16. THE FIVE SCIENCES (Pancavidya)
As a Bodhisattva always comes to live in this world in order to save the sentient beings, he/she must be proficient in all kinds of worldly knowledge and skills. Thus, he/she should have a good profession for earning a living and serving the other people. Through all these actions, he/she can gather the other sentient beings and show them how to cultivate the Buddhist Way. A Bodhisattva must have a good knowledge of the Five Sciences.
Language is the most fundamental means of communication, both in oral and written form. In order to understand what the people say and write, and express himself/herself clearly, effectively and efficiently, a Bodhisattva must be proficient in the language ability. This science also extends to cover art and music as special forms of 'language' for communication.
A Bodhisattva should work in an occupation so that he/she can make a living. He/she should not rely on the financial support from the other people. However, he/she should support the others as much as possible. He/she can also make use of his/her occupation to get acquaintance with more people, for the purpose of crossing them over (saving them).
This science covers different fields of knowledge such as mathematics, engineering and technology.
With the immeasurable mind of compassion, a Bodhisattva cannot tolerate to see the sentient beings suffering from illness. Many Bodhisattvas have the medical knowledge to relieve the sentient beings from pain. Apart from the medical healing, a Bodhisattva is trying to cure the sentient beings by eradicating the causes of their sufferings. The best prescription for the eradication is the Buddha dharma.
A Bodhisattva must have logical thinking to analyse thoroughly all kinds of phenomena, facts, theories and religions. Otherwise, he/she will be confused with the false thinking, particularly in the debate with others about Buddha dharma. With precise and accurate logic, the speech or the writings of a Bodhisattva is more convincing.
It is perhaps the most important science amongst the five. In Buddhism, this science refers to the Tripitaka, which is the knowledge of supreme spirit. A Bodhisattva must have a right view and recognition on the nature of all physical and mental matters, and the methods to practise and cultivate the Buddhist Way. Otherwise, a Bodhisattva can never achieve the goal towards Buddhahood.