Buddhism is a practical way of living a noble life that helps in cultivating kindness, forgiveness, empathy and enlightening. The teachings in Buddhism will become mere knowledge fillers if it is not practiced and applied to everyday living. Thus, it always emphasizes the importance of not being blind followers but to be living examples.
2500 years ago, Lord Buddha preached the ways to harness the truth in life and its existence through various means that allows human wisdom to understand. He, the Lord Buddha, made his preaching suit his followers and according to the place and the situation. With his ability to see beyond life and into previous incarnations, he was able to tell the stories that made it possible for even the common man to understand complex noble truths. Most of these stories, Jathakas, were linked to a time where Lord Buddha was striving to achieve the ultimate truth in life, the state without re-incarnation, Niwan. The instances of a Buddha in previous incarnations are said to be of a Bodhisattva.
As we learn Buddhism and its various dharma stories, we find the Bohdisathvas in different forms of life as a prince, a common man, an elephant, a monkey, and even a cobra. All these instances, the Bhodhisathva was able to do good deeds in expectation of attaining ‘Nibbana’ or to be totally enlightened.
A heartening tale known in Buddhist teachings is how Lord Buddha entered into a path of Bohdhsathva. The story goes on to tell that the Bohdhisathva carried his mother on his back and swam to the shores for seven days following a shipwreck. At that time the mother blessed her son to become a Buddha and so did it happen. It is also understood and taught that it took unimaginable times of reincarnation for Bohdisathva to become the Lord Buddha. The scholars explain a fraction of that time, a Kalpa in a metaphor If you run a one-mile-long rock every hundred years with a piece of silk until the rock is worn away, the Kalpa is still not passed. It’s definitely unimaginable and definitely difficult, but certainly not impossible for a Bodhisattva to become a Buddha.
The character of a Bodhisattva
In modern days, people tend to associate noble men doing good deeds with the character of a Bodhisattva. In a way, this is partly true. We might have Bohdisathvas among ourselves. The fact is, if someone engages in deeds for the good of mankind or even for all living beings if these deeds are preceded by kindness, empathy, forgiveness and without expecting anything in return, he or she might well be considered possessing Bodhisattva characteristics. As the teachings go on to say, next Buddha in line, ‘Mithriya Buddha’ is in his Bohdisathva life.
The life of a Bohdisathva is something everyone can practice in day to day life. It’s not only for Buddhists but for all human beings who have gifted the wisdom, ability and mindfulness of doing such deeds. It’s a way of life that will see success, enlightenment and truth.