Bodhisattva’s Compatibility of Wisdom and Compassion

Duangporn Arbhasil

Abstract


This study attempts to investigate the relationship in terms of the compatibility between wisdom and compassion, the two key qualities of a bodhisattva in the Mahāyāna Buddhism. While most tend to describe wisdom and compassion as coherent, some others view their relation as contradictory.  
The findings show that wisdom and compassion are compatible based on the arguments:
1) wisdom and compassion complement each other to enable a bodhisattva to work and practice;
2) they have shared focus in the realization of ‘emptiness’;
3) the bodhisattva who is skilled in means shows the congruence of wisdom and compassion; 4) the bodhicitta of the bodhisattva reflects the aspiration to the perfection of wisdom out of the compassion for other sentient beings;
5) they are aspects of ultimate reality in the sense that both of them neither exist;
6) according to Tibetan Buddhism (Vajaryāna), which is the form of Mahayana Buddhism that developed mainly in Tibet, wisdom and compassion reinforces each other and are symbolized by a union.

 


Keywords


bodhisattva, wisdom; compassion; compatibility; Mahāyāna Buddhism

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