The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhism by Edited and Introduced By: Leslie S. Kawamura

By Edited and Introduced By: Leslie S. Kawamura

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A reverse process, on the other hand, is hard to conceive. Together with the actual concept of the Bodhisattva we have to consider the vow or resolve with which he begins his career, especially in its developed Mahayana form. At a very remote period in the cyclic past of the universe, the contemporary stage of the ch~in of being which produced any given Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara for instance, while still an ordinary man, made a solemn resolve that he would strive towards supreme wisdom (sa~bodhi) and become a Bodhisattva, in order to devote his mighty superhuman powers to relieving the suffering of others and furthering their spiritual progress.

The Holy Teaahing of Vimalakirti, (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976). ~ Saddhatissa,op. ait. p. 13. 5 Quoted in Har Dayal, The Bodhisattva Doatrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1932) p. 58. & Quoted in Alfred Bloom. See also p. 33. Shinran's Gospel of Pure Graoe. Association for Asian Studies, Monographs & Papers No. XX' (Tucson: of Arizona Press, 1965) p. 2-3. 7 University See Bloom, Ope cit. p. 24-34. 8 See John Blofeld, Bodhisattva of Compassion: The MYstioal Tradition of Kuan Yin (Boulder, Colorado: Shambala Publications and London: George Allen & Un...

Mallmann points out,26 these identifications are in most cases tentative and in some cases they may be false but it is fairly certain that the figures are intended to represent Bodhisattvas, for they are certainly not Buddhas, and they can hardly be either Hindu gods or stylized images of donors or lay patrons. They indicate that the cult of Bodhisattvas existed in something like its finished Mahayana sense in Western India fairly early in the Christian Era. unfortunately they give us no greater precision than this, since the chronology of the two schools of sculpture is still vague and uncertain, depending as it does on the perennial chronological problem of the date of Kaniska.

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