The Bodhisattva and the Space Age: The Great Idea in Our Time
Presented by Roger Weir
Philosophical Research Society
September 12, 1982
Adapted from its original format and published here for the first time, Roger Weir’s The Bodhisattva and the Space Age: The Great Idea in Our Time, which blends the ancient Buddhist writings with a modern cosmic understanding, guiding the learner on a journey through time and space.
The Bodhisattva and the Space Age is an exploration of the relationship between cultural and spiritual traditions, as well as an introduction to a new way of considering the nuances of their similarities and distinctions. It tells of the story of the creation of The Awakening of Faith in Mahayana, and the indelible alteration it left on human consciousness. Weir weaves together the historical context of pivotal turning points in civilization, and acknowledges an “iconographical correlation” between the Christian Mother Mary, the Buddhist Goddess Kuan Yin, and the Egyptian Goddess Isis, inspiring and exciting the creative imagination.
The message does not end there, Weir thoughtfully leads the learner through an introduction to the uniquely enlightened layman, Yuima (also known as Vimalakirti) through the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra, touching then upon the significance of the Accumulation of Precious Qualities, and landing in the modern space age, weaving these ancient stories and ideas into the cosmic understanding of infinite galaxies beyond our own.
In The Bodhisattva and the Space Age, you’ll explore:
- The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Shraddhotpada Mahayana Sutra) ― Learn the eight reasons for the creation of the revolutionary text and the shift in Buddhist consciousness from a personal liberation to a universal liberation through the introduction of the goddess Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.
- The Teaching of Vimalakirti (Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra) ― Discover one of the most famous of the Mahayana Sutras, which tells the story of Yuima (also known as Vimalakirti), a layman whose wisdom surprised and amazed even some of the most famous Buddhas and bodhisattvas in history.
- The Accumulation of Precious Qualities (Prajna Paramita Ratna Guna Samcaya Gatha) ― The paradise of the Amitabha Buddha is not one of just singing and mindlessness, but one of study and great erudition because the bodhisattva ideal includes omniscience—one must know it all—every bit of it, in all of its ramifications, for all beings to learn.
- The Space Age ― The modern scientific worldview reveals that there are infinite galaxies in all directions around ours, and from a Buddhist perspective, they are peopled with infinite beings in need of liberation from the cycle of samsara.