Sūtra on Upāsaka Precepts, Vol. 1
On the Assembly, Chapter 1
“Good son, no sentient being has the bodhi nature [in the first place] or the [definite] nature of a human, heavenly being, lion, tiger, wolf, dog, and so forth. In one’s present life, one becomes a human or heavenly being based on the causes and conditions of various good karmas one has ever accumulated. It is also through the causes and conditions of the bad karmas one has accumulated that in one’s present life that one is born an animal, such as a lion. The same is true for a bodhisattva. It is through the combination of various good karmas and the arousal of the aspiration for Bodhicitta that one comes to be called a bodhisattva.”
Excerpts from A Discourse on the Sūtra on Upāsaka Precepts
Venerable Xiao Pingshi
The explanation of the Buddha is as follows: “All sentient beings originally do not have the definite nature of the Buddha Bodhi because they do not have the thought ‘I want to attain the Buddha Bodhi.’ They simply think, ‘How can I exit from the cyclic birth and death in the three realms?’ They do not want to attain the Buddha Bodhi in the first place! Therefore, all sentient beings originally do not have the definite nature of the Buddha Bodhi. Neither do sentient beings necessarily have the nature of a human or a heavenly being.”
“How does one bring forth the bodhisattva nature? How does one bring forth the nature of the Buddha Bodhi? Merely relying on one’s various good karmas is not enough! To attain such a nature, one should harmonize one’s various good karmas and causes and conditions of wholesome dharmas!” Additionally, encountering enlightened mentors who can adequately, clearly, and correctly explain that one can personally realize the Buddha Bodhi, and how, can help one obtain the good karmas and the causes and conditions necessary for one to acquire such a nature.
When bodhisattvas’ good karmas and causes and conditions come together, their aspirations to take the Path to Buddhahood are thus initiated. By saying, “I resolve to achieve Buddhahood in the future,” a practitioner can eventually obtain the bodhisattva nature and be called a bodhisattva.
A Discourse on the Sūtra on Upāsaka Precepts, Vol. 1, pp. 27-30