We should not look down on ourselves.
We should not see ourselves as worthless and always
withdraw into the background
The story of the monk called ”Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” comes from the Lotus Sutra. It was this monks teaching that everyone can and will become a Buddha, so he offered this respect and obeisance to all who came into his presence.
As a result of this, people abused him. He took that abuse willingly, but repeated constantly his affirmation that everyone he met could and would become a Buddha.
”Buddha nature, the nature of enlightenment and love, is already within you; all you need do is get in touch with it and manifest it. If you know this, if you are able to see your true nature in the ultimate dimension, then you will be able to realize Buddhahood in the historical dimension. Never Disparaging Bodhisattva is there to remind us of the essence of our true nature”
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
It is said that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging existed to encourage us when we have self-doubt, or low self- esteem.His only spiritual practice was to address people when he met them, with the words,
”You are someone of great value. You are a future Buddha. I see this potential in you”
It is the duty of a Bodhisattva to remove feelings of worthlessness from their fellow beings and never to contribute in the first place to feelings of worthlessness in them. Parents, lovers, friends, teachers, all owe this duty to their contacts. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging encourages us to look always for the good in humanity and to know that because All are inherently Buddhas in the end all will be well.In order to help awaken the enlightenment potential in ourselves and others we must first wholly believe it exists there in both ourselves and all others.
It is said that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging lived in a time when spiritual truth had fallen into decay and the people worshiped the priests and rituals and wealth above enlightenment. Corruption was rife in society and in spiritual life. Into this mix, which equates in many ways with our own times, came a simple monk whose only practice was to praise his fellow beings as the embodiment of Buddha-Nature. For this he was mocked and reviled, beaten and abused, and he was called ”Never Disparaging” as an insult. People said it was blasphemous to claim that awakening was possible.
People were deluded by clerical authority to believe that they should practice without ever expecting to attain enlightenment. Not attaining Buddhahood (or remaining dependent upon religious authority), therefore, became their goal or their accustomed state of Buddhist practice. The bodhisattva’s notion of practicing Buddhism to become a Buddha appeared strange or even blasphemous enough to persecute him for uttering such an idea. We practice Buddhism to reveal ourselves as Buddhas, that is, to be absolutely happy, unswayed by any circumstances. When people become confused about this fundamental purpose of Buddhism, they inevitably fall into a state of spiritual slavery.
But the nameless monk persisted with his practice, shouting at his tormentors from a distance that he would never disparage them, for the would certainly become Buddhas.
To be awakened without seeing the absolute reality that all others can be awakened, is surely a contradiction. Faith in our fellow humans is faith in the Universality of awakening.
“You, the richest person in the World, have been laboring and struggling endlessly, not knowing that you already possess all that you seek.”
― The Lotus Sutra
OM TAT SAT