A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

My foe is the same as my friend

Yesterday I used the crossing of the Dharmakaya River to illustrate reaching Nirvana. I talked about wanting to help our family friends and other sentient beings to accomplish this as well. I realize that although I understand the equality of all sentient beings, as a worldling I still have a hierarchy in the way I see others. That could be a holdover from the promises of heaven, if we lived a good and noble life I was taught like most that were raised to believe in a deity awarded afterlife. I could claim otherwise, but I while I might deceive some, I couldn’t deceive myself. The thought of guiding all sentient beings to nirvana is still an idea my mind hasn’t got a handle on yet. Looking just around a small portion of Vancouver, one of the most desired cities in the world to live in, within one of the richest countries in the world, I see plenty of suffering. I could not imagine what it must be like anywhere else. I have to get used to the idea, there is no heaven where we sit and sing hymns, or enjoy the well deserved praises. Rather there are too many others still caught in the river, some of whom will drown before we can save them, to be reborn on the starting shore to attempt the crossing again. Others will tire or become too old to complete the journey, and have to start over. Yet others will have their journey cut short by the actions of others. This is why the bodhisattvas are so highly praised in the Mahayana school. They have come to realize that there is no difference between sentient beings, not just say the words. They do not do it for reward or merit, any merit accrued is assigned to someone else. They have achieved true altruism in spirit as well as actions. Whereas I am still at the stage of taking responsibility of my own actions, they have accepted the responsibility of all sentient beings achieving nirvana. The concept of all beings being equally worthy, and interconnected is not a concept to a bodhisattva, rather it is an accepted part of reality. Thought is reality, thought is action.

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