Author Topic: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva  (Read 11731 times)


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"Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« on: January 05, 2013, 11:02:08 AM »
"The 'Lotus Sutra' (Ch 20) relates the story of a Bodhisattva named Never Despise. Whenever  he encountered a layman or cleric, he would approach him, bow down to him, and say aloud, ' I dare not look down on you because you will become a Buddha in the future'.

This declaration angered some persons, who would insult and beat him. In response, Never Despise would simply run far away and repeat, 'I dare not look down on you because you will become a Buddha.' " .

(Source. Parable 099. P. 94/95 - 'Thus have I heard:  Buddhist Parables')

   This story illustrates the beautiful quality of Equanimity(One of the Four Immeasurables). Bodhisattva Never Despise had cultivated and perfected this quality in himself. He saw every sentient being as equal because every being has the potential to become  a Buddha.


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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 02:56:24 PM »
It is said that Never Despise Bodhisattva was a former incarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni. He cultivated the practice of seeing everyone and everything with equanimity. He respected all sentient beings equally because he believed that they all have the Buddha nature and are all future Buddhas.  The practice of equal respect for all beings is called equanimity, the first of the four immeasurables. Immeasurable equanimity is the spacious state of mind that is free from attraction, aversion and indifference. We are normally attached to people who are close to us, have aversion for those who are our enemies and indifferent to strangers. The practice is to abandon such bias and to treat everyone equally because we realise that by nature all phenomena are pure in the sense that they possess the Buddha nature and have the potential to be future Buddhas.

Tenzin K

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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 05:01:46 PM »
Bodhichitta has many translations: “mind of enlightenment,” “seed of enlightenment,” “awakened heart,” “open heart.” It is a venerable word and a venerable practice that has been done for thousands of years. When we think of bodhichitta, we have a hard time putting a shape or form to it because compassion and loving-kindness are so open and tender. On the other hand, we may feel that since we have love and compassion inherently, they will naturally emerge. It’s true that from a practitioner’s point of view, that is the inspiration. Nevertheless, we must practice uncovering bodhichitta so that that it begins to take root in our life.

The first stage of generating bodhichitta is to develop the attitude of equanimity. Equanimity is the ground on which the six instructions are all based. The point of cultivating equanimity is to open up our view. We have fixed ideas of friends and enemies, and based on that view, we see the world through lenses of good and bad: sharks are bad and bunny rabbits are good; democracy is great and communism is bad.
The meaning of equanimity is evenness, not choosing sides, being fair. Equanimity is not a matter of being unaffected by anything, but of letting go of fixed ideas. We want to develop compassion and loving-kindness for everyone and everything. We’re not choosing sides or being judgmental. We’ve leveled the playing field—we are not generating compassion for some and not others. For example, if you have two children who are fighting, you remain calm. You’ve had a greater experience of life and have seen all kinds of trials and tribulations, and you know that they’re arguing about something that’s not really important. You can approach them quite evenly, without having to choose a winner or a loser. You can help them because you have equanimity.

Contemplative practice begins to open up our thinking process, to help us realize how to take a bigger view. Most of the time we’re trying to figure out a problem based on “this is right” or “this is wrong.” We all believe that if it were not for one particular person, we’d be really compassionate and understanding. But there is one person who really irritates us; she’s got our number and she calls it a lot. Now we’re taking a more open approach. We use our daily practice to open up, relax, and think of ways of dealing with things based on helping others. There are six ways in which we can cultivate this attitude.

1. Consider all sentient beings as your mother. The first way is to consider that all sentient beings have been our mothers. Basically, it is our mother who gives us unconditional love. She nurtures and supports us and takes care of us when we are weak, helping and protecting us. Traditionally, it is said that genuine courage is like that of a mother protecting her child from danger. The Buddha said that everyone has experienced endless lifetimes, so at some point every being has been our mother, father, brother, sister, enemy, friend—everything. If we don’t believe in life after death or rebirth, we can understand this in the context of our present life. From the moment we were born, we have had friends who have become our enemies; we’ve been in good situations that have turned bad and in bad ones that have turned good.

Regarding all sentient beings as having been our mothers in previous lifetimes means that at some point, someone has taken care of us. This may not necessarily be our mother, if we have a bad relationship with our mother. But in fact, that is the idea: in the Buddhist view, because there are infinite numbers of lifetimes, every possibility could happen. At some point, our worst enemy has been our mother. So the point of this practice is to let go of our relative notions of good and bad.

2. Think of the kindness of others.
The second instruction is to think of the kindness of others. This can be based on what others have done for us, and it can be as minute or as great as we can think of. Even someone we’re having difficulty with has at some point done something good for us—they might have simply passed us the salt at the table. If you take the traditional route, realizing that all sentient beings have been our mothers, they have, of course, all been kind to us at some point. In any situation we can look at the positive aspect. How does this work? Having developed a much larger view, we begin to look at our life and see—even in a bad or chaotic situation—what is good. Often, we have a hard time seeing—or don’t really want to see—what is good. This instruction begins to loosen us up. We could say it digs up the bodhichitta and lets it come out, like turning the soil.

3. Repay the kindness of others.
The next instruction is to repay the kindness of others. To a degree, we take a vow to repay the kindness of others. When we are meditating, we should think, “I vow to be kind to others, and not only to be kind, but also to repay their kindness.” In this case, those who have helped us includes everyone in any situation we’ve come across. Even animals have cared for us in some previous lifetime. If we think, “This is ridiculous; how could a deer have been my mother?” then we can view it in this way: this animal or this person is providing an opportunity for us to practice.

This contemplation is part of the aspect of the mahayana called the “great activity.” It is great because it is vast activity. This attitude is so vast that it’s hard for us to conceive of. If we actually had this attitude when we worked with people, the situation would be quite different. If we had this attitude, even for a moment, we’d begin to see that everyone we encounter, directly or indirectly, has helped us, and we would want to repay his or her kindness.

4. Develop loving-kindness.
The next contemplation is developing loving-kindness through finding something delightful in others. If we love or care for someone, we naturally find something delightful in them, something we are drawn to and feel close to. In the middle of a meadow, there could be a mound of dirt with a single blade of grass growing out of it. We would see that it is a very beautiful blade of grass, and that the dirt it is growing in does not detract from its beauty. We wouldn’t think, “There are many beautiful blades of grass, except for that one, because it came from that pile of dirt.” So, we don’t think of the shortcomings of others, but instead we generate loving-kindness towards them.

5. Have compassion.
The next instruction is to have compassion, which is wanting beings not to suffer. Loving-kindness is associated with wanting others to enjoy happiness, while compassion is associated with wanting them to be free from suffering. If we love and care for others, we do not want them to have a hard time. Seeing the suffering of someone who’s very close to us heightens our sense of compassion. Compassion does not mean taking pity on others or having sympathy in the sense of “poor things.” Compassion is empathy, which is based on understanding what suffering is. Not only do we see the suffering of others, but also we understand it directly and feel it very emotionally. We think, “This could happen to me.”

6. Develop conviction.
The last of the instructions is to develop an unquestionable, unsurpassable commitment that we will do these things. We will be kind and compassionate, and we will take delight in all beings, realizing that they have helped us. Even if we are the only person in the entire world practicing in this way, we will not stop doing it. We vow to be determined. We have the steadfastness and conviction of the Buddha, sitting underneath the bodhi tree.


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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 11:09:23 AM »
Thank you for sharing on Never Despise Boddhisattva,

The Buddha nature is indeed a very important topic. There are many benefits of realising the Buddha nature which is loving kindness and compassion. Once realised, we will see everyone as equal. We will also respect everyone equally because everyone possesses the Buddha nature including our enemies. It has always been in each and everyone of us. We just don't realise it.

The method to realise the Buddha nature is from engaging in deep meditation, study and practice.
The awakened mind is like a light, pure from beginningless time. Due to our ignorance, attachments, hatred, depression and so forth, the light has been shaded just like clouds shading space.

The enlightened mind is like space. Space has always been there. But we do not always see it. The clouds are like our ignorance, attachments and hatred. Practice is like dispelling the clouds. Once the cloud has been dispelled, the clear light comes through. It's very important to realise this in order for our own minds to be awakened.


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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2013, 03:45:00 PM »
Wow! Thanks for sharing, It really inspire my that the qualities of the Biddhisattava is really something that we all can follow as an example. Being so humble and not be affected by the reactions of the others with pure motivation of benefitting others with practicing equanimity and by telling us all that we all have the qualities of the Buddha.


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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 11:58:47 AM »
In case no one has noticed yet, Never Despise Bodhisattva is a representation of someone who has realized emptiness and thus, has a far view and sees everyone as future Buddhas that are to be respected. This is the ultimate truth. He also represents the perfection and the actual practice of equanimity. It is to note that it is said that the Shuragama Sutra guides one to enlightenment, while the Lotus Sutra guides one to Buddhahood: the Shuragama Sutra is the sutra that is central to the Ch'an Tradition of China, while the Lotus Sutra is central to the Ti'en Tai tradition of China. The Shuragama Sutra is written like the Lamrim and is meant to be meditated on while the Lotus sutra helps develop compassion. These are the two main sutras of Chinese/Korean/Japanese Buddhism.


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Re: "Never Despise" Bodhisattva
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 04:03:58 AM »
Rejoice. This is a very virtuous and positive mental state to have. And he was very courageous to walk to meet these people and monks and speak to them face to face, "I do not despise you and dare not to despise you because you will be a Buddha one day". It became a commitment to Never Despise Bodhisattva, him himself, walking his talk.

Are we able to do if we are in his position? Reflecting and checking upon ourselves we would find it hard to act in such way and would feel it to be strange. It is a sign that we can easily despise anyone with whatever our own make up reasons and justifications when things do not go our way or just simply we dislike the person's appearance. Moreover we cannot accept ourselves, and lack of courage to face it, being not used to being honest with ourselves, our feelings.