Mahayana And Its Emphasis On Bodhisattva Ideal - GaneshaSpeaks

Mahayana Buddhism And Its Emphasis On Bodhisattva Ideal

One of the existing main branches of Buddhism, Mahayana, means a great vehicle. The other branches of Buddhism are Vajrayana and Theravada. Under the certain classification of Buddhism, Vajrayana is classified as a part of Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana religion refers to the path of Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva is the enlightenment that helps all beings from suffering and pain.

Over the years, Mahayana was subdivided into many schools. Also, Buddhism in its various forms has reached China, Tibet, Korea and Japan from India. The people following Mahayana tradition are the highest amongst the people who follow Buddhism as a religion. There are other traditions that actually follow the principle of Mahayana Buddhism. They are Zen Chinese Chan, Pure Land, Nichiren, Vajrayana, Tendai and Tibetan Buddhism. The teaching of Mahayana is different from Theravada, When it comes to Mahayana, Bodhisattvas are likely to manifest great compassion and postpone the enlightenment to help assist humans who are still suffering from the cycle of rebirths.

Mahayana Buddhism is interpreted as a devotional form of Buddhism. Buddha and Bodhisattva are well worshipped and respected around the world. Before moving forward to Bodhisattva, let us discuss the origin of Mahayana Buddhism.

The Origins Of Mahayana Buddhism

The origin of Mahayana Buddhism is still a complicated question. There are particular views about the origins of Mahayana. It states that Mahayana Buddhism has originated from Theravada. But, there are also references of Mehayan mentioned in Buddhist literature from long before the existence of Theravada.

During the 1st century BCE, Mahayana was created to distinguish between the different traditions in Buddhism. Theravada was also known as Hinayana during the same time. The works of Buddhist monks of those times used to oppose the idea of attaining enlightenment by oneself.

Mahayana Buddhism And Its Five Types of Thoughts

Madhyamaka
Yogacara
Buddha Nature
Buddhist logic
Bodhisattva Ideal

Mahayana Practice is one of the three main alternatives at sides of Buddhism that can help you train the state of Nirvana. The Mahayana tradition focuses on postponing one’s liberation such that the individual can actually help, assist and guide the other being to reach the state of Nirvana. According to Mahaya, Bodhisattva is the highest level of study that allows the mind to attain great compassion and wisdom. In addition to this, the following six perfections are required for achieving Bodhisattva.

Perfection of giving or generosity
Perfection of good conduct or behaviour
Perfection of Patience
Perfection of vigour and diligence
Perfection of Meditation
Perfection of wisdom

Who Are Bodhisattvas?

Bodhisattvas are common figures in Buddhism. They provide a striking theme in the Buddhist pieces of literature and are conserved with ultimate greatness throughout history. In numerous studies, Buddhism is described as ordinary and distinctive individuals who have common forms to save others. One can never distinguish between paupers and divinities and thus, treat each other equally. In various articles, it also appears that Bodhisattvas are regarded as deities. The bodhisattvas are functionally equivalent to buddhas in their wisdom and thus motivate ordinary beings to attain nirvana.

Awakening Through Bodhisattva

Buddhism, like most Indian regions, sees the world as a realm of reincarnation. From here, they believe one man can only escape when they can attain nirvana. In Mahayana tradition, a significant focus is presented towards wisdom and knowledge rather than nirvana. The intellect you gain during this process will actually lead you to enlightenment. In addition to this, it is a fact that emptiness exerts all the dualities of life, such as good or bad, holy or evil, existent or non-existent, etc. This indeed is a false concert because you can not ever differentiate the main characteristics in this life on earth into nirvana or samsara. Moreover, you can not even conceptualize them or state the fact of sustenance.

After the concept given by various philosophies, there are basically two truths involved. One of them is the absolute truth, whereas the other one is the conventional truth. Both of them revolve around the conflict. This states that ultimately things do not exist, they just seem to exist. Therefore you can say that the ordinary reality that we see or observe is ultimately nothing. Understanding the concept of absolute truth consists of understanding the nature of ordinary reality. This is realised through meditation. Vajrayana tradition uses symbolic language to practice the inversions of normal expectations through breaking down ordinary assumptions. These practices challenge ordinary views of reality, purity and integrity. They teach us that such notions are not inherent in this world, a part of the world that is being imposed on it.

The universal idea of awakening or enlightenment comes with the beginning of the concert that the universe has no beginning in time and has an infinite number of beings and a world. And this concept of infinite numbers also leads us to believe that there are infinite numbers of bodhisattvas in this universe. The existence of these bodhisattvas eases the separate concept of samsara and nirvana. These bodhisattvas play a vital role in many Mahayana sutras and also Tantric Traditions.

Teachings Of Bodhisattva

Mahayana ideology is mainly focused on bodhisattva, for the one who seeks Lord Buddha. In contrast to the thinking of a Non-Mahayana Buddhist, it is believed that anyone can aspire to be spiritually enlightened or even reach that awakening we were already discussing. Mahayana teaches that anyone who can reach the awakening can become a bodhisattva.

For Mahayana, Buddhism awakening resides in understanding the true nature of reality and ideating upon the thoughts that extend the idea towards all beings. The bodhisattvas seek to understand the reality of life in this world ultimately through truth and wisdom. They conceptualize it through karma. They realize that no individual seems to exist with self. There is no difference between all the individuals on this planet. Thus, on this basis, it is derived that liberation can be no different for everyone.

Although the classical theory of Karma is dictated only through a person’s own actions, it is said to affect their future. The compilation of merit has always been an important concept in Buddhism. This merit is ultimately the application towards the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge from the one who is already awakened. This can ultimately lead you to a better future with rebirth or ultimately lead you to nirvana.

Greatly inspired and motivated with compassion, wisdom and knowledge, Buddhas and Bodhisattva comply with making the normal being attain liberation. And to conclude it all, we would add that Mahayana Buddhism is a concept that has contributed to the most successful religion in the world and because of its selfless characteristics of helping others to achieve enlightenment, Bodhisattva is a person who is bound to reach nirvana but chooses otherwise and stays in this world. He follows this cycle so as to help others attain nirvana.

Would you like to know more about this in detail? And study one of the Buddhist traditions for a karmic life that helps you attain nirvana?