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The Bodhisattva Principle

by Sangharakshita (1983)

In a paper of great clarity and insight, Sangharakshita introduces the figure of the Bodhisattva, who embodies the principle of perpetual self-transcendence.

N.B. Poor original recording; concluding remarks missing but given here:

"In giving expression here to this Buddhist View, I have had to speak, for the most part, the language of Western culture. Whenever I slipped, as I am sure I slipped more than once, into a more characteristically Buddhist idiom, I may well have ceased to be comprehensible – assuming, of course, that I was comprehensible in the first place. I have also had to speak, as a Buddhist, to an audience consisting of mystics and scientists, of those following spiritual disciplines and of those working in the sciences. In so doing it has been necessary for me to leave many threads hanging loose, to present the conclusions without the reasoning that has led to those conclusions, and to make use of concepts for which there is, perhaps, no emotional equivalent in your own experience, as there is in the spiritual experience of Buddhists. Nonetheless, I hope I have been able to communicate to you something, at least, of the spirit of Buddhism. If this conference is to make any contribution to the great debate in the midst of which we are now living – and if we ourselves are to make any contribution to this conference – we must be able to communicate with one another; and, as I reminded you at the beginning of this address, without sympathy no human communication is possible. When the tide of barbarism was flooding Britain, Arthur founded the Round Table. In a time of darkness Alfred translated ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’. Today our Round Table must include all who are in any way concerned with Reality, Consciousness, and Order, and we must translate our own special holistic vision more and more into the terms of a common language intelligible to all. Only in this way, perhaps, will the ultimate triumph of the forces of life, of love, and of order, be assured. Only in this way will the truth that man is a spiritual being with a spiritual destiny be finally vindicated."

This talk is part of the series Two Lectures to a Conference on Reality, Consciousness and Order.

Total running time: 1:24:0