Why Buddhahood?

It is interesting. Buddha tells us that the ultimate goal of spiritual development for one individual is the goal and you can do it and you are capable of getting it and it is a do-able goal. However, when we look at ourselves, it is almost impossible on the one hand. Also many people will simply say, “I am not interested to become Buddha. That’s not my interest. I don’t see any purpose in becoming in becoming a Buddha. I do see a purpose in becoming good, kind. But, to become a Buddha is a different matter.” Some people read this almost like that’s a group of people, very admirable, but it is not for them. A lot of people feel that way and see it that way.
I also thought that it is reasonable and true, but when you begin to look very carefully, if we use the word, ‘buddhahood,’ it is becoming some kind of Buddhist terminology. However, when you look at it very carefully, what is it all about? In my mind, things then begin to shift.
There is different language: Buddhahood, enlightenment, total knowledge, and if you look at the word ‘buddhahood,’ it looks like Buddhist cult language, and I don’t want to say it, because nobody is saying it. But if you use enlightenment or total knowledge, then total knowledge probably gives you a little more message than enlightenment.

Total knowledge really means; ultimately knowing everything that is there to be known. We will say that’s not right and you become Mr. Know It All. And we look down on somebody like that. But on the other hand, the word, ‘expert,’ tells us that this person’s knowledge is limited to one or two subjects. That’s not the total human capacity, but the capacity that we can use, the capacity we have. But total knowledge is being expert about everything that can be known. There is nothing more to learn.
We have things to pick up every day. Today your knowledge is better than yesterday and yesterday’s was better than the day before. But, there will be a time where there is nothing more to pick up. “This is it.” That’s what total knowledge is all about. When you are looking from that angle, there is nothing about Buddhist religion, or Buddhist exclusiveness. So that’s why I think Buddha goes and says that every living being is eligible and capable to reach this.

It is our human mind that divides us between religions, castes, cultures and all of them. We have so many divisions, as many as we can make. We love to make divisions, and we do. But these divisions really create a lot of trouble. Particularly on the spiritual path, the religions divide us so much. Particularly, if you make it very specifically for Buddhists, then you have Tibetan Buddhists, then Gelugpas, and then Jewel Heart. It becomes so divided. We should not have that. Enlightenment is for all beings. Buddhahood is for everybody. We must look in that way.

Then, see if it is do-able and how you get there. Then there are many varieties of ways of getting there. Some will say there is nothing but discipline, and some will say there is nothing but wisdom. Some say it is about nothing but compassion. Some will say it is the combination of compassion and wisdom. They are all right. No one is wrong, honestly.

We have to pick up a simple, easy way. So we begin this with motivation. Recommended is the motivation of bodhimind, seeking the Buddha level of capability with the strong commitment of altruism. It is the absolute commitment of altruism, because for the purpose of oneself, one doesn’t need to become a Buddha.

That is true. We don’t need to be buddhas, we don’t have to be totally enlightened. As long as we can manage ourselves, that is good enough. Managing is two things: managing this life, and most importantly, managing the future lives. As long as you manage that, it is good enough for your personal purposes. But, when you want to be helpful and support people and when you want to guide people and bring people to a better level, then you need all the tools you can get.
Otherwise, you will simply come to the point of asking, “What can I do?” When I say that, I am not criticizing Ram Das. He wrote a book called “How can I help?” But when you don’t know what to do, then you become helpless. So you have to ask, “How can I help?” That is great, however, that has limitations. Yes, it is true, I know the best that I need and you know the best you need. But on the other hand, you and I both have limitations. We don’t know what we want. If we did, we would not be in that situation. Yes, we have the strong belief that, “I know what I want,” but most probably we don’t, honestly. If we did, we wouldn’t be here. We would be much better off.

That’s one sign. Another sign is our mind. I am not saying we are crazy. We may be a little bit. But certainly, we are not stupid. But our mind is not absolutely reliable. Our mind is very much confused and has very limited ideas. Look at our society today. We have so much education and investment in education. There are so many degrees, yet we are lacking in ideas and know-how. True or false, you know it yourself.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, May 19, 2013

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