King, Boatman, Shepherd?

A bodhisattva may choose any of three paths to help sentient beings in the process of achieving enlightenment:

  • the Bodhisattva King aspires to become a Buddha as soon as possible, and then help sentient beings attain enlightenment, guiding them through his example and protecting them with his power;
  • the Bodhisattva Boatman aspires to become a Buddha simultaneously with other sentient beings, sharing their difficulties and encouraging them along the way;
  • the Bodhisattva Shepherd aspires to delay his own enlightenment until all other sentient beings become Buddhas, consoling and protecting those who falter. 

Which one will you be? 

—after the Kun-bzang bla-ma’i zhal-lung

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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4 Responses to King, Boatman, Shepherd?

  1. This is very helpful to me since it makes me realize that anyway I manage to be in my Bodhisattva nature, I am helping my fellow beings…even when I feel weak and can not lead….and God knows there are times that I need permission to collapse and feel the devastation at the task of attaining enlightenment authentically steadily and with true compassion, thus true humanness.

  2. MindMindful says:

    I guess I’d have to say I flicker back & forth between these “options” — sometimes, I am strong, confident & can lead others. Other times, I know that — maybe! — I’ll reach Buddhahood, but in the meantime my best effort is to help others reach it first. Sometimes, I feel like I can nudge others along, hoping they will also nudge me:)

    Does an aspirant need to actually choose which one to be??

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