Tag Archives: karuna

Gods in Buddhism?

Interesting article by Neil Schmid on the nature of the Buddhist hierarchy of divinities:

Buddhism is often labeled an atheistic philosophy or religion because Buddha is not considered a god by Buddhists and no “creator god” exists. Such a conclusion lays bare Abrahamic assumptions of what a religion and theism should be. In fact, Buddhism is polytheistic. The Buddhist cosmos at its most basic level is divided into two realms—one where beings are subject to karma and rebirth, called samsara, and one where they no longer are, called nirvana. Within the cycle of samsara are thirty-one types of existence, each a state of being resulting from a previous karma. At the lowest end of the spectrum are hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, and warring gods. Next are humans, and above them in assorted heavens and higher worlds are twenty-six types of divinities or devas— related to the Greek theos and Latin deus. read more

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True Compassion

Bodhisattvahood, Part 2

Karunā, or compassion, has been a foremost attribute for anyone aspiring to Bodhisattvahood. Avalokiteśvara is usually the bodhisattva associated with this karunā, and in Tibetan circles the Dali Lama is considered to be a form of reincarnation of this karunā aspect. In effect, this has become the modern dominate-take when even bringing to mind the whole notion of just what constitutes a bodhisattva. In early Mahayana, though, there was a balance between this karunā aspect and holy wisdom (prajnā )—as exhibited through Mañjuśrī. The Vimalakirti Sutra is a true refinement of this balanced equation and was composed at the supreme apex of the Mahayana—the perfect blend of this essential balanced quotient. When aspiring to Bodhisattvahood one needs to have a certain predisposition with bodhi-gnosis, of being fundamentally attuned with the gnosis of the Tathagatas—wherein the very “thought of Bodhi” (bodhi-citta) is comparable to a pearl and the sweet-tasting elixir that cures all defilements. This very bodhi-thought instills a deep awareness behind the significance of one’s present-reincarnation—an opportunity that may not come again in a billion years; like that ol’ blind turtle (See bodhi-post, The Narrow Gate) rearing its head in the ocean’s turbulent waves and trying to pass that weary head through a tiny bobbling yoke—such is the very present-precipitous chance that one would take rebirth again as a human. Therein lies the True Compassion in the spirit of a Bodhisattva—even the worms and bedbugs have a place in their karunā; there’s a story about Avalokiteśvara taking the shape of a bee and comforting those very worms and bedbugs in their foul abodes. The dharani behind Om mani padme Hum is the bodhi-jnana bearing infinite compassion within the Lotus. In this degenerate age, with unimaginable defilements rearing its ugly head at every turn, what better resolve is there but to embrace the Nobility of Bodhisattvahood? The following “Bodhi-Pearl” offers a gentle glance into this noble aspiration. read more

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