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Buddhas and bodhisattvas

Jan 12, 1999 12:56 PM
by Richard Taylor

In a message dated 1/11/99 7:34:23 AM, Leon wrote:

<<I believe, however, the word Buddha actually means *one* who is enlightened.
i.e.; In the sense of reaching a state which Patanjali calls "isolation".>>

Sanskrit is a funny language.  Many words may look alike which have related
but different meanings.  The word "buddha" may indeed refer to "one who is
enlightened," but that is a secondary meaning.  The word is a past participle
from the verbal root "budh" meaning to awaken.  So buddha means "awakened,
enlightened."  Only in a secondary fashion can it be turned into "ONE WHO IS

<<Both the Bodhisattva with the nature of a true, compassionate Buddha who
forsakes Nirvana) and a Pratyeka Buddha (one who when enlightened enters
directly into Nirvana) would have that same state of enlightenment--but one
would have taken the unselfish vow to remain out of Nirvana and accept
continuing incarnations until the last unenlightened being has been
enlightened and passes into Nirvana--while other would selfishly enter Nirvana
immediately and ignore the suffering of all sentient beings throughout
eternity.  Of course, after the pralaya and at the beginning of the new
manvantara, those in last would be the great ones out first who become the
Dhyani Chohans, or highests "gods" while those in first would become the last
ones out to begin the entire chain of evolution, with all its ignorance and
suffering all over again.  >>

Here I quite agree.  Pratyeka Buddhas (in Buddhism) are followed or worshipped
by no one.  They *are* considered selfish: "saved" but unable and/or unwilling
to "save."  Bodhisattvas are the dominants figures in Mahayana Buddhism and
huge sub-religions form around them.  I think it is quite fair (and even
stated in the New Testament!) that "the first shall be last" as far as karma,
while the long-suffering Bodhisattvas are truly they great ones.

Great quote, Leon.  I was thinking about that statement all day yesterday.


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