How can Buddhas bring all sentient beings, including us, to Buddhahood?

- through Francois Leclercq

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All Pure Land aspirants should feel deep shame and remorse!

Master Shandao said at the beginning of Pratyutpanna Praise:

I humbly say to all Pure Land aspirants: you should feel deep shame and remorse! Shakyamuni Buddha is actually your kind and compassionate parents who provide you with various useful teachings to arouse your unparalleled faith.

He further says:

Furthermore, he speaks of various timely teachings, not just one, because ordinary beings have inverted visions. However, if we can follow any of his teachings and practice accordingly, he will be able to see the Buddha and be born in the Land of Bliss.

Why should we Pure Land aspirants be ashamed of remorse? This is because due to our inverted views we fail to follow any of his 84 useful teachings expressed in the sutras and practice accordingly, therefore we cannot see the Buddha and cannot be born into the Land of Bliss.

What is Shakyamuni Buddha's purpose in providing us with various useful teachings? Master Shandao said it was for the purpose of awakening our unparalleled faith! “Unparalleled faith” refers to faith in the Buddha, even if we do not understand and practice the profound Buddhist teachings.

Aspire, manifest, attain and enter into the wisdom and insight of a Buddha

In the Lotus Sutrasaid Shakyamuni to his disciples of the Three Vehicles (sravakas, prateyabuddhasand bodhisattvas):

Buddhas appear in this world for a single causal purpose: they wish to cause sentient beings to ASPIRE towards purity; MANIFEST the wisdom and insight of the Buddhas; and to REACH and ENTER the path of wisdom and insight of a Buddha. It is only for this great reason that Buddhas appeared in this world.

Strictly speaking, the 84 teachings of the Three Vehicles spoken by Buddha Shakyamuni are “expedients” that guide us towards the teaching of the One Vehicle of the Buddha, which is “real”. However, the true wisdom and insight of Buddhas are ineffable and inconceivable.

Without the appearance of a Buddha, no sentient being can conceive what a Buddha is. The category of being known as "Buddha" must be revealed and demonstrated by a Buddha. Without the guidance and empowerment of the Buddha, no one can attain or enter the path of wisdom and insight of a Buddha.

Becoming a Buddha by leading others to become Buddhas

Generally speaking, bodhisattvas of different stages of the causal terrain exhibited the unrivaled bodhi spirit: to deliver themselves by delivering others, provided they do not regress on the path to Buddhahood. They strive to cultivate the Six Perfections with a myriad of practices.

If these bodhisattvas can follow one of Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings and practice cultivating their minds accordingly, they can see the Buddha and be born in the Pure Land. As said in the Vimalakirti Sutra: “If bodhisattvas wish to have pure lands, the lands in which they dwell will be pure when their minds are pure. »

sravakas et pratyekabuddhas are those who respectively practice the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni on the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Dependent Origin. They aim to free themselves from samsara (reincarnation within the Six Realms) and may be reluctant to free others samsara.

Furthermore, the release of samsara is not ultimate. In order to achieve perfect enlightenment and unparalleled Buddhahood – which involves a “return” to the land of Buddhas for ultimate emancipation – one must benefit oneself by benefiting others and become a Buddha by leading others to become Buddhas.

In fact, in the Dharma Assembly, 5 bhikshus (sravakas) left before Shakyamuni Buddha uttered the Lotus Sutra. In order to motivate and encourage his disciples sravakas et pratyekabuddhas To express the mind of bodhi, Shakyamuni Buddha uses expedient means to convert and deliver them.

The difficulty of delivering ordinary beings devoid of virtuous roots

Conversion and delivery all Sentient beings – not just those of the Three Vehicles, but ordinary beings like us – are the sole purpose for which all Buddhas appear in the world. This is the primary mission and great task of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Ordinary beings are attached to the “self”. They are self-centered and vain. Hearing Buddhist teachings, they are primarily concerned with their own interests and benefits in the ordinary world. Many ordinary beings do not know or care about the afterlife, or liberation from samsaranot to mention becoming a Buddha.

Obviously, it is difficult for Shakyamuni Buddha to convert and deliver ordinary beings who lack worldly and Buddhist virtuous roots. In the Infinite Life SutraShakyamuni Buddha speaks again of his original intention to appear in the world for the benefit of all sentient beings in the Land of Saha:

As a Tathagata, I view the beings of the Three Realms with great, boundless compassion. The reason for my appearance in the world is to reveal the teachings of the Way and to save multitudes of beings by endowing them with true benefits.

This refers to “seeing the Buddha and being born in the Land of Bliss.” “To endow” is to give and to donate, and “true” is the opposite of “timely.” “True benefits” refer to the merits and virtues associated with the One Buddha Vehicle: the wisdom and insight of a Buddha, as well as a “return” to the land of the Buddha for ultimate emancipation.

How does Shakyamuni Buddha bestow real benefits on ordinary beings?

How does Shakyamuni Buddha confer real benefits on us? In the Infinite Life SutraShakyamuni Buddha introduces Amitabha Buddha, who made 48 wishes for all sentient beings in the ten directions, including human and celestial beings, and accomplished the Land of Bliss where they can be reborn.

In the Amitabha Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha thrice exhorts all sentient beings to aspire and attain assured rebirth in the Land of Bliss, maintaining the recitation of Amitabha's name with determination and without confusion. This is the one and only way for ordinary beings like us to “return” to the land of the Buddha for ultimate emancipation.

Thus, all Pure Land aspirants should feel deep shame and remorse because they are “losers” – that is, we are trying to put into practice the timely teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and ourselves. free ourselves. Without the endowment of Shakyamuni Buddha's true blessings, we have no causal conditions from which we can free ourselves. samsara and achieve rebirth in the Land of Happiness.

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Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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