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The Bodhisattva Way

Mahayana Buddhism puts great emphasis and, in fact, encourages anybody to follow the path of a Bodhisattva. The Sanskrit term Bodhisattva is the name given to anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhichitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. What makes someone a Bodhisattva is her or his dedication to the ultimate welfare of other beings, as expressed in the prayer:

"May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings."

This is bodhichitta. With this motivation, if the Bodhisattva or trainee Bodhisattva promises to engage in the practice of the six or ten perfections (Pāramitā), this is the Bodhisattva vow. The Bodhisattva does not seek bodhi (Awakening) solely for him/herself, but chiefly for the sake of freeing all other beings and aiding them into the bliss of Nirvana.

Cultivating the intention to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, Nyingma practitioners wish to develop the mind of Enlightenment, to become a Bodhisattva who gives all gain and profit to others and takes all troubles and difficulties upon him or herself.

Each and every day, whether they are pruning trees, sewing prayer flags, painting a thanka, printing Tibetan texts, or caring for a sick community member, they dedicate the merit of their actions for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Through their intentions and work, the Nyingma community strives to develop understanding of the Bodhisattva path by living a hand-on investigation of human nature.

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"As inquiry ripens into knowledge, we can extend our understanding to others, acknowledging and accepting that others experience and suffer as we do. In this way we sow the seeds for a genuine willingness to exchange our well-being and happiness for the suffering of others, confident that in so doing we prepare the way for the realizing of universal enlightenment. In time, our hearts will open to the inspiration of the Enlightened Lineage of Buddhas, enabling us to fully engage the Bodhisattva's vision and vow."

-Tarthang Tulku, Path of Heroes: Reflections-Enlightened Mind

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