Last Saturday, on March 9, 2019, we continued our introduction to The Ten Paramitas of Mahayana Buddhism with a focus on the question “What is Bodhisattva?”.
We explored the meaning of the word “Bodhisattva” in its original Sanskrit form. We listen to a Dharma lecture: “The Bodhisattva Ideal” by Ven. Lawrence Dōan Grecco (Do’an Grecco). Then we shared a print out of Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton’s introduction to the article: Awakening the Bodhisattva.
Below is a copy of our handout. Scroll down for links to the Dharma lecture and see what our homework is for the upcoming weeks!
The Ten Paramitas of Mahayana Buddhism : What is a Bodhisattva?
Pāramitā (Sanskrit) or Parami (Pāli): “Perfection” or “Transcendent”. In Buddhism, the Paramitas refer to the perfection or culmination of certain practices. These practices are cultivated by Bodhisattvas for crossing from sensuous life (Samsara) to Enlightenment (Nirvana). But what is a Bodhisattva exactly? And what is the Bodhisattva Ideal?
“Bodhi” (Sanskrit, Pali): awakening, enlightenment
“Sattva” (Sanskrit. In Pali: Satta): a sentient being, essence
- Bodhisattva: any sentient being who has generated a wish and compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood (awakening, enlightenment) for the benefit of all sentient beings.
- “A Bodhisattva is concerned about what she does but not about what she receives.” – Ven. Lawrence Dōan Grecco (from today’s video lecture)
Four Great Bodhisattvas especially venerated in Asia:
- Avalokiteśvara (Ch.: Guanyin; Jp.: Kannon; Kor.: Gwan-eum) – “Perceiver of Sounds/Cries”:
Bodhisattva of Great Compassion
- Ksitigarbha (Ch.: Dizang; Jp.: Jizō; Kor.: Jijang) – “Earth Store/Womb”:
Bodhisattva of Great Vows
- Mañjuśrī (Ch.: Wenshu; Jp.: Monju; Kor.: Munsu) – “Noble, Gentle One”:
Bodhisattva of Great Wisdom
- Samantabhadra (Ch.: Puxian; Jp.: Fugen; Kor.: Bohyeon) – “Universal Virtual/Worthy”:
Bodhisattva of Great Practice
“The Bodhisattva Ideal” by Ven. Lawrence Dōan Grecco (Do’an Grecco)*
*Ven. Lawrence Dōan Grecco is the Guiding Teacher of Open Sky Zen. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the Korean Zen tradition (Five Mountain Zen Order) as well as the Vietnamese lineage of Ven. Dr. Thich Thien-An.
**Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton is the Guiding Dharma Teacher at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, a Japanese Soto Zen temple in Chicago. Ordained in 1986, he is a Dharma successor in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.
- To you, is “letting the desire to help all other people end their suffering and also reach enlightenment fuel your practice” (from today’s video lecture) a helpful motivation and inspiration for your practice?
- “How does one practically balance self-care with a deep commitment to be helpful rather than harmful?” (from today’s reading)
- Try to approach every person and situation with a mindset of:
“How can I help you?”
At the same time, see more clearly how you can truly be most helpful – sometimes, that may mean not helping is the best course of action. And, try not to expect anything in return or for any specific results to happen.
- Balance self-care also as you try to help others – know your limits, be kind to yourself.