Chan Master Sheng Yen

‘The Buddha can manifest in any form as a transformation body to help sentient beings. According to an Indian myth, Shakyamuni Buddha was the ninth incarnation of the god Vishnu. In China some people believe that Lao Tzu, the Taoist philosopher, was an incarnation of the Buddha. Some Westerners believe that Jesus was also an incarnation of the Buddha. Essentially, we can say that whenever a good person appears in the world to help sentient beings, this is another form or incarnation of Buddha. Buddhists do not restrict the phrase “the birth of the Buddha” to Shakyamuni. It can also describe the arising of any event or person that helps sentient beings to overcome suffering and ignorance. In a theoretical sense, anyone can be an incarnation of Buddha. So, in remembering Buddha on his birthday we are in effect reminding ourselves of the potential that exists within each of us.’ (Subtle Wisdom)

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