The Suffering of the Bodhisattva

The Near, the Far, and the Middle. All in Focus. All at Once.

The Near, the Far, and the Middle. All in Focus. All at Once.


July 19, 2016 10:38 AM

The Bodhisattva Vow is not a vow. This is a misunderstanding. To say that a person, upon enlightenment, took a vow to awaken all individuals is as silly as saying that, upon being born, you took a vow to eat food.

You feel a natural desire to eat. The bodhisattva feels a natural desire to help others awaken.

The Bodhisattva Vow goes something like this:

I’m going help people awaken—reincarnating over and over for as many lifetimes as it takes—until everyone is enlightened.

The misunderstanding of the Vow falls into… I don’t have an official name for it yet, but let’s call it the Back-Assward Belief Syndrome:

  • Back-Assward Belief: Quiet your mind and you’ll find enlightenment. Truth: Your mind naturally quiets with enlightenment.
  • Back-Assward Belief: Practice loving kindness and you’ll find enlightenment. Truth: You naturally love everyone and treat them with kindness upon the awakening of the Heart and Mind (they are you, why wouldn’t you?)
  • Back-Assward Belief: Practicing one-pointed focus leads to enlightenment. Truth: With less noise in your head, it is simply easier to focus on one thing at a time.
  • Back-Assward Belief: Believe in Christ or you’ll go to hell. Truth: When you feel love and unity with everyone you feel good (heaven), when you feel hate and separation, you feel bad (hell).

The same can be said of the Bodhisattva Vow. It is a back-assward belief.

When you have a Mind Opening, you see through the illusion of boundaries. All becomes One.

When you have a Heart Opening, you see through the illusion of personal love. Lowercase love becomes Unconditional Love.

Bodhisattvas have had both the Mind and Heart Openings. Unity Consciousness (all is One) plus Love Consciousness (unconditional love). Bodhisattvas love everyone and everything as themselves.

A child is run over by a terrorist and the mother grieves. The bodhisattva does not feel sadness for the child, nor anger at the terrorist. The bodhisattva feels love for the mother. The bodhisattva feels the grief the mother feels. The bodhisattva and the mother are one. The pain of the mother is the pain of the bodhisattva.

The Mind Opening without the Heart Opening is literally heart-less. The world is an illusion, a story. The story is the cause of all suffering. People are an illusion. Pain is an illusion. Suffering is an illusion. For the Witness, all the above is true. And it ALL IS true. But the Mind Opening’s truth is not the Whole Truth. The Grand Illusion is only a partial truth.

The danger of a Mind Opening without a Heart Opening is that this partial truth (the individual is an illusion) is then taken as the full truth. When that happens, apathy prevails: “It’s all an illusion, what the hell do I care?”

When the Heart Opening combines with the Mind Opening though, a wonderful yet often painful thing happens: You love everyone as yourself.

For the bodhisattva, to desire the end of the suffering of all sentient beings is as perfectly natural as the desire to be physically comfortable while sitting on a couch. You don’t try to be comfortable, you simply and naturally shift positions until comfort is felt. The bodhisattva feels the suffering of everyone. Everyone’s suffering is the bodhisattva’s suffering.

This is not an idea. It’s not a theory. It’s not something to be figured out.

It is an experience. A perfectly natural experience when you feel one with everyone. You feel the pain of others and you naturally want that pain to end.

You don’t take a vow… you just naturally live it. See this post and this post for some examples.

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8 thoughts on “The Suffering of the Bodhisattva

  1. Thanks Wayne. Very clear. Of course, on one side of the gate you may need to start with the backwards version. Heck, start anywhere. The wider-deeper truth will eventually encapsulate the smaller truth.

  2. I don’t quite agree Buddhavitsa feels LOVE as a global thing, he has empathy for the bereaved woman, but is actualy detached from her suffering because he knows that she alone can suffer, being that all suffering is due to our illusions and the desire and aversions of the ego mind. Desir and aversion is the source of all suffering.

    • “I don’t quite agree Buddhavitsa feels LOVE as a global thing”

      I’ll give you that the more the Heart has opened, the more love… so it’s not a binary on/off thing. As these individual threads of TaoGodHer, we’re all going to be different.

  3. “Back-Assward Belief: Believe in Christ or you’ll go to hell. Truth: When you feel love and unity with everyone you feel good (heaven), when you feel hate and separation, you feel bad (hell).”

    Feel the experience, witness it, but do not label “good” or “bad”, heaven or hell- that is a mind construct, dragging you back into polarity. That’s what Jesus meant by “do not judge”- do not separate your mind into compartmentalized reaction-based programmed thought forms. Experience reality just as it is, unfiltered. Hence “truth” shall set us free. 🙂

    The Bodhisattva is fully aware of self-as-witness, therefore any action on his part is an act of compassion (co/common/communal passion). Neither hot nor cold, he understands and feels compassion for everyone (separation is an illusion). The terrorist, child, mother are merely playing their roles, the witness is absolute, so in being so, is one with all.

    Wayne, u’r on the right track, keep living-practicing truth. Peace

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