Early Buddhism and Mahayana

General forum on Mahayana.

Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby dude » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:55 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:Which form of Mahayana is the most different from early Buddhism and which is the most similar in your opinion? I've heard Theravadins claim that they felt Zen was most similar to early Buddhism and that Vajrayana was the most different with its yab-yum imagery, consort practice, tantra, wrathful deities, guru yoga, etc. I've also heard people claim that Nichiren Buddhism and Pureland are quite different from earliest Buddhism, the former with its emphasis on chanting the Japanese name of a sutra to achieve enlightenment and the latter with its emphasis on being reborn in a Pureland rather than working on attaining enlightenment here in this life.

Also, what are the counter arguments made by Vajrayana to those Theravadins and Mahayinists that claim "Lamaism" is heretical or isn't really Buddhism? What are the counter arguments presented by Nichiren or Pureland for those who claim the same about them? Is there even such a thing as heretical Buddhism?


Nichiren's critiques of the other schools centered mostly on which sutras they were based on and how they ranked the various sutras in importance, asserting that the Lotus Sutra is the highest and the practice of which accords with the time.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby cloudburst » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:33 pm

Malcolm wrote:(having already defined parabhāva as a species of svabhāva) "Where is there a bhāva which is not included in svabhāva or parabhāva?"


This is all irelevant, as you know. This is Nagarjuna arguing against the existence of essences. No one is claiming that. Sophistry will not win the day here, although you may impress the credulous.

Malcolm wrote:The clause "therefore, since that is so...", only intends go affirm that sense organs and so on are products of the ripening of action, as previously stated, in conformity with worldly convention -- but it is not a statement of commitment on Candrakirit's part that worldly convention is truthful, which is why he remarks that one should not get involved with how it actually is.


Affriming that eyes are products is all I need. Since they are produced according to worldly convention, they must exist according to worldly convention. How could something that did not exist be produced? You may be tempted to produce some quote that refutes production, but it's too late for that, since that quote will only refute production by nature. You've already ceded the argument.

Malcolm wrote:he translation (in this instance) is not successful and does not convey the meaning Candrakirti intends. Therefore, when you use it as a citation in support of a reason, the reason also fails.


We can simply refer to your translation, it serves my purpose just as well for those who are willing to think it through, although it is not as explicit. The translation I provided actually does a good job making the hidden meaning explicit, whereas you are happy to obfuscate for the sake of supporting your point.

Malcolm wrote:No, I did not have it lying around. Since the translation seemed a bit too pat to me, I examined the source of the citation ....


I'm always impressed by your willingness to do some tranlation work on the spot. it's a kindness, and you always raise the level of the discussion.

Malcolm wrote:On the other hand I am certainly happy to talk about Indian Madhyamaka as long as it is understood that citations from Tibetans are excluded from the discussion, since I decided long ago that Tibetan Madhyamaka was a waste of time.


Well, as always, please participate at whatever level you please. If you have an issue with translation, I'm sure you will speak up, but of course translations other than your own, including those from Tibetans, will be cited. It's somewhat preposterous to think that you could be the sole arbiter of what is accepted as legitimate.
Last edited by cloudburst on Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby tatpurusa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:
Vidyaraja wrote:Well the discussion as turned into general Mahayana, but my initial question was wondering which of the present forms would be most recognizable to the earliest disciples of Buddhism and which would be most alien--be it in doctrine, modes of practice, approach, etc. I suppose what is meant by early Buddhism would be Buddhism during the first few centuries of its existence.


I think Pure Land Buddhism would be seen as rather alien to the early Buddhists, especially Shinran's ideas.



Who cares? "Early" Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is. "Early Buddhism" is a pedantic reconstruction.


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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:31 pm

cloudburst wrote:
Malcolm wrote:(having already defined parabhāva as a species of svabhāva) "Where is there a bhāva which is not included in svabhāva or parabhāva?"


This is all irelevant, as you know. This is Nagarjuna arguing against the existence of essences. No one is claiming that. Sophistry will not win the day here, although you may impress the credulous.



Here, Nāgārjuna is pointing out in no uncertain terms that all assertions of existence and non-existence are fraught with notion of essences automatically. It is one thing to accept that tables and chairs "exist" prior to analysis. It is quite another to assert their existence is valid predicated on deluded cognitions, i.e. a cognition of a non-veridical object, which is in essence what a conventional truth is.



Malcolm wrote:The clause "therefore, since that is so...", only intends go affirm that sense organs and so on are products of the ripening of action, as previously stated, in conformity with worldly convention -- but it is not a statement of commitment on Candrakirit's part that worldly convention is truthful, which is why he remarks that one should not get involved with how it actually is.


Affriming that eyes are products is all I need. Since they are produced according to worldly convention, they must exist according to worldly convention.


Worldly convention is predicated on cognitions of non-veridical objects, i.e. it is dependent on false cognitions. What does it matter if eyes and so on are products if the very substrate upon which the acceptance of their status as products is in itself delusion?

Madhyamakas do not make propositions concerning existence. They accept whatever is in common discourse merely for the purpose of demonstrating (to those that care) that the terms of common discourse they are using are deluded and false. What is the root delusion? Assertions of existence which always involve notions of inherency. As much as Tsongkhapa wanted to sever the discussion of called "mere existence" or conventional existence from inherent or ultimate existence, in reality, one cannot hew the two apart.

Nagarjuna's point, very simple put, is that when there are essences, only then can there be existences. When there are no essences, then there can be no existences. Such existences that are spoken about are understood to be merely conventional (meaning imputed, meaning not real), predicated on the deluded cognition of ordinary persons. These are accepted provisionally by Madhyamaka, but not asserted by Madhyamaka.

The Gelug commitment to arguing essenceless existence is fruitless because there are is no such thing as an essenceless existence. This is why it is necessary to negate merely inherent existence, but rather one must negate all four extremes in both the relative and the ultimate -- only this is the profound emptiness taught in Mahāyāna.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby thunderbumble » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:25 pm

I'm a new poster.

However, I am a Shin Buddhist. The goal of Shin is actually, to become one with Amitabha, Amida Buddha by actualizing true awareness of the 18th Vow, "Shinjin" mistranslated as faith but it is really a union to turn the cosmic to a breathing living Buddha.
When pure devotion/love/gratitude is awakened, then compassion shines forth and we join with Amitabha.
Meditation is not forbidden but a tool for Naikan type reflection on Gratitude for everything.

Since Becoming a buddha is the goal by letting go of the self grasping after enlightenment we can more effectively experience joy.

Is this so far removed from the original suttas?
Probably in practice but not in result.

However, having lived in Thailand for 6 months and also listened to various well-known Venerable monks claim seeing powers, siddhas, of levitation,
How then deny the power of a cosmic Buddha?
If The Womb Buddha, Shakyamuni lived former lives,
How then not other Buddha?
Without the compassion Shakyamuni Buddha gave this world the Dhrama, how then would we know
Amida Buddha?
If the goal of Buddhism is to become a buddha
Then not
Nagarjuna?
Old argument I'm sure. But really, where were the suttas
Before they were born?
The Buddha taught


So, bhikkhus, you should train in this way: The heart-deliverance of loving-kindness will be maintained in being and made much of by us, used as our vehicle, used as our foundation, established, consolidated, and properly managed. That is how you should train
Samyutta Nikaya 20:3
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby cloudburst » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:09 pm

Malcolm wrote: It is one thing to accept that tables and chairs "exist" prior to analysis. It is quite another to assert their existence is valid predicated on deluded cognitions, i.e. a cognition of a non-veridical object, which is in essence what a conventional truth is.


Here we go with the quotation marks.... this inevitably becomes necessary for you in order to make your point because your formulation lacks clarity. It is perfectly in accordance with the Madhymaka presentation to say that tables etc exist prior to analysis. No quotes necessary. This is the same as saying their existence is valid conventionally. All conventions are predicated on deluded cognitions. These are conventionally valid. Cup holds water, wheel rolls. It works. You are clinging to the idea that in order to be valid, something needs to be valid with respect to the ultimate.

Malcolm wrote:What does it matter if eyes and so on are products if the very substrate upon which the acceptance of their status as products is in itself delusion?


It matters precisely because they are valid according to the world. The fact that eyes are products conventionally means that they exist conventionally, no matter how much you twist and turn to avoid it. They arise conventionally, so their mode of being is imputation. They exist as imputations and nothing more.

It matters because without distinguishing valid conventions from false ones, liberation is impossible.

Malcolm wrote:Madhyamakas do not make propositions concerning existence.

they are, according to you, "proponents of dependent origination," which is conventional existence, so you are not correct.

Malcolm wrote: Such existences that are spoken about are understood to be merely conventional (meaning imputed, meaning not real), predicated on the deluded cognition of ordinary persons.


correct. This is how it is. You have made my point.

Malcolm wrote: This is why it is necessary to negate merely inherent existence, but rather one must negate all four extremes in both the relative and the ultimate -- only this is the profound emptiness taught in Mahāyāna.


you apparently fail to see that it is the negating of essence or self that in one stroke negates all four extremes, since the characteristic of being an extreme depends entirely upon essential existence.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:13 pm

cloudburst wrote:you apparently fail to see that it is the negating of essence or self that in one stroke negates all four extremes, since the characteristic of being an extreme depends entirely upon essential existence.


I do not fail to see that; however, it is necessary for we commoners to run through the four-fold negation with regard to the four extremes. It is not necessary for āryas.

For example, there are some, for example, Jains, who maintain that things in a state of arising both exist and not exist at the same time [I think Hegel does as well]. Therefore, in addition to refuting existence and non-existence, it is necessary to refute both [existent and non-existent] as well as neither.

For this reason, solely negating inherent existence is fine as a short cut for an experienced Mādhyamika; but maintaining the refutation of inherent existence alone will lead to the realization of freedom from extremes is doubtful except in the case of someone who is extremely bright.

By asserting that emptiness is the mere non-existence of true existence, the emptiness which is the absence of inherent existence, one runs a real risk of leading people to two conclusions: the intellectual approximation of emptiness as a non-existence is appropriate; the ultimate is a form of non-existence.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby cloudburst » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
cloudburst wrote:you apparently fail to see that it is the negating of essence or self that in one stroke negates all four extremes, since the characteristic of being an extreme depends entirely upon essential existence.


I do not fail to see that



excellent.
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