Okay, I'm up way too late, but I'm on a tear (had open house at school tonight), so I'm getting all my postings in at once!
One version of the Verse of the Kesa says:
“Vast is the robe of liberation
A formless field of benefaction
I wear the Tathagata’s teaching
Saving all sentient beings”
One version of the 4 Great Vows says:
“Sentient being are numberless, we vow to save them all.
Delusions are endless, we vow to cut through them all.
The teachings are infinite, we vow to learn them all.
The Buddha Way is inconceivable, we vow to attain it.”
I’d like to talk about the idea of “saving all sentient beings.” This seems to be an important theme in Mahayana Buddhism - the idea of the Bodhisattva saving all others before themselves. But, really, what does this mean? Does it have any meaning for you?
I read where Zen Master Seung Sahn said something to the effect that he had already saved all sentient beings and now it was up to his students to do the same. Does this imply that because he had attained some form of “enlightenment” he had saved all beings? Or that because he had saved his “self” (which is an illusion anyway, so he got rid of his own perception of self), he had saved everyone else’s self (which is also an illusion, and got rid of his perception of others‘ selves)? In other words he realized there was no difference between himself and others - that all is One.
Now I think that the idea of “saving” others is much different from the traditional Christian idea of saving souls from the fires of hell by accepting Jesus Christ (or perhaps to some Buddhists it IS similar - saving others from endless cycles of rebirth), but it doesn’t SOUND too much different.
Or is this one of those “Zen things” that we’re just not supposed to ruminate on and leave it that?