Monks can't get full enlightenment?

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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:54 am

Jñāna wrote:
Sonam Wangchug wrote: The claim is that one cannot achieve 'full' enlightenment without Physical Karma mudra practice.

I would like what you think about this, if you think this is the case or not? does one need a consort to achieve full enlightenment?

I think it's easily dismissed as nonsense. In the history of Buddhist ideas, this is one of the more ridiculous ones. The historical śramaṇa Gautama taught the complete opposite. A number of early Mahāyāna sūtras also don't support it -- stating explicitly that only a renunicate monk can realize buddhahood.


So, Geoff, you are saying the sramana Gautama taught the complete opposite of karmamudra, right? Are you saying karmamudra is nonsense? Or what? You tell me what you are saying.
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:55 am

Jñāna wrote:
Adamantine wrote:Vajrayana practices are methods revealed to bring people to enlightenment in the swiftest ways possible.

Yeah, that's the party line. But it's time to raise the bar. There's no need to continue to pretend that low level upāyas are actually exalted practices. The sooner one jettisons such ideas the better.


You are saying karmamudra is a low level upaya, right?
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:57 am

Jñāna wrote:
adinatha wrote:Tantras are a different path than sutra.

And have no relevance to the Buddhist dispensation of the śramaṇa Gautama.


You are saying tantras have no relevance to the Buddhist dispensation of the sramana Gautama, right, Geoff?
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:59 am

padma norbu wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:
kirtu wrote:I hadn't realized that this was such a big deal for some people on this board. Full enlightenment in this lifetime (meaning before death) is a pretty lofty goal. How many people attain that goal before they die? Not very many. So some people are actually saying that they'd stay away from tantra due to the very existence of a practice that they are most unlikely to do in this lifetime? It doesn't make much sense.

The lineage traditions state that many, perhaps most of the illustrious Vajrayana masters did not attain full enlightenment in this body and were variously on the bhumis.

Since on the lower bhumis a person can't be distinguished from a Buddha then it's almost as accurate to say that yes indeed monks and nuns can get full enlightenment because they certainly could attain a bhumi in this lifetime.

Kirt

Couldn't have been better said.



The only person this could possibly be addressing is me and it isn't remotely an accurate characterization of what I said. It's a strawman response.


No, I didn't write this directed toward anyone at all. These concerns with a slightly different emphasis are currently raging through three different threads right now. This is the thread that most directly engages questions of karmamudra itself. My posting is to point out that deathly concerns over it are overblown.

What it was is pure frustration on the amount of stuff I apparently have to do and this originally appeared to be one more thing.


???? The only thing that you have to do to engage the common or uncommon Mahayana path is to develop compassion and bodhicitta.


Maybe you have the attitude of "oh big deal if you can only do an hour or so of practice a day, just do your best" but I sure as hell don't. I'm very aware that my practice is mostly futile and my goal is not to spend a lifetime in futile practice because what the hell does that guarantee me? Not much.


I hope you don't think your practice is futile. It certainly isn't. Mahayana practice is very powerful and the uncommon Mahayana (Vajrayana) is even powerful at every level including the lower tantras. Even with the lower tantra you can attain enlightenment in a very few lifetimes or if you engage phowa at death. The transformation/realization that is possible is limitless.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby padma norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:04 am

Ancientness has nothing to do with my concept of "cult." My concept of cult is simple a bunch of people who confirm each other's reality tunnel. I've seen it firsthand before. It is brainwashing the same way "normal" societal concepts are brainwashing; you don't even realize it.

The other thing: my life is not easy. I live in a very good country and I can barely get through a day. Sometimes, I can't stand to wake up in the morning. I can barely hold a job which pays almost nothing and if I have nobody to split the rent with, I'm going to be on the street, quite frankly, because I can't afford any rent anywhere. I have no family I can rely on or mooch off, either. I wouldn't want to even if I did. My mind feels like a piece of shit. After practice, it feels empty, but still useless. I have an extremely difficult time just getting along in society. Just walking down the sidewalk, actually.

I keep this struggle as quiet as I can because there is nothing I can do about it. SSRI's are bullshit; they don't help. I've read the research, they do as much good as placebo or meditation and often cause matters to become much worse. Counseling isn't going to help. I've read enough self-help books and done more work on myself in the past 20 years than any shrink can do for me.

My reality is very seriously hopeless, if you think about it: I am in a great country, a fortunate human birth, in contact with Dzogchen teachings and yet I still want to kill myself quite regularly. I just want it to be over, that is what I really want ASAP. So maybe you can start to understand why 16 lives of more and more advanced practice seems pretty impossible to me and hopeless. The only thing that stops me from finding a fairly painless way to off myself is the belief in rebirth and the realization that it's actually a worse, counterproductive choice. What's better, this or hell-being? Or preta? Or animal? A few million aeons before I get another shot as "lucky" as this one... hmmm, the choice is easy: I'll stay here and try to do this instead.

So you see, fellows, we are not all in the same shoes. And I write to Namkhai Norbu and I am just one faceless student of thousands and he tells me "don't worry, you do your best."
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:10 am

padma norbu wrote:To put it bluntly, Pema, I don't believe it based on the results I'm seeing from the effort I have expended. I should clarify that I don't believe I will really make much difference in the outcome.

....In fact, I've asked many people who are more advanced then me and, when they are not being all authoritative and stacking up their accumulated knowledge in neat little paragraphs on the internet somewhere, they respond to me, personally, in a way that is very much different: "NOBODY GETS IT! IF YOU 'GOT IT' YOU WOULD BE A BUDDHA ALREADY, DUDE! HAHAHAHA!"


Well, I assure you that people do get it in all the yanas (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana). Discussing what they get can be another entire thread of course but they at least develop directly and unshakably the confidence in the Buddha's teaching. People, western people too, really do develop some level of realization. It's not just a word game.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:18 am

padma norbu wrote:The other thing: my life is not easy.


The western world and the US in particular is going through a kind of economic Depression. Times are difficult right now.

I certainly hope that people don't harm themselves. With just a few changes we can turn this world materially into a real utopia. We have to accept the responsibility to do exactly that beginning with ourselves.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:21 am

adinatha wrote:So, Geoff, you are saying the sramana Gautama taught the complete opposite of karmamudra, right?

First of all, take your chill pills and relax. Secondly, I've been pretty clear in what I've said. It's quite easily verifiable that Gautama taught the opposite of karmamudrā and anything related to sexual yogas. This isn't the least bit provocative. Gautama was a śramaṇa -- an ascetic from approx. the 5th century before the common era.

adinatha wrote:Are you saying karmamudra is nonsense?

Nope.

adinatha wrote:You are saying karmamudra is a low level upaya, right?

Yep. It has its purpose and its place.

adinatha wrote:You are saying tantras have no relevance to the Buddhist dispensation of the sramana Gautama, right, Geoff?

Yep. They were never taught by the historical Gautama. They cannot be validated by recourse to the authority of the historical Gautama. You may find this controversial and provocative, and that's fine by me. You're more than free to believe whatever you want to believe. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. And I'm not proposing that the tantras have no validity. The tantras, just like the sūtras, are a mixed bag.
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:32 am

padma norbu wrote:The other thing: my life is not easy.

Many people's lives are not easy. Recognizing this can help. It can connect your current difficulties with a genuine feeling of compassion for others. This can be a very powerful practice.

Also, things can and will change. You're not locked into a desperate situation. Practice can be difficult at times. But it's possible that these difficulties can lead to significant, unforeseen openings and unexpected opportunities. Please have some compassion and patience for yourself too.

Best wishes,

Geoff
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:32 am

padma norbu wrote:Ancientness has nothing to do with my concept of "cult." My concept of cult is simple a bunch of people who confirm each other's reality tunnel. I've seen it firsthand before. It is brainwashing the same way "normal" societal concepts are brainwashing; you don't even realize it.

The other thing: my life is not easy. I live in a very good country and I can barely get through a day. Sometimes, I can't stand to wake up in the morning. I can barely hold a job which pays almost nothing and if I have nobody to split the rent with, I'm going to be on the street, quite frankly, because I can't afford any rent anywhere. I have no family I can rely on or mooch off, either. I wouldn't want to even if I did. My mind feels like a piece of shit. After practice, it feels empty, but still useless. I have an extremely difficult time just getting along in society. Just walking down the sidewalk, actually.

I keep this struggle as quiet as I can because there is nothing I can do about it. SSRI's are bullshit; they don't help. I've read the research, they do as much good as placebo or meditation and often cause matters to become much worse. Counseling isn't going to help. I've read enough self-help books and done more work on myself in the past 20 years than any shrink can do for me.

My reality is very seriously hopeless, if you think about it: I am in a great country, a fortunate human birth, in contact with Dzogchen teachings and yet I still want to kill myself quite regularly. I just want it to be over, that is what I really want ASAP. So maybe you can start to understand why 16 lives of more and more advanced practice seems pretty impossible to me and hopeless. The only thing that stops me from finding a fairly painless way to off myself is the belief in rebirth and the realization that it's actually a worse, counterproductive choice. What's better, this or hell-being? Or preta? Or animal? A few million aeons before I get another shot as "lucky" as this one... hmmm, the choice is easy: I'll stay here and try to do this instead.

So you see, fellows, we are not all in the same shoes. And I write to Namkhai Norbu and I am just one faceless student of thousands and he tells me "don't worry, you do your best."



Padma, have you tried simply focusing primarily on cultivating compassion? Like, a meditation session each day focused on generating compassion for suffering beings? Since you seem to be very familiar with your own suffering, it should be easy to relate to the vast suffering most beings are also enduring. The Dalai Lama often points out that cultivating Bodhicitta is really the key to personal happiness, although it seems counterintuitive since it involves focusing only on the happiness of others. But at MIT they've done neurological studies on Tibetan monks meditating on Bodhicitta and they were shocked to see the area of the brain associated with feelings of happiness and joy were far more active than they'd ever seen in other humans. They said these were the happiest men alive. . I'm paraphrasing from a Scientific American article from years back, but I'm sure you can find the info online. Namkahi Norbu often tells people they need to gage their own capacity and do practices that are suitable, which could be tantric or ngondro, not necessarily Dzogchen level practice which many people can't easily grasp. (Milarepa himself met a Dzogchen master and was given Dzogchen instruction before he met his root Guru Marpa, and simply ended up sleeping alot without getting anything out of it because he needed the purification Marpa put him through before he had the capacity to relate to teachings like Mahamudra and Dzogchen). The first part of any ngondro is meditating on impermanence and the pervasive suffering of samsara, and then taking refuge and cultivating Bodhicitta. Some teachers like Garchen Rinpoche emphasize that Bodhicitta is the essence of any practice, the most important, and it is similar to the heat the melts ice into water--- our crystallized delusional selves being the ice of course, Buddha nature being the water. . hope this helps.

Sarwa Mangalam


A
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby padma norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:49 am

Yes, what initially drew me to Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism in particular was seeing monks on tv when I was a boy. I have been depressed almost my entire life, it just took me a while to realize it. Father died when I was young, I was raised by a single, depressed and crazy mom in a cult, my brother tried to kill himself when I was 14, my best friend was my cousin who went insane, every girlfriend I've ever had cheated on me, I didn't fit in at school or college, I went through every "outsider" culture any halfway intelligent person could go through before realizing belonging to rebel culture wasn't really belonging to anything and so I just basically grew up into a solitary man. What initially drew me to buddhism was the story of Avolikiteshvarah which made break down and cry in public when I first read it. And now, of course, someone has recently told me that the Buddhas aren't real; the real buddha is your mind (which I think is a misunderstanding, personally, but hey nothing like a little extra doubt and loneliness to spice up one's life, right?)

I have no problem realizing other people suffer. I can't believe I actually had to type that in order for that to be known. Do you think I would explain how I know how fortunate I am and somehow not realize suffering is everywhere? My point in explaining how hopeless I am and why I have doubts that my practice will accomplish much of anything is because can you imagine if I was born in Nazi Germany? Or if I was really ugly or had muscular dystrophy or something? I'm relatively lucky even by everyday standards. When you start talking about how fortunate human birth is and how fortunate it is to be born in an era where there are Buddhist teachings and how fortunate I am to have come in contact with Dzogchen and to have received transmission from a master... then I am EXTRAORDINARILY lucky.

But, here I am. Can barely cope sometimes. If I could do a "Freaky Friday" type body transfer with a number of people, I'm sure they could go out there with this body of mine and get a good job and function just fine in society. Everything wrong with me is on the inside, really. And it is not going away... even though I stopped giving a shit about myself a long time ago.

It's really not an egotistical thing, although I understand how you can say "oh yes it is!" because there's always that shade of self-interest whenever you are considering yourself, feeling sorry for yourself, etc. How I would accurately describe it is like this: It's like if you keep getting up and someone just keeps pushing you back down, it doesn't take very long before your feelings no longer get hurt that someone is pushing you down; it's easy to see the suffering and the ignorance of people who keep pushing you down. They do that because they think it is making them happy. But, after a while, you lose the urge to bother getting back up. Why bother? To save sentient beings? If anything, as I invest my time in the four thoughts, the harder my heart gets, actually. It's like a callous whenever it's not breaking and bleeding everywhere. I try to use my shitty job to help the people I work with, I try to make my wife happy with humor and little gestures since I can't buy her things, I pet my kitties, I talk to my neighbors, I pick up trash and do chores to make other people happy. When that's done, I sit alone and wish I was dead half the time.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby padma norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:14 am

Anyway, I'm out. I think I've shared enough and this thread can get along back to it's original topic. It would be nice if Buddhists could remember that they don't know what's going on with the people on the other side of the screen and not make it a point to shoot down their beliefs. I know you all want to think you're doing a compassionate service to some uninformed person, but come on. If you're not a qualified teacher, stop trying to bring the hammer of authority down all the time.

Since I probably bummed you out, here is an inspiring story of a guy who's had it MUCH harder than me and who just looks like a guy you want to hug and help out. I hope things go well for him in the future... pretty heart-wrenching stuff.... http://www.wimp.com/greatchallenges

PS - I'm really out now, so don't talk about me and tempt me to come back. I will likely still read the board for at least a little while. :)

What did the hippie say when he was asked to leave? ... :namaste: ... get it? (nah, 'ma stay) :rolling:
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:37 am

I didn't mean to imply I thought you weren't aware of others suffering.. just that people in general who have suffered more intensely may be better at cultivating empathy than those who
have had an easy life. So I meant to say that you'd probably be really good at focusing your mediation in that direction. I'm not trying to be an authority and certainly don't feel like one.. I just know that the there are many levels of depth in developing Bodhicitta and it can be a very powerful tool for developing even relative happiness, which I sincerely wish for you. I guess if you are having doubts about the possibility of full enlightenment though (not sure if you are, but it sounds like you're grappling with many doubts) than maybe it'd be challenging to focus on the wish to awaken in order to help liberate others from suffering.. I hope you are able to persevere in your practice though and find some relief, however possible.

And Buddha's are "real", including Avalokitesvara, as real as you and I are.. Not sure who told you they're not or what they meant by that, other than that nothing is 'inherently real'.

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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby padma norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:51 am

Dang it, here you are replying and so here I am replying. This must stop! I have insomnia and am having a cup of Agar-35 before sleep. Birds are singing already, gonna be another night of 2-3 hours sleep, it seems.

Adamantine wrote:I'm not trying to be an authority and certainly don't feel like one
Didn't mean to make you feel singled out. I was just referring to all the stuff I've seen in general. There's a dang lot of people telling each other they've got it all wrong, especially people from different traditions. Do they get this idea from their teachers? I don't think so. Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana teachers don't generally sit around in a public forum and try to show how the other guy is a dumbass like some Fox News show.

Adamantine wrote:I hope you are able to persevere in your practice though and find some relief, however possible.

Thank you, do not be concerned at all. I am quite used to my own little reality tunnel. And, as I've already explained, the most logical option is to continue, even if I would like to give up. So, I won't be giving up. I have been a bit worried lately that I might have a nervous breakdown, but then I thought maybe that would ultimately be not terrible. Sit there in a hospital and do guru yoga with no responsibilities for a while. If I lose everything, well then I can just be a western version of a cave yogi living under a bridge or something.

Adamantine wrote:And Buddha's are "real", including Avalokitesvara, as real as you and I are.. Not sure who told you they're not or what they meant by that, other than that nothing is 'inherently real'.

:namaste:


You're exact wording is how I have always heard it. This is the post I am referring to (it is links to the spefic post in the thread):
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4412&start=40#p44476
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:09 am

Padma,

It seems like you are going through a lot of karmic experiences. But hang in there. You need the suffering to appreciate the teachings later on. Have considered other mahayana methods such as Chan or Pure Land?

I borrowed from Astus's post

Daoxin said, "I ask for the Master's compassion. Please tell me of the gate of emancipation."
Sengcan said, "Who has bound you?"
Daoxin said, "No one has bound me."
Sengcan said, "They why are you seeking emancipation?"
Upon hearing these words, Daoxin experienced great enlightenment.

(Zen's Chinese Heritage, p. 24)


From this you can see that you alone are the one who is responsible for your suffering. So I think it would help to look at what you do and think, and try to figure out what you need to change from there.
NAMO AMITABHA
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Adamantine » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:23 am

padma norbu wrote:
You're exact wording is how I have always heard it. This is the post I am referring to (it is links to the spefic post in the thread):
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... =40#p44476


Glad you'll persevere. I checked the link. I think Adinatha may be confusing an explanation of the method of deity-yoga with the larger issue of historic Buddhas. Plus, there are different levels of looking at these things, and they are not mutually exclusive. Rather than one or the other, it's better to think "both, and". . . Tibetan Buddhism is filled with this so it's good to get used to it. There are multiple levels of meaning in almost everything, usually referred to as "outer, inner, secret, and innermost secret" levels of understanding. The inner level doesn't exclude or nullify the outer level of understanding. I think Adinatha is confused on this point. Plus, the secret and innermost secret levels are labeled as such in some circumstances because they are hidden and only make sense at a certain point in one's realization, --> so someone trying to push a perspective from that level in an intellectual way is silly, I would guess it illustrates that they don't really have the understanding themselves either yet. But better to listen to your teachers than some anonymous person on an internet forum, so if the confusion of people here is disrupting your view and your practice in any way than it probably is a good idea to get some distance from this place, as you've already decided.

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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby adinatha » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:22 pm

Jñāna wrote: It's quite easily verifiable that Gautama taught the opposite of karmamudrā and anything related to sexual yogas.


Okay. Verify then. What do you have? You keep repeating that it is easy to verify, so verify. What settles this issue? Be specific.
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:38 pm

All, please stay on topic and refrain from Ad Hom attacks....posts will be removed.

Thanks.
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Jnana » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:07 pm

adinatha wrote:
Jñāna wrote: It's quite easily verifiable that Gautama taught the opposite of karmamudrā and anything related to sexual yogas.


Okay. Verify then. What do you have? You keep repeating that it is easy to verify, so verify. What settles this issue? Be specific.

This isn't even remotely controversial. One specific example, MN 66 Laṭukikopama Sutta states that sensual pleasure is:

    [A] filthy pleasure, a worldly pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. And I say that this pleasure is not to be cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be feared.

There are many other examples, such as MN 108 Gopakamoggallāna Sutta, where samādhi conjoined with sensual passion is specifically criticized. Anyone who's actually interested in this can check out Access to Insight, The Shorter Chinese Saṃyukta Āgama (T.100), The Online Sutta Correspondence Project, and so on.
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Re: Monks can't get full enlightenment?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:17 pm

Jñāna wrote:
adinatha wrote:
Jñāna wrote: It's quite easily verifiable that Gautama taught the opposite of karmamudrā and anything related to sexual yogas.


Okay. Verify then. What do you have? You keep repeating that it is easy to verify, so verify. What settles this issue? Be specific.

This isn't even remotely controversial. One specific example, MN 66 Laṭukikopama Sutta states that sensual pleasure is:

    [A] filthy pleasure, a worldly pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. And I say that this pleasure is not to be cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be feared.

There are many other examples, such as MN 108 Gopakamoggallāna Sutta, where samādhi conjoined with sensual passion is specifically criticized. Anyone who's actually interested in this can check out Access to Insight, The Shorter Chinese Saṃyukta Āgama (T.100), The Online Sutta Correspondence Project, and so on.



Geoff,

It is well known, as you imply, that the principal path taught by the Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni was the shravaka path most familiar to us in the Pali canon. I don't think anyone is denying that. And perhaps your only point is that Tantra (and thus karmamudra) comes to us, not from Shakyamuni himself, but instead via Sambhogakaya Buddhas, other Nirmanakayas such as Padmasambhava, and other Indian Buddhist mahasiddhas, etc.

But if the latter is your actual point, I have to say that to a reasonably intelligent person like myself, your posts come off as suggesting that the above sutta passages ultimately contradict the anuttarayoga tantras and supercede them. Am I right in assuming that this is not your intention and that you do not assert this?
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