Good householder, optimism and positive attitude is counterproductive (in regard of long lasting happiness) if the objects are in the world, object of sense. Joy, optimism, positive attitude toward awakening, skillful deeds... called "pasada" and arising after Saddha, which arises after Dukkha, are very needed tools to gain piti and the rest of ...
There is no paradox. Rather, it seems there may be some mistaken assumptions behind your question.
First, if someone is enlightened that does not mean that they will enlighten all people. For example, The Buddha was enlightened and yet he did not enlighten all people. In fact, after his enlightenment, he actually wondered whether he should teach what he ...
Do you see an old woman or a young one? Or can you see both?
Once you've seen, can you forget how to see it?
Until we see the world as it is we don't see it, but once we've seen it we cannot 'unsee'. We may fall back on old habits and patterns (old ways of seeing the world), but enlightenment (honestly) is just seeing the world as it is. It's our natural ...
Questions from the OP:
"How can Bodhisattvas enlighten others if they themselves are not fully enlightened?"
"If they are enlightened, then they would not have been reborn in the first place."
So I take it the questioner is coming from a Theravadin background. Mahayana Buddhism follows the precedent set by non-Theravadin so-called "...
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 ...
One can cling to the idea of truth without any truth or compassion
One can cling to the idea of compassion without any truth or compassion.
Compassion is a mental attitude that is against suffering. To be clear, it's not a belief or theoretical idea.
You don't have to be a "me" and they don't have to be a "them" for compassion to arise.
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 ...
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! ...
Agreed with Barzeli's answer.
Bodhisattva chosen to be reborn.
"Until the hells are empty (of suffering beings), I will not become a Buddha."
"Once all sentient beings are saved, I will attain Buddhahood."
"If I do not descend into hell, who will?"
I would like to answer the question that @Doubtful Monk asked, rather than the Update added to it.
He asked: “If Sunyata is the ultimate reality, why hasn’t anyone achieved the ability to save others nowadays?” As background he stated that everyone is born under their own particular karma, that respecting the Dharma while following our own paths is necessary,...