What does it mean to “save” sentient beings? In this troubled world, it is easy to misunderstand the Bodhisattvic vow and believe that it only involves saving individuals through materialistic and altruistic means. However, this is a misconception. If one clings to this mistaken belief, they will endlessly strive for a perfect world here on Earth, which is highly unlikely to ever happen. The forces of greed, manipulation, and control will always prevent such a utopia from becoming a reality. In reality, these forces are the inherent evil in humanity.

Moreover, what truly needs to be saved are not the physical bodies that will eventually perish, but rather one’s spirit that transcends the constant cycle of life and death in samsara. Jesus the Christ once wisely said, “What is the point of gaining the whole world if, in the process, one loses their eternal spirit?” This statement emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the eternal essence of our being over worldly possessions and achievements.

The Buddha taught that one needs to save themselves. For Ch’an Buddhists this translates as turning-about (paravritti) from the transient domain of ordinary and circumstantial consciousness, and directly Recollecting the very Salvific Source Itself. The Tathatic-Mind supersedes the rotting Carnal-mind. And so this is not all about just laying back and hoping that some “outside” transcendent being is going to come along and pick you up by the bootstraps, but rather permanently giving the boot to one’s body-consciousness that somehow imagines that it exists and needs to be saved. Look within at your True Nature; yea, it is self-oriented because it is Recollection of the Self That saves. Awakening (Bodhi) to this Noble self-realization is one’s Ultimate Salvation. Right Recollection is Right View in Light of the Right Reality (Dharmadhātu) of Pure Mind.

This is an exquisite exposition on the essence of forgiveness and repentance. One must liberate oneself from the clutches of time’s malevolence. All manifestations of the mind, whether past, present, or future, are intricately entwined by the laws of karma. To be incessantly entangled in the web of karma is to surrender to the whims of karmic thoughts, transgressions, and the influences of all three temporal dimensions. By invoking the purity of one’s own innate nature, all impurities of the discriminatory mind are cleansed. In this regard, it is utterly futile to openly confess one’s sins before the enlightened beings, for there is nothing that necessitates forgiveness in the first place. Repentance signifies a profound transformation within the deepest recesses of one’s consciousness, which is none other than the consciousness of the enlightened ones themselves. In doing so, who needs to be saved and by whom? These perspectives are truly enlightening and practical. Cease tormenting yourself, for there is truly nothing to be distressed about. Do not grant that ancient demon another opportunity to inflict suffering upon you. Cease. Contemplate. Transform. Remember. Nothing truly binds you, for you are a cherished child of the Eternal and the Liberation of the Distant Shore is perpetually within reach.

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