The Bodhisatva


THE BODHISATTVA-THE HERO OF AWAKENED MIND


Csoma's tanka at the exhibition

Alexander Csoma de Kõrös became the embodyment of Buddhist ideal: a bodhisattva, a hero of awakening, able for the great deed: he opened the door for the world towards Buddhism.

In the East the Japanese buddhist were first to recognize the great significance and scientific value of Alexander Csoma de Kõrös' work. Being acknowledged by them as a Hungarian saint of buddhism, he was given the name "Csoma Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of the Western World" on 22 frebruary 1933, at a religious ceremony held at the assembly hall of Taishyo Buddhist University in Tokyo.
By this extraordinary honour they wished to acknowledge his work exploring Buddhism in western scientific spirit, together with his saintly life and enduring efforts. He was the first Westerner to receive this recognition. His statue depicting him in meditation posture was ceremonially placed in the Emperor's Museum in the presence of the entire staff.

Founder of the Hungarian Karma Kagyüpa Buddhist Community, the Tibetan ven. Lama Ngawang said:

"Just as Milarepa, the saintly yogi is superior among all Tibetans ever lived, is Alexander Csoma de Kõrös, the saintly Hungarian bodhisattva superior among all Hungarians who ever lived, up to the present day."

What lies behind their spiritual greatness and immortality?
Milarepa gives the answer:

"I, the cotton-clad Tibetan hermit,
Have renounced food and clothing in this life
To become a perfect Buddha.


Bodhisatva Csoma's sculpture

I am happy with the hard cushion beneath me,
I am happy with the cotton cloth which covers me,
I am happy with the cord of meditation which ties my knees,
I am happy with this phantom body, neither starved nor satiated,
I am happy with my mind which has gained insight into reality.
I am not unhappy; I am happy.

If it seems to you that I am happy, do as I have done,
If you do not have the good fortune to follow the inner path,
Do not mistakenly pity me,
Who accomplishes the true and lasting happiness
Of myself and all sentient beings."

The bodhisattva, the hero of awakened mind, undertakes the journey to liberation not for his or her own good alone but to help all others, and eventually, after attaining liberation, does not dissolve into the absolute or flee the agony of samsara, but chooses to return again and again to devote his or her wisdom and compassion to the service of the whole world.

Through understanding ourselves "...with an increase in our own sense of peace and happiness we will naturally be better able to contribute to the peace and happiness of others. Transforming the mind and cultivating a positive, altruistic and responsible attitude is beneficial right now. Whatever problems and difficulties we may have, we can thereby face them with courage, calmness and high spirits. Therefore, it is also the very root of happiness for many lives to come."
- Dalai Lama

In our life and in the world "...the only way to break the chain reaction of confusion and pain and to work our way outward into the awakened state of mind is to take responsibility ourselves. If we do not deal with this situation of confusion, if we do not do something about it ourselves, nothing will ever happen. We cannot count on others to do it for us. It is our responsibility, and we have the tremendous power to change the course of the world's karma...As bodhisattvas...we are acknowledging that we are not going to be instigators of further chaos and misery in the world, but we are going to be liberators, bodhisattvas, inspired to work on ourselves as well as with other people."
- Chögyam Trungpa

Shantideva:
THE BODHISATTVA'S WAY
(Excerpts)

With joy I celebrate
The virtue that relieves all beings
From the sorrows of the states of loss,
And places those who languish in the realms of bliss.

For all those ailing in the world,
Until their every sickness has been healed,
May I myself become for them
The doctor, nurse, the medicine itself.

My body, thus, and all my goods besides,
And all my merits gained and to be gained,
I give them all away withholding nothing,
To bring about the benefit of beings.

May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

May I be an isle for those who yearn for landfall,
And a lamp for those who long for light;
For those who need a resting place, a bed;
For all who need a servant, may I be their slave.

Like the earth and the pervading elements,
Enduring as the sky itself endures,
For boundless multitudes of living beings,
May I be their ground and sustenance.

Thus for every thing that lives,
As far as are the limits of the sky,
May I provide their livelihood and nourishment
Until they pass beyond the bonds of suffering.

Regard your body as a vessel,
A simple boat for going here and there.
Make of it a wish-fulfilling gem
To bring about the benefit of beings.