Karuna, Maitri and Wisdom in Practice in Mahayana

Bodhisatta ideal is considered as core concept of Mahayana Buddhism, where practice and fulfillment of perfections is the way to gain Buddhahood which include Karuna and Maity. Many of us have witnessed statues of Bodhisattva of Compassion holding weapons in hands (off course having more than two hands). What is the philosophy behind it. One more thing, Living Bodhisattva like H. H. Dalia Lama the 14th (should be full of wisdom) pours milk on Shiv Linga as worship of Hindu Gods which is symbol of blind faith; lack wisdom. Similarly in Japan priests perform various rituals which can be easily identify as dogmas.
Is there otherwise reason for that? Please help, my understanding about Mahayana is really limited.
With Metta
Anand L.

shiva lingam=axis mundi

pours milk on Shiv Linga as worship of Hindu Gods which is symbol of blind faith; l

hyperpotent phalli were associated with Shiva, whose anaiconic representation (lingam) is generally believed to represent an erect phallus, or -by Eck1- the world axis. Within Japanese Buddhist temple pagodas, a central pillar that reaches skywards is assimilated to the Buddha himself.
The cross - present in Egyptian lore as well- could also be interpreted as a sort of tree. Besides, the cross also represents the axis of the world, crossings and crossroads (Hercules at the crossroad), places sacred in both the Graeco-Roman and Hindu world: the Buddha's relics were placed in temples at crossroads.
Again, the tradition of libations (=liquid offering) goes back to the ancient world (Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Israel etc): water, wine, milk, olive oil, honey etc were either poured and/or left as devotional token, for example on a tomb. Even in the African Yoruba religion, the root of most Afro-American religions, ancestors and Onilé (mother Earth orisha) are honored pouring drops of beverage on the soil.


On weapons and milk

The symbolism of Buddhism in Vajrayana is a little controversial. There are answers to your question from Vajrayana perspective: the weapons are not to kill any body, it is a symbol of removing obstacles. For example Manjusri's sword cuts through ignorance. However, from sociological perspective is a kind of "sublimation" of negative aspects in Shamanist culture.

Demons and gods with weapons have already existed in Tibetan and Indian culture. Buddhism (or better to say Buddhists) embraced these elements and projected positive meanings for them. It is like sublimation in psychology where negative drives like anger is transformed for example in sports.

About the Dalai Lama there are several explanation. He is supposed to be the Bodhisattva of Compassion, however, it does not mean he is literally Chenrezig. It is a kind of traditional element which started before even Buddhism in Tibet which attributed members of nobility to deities. Chenrezig is the patron Bodhisattva of Tibet based on traditions and it is a long history to say why the Dalai Lama's are considered his emanation. You can see "Tibet History Reader" and "Buddhist and the Empire". However, the current Dalai Lama I believe reflects the positive aspects of a living Bodhisattva in most cases. He is quite a phenomenon in terms of trying to reconcile Buddhism and modernity, modesty and wisdom.

While the Dalai Lama makes mistakes like any human being (and even Bodhisattva in certain states can make mistake at least theoretically) it is better to view acts like pouring milk on Shiva Lingam as a gesture of harmony with other religions not a sign of belief in the ritual. He usually does the same with other religions too.Once he told a scientist who asked him what religion is better that "the religion which makes you a better human".

Buddha and gods

I think Buddhism does NOT negate the existence of other realms, gods and spirits.
Buddhism negates that gods (for example born in heaven due to good karma) are beyond karma and samsara.
Humans can court favors and help from the gods as they would court favors from a powerful acquaintance.
The acquaintance may be a President, a General or a Pope, who enjoys immense wordly power,and can make things happen for you.
The powerful dignitary, however, is enmeshed in karma and samsara just like you or I: Presidents and Popes age, get sick and eventually die.
Gautama Buddha spent part of his nights conversing with divine beings.
Did he converse with non-existent beings?
Buddha also said that for self-protection man created God and for self-preservation man created a soul, although here I think Buddha implied the ultimate ATMAN (soul) and BRAHMA (god), not conventional deities.


Belief in a Soul is the root of all notions of I, my, mine, lust, hatred, and delusion, pride, and Iness.
It is the source of all wars, personal conflicts, ethnic cleansing. It is the source of all human
calamities and dangers. Self-protection and self-establishment are two notions rooted in
humans. For self-protection – we have created God. (“Trust God but tie your camel tight!”). For
self-establishment – we have created Soul.



This discourse explores the role of miracles and conversations with heavenly beings as a possible basis for faith and belief. The Buddha does not deny the reality of such experiences, but he points out that — of all possible miracles — the only reliable one is the miracle of instruction in the proper training of the mind. As for heavenly beings, they are subject to greed, anger, and delusion, and so the information they give — especially with regard to the miracle of instruction — is not necessarily trustworthy. Thus the only valid basis for faith is the instruction that, when followed, brings about the end of one's own mental defilements. The tale that concludes the discourse is one of the finest examples of the early Buddhist sense of humor.