Founder of the Pi-lu lineage of Chan Buddhism.
"In Nanking a woman named Ju heard the sound of a small child's cries coming from an eagle's nest, went searching, and got him out. At age seven he left home. Later he went to Wan Mountain in the province of Dz??chuan at Jianshui ("Sword Water"), a treacherous area of the Yangtse River. He was commonly known as Zhigong ("Noble Zhi"). His face was rectangular and gleamed like a mirror, reflecting the faces of those who came before him. His hands and feet looked like birds' claws, and he ate minced fish. He would spit the fish meat back into the water where it would once again become living fish.
"Emperor Wu instructed a monk named Sengyou to paint the Master's portrait. The Venerable One scratched open his face with his talons, and from the gashes, one after another, emerged the twelve faces of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara-too extremely beautiful to paint!
"In the 13th year of the reign period Tianzhen (515 AD), he went unexpectedly to the emperor to announce his departure. The emperor was alarmed and asked, "How long will I live?" Zhigong smiled and did not reply. He merely drew his finger across his throat and left. [Note: This ominous gesture was probably the Master's prophecy of the emperor's subsequent death by starvation. In a past life Emperor Wu had been a cultivator. Annoyed by a pesky monkey, he locked it in a cave. After a time he forgot about it, and the monkey died of starvation. In a later life, the cultivator had accumulated blessings enough to become emperor, but bandits, with the monkey reborn as their leader, locked him in a tower and left him to starve.] Returning to his temple, he lit one candle and gave it to a secretary named Wuching. Wuching made this known to the emperor, who lamented, 'Does the great Master have nothing further to leave? Inform me of his death as soon as it happens.' Afterwards the emperor sponsored the construction of a five-story pagoda (stupa). On the day of his burial, the Master was seen standing among the clouds.
"His eulogy says:
Come forth from an eagle's nest,
He made strange tracks, impossible to fathom.
Ripping open his face,
A Body was disclosed.
There remains an image of purple sandalwood,
And, what is more, a standard of rules.
He stood alone above the clouds,
Leaving his traces in the void!"
(VBS #25, pp. 1-2)
*Estimates of the date of his birth vary from 417 to 421.
1) Ch. bau-jr .
"Bhikshu has three meanings, and so it is not translated from Sanskrit. It means 'mendicant', 'frightener of Mara'[i.e., the king of the heavenly demons], and 'destroyer of evil'. Above, a Bhikshu seeks the food of Dharma from all the Buddhas to nourish his Dharma body. Below, he seeks food from living beings to nourish the life of his wisdom. In making the alms round for food, he must seek alms from the rich and poor equally. What benefits does making the alms-round for food bring? It gives living beings a chance to plant blessings. Living beings make offerings to the Triple Jewel in order to attain blessings and virtue. Unless they make offerings to the Triple Jewel, their blessings thin out, and day by day they accordingly undergo more suffering. Many people don't know enough to make offerings on their own, and so the Bhikshus make the alms-round for food to make them aware of this practice. Seeking alms helps the Bhikshus to reduce their greed. It also helps lay people give rise to charitable states of mind. When Bhikshus seek alms, they make the alms-round in succession, from one house to the next; they can't skip over the poorer families and seek alms from the rich, hoping for better offerings. They must not discriminate in their seeking alms. They have to seek alms equally from all living beings, so that all will have an equal opportunity to plant blessings.
"The second meaning of the word Bhikshu is 'frightener of Mara'. When a person leaves the home-life to become a Bhikshu, the heavenly demons are upset. This is like your coming here to study the Buddhadharma: the demon kings use all their tricks to get you to quit studying, because they don't like it one bit. If you leave the home-life, the demons are even more unhappy. When a Bhikshu steps up on the Precept Platform for the [Bhikshu] Precepts to be transmitted, the three masters and seven certifiers, representing the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, who administer and certify the precepts, ask him, 'Have you brought forth the Bodhi mind?' And he says, 'Yes.' Then they ask him, 'Are you a great hero?' And he says, 'Yes I am.' At that time, an earth travelling yaksa takes the news to a space travelling yaksa, and the space-travelling yaksa flies up to the demon kings in the heavens and informs them that, among human beings, yet another one has left home to become a Bhikshu. When the demon king hears this, his palace quakes, as if there were an earthquake, and the demon king is afraid. Thus, Bhikshus are called 'frighteners of Mara.'
"Third, the word Bhikshu means 'destroyer of evil'. Bhikshus break through all the evils of the afflictions. People have afflictions which come to them at birth. When they are born, they lose their tempers and get angry and cry. Bhikshus break through afflictions, and just that is Bodhi. They give rise to the Bodhi mind.
"Since the word Bhikshu includes these three meanings, it is not translated but is left in the Sanskrit." (DFS IX 1683-1685)
The three meanings of Bhikshu complement the three meanings of Arhat (see entry).
1) Ch. bi qiu , 2) Skt. bhiksu, 3) bhikkhu, 4) Alternate Translations: almsman, mendicant, a Buddhist monk or priest, (etymologically 'one who wishes to share or partake').
See also: Shramana, Bhikshuni, Sangha, moral precepts.
BTTS References: EDR I 166-167; FAS Ch11 106-116, FAS Ch16 30-31; SS I 63-64; SS V 148-149; DFS II 181, 345; DFS IX 1683-1685.
The Buddha made the revolutionary move of establishing an organization, the bhiksuni-sangha, for women who wanted to devote themselves exclusively to the Dharma. In doing so he recognized the inherent spiritual worthiness of women and indicated that they too could become enlightened. Later, as recorded in the Dharma Flower Sutra, the Buddha predicted that particular Bhikshunis would become Buddhas.
1) Ch. bi qiu ni , 2) Skt. bhiksuni, 3) Pali bhikkhuni, 4) Alternate Translations: Buddhist nun, female mendicant, almswoman.
See also: Bhikshu, Sangha, moral precepts.
BTTS References: see references for Bhikshu.
"How does one accumulate blessings? It is from a number of actions, not just one. There is a saying, 'Don't skip doing a good deed just because it is small, and don't do a bad deed just because you think it is insignificant'. . . . For example, you should not think that a little lie is of no major importance. If you tell a lot of little lies, they become a big lie. In the same way, you should not think that killing an ant is a small and unimportant matter, because if one day you kill a person, it will have begun with your killing the ant. You should pay attention to little things and not follow your whims and wishes. To cultivate diligently the accumulation of blessings involves being very careful to do the deeds that should be done, even if they accumulate only a small amount of merit and virtue. Gradually they cause an accumulation of great merit and virtue. Mount Tai [a sacred mountain in China] is made up of individual motes of dust, but even though motes of dust are small, many of them gathered together make up a mountain. So too is the creating of blessings." (UW 77)
The Buddha, said, 'When you see someone practicing the Way of giving, aid him joyously, and you will obtain vast and great blessings.'
A Shramana asked, 'Is there an end to those blessings?'
The Buddha said, 'Consider the flame of a single lamp. Though a hundred thousand people come and light their own lamps from it so that they can cook their food and ward off the darkness, the first lamp remains the same as before. Blessings are like this, too.' (S42 23)
Sometimes a distinction is made between worldly 'blessings' or good karma and world-transcending merit and virtue.
Blessings attached to marks reap the
result of the heavens.
But just as an arrow shot into space
Falls as its velocity wanes,
So too, what you get in the life after that will make you unhappy. (FAS Ch24 44)
Building temples and giving sanction to the Sangha, practicing giving and arranging vegetarian feasts is called 'seeking blessings'. Do not mistake blessings for merit and virtue. Merit and virtue are in the Dharma body, not in the cultivation of blessings.
A confused person will foster blessings,
but not cultivate the Way,
And say, 'To practice for the blessings
is practice of the Way.'
While giving and making offerings
brings blessings without limit,
It is in the mind that the three evils
have their origin.
By seeking blessings you may wish
to obliterate offenses,
But in the future, though you are blessed,
offenses still remain.
You ought simply to strike the evil
conditions from your mind
By true repentance and reform
within your own self-nature.
1) Ch. fu , fu bao , 2) Skt. punya[-phala],
3) Pali punna,
4) Alternate Translations:
See also: merit, karma.
BTTS References: S42 23-27; DFS 1080-1; UW 77; PS 133-134, 194.
All the things that exist in the world are the wonderfully bright inherent mind of bodhi.
(SS III 196)
"Bodhi is Sanskrit. It is interpreted to mean 'awakening to the Way'. . . . Where does bodhi come from? Bodhi doesn't come from anywhere or go anywhere. Each of us is endowed with it. No one person has any more or less of it than anyone else. It neither increases nor decreases, neither comes into being nor ceases to be, nor is it defiled or pure." (SS I 180)
"The back of your hand is affliction, and the palm of your hand is bodhi. Realizing bodhi is just like flipping your hand from back to palm. When you turn affliction around, it's bodhi. Afflictions are the same as bodhi. Birth and death are the same as nirvana. If you understand, then afflictions are bodhi. If you don't understand, then bodhi is affliction. Bodhi isn't outside of afflictions, and there are no afflictions outside the scope of enlightenment. And so I very often cite the analogy of water and ice. If you pour a bowl of water over a person's body, even if you use a lot of force, you still won't hurt the person. However, if the bowl of water has turned into ice and you hit the person in the head with it, the person may very well die. Bodhi is like the water; afflictions are like the ice. If you melt ice, it becomes water; when you freeze water, it becomes ice." (FAS Ch24 63)
1) Ch. pu ti , 2) Skt. bodhi, 3) Pali bodhi, 4) Alternate Translations: enlightenment, awakening, the knowledge possessed by a Buddha.
See also: enlightenment, nirvana.
BTTS References: SS I 180-181; SS III 135-137, 196-197; FAS Ch24 63.
The Twenty-Eighth Indian Patriarch Great Master Bodhidharma
"The Patriarch was a native of Southern India, the third son of king Utmost Fragrance, of the Kshatriya class. At first the king made offerings to Prajnatara, because of being tested with a precious pearl. The patriarch Bodhidharma became clear about the mind ground Dharma Door. Prajnatara accordingly transmitted the Dharma to him. Venerable Prajnatara was the Twenty-Seventh Indian Patriarch. Some accounts say that Prajnatara was Patriarch Bodhidharma's disciple, and others say that he was Bodhidharma's teacher. And so in Buddhism there are many things that cannot be determined precisely because of the fallibility of historical records. We will consider the Venerable Prajnatara the Twenty-Seventh Indian Patriarch as many accounts do. But some books list him differently. From this we should realize that not all books are accurate. A verse says;
The mind ground produces all seeds.
because of specifics there further emerges principle.
When the fruit is full, bodhi is perfected.
When the flower blossoms, the worldly arises.
The specifics reveal the principle. But it can go either way, depending on what people do. The fruit can ripen into Bodhi or it can flower into all kinds of worldly problems.
"When the patriarch had obtained the Dharma for a very long time, he called to mind that conditions in China were ripe, and so he sailed by boat to see the reigning king Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty. When he reached Guangzhou (Canton), a subordinate envoy of the royal house of Xiao sent word to Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty, who thereupon asked him to come to see him.
"He asked him, 'What is the sagely truth in the primary sense, the primary principle?'
"The Patriarch said, 'There simply isn't any sage.'
"Emperor Wu of Liang simply didn't understand what he was talking about, and so he said, 'Then who is before me? Who is it who is talking to me?' His meaning was, 'You're a sage, aren't you? You are talking to me, and so who is that?'
"The Patriarch said, 'I don't recognize him.' I don't recognize who he is.
"The Emperor did not make the connection. Emperor Wu of Liang did not understand that sages have no attributes of a self. He considered himself a sage and was very self-satisfied, but he basically was the same as any ordinary person. Because of that, the Patriarch crossed the Yangtze River and passed through the part of China that was under Wei reign. The Liang dynasty reigned in southern China with its capital at Nanjing. The north of China was at the same time governed by the Wei Dynasty with its capital at Loyang. This was during the Five Kingdoms period (386-581), and so China was divided into many different countries with different rulers. He arrived at Shaolin Monastery on Song Mountain. Afterwards he met Shenguang and transmitted the Great Dharma to him. He transmitted the Patriarchs' Proper Dharma Eye Treasury to Shenguang. And then accompanied him to Thousand Sages Monastery in Yunnan. He transformed himself while seated. He sat down and went off to rebirth. That is what this account says. But many books say that Patriarch Bodhidharma did not enter the stillness (i.e., nirvana) at all. These are inconceivable events and are not subject to ordinary proofs and tests of truth. He was buried at Bear's Ear Mountain. Emperor Taizhong of the Tang dynasty conferred the posthumous title of 'Perfectly Enlightened Great Master' upon him. his stupa inscription reads: 'Contemplator Of Emptiness'.
"A verse in praise of him says:
When he first came to China,
He did not recognize who was before the emperor.
Overturning nest and bowl,
He beat emptiness until it bled.
He met a person who cut off his arm.
At Bear's Peak the path came to its end.
He divided his marrow and divided his skin,
Adding frost on top of snow.
'Overturning nest and bowl' means he broke through the antiquated patterns, and so there wasn't any 'niche' for him. The Second Patriarch cut off his arm for the sake of the Dharma, and so Patriarch Bodhidharma transmitted the Dharma to him. Arriving at Bear's Ear Mountain, where he transmitted the Dharma, he had no further place he needed to go. 'He divided his marrow and divided his skin.' Some obtained the marrow of the Patriarch's teaching, some obtained the skin. The analogy is of frost added to snow. Snow is very cold to start with and when frost is added it is even colder still.
"Another verse says:
China's conditions were ripe, and so
He did not recognize who was before the emperor, the potentials were not ready yet.
Shenguang at Bear's Ear knelt for nine years.
As 'able wisdom'(Huike), he collected snow with one arm cut off.
Using the mind seal to seal the mind, there was transmission of Great Dharma.
From the first patriarch to the second patriarch, the life-pulse continued.
Six times was he attacked, yet not a hair of his was injured.
With one shoe he returned west, to be remembered forever after.
"Patriarch Bodhidharma had been in India and all of a sudden it had occurred to him that Buddhism ought to flourish in China where conditions were ripe. 'The Dharma came' means Patriarch Bodhidharma came to China, bringing the Dharma with him.
"When Emperor Wu of Liang saw Bodhidharma, he asked him, 'What's meant by Sagely Truth?' He was not just referring to the Four Sagely Truths, he was referring to the foremost truth-Truth in the Primary Sense. It is defined as being 'prior to the arising of a thought.'
The path of words and language is cut off.
The place of the mind's workings is extinguished.
Emperor Wu of Liang had heard a lot, had built a lot of temples, had sanctioned many people's wishes to leave home, and so he thought he had already obtained the Sagely Truth. He thought that his merit and virtue were plentiful. And so his aim in asking his questions was to get Patriarch Bodhidharma to praise him. He expected him to say things like, 'Great King, you are really good. You have a great destiny in advocating the Buddhadharma. You already have clearly seen the Sagely Truth.'
"But Patriarch Bodhidharma was the Twenty-Eighth Indian Patriarch. How could he be vulgar and obsequious and play up to an emperor? He could not. He didn't say a single word of praise. He said, 'There simply isn't any sage. There isn't anything at all.'
"When Emperor Wu of Liang didn't get his praise, he tried giving Patriarch Bodhidharma a high hat to wear and said, in effect, 'You've come from India and are a member of the Sagely Sangha, someone who understands sagely truth, and so how can you say there simply isn't any sage?' And so still trying to get some praise from Bodhidharma, he said, 'Then who is before me? Who is talking to me?' His meaning was, 'You are a sage, and I too am a sage. Both of us have the skill that comes from realizing Truth in the Primary Sense.'
"Little did he expect that, far from agreeing with that, Bodhidharma would say, 'There simply isn't any sage,' thus sweeping away all dharmas and leaving all marks. 'There isn't anything at all. If there is anything at all, there is attachment to marks. There is attachment to the mark of self, the mark of others, the mark of living beings, and the mark of lifespans. But he was indicating that there is nothing whatsoever. And so Emperor Wu further asked him, 'Then who is before me?'
"Patriarch Bodhidharma's answer was even simpler than before. He said, 'I don't recognize who it is. I don't recognize who is before you, emperor.' On the one hand, that showed he wasn't self-satisfied, unlike we who feel that it is sweet as eating honey if someone praises us, and that getting that honey is the best thing there is. He 'didn't recognize who it was.' But the emperor didn't make the connection because his 'potentials were not ready yet.'
"'Shenguang at Bear's Ear knelt for nine years.' After Patriarch Bodhidharma finished his conversation with the emperor, he left. He could see that the emperor wasn't getting what he was saying-that he had only understood half a sentence of it at best. At Nanjing he encountered a Dharma Master who was lecturing on Sutras. When Dharma Master Shenguang lectured, heavenly flowers showered down in profusion, and golden lotuses welled up from the earth. At the time, people who had opened the Five Eyes (see entry) could see this state occur when he was lecturing. That was a big response! But when Patriarch Bodhidharma arrived on the scene to take a look, he asked Dharma Master Shenguang, 'Dharma Master, what are you doing here?'
"Shenguang replied, 'What am I doing! I'm lecturing on the sutras and speaking Dharma to teach and transform living beings!'
"Patriarch Bodhidharma replied, 'You say you are lecturing, but what is black are the words and what is white is the paper. How can that be used to teach and transform living beings?'
"When Dharma Master Shenguang heard that, he said, 'Now you are slandering the Buddha and the Dharma. You are a despicable barbarian! You are a great demon.' After scolding him like that, Dharma Master Shenguang took his recitation beads, which were made of iron, and struck Bodhidharma with them. He aimed at Bodhidharma's head, but the Patriarch threw his head back, and so he was struck on the mouth. The blow knocked two of his teeth loose. Bodhidharma thought, 'If I spit these two teeth out on the ground, this place will undergo a terrible drought for three years.' That is what happens if a sage's teeth are knocked to the ground-a great disaster will occur there. If it didn't rain for three years, a lot of people would starve to death. He didn't want that to happen, and so he swallowed his two teeth instead of spitting them out. That is how compassionate he was. Then he left.
"After Bodhidharma left, the Ghost of Impermanence arrived with a summons for Dharma Master Shenguang. The ghost said, 'Dharma Master, today your life should end. We have come to invite you to King Yama's for tea.'
"Dharma Master Shenguang said, 'I lecture on the Sutras so well; I still have to die?'
"The ghost said, 'You lecture on the Sutras just fine, but you haven't ended birth and death.'
"The Dharma Master asked, 'Is there anyone in this world that King Yama does not govern? Is there anyone who has ended birth and death?'
"The Ghost of Impermanence said, 'Yes, there is someone.'
"'The Dharma Master whose two teeth you just knocked out, that ugly monk, is someone whom King Yama has no control over. Not only does King Yama not govern him, when King Yama sees him, he bows before him.'
"'Oh! Then I must follow him and find him. I want to learn the method for becoming someone whom King Yama does not govern.'
"'Fine, I'll give you some time,' and with that, the Ghost of Impermanence let him go.
"Dharma Master Shenguang was in a terrible hurry. He didn't even take time to put on his shoes; he just grabbed them and ran barefoot.
"Meanwhile, Bodhidharma had met a parrot on the road. The parrot could talk. It said:
Mind Come from the West,
Mind Come from the West,
Please teach me the way
To escape from this cage.
"Bodhidharma thought, 'I came here to save people and it's not working out; at least I can save this parrot.' And so he taught him:
To escape from the cage,
To escape from the cage,
Stick both legs straight out.
Close both eyes tight.
That's the way to escape your cage.
"The parrot heard and understood. It pretended to be dead. It lay on the bottom of its cage with its legs stuck out still and its eyes closed tight, not moving, not even breathing. The owner found the parrot this way and took it out to have a look. He held the bird in his hand, peering at it from the left and right until he was convinced it was indeed dead. The only thing about it was, it was still warm. But it wasn't breathing. And so the owner opened his hand and in that instant the parrot was fully revived. Phrtttt! It flew away and escaped its cage.
"Dharma Master Shenguang pursued Bodhidharma all the way to Bear's Ear Mountain (Xiong Er Shan), which was in the Song range, the middle range of the five great mountain ranges of China. Bodhidharma was sitting there facing a wall, not speaking to anyone. Shenguang tried to talk to Bodhidharma, but the Patriarch completely ignored him. And so Shenguang knelt there. He knelt for nine years while Bodhidharma sat. After nine years of kneeling his skill was fairly well developed, but it had not yet been brought to realization. 'As "Able Wisdom"'-Huike-the name Bodhidharma gave Shenguang, 'he collected snow with one arm cut off.' How did his wisdom come to be 'able'? In the winter of the ninth year of kneeling, there was a great snowfall. The snow covered him as he knelt there. It reached clear up to his waist. Probably he was shaking with cold and decided to try to speak to the Patriarch again. 'Patriarch, please be compassionate and transmit the Dharma to me. It was a terrible mistake I made when I knocked your two teeth out. I realize now that you have Way virtue, that you are One Who Has Obtained the Way.'
"Bodhidharma asked him, 'What is falling outside?'
"'What color is the snow?'
"'Snow is white.'
"'When the snow turns red, I will transmit the Dharma to you.' This was a test. But by that time Shenguang could figure out what to do.
"'Fine,' he thought, 'You want red snow?' And so he took his precept-knife, which was carried by the ancients. It was to use if a situation ever arose in which one would have to break a precept. Rather than break a precept, one would prefer to use the knife to cut off one's own head. But now Shenguang grabbed the knife and sliced off one of his arms. The blood spurted out all over the place and colored the snow red. He took up a bunch of the red snow and went before Bodhidharma, holding it aloft to offer to him. 'See, the snow is red,' he said.
"Bodhidharma said, 'You have a bit of sincerity. My journey to China has not been in vain. Fine. I will transmit the Dharma to you.' Bodhidharma transmitted the Proper Dharma Eye Treasury, the Wonderful Mind of Nirvana, to Great Master Able Wisdom [Huike]. And so the First Patriarch and the Second Patriarch continued the life-pulse of the Buddha's teaching.
"'Six times he was attacked; not a hair of his was injured.' While Patriarch Bodhidharma was in China, people of various externalist cults and sects were jealous of him. They tried six times to poison him. The first five times he was not poisoned to death. The sixth time he was given poison he spit it out on a rock, and it split the rock in two. And so he thought, 'People are so jealous, I'd best enter the stillness (i.e., nirvana).' And so he pretended to enter the stillness. Then people buried him. But just at that time, in Northern Wei there was a government official named Song. At Zongling, at Zhongnan Mountain, he encountered Bodhidharma. The Patriarch was carrying one shoe in his hand. He said to Officer Song, 'There is a lot of turmoil in your country. You should return there immediately.'
"Song didn't think there was any problem in his country, but he returned just the same and found that indeed the Wei dynasty was being overthrown. 'Ah,' he thought, 'Bodhidharma's words are really accurate.' When he related the Patriarch's advice to others, they asked him, 'Where did you see Bodhidharma?'
"'I saw him just two days ago at Zonglin. He was carrying one shoe, and when I asked him where he was going, he said, "Back to India." He told me that our dynasty was in trouble, and he was right.'
"'You saw a ghost!' they told him. 'Bodhidharma has already been dead a long time.'
"'Where is he buried?' asked the official. 'Let's go see.' They opened the grave and there was nothing inside except for one shoe. 'With one shoe he returned West, to be remembered forever after.' He went back to India with one shoe. But the memory of him was left in Jung Gwo for people to hold ever after. They will never forget Patriarch Bodhidharma. His state was inconceivable." (VBS, June, 1984, pp. 1-3, 12)
1) Ch. pu ti da mo , Skt. bodhidharma.
See also: Chan School, lineage, Huineng (Patriarch).
BTTS References: VBS #169, June, 1984, pp. 1-3, 12; PS 8-16; SS VII 54-55.
"When you have your first thought of faith in the Buddha, that's bringing forth the Bodhi resolve.
"To want to cultivate is called bringing forth the Bodhi resolve.
"Bringing forth the Bodhi resolve is simply benefitting others. Not having selfish thoughts of benefitting oneself is bringing forth the Bodhi resolve."
(FAS Ch17 2-3)
"The Bodhi resolve arises when, during the course of one's cultivation, one is most singleminded. One becomes a Buddha right here in the world, and it may occur at any time throughout several hundreds of thousands of myriads of aeons. Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated for three great asankhyeya (see entry) kalpas. And how long is an asankhyeya kalpa? It can only be described as a limitless length of time. . . . That means that Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated for three limitlessly vast expanses of time.
"Therefore, in the Flower Adornment Sutra we are told how at the time of first bringing forth the resolve, one realizes Proper and Equal Enlightenment. When one is singleminded to the utmost, the Bodhi resolve suddenly comes forth, and one becomes a Buddha. It can also happen in one's mind in the course of walking the Path of Bodhi. In cultivating the Six Paramitas (see entry) and the myriad practices, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. When one is non-retreating to the point that one would never turn back, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. By being vigorous day and night, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. For example, those who live at the Way-place here do Morning Recitation, work all day long, and then when evening comes, they forget about sleep-even after working so hard all day long. That's all part of bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. Therefore, you should all be attentive and not reject these aspects of bringing forth the Bodhi resolve-don't neglect them. Use whatever skill you have in cultivation, and consider the Bodhi resolve to be your personal responsibility and your responsibility toward others. In that way, you will be vigorous in your work. That is how one can be a superior and lofty person." (FAS Ch5 178-179).
"Good man, the Bodhi resolve brings to realization infinite merit and virtue. . . . You should know that it is entirely equal to all the merit and virtue of all Buddhadharmas. Why? It is because the Bodhi resolve produces all Bodhisattva conduct. It is because the Tathagatas of the three periods of time are born from the Bodhi resolve. Therefore, good man, if there are those who have brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, they have already given birth to infinite merit and virtue and are universally able to collect themselves and remain on the Path of All-wisdom."
(EDR VIII 77-78)
All Buddhas take a heart of great compassion as their substance. Because of living beings, they gave rise to great compassion. Because of great compassion, they brought forth the Bodhi-resolve. Because of the Bodhi resolve, they realized the proper and equal enlightenment. (UW)
1) Ch. fa pu ti xin , 2) Skt. bodhicittotpada, 3) Pali --, 4) Alternate Translations: giving rise to/ generating/ developing the bodhi-mind, developing bodhi in one's heart, setting the mind on bodhi, developing the thought of enlightenment, the mental attitude which aspires to Buddhahood.
See also: bodhi, Bodhisattva.
BTTS References: "Essay on Exhortation to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve" BTTS in press; FAS Ch5, Ch17; EDR VIII.
1) Enlightener of Sentient Beings. The Bodhisattva takes the enlightenment that he has been certified as having attained, the wisdom that he has uncovered, and uses that enlightened wisdom to enlighten all other sentient beings.
2) An Enlightened Sentient Being. The Bodhisattva is also a sentient being, but he is one who has become enlightened.
Together these two meanings show that a Bodhisattva is an enlightened sentient being who enlightens other beings." (HD 13)
Good man, you should know that what a Bodhisattva does is most difficult. It is difficult for him to appear (in the world) and difficult for one to encounter him. To be able to see a Bodhisattva is twice as difficult. A Bodhisattva is one on whom all living beings rely. He causes them to grow and brings them to realization. He is the savior of all living beings, because he plucks them out of suffering and hardships. He is the refuge of all beings, because he protects and guards the world. He is the rescuer of all beings, because he delivers them from fear. (EDR II 70)
A Bodhisattva is someone who has resolved to become a Buddha (see Bodhi resolve) and who is cultivating the Path to becoming a Buddha. Usually the term Bodhisattva is reserved for those who have reached some level of enlightenment. The term Bodhisattva, Mahasattva (great being), refers to Bodhisattvas who have gone beyond the seventh ground of the Bodhisattva Path (see Ten Grounds).
"A Bodhisattva . . . is also called 'a living being with a great mind attuned to the Way.' No matter how badly people may act towards him, he doesn't hold it against them. He absolutely never becomes irritated, never loses his temper. . . ." (SS I 107)
"Bodhisattva is an extremely spiritual and holy name. . . . Some people claim they are Bodhisattvas, although they are not. Some people who are Bodhisattvas will not admit it. You see, it is very strange: those who are not Bodhisattvas say they are, while those who are don't say so. Ultimately, whether you say so or not, those who aren't, aren't, and those who are, are. There is no need to say so. Bodhisattvas don't put ads in the newspapers saying, 'Do you recognize me? I am a Bodhisattva.'" (HS 96)
"When the Bodhisattva walks the Bodhisattva Path, he does what is very difficult. From an ordinary point of view, a Bodhisattva practicing the Bodhisattva Path appears quite stupid. If he were not, then why would he choose to undergo suffering himself in order to come and teach and transform living beings? But no matter what kind of suffering there is, he can endure it. He undergoes intense suffering even to the point of enduring the suffering due other living beings. If the Bodhisattva weren't stupid, then why would he take such a big personal loss? He doesn't benefit himself in anything he does. But that isn't because he is stupid. A Bodhisattva has great wisdom. Because he has great wisdom, he wants to take across all living beings and cause all of them to have wisdom too. He wants to forsake himself for the sake of the multitudes. He forsakes his own small self in order to bring living beings' great selves to realization. When you walk the Path of the Bodhisattva you benefit yourself and you benefit others. In doing this you shouldn't fear any kind of suffering. The Bodhisattva undergoes suffering just as if he were eating candy. He undergoes suffering as if there were no suffering to undergo. Furthermore, he wants to undergo suffering for the sake of all living beings. That is the one kind of suffering that's worthwhile. Moreover, the Bodhisattva thinks that:
To endure suffering is to end suffering.
To enjoy blessings is to exhaust blessings.
Because he thinks in that way, he undergoes suffering on behalf of living beings. He transfers all of his bliss to all living beings in the Dharma Realm (see transference/dedication). The merit from this kind of open and unselfish action is inexhaustible. It is completely public spirited, and it is for the benefit of all living beings." (FAS Ch9 44)
"A Bodhisattva is someone who likes to help other people. If you help others, then you are a Bodhisattva. If I help others, then I am a Bodhisattva. If you do not help others, then you are a raksasa ghost. If I do not help others, then I am a raksasa ghost. . . .
"'But I have no power to help others,' you say. 'First of all I have no money, and secondly I don't know how to talk to people. How can I help people?'
". . . Have a compassionate mouth, not one which scolds people. Have a skilful tongue that finds ways to reason with people, not a tongue which continually gossips. Find a way to lessen the strife and discord in the world. Then, whether or not you have money, you can foster merit. If you have money, you can use that too, but what is more important is to have good thoughts, do good deeds, and be a good person. . . ." (DS 5-6)
The Path of the Bodhisattva consists of practicing the Six (or ten) Paramitas and traversing the many stages of partial enlightenment leading to the perfect enlightenment of Buddhahood.
The Venerable Shariputra Tries to Cultivate
the Path of the Bodhisattva
"The Venerable Shariputra, upon hearing the Buddha say that cultivating the Bodhisattva Way was the door of the Great Vehicle practice, decided that he too would cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. When you are cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, if someone wants your head, you have to give them your head. If they want your hands, you have to give them your hands. If they want your feet, you have to give your feet away. In general, if living beings want your body, you are supposed to give it to them: head, eyes, brains, marrow-that's inner wealth. If someone needs those things of yours, and you're cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, you have to give them up.
"Shariputra personally told the Buddha that he was going to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, to cultivate Great Vehicle Dharma. The Buddha said, 'You'd better try it out first. It is not all that easy. Give it a preliminary three-month trial run. Then if you find you really can do it, you can set about cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way in earnest. In cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, you must have an attitude of there being no self, no others, no living beings, and no lifespan. You have to be able to stomach the most bitter things, and yield the most pleasant ones to others. You must sacrifice yourself for the sake of others.'
"Shariputra said, 'I think I can do that. I imagine I could give my body away to someone if that person asked for it.'
"The Buddha said, 'Okay, go try it out.'
"Thereupon Shariputra set out to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. As he was walking the Bodhisattva Path, he saw a stone in the road and said to himself, 'I should move this rock away or else people with poor eyesight walking along this road could break a leg or have a spill and be injured.' And so he moved the rock away and thought to himself, 'I'm cultivating the Bodhisattva Way.' He kept on going and ran into a hole full of water. He said, 'I'd better fill this hole. It would be easy to walk here if there weren't any water. Filling the hole would prevent situations such as that when Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous life had to spread out his hair to cover a mud puddle.' And so he found a pail and brought load after load of dirt until he had filled the hole so there was no more water. Then he said to himself, 'These are both ways of benefitting people. The road wasn't easy to travel on but I've repaired it, and that is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way.' He was very happy that he had cultivated the Bodhisattva Way twice that day. When he went back and sat in meditation that evening, he felt very comfortable and said, 'It's not strange that people cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. It's really fine. Today I have fewer false thoughts during my meditation. I'm certainly going to continue to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way.'
"The next day he set out for the mountains, where he found lots of dead trees. He said, "I'm going to clear those dead trees off to one side, which will also be cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way.' Then he met an eyeless person who was walking down the road without a guide. He thought, "I should cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and escort this blind person to his home.' And so he said, 'Mr Blindman, where do you want to go?'
"The eyeless person said, 'You are the blindman!'
"Shariputra thought, 'What? He's the blindman, and he gets upset when I call him "Mr Blindman". Oh well, when one cultivates the Bodhisattva Way, one has to be patient.' And so he said, 'Oh, you are Mr Has Eyes.'
"To that the blindman retorted, 'What's it to you if I have eyes or not?' He was exploding with anger as he scolded him.
"Shariputra said, 'I just want to help you. I'll guide you wherever you want to go.'
"The blind man said, 'I don't need any help from you,' and told him off.
"Shariputra said to himself, 'The Bodhisattva Way is not easy to cultivate! I wanted to show him the road and he cursed me. But be patient, practice the paramita of patience and don't pay any attention to him. However, I think I'll take the Bodhisattva Way back with me for the day and let it rest a little. Tomorrow we'll see.'
He returned, and as he sat in meditation that evening he kept having false thoughts about what had happened. 'He was blind and when I wanted to guide him along the road he cursed me! People in the world are really weird.' But he still didn't think of quitting, and hadn't decided it was too hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. He still thought to himself, 'If he scolds me a bit it's not important. I can take it. I wouldn't have even cared if he had hit me.!'
"The next day he set out again to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. On the Bodhisattva Way he encountered a person who was walking along and crying, sobbing his heart out. Shariputra asked him, 'What's wrong? Whatever trouble you are in you can tell me about it. You don't have to be so sad and in so much pain.'
"The crying person said, 'You shouldn't even ask about my troubles! There's nothing you could do to help me.'
"Shariputra said, 'Maybe there's something I can do for you. Give it a try and tell me.'
"The man said, `It wouldn't do any good to tell you. Don't waste my time. I've got too much pain in my heart, so all I can do is cry.'
"Shariputra said, 'I'm sure I can help you. Tell me what's wrong, and I'll find a way to help.'
"The man said,'Do you really mean it? It's because my mother is sick. She went to see the doctor, who wrote her a prescription that says she needs the eye of a living person to cure her. I've gone the rounds of all the pharmacies trying to buy a live person's eye, but there are none for sale. That kind of medicine doesn't exist, so there's no way to cure my mother's illness, and all I can do is cry. At first I intended to take out my own eye to cure her, but I can't give it up. It's too painful. And so now there's nothing I can do but cry!'
"Shariputra thought it over, 'I really should help him out of this painful dilemma. This is a Bodhisattva Way I should cultivate! Also, he is very filial. I've found a friend in my cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way. This is excellent! I should practice this Bodhisattva Way!' He thought it over for not very long-maybe two minutes-and made up his mind, 'I'm going to do it!' Then he said, 'Don't cry. I'll give you my eye to help you out.'
"The man said, 'Really? Of course that would be wonderful! Can you really give up your eye to cure my mother's illness?'
"Shariputra said, 'It's no big deal. I can give it up. I'm someone who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way.'
"The person said, 'Fine. I'm going to bow to you first, bow to this Bodhisattva who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way.'
"After the person bowed to him, Shariputra couldn't get out of giving up his eye, and so he took a knife and gouged out his left eye. He was able to stand the pain and said, 'Okay, you can take this to cure your mother's illness.'
"The person took it, looked at it and said, 'Ugh, your eye stinks! And anyway its a left eye, and I need a right eye. It's totally useless!' He slammed the eye to the ground and stamped it into the dirt with his foot, smashing it to bits.
"At that, Shariputra's heart was filled with pain. Before he had been able to bear the hurt from his eye, but now there was hurt from his eye and from his heart too, and he said, 'It's no wonder the Buddha said to give cultivating the Bodhisattva Way a trial run. It' really hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way! It's really hard!!!' He was in pain and regretted it; he didn't want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way anymore.
"The crying person started to laugh and said, 'Oh, so that's how your Bodhisattva Way was all along. It was just a start without a finish. You could only manage to get started, but you couldn't keep it up. What kind of Bodhisattva Way were you cultivating anyway?' After saying that, he rose into empty space; it turned out that he was a god who had come to test him. Furthermore, Shariputra hadn't lost his eye after all, but his Bodhisattva Way was finished." (FAS-PI 51-54)
The Bodhisattva in Theravada Buddhism
That Theravada Buddhists do not recognize the Bodhisattva is a widespread misconception. In Theravada both the Buddha Shakyamuni and the Buddhas of the past are referred to as Bodhisattvas. The reality of the Bodhisattva Path, which is the Path to becoming a Buddha, is acknowledged, but it is considered by Theravadins to be too difficult for all but a rare few to follow.
1) Ch. pu sa , pu ti sa duo , 2) Skt. bodhisattva, 3) Pali bodhisatta, 4) Alternate Translations: bodhi-being, Buddha-to-be, person destined for enlightenment.
See also: Mahayana and Hinayana compared, bodhi resolve, enlightenment.
BTTS References: HS 95-97, DFS II 301-2; DS 5-6;TD 27-29; HD 13; EDR II 70-72; UW 25-26; FAS-PI 51-54 ; FAS Ch9 44-45; FAS Ch 11 39; SS I 107; SS VI 48-55; AS 98-99.
"Bowing is an important practice in Buddhism. It involves a full prostration-the placing of the forehead, forearms, and knees on the ground in a total gesture of reverence and of worship. It is usually done before an image of the Buddha, a Bodhisattva, a sage, or before a holy text. It is a misconception, though, to think that the worshipper is bowing to a statue of the Buddha, to a wooden or stone or clay image. The Buddha we bow to is the Buddha inside our true minds, the pure good, and perfect spiritual nature that has no shape or form. Images of the Buddha are simply symbols of the real thing." (PDS, Feb. 1984, p. 4)
Seven Ways to Bow
"There are seven different ways that people bow to the Buddha:
"1) The first is 'arrogant bowing', and describes a person who, although he or she bows to the Buddha, still has a mark of a self. When someone like this bows to the Buddha, it is forced and is accompanied by thoughts like this: 'What am I doing bowing to the Buddha? Why do I have to bow to him?' A person like this becomes annoyed at being forced to put his head down. He sees everyone else bowing and feels that if he does not bow along with them, he will stand out, and so out of embarrassment he bows to the Buddha. Although he bows, his mark of self is still not empty; on the contrary, he is filled with arrogance. . . .
"2) The second kind of bowing is called 'seeking for fame'. This category describes one who hears others praising a cultivator saying, 'That person bows often and really cultivates vigorously; he bows to the Buddhas, he bows to sutras, and he bows repentance ceremonies. He is truly a diligent cultivator. Upon hearing the praise of this cultivator, he also wishes to be recognized as a cultivator, and so he begins vigorously bowing to the Buddha. Although he finds pleasure in bowing, he does not truly bow to the Buddha; he is bowing for recognition. He is seeking recognition as a cultivator, and the pleasure he finds is in that recognition and in his dreams of fame. . . .
"With the first, arrogant bowing, you see others bowing, and so you bow along, but you think to yourself, 'Oh, this is really superstitious. Of what possible use could it be?' The second, 'seeking for fame', is not performed because you believe or do not believe; you bow because you see someone else bowing and receiving offerings, respect and others' praise. Since you too wish to receive offerings, respect, and praise, you bow to the Buddha.
"3) The third is called 'bowing with body and mind concurring'. . . . It describes a person who bows when he sees others bowing. In mindless imitation, both his body and his mind go along with what everyone else is doing. He doesn't have the slightest concern as to whether bowing to the Buddha is beneficial or not, or whether it is reasonable or superstitious. You do not seek for recognition; you just follow along with everyone else, you body and mind concurring. This kind of bowing has no real benefits and no real faults.
"4) The fourth kind of bowing is called 'wise and pure'. 'Wise' refers to the functioning of wisdom, and 'pure' refers to the development of purity. It describes one who uses true wisdom to purify his body and mind. People who are wise use this method to bow to the Buddha, and by doing so, they purify the Three Karmas of body, mouth, and mind.
"When someone uses this fourth method to bow to the Buddha, his bodily karma is correct inasmuch as he does not kill, steal, commit sexual misconduct, and so in this way his bodily karma is purified. When he uses this method to bow to the Buddha, he entertains no thoughts of greed, hatred, or stupidity, rather he possesses the wisdom born from singlemindedly and respectfully bowing to the Buddha, and so his karma of mind also becomes pure. When someone bows to the Buddha, he also recites the Buddha's name, and by doing so, or by holding and reciting Sutras and mantras, his mouth karma is also correct and devoid of any harsh speech, false speech, irresponsible speech or duplicity and is thereby purified. When the Three Karmas of body, mouth, and mind are pure, this is called 'wise and pure bowing', with which one uses true wisdom to bow to the Buddha.
"5) The fifth kind of bowing is called 'pervading everywhere throughout the Dharma-realm'. . . . It describes one who, when bowing, contemplates: 'Although I have not yet become a Buddha in body, the nature of my mind fills the Dharma-realm. As I bow before this one Buddha, I bow everywhere before all Buddhas. I am not just bowing before one Buddha; my transformation bodies bow before each Buddha, simultaneously making offerings to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.'
"Consider that 'everything is made from the mind alone', and so one's mind totally pervades the Dharma-realm (see entry). One's bowing practice totally pervades the Dharma-realm. What is the Dharma-realm? All of the Great World-Systems of a Billion Worlds (see world-systems) are contained within it. In fact, nothing is outside of the Dharma-realm. With this kind of bowing, you contemplate your respectful bowing pervading everywhere throughout the Dharma-realm. . . .
"6) The sixth is called 'sincerely cultivating proper contemplation.' One who cultivates proper concentration is one who concentrates his mind and contemplates: 'Bowing to the Buddha is bowing to the Buddhas of the Dharma-realm; bowing to the Buddhas of the Dharma-realm is just bowing to one Buddha.' This is because 'all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time share one Dharma-body in common, and all Buddhas' lands and ways are identical.' A concentrated mind must be used to bow to the Buddha, to contemplate the Buddha, and to cultivate, so that you will not have polluted thoughts.
"It is not considered to be proper concentration if when you are bowing, your mind runs off to the movies, or to the race track, or goes off hunting, or to a dance hall, a bar, or a restaurant. You need not purchase a ticket for your mind to travel off in all directions. With no travel arrangements at all, suddenly it is in the heavens, and suddenly it is on earth. Sometimes your mind will fly off to New York and then for no apparent reason, it comes back to San Francisco. You think, 'Oh, I was here bowing to the Buddha and then I went to New York, only to fly back to San Francisco again. This must be a spiritual power!'
"In fact, that is not even a ghostly power, let alone a spiritual power. It is nothing more than polluted thought and is called deviant contemplation or improper contemplation. If you cultivate with proper contemplation, you will not have these polluted thoughts. You would bow to the Buddha with an undivided mind.
"'Sincerely cultivating' means that when you bow once, that surpasses one million bows made by someone who bows while having polluted thoughts. And so in cultivating, 'when you reach the gate, you enter.' You should understand this Dharma-door, because if you do not, then when you see others bowing to the Buddha, you will not bow the way they do but instead will think, 'As soon as I'm finished bowing, I'm going to have a cup of coffee, or perhaps I'll have a drink.' People like that have no control over their minds, and after they have finished bowing, they run off to have a drink.
"The problem is not only do they themselves go out to have a drink, but they drag everyone else out with them. That is really pitiful. That is not 'cultivating purely with proper contemplation', but is a form of deviant contemplation, because if you have false thoughts while you are bowing, your worship is devoid of any merit and virtue.
"7) The seventh is called the 'true mark of impartial bowing'. It describes a person who bows and yet does not bow; who does not bow while he bows. When I say this, some of you are thinking, 'You say we should bow and yet not bow, and not bow and yet bow. Therefore, if I don't bow to the Buddha, won't I be bowing to the Buddha?' That is not what I mean. With this kind of bowing, although you bow to the Buddha, you are not attached to a mark of bowing to the Buddha. You cannot distort the meaning and say that while you are not bowing to the Buddha, it counts as bowing to the Buddha. One who speaks in that way is mentally disturbed.
"For example, recently someone told me he had attained the void. That is an extremely stupid thing to say. What is more, people like that cannot be helped, and there is no way to save them because their heavy attachment-nature makes them too stupid.
"The 'true mark of impartial bowing' means that 'I am bowing to the Buddha, I am impartially bowing to the Triple Jewel; I am reverent to the Buddha, reverent to the Dharma, and reverent to the Sangha. Although I bow in this way, I, nevertheless, do not discriminate that I am bowing and 'not one thought is produced, nor is one thought destroyed'. This is the Dharma of the 'true mark of impartial bowing'. It is a Dharma which involves neither coming into being nor ceasing to be: 'When not even one thought arises, the entire substance appears.' When you bow to the Buddha to the point that not even one thought is produced, you cause your body to manifest throughout the entire Dharma-realm. Although your body is bowing here, it is the same size as the Dharma-realm. This is just the true mark that has no mark. You bow until there are no people, no self, no living beings, and no lifespan. You become one and the same substance with the Dharma-realm. Your body is the Dharma-realm; the Dharma-realm is your body.
"Is this not wonderful? Before your body was just a speck on Mount Sumeru, and Mount Sumeru was the size of a dust-mote in the Dharma-realm. But when your reach the point of the 'true appearance which has no appearance,' Mount Sumeru is contained within your Dharma-body. You now contain Mount Sumeru. Is this not wonderful? You contain absolutely everything; everything in the universe is contained within your nature, and you understand everything. The true mark of impartial bowing is an inconceivable state. If you can reach this state while bowing to the Buddha, can you then explain all of its wonderful aspects? No, they are ineffable." (UW 19-23)
1) Ch. bai , li bai , ding li ; 2) Skt. vandana, vandaniya...; 3) Pali abhivadeti; 4) Alternate Translations: full prostration.
See also: faith.
BTTS References: WM 38-39; SV 57; UW 18-25; PDS "Seven Types of Bowing: What Happens When People Bow"; WOH; TS.
1) Ch. fan wang jing , a) T. 21, b) T. 1484.
2) Skt. brahmajala-sutra (not extant).
3) Pali brahmajala-sutta.
4) Alternate Translations: net of purity, perfect net.
See also: moral precepts, Bodhisattva.
BTTS Translation: b) BNS 2 vols. (Note: Text "a" is translated into English as follows: "The Brahma-Gala Suttanta (The Perfect Net)," Dialogues of the Buddha, I, pp. 1-55. Sacred Books of the Buddhists. 1899; rpt. London: Pali Text Society, 1977.)
"When he passed through a marketplace, he would beg for anything he saw in an attempt to get people to establish affinities with him. One day he slapped the back of a monk who was walking in front of him and said, 'Give me a coin.'
"The monk replied, 'Tell me the Way, and I'll give it.'
"The Master set down his cloth bag and stood with his hands firmly planted on his hips.
"Another time the monk Baofu asked, 'What is the great meaning of the Buddhadharma?'
"The Master then set down his cloth sack.
"Baofu replied, 'Is that all? Is there nothing bigger?'
"The Master then picked up the sack, flung it across his back, and left. Later on, at Yaolin Temple, he sat upright on a stone and spoke the following verse:
Maitreya, truly Maitreya.
With a hundred million transformations,
He constantly reveals himself to the world,
But people do not understand.
Although he then entered cessation (i.e., Nirvana), he later was seen in another province, walking along with his cloth bag.
"His eulogy reads,
Just as this cloth sack confuses many men,
He begs from whomever he meets. Whatever for?
Whenever he meets a test, there's nothing you can do.
Don't miss the chance; he is the future Buddha!"
(VBS #29, pp. 1-2)
1) Ch. bu dai
Buddha means awakened or enlightened one. It is a title which is applied to those who have reached perfect enlightenment (anuttarasamyaksambodhi) and who have perfect wisdom and universal compassion. The Buddha of the present historical period is known as the Buddha Shakyamuni (see Shakyamuni (Buddha)). There were also Buddhas prior to his time ; there were and are Buddhas in other world-systems (see also world-system); and there will be Buddhas in the future both in our world system and in others.
In the present historical period "Small Vehicle Buddhism (see Mahayana and Hinayana compared) only recognizes one Buddha, Shakyamuni, and does not acknowledge other Buddhas in the world systems of the other directions... Is it true that there are no other Buddhas since they say that there are no others? No. If they recognize the other Buddhas throughout the ten directions, then those Buddhas exist, but if they do not recognize those Buddhas, those Buddhas nonetheless still exist. The Buddhas of the ten directions are one with Shakyamuni Buddha, and so it is said, 'The Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time share a single Dharma Body.'" (UW Ch40 25-26)
"Who is the Buddha? The Buddha is the Greatly Enlightened One. His great enlightenment is an awakening concerning all things, without a single bit of confusion. A true Buddha is without karmic obstacles and has transcended emotional responses. Living beings, on the other hand, are attached to emotions and worldly love." (AS 2)
"You still don't know who the Buddha is? I will tell you. You are the Buddha. 'Then why don't I know it?' you ask. Your not knowing is just the Buddha. But this is not to say that you have already become a Buddha. You are as yet an unrealized Buddha. You should understand that the Buddha became a Buddha from the level of being an ordinary person. Living beings have the ability to cultivate and become Buddhas. A Buddha is an Enlightened One; therefore, when a human being becomes fully enlightened, he's a Buddha too." (AS 4-5)
"When someone heard it said that the Buddha is living beings and living beings are the Buddha, he became really delighted. After that, he told everyone to call him 'Buddha'. 'Don't call me by my name, just call me Buddha, because living beings are Buddhas!' Then some people started calling him 'Buddha', but because there were others who did not, he became irate and said, 'I told you to call me Buddha. Why aren't you calling me Buddha? I'm going to give you a hard time!' Then someone said to him, 'The Buddha is kind. In his heart there is compassion for all living beings; he doesn't get angry or afflicted. If you were a Buddha , you would not have a temper or any afflictions. Because you still have a temper and afflictions, you still are an ordinary living being.'" (FAS Ch7 33).
Eight Aspects of the Path of Buddhas
In all world-systems the careers of all Buddhas share the
following eight aspects:
1) Descending from the Tushita Heaven
2) Entering the womb
3) Emerging from the womb
4) Leaving the home-life
5) Subduing Mara
6) Becoming a Buddha
7) Turning the Great Dharma Wheel
8) Entering Nirvana.
For three asamkhyeya kalpas cultivated blessings and
For a hundred kalpas perfected marks and characteristics.
It took him that long in the past so that in this life he could 'at midnight see a bright star and awaken to the Way'. If he hadn't cultivated before, he wouldn't have been able to do it ." (FAS-PII(1) 234-5)
1) Ch. fo , fo to , fo to ye ; 2) Skt. buddha, 3) Pali: buddha; 4) Alternate Translations: Awakened One, Fully Enlightened One.
See also: enlightenment, bodhi, Shakyamuni (Buddha), Ten Titles of a Buddha.
BTTS References: LY I 13, DFS VI 1124-5, 1131; TD 26-27; VS 141-142; DFS Ch2, 8,9; UW 25-26; FAS Ch24 20-22ff, 58-60; FAS-
PI 149-150, 155; FAS Ch7 3-5, 14-15, 33-34; SS II 166-167; AS 2-5.
1) Ch. fo tu , 2) Skt. buddhaksetra, buddha-bhumi, 3) Pali buddha-khetta, 4) Alternate Translations: Buddha-field.
See also: pure land, Amita (Buddha).
How amazing! How amazing! How amazing! All living beings have the Buddha-nature; all can become Buddhas. Only because of their polluted thinking and attachments do they fail to realize it and to obtain certification.
The Buddha-nature is the innate, inherent potential to become a Buddha that resides in the mind of every living being.
Buddha-nature in all beings dwells permanent and unalterable, throughout all rebirth, ever ready to develop itself as soon as the opportunity arises. (Nirvana Sutra Ch. 26, quoted Hobogirin II, 185ff, EB "Buddha-Nature")
. . . The supreme, pure bright mind originally pervades the Dharma Realm. It is not something obtained from any one else. Why, then, labor and toil with marrow and joint to cultivate and be certified? This is to be like the person who has a wish-fulfilling pearl sewn in his clothing without realizing it. Thus he roams abroad in a state of poverty, begging for food and always on the move. Although he is indeed destitute, the pearl is never lost. Suddenly a wise person shows him the pearl: all his wishes are fulfilled, he obtains great wealth, and he realizes that the pearl did not come from somewhere outside. (SS IV 108-111)
"Showing him the pearl in his clothing represents pointing out to him his inherent Buddha-nature." (SS IV 111)
1) Ch. fo xing , 2) Skt. buddhata, buddhabhava, buddhatva, 3) Pali buddhata, buddhabhava, buddhatta.
See also: Buddha, Daosheng (Venerable).
BTTS References: SS IV 108ff, DFS V (Ch4 'Belief and Understanding'); NS .
Buddha-recitation refers to mindful recitation, whether aloud or silently, of the name of a particular Buddha, usually the Buddha Amita: "Namo Amita Buddha".
"When the water-clearing pearl
Is tossed in muddy water,
The muddy water becomes clear.
When the Buddha's name
Enters a confused mind,
The confused mind attains the Buddha.
"Why should we be mindful of the Buddha? It is because we have strong affinities with Amita Buddha. Amita Buddha became a Buddha ten kalpas ago. Before that he was called Bhikshu Dharma Treasury. At that time he made forty-eight great vows. In making his thirteenth and fourteenth vows he said, 'If the living beings throughout the ten directions say my name and do not become Buddhas, I will not attain the right enlightenment.' In other words, if people who recite his name did not become Buddhas, he would not have become a Buddha. And because of the power of Amita Buddha's vows, everyone who recites his name can be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss." (SS V 128)
". . . whether one is intelligent, average, or stupid, if one recites the Buddha's name, one will definitely be born transformationally from a lotus in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. One will not pass through a womb but will enter a lotus flower, live in it for a while, and then realize Buddhahood." (AS 21)
"With the Dharma-door of mindfulness of the Buddha,
One transcends the Three Realms through the side door
And carries one's karma into that rebirth.
What does it mean to transcend the Three Realms through the side door? It's like an insect in a piece of bamboo. If the insect were to gnaw its way out through the length of the bamboo, it would have to go through all the sections; it would take a long time. If the insect were to gnaw a hole in the side of the bamboo instead, it would get out very easily. People who are mindful of the Buddha are like the insect who goes out the side of the bamboo; they escape the Three Realms on a horizontal plane-right at the level they are. 'And carries one's karma into that rebirth.' The karma one carries is former karma, not current karma-it is old karma, not new karma. This means that before you understood the method of being mindful of the Buddha, you created offenses. You can take that karma with you when you go to rebirth in the Pure Land. But don't continue to create bad karma once you know about reciting the Buddha's name, because you can't go there if you are taking that karma along. (SS V 127-128)
"Our recitation is like sending a telegram to Amita in the West. At the end of our lives, the Bodhisattvas will guide us to rebirth in the Western Pure Land.
"Morning and night, in motion and stillness, at all times, you can recite. While moving you can recite and change motion into stillness; when still you can recite and turn the stillness into motion. When there is neither motion nor stillness, your telegram to Amita has gotten through and you've received his response.
"If you maintain your recitation with undivided attention morning and night without stopping, you may recite to the point that you don't know that you are walking when you walk, you don't feel thirsty when you are thirsty, and you don't experience hunger when you are hungry; you don't know cold in freezing weather, and you don't feel the warmth when you are warm. People and dharmas are empty, and you and Amita Buddha become one. "Amita Buddha is me, and I am Amita Buddha." The two cannot be separated. Recite singlemindedly and sincerely, without polluted thoughts. Pay no attention to worldly concerns. When you don't know the time and don't know the day, you may arrive at a miraculous state." (LY II 114)
"The flower opens and one sees the Buddha."
1) Ch. nian fo , 2) Skt. buddhanusmrti, 3) Pali ---, 4) Alternate Translations: recitation of the Buddha's name, mindfulness of the Buddha.
See also: mindfulness, Amita(bha) Buddha, Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practice-Pure Land School, pure land.
BTTS References: LY I, LY II; AS; FAS Ch22 56; EDR IV 152-153; SS V 126-129; PDS May, 1985, "Reciting the Name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva"; Ven. Master Hua, "Nianfo famen", unpublished lecture, 12-16-85.
The Buddhadharma is here in the world:
Enlightenment is not apart from the world.
To look for Bodhi apart from the world
Is like looking for a hare with horns.
Buddhists do not call the teachings of the Buddha, which they follow, Buddhism; they call them Buddhadharma, the Dharma of the Buddhas.
"Buddhism is a religion that teaches people to end birth and death, whereas other religions teach people to undergo birth and death. The difference between them is that of being able to ultimately end birth and death as opposed to ultimately not being able to and so undergoing birth and death." (FAS-PII 128)
"What is the basic, fundamental character of Buddhism. It is simply instruction for people in how to recognize truth, how to eliminate selfishness and establish what is public, how to have a public-spirited, unselfish attitude, not setting up barriers of nations and lands, races or clans, and how not to make distinctions of self and others.
All under heaven is one family,
And the ten thousand Buddhas are a single person."
"Buddhism is the teaching within the minds of all living beings. And so Buddhism can be called the Buddha's teaching or it can be called no teaching at all. Buddhism simply records what practices the Buddha engaged in to become enlightened. The Buddha didn't have the idea that he wanted to establish a religion. He is fundamentally one with all living beings. If he had wanted to establish a "Buddhism", wouldn't that have been setting himself apart from living beings? The Buddha said that the mind, the Buddha, and living beings are one, and undifferentiated. If he had professed to be teaching a "Buddhism", then there would be what is non-Buddhism, and so it would be separate from other religions. However, Buddhism includes everything. Every religion is in Buddhism-Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, and all the others. Why? The Buddha said,
'All living beings have the Buddha-nature; all can become Buddhas.'
"No matter what religion you are, aren't you a living being? Even if you protest that you are a heavenly spirit, heavenly lord, or a heavenly demon, that still counts as being a living being. And so I say whether you are Buddhist or not, I count you as being within Buddhism." (VBS)
1) Ch. fo jiao , fo fa , 2) Skt. buddhadharma, 3) Pali buddhadhamma, 4) Alternate Translations: the law/methods of the fully awakened ones.
See also: Buddha, Dharma/dharma.
BTTS References: FAS Ch9 93; "The Kennedys Request a Lecture", VBS, May 1970, 30-38; FAS-PII 129; PS 121.
"'My window is better than your door!' some replied. 'Rinzai Zen is the highest. The Buddhadharma is here.' People are just people and make trouble by bickering over who is number one and who is number two. What a headache! 'My window is not the same as yours,' each cries, showing off his spiritual powers and insisting that he is the best.
"Within the Buddhadharma, where is good and where is bad? The good comes from the bad, and the bad comes from the good. Don't split things up into high and low. The Vajra Sutra says, 'This Dharma is level and equal with nothing above or below.' The Great Master the Sixth Patriarch said, 'If I said I had a Dharma to give people, I would be lying to you.' The Dharma absolutely cannot be spoken." (VBS #12, March, 1971, 32)
"Before the Buddha came into the world, there was no Buddhism. After the Buddha appeared, Buddhism came into being, but there was not as yet any division into sects or schools. Sectarianism is a limited view, a view of small scope, and cannot represent Buddhism in its entirety. The complete substance of Buddhism, the totality, admits no such divisions. When you divide the totality of Buddhism into sects and schools, you merely split it into fragments. In order to understand Budddhism in its totality, one must eliminate views of sects and schools and return to original Buddhism. One must return to the root and go back to the source." (Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, "Back to the Source," Shambala Review, v. 5, nos. 1&2, Winter, 1976, p. 26)
1) Ch. zong pai , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali , 4) Alternate Translations: Buddhist schools/lineages/houses, sectarian divisions.
See also: Mahayana and Hinayana Compared, Five Types of Buddhist Study and Practice.