Over the past week or so, I've been getting into 'The Way of the Bodhisattva', by the sage Shantideva. A mind-expanding book to say the least. I have been a devotee of Buddism since my University days when I was taking Religious Studies courses. This book goes far beyond any of my previous investigations into Buddhist materials. Nothing I could say would do this book justice, only to say that it answered some questions I had about the Bodhisattva path and left me with so much more to ask.
A Bodhisattva is one who has the chance to attain Nirvana but defers it in order to help a certain number of people attain Nirvana ahead of him. It's usually in the 100,000's, and is called a 'Bodhisattva vow'. I have tossed and turned the idea over in my head and realized that I am nowhere near Bodhisattva status. Too many attachments and defilements still. Perhaps in another couple of lives - maybe. However, it was a great book to read and be inspired by. To truly be a Bodhisattva, one has to do whatever it takes to help others. I just do not have that level of compassion yet.
More than any other book I've read, this one provides a sort of road map to help the aspirant dissolve the 'I' and the 'Other' by interchanging them to show they are one and the same. Perhaps when I have more courage to be compassionate, I will be able to apply what I have learned from this awesome book. Without a doubt, this will be a book I will return to in a years' time. I have still very much to learn from 'The Way of the Bodhisattva', and perhaps the student will be ready next year for the teacher to appear. One can only hope.