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 "...
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,...
This answer is from the Theravada perspective.
Stream entry is the point at which the teachings become fully understood, not just intellectually, but also through one's experience.
When a stream entrant feels jealousy due to deeply ingrained latent tendencies and habits, he can quickly see how his jealousy relates to his clinging and craving. He is not free ...
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 ...
I don't believe it is an of/off state. Enlightenment is just that moment of understanding your place in the universe. It doesn't stop you doing stupid things afterwards. You are only human and open to the same temptations that you were before.
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 ...
No one 'enlightens' anyone else. People find their way to enlightenment, or they don't. The path laid out in the dharma helps; the guidance of a teacher helps; the support of a community helps; the presence of bodhisattvas helps. But no one is spoon-fed enlightenment.
If we convince ourselves that progress depends on the progress of someone else, we hobble ...
Taking Bodhisattva's vow doesn't mean one immediately becomes Bodhisattva, it just means one aspires to realize the Bodhisattva's Path. One can still help others even before one is fully enlightened.
Many of those who had taken the vow have attained Enlightenment eventually, and now they are helping many sentient beings to get on the right path.
But the ...