questions on bodhisattva vow
Tenzin Bob Thurman
tbt7 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Thu Dec 18 02:24:31 UTC 2008
These questions are raised and debated interminably – supporting the
doctrine that all teachings and theories about the relative reality are
interpretable in nature. They say there are three ways of a bodhisattbva
becoming a buddha, like a cowherd, like a ferryman, and like a king. The
cowherd gets all the herd into the pasture then enters himself, the
ferryman and passengers reach the shore at the same time, and the king
firstr assums the royal position and power, and then lifts his kingdom
into exaltation. The aspirational vow you mention expresses the
sentiment of the former type, but the actual method is to fist become
buddha and then help others become enlightened.
Another way to think about it is that upon attaining buddhahood, one;s
awafreness expands into all three times, an so the future moments of
other beings' attainment of nirvana and buddhahood become present to the
bodhisattva in buddha-transition and so she has no sense of abandoning
them for her own nirvana.
Allen W Thrasher wrote:
> 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 loc.gov
> The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.
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