We have learnt that there is no Buddha who “obtained” enlightenment, as enlightenment is beyond the notion of something that could be obtained by someone. In this section the Buddha furthers that there is no Bodhisattva who could save any beings.
Why? Because the notion of “Bodhisattva” is absence in a real Bodhisattva when carrying out his/her charity work (actually Bodhisattva is beyond and no limit to sexual differentiation). On the other hand, when one accepts the notion that “I shall liberate unlimited beings”, the notion of a self, others, world, and immortality arises and one falls into the realm of ego and mortality. Even in the worldly realm, we can see that real philanthropists choose to remain anonymous for a similar reason.
Can we do charity work without the ego/self getting involved? The moment we succeed, the moment we are real Bodhisattva.
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“Subhuti, in like manner, if a Bodhisattva says: ‘I should lead uncountable living beings to put a stop to (reincarnation) and escape (from suffering)’, he cannot be called a Bodhisattva. Why?”
“Because there is really no dharma called the Bodhisattva (stage).
“Therefore, the Buddha says: Of all dharmas, there is not a single one which possesses an ego, a personality, a being and a life.
“Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva says: ‘I should adorn Buddha lands’, he cannot be called a Bodhisattva. Why?”
“Because when the Tathagata speaks of such adornment it is not, but is (expediently), called adornment.
“Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva is thoroughly versed in (the doctrine of) the unreality of ego and of things (dharma), the Tathagata will call him a true Bodhisattva.