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Creation of the Bodhisattvas

When Sakyamuni Buddha died in 468 or 486 B.C.(the date is thought to be one of those) the Buddha's disciples, the Listeners who heard him first-hand, found themselves with a problem. Hindu culture had many gods and goddesses to help mortals in every trade, stage of life and situation. But the Buddha had taught self-reliance, that we ourselves contain all the godly attributes, good and evil; and also when we die, there is no soul remaining. The Buddha had gone, leaving his teaching behind telling each person to be a light unto themselves. The problem was that some people felt abandoned, particularly new students and the peasant laity who clamoured for a god, saints, and a mythology. Who is going to look after me?

To fill the gap various supernatural beings were created. These were the past and future buddhas, the buddhas of other universes, the great bodhisattvas and the saints. The bodhisattvas were beings who achieved 99% Enlightenment, but held back from final extinction to stay behind to help everyone else. "The many beings are numberless, I vow to save them". This is the vow of the bodhisattva. Some of these heavenly beings can be traced to actual people, some not, some are male in one country and female in another, they have different attributes at different times. A whole new pantheon was created in the first few centuries after the Buddha's death, and it's through this floodwater of deities that we can trace the

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