Bodhisattva Questions (fwd)

Edward Crangle E.Crangle at
Sun Oct 16 08:20:31 UTC 1994

I am forwarding the following enquiry from Ken O'Neill. Perhaps someone 
on the Indology list can help him.

Peace All Ways, Eddie Crangle <E.Crangle at>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 1994 08:17:58 -0700
To: Multiple recipients of list BUDDHIST <BUDDHIST at JPNTUVM0.BITNET>
Subject: Bodhisattva Questions

        As far as I know, only two sutras are taught by lay bodhisattvas -
those of vimalakirti and shrimaladevi. Of course, in the kegongyo bodhisattvas
manifest in the world of form as various figures - but here, as with much of
living Tibetan Buddhism today, emphasis is placed on the "in-former" or the
bodhisattva who takes up the mask with entry into manifestation.

        I'm looking for information concerning the spectrum of so-called
'lay bodhisattvas' or 'householder bodhisattvas' in legend and lore, sutra
and myth, and hagiography. Does anyone know of instances of mythic personae
other than vimalakirti and shrimaladevi - localized (e.g., Tibet) or broadly
dispersed, in sutras or lore?

        It would seem that bodhisattvas are born of mythogenesis of certain
qualities or facets of the virtues of illumination rather than biography.
While Christianity's saints, for example, seem to stem largely from hagiography,

bodhisattvas seem to be born of imagination. Some traditions hold that
Nagarjuna attained only the first bhuumi. Are any bodhisattva traditions
rooted in lives of remarkable people? Monks, nuns, laiety? Even popular claims
or recognition that so-and-so attained a certain bodhisattva ranking counts.

        These are very general questions seeking information from across the
broad spectrum of buddhist traditions.

        Ken O'Neill
        koneil at


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