questions on bodhisattva vow

victor van Bijlert victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL
Thu Dec 18 07:14:06 UTC 2008

Dear Allen,
These are interesting questions, but I do not know from what point of view
they are posed. They look like questions critical non-believers might pose,
or they are questions that medieval scholastics might have posed as an
exercise in theological rhetorics. Could you elucidate if these are
questions you have actually come across somewhere?

Kind regards
Victor van Bijlert

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] Namens Allen W Thrasher
Verzonden: woensdag 17 december 2008 18:44
Onderwerp: questions on bodhisattva vow

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
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

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