Be the Bigger Person

Another impromptu post. I saw a childish and annoying religious video on Youtube earlier, and I then remembered a famous passage from the Buddhist Flower Garland Sutra (華厳経 kegonkyō in Japanese, 화엄경 hwa-eom gyeong in Korean):

On seeing a bodhisattva
Perform various practices,
Some give rise to a good mind and others to a mind of evil,
But the bodhisattva embraces them all.

A bodhisattva in Buddhism (菩薩 bosatsu in Japanese, 보살 bosal in Korean) is a special person who aspire to become a buddha. A Buddha is a fully-awakened person (e.g. Enlightened), but they are extremely rare. People have enlightenment experiences, but a Buddha is someone who has completely uprooted anger, lust and ignorance and fully understands the nature of existence. So, a bodhisattva is someone who aspires for this, no matter how many lives it takes.

But a bodhisattva realizes that they cannot become a Buddha only for themselves. In life, everyone depends on each other in one way or another (even the people you hate), and so a bodhisattva works to teach and help others lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. In the process, they eventually reach Buddhahood and become enlightened.

Anyhow, the point is that if you teach religion to divide people, or make them afraid, this is not true religion. You can’t say “my religion is true, your religion is false.” It creates hostility, fear, mistrust and many other problems. A person who judges others lives in anxiety too.

That’s why a bodhisattva, or any Buddhist, embraces all beings. Even if people say “Buddhism is wicked”, “Buddhism is devil worship”, or other nonsense, it is all based on irrational fears and narrow-mindedness. It demonizes other people who different than you. Instead, if you learn to see other people as people, the fear and anxiety go away and goodwill arises instead. That’s why a bodhisattva doesn’t discriminate, and embraces all beings.

Also, as the Lotus Sutra teaches, all beings will eventually becomes Buddhas in the future, so today’s critic may become tomorrow’s bodhisattva. This is all part of the Buddhist idea of “emptiness”: nothing is static, anything can change if the conditions are right.

Namo Shaka Nyorai

P.S. As the famous Metta Sutta says:

…may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen and unseen, near and far, born and seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Translation by Ven. Thannisaro


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

3 thoughts on “Be the Bigger Person”

  1. Awesome post, thank you for sharing! I was born into Buddhism, was Christian, and now adopted Islam, and I totally agree with your thoughts above as I think it’s important to embrace one another instead of judging. In fact, I feel that this is the common thread amongst all faiths, however, it’s people whose practice is far from the principles at times.

    Thank you so much for sharing. 😀



    1. Hi PN,

      Sorry for the late reply. Been super busy. Anyhow, yeah I agree that if people would treat each other more as people than judging each other things would be better.


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