Be A Beginner Bodhisattva

Always here and now,
Always new and fresh,
Always aware and alive.


For a bodhisattva, the safest course is to constantly remind oneself of the initial aspiration to bodhi-mind [Bodhicitta: aspiration to guide one and all to Buddhahood]. In this way, we will always think of ourselves as beginners, remain humble, and not feel pride or arrogance. Second, it reminds us that bodhi-mind is the mind of helping others while on the path to wisdom. So although we continue to diligently practice and move forward, in our minds we are always at square one, constantly generating this beginner’s mind.

A student of mine says that at the end of a retreat, he feels like he has learned to practice for the first time. This is beginner’s mind. He never thinks of himself as a ‘senior’ practitioner. Having a beginner’s mind, you will not feel discouraged on the path, since it will always be something new. Those of us who have been practicing for years should realize and admit that we are still just beginning.

Great bodhisattvas do not think they have anything specific to accomplish. They do not have the idea that they must help sentient beings; rather, they naturally respond to others, whose needs provide them with the opportunity to practice. Far from expecting gratitude, they are grateful to others. This is not humility; it is just the bodhisattva’ s compassionate interaction with other beings…

There Is No Suffering: A Commentary On The Heart Sutra
Chan Master Sheng-Yen

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