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Thread: Thoughts About Bodhisattvas

  1. #1

    Thoughts About Bodhisattvas

    Hello all,

    I have recently been intrigued by the concept of named Bodhisattvas who are essentially deities in esoteric Buddhism. I know this doesn't particularly concern us Zen folk, but it's a topic that interests me.

    I remember Jundo talking about Kannon on a few occasions. Rather than seeing her as this goddess who blesses people compassionately, I remember Jundo saying that all of our own acts of compassion make us Kannon's arms which reach out to aid others.

    I find myself wondering if the same line of thought also applies to other Bodhisattvas. I have been particularly considering this with Fudo Myo-o. He is often seen as a horrific fierce deity and protector of the Dharma. I read a brief article which described him as having a scary face perhaps to remind people of the demons that await them in Hell when they die of they do not live life according to the Dharma. With his sword kurikara, he cuts the bonds of negative feelings, transforming anger to compassion and freeing people from bondage through the power of self control.

    Considering how I could apply this concept similarly to how Jundo explained his thoughts on Kannon, I came to this so far:

    If Fudo's frightening face is to remind us of what Hell awaits, it is to remind us that this world here and now can be Hell if we live a life lacking in self control. When we hone our self control and choose compassion over wrath, we become free. In this way, we embody the message of Fudo Myo-o.

    Further thoughts are welcome and please add to it if you will!

    ST

    Victor

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    "Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train"-Ueshiba Morihei

  2. #2
    Hi Victor,

    Here is our series on "Whattsa Who'sa Bodhisattva? (A Sit-a-Long Series)" that may offer some perspectives ...
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Long-Series%29

    Yes, I feel that we bring all these figures to life by how we live, in our actions, words and thoughts.

    Fudo is actually a good guy in Esoteric Buddhism, because he uses his measured and rightful "wrath" to combat ignorance and the suffering of beings. He is not a particularly "Zen" figure, but his statues and images are found within many Zen temples in Japan nonetheless ... he is fighting bad for good ... His sword does not rend apart, but cuts divisions into wholeness and healing.

    https://www.japanese-buddhism.com/fudo-myo-o.html



    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-03-2020 at 06:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Thank you so much for the resources!

    Gassho
    ST

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    "Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train"-Ueshiba Morihei

  4. #4
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Hello all,

    I have recently been intrigued by the concept of named Bodhisattvas who are essentially deities in esoteric Buddhism. I know this doesn't particularly concern us Zen folk, but it's a topic that interests me.

    I remember Jundo talking about Kannon on a few occasions. Rather than seeing her as this goddess who blesses people compassionately, I remember Jundo saying that all of our own acts of compassion make us Kannon's arms which reach out to aid others.

    I find myself wondering if the same line of thought also applies to other Bodhisattvas. I have been particularly considering this with Fudo Myo-o. He is often seen as a horrific fierce deity and protector of the Dharma. I read a brief article which described him as having a scary face perhaps to remind people of the demons that await them in Hell when they die of they do not live life according to the Dharma. With his sword kurikara, he cuts the bonds of negative feelings, transforming anger to compassion and freeing people from bondage through the power of self control.

    Considering how I could apply this concept similarly to how Jundo explained his thoughts on Kannon, I came to this so far:

    If Fudo's frightening face is to remind us of what Hell awaits, it is to remind us that this world here and now can be Hell if we live a life lacking in self control. When we hone our self control and choose compassion over wrath, we become free. In this way, we embody the message of Fudo Myo-o.

    Further thoughts are welcome and please add to it if you will!

    ST

    Victor

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    Hi Victor,

    There is a book in the suggested reading list by called Faces of Compassion by Taigen Dan Leighton. It covers some history on a number of Bodhisattvas. I started reading it a number of years ago but put it down part way though. Just thought I would mention it.

    https://wisdomexperience.org/product/faces-compassion/


    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Victor,

    There is a book in the suggested reading list by called Faces of Compassion by Taigen Dan Leighton. It covers some history on a number of Bodhisattvas. I started reading it a number of years ago but put it down part way though. Just thought I would mention it.

    https://wisdomexperience.org/product/faces-compassion/


    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki
    Thanks, Hoseki! I'll try to look into it! Thanks!

    Victor
    ST

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    "Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train"-Ueshiba Morihei

  6. #6
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Your welcome!

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Victor,

    There is a book in the suggested reading list by called Faces of Compassion by Taigen Dan Leighton. It covers some history on a number of Bodhisattvas. I started reading it a number of years ago but put it down part way though. Just thought I would mention it.

    https://wisdomexperience.org/product/faces-compassion/


    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki
    It is a very good book by Taigen, and the "Whattsa Who'sa Bodhisattva?" talks that I linked to refer to the book a lot. He really goes into the history and meaning of each Bodhisattva, then tries to make each relevant for modern times too.

    One thing that he does in the book is to try to connect modern historical figures and personalities (e.g., Bob Dylan) to each archetype. Hmmm. I was not so sure about some of those, but could be.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    I know this topic has come up before, and I have in my position, not sure if I can afford books for a while; Bodhisattva Archetypes which is more of a compendium, or reference of Bodhisattva, not a read through, and heads up folks, often now used paper books are almost always very inexpensive. Unless one is fixed on Kindle or new, low income means one can afford the occasional book. Me I just bought (rented $74 a year, Microsoft Office personal) and with Christmas which I am paying off, (neither wife or daughter believe in a living God, and with a frightful drop in stomach, I can say this here.) I do seek Agape, the living spirit of Jesus (the "HELP" as His name as translated from the Aramich), I hold absolutely NO contempt for non-believers, so how could I? Is Jesus, like the Buddha an ultimate Bodhisattva? There I've said it and please don't condemn me for I have pledged the Precepts, and I also believe in the Love of Jesus. Perhaps most appropriate here is a discussion of my own beliefs.
    Tai Shi
    calm poetry
    sat/ lah
    Gassho
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 03-13-2020 at 03:36 PM. Reason: My own true belief and feelings of doubt toward Microsoft not Jesus
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    I know this topic has come up before, and I have in my position, not sure if I can afford books for a while; Bodhisattva Archetypes which is more of a compendium, or reference of Bodhisattva, not a read through, and heads up folks, often now used paper books are almost always very inexpensive. Unless one is fixed on Kindle or new, low income means one can afford the occasional book. Me I just bought (rented $74 a year, Microsoft Office personal) and with Christmas which I am paying off, (neither wife or daughter believe in a living God, and with a frightful drop in stomach, I can say this here.) I do seek Agape, the living spirit of Jesus (the "HELP" as His name as translated from the Aramich), I hold absolutely NO contempt for non-believers, so how could I? Is Jesus, like the Buddha an ultimate Bodhisattva? There I've said it and please don't condemn me for I have pledged the Precepts, and I also believe in the Love of Jesus. Perhaps most appropriate here is a discussion of my own beliefs.
    Tai Shi
    calm poetry
    sat/ lah
    Gassho
    It depends on who you ask. Many most certainly consider Jesus to be a Bodhisattva.

    Gassho,
    Victor
    ST

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    "Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train"-Ueshiba Morihei

  10. #10
    Thank you ! I believe Jesus was. Was a Bodhisattva! For me that works . Others here are okey by me whatever they believe! I am a lifelong member of the a Church of the Larger Fellowship and it is Unitarian Universalist and we have no preference about any Bodhisattva Jesus including all Bodhisattva. Ours is a principal Church originally also part of Hartford University, and a few years ago the seminary was moved out of Harvard. However, much is still in Boston. The part of the U.U. Iím a part of is the online church. This church is very socially conscious and often hosts Buddhist groups including Zen. So, this church is compatible with Soto Zen and has a deep American tradition in freedom and true democracy. I fit this ideally. Thomas Jefferson has Ties. Emerson was a Unitarian minister. Many Unitarians were Transcendentalists with exploration of the Dharma.
    Tai Shi
    sat/ lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Victor,

    There is a book in the suggested reading list by called Faces of Compassion by Taigen Dan Leighton. It covers some history on a number of Bodhisattvas. I started reading it a number of years ago but put it down part way though. Just thought I would mention it.

    https://wisdomexperience.org/product/faces-compassion/


    Gassho
    Sattoday
    Hoseki
    Sounds like a great read! I'll have to pick it up or get it shipped or download, whatever the safest thing to do now is. Thanks everyone!

    Gassho,

    Tyler

    ST

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