Manjushri: Prince of Wisdom

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"Manjushri is no other than enlightenment"

(I do) not urge sentient beings to progress toward enlightenment . . . because sentient beings are nonexistent and devoid of self-entiy. . . . Enlightenment and sentient beings are equal and not different from each other. . . . Equality is emptiness. In emptiness, there is nothing to seek.

Here, in the sutra called The Prediction of Manjushri's Attainment of Buddhahood, Manjushri undercuts all our notions and delusions about enlightenment, which may lead us into futile self-seeking activity in the name of spirituality.

In the same sutra, Manjushri proclaims that he will not attain enlightenment himself until after the enlightenments of an astronomical number of specific sentient beings, whose awakening he foresees. He also describes his vow that bodhisattvas in his buddha land will offer any food or clothing they receive to all needy beings, exemplifying his compassion for the destitute and homeless.

Manjushri again says that he does not seek enlightenment.

Because Manjushri is no other than enlightenment and vice versa. . . "Manjushri" is only an arbitrary name and so is supreme "enlightenment."

Teacher of the buddhas

As the spokesperson for the perfection of wisdom, Manjushri is considered the teacher of all the buddhas, training and preparing them to attain enlightened insight. Although eternally a youthful prince, Manjushri is spoken of as the teacher of the ancient, primordial seven buddhas that culminate with Shakyamuni Buddha.

Manjushri is sometimes referred to as teacher of all bodhisattvas as well as all buddhas, because his insight into emptiness is the entryway necessary to all bodhisattva and buddha activity. Only when we personally experience the openness and lack of clinging taught by Manjushri do we truly enter into awakening spiritual practice.