The Way of the Bodhisattva: Living in the World

MathuraMaitreyaThe Lazy Yogi writes at Reality Sandwich:

If we desire enlightenment only for ourselves, then living in society will seem like a hindrance. Everything will appear as an obstacle keeping you from your spiritual lifestyle and practices. You will feel a drive to escape, perhaps to nature or to an ashram. But wherever you go, your mind comes with you.

A key component is Motivation. If you seek peace and enlightenment only for yourself, then the world will continually get in the way. However, the Tibetan Buddhists have a different thought in mind. They aspire to enlightenment for the benefit of all Beings.

If we want to live in a beautiful and awakened world of majesty and harmony, then all change must start with ourselves. But we cannot wait until we are perfect before extending compassion to the world. Therefore even as we walk the path, we must also create the space to allow others to do so as well.

This is not a matter of teaching or outreach. This means treating everyone and everything as it truly is: an extension of existence.

Part of the Bodhisattva Vow is: “The beings in all the worlds are numberless, I vow to save them.”

This does not mean going one by one and leading each by hand down the path to enlightenment. This means seeing into and accepting their inner nature for what it already and always is: You.

Living in the world requires you to understand the interdependence of all things, not just below the surface but also ON the surface.

When you can get on everyone’s side, not their ego’s sides mind you but the Soul’s side, then you will no longer find society to be a hindrance to your path. Far from it! Every moment of conflict is an opportunity to make room for clarity to emerge within yourself. Whether or not the same happens for other people is not your concern, so long as you continually give others every opportunity to emerge with you.

With this attitude, the greatest obstacle to spiritual development in the modern age becomes a vehicle for your own salvation and peace.

Read more here.

15 Comments on "The Way of the Bodhisattva: Living in the World"

  1. Jin The Ninja | May 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

    actually, while vajrayana buddhism (tibetan) does view world liberation as possible and desireable, it is mahayana buddhism (chinese,japanese, korean, vietnamese) that is exclusively focused on the liberation of the masses, and from where engaged buddhism and anarcho-buddhism derive.

    • BuzzCoastin | May 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm |

      yeah, in fact, it was for this very reason
      that Buddhism was reformed in China into Mahayana Buddhism
      which is outlined in Journey to the West

      “They are the scriptures for cultivating the truth, and the gate to real goodness. I want to send them to the Eastern lands because it is intolerable that the beings of that quarter should all be such stupid wretches who slander and defame the true word, do not understand the gist of my Law, and have lapsed from the orthodox Yogacara Sect. How am I to find one with the magic powers to go to the East, choose a worthy believer and bid him make the arduous crossing of a thousand mountain and ten thousand rivers in search of the scriptures until he finally comes to this abode of mine to receive them? When he does come they will be sent to the East for ever to convert all living beings, which will be a blessing as big as a mountain, a cause for congratulation as deep as the sea.”

      Journey to the West, Chapter 8

      • KaptainTripz | May 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

        That sounds just as close-minded as radical Christianity or radical Islam. Why not just let the myriad of beings do as the myriad of beings is going to do? Salvation only exists as a concept of the mind. Everyone is liberated and the world exists in harmony already without any intervention needed or desired. Let what will be, BE.

        • Jin The Ninja | May 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

          lol. you should really read the novel first, a lot of it is an exploration of the concept of san jiao and a satirical take on bureaucracy, power, and religion in general.

          it has nothing in common with judeo-christianity, and is recognised as an allegorical work of fiction, not a dogmatic book of morality.

      • Jin The Ninja | May 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

        xiyouji, the greatest book a western high school graduate has never read.

        • Hadrian999 | May 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |

          sounds interesting but a very expensive read

        • BuzzCoastin | May 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm |

          it really is one of the great works of literature
          I’ve read it twice so far
          that book
          along with Outlaws of the Marsh,
          Romance of the Three Kingdoms & The Story of the Stone (红楼梦)
          really provide outsiders a great insight into Chinese culture

          • Jin The Ninja | May 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

            shuihu zhuan, is my close second favourite chinese work, also very subversive (pratically anarchist in fact), probably a correlation between how subversive a narrative is, and my enjoyment of it.
            also a great cctv series (98) and the chang cheh movie from 72 is a classic shaw brother’s taiwanese production.

            romance of the three kingdoms is good, epic of course, i remember reading the bilingual asiapac manhua about a million times as a kid.

            hong lou meng, a modernist novel comparable to anything the west was producing in the same time- that very few literary historians are even aware of.

            i took a world literature class a million years ago,and the only books we read were post-colonial books originally written in english by non-white authors (with the exception of ‘magical realist’ latin american authors)- but not a single entry from china.

          • BuzzCoastin | May 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm |

            those four books and several others
            are products of an extremely rare writing process
            not often seen in the west except in the Bible
            where lots of anonymous people craft a work of fiction over centuries
            which is eventually published under the name of one author
            whom nobody seems to be able to locate historically

            they say that the Bible is the most widely read book in the world
            but I think those four books are more widely read that the Bible
            but not in the west

    • i’m not sure if I like the phrase “liberation of the masses”. sounds as if it could be used by a fascist.
      I don’t know any masses and I don’t think any mass exists. I think the Buddha would concur. for example the psychic aggregates can all be broken down into particulars

      • Jin The Ninja | May 5, 2013 at 11:54 am |

        i used the phrase ‘liberation of the masses’ (which reads anarcho or marxists to me personally), because i used the buddhist term ‘world liberation’ prior in the comment and i did not want to sound repetitious.

        what is meant by ‘mass’ is people and/or mass consciousness.

        in buddhist metaphysical terms, liberation from the cycle of rebirth for all creatures.

  2. Jin The Ninja | May 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

    actually, while vajrayana buddhism (tibetan) does view world liberation as possible and desireable, it is mahayana buddhism (chinese,japanese, korean, vietnamese) that is exclusively focused on the liberation of the masses, and from where engaged buddhism and anarcho-buddhism derive.

  3. kowalityjesus | May 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm |


  4. kowalityjesus | May 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm |


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