Nagarjuna image from Madhyamaka
At the heart of Mahayana Buddhism is the noble "Bodhisattva Ideal":
I vow to save them. However inexhaustible the defilements are,
I vow to extinguish them. However immeasurable the dharmas are,
I vow to master them. However incomparable enlightenment is,
I vow to attain it.
The Bodhisattva Vow (in Andrew Harvey's The Essential Mystics, Harper: San Francisco, 1996, p.75)
The Bodhisattva and Reincarnation
By Evgueni Tortchinov
Thus, the Dalai-lama is [are] a sprul-sku of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the Panchen-lama a sprul-sku of the Buddha Amitabha, Bogdo-gegen (of Mongolia) a sprul-sku of the saint Taranatha, and so on. Only such special incarnations can be realized on the levels of mind, speech, and body.
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