Early Buddhism and Mahayana

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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:58 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:The deathless is not to be found among conditioned phenomena:
...
Batchelor's materialism precludes this. He isn't a Buddhist as he cuts out the very heart of Buddhism. Regarding rebirth, see here:


No, you are incorrect, his physicalism does not preclude nirvana. He can experience nirvana whether he believes in rebirth or not, providing he relinquishes his afflictions. His position is that belief in rebirth is irrelevant to the cessation of suffering.


I am not a substance dualist.


Sure you are -- you accept rebirth don't you? And you accept that nama and rūpa are distinct in kind and substance don't you?

As to what "being in line with the Dharma" means, it is impossible to say what the Buddha's opinion is, isn't it? He is not around to tell us.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:32 pm

Malcolm wrote:He just has problems with literal rebirth because he is a physicalist, just as you are a substance dualist. From my point of view, you are both wrong.

What is your take on the issue?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:06 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:He just has problems with literal rebirth because he is a physicalist, just as you are a substance dualist. From my point of view, you are both wrong.

What is your take on the issue?


mind and matter are both products of the same basis.
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" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby jeeprs » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:29 pm

is 'the basis' physical? Is it something known to science?

I would have thought that 'the Buddha's opinion', whether he is 'around to tell us or not' is pretty well summed up in the idea of 'dependent origination'. If you take dependent origination out, what remains is not in any way shape or form Buddhism, as far as I can tell.

And 'dependent origination' presumes that 'the cause of existence is ignorance' (avidya). I can't see how 'ignorance' is not a metaphysical idea, and indeed the whole basis of dependent origination is not something that Western science would be able to validate.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Vidyaraja » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:No, you are incorrect, his physicalism does not preclude nirvana. He can experience nirvana whether he believes in rebirth or not, providing he relinquishes his afflictions. His position is that belief in rebirth is irrelevant to the cessation of suffering.


I am not talking about his position on rebirth, but his materialism. As he said in an interview:

My Buddhism is an entirely natural one. I'm a naturalist. I'm probably a materialist at some level in that I feel that this world, this experience, that is mediated through this body and this brain, that that is all there is. I don't feel any need and I see no evidence for appealing to a higher reality or some absolute truth that transcends that."

The unconditioned, i.e. nirvana, which leads to the cessation of suffering, is transcendent. This phenomenal and natural world is the impermanent and conditioned affair of Mara, i.e. samsara. Maintaining that this is all there is is the equivalent to denying nirvana, which is denial of the possibility of the cessation of suffering, which is nihilism, which isn't Buddhism or at best a corrupted misunderstanding of Buddhism. As I posted in another thread, I agree with what Dolpopa had to say:

Therefore, the ultimate [reality] in all profound sutras and tantras which finely present thusness, and so forth, is empty of other, never empty of self-nature.

It is absolute, never relative.
It is the true nature, never the phenomena.
It is the middle, never the extreme.
It is nirvana, never samsara.
It is gnosis, never consciousness.
It is pure, never impure.
It is a sublime self, never a nothingness.
It is great bliss, never suffering.
It is permanent and stable, never impermanent.
It is self-arisen, never arisen due to another.
It is the fully established, never the imagined.
It is natural, never fabricated.
It is primordial, never incidental.
It is Buddha, never a sentient being.
It is the essence, never the husk.
It is definitive in meaning, never provisional in meaning.
It is ultimate, never transient.
It is the ground and result, never the Truth of the Path.
It is the ground of purification, never the object of
purification.
It is the mode of reality, never the mode of delusion.
It is the sublime other, never the outer and inner.
It is true, never false.
It is perfect, never perverse.
It is the ground of emptiness, never just empty.
It is the ground of separation, never just a separation.
It is the ground of absence, never just an absence.
It is an established phenomenon, never an absolute negation.
It is virtue, never nonvirtue.
It is authentic, never inauthentic.
It is correct, never incorrect.
It is immaculate, never stain.


This is the opposite of what Batchelor maintains as per the interview quoted previously. Since Buddha means "awakened one" and what is awakened to is our true nature--the unconditioned described by Dolpopa above--and since Buddhism is a doctrine of awakening, Batchelor cannot be a Buddhist with the view he holds but is rather a materialist-atheist heretic posing as one.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby smcj » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:08 am

I agree with what Dolpopa had to say.................. Batchelor cannot be a Buddhist with the view he holds but is rather a materialist-atheist heretic posing as one.

I am sympathetic to your position, however it must be noted that Dolpopa was thought to be a heretic by some also. His teachings are too close to Advaita Vendanta for their tastes. I like his teachings but he isn't universally accepted as orthodox.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby smcj » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:50 am

his physicalism does not preclude nirvana. He can experience nirvana whether he believes in rebirth or not, providing he relinquishes his afflictions. His position is that belief in rebirth is irrelevant to the cessation of suffering.

Is not "liberation" freedom from cyclic existence (a.k.a. samsara), the cycle of rebirth? That's pretty fundamental if one buys the original 4 Noble Truths position that dukha pervades all of life.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby jeeprs » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:16 am

smcj wrote:Dolpopa was thought to be a heretic by some


One man's sage is another man's pagan :smile:

I'm definitely with Dolpopa, though.

Stephen Bachelor wrote:My Buddhism is an entirely natural one. I'm a naturalist. I'm probably a materialist at some level in that I feel that this world, this experience, that is mediated through this body and this brain, that that is all there is.


I don't think this really comes to terms with the Truth of Dukkha, except for perhaps in the same sense as psychology or psychotherapy.

I would be perfectly OK with Bachelor if he and his movement stopped insisting that his is 'the real dharma'. Secular philosophy based on Buddhist principles - no problem.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Lindama » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:31 am

The unconditioned, i.e. nirvana, which leads to the cessation of suffering, is transcendent. This phenomenal and natural world is the impermanent and conditioned affair of Mara, i.e. samsara. Maintaining that this is all there is is the equivalent to denying nirvana, which is denial of the possibility of the cessation of suffering, which is nihilism, which isn't Buddhism or at best a corrupted misunderstanding of Buddhism.


Well, this is not my understanding of Buddhism. is it preference? What's Stephen Bachelor got to do with it.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:44 am

Vidyaraja wrote:The unconditioned, i.e. nirvana, which leads to the cessation of suffering, is transcendent. This phenomenal and natural world is the impermanent and conditioned affair of Mara, i.e. samsara. Maintaining that this is all there is is the equivalent to denying nirvana

Neither maintaining a view, nor denying it, can influence nirvana, as it is unconditioned right? And since the unconditioned is that which leads to the cessation of suffering, no view is a factor in the process. I other words, it does not matter if you affirm or deny nirvana, rebirth etc...

Those are just logical consequences of your statement, not my view.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby jeeprs » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:22 am

It isn't a matter of *influencing* anything. Realization is waking up to what is always already the case. You still have to wake up, though. A teaching of any kind is an unfortunate necessity, but a necessity nonetheless.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby seeker242 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:48 am

Vidyaraja wrote:Which form of Mahayana is the most different from early Buddhism and which is the most similar in your opinion?


I propose they are all exactly the same!

"All teachings lead all beings to the state of Buddha.
It may seem like there are two or three different teachings,
but they are all because of the Buddha’s appropriate means to
guide people according to their level of understanding.
But in truth, there is only one."
- Nikkyo Niwano

Have to agree!
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:09 pm

jeeprs wrote:It isn't a matter of *influencing* anything.

Vidyaraja wrote:The unconditioned, i.e. nirvana, which leads to the cessation of suffering, is transcendent.

As I said, it's not my view.
jeeprs wrote:Realization is waking up to what is always already the case.

If it is always already the case, what role does awakening play here?
jeeprs wrote:A teaching of any kind is an unfortunate necessity, but a necessity nonetheless.

And what is teaching? What is not a teaching?
If we follow you previous sentence, then that which is always the case, shouldn't require learning. It shouldn't be affected by anything. Now, how can we say that a teaching is necessity?
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby jeeprs » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:40 pm

Which is why I can't figure out why you bother typing anything. If you were true to the viewpoint you constantly advocate, you wouldn't have anything to say.
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby oushi » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:48 pm

jeeprs wrote:Which is why I can't figure out why you bother typing anything. If you were true to the viewpoint you constantly advocate, you wouldn't have anything to say.

And I wouldn't have anything against saying something... Nothing to push, but also nothing to stop.
Does it help you figure out?

And it's not really about my views here, I'm just presenting the consequences of definitive statements on the subject. For example, how can there be a necessity for something that is always the case? (oversimplified, but you will know what I mean)
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:31 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:
The unconditioned, i.e. nirvana, which leads to the cessation of suffering, is transcendent.


Since the Sautrantikas strictly define nirvana as a cessation, a non-existence, would you deny them the claim they are Buddhist because they do not support your eternalist vision of nirvana?

Batchelor feels that his view is dependent origination. He derives that view from the Buddha. Dependent origination is the essence of the Buddhist view for most people.

BTW, there are many people who think Dolpopa's view i.e. gzhan stong, is a corrupt view of Buddhadharma.

So there are two things which are not mentioned in the four seals: belief in rebirth, and belief in a transcendent existent nirvana. These two beliefs of yours are not required in order to consider someone a follower of the Buddha's teachings.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:49 pm

jeeprs wrote:is 'the basis' physical? Is it something known to science?

I would have thought that 'the Buddha's opinion', whether he is 'around to tell us or not' is pretty well summed up in the idea of 'dependent origination'. If you take dependent origination out, what remains is not in any way shape or form Buddhism, as far as I can tell.

And 'dependent origination' presumes that 'the cause of existence is ignorance' (avidya). I can't see how 'ignorance' is not a metaphysical idea, and indeed the whole basis of dependent origination is not something that Western science would be able to validate.


I don't see Batchelor discarding dependent origination, he states:

    The Buddha awakened to a glittering plurality of endlessly arising and vanishing phenomena. No God created it; no Mind underpins it; no Unconditioned lies somewhere outside it. Ethics, meditation and wisdom are not founded on some absolute truth, but grow out of a careful examination of what causes suffering and what brings it to an end.

I differ with Batchelor in that I accept rebirth. But I do not see how the above violates some sacred Buddhist principles resulting in the fatwa Vidyārāja has pronounced above.

BTW, avidyā is not held to be the cause of existence in dependent origination, because that would make ignorance/avidyā unconditioned itself.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Lindama » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Nirvana and samsare are two sides of the same coin... what is beyond
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:08 pm

smcj wrote:
his physicalism does not preclude nirvana. He can experience nirvana whether he believes in rebirth or not, providing he relinquishes his afflictions. His position is that belief in rebirth is irrelevant to the cessation of suffering.

Is not "liberation" freedom from cyclic existence (a.k.a. samsara), the cycle of rebirth? That's pretty fundamental if one buys the original 4 Noble Truths position that dukha pervades all of life.


You do not have to accept rebirth literally to accept "sarva dukkham". If the solution to suffering in this life is calming the mind with shamatha and developing the insight which burns away afflictions (it is), then what does believing in rebirth have to do with it?

If you have ended your afflictions you won't take rebirth again, according to Buddha's teachings, anyway. So what does it matter? All that matters is that one sees through the matrix of conditions that create your suffering here and now.

This is the minimum requirement.

So, in this thread, we have seen three things:

1) The four seals do not require belief in rebirth
2) Refuge in the Three Jewels do not require belief in rebirth
3) Belief in an eternal unconditioned ultimate is not a requirement to be a Buddhist.

In realty, no beliefs of any kind are required to enter the Buddha's path.

What we need to understand about Batchelor, for example, and many Westerners like him, is that they are trying. They are inspired by the Buddha's example, and they accept what makes sense to them.

Buddhadharma is not about belief and faith. Ultimately, like all Indian yogic paths, it is about personal experience: direct perception and inferences derived from those based on one's practice. It is a personal journey, not one that exists in a catechism. There is no "bible" in Buddhadharma. Rather, Buddhadharma holds a range teachings from belief in an inexpressible self which is neither the same nor different than aggregates [pudgalavadins] to the crypto Vedantic musings of Dolbupa, to the explicit refutation of the unconditioned by Nāgārjuna and the assertion that nirvana is a non-existent [sautrantikas].

So now, Buddhists, you have to make room for a new understanding of Dharma, one that does not include rebirth as a vital central principle. It won't kill you to be generous.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Early Buddhism and Mahayana

Postby Lindama » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:33 pm

Dolpopa is pretty picky! who is he?
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