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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:46 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Who cares? "Early" Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is. "Early Buddhism" is a pedantic reconstruction.


There have been a lot of people who have wished to uncover what earliest Buddhism was, be it out of purely historical interest or some desire to practice the forms of Buddhism that represented the earliest Buddhist communities. So it seems there are people who care.

Do you say early Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is and that attempting to discern earliest Buddhism is a pedantic reconstruction because you sincerely believe that or because the tradition you belong to is among the most different to earliest Buddhism? I don't have anything against it for this reason, but it seems to me that the tantra of Vajrayana is derived from Shaivist rather than Buddhist sources as Alexis Sanderson points out in this article:

http://www.alexissanderson.com/uploads/ ... rayana.pdf

Daniel Odier in his book "Yoga Spandakarika" points this out as well:

Quote:
I took it a step further and grasped the impact of the Kashmiri siddhas on Tibetan Buddhism, which, by the way, "Buddhafies" the siddhas to such a degree that Alain Danielou would go on to write that "Tibetan Buddhism is Shaivism in disguise." One of the most striking examples is Saraha's "Queen Doha," which includes the following stanzas:

A [Saivite] yogi in whom a [pseudoexistential] pristine
awareness [allegedly imparted to him by Siva himself] has
come about, [and hence] in whom there is no fear,
will, whilst wearing the insignia of Siva [as a charm], look for
a woman born in the outskirts.
. . . Taking in her qualities he will [reciprocate by] offering his
pristine awareness,
Reverberating within the intensity of immediate experience,
and,
For the time being, he will take this pristine awareness -
heightened in its sensibility through Being's genuineness
[operating in it], approximating in flavor,
[Being's nothingness replete with everything in highest
perfection] - as the Mahamudra experience.


Scholars with Buddhist tendencies, uncomfortable with this passage, have it follow, or replace it with, similar verses - sometimes in parentheses, it is true - removing the allusion to Shaivism, just as they often delete, purely and simply, all allusion to Saraha's master, who was a Shaivite yogini.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Who cares? "Early" Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is. "Early Buddhism" is a pedantic reconstruction.


The Dharma of the Buddha stems from the figure himself, who is best represented in reconstructions of "Early Buddhism", at least if you accept the mainstream ontology of the present day.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:15 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:

Do you say early Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is and that attempting to discern earliest Buddhism is a pedantic reconstruction because you sincerely believe that


Because I believe that is it merely a pedantic reconstruction.

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I don't have anything against it for this reason, but it seems to me that the tantra of Vajrayana is derived from Shaivist rather than Buddhist sources as Alexis Sanderson points out in this article:


Ronald Davidson has pointed out several shortcomings of Sanderson's theories in Indian Esoteric Buddhism.

I like what Dan Martin says, when defending Bon as a form a Buddhism:

    "Eventually, and with the help of a very small band of Buddhologists who have been speaking rather too softly over the years, we will find out that Buddhism has always been a religion of continual revelation...the canonizers of Buddhist scriptures, if they were looking for integrity, would have done well to be satisfied with parts of one or two sūtras, much as our contemporary researchers for 'original Buddhism' would have us do. Then we today would be in a much better position, since ninety-nine percent of the Buddhist scriptures could be relegated to that great and greatly ignored category of 'apocrypha', could be safely dispensed with, just as the Bon canon as a whole has itself been pre-dispensed with."
Ppg 211-213 Unearthing Bon Treasures, Brill, 2001.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:19 pm 
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Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Who cares? "Early" Buddhism is not the standard of what Buddhadharma is. "Early Buddhism" is a pedantic reconstruction.


The Dharma of the Buddha stems from the figure himself, who is best represented in reconstructions of "Early Buddhism", at least if you accept the mainstream ontology of the present day.


I don't think so."Early" or "Original" Buddhism is text-"critically" engendered fantasy.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:33 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
I like what Dan Martin says, when defending Bon as a form a Buddhism:

    "Eventually, and with the help of a very small band of Buddhologists who have been speaking rather too softly over the years, we will find out that Buddhism has always been a religion of continual revelation...the canonizers of Buddhist scriptures, if they were looking for integrity, would have done well to be satisfied with parts of one or two sūtras, much as our contemporary researchers for 'original Buddhism' would have us do. Then we today would be in a much better position, since ninety-nine percent of the Buddhist scriptures could be relegated to that great and greatly ignored category of 'apocrypha', could be safely dispensed with, just as the Bon canon as a whole has itself been pre-dispensed with."
Ppg 211-213 Unearthing Bon Treasures, Brill, 2001.


If that is the case, how are we to discern which form of continual revelation is true? Nichiren claims that only the Lotus sutra and the chanting of Daimoku can lead to liberation in this degenerate age of the Dharma. If his revelation is true, this invalidates most other forms of Buddhism. What about Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism devoid of all higher spirituality and regulated to the level of secular Buddhism? Can we say that this is also part of the continual revelation?

If the answer to the latter is no since Batchelor's Buddhism would contradict many of the messages and claims of the Buddha, can we say the same about the existence of tantric consort practices which contradict the Buddha's claims for the need of celibacy?

As to Sanderson's theories, I would say they are correct. The imagery in tantra, such as garlands of skulls or deities standing upon lesser deities or third eyes open, are absent from the Buddhism prior to Vajrayana but present within Shaivism. Hatha yoga, kundalini, occult corporeality (like chakras) are also absent from Buddhism prior to Vajrayana but also present within Shaivism. Mahakala for example, a deity absent from prior forms of Buddhism, is Bhairava, the wrathful form of Shiva. I personally respect a good deal of Shaivism, so this isn't a problem for me, but it may be for other Buddhists.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:

If that is the case, how are we to discern which form of continual revelation is true? Nichiren claims that only the Lotus sutra and the chanting of Daimoku can lead to liberation in this degenerate age of the Dharma. If his revelation is true, this invalidates most other forms of Buddhism.


For those people who follow Nichiren it is true, for those of us who don't it is not.

Quote:
What about Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism devoid of all higher spirituality and regulated to the level of secular Buddhism? Can we say that this is also part of the continual revelation?


It is part of the history of Buddhism. His books have "entered the canon" so to speak as there are a large number of people who take them very seriously.

Quote:
As to Sanderson's theories, I would say they are correct. The imagery in tantra, such as garlands of skulls or deities standing upon lesser deities or third eyes open, are absent from the Buddhism prior to Vajrayana but present within Shaivism. Hatha yoga, kundalini, occult corporeality (like chakras) are also absent from Buddhism prior to Vajrayana but also present within Shaivism. Mahakala for example, a deity absent from prior forms of Buddhism, is Bhairava, the wrathful form of Shiva. I personally respect a good deal of Shaivism, so this isn't a problem for me, but it may be for other Buddhists.


In fact, the first text to mention cakras is the Hevajra tantra -- even though the idea of nadis is very ancient. The notion of prāṇayāma and pratyahara, etc. are found in the Majjihma Nikaya and so on.

You need to read Davidson's book, he addresses the majority of your concerns quite well.

In this respect, there is a pan-Indian yogic culture, a toolbox of realization if you will, used by all schools who have different understandings of the results of that practice.

Buddha did not reject yoga, for example, he was a yogi. There is very little difference between how practice is described in the Yoga Sutras and what is described in Pali Buddhist scriptures. Though many people imagine that Patañjali was responding to Buddhists, I think this is a naive assumption.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
For those people who follow Nichiren it is true, for those of us who don't it is not.


So truth is relative and there is no absolute truth? It seems to me that either Nichiren's claims are true or they aren't.

Malcolm wrote:
It is part of the history of Buddhism. His books have "entered the canon" so to speak as there are a large number of people who take them very seriously.


A large number of people take Mormonism seriously, doesn't mean that it isn't baloney. If I revealed a new form of Buddhism wherein violence, theft, lying, and hedonistic indulgence is the path for our advanced Dharma-ending age and millions followed me, would it make that correct or worthy of being considered a form of Buddhism? I'd say no since it contradicts what the Buddha and preceding forms of Buddhism have upheld. There has to be some standard.

Malcolm wrote:
In this respect, there is a pan-Indian yogic culture, a toolbox of realization if you will, used by all schools who have different understandings of the results of that practice.

Buddha did not reject yoga, for example, he was a yogi. There is very little difference between how practice is described in the Yoga Sutras and what is described in Pali Buddhist scriptures. Though many people imagine that Patañjali was responding to Buddhists, I think this is a naive assumption.


Agreed.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:05 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
It is part of the history of Buddhism. His books have "entered the canon" so to speak as there are a large number of people who take them very seriously.


A large number of people take Mormonism seriously, doesn't mean that it isn't baloney. If I revealed a new form of Buddhism wherein violence, theft, lying, and hedonistic indulgence is the path for our advanced Dharma-ending age and millions followed me, would it make that correct or worthy of being considered a form of Buddhism? I'd say no since it contradicts what the Buddha and preceding forms of Buddhism have upheld. There has to be some standard.


I don't think he was validating its authenticity, he said it is part of buddhist history and that people take it seriously.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:12 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
If I revealed a new form of Buddhism wherein violence, theft, lying, and hedonistic indulgence is the path for our advanced Dharma-ending age and millions followed me, would it make that correct or worthy of being considered a form of Buddhism? I'd say no since it contradicts what the Buddha and preceding forms of Buddhism have upheld. There has to be some standard.


Do you really think you could convince anyone that such a form of Buddhism would be acceptable to anyone as Buddhism under any circumstances? If so, whom, and under what circumstances?

I'm asking because I'm trying to take your analogy seriously.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
For those people who follow Nichiren it is true, for those of us who don't it is not.


So truth is relative and there is no absolute truth? It seems to me that either Nichiren's claims are true or they aren't.



Slippery slope there. All one is left with is one's own judgment about what to accept and reject.


Quote:
If I revealed a new form of Buddhism wherein violence, theft, lying, and hedonistic indulgence is the path for our advanced Dharma-ending age and millions followed me, would it make that correct or worthy of being considered a form of Buddhism? I'd say no since it contradicts what the Buddha and preceding forms of Buddhism have upheld. There has to be some standard.


It is interesting to note that in the polemics against Bon, all kinds of standards that are raised and then abandoned when Bon meets them. In the end, Buddhists were just saying "Bon is not Buddhism because we say so".

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:34 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Do you really think you could convince anyone that such a form of Buddhism would be acceptable to anyone as Buddhism under any circumstances? If so, whom, and under what circumstances?

I'm asking because I'm trying to take your analogy seriously.


That is irrelevant to my point. The point is, if the claims or practices of new, continued revelation contradict the previous revelation, then they can't be true or acceptable or at minimum they must invalidate the previous revelation under the notion that previous doctrines or methods are ineffective in our particular time. Buddha emphasized the need for celibacy and sexual activity was one of the primary reasons to be booted from the sangha, until the advent of Vajrayana consort practice, where such practices were seen as almost necessary for enlightenment. Which is true? There some other tantric rituals which mention consumption of semen and menstrual blood, which I think would also contradict the moral guidelines of previous forms of Buddhism. Which is correct?

If we go by the relative truth notion of "what's true for them isn't true for us" then this just means none of it is actually true, but truth is merely a subjective fancy.

Malcolm wrote:
Slippery slope there. All one is left with is one's own judgment about what to accept and reject.


One may judge incorrectly. The reality is, either Nichiren's claims are true or they aren't, they aren't true for some and false for others. Either enlightenment is real or it isn't. Either Buddhist praxis is efficacious or it isn't.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
One may judge incorrectly. The reality is, either Nichiren's claims are true or they aren't, they aren't true for some and false for others. Either enlightenment is real or it isn't. Either Buddhist praxis is efficacious or it isn't.


Whose Buddhist praxis? Maybe Enlightenment is a total fantasy. Whose enlightenment are you going to accept? That one represented in the Pali Canon, Prajñāpāramitā? Chan? Zen? Pure Land? Nicherin? Dzogchen?

All of these schools have very different ideas concerning the path and the result. Whose is correct?

Again, it comes down to using one's own judgement.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:09 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Do you really think you could convince anyone that such a form of Buddhism would be acceptable to anyone as Buddhism under any circumstances? If so, whom, and under what circumstances?

I'm asking because I'm trying to take your analogy seriously.


That is irrelevant to my point. The point is, if the claims or practices of new, continued revelation contradict the previous revelation, then they can't be true or acceptable or at minimum they must invalidate the previous revelation under the notion that previous doctrines or methods are ineffective in our particular time. Buddha emphasized the need for celibacy and sexual activity was one of the primary reasons to be booted from the sangha, until the advent of Vajrayana consort practice, where such practices were seen as almost necessary for enlightenment. Which is true? There some other tantric rituals which mention consumption of semen and menstrual blood, which I think would also contradict the moral guidelines of previous forms of Buddhism. Which is correct?

If we go by the relative truth notion of "what's true for them isn't true for us" then this just means none of it is actually true, but truth is merely a subjective fancy.
.


Which of your examples is true? None of them, because they are all practices, and no practices are true in themselves. They are gimmicks, means to an end. You've pointed to Buddhism's capacity for offering different approaches to practice to different communities of practitioners, and to different individuals, at different times (most of which have existed simultaneously in spite of claims to having superceded one or any of the previous). How does this reflect a contradiction? It reflects the contradictions of the samsaric world we inhabit. The monastic path is available because it is of benefit to some; the tantric path is available for others for the same reason. Not mentioned in the sutras, but also available: getting whacked in the ass by an old man with a stick at a Zendo. All means to an end: different iterations reflect differences in means, not ends. 84,000 Dharma gates to deal with 84,000 kinds of screwed-up people. One Dharma.

This is why I say that your hypothetical is meaningless because you haven't given a specific instance or even a hypothetical context in which a teaching that is said to be Buddhism but which is also not Buddhism could be plausibly Buddhist to anyone. When has this happened, or when could it? Until you specify this, your analogy cannot be taken seriously.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Whose enlightenment are you going to accept?


Still working on that one- slowly, slowly. There are such divergent opinions and paths. If one accepts in a general way skillful means perhaps one can accept there are different paths for different practitioners. But of course the more zealous practitioners of the various systems often claim that their methods are unique in offering the full attainment of enlightenment, which leads to all our wrangling.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:43 pm 
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JKhedrup wrote:
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Whose enlightenment are you going to accept?


Still working on that one- slowly, slowly. There are such divergent opinions and paths. If one accepts in a general way skillful means perhaps one can accept there are different paths for different practitioners. But of course the more zealous practitioners of the various systems often claim that their methods are unique in offering the full attainment of enlightenment, which leads to all our wrangling.



Basically, it is really pretty simple. All yogic paths in Indian religion and its offshoots, whether Buddhist, Jain or Hindu, whether in India or Tibet, or China, etc., accept one thing in common: in order to cease taking rebirth in samsara, one must deal somehow with the kleṣas that drive rebirth.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:00 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
If that is the case, how are we to discern which form of continual revelation is true? Nichiren claims that only the Lotus sutra and the chanting of Daimoku can lead to liberation in this degenerate age of the Dharma.


The Lotus Sutra answers your question (e.g.: The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs). Nichiren followed Saicho, Saicho followed Zhiyi, Zhiyi followed Nagarjuna, Nagarjuna followed Buddha. There is a very clear connection, but also changes according to times and circumstances. That is the bodhisattva's skill in adapting the teachings to the audience.

Nichiren writes, "To practice only the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo may appear limited, yet since this Law is the master of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the teacher of all the bodhisattvas in the ten directions, and the guide that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, its practice is incomparably profound."

So, if you approach from the teachings of Nichiren, you find the Buddhadharma in the Daimoku. If you go from the teachings of Shinran, you find it through the Nenbutsu. There are many entrances, many teachings. But they are not unrelated, they don't come from nowhere, and every Buddhist teacher establishes the teachings on the words and realisation of Shakyamuni Buddha.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:08 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Which of your examples is true? None of them, because they are all practices, and no practices are true in themselves. They are gimmicks, means to an end. You've pointed to Buddhism's capacity for offering different approaches to practice to different communities of practitioners, and to different individuals, at different times (most of which have existed simultaneously in spite of claims to having superceded one or any of the previous). How does this reflect a contradiction? It reflects the contradictions of the samsaric world we inhabit. The monastic path is available because it is of benefit to some; the tantric path is available for others for the same reason. Not mentioned in the sutras, but also available: getting whacked in the ass by an old man with a stick at a Zendo. All means to an end: different iterations reflect differences in means, not ends. 84,000 Dharma gates to deal with 84,000 kinds of screwed-up people. One Dharma.


Nichiren claiming that his path is the only means to liberation in our age isn't a practice, it is a doctrinal position. Buddha claiming that celibacy is needed for the eradication of passion which binds us to this world is also a doctrinal position. Also, the tantric path is practiced by monastics in Tibetan Buddhism and in all forms of Buddhism prior to this celibacy was required for monastics and breaking it was reason to be dismissed from the sangha. Who has the correct view?

Jikan wrote:
This is why I say that your hypothetical is meaningless because you haven't given a specific instance or even a hypothetical context in which a teaching that is said to be Buddhism but which is also not Buddhism could be plausibly Buddhist to anyone. When has this happened, or when could it? Until you specify this, your analogy cannot be taken seriously.


My hypothetical scenario was directed at the idea that Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism is in fact Buddhism or part of continued revelation. Buddhism is a spiritual doctrine of awakening that aims to guide us to nirvana in order to avoid continued transmigration and suffering in samsara. Batchelor denies this core tenet, and yet, as has been pointed out, many follow him and consider themselves Buddhist. Why then can't the other core tenets also be contradicted (as in my hypothetical scenario) under this line of thought? At least in my hypothetical scenario the degraded practices I described can, according to my hypothetical doctrine, lead to liberation from the wheel of birth and death. Batchelor denies this outright. How is this Buddhism? Hint: it isn't.

Malcolm wrote:
Basically, it is really pretty simple. All yogic paths in Indian religion and its offshoots, whether Buddhist, Jain or Hindu, whether in India or Tibet, or China, etc., accept one thing in common: in order to cease taking rebirth in samsara, one must deal somehow with the kleṣas that drive rebirth.


That is true, but their views on the means to this can be deeply variant. I wonder if Gautama would accept the Aghori practices of consumption of human flesh, piss, shit, and liquor or the Thugee's practice of ritual murder in honor of Kali as acceptable. I'd wager he'd maintain this would send them to hell. Thus it seems to me that there must be some standard set as to what constitutes Buddhism and likely the best way to uncover that would be to look at its earlier history. It seems while Hua-Yen metaphysics or Zen koans aren't explicitly present in earliest Buddhism, they still manage to incorporate the earlier standards without contradicting them, whereas tantric practices and Nichiren's claims, for example, are questionable in relation to the earlier standards and doctrines.

Astus wrote:
So, if you approach from the teachings of Nichiren, you find the Buddhadharma in the Daimoku. If you go from the teachings of Shinran, you find it through the Nenbutsu. There are many entrances, many teachings. But they are not unrelated, they don't come from nowhere, and every Buddhist teacher establishes the teachings on the words and realisation of Shakyamuni Buddha.


I have no issue with the idea that there are different means that may lead to liberation that aren't found in earliest scriptures. What I am saying is Nichiren claims that Daimoku is the only means for our era. That contradicts your very message about many entrances, at least for our Latter Day of the Law. Same thing with the issue of celibacy and tantric sexual practices. The latter isn't taught by the Buddha and contradicts his emphasis on celibacy.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
Who has the correct view?


The one who is has woken up.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:03 am 
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Whose Buddhist praxis? Maybe Enlightenment is a total fantasy. Whose enlightenment are you going to accept? That one represented in the Pali Canon, Prajñāpāramitā? Chan? Zen? Pure Land? Nicherin? Dzogchen?

All of these schools have very different ideas concerning the path and the result. Whose is correct?

Again, it comes down to using one's own judgement.[/quote]


The Buddha said :
"Listen to yhe teaching; check the teacher out as to whether s/he upholds the teaching in both speech and action; ponder the teaching; further investigate and ask questions; then put the teaching into practice."
We could test the teaching by putting it into practice and observing the result.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:07 am 
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Vidyaraja wrote:
What I am saying is Nichiren claims that Daimoku is the only means for our era. That contradicts your very message about many entrances, at least for our Latter Day of the Law. Same thing with the issue of celibacy and tantric sexual practices. The latter isn't taught by the Buddha and contradicts his emphasis on celibacy.


Don't give too much credit to exclusivity and superiority. Every single school says that and almost every Mahayana sutra makes similar claims. It is meant to strengthen one's resolve.

You are either celibate or not, but can't be both at the same time of course. It's a matter of selecting this or that method. And as long as the method leads to liberation, it is taught by the Buddha.

_________________
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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