questions on bodhisattva vow

Allen W Thrasher ATHR at LOC.GOV
Wed Dec 17 17:44:05 UTC 2008

The bodhisattva takes a vow not to enter into Nirvana until all other sentient beings have done so before him.

1.  Does this mean never?
2.  If so, is it because some beings are permanently disqualified from nirvana?
3.  Or is it that they are literally infinite in number, and so though each will eventually enter it, there will always be more?  (I'm not sure this makes sense logically, but I'm asking what's said.)
4.  Or do new sentient beings somehow get started, replacing the ones that have entered into nirvana?  (I can't remember any S.Asian source that says new sentient beings come into existence, except (according to B. L. Atreya somewhere, the YogavAsiSTHa).
5.  Are these or similar questions ever raised at all?


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Team Coordinator
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list