Christ, so the Scriptures tell us, bore the sufferings of all humanity in his own body as if they were his own—a thought beyond our comprehension—accepting them of his own free will.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “After Ten Years: A Letter to the Family and Conspirators”

MY Buddhist teachers’ father, Lama Chimed Namgyal Rinpoche, use to pray, “May I be the substitute for all beings’ suffering. May all of the effects of their negative actions ripen on me instead of them.” This is the ideal of the bodhisattva who takes on the suffering of all living beings.

Personally, I know a lot of westerners who have converted to Buddhism and have an awfully big chip on their shoulder when it comes to Christianity. But if they think that we have a monopoly on bodhisattvas, then they need to read some Bonhoeffer.

Note: This post was originally posted by Joshua Eaton as “Bonhoeffer Bosatsu” at Angelheaded Hispter on 21 October 2008.

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