I had noticed something that seemed to me a contradiction. I would be grateful if someone could resolve for me this contradiction .

To attain the state of pari-nirvana you need to liberate yourself from the lie of being a separate part of the universe, then the pari-nirvana through this prism seems to be an egoistic thing since you exit yourself from the samsara but you leave the other existences in samsara.Which seem the epitome of egoism

But the bodhisattva return to the world for helping the other existences which seem more altruistic and by this way more close to pari-nirvana. Therefore we get that going to pari-nirvana is in a certain sense a contradiction with being liberated from the lies ...

I hope I am being clear...

Thanks in advance !

3 Answers 3


The notion of egoism is tied to greed, cruelty & conceit and these are tied to the adherence to a doctrine of self.

One who adheres to the doctrine of self analyzes the senses and what the senses present as self and not self, as personal and impersonal.

One who does not adhere to the doctrine of self rightly discerns that all conditioned things are impermanent and that it should not be and should not occur, they analyze the senses and what the senses present as 'this is stress, this is path to the cessation of stress' and having developed that path they abandon all being, with no residue for a future the stable one's reach the end of all stress & misery.

When one emerges from cessation of perception & feeling attainment it is as if one plunged back into a dream or a mirrage.

How foolish would it be to be stuck in that nightmare for the sake of what is grasped with wrong view to be personal for others when the whole that world is simply conceived & perceived due to delusion.

Form is like a glob of foam; feeling, a bubble; perception, a mirage; fabrications, a banana tree; consciousness, a magic trick — this has been taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. However you observe them, appropriately examine them, they're empty, void to whoever sees them appropriately. Beginning with the body as taught by the One with profound discernment: when abandoned by three things — life, warmth, & consciousness — form is rejected, cast aside. When bereft of these it lies thrown away, senseless, a meal for others. That's the way it goes: it's a magic trick, an idiot's babbling. It's said to be a murderer. No substance here is found. Thus a monk, persistence aroused, should view the aggregates by day & by night, mindful, alert; should discard all fetters; should make himself his own refuge; should live as if his head were on fire — in hopes of the state with no falling away.

Follow not the vulgar way; live not in heedlessness; hold not false views; linger not long in worldly existence.

One who looks upon the world as a bubble and a mirage, him the King of Death sees not.

One who abandons delusion has no incentive-desire to conceive & perceive impermanent phenomena and does not grasp elements as personal for this or that being because they know that there are elements and the elements aren't personal, they simply come into play due to the causal relations & requisite conditions.

“Bhikkhus, just as when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, all the mangoes on it go with it, just so the Tathāgata’s link with becoming has been cut. As long as the body subsists, devas and humans will see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion of the life-span, devas and humans will see him no more.” — Brahmajāla Sutta


What appears as a contradiction is the difference between Theravada and Mahayana paths. I cannot speak for the Theravada path since my study is Mahayana, but in our tradition, bodhicitta is necessary for enlightenment, eg: from the Diamond Sutra:

One who wants to give rise to the highest, most fulfilled, and awakened mind must create this resolved attitude of mind: I must help to lead all beings to the shore of awakening.

I have been taught that this is not a contradiction, but, rather, that Buddha gave many teachings, all tailored to the student. And that yes, it is possible to achieve nirvana, and become permanently liberated from samsara, the cycle of suffering, without bodhicitta. But that is not the path I am on. And whether or not it is possible to 'lead all lead all beings to the shore of awakening' is not the point. The point is having the intention to do so, and also, of including those you do not like.

  • Could you maybe develop on the sentence "And that yes, it is possible to achieve nirvana, and become permanently liberated from samsara, the cycle of suffering, without bodhicitta" this sound strange for me ... Feb 9, 2021 at 13:53
  • Thanks in advance Feb 9, 2021 at 13:53
  • @Anonyme this is because one who has a direct experience of emptiness is liberated, with or without bodhicitta, and this is the typical aim of the Theravada practitioner.
    – jacknad
    Feb 9, 2021 at 17:35
  • @Anonyme I think they consider that to be Enlightenment. The Mahayana practitioner does not. Enlightenment, as I understand it, is liberation plus omniscience which does require bodhicitta. And bodhicitta is the 24/7 mind of compassion for all sentient beings.
    – jacknad
    Feb 9, 2021 at 17:41
  • Thank you very much ! Feb 9, 2021 at 20:57

Actually when the Buddha was enlightened, he was not inclined to save the world. That came later.

SN6.1:4.1: And as the Buddha reflected like this, his mind inclined to remaining passive, not to teaching the Dhamma.

It was Brahmā Sahampati who appealed to the Buddha:

SN6.1:5.5: “Sir, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the Holy One teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes. They’re in decline because they haven’t heard the teaching. There will be those who understand the teaching!”

The Buddha sought an end to suffering. After he realized the Four Noble Truths, he also saw that he could not free people who clung to greed, hate and delusion. Brahmā Sahampati inspired him to teach those who were unsatisfied with greed, hate and delusion.

Parinibbāna is the end of suffering. Having realized the end of suffering, one shares that with those who will listen. Trying to save the entire world is impractical, even for Buddhas.

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