Do You See The ‘Invisible’ Bodhisattvas In Your Life?

Always thank others more than enough,
because you do not know
what they have done for you more than enough.


I just watched the movie ’50/50′, which is based on a true story, of how a young guy called Adam got a rare form of cancer. Surprisingly, the most moving scene for me did not involve emotional words or dramatic action. At first, he goes shopping with his best friend Kyle, looking for recommended self-help books. Kyle, being his usual self, tries to poke fun at it, and even chats up a sales girl working there, using Adam’s condition as an excuse. We get the impression that Kyle is downright insensitive and selfish, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. One night, after helping the drunken Kyle home, Adam was using his bathroom when he saw in there, a book with many dog-eared bookmarks and underlined notes. It was titled ‘Facing Cancer Together’. This was incredibly touching, as it meant that despite his clumsy efforts to lighten Adam’s mood, Kyle was all along secretly trying his best to be a supportive friend. Adam steals a glance at Kyle asleep on the couch, and grins gratefully at his friend, whom he had yelled at just a while ago, for ‘only’ being concerned with getting laid. But tears were streaming down my face… much to my surprise.

It made me wonder, how some in my life, especially my parents, have been silently doing whatever they can for me over the years, whose efforts I surely do not fully recognise, that I am probably not going to completely know in this lifetime. It also reminded me to be immensely grateful for the ongoing efforts of friends’ efforts I already recognise. The feelings were a little mixed – probably because some feelings of being hurt in the past re-surfaced… Incidents of being misunderstood despite the best of my own clumsy efforts to be a supportive friend. (Looks like more letting go is needed here!) The truth is, even when we can’t stand the way some express their concern for us, their concern is nevertheless true and sincere. What else can we do, other than being clumsy Bodhisattvas to one another… as we keep striving to do better? Often, the most misunderstood are our parents, due to the inevitable generation gap. Sometimes, best friends are torn apart due to misperception of each other’s efforts to sustain their friendship too. Perhaps nothing is sadder in relationships than one that is budding, that is never given the chance to blossom fully due to a mere misunderstanding.

The film is called ’50/50′ because those were the odds of survival for Adam. His friendship with Kyle was also somewhat teetering on a 50/50 scale of make or break, before he realised he was a true friend all along. On the path to enlightenment, nothing is more precious than spiritual friendship. Even if a friendship is not exactly spiritual in a two-way nature, it is up to us to skilfully do our part, even if subtly, to awaken spirituality in those we care about, for the gift of the Dharma excels all other gifts. As I am currently doing research on the immeasurable good works of Bodhisattvas, the scene also reminded me of how countless Bodhisattvas are constantly doing their best, manifesting in various forms according to our karmic affinities, to aid us to progress on the spiritual path. And they will keep doing this until every single being is properly guided to liberation. How very moving! Having read this, how about forwarding this article to the Bodhisattva family and friends you already have, to show them your appreciation? Let them know too, that you will continue to be their ‘clumsy’ Bodhisattva best you can. It’s a Bodhisattva vow of sorts!

May all
swiftly become
Bodhisattvas to all.

Related Article:
Invisible Maras & Bodhisattvas


  • Since the day I was born, I encountered good and bad experiences. My experiences “shaped” me to be who I am now. Everyone helped me (including those who sabotaged me and hurt me). Why? If a person hurts me deeply, I will develop hatred and anger, and then have the opportunity to practise hard to let go of the hatred and anger. I am grateful that they provide me with the opportunity to practise, and I fully understand that only I can cure myself if I try hard enough. All friends on earth – thank you:)

  • While we might prefer not to have been hurt in the past, it is actually hard to imagine being the better person we are now without the past hurt. Even going through hell is part of the training – if we do learn!



  • (N) (Y) Hi my name is Linda Harris and I am new to the site. Buddhism rocks! I have been along time on this journey twords GOD or something. Anyway I ended up becoming catholic one day last march actually. Have I seen GOD? Well I feel a presence in that place that keeps me on my toes. They boast one prayer chapel located on the side of the church. The stain glass windows are sort of cool.

  • Have I seen Buddha? Do I feel Buddha’s presence? Personally I prefer not to rely on “feeling” which is not reliable. Could I have created this “feeling” myself unknowingly? It has happened many times before in which I felt that it is going to rain but in the end, it did not rain. If I feel that the apple is sweet, does it mean it is sweet? Guess I don’t need to ask this question at all. I just need to taste it to find out. What exactly is buddhism? Is Buddha’s teaching useful? Well, I prefer to try it out myself to find out the truth.

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