"People are children"

Sculpture depicting children playing with marbles
Creative Commons AttributionSculpture depicting children playing with marbles - Credit: Gopal Aggarwal
The statement suggests the innate innocence of human beings, the Buddha-nature that is within each one of us. Mahayana Buddhism, teaches that Buddha-nature is an intrinsic, immortal potential for reaching enlightenment that exists within the mind of every sentient being. Buddhist scholar and chronicler, Fowler, writes that the Buddha-nature really is present as an essence within each being. Fowler comments:

The teaching that Buddha-nature is the hidden essence within all sentient beings … all living beings are in essence identical to the Buddha regardless of their defilements or their continuing transmigration from life to life... As in the earlier traditions, there is present the idea that enlightenment, or nirvana, is not something which has to be achieved, it is something which is already there... In a way, it means that everyone is really a Buddha now.

While childlike purity is inherent, so is childlike ignorance of this potential. Where “ignorance is bliss,” men and women go about their daily chores, with the simplicity of children, by rote, unable to comprehend that they can be the masters of their destiny, and the harbingers of change, in their lives and the world.