When I was a boy of twelve, I came upon a Buddhist quotation which fascinated imagination, mind, and heart. I think it was one of the things which in this life awoke me more than any other thing that I can recollect; at any rate it was one of the first. It is pure Theosophy and genuine Buddhist doctrine. It is this: The Lord Buddha is speaking, and I am paraphrasing somewhat his words in order to make them somewhat clearer: "Oh! disciples, never let discouragement enter into your souls. See you suffering in the world, see you unhappiness and pain and ignorance, misery and distress which wring the heart? Disciples, all things are destined to pass into Buddhahood: the stones, the plants, the beasts, all the component atoms of these, each and every one, aye and sun and moon and stars and planets: all in future ages will become Buddha. Each one will become a Buddha."
What a marvelous picture! How it quiets the heart and stills the mind; for if one atom, one man, become a Buddha, everything will, for this Universe is one, broken into multitudes during Manvantara or manifestation; rooted in that One, living from it, and by it. In it we live and we move and have all our being. Therefore some day, somewhere in the incalculable aeons of what we call the future, all now of the multitudes, suns and stars, planets, comets, gods, men, animals, plants, stones, atoms, elements, worlds, everything, each as individual, is destined for Buddhahood.
When I read that — I have given you the expanded gist of what I heard — for nearly three months I went around in a daze of spiritual delight and inner reawakening. To this day I could not tell you whether I ate or drank or slept. I know I must have done so, but I have no recollection of anything except light; and the raising of the eyes inner and outer, upward and inward. Just that thought broke open the doors closed when I drank of the waters of Lethe, of forgetfulness, when last I died. The doors opened and the light came in, began to come in.
I think this extract gives us a most wonderful picture. Take the mineral kingdom: It is formed entirely of unconscient monads, that is monads unconscient on this plane, never unconscient in their own spheres. But what we call monads in the mineral kingdom are as it were the expressions of essential spiritual monads working and evolving down here on this plane, and going through these Gilgulim, as the Hebrew Qabbalah has it, meaning these lower halls of life and experience, these worlds of the ceaseless evolutionary journey; yet each one is essentially a god, each one in essence a Buddha, a ray of the Adi-Buddha or the Cosmic Buddha. And so it is with all things.
Therefore, the Lord Buddha said: "Disciples, when sorrow wrings your heart, when pain and suffering are too bitter to bear, when you see others dying for the needs, the mere needs of life: be not discouraged. Look into the future. Every one of the multitudes some day will be a Buddha, Adi-Buddha, therefore a Buddha, stones and plants, and beasts and men and gods, suns and stars and comets and the elements of them all."
Yet this recognition of the essential divinity of all, and the certain future Buddhahood of all, should never at any moment stay our hands from works of loving pity and helpfulness here and now; for it is here and now that lies our sublime duty of doing all we can to alleviate the world's suffering and need that are incident and necessary to the monads on their evolutionary journey.