited by DAO rain TAO

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Thank you ^_^

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This means that it's not necessary to take vows in this life because maybe we made them in a previous life.

The main point is just to cultivate without a selfish attitude. And if we do that (like Shakyamuni did), then there's no problem in not taking formal vows.

Am I correct?

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We may have taken vows before, but not actually the 10 Major and 48 Minor Bodhisattva Precepts. Also, if we have no recollection of having taken any vows during any and all of our past lives, it is not safe to assume we have.

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Shakyamuni Buddha's appearing in our world, fully realized, teaching the Dharma and maintaining the principles therein were the fulfilling of his vows from past lives. In this, because he turned the Dharma Wheel, realized Buddhahood and took endless beings across shows his application and fulfillment of his vows. The act in itself was the embodiment of his vows.

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Vows are there to keep us going in the direction towards our goal. Why are they necessary? Because they help us to not waver. By stating a specific vow towards a goal, we attain a specific standing in our own mind. This standing, or merit so to say, is an empowerment and a catalyst to keep us moving forward in resolve to attain our goal. Vows also keep us on our toes so as if we almost make a mistake, we have an alarm system that screams loudly that it will go against what we promised ourselves and others and thus create obstacles in our path that we may not be able to break through this time around.

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It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with keeping the mind straight on the path to realization.

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It is advised to make vows in your practice so as to safeguard your mind from any external influences, and internal ones as well. Its a promise we make to ourselves...so why let ourselves down?

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There are ways to make and receive vows. Receiving by means of having a witness there, and or taking them in front of an image of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, in which one repeatedly recites their vows and bows until they receive a response. The response in mind, is seen as having there be a witness to your receiving the vows and such certifies one in having the vows being set. A response can come in any form in terms of it being from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, be it an image of their faces appearing, or hearing them say something, and or just inherently knowing that it was satisfied in taking them. Thus the work truly begins.

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So, it is necessary to make promises so as to keep one's mind focused and resolved to attain their goal. Especially towards refraining from the things that take away our essence, which are usually bad habits of our 6 sense faculties. The vows protect the mind and guard one's virtue. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have made vows that coincide with their cultivation. Its a powerful aid and an advised one to take.

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hehe I like your post, reminds me of finding loopholes.. hahaha :P:D

Edited by 林愛偉
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For me, it's basically a vow to continue the practice of developing Boddhichitta. It comes with a few more precepts than taking refuge and the precepts are much deeper.

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It's actually the opposite, taking this vow and striving diligently to develop limitless Boddhichitta is actually a cause for enlightenment, not something that will postpone or delay it. Funny how that works! :D

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A bodhisattva is a) anyone who has the aspiration to achieve Buddhahood as fast as possible for the sake of infinite sentient beings, or b ) someone who has achieved that goal (Buddhas are still bodhisattvas).

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If you have the aspiration, you are a bodhisattva. There are no vows necessary to be a bodhisattva.

Edited by alwayson

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Vows don't "make" one become a Bodhisattva, one's cultivation and the realization of it do...AND if we do that which a Bodhisattva does, then we are a Bodhisattva. Yet, those who haven't realized the fruition of a Bodhisattva are just like Bodhisattva in the rough, so to say.

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When the realization of it hits, that's when it is. Then, there is still more work to do.

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Vows keep one guarded on their path, and assist in refining one's skill, and mind. Its not that it is necessary to take them, it is most definitely advised to do so. And it is that way because one can not be sure they have enough concentration power to not drift off their path, and or not be taken by afflictions.

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There is nothing wrong with doing so, and still is a choice by the cultivator. To dismiss them as unnecessary is irresponsible. They are in fact a very necessary aspect along the path. When one sees that realization they will understand what vows actually mean. Some people may have attained a "high" enough level where as they do not need to take vows in this life, yet that is for them, and should not be advised for anyone else.

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In various Sutras the Buddha spoke, he did indeed speak on taking vows to attain the way. Even in the Dharani Sutra, Avalokiteshvaa speaks on holding the Dharani...which means not reciting it, but adhereing to vows, precepts in order to realize the true function of the Dharani Mantra and Great Compassion Dharma. His words were not opposed, but upheld and praised by Shakyamuni Buddha. Even various Bodhisattvas during that assembly spoke on vows as well.

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Even in the Shurangama Sutra, there is speaking of vows. They are definitely an aid that nourishes the seeds towards enlightenment.

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This is a point that -for me- is hard to understand.

We know that Shakyamuni took just one vow in his cultivation practice: "I will get enlightenment under this tree, or I'll die trying".

We may suppose that he didn't take bodhisattva's vow in secrecy because otherwise, he wouldn't leave his family (wife and young child)... in addition, he never helped other beings until full enlightenment... and the Gods had to come down from heavens to ask him explicitly to turn the Dharma wheel.

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Sure, probably he didn't seek enlightenment directly... because there was no clues that such a thing existed. But the lack of "compassion" elements remains.

So, how could you say that Shakyamuni is a good example of bodhisattva's vow?

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No,...that is a misinterpretation of his vow,...his vow was to understand the nature of dukkha, or I will die under this tree. Buddha did not, from what I read, and clearly posted above, seek enlightenment.

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The way many see enlightenment is that anyone, for any self-centered reason, can breakthrough. This is not the case,...NEVER! To realize enlightenment one must also breakthrough the desire to be enlightened. Buddhas quest was about Other,...not himself.

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The Bodhicharyavatara (The Way of the Bodhisattva) says,

"those desiring speedily to be

A refuge for themselves and other beings,

Should interchange the terms of I and Other,

And thus embrace a sacred mystery."

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Thank you ^_^

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This means that it's not necessary to take vows in this life because maybe we made them in a previous life.

The main point is just to cultivate without a selfish attitude. And if we do that (like Shakyamuni did), then there's no problem in not taking formal vows.

Am I correct?

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It is said, and I agree, that an authentic Bodhisattva vow carries over into all incarnations. For example, I did not have to take a bodhisattva vow in this life, because such vow was already taken, and when taken, one is impelled from the earliest of age.

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Merely saying something, like repeating a set of words for a New Years resolution, is not taking the bodhisattva vow,...although many believe it is. Taking the Kalachakra Initiation, as millions today do, is not a "been there, done that" proposition,...although many believe it is. Sentient beingness is a lie of ignorance, although many believe it is not.

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