Monday, January 23, 2006

The true meaning of Ksitigarbha's vow

Most of us may have read the Ksitigarbha (Dizang) Sutra & know the great vow of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha: "If the Hells do not become empty, I will never attain Buddhahood." Given the unsurpassable willpower & intensity of such a vow, many Buddhists doubt whether it can ever be realized or is it even practical at all.

Please listen to me; do not doubt the true words of the Great Bodhisattvas, for in reality they ARE already Buddhas, but merely appear as Bodhisattvas to better help sentient beings. Dizang or Ksitigarbha refers to the untiring determination to save all sentient beings, which is an aspect of your own Buddha-nature. The Avatamsaka Sutra says:

"Such as the True Thusness, which is by nature untiring."

The Buddha-nature is untiring bcos there is neither a concept of a self nor something belonging to me. With this pure mind, it is omnipresent in all the Buddha Lands in the 10 directions. The Hells does not exist elsewhere, but they refer to the burning thoughts of craving & anger within your own mind. Sentient beings are not outside of you, but they refer to the countless klesha (defilements) that arise from your own fundamental ignorance to cloud your true mind. As long as ignorance is not broken, suffering & samsara will continue to exist forever.

When Ksitigarbha vowed not to attain Buddhahood until all the hells are empty, he is really saying that one can never see one's own Buddha-nature until craving & anger is conquered; one cannot attain enlightenment until all the klesha that cloud your mind is transformed. And the only way to do this is to attack the source of craving, anger & all klesha - Avijja or fundamental ignorance. If you can break this Avijja and realize the Absolute, then you will be no different from Ksitigarbha, Avalokitesvara & all the Buddhas & Bodhisattvas in the 10 directions.


ZeShun from Malaysia said...

I found your blog from Google search on Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. :)

Today, I managed to finish reading the book "The Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva" with commentaries by Master Hsuan Hua. Honestly, I had this book for quite a while but didn't bother to fully read it. Maybe I was more interested in reading stuff about Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (since he is more of the popular one among most Asian buddhists.) When I first started to read the first few chapters, I had some interest in it... but as I moved to further chapters, I felt so MOVED by his vows and compassions that I thought he deserved to be known as a Mahasattva as well! It is definitely one of the BEST sutras I've known so far, and the meaning of the sutra really hit rite on my face to wake me up and cultivate even more. I felt so honoured to be able to come across this great Bodhisattva and his vows in this life time. Thankful that I read the book! I hope this sutra can be spread all around the world to help people realise the importance of cultivation and the existence of suffering in the hell realms.

Antique Buddhas said...

yeah Buddhism is all about finding your true self and attaining liberation through your own effort. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha did the same thing, until and unless he find his ownself through freeing all the sentient beings from hell, he didn't accepted Liberation.