Facebook Instagram YouTube Contact | tzu chi searc

We Are All Living Bodhisattvas

We all have the Buddha nature within us. The most efficacious Buddha dwells in our heart, and the most powerful Bodhisattvas are our hands and feet.

gufufoss waterfall 1000x667
Photo credit: PEXELS

Many people asked me: "Master, have you ever been abroad?"

I would reply, "No I haven’t."

And then they would start sharing with me about the tourist attractions of various countries. One of them said to me, "Master, it doesn't matter if you haven’t been to anywhere else, but the Niagara Falls is a must see!"

“How does the Niagara Falls look like?” I asked.

And that person started enthusiastically describing the beautiful scenery of the waterfall.

I then shared with him my thoughts and experiences: Every morning, I could feel the tranquil surroundings of (my residence,) the Jing Si Abode, as the monastics were doing their Dharma service and meditation. Next to the Abode, there is a fish pond with a small fountain. The sound of the splashing fountain water is so beautiful! As long as one’s mind is quiet, one’s surroundings will be quiet and peaceful; the scenery of a serene environment is infinitely beautiful. Therefore, although I have never travelled overseas or toured around the world, I can travel around the inner world of my mind and experience the happiness and wondrous beauty within.

Before expounding the Wondrous Lotus Sutra, the Buddha first expounded the Sutra of Infinite Meanings. In the third chapter of the sutra, Great Magnificent Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "How do sentient beings attain ‘Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (i.e. the highest perfect enlightenment and wisdom of a Buddha)? Where do Bodhisattvas come from? Where do they go? And where do they reside?"

The Buddha replied: "Bodhisattvas come from the inner grand residence of the heart." This means that every one of us has a benevolent heart within us, which is actually the Buddha’s heart. Therefore, everyone is a Bodhisattva.

Where do the Bodhisattvas go?

The Buddha said, "To awaken the Bodhi mind of all sentient beings"

And where do the Bodhisattvas live?

"They live in the place where Bodhisattvas rely on."

(The original sutra verses go: “……this sutra comes from the royal home of all Buddhas, goes to where sentient beings develop Bodhicitta, and abides wherever Bodhisattvas practise. Good man, this sutra comes in this way, goes in this way, and abides in this way. Therefore, this sutra has such inconceivable powers of infinite merits and can enable sentient beings to readily attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi……”)*

These few sentences may seem very simple, but they carry extraordinary and profound meaning. They are the goals and directions that Tzu Chi has been striving towards over the years.

I often tell Tzu Chi volunteers: "The most efficacious Buddha dwells in our heart, and the most powerful Bodhisattvas are our hands and feet."

We all have the Buddha nature within us. Our Buddha nature is very dignified and the inner world of our mind is really wonderful! I believe many people may think that Bodhisattvas are too far away from this world, but actually, this is not so. We should know that Bodhisattvas are just by our side; in fact, they are in everyone’s heart.

If every one of us is able to reflect on our inner “grand residence”, always return to our innate nature, cultivate a joyful, contented and grateful heart, and contribute to help others, then we will all be living bodhisattvas.

Extracted from “Sheng Huo De Zhi Hui”《生活的智慧》
Translated by the Tzu Chi Singapore translation team

*Read the English translation of the Sutra of Infinite Meanings by the Dharma as Water team: