Manjushri said to Buddha,
“World-Honored One, I have long cultivated good roots and
have acquired extensive and profound wisdom. So, as soon as
I hear anything the Buddha says, I understand and believe it
immediately. However, other living beings may doubt Buddha’s
sincere words. They might believe them temporarily but they
cannot hold the words in their hearts, and will begin to
doubt them and then to criticize them. I hope the
World-Honored One can provide more detailed information
about Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha, Mahasattva, and tell us
what this Bodhisattva did. What kind of vows did this
Bodhisattva make that allowed him to achieve this
The Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Vow Sutra
Manjushri, …made a vow: “From now on for countless eons, I will provide all kinds of possible ways to relieve all beings from suffering. I will not become a Buddha until they have all been released from pain.” So, even after such a long time, he still has not become a Buddha and is still a Bodhisattva.
The Bodhisattva Kishitigarbha Vow Sutra
comments from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Adi Da on the Bodhisattva vow:
From Chogyam Trungpa:
Student: You spoke of the vajrayana path as one that could lead to enlightenment in this lifetime. Yet in the bodhisattva vow, we vow not to enter enlightenment until all sentient beings have become enlightened. That seems to present a contradiction.
Trungpa Rinpoche: I don’t think so at all. That’s the trick of the mahayana path; it helps you to give up. You’re not going to attain enlightenment at all; you’re going to work with sentient beings. And the idea in vajrayana is that you’re going to attain enlightenment in one lifetime. Both work together. In mahayana, the idea that you’re not going to attain enlightenment cut your speed, your ambition. In the vajrayana, you develop pride, vajra pride, and dignity. Actually, both amount to the same thing. You can’t become buddha in any case at all. Youless, unyou, nonyou, is going to attain enlightenment. That logic holds true all the way along. You can’t attain enlightenment. Maybe nonyou can attain enlightenment. Good luck!
The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Vol. 4, p. 191
From Adi Da:
The true Bodhisattva is not one who in any sense prevents his or her own Enlightenment in order to first Enlighten others. How can an un-Enlightened being Enlighten anyone else? Rather, the true Bodhisattva is either pursuing ultimate Enlightenment or else he or she is already fully established in the Awakened Wisdom of true Enlightenment while still alive. The Enlightened Bodhisattva is a true Buddha or Transcendental Siddha. And such an individual may intentionally remain in the phenomenal worlds through countless rebirths in order to Awaken others – but this does not involve the prevention of his or her own Enlightenment. The Buddha’s or Enlightened Bodhisattvas or Awakened Siddhas that constantly or periodically reappear in the phenomenal worlds for the sake of Helping un-Enlightened beings always reassert their Enlightenment in each lifetime. What they prevent is not Enlightenment but the Hinayana form of Nirvana.
I am not satisfied by the liberation of one life. Therefore, the understanding of Franklin was not awesome even for a moment. Then he came to the recognition of other beings and forms, knowing that what was experienced as Franklin was only a secondary limitation of his mind. Then other beings and forms arose as the conditions of his own consciousness, the body in which his meditation was required. The work of understanding is creative action of what appears as all beings and forms. This I am only satisfied with the understanding of every one and every thing, exactly, utterly, in fact. As long as anyone or any thing appears that is not understanding, I have not understood. Clearly, while all of this appears as it now appears, there is no master, no guru, no one who understands. Even so, I am the Heart.
Franklin Jones, 1970 (Adi Da Samraj)
“Your Enlightenment and your Sublimity is guaranteed. Why should this be guaranteed to someone without preparation? No one can account for it, no one whatsoever. Somehow those who are thus arbitrarily Graced transmit the same Grace to other beings. This is why it has occurred in your case. It has not occurred because you are so great. Your qualities do not make any difference. It is simply that some must be chosen for the sake of others.”
Adi Da Samraj, 1982 or 1983
From Nivanasara – Adi Da Samraj
The popular usage of the Mahayana Enlightenment Equation has traditionally been related to the “Bodhisattva” ideal. The origin of the idea of the equation between Nirvana and samsara was in the ultimate or seventh stage consideration of Enlightenment (as Sahaj Samadhi), but that same equation has otherwise traditionally been used to justify the popular idea of “preventing” one’s Enlightenment in order to devote one’s present life (and all future lifetimes) to the Enlightenment of all other beings. This popular idea of the “Bodhisattva” is a conventional social and cultural ideal that belongs to the first four stages of life. It is an ideal offered up in the later and more popular phases of Buddhist culture as a counter to the ancient Hinayana ideal of ascetical withdrawal from social and phenomenal relations for the sake of one’s own Enlightenment or release from bondage. And it is this more popular and conventional social and cultural motive that reduced both the great Mahayana Equation and the idea of the Bodhisattva (which was originally intended to describe an individual who is profoundly involved in the pursuit of Enlightenment for Its own sake rather than for the ego’s own sake) to the level of conventional beliefs and ideals in the lesser stages of life.
(4.4) The true Bodhisattva is not one who in any sense prevents his or her own Enlightenment in order to first Enlighten others. How can an un-Enlightened being Enlighten anyone else? Rather, the true Bodhisattva is either pursuing ultimate Enlightenment (and perhaps doing so in the context of service, or positive social and cultural relations with others) or else he or she is already fully established in the Awakened Wisdom of true Enlightenment while still alive. The Enlightened Bodhisattva is a true Buddha or Transcendental Siddha. And such an individual may intentionally remain in the phenomenal worlds through countless rebirths in order to Awaken others—but this does not involve the prevention of his or her own Enlightenment. The Buddhas or Enlightened Bodhisattvas or Awakened Siddhas that constantly or periodically reappear in the phenomenal worlds for the sake of Helping un-Enlightened beings always reassert their Enlightenment (as Sahaj Samadhi) in each lifetime. What they prevent (or have not yet permanently entered into) is not Enlightenment but the Hinayana form of Nirvana (which is the complete cessation of phenomenal existence, and which is basically equivalent to what I call “Bhava Samadhi,” in contrast to “Sahaj Samadhi,” or the Condition of Enlightenment while yet alive and active). And even such Enlightened Ones are at least periodically (during life and at death) entered into the Nirvanic Samadhi or ultimate Bhava of unqualified Transcendental Being, Consciousness, and Bliss (wherein all phenomenal conditions are perfectly Outshined).