You have said before, anyone who aspires to deliver himself and others and to awaken himself and others can be called Bodhisatta. Why then are the four worshipped like deities?

Publish Date:2022-11-30

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The ideal of releasing not only oneself but also others and of awakening not only oneself but also others is known as the lofty aspiration, or “bodhicitta”. All men who begin to be imbued with bodhicitta may be called Bodhisattas, but they remain as worldly men until they acquired certain attainments. This involves many steps from making the great vow to gaining Buddhahood, there are the Three Virtuous States, the Ten Excellent Positions or stages and the Fifty-two Stages. From the day of arising of bodhicitta, one should practice the Three Studies of discipline (sila), concentration and wisdom, carry out the Six Perfections and the Four Fundamental Virtues and go through countless cycles of birth and death until finally achieving Buddhahood. Manjusri and the others have reached the highest state of being Bodhisatta, or Samma-sambodhi Bodhisatta. The Mahayana scriptures particularly eulogize the great wisdom of Manjusri, the great conduct of Samantabhadra, the infinite compassion and pity of Avalokitesvara and the great vow of Ksitigarbha. Therefore, the four Great Boddhisattas command particular veneration of Buddhists. In China, the Wutai Mountains is regarded as the sermon place of Manjusri, the Emei Mountains as that of Samantabhadra, the Putuo Mountains as that of Avalokitesvara and the Jiuhua Mountains as that of Ksitigarbha. They are known collectively as the Four Famous Holy Mountains, an indication of the significant positions of the four Bodhisattas in the hearts of Chinese Buddhists. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

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