To set a clear direction for practitioners’ practice, Grandmaster JinBodhi tells everyone frankly: The highest state of dharma practice is to become a Buddha, but before becoming a Buddha, you must first practice the path of a bodhisattva. Through practicing the path of the bodhisattva, you continuously accumulate resources for achieving Buddhahood.

So, what is a bodhisattva? How do you follow the bodhisattva path? What resources do you need to become a Buddha? How can you obtain these resources? Is there a quick way to obtain them?

There is no shortcut to practice, but finding the right direction and using the correct method can speed up the process of self-cultivation. Please listen to the insights of Grandmaster JinBodhi, and start your own bodhisattva life as soon as possible!

【You will learn】

  • The resources for achieving Buddhahood
  • The benefits of enlightening yourself and helping others
  •  How to help people

【Featured aphorisms】

  • The highest state of practicing Buddhism is achieving Buddhahood.
  • If you want to become a Buddha, you must first follow the path of a bodhisattva.
  • The person who pursues enlightenment and enlightens others is a bodhisattva.
  • The merit from helping people is the greatest.
  • If you want to repay Buddha’s grace, go and help sentient beings.
  • To help people, start with strangers.
  • It takes courage to help people


Let me speak frankly. What’s the ultimate state of Buddhist practice? Only after we understand this can we know how to make a vow. The highest level is achieving Buddhahood. Everyone wants to achieve this, but you need a foundation.

What is the foundation? Conditions necessary to becoming a buddha. Do you have an aspiration? Do you carry out your aspiration? How many people have you helped? If too few people, it is insufficient. Have I adhered to the no-killing rule? Have I adhered to no gossiping? I don’t slander, steal, engage in sexual misconduct or bad deeds, or hurt people. I should revere Buddha and Master. Strictly speaking about practice, more requirements exist. If you can’t meet the requirements, there will be impediments to Buddhahood.

Thus, we should practice the bodhisattva’s way first. A bodhisattva is a person who enlightens self and others. To simplify things, I believe this is a buddha; the person enlightening self and others is a buddha. A bodhisattva is a step away from buddha. This step is about merit and virtue. I might be wrong, for there is no absolute definition. Bear with me and correct me if I am wrong. This is the most fundamental point.

Bodhisattvas practice to enlighten self and others. If I am enlightened, I will try all means to benefit others. People pursue enlightenment and enlighten others. That is a bodhisattva. That description is my own words. Such a pursuit requires a high mental state. You should pursue this state because helping others has the greatest merit. In Buddha’s teachings, dharma-giving is greater than Mount Sumi. To quantify it, it is greater than the number of sand grains in the Ganges.

When helping free others of afflictions, you teach them how to conduct themselves, handle matters, and make life wise and auspicious. The more we help, the more and faster merit and virtue is accumulated for us.

And the best foundation is laid for our future. If you really want to pay Buddha back, help others. That is what I am doing. Why do I have no complaints or regrets? Because I feel I can never repay Buddha’s loving-kindness. There is no limit to helping people, unless you want to retire. If you don’t, then the mission never ends.

Normal human missions have ends, but this work just increases as you do more. This is the bodhisattva’s way. It is also what Buddha expects. If you don’t have strong aspirations, no matter. When you hear Master say it is a good thing, and you haven’t thought about it, or you dared not do it, or you are not sure if you can achieve it, let me tell you: You can achieve it. If you truly have a sincere vow, you can achieve it. I am not sure anyone here wants to enlighten self and others. (Yes.) If you want to practice the bodhisattva’s way, raise your hand. Wow, I am surprised. Thank you. Congratulations.

If you help others for 3 years and then go back to your old job, when working with others, you’ll feel the difference in mental state. You will find chatting with coworkers is boring, talking about materialistic pursuits. What they want is trivial, not noble. Some disciples have told me about this. I say, “Congratulations.” It means you have elevated. If you didn’t come here to practice and do good deeds, you will be the same or lower than your coworkers. If you feel they are in a low state, it is because you have become nobler.

We are not belittling others. We have to face the truth. Say, a woman’s pursuit is to buy a brand-name bag costing 2 months’ salary. But yours is to educate your kids. You don’t pursue money; you aim to improve society. So our mental state has elevated. When we look back, we feel pity for former coworkers. What do we do? We help them. But sometimes the closer people are to you, the harder it is for you to help them. They already have a fixed image of you as being not noble. It is even hard to help your family, as silly things you have said and done have imprinted in their heads. They don’t trust you. So what do you do? Help someone who didn’t know you before. Anyone can become a buddha. Even a prisoner can become a buddha.

People who are close to you have an image of you from the past. People remember and view you based on past experiences. If you become rich, don’t go back to your hometown. People there might think you are a con artist. Your childhood friend may wonder how a bedwetter can achieve enlightenment. Your friend thinks, “he can be enlightened when pigs will fly.” It is because of their image of the old you. Childhood friends and your spouse are the hardest to help. Your husband may wonder how a sheep can help a wolf. That is how hard it is. Better results arise from helping strangers.

We train ourselves to be courageous to help others. I remember when I first taught a disciple how to heal. He practiced hard. Someone with leg pain walked by. I said, “Go help him.” He said, “I can’t.” He was really scared. I said, “It is OK, I will be here. If he hits you, I will hit him back.” The disciple helped the guy. Of course the guy didn’t hit him. Humans are pitiful. My disciple feared getting hit even when he did good deeds. Humans are cowardly and complicated. So we should have aspirations and right intentions, and also know what it is to be a bodhisattva. If you want to become a buddha, you must first become a bodhisattva to accumulate merit and virtue. When you have perfect merit and virtue, you will know what level you are at.

Let’s not say how many rituals you have done or how many deceased people you have freed from suffering, though these acts are helpful. The most precious acts in the human world are about enlightening living beings, so they cease killing and become buddhas, and thus understand good and bad. That is when you are changing. The seed of being a buddha is planted deep in your heart and soul. You are filled with Buddha-nature. When Buddha-nature reveals itself, all your thoughts and behaviors are in accordance with dharma and you work for a grand compassionate cause.

In the process of a human becoming a buddha, the most important thing we need is energy. How to get energy? Through a few ways. The Noble Eightfold Path is one of them. But it is still not perfect, not detailed. From a different perspective, it is not as applicable as the 6 Perfections.

Let’s review them. Giving, keeping precepts, tolerance, diligent practice, meditation and wisdom. These 6 aspects tell us what we should do. They are easier to grasp.

So we have to give and offer, practice meditation and tolerance. When helping people, you might get beat and feel embarrassed, so you stop. To achieve the Way, we should discard concern for our image. Let go of your face or status. Don’t let image affect your true aspiration. Don’t let it stop you realizing your great vow.

Achieving Buddhahood is the ultimate state of Buddhist practice. To achieve this, you need a foundation. Thus, we should first practice the bodhisattva’s way.