Am I wrong about what the Bodhisattva Vow is? Honestly, I can’t tell, because the answer changes from person to person, and each thing I read differs too much.
The basic answer that I get is that a bodhisattva is simply as person who has gained (or is seeking) enlightenment for the benefit of others–to help others. Some take a vow to remind themselves that it is for others over themselves, and that they will strive the rest of their lives (not rest) until all others reach the end of suffering as well. But, what does this mean? Does it mean that they themselves never reach Nirvana? That they die without reaching their own end to suffering? Does it mean that they still must be reborn? Or, like the Buddha, does it mean that they don’t just mentally “check-out” in some blissful state of Nirvana… sitting around in a cave contemplating their belly-button in bliss while the rest of the world is in pain? That they opt not to dwell in Nirvana, but to still function and go about daily lives teaching and helping people? Like the Buddha, do they still get to enter into this final bliss on their death?
I cannot get a straight answer, so I ask you all who may read this to let me know what you know on the subject. I would like to know if I am right or wrong on my latest ideas on the matter, which are clearly coming from a Theravada source and may be skewed.
Still though, if I am wrong about the reincarnation part, and the vow is not null without it… then again, isn’t it just a vow to not check-out and help people? If that is all that it is, then what really sets the vow apart from what the Theravada were already vowing to do in the first place as well? They already had a vow and coined the term bodhisattva as one who is enlightened to help others.
For more heresy please join me on my new blog at www.evolitionist.com