One of the things I appreciate most about my teacher, is that he’s a bodhisattva, not just a buddha. In English, that means that he’s concerned with the salvation of the world. At his enlightenment, he chose to return to this world with all its sorrows and pains, and he wants his students to become enlightened and practice being the light, so they can give light to the world wherever they are, whatever they do.
One night just over six years ago, Jesus came to me, and destroyed my religion. What was left was something I didn’t expect—a fierce desire to follow him, to be like him. I realized he was Bodhisattva, Christ, the teacher who saves the world, and that he himself said he longs for us to follow him in this work, to be one in him, as he is one in the Father (Jn. 17:21-22). St. Paul taught that Christ is a power of God that extends beyond Jesus, that all who sincerely trust him, become “members of his body,” that is, parts of the same being (I Cor. 12:27), and that Jesus is the eldest of many brothers (Rom. 8.29).
So, a few days later, on May 5, 2000, as I sat on a pier I privately made my own bodhisattva vow to God, to work for the salvation of all according to all the grace I am given.
I confess I do not live up to my vow very well. Perhaps it is because it’s so daunting that so few people take it up in this culture. Yet my vow works on me, as I work to fulfill it … And I’m blessed to know a realized bodhisattva who guides me to the light I want to shine.
Last night, Kitabu Roshi urged his students to “become what you admire.” Not to just worship Christ, but to become Christ, become the Buddha, become the teacher.
There’s so much that can be said about this, so much that has been said already. But those who actually come to believe it’s possible are few, and those who resolve to do it, are fewer still. So today, I renew my vow. Theosis is more than just a work of grace. It’s a pledge to be worked on and be available for the world, here and now.
Are some of you also being called to this?