What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being.
This quote has always had profound meaning for me. The story behind Bodhisattva Never Disparaging (one of the Buddha’s disciples) relates to his name. He was a disciple who travelled from place to place talking to people about the Buddha’s teachings. He told every person he met, “You are a Buddha. I would never dare disrespect you.” Even when people cursed him and attacked him with sticks, he never ceased to show respect because he knew that every person possessed the Buddha nature.
This quote also states that the real purpose of the Buddha’s appearance in this world (approximately 600-800 BC) lay in his behavior as a human being. How did the Buddha treat other people? What was his behavior like? Did he show everyone equal respect or did he treat the rich better than he treated the poor? This is the fundamental spirit of the Buddha’s teachings and of the Lotus Sutra he taught to enable all people to attain enlightenment, regardless of outward appearances, social status, job, wealth, position in society or any of the multitude of differences between us.
It also reminds me of a Tweet I saw posted last week by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. His Tweet reads:
Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me how much you love all His children. Before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.
I really believe in this statement. How do we behave as human beings? How do we treat other people? According to SGI President Ikeda, “trampling on the dignity of life, and disrespecting and devaluing other human beings is the fundamental cause of people’s delusion and corruption in society.” He goes on to state: “Unless this error is addressed from its foundation, humanity will never experience true happiness or peace, no matter what we do.” – June 2014 Living Buddhism
The U.S. is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, if not the most culturally diverse. Our diversity is our greatest strength, not our greatest weakness. All too often, political and business leaders use people’s differences as a reason to discriminate, rather than looking at how we can incorporate all cultures and communities into a more egalitarian society.