Following on from a few question I've asked about nihilism, I wondered - quite casually if not in an idle way - whether seeking to enlighten other sentient beings (into Buddhahood) is ever redemptive of either stimulus or response (I just mean self and other)?

Because in zen you can't seek to be a buddha, and in pure land you seek deliverance from another buddha, and theravada teaches the path of the arhant.


I used to wonder whether I did good deeds just to do good deeds or because it made me feel better and I got something out of it. I laugh sometimes at how hard we think about things. Literally worrying to much about whether we are being self rightous in doing good deeds causes us to actually be self rightous just worrying about it. Who cares whether we are doing good deeds or enlightening others for our own benefit! If it actually gets people to awaken and helps others then so be it! If doing good deeds because it makes yourself feel better ends up helping other people, then we should hope that our egos be filled to the brim!


You seek to enlighten others out of compassion and not as a form of redemption.

It is your choice what path you take out of the 3 roads to liberation. Buddhahood being the longest.


Gautma Buddha is said to have been a Bodhisatva for several hundreds of thousands of aeons.

The Theravada school usually says that these extremely long periods are required by a Buddha to train oneself. If we assume that the training took 1,000,000,000,000 years and he taught as a Buddha for 45 years, then the training to teaching ratio is extremely ineffective.

The Mahayana school says that Bodhisatvas could have become Arhats way before that but intentionally delayed this decision out of compassion to countless of beings. Hence, these extremely long periods are required by a Bodhisatva not necessarily to to train oneself, but to train others. Therefore the state of Bodhisatva is a special delay mechanism to allow a future Buddha to continue in the cycle of life and death, and gradually train countless of beings into Unbinding from the cycle of death.


In my understanding it is impossible for an Unenlightened Being to Enlighten another being. It is impossible even for an Enlightened Being to Enlighten someone else.

The Buddha was asked why can't he enlighten all beings. The Buddha answered that he only shows the way, each has to walk on the path for himself.

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