Sunday, December 17, 2017

no self compassion

"Subhuti, those who would now set forth on the bodhisattva path should thus give birth to this thought: 'However many beings there are in whatever realms of being might exist, whether they are born from an egg or born from a womb, born from the water or born from the air, whether they have form or no form, whether they have perception or no perception, in whatever conceivable realm of being one might conceive of beings, in the realm of complete nirvana I shall liberate them all. And though I thus liberate countless beings, not a single being is liberated.'

"And why not? Subhuti, a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a being cannot be called a 'bodhisattva'. And why not? Subhuti, no one can be called a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a self or who creates the perception of a being, a life, or a soul."
~Diamond Sutra, Ch.3

I've skimmed through a lot of this stuff before, but never made a serious effort to learn what these sutras are actually going on about.  At first glance, the wording can seem somewhat ridiculous.  I'm only halfway through this one now, but one thing that stands out to me is the way no-self and compassion are staked out as essentially the basis of the entire religion.  I've long understood that to be the case, but wasn't sure.  I wasn't aware of exactly how and where it's spelled out.

I've also enjoyed the way it goes into the contradiction therein.  If there is no self, then what is it that the bodhisattva should be concerned with liberating?  The idea is that to awaken from delusion, one must be motivated by a pure compassion for all beings, while realizing no-self; no being has a self.  There are no beings to liberate.  Not to then give up on the whole idea, but to transcend the cognitive dissonance.  Or something.

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