Re: Living Buddhas

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Posted by David S. ( on October 10, 2000 at 07:14:55:

In Reply to: Living Buddhas posted by Remmy on October 10, 2000 at 00:12:25:

There are definitely those who have attained Nirvana: Arhats and 8th stage (8th bhumi) Bodhisattvas. And there are surely some of those around, although rare.

But as for a Buddha being in this world now in person, this depends on what you call a Buddha. The standard definition of a Buddha according to the Mahayana Sutras is one who has perfected that which is to be perfected- including both wisdom and compassion (delivering others). If one is still developing in any way, they are not technically a Buddha, but a Bodhisattva. Then there are Arhats who attain personal liberation, but are also not Buddhas. Whether they go on to become Bodhisattvas and eventually Buddhas is another story.

As for living Buddhas in the flesh, according to the Sutras, that is according to Shakyamumni Buddha, the next Buddha to come into this world is Maitreya - which has not yet occured. We are still in Shakyamuni's period.

However, the Mahayana teachings do in different cases say that when one sees their Buddha nature, they are in that moment seeing what the Buddha sees, or even that they are right then the Buddha. However, my understanding is that this teaching is to point one toward their Buddha nature, which is inside ourself and nowhere else to be found. Because once one has this kind of experience, the same teachings say the Buddha path has only just begun.

I am not saying Rockie is wrong, because essentially we are all Buddhas, developing our wisdom and compassion to perfection. But at the same time, we are not yet those Buddhas because we have not perfected wisdom and compassion. But we have it to do so within us.

I am also not saying he is wrong, because I myself do not know from the personal experience of knowing a Buddha or not. I have only read the Sutras, which are the Buddha's own words.

I, like you, would also like to know what others say about this issue.

Take care,

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