Yudron wrote:... But, as a practitioner, the feeling state of being in a fortified palace--for those deities that have one--is simply evocative of a certain style of enlightenment. I feel the qualities of the deities mandala.. this is enlivening...
For Nyingmpas, the deity is rigpa, and we are resting in that. IMHO analyzing the historical under-pinnings of the imagery and so forth just leads to a splitting off in one's practice, contributing to the idea that these practices are far away Asian things. To me, the setting of these practices is my house, and my body, and there is no time.
Huifeng wrote:There has been a continued implied sense in the use of the term "academic studies" (and related terms) throughout this thread to mean the study of history, the search for so-called historical facts. I would like to point out that this is only one possible line of academic approach, and definitely not the only one. While such searches for historical facts, including the search for the so-called "historical Buddha" were more popular in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, they are not in vogue these days at all. Post modern approaches to such topics have shown so many problems that few scholars will touch these things, and those that do usually end up with a huge number of holes. (Having spent over a semester studying and teaching Nakamura's Gotama Buddha, it really is a methodological mess at times. Bechert et al's efforts to date the Buddha show a huge range of problems, too.) What was scholarship 50 years ago is still in vogue among a more popular level, and a kind of pseudo scholarship, however. A look at Part 2 of Hans Penner's recent Rediscovering the Buddha, for example, should be enough to point out many of the problems, and also shows that much of modern Buddhist studies academia is not working along the lines of history or searches for historical facts.
Ok, just my 2c.
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