3.3. The mission of Bodhisattvas

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The correct understanding of the Bodhisattvas mission requires a clarification of the major regularities in their manifestations among the Fifth root race. According to the Spiritual Science the twelve Great Masters send one representative, who manifests the impulses of the Holy Spirit. It can be said that he guides the human development for a period of approximately 5000 years29. During this period he reincarnates in a very particular way approximately every 100 years30. The process of the Bodhisattva’s reincarnation can be explained in the following way: these human beings, because of their supreme and special evolution, experience the need to be continually in touch with the supreme spiritual worlds; because of this they cannot penetrate deep into the physical world and be born as ordinary humans. For this purpose they use other human beings and they incorporate into their spiritual structures. The people who appear to be sort of bearers of the Bodhisattvas are highly initiated human individuals. A peculiar feature in the lives of the Bodhisattvas is that they remain unknown to the world until they reach the age of 3031. Part of the Bodhisattva’s ‘I’ penetrates in the bodily structures, prepared in advance, of the human-bearer at approximately 33 years of age. A radical change can be witnessed (Rudolf Steiner gives three major signs which make it possible to recognize the Bodhisattva being): The Bodhisattva, manifested through the human-bearer, stands seemingly alone in the world, not related to any Master-Disciple chain and his word is of an extraordinary moral power, because the Bodhisattva, due to the particular incorporation into the human-bearer, succeeds in sustaining a constant contact both with the spiritual field of the Supreme Devakhan and even with the more superior World of providence, from where the great principles and virtues of the Christ Being spring. This process of exchange with the human beings on the physical level runs periodically until the moment when the Bodhisattva develops the ability to build a human body on its own and thus to be born as a human being. This is also the last time when the Bodhisattva reincarnates in a physical body32. The need to physically incarnate is completed simultaneously with the end of the specific mission of the Bodhisattva to humankind. It is then said that the individual Bodhisattva has reached the Buddha level of development.

Generally speaking the mission of a Bodhisattva envisages assistance for the development of special features, virtues and strengths in humankind, which correspond to the very essence of the individual Great Master-Bodhisattva. Only some of the incarnations of the Master-Bodhisattvas have gained historic popularity. When a Bodhisattva completes one’s mission, in his last reincarnation, he passes from the Bodhisattva level to the Buddha level and passes on the leadership to a new herald of the Lodge of the Holy Spirit, the Lodge of the twelve Bodhisatvas33. In this last incarnation the teaching of the Bodhisattva, having reached the Buddha level, envelops the entire humankind. This is favored by the fact that he has prepared a sufficient number of disciples, who perceive the Ancient Wisdom of Christ streaming from Him.

It is worth reminding that the twelve Great Masters contemplate the image of Christ directly and are bearers and heralds of the Word of Christ34, they are the closest Disciples of Christ, the souls who were the first to make a most profound and complete relation with the Spirit of Christ as early as ancient times. The issue of the contact process between the Christ Being and the twelve Bodhisattvas, of the formation of this most supreme Lodge in the spiritual history of the Solar System and more precisely, in the esoteric history of the Earth, is a topic of another work.35

The Bodhisattvas could be called Masters of the Divine Wisdom: bearers of Daylight streaming from the Christ Being. Their divine mission is to deliver the Wisdom of Christ. This is implemented through their teaching, through which people can get to know the Christ Being at a new higher level. What can be said about the Buddhas is that they are no longer bearers of a given teaching but they become so to say springs of Christ Life36 and spread their mission in the entire Solar System.

Another peculiarity of the Bodhisattvas is that they do not always act only through one human-bearer but they do have a main one. In the same way other great beings can also be called indirectly Bodhisattvas but with them the complete process of manifestation, as with the main human-bearer, does not appear. Rudolf Steiner, for instance, explains that Hermes can also to a certain degree be called Bodhisatva37. Moreover, during the time of the particular physical manifestation, when the individual Bodhisattva has already incorporated in a certain human individual, he can also inspire and guide other people sufficiently advanced in their initiation.38 This is a manifestation of the spiritual power of the Great Masters of Wisdom.

If we concentrate on the current stage of the activity of the Bodhisattvas’ Lodge, we should say that after the advancement of the Bodhisattva Gautama to the Buddha level, there comes the time of another Bodhisattva to take over the mission to humankind. This is the Bodhisattva Maitreya, who after about 3,000 years will become, so to say, the first Christian Buddha. Then, according to Rudolf Steiner’s words, he will be manifested among human beings as the greatest Master of the Christ Impulse, who will influence through the moral power of the Word39. Rudolf Steiner emphasizes that the name of Maitreya translates as the one who delivers the Good through the Word40. This Word will have a magic effect upon the will of people and will help them realize Christ virtues. In the person of Maitreya-Buddha we are given the greatest Master who has appeared to explain to people the Christ event in its complete scope. What will be particular with him will be that being a greatest Master, he will deliver the greatest and supreme Word41 Rudolf Steiner expressed the grand words: if there were [in 3,000 years] a ‘John the Evangelist’, he would speak [about this Great Master of humanity] in a way different as compared to what John the Evangelist has said about Christ. If it is said about Christ that ‘And the Word was made flesh’, Maitreya-Buddha’s ‘John the Evangelist’ should say that ‘And the flesh was made Word’.42 Also that The peculiarity about this Maitreya-Buddha is that he should have to imitate, in a specific way, what happened at the Golgotha43. This will be a typical feature also during the manifestation and the preparation of Maitreya-Buddha’s mission.

Gautama Buddha completed his mission and at about 600 BC he granted the Wisdom stemming from Compassion and Love to humanity. He entered a World called Nirvana but at the same time he granted the tiara of the Holy Spirit to the following Bodhisattva. And about a hundred years before the incarnation of the Solar Logos on the Earth, the Maitreya Bodhisattva is already historically known by his manifestation through the leader of the Essenes: Jeshu ben Pandira. Rudolf Steiner makes it clear in his book Esoteric Christianity (GA 130) and more precisely in his lecture from 4 November 1911, that Bodhisattva Maitreya, who in the past, a hundred years before Christ was incarnated in [incorporated in the individual of] Jeshu ben Pandira, as a messenger, as a preacher of Christ in a physical body; he, who ever since, has incarnated almost every one hundred years, is also incarnated and now he will be the true preacher of Christ in an etheric raiment, in an etheric body, as time ago he was a herald of [the physical manifestation of] Christ.

It can be said that articulating these words Rudolf Steiner assigns infor­mally a practical task to each true disciple starting along the path of Spiritual Science of Anthroposophy. The solution of this cardinal task will directly influence the correct understanding and implementation of the Etheric Appearance of Christ into the soul of those seeking the Truth. This is so because Bodhisattva Maitreya manifesting himself during the first half of the 20th century had a special attitude to the spreading Christ mission in the astral world at the same time. Rudolf Steiner gives a hint about this attitude in the following words he is incarnated also now and will be the true preacher of Christ in etheric raiment. Any awakened researcher of Esoteric Christianity should pay special attention to these prophetic words of Rudolf Steiner, if one earnestly seeks from the bottom of one’s soul a cognitive path to the Etheric Appearance of Christ. Since Bodhisattva Maitreya is the greatest Master preparing his mission, who has appeared to clarify to people the event of Christ in its complete scope and since he is also incarnated now, then the anthroposophist seeking the radiance of the Christ’s Etheric Appearance, should most naturally ask the following question how can I get in touch with the teaching of the 20th century physically manifested Bodhisattva Maitreya because this will provide the critically needed point of view to the contemporary manifestation of Christ? This in its essence is the third milestone issue in this study and we shall try to deliver a very clear answer to it in this work.

So, due to a number of esoteric, ethical and social considerations, Rudolf Steiner could not directly point at the name of the individual in which Bodhisattva Maitreya appeared. However, on the other hand, through the numerous clairvoyance revelations, signs and instructions from the esoteric history of humankind and certain so to say spiritual and scientific theorems, Rudolf Steiner seems to have drafted the image of the Christ’s herald, leaving it to us to finalize this spiritually historic picture, and thus to take our first steps into Esoteric Christianity. It is our view that in this way we are actually assigned a new Grail-like task which consists of seeking and finding the Word of Bodhisattva Maitreya, the Herald of the Holy Spirit in 20th century. In order for us to reach the profundity of this esoteric research, we have to examine the spiritual path traveled so far to this cherished objective. This is why we shall offer a new survey of the potential answers provided so far with respect to the above-mentioned Grail issue of our time.

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