Archetypal Buddha?

gingercatni
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Archetypal Buddha?

Postby gingercatni » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:33 pm

Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:37 pm

I'm not sure I follow you exactly. Could you cite an example of what a particular teacher or text may have to say about this? thanks
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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:46 pm

Maybe this will help:

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... 0Kayas.htm

EDIT: Oops I didn't realize I was in the Pure Land forum, please delete if this post is not appropriate or helpful.

_/\_

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby gyougan » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:31 am

gingercatni wrote:Hello
Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists?


If you believe that Amitabha is a creature of flesh and bones somewhere far away in the west, then he becomes unreal.

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:42 am

gingercatni wrote:Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?

Not sure what you're looking for, but you did mention two of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby lobster » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:06 am

Archetypal Buddhas represent aspects or absolute expressions of Buddha.
The absolute essence of compassion or wisdom as two examples. :smile:

gingercatni
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby gingercatni » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:22 pm

lobster wrote:Archetypal Buddhas represent aspects or absolute expressions of Buddha.
The absolute essence of compassion or wisdom as two examples. :smile:


So do Tibetan Buddhists believe these Buddha's are real or just made up?

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Hickersonia » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:52 am

gingercatni wrote:
lobster wrote:Archetypal Buddhas represent aspects or absolute expressions of Buddha.
The absolute essence of compassion or wisdom as two examples. :smile:


So do Tibetan Buddhists believe these Buddha's are real or just made up?


If one believes that a Buddha, any Buddha, is not real, does that invalidate one's practice of the Perfections or the Noble Eightfold Path, or one's understanding of the four Noble Truths?

So sayeth an American who, while primarily practicing in the Theravada tradition, makes weekly visits to a Vietnamese temple of Pure Land practitioners, and is married to a Christan (Lutheran) woman. I can't be bothered with letting people invalidate my practice for me with their "beliefs" or "opinions."
Hickersonia
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throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:01 am

gingercatni wrote:
lobster wrote:Archetypal Buddhas represent aspects or absolute expressions of Buddha.
The absolute essence of compassion or wisdom as two examples. :smile:


So do Tibetan Buddhists believe these Buddha's are real or just made up?


Is it really that simple?
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:02 am

gingercatni wrote:Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?


It would be very helpful if you could cite an example of such a statement. thanks
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby wisdom » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:07 pm

gingercatni wrote:Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?


Actually the supreme archetype is the perfected sentient being. The enlightened, spiritual being who can perform miracles and bring peoples mind to rest, peace, joy, understanding, openness, compassion and so forth. Buddha is one expression of that perfected man. The five Buddha families are expressions of the Buddha.

This is like saying there is the archetype of a divine mother. From that archetype which is very universal, comes a more specific manifestation of lets say the Egyptian Goddess Isis, who is an expression of the divine mother archetype. From Isis then comes many manifestations of Isis, her various "Names" and functions as they relate to different aspects of Egyptian mythology and other Egyptian gods.

True archetypes are universal, they are a universal language because they are expressions of natural phenomena (which is to say the natural functioning of the universe, not necessarily "mother nature"). For example we could expect to find expressions of the perfected sentient being archetype wherever we found intelligent societies, even if it was a society of lizard people. We would expect to also find things like the great mother archetype, since motherhood is a universal phenomena that we could expect to find wherever we find the presence of life.

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Jikan » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:26 pm

wisdom wrote:
gingercatni wrote:Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?


Actually the supreme archetype is the perfected sentient being. The enlightened, spiritual being who can perform miracles and bring peoples mind to rest, peace, joy, understanding, openness, compassion and so forth. Buddha is one expression of that perfected man. The five Buddha families are expressions of the Buddha.

This is like saying there is the archetype of a divine mother. From that archetype which is very universal, comes a more specific manifestation of lets say the Egyptian Goddess Isis, who is an expression of the divine mother archetype. From Isis then comes many manifestations of Isis, her various "Names" and functions as they relate to different aspects of Egyptian mythology and other Egyptian gods.

True archetypes are universal, they are a universal language because they are expressions of natural phenomena (which is to say the natural functioning of the universe, not necessarily "mother nature"). For example we could expect to find expressions of the perfected sentient being archetype wherever we found intelligent societies, even if it was a society of lizard people. We would expect to also find things like the great mother archetype, since motherhood is a universal phenomena that we could expect to find wherever we find the presence of life.


Hi wisdom,

Is this your idea, or is it one that has some currency in contemporary Buddhist thought? I'm asking because the OP is interested in how this works in Tibetan Buddhism; is your definition of the archetypal a Tibetan Buddhist idea?
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby wisdom » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Jikan wrote:
Is this your idea, or is it one that has some currency in contemporary Buddhist thought? I'm asking because the OP is interested in how this works in Tibetan Buddhism; is your definition of the archetypal a Tibetan Buddhist idea?


To my knowledge archetypes are not found in Buddhism. There has been some attempt to incorporate archetypes and the teachings of Jung into Buddhism, but the problem with that is that Jung was not enlightened and didn't understand psycho-spiritual development, though he had a lot of good ideas. Its not my idea though, primarily I am drawing off my knowledge of Jung and Joseph Campbell. Archetypes are more of a western idea and fits more appropriately into western occultism. However if I were to apply this idea of archetypes to Tibetan Buddhism, I believe it would apply as I've laid it out. Buddha is an expression of perfection, and the Buddha families are aspects of that expression (of the Buddha).

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Alfredo » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:08 pm

Talk of archetypes is mostly coming from Jung (although he got it from Platonism), who believed that the unconscious mind contains certain innate symbols common to all cultures (such as the wise old man, the shadow, etc.), and which appear most vividly in things like myths, dreams, and visions. They are analogous to instincts, in that they do not need to be learned. So in this sense, a Buddha image would probably be a manifestation of some archetype (depending on the type of Buddha it was), although there would not be an "archetype of Buddha" (any more than there would be an "archetype of Jesus"). One of the more important Jungian concepts is that of the mandala, which he plausibly interprets as a symbol of wholeness and completion. But his favored imagery was ecclectic, with much of it drawn from Western gnostic and esoteric traditions (such as alchemy). Anyway, for Jung all of these symbols have meaning as part of the process of "individuation"--the process whereby we mature psychologically, and come to grips with existential, meaning-of-life issues. They carry numinous power, and offer comfort and guidance.

I think the reason Jung's approach has caught on among Western Buddhists (as well as neo-pagans and New Agers) is that it acknowledges that the traditional deities do not "exist" in the sense of being able to reach out and grab you. (I realize that many Tibeans, e.g., believe deities such as Nechung to actually exist as discarnate entities, but many Westerners cannot make this leap of faith.) This dovetails nicely with Buddhism's psychological emphasis and suspicion of the concept of "existence." That said, Jung meant his work to be scientific in nature, and I'm afraid his ideas have not been well-received either as science or as therapy.

In a previous age, we would all have been reading Hegel and Schopenhauer!
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:50 am

Alfredo wrote:In a previous age, we would all have been reading Hegel and Schopenhauer!


As opposed to forming opinions about them without having read them?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Alfredo » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:51 am

Voila, the antithesis...!

Well, they are kind of "old school," and one would be surprised to find the same sort of popular interest in them. But I meant no disrespect.
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby kalden yungdrung » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:08 am

gingercatni wrote:Hello

Can anyone explain to me what an archetypal Buddha is? I've heard this phrase kicked about a lot within the Tibetan schools. It is explained that Buddha's like Amitabha, Ratnasambhava and others are archetypal figures of the historical Buddha. Does this mean they are not real to some Buddhists? Why would the Buddha expound sutra's of other Buddha's if they only avatars of himself?


Tashi delek,

As far as Buddhism concerns and well especially in Dzogchen and Tantric Buddhism as well Sutra Buddhism we know the respective related Buddha Bodies:

- Dharma Kaya
- Sambhoga Kaya
- Nirmana Kaya

We all have these 3 indivisible Bodies as inherent qualities of our Mind and not realizing this or to be aware of these Bodies means that we are or have a certain ignorance in us which ends in eternalism or nihilism / illusion (Dualisms).

Well one can say these Bodies can be called the Arche typical bodies of our UNBORN own/inherent Mind.

So we can reach Realisation of this unborn Mind by the revealing of these Bodies.

- Some do Dzogchen and realize the Dharmakaya aspect (of their Mind) - Kuntu Zangpo / Samantabhadra
- Some do Tantra and realize the Sambhogakaya aspect (of their Mind) - 5 Dyani Buddhas
- Some do Sutra and realize the Nirmanakaya aspect (of their Mind) - Buddha Shakyamuni , Buddha Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche etc.

All 3 doors lead to the same enlightenment namely to be a Buddha, and there is no difference between Buddha and Buddha like between water and wet / water.

The only difference is the "time" it takes to reach enlightenment, regarding these 3 vehicles / Yanas / Thegpa.

So the vision and realated level of understanding, all based on previous karma, shows the way / Yana of the adept.


Mutsug Marro
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
WHO WITH A LAMP IN THE HAND CANNOT SEE THE ROAD

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby futerko » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:03 pm

Alfredo wrote:Voila, the antithesis...!

Well, they are kind of "old school," and one would be surprised to find the same sort of popular interest in them. But I meant no disrespect.


hmm, maybe. Slavoj Zizek seemed to breathe a bit of life back into Hegel with a very different reading to the traditional one. Nagarjuna is really "old skool", but Hegel makes his work look like a bit of light bedtime reading! :tongue:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche

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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby Jikan » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:44 pm

I think there may be a generational issue at work. Jung may have caught on among some Western Buddhists (thinking of the Kornfield-Goldstein generation), but I've also encountered significant resistance to Jung too, particularly on the basis of his creepy Romantic politics.

Getting well off topic, but I still think Zizek is an unreconstructed dialectical materialist under all that Lacanian gloss (think of the Parallax View here). The Hegel he deploys looks an awful lot like Lukacs' Hegel. see: Coletti, Marxism & Hegel

Back to the OP: I don't think "archetypal Buddha" is a Buddhist idea at all. I think it's a Jungian idea. I'd still like to know if there's a public source in which the two streams coincide...
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Re: Archetypal Buddha?

Postby gingercatni » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:15 pm

heres an article http://buddhism.about.com/od/vajrayanab ... tra101.htm that discusses this issue. It states that these buddhas are not believed in.

As a pureland buddhist i believe in the buddhas, why would the buddha speak about them if they are made up? could this view just be part of the reformation that became vajrayana buddhism? distinguishing it from mahayana? there are other people on the net that have similar views to the article, i posted it as it best described what i've been trying to explain here.


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