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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Anders wrote:
Arhatship is the stated goal of Theravada, not Buddhahood.

The Theravāda considers the bodhisatta path resulting in awakening as a Sammāsambuddha to be completely valid and the greatest aspiration (mahābhinīhāra). The Dasabodhisattuppattikathā:

    May I undertake the life of a bhikkhu in the dispensation and illumine that noble (institution), being the possessor of potency, mindful and well-versed in the Tipiṭaka. May he (i.e. Metteyya) predict (of me), “This one will be a Buddha in the future.” And may I offer gifts to the Buddhas who will come one after the other and (receive sure prediction) from them too. May I fare on in repeated births, give food and other things that are desired like a wish-conferring tree. May I fulfil all the perfections of morality, renunciation, wisdom, and so forth, and having attained the summit of the perfections, become an incomparable Buddha. May I preach the sweet Doctrine which brings bliss to all beings, liberating the whole world with its Devas from the bondage of repeated births. May I guide them to the most excellent, tranquil Nibbāna.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Quote:
Arhatship is the stated goal of Theravada, not Buddhahood.

See Is Theravada Buddhism for Arahantship only?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:39 pm 
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From a practical point of view, insight into impermanence, the rise and fall of phenomena, is the same as self-liberation. Realising that the nature of mind is empty matches the insight into selflessness.
But, in theory, Dzogchen is very far from Theravada.

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"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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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:52 pm 
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plwk wrote:
Quote:
Arhatship is the stated goal of Theravada, not Buddhahood.

See Is Theravada Buddhism for Arahantship only?


Jnana wrote:
Anders wrote:
Arhatship is the stated goal of Theravada, not Buddhahood.

The Theravāda considers the bodhisatta path resulting in awakening as a Sammāsambuddha to be completely valid and the greatest aspiration (mahābhinīhāra). The Dasabodhisattuppattikathā:

    May I undertake the life of a bhikkhu in the dispensation and illumine that noble (institution), being the possessor of potency, mindful and well-versed in the Tipiṭaka. May he (i.e. Metteyya) predict (of me), “This one will be a Buddha in the future.” And may I offer gifts to the Buddhas who will come one after the other and (receive sure prediction) from them too. May I fare on in repeated births, give food and other things that are desired like a wish-conferring tree. May I fulfil all the perfections of morality, renunciation, wisdom, and so forth, and having attained the summit of the perfections, become an incomparable Buddha. May I preach the sweet Doctrine which brings bliss to all beings, liberating the whole world with its Devas from the bondage of repeated births. May I guide them to the most excellent, tranquil Nibbāna.


Yeah, I am aware of all that. But you now, if you ask a Theravadin what he is practising towards in 99.99% of cases, it's gonna be 'arhatship' or something less ambitious than that. And it's a wonderful goal. I don't think it's really necessary to point out 'hey you know, they can opt for Buddhahood too' as if Theravada would be somehow diminished by leaving this out.

It may be worth pointing out in relation to those Theravadins who do choose to opt for Buddhahood, that Theravada can include these people too. From what I've heard, this is true of Bhikkhu Bodhi. And Ajahn Amaro seems to be toying with this notion as well. But I think it's a more representative and fitting description to simply say 'Theravada has Arhatship as it's stated goal'. The rest are few enough that they are exceptions to an otherwise very general rule.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:13 pm 
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Anders wrote:
It may be worth pointing out in relation to those Theravadins who do choose to opt for Buddhahood, that Theravada can include these people too.

Not only can include, the Theravāda does include bodhisattas.

Anders wrote:
But I think it's a more representative and fitting description to simply say 'Theravada has Arhatship as it's stated goal'.

Well, I'd suggest that it's most representative and fitting to mention that the Theravāda is a vibrant, living tradition which accommodates each type of aspiration.

A Treatise on the Pāramīs: From the Commentary to the Cariyāpiṭaka by Ācariya Dhammapāla.

A Manual of the Excellent Man (Uttamapurisa Dīpanī) by Ven. Ledi Sayādaw.

Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas by Ven. Bodhi.

:buddha1:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
Anders wrote:
It may be worth pointing out in relation to those Theravadins who do choose to opt for Buddhahood, that Theravada can include these people too.

Not only can include, the Theravāda does include bodhisattas.

Anders wrote:
But I think it's a more representative and fitting description to simply say 'Theravada has Arhatship as it's stated goal'.

Well, I'd suggest that it's most representative and fitting to mention that the Theravāda is a vibrant, living tradition which accommodates each type of aspiration.

A Treatise on the Pāramīs: From the Commentary to the Cariyāpiṭaka by Ācariya Dhammapāla.

A Manual of the Excellent Man (Uttamapurisa Dīpanī) by Ven. Ledi Sayādaw.

Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas by Ven. Bodhi.

:buddha1:


I disagree. If you're bringing 'vibrant, living tradition' into it, then I have never experienced conversations or dhamma talks in any Theravada monastery where the bodhisttva path was even mentioned, except maybe as a point of comparison to what Mahayanikas do. It was all about arhatship and arhatship was the always implied goal as well as the stated one. Buddhahood, as a path one can aspire to, simply doesn't feature much in the collective consciousness of Theravadins. It is not so much a case of the bodhisattva path not being a part of Theravada as it is simply being largely an irrelevance. In the living tradition of Theravada, it is at best a footnote.

I reckon that if I had made similar objections to what you are making here to such a claim in actual Theravada communities, I would have gotten some awkward looks. Not necessarily in the sense of me being wrong, but perhaps moreso in the sense of "ok, he is not incorrect, I suppose but me thinks the lady doth protest too much."

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"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:02 pm 
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Anders and Jnana,

How does that question relate to Dzogchen where the three bodies are immediately perfect in the nature of mind, and buddhahood is attained without effort? Not much discussion of any arduous bodhisattva path where everything is already perfect.

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"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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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Anders and Jnana,

How does that question relate to Dzogchen where the three bodies are immediately perfect in the nature of mind, and buddhahood is attained without effort? Not much discussion of any arduous bodhisattva path where everything is already perfect.


I don't know.

I suspect cessation vs Bodhisattva path is mostly just inclination. You can chill out in cessation if you are so inclined, or you can opt to emanate or whatever. I am an ekayana kind of guy on this and what I've learned from the parts of the forest tradition that had living arhats (or arhats willing to fess up anyway) seemed to mirror this.

As for 'long arduous bodhisattva career' vs 'quick and easy buddhahood', I honestly don't care. Nagarjuna I think has the right end of the stick when he says the length of time should not figure into bodhicitta. If its done shortly, great. It if needs longer, that's fine too. I asked one of my own teachers once and her response was that it was perhaps best not to assume too much about the reality of time in all this.

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"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Anders,

I just meant that the presence of the bodhisattva path is not really relevant in this case in my opinion.

Here's one from Ajahn Sumedho,

"That’s when you hear the sound of silence, because your mind is just in that state of attention; in pure awareness there’s no self, it’s like this. Then to learn to relax into that, to trust it, but not to try and hold onto it. We can’t even grasp the idea of that — “I’ve got to get the sound of silence and I’ve got to relax into it”. This is the dodgy part of any kind of technique or instruction, because it is easy to grasp the idea. Bhàvanà (meditation or cultivation) isn’t grasping ideas or coming from any position, but in this pañipadà, this practice, it’s recognising and realising through awakened awareness, through a direct knowing."
(Intuitive Awareness, p. 104 - PDF)

_________________
"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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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:30 pm 
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Anders wrote:
If you're bringing 'vibrant, living tradition' into it, then I have never experienced conversations or dhamma talks in any Theravada monastery where the bodhisttva path was even mentioned, except maybe as a point of comparison to what Mahayanikas do.

I've had numerous discussion about the bodhisatta path with Theravāda monastics.

Anders wrote:
In the living tradition of Theravada, it is at best a footnote.

There are living Theravāda yogis who are considered to be bodhisattas. For example, Ajahn Gavesako mentions having met Luang Phor Jahm in north-east Thailand in 2011:

    We stayed at the monastery of Luang Por Jahm nearby; he is 101 years old and a disciple of Luang Por Mun, he used to go wandering through the forests with him. He is also reputed to be a practising bodhisatta, cultivating the perfections (parami) in order to become the future Buddha no. 16, for which he apparently already received a prediction in a past life.

And Gil Fronsdal, recounting the visit of Luang Phor Jumnien to Spirit Rock in 1995:

    Recently, many diverse Theravada practices were brought to Spirit Rock through the visit of Achaan Jumnien, a sixty-year-old monk from the jungles of Southern Thailand. In the course of nine days he taught thirty different practices. These included chakra practices (opening of the wisdom-eye and the heart center), skeleton practices (on the nature of the body), and meditations with the elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He trained people to understand emptiness by resting in what he called the “Original Mind” or the “Natural State” and he offered practices unifying participants’ consciousnesses with his own. He also performed many kinds of blessings, described exorcisms, taught chants, and offered protection rituals, visualizations and vows (including bodhisattva vows, practice vows and refuge vows). Throughout, he emphasized that freedom and emptiness and joy can be found in all circumstances.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:36 pm 
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Astus wrote:
How does that question relate to Dzogchen where the three bodies are immediately perfect in the nature of mind, and buddhahood is attained without effort? Not much discussion of any arduous bodhisattva path where everything is already perfect.

There are three extant Buddhist ordination lineages: Theravāda, Dharmaguptaka, & Mūlasarvāstivāda. All three are descendants of the ancient Sthaviravāda. The Mahāyāna doesn't belong to any Buddhist ordination lineage. Similarly, dzogchen doesn't belong to any Buddhist ordination lineage. One can be a monastic or a upāsaka/upāsikā from any of these ordination lineages and practice the bodhisattvayāna and dzogchen.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:46 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Anders,

I just meant that the presence of the bodhisattva path is not really relevant in this case in my opinion.

Here's one from Ajahn Sumedho,

"That’s when you hear the sound of silence, because your mind is just in that state of attention; in pure awareness there’s no self, it’s like this. Then to learn to relax into that, to trust it, but not to try and hold onto it. We can’t even grasp the idea of that — “I’ve got to get the sound of silence and I’ve got to relax into it”. This is the dodgy part of any kind of technique or instruction, because it is easy to grasp the idea. Bhàvanà (meditation or cultivation) isn’t grasping ideas or coming from any position, but in this pañipadà, this practice, it’s recognising and realising through awakened awareness, through a direct knowing."
(Intuitive Awareness, p. 104 - PDF)


You're skipping a number of steps though. Vajrayana doesn't accept this for the same reasons Mahayana doesn't. Simply being awakened doesn't constitute a shortcut to Buddhahood. Buddhahood is predicated on taking much longer than arhatship because of the two accumulations even though their practise of wisdom is basically the same.

Unlike Vajrayana characterisations, 'long and arduous bodhisattva practise' undertaken by Mahayanikas who don't try and fit it into a Vajryayana scheme generally means practising effortless Prajnaparamita like the one luangpor Sumedho describes for a great many lifetimes. If you look at the Awakening of Faith, which obviously acknowledges the whole immanence of wisdom, etc, this is basically how it is seen. It also makes clear that those who appear to attain Buddhahood in one lifetime and so forth are basically just displaying skill in means. They will still have gone through asamkheya kalpas of cultivation first.

I don't think there is any point trying to reconcile these systems and whether they are actually just saying the same thing or whatever. The bottomline seems to be that enlightened beings do not all agree on the length of time it takes to become a Buddha. The important thing is that liberation is available in all these traditions.

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"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:51 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
Anders wrote:
If you're bringing 'vibrant, living tradition' into it, then I have never experienced conversations or dhamma talks in any Theravada monastery where the bodhisttva path was even mentioned, except maybe as a point of comparison to what Mahayanikas do.

I've had numerous discussion about the bodhisatta path with Theravāda monastics.


Excuse the presumption Geoff, but I think that may be a reflection of your inclination on topics moreso than theirs.

From where I am sitting, all this is a bit too much like trying make the foot fit the shoe.

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"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Anders wrote:
I think that may be a reflection of your inclination on topics moreso than theirs.

Not at all. It's a pluralistic world Anders. I know practicing Theravāda monastics who do Green Tārā Sādhana every evening, etc., etc..


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Anders wrote:
You're skipping a number of steps though. Vajrayana doesn't accept this for the same reasons Mahayana doesn't. Simply being awakened doesn't constitute a shortcut to Buddhahood. Buddhahood is predicated on taking much longer than arhatship because of the two accumulations even though their practise of wisdom is basically the same.



The Dzogchen model of abhisamaya is so different from Nikāya, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna abhisamaya it is basically completely meaningless to discuss them on the same basis. Anyone at all can practice Dzogchen irrespective of their religious tradition.

M

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
Anders wrote:
I think that may be a reflection of your inclination on topics moreso than theirs.

Not at all. It's a pluralistic world Anders. I know practicing Theravāda monastics who do Green Tārā Sādhana every evening, etc., etc..



Thank goodness it is a pluralistic world -- let's keep it that way.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
And Gil Fronsdal, recounting the visit of Luang Phor Jumnien to Spirit Rock in 1995:

    Recently, many diverse Theravada practices were brought to Spirit Rock through the visit of Achaan Jumnien, a sixty-year-old monk from the jungles of Southern Thailand. In the course of nine days he taught thirty different practices. These included chakra practices (opening of the wisdom-eye and the heart center), skeleton practices (on the nature of the body), and meditations with the elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He trained people to understand emptiness by resting in what he called the “Original Mind” or the “Natural State” and he offered practices unifying participants’ consciousnesses with his own. He also performed many kinds of blessings, described exorcisms, taught chants, and offered protection rituals, visualizations and vows (including bodhisattva vows, practice vows and refuge vows). Throughout, he emphasized that freedom and emptiness and joy can be found in all circumstances.


Interesting!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
Anders wrote:
I think that may be a reflection of your inclination on topics moreso than theirs.

Not at all. It's a pluralistic world Anders. I know practicing Theravāda monastics who do Green Tārā Sādhana every evening, etc., etc..


That is sort of my point really. Excuse me psychologising the debate here (I know you can take it), but speaking frankly,the impression I got was that you barged in here to push a Ecumenical agenda on the basis of 'look here, Theravada has Buddhahood too! It's not excluded from the Maha- of the Mahayana'.

I don't think there is anything taken away from Theravada because they largely consider the Bodhisattva path an irrelevance. It's a wonderful path that has no need for 'NB! We have Buddhahood too!' disclaimers from ecumenical Mahayanikas.

On top of that, it's a pluralistic world where Theravadins can do Green Tara Sadhana, Zen masters comment on the agamas and all sorts and Ajahns like Ajahn Amaro feels comfortable saying the more he practices the more he feels oriented towards the Bodhisattva ideal. Which is great. I don't think we need to be pushing the 'we're all the same' meme too hard though.

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As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:32 pm 
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Mr. G wrote:
Jnana wrote:
And Gil Fronsdal, recounting the visit of Luang Phor Jumnien to Spirit Rock in 1995:

    Recently, many diverse Theravada practices were brought to Spirit Rock through the visit of Achaan Jumnien, a sixty-year-old monk from the jungles of Southern Thailand. In the course of nine days he taught thirty different practices. These included chakra practices (opening of the wisdom-eye and the heart center), skeleton practices (on the nature of the body), and meditations with the elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He trained people to understand emptiness by resting in what he called the “Original Mind” or the “Natural State” and he offered practices unifying participants’ consciousnesses with his own. He also performed many kinds of blessings, described exorcisms, taught chants, and offered protection rituals, visualizations and vows (including bodhisattva vows, practice vows and refuge vows). Throughout, he emphasized that freedom and emptiness and joy can be found in all circumstances.


Interesting!


Both stories are really interesting. If you have links for more, I'd love to read more about it Geoff.

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"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
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As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Anders wrote:
I don't think we need to be pushing the 'we're all the same' meme too hard though.

Which is not my intention at all. I'm quite happy to keep different teachings in their distinct traditional contexts. IMO it's actually quite important to do so (which is why I included links to texts by the authoritative Theravāda commentators Ācariya Dhammapāla & Ledi Sayādaw).

Anders wrote:
Both stories are really interesting. If you have links for more, I'd love to read more about it Geoff.

The account by Gil Fronsdal is from The Treasures of the Theravāda: Recovering the Riches of Our Tradition. The account by Ajahn Gavesako is from a personal communication. Here's a picture of Luang Phor Jahm blessing visitors by tapping them on the head with his wooden stick:

Image

:buddha1:


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