Pema Rigdzin wrote:Deepbluehum,
The Tibetans - in accordance with the Mahayana sutras - classify Hinayana and Mahayana as they do for good reason. Hinayana refers to the motivation to practice the Dharma for one's own nirvana alone. True, such individuals practice compassion and enagage in beneficial actions for others, and they even teach the liberating Dharma. But their ultimate goal is to achieve a non-abiding nirvana, and so they both practice and teach methods that lead to non-abiding nirvana, a peaceful state in which one's sentient being-liberating career comes to a screeching halt. Practitioners with a Mahayana attitude, however, aspire not to rest in nirvana, but to continue in an ever-increasing capacity for as long as it takes, to help all beings attain Buddhahood; accordingly, the methods they practice enable them to avoid the solitary peace of nirvana and embark on a Bodhisattva career for lifetime after lifetime and then to attain Buddhahood and continue carrying out skillful liberating means indefinitely. Thus their motivation and methods are rightly characterized as the great vehicle. Also, both the merit and wisdom aspects of the Mahayana are greater, and therefore the merit and wisdom of an Arya Bodhisattva on the bhumis eventually come to surpass those of an Arhat.
Now, about this sutta you mentioned... I've never heard of any Shravakayana method that guarantees Arhatship in 7 days, but supposing you're correct and there is one, I'm not sure how you're conflating the attainment of Arhatshipt with the Bodhisattva bhumis, let alone Dzogchen. These are each vastly different levels of realization. To begin with, attaining Arhatship means that at death, one passes into non-abiding nirvana - basically it's lights out for innumerable kalpas, i.e. one's own peace alone. One would thereby be forsaking sentient beings for all that time rather than continuing on the bhumis toward Buddhahood, so this would be entirely undesirable for one with bodhicitta. Then, if we compare the methods taught in the Mahayana sutras, you're talking about three incalculable kalpas in order to attain the 11th bhumi, or Buddhahood. Finally, looking at Dzogchen, a truly diligent person can attain not only 11th bhumi Buddhahood, but 16th bhumi (or complete Buddhahood), in one lifetime. And less diligent ones will at the very least destroy all causes to be reborn in samsara against their will due to karma, i.e. they will at the very least be reborn in a natural nirmanakaya realm and quickly attain Buddhahood there. So you're definitely not being led around by the nose by your lamas as you suggested.
"Now, if anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven years, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — non-return.
"Let alone seven years. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for six years... five... four... three... two years... one year... seven months... six months... five... four... three... two months... one month... half a month, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — non-return.
"Let alone half a month. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven days
, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging-sustenance — non-return.
"'This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."
That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
This is where I get seven days to Arhat. Now for bhumis, various Tibetan teachers in past have said where on bhumi scale an Arhat is. According to Tibetan Buddhism an Arhat is somewhere on the bhumi scale. So an Arhat is not below 1st Bhumi, and is up to as high as 8th or even 10th according to some famous lamas if I'm not mistaken. I agree, Mahayana motivation is to achieve non-abiding and the Arhat self-peace attitude is abiding. Then in Dzogchen's highest explanations it can even go back to abiding with compassion without reference. Now if you follow my reasoning here, you see something very clear.
Now strip all the tradition and belief part for one minute and just look at this timing. Suppose Arhat is possible in seven days. Now of course that's only the best practitioners, but it's possible. Dzogchen makes a claim best practitioners can finish in six months. Vajrayana makes similar claims depending on whose saying. I'm just looking best case scenario. Okay, the method in satipatthana and anapanasati is essentially mindfulness of feelings (vedana) and connecting those to insight of impermanence, non-self and suffering (three doors to dhamma) primarily utilizing the breath as support. This is like the most rudimentary method out on the public domain, yet can take you all the way mid-bhumi or higher. So then, add one simple twist, the great bodhisattva's attitude, and why wouldn't it take you passed the 10th in the same time period as Dzogchen or Mahamudra? "Bodhichitta the excellent and precious mind..." this is really the power juice not some particular posture or bandha. And oh yeah Dzogchen and Mahamudra bodhichitta is just rigpa with no thinking about sentient beings. As if satipatthana is conceptual. It is not.
Sometimes it takes, like I have, some moment of feeling underwhelmed by all the hoopla and so-called magic of the Tibetan tradition to recognize some really basic truth. Then, all the travelling and empowerments attending high teachers and 1000 deities starts to feel like either they are fooling us, fooling themselves or we are fooling ourselves. Do not take this the wrong way. My only motivation for writing this is that I want to be free, and I want everyone to be free, and I just get this sinking paranoid feeling sometimes that something isn't right. I start to feel like all the flowery language that goes with Tibetan teachings is just unnecessary. It makes us say "oo aah," but you can get the same bang for your precious minute without having to buy so many books, without having to spend so much time with the lama and always feeling like there's this one bit higher method that only if I can get that I'll be the best.
I have received all the highest of the high teachings on this planet, so I won't say who or when, because I'm criticizing. I also have samaya with daily commitments. Me and the dharmaphalas are doing a stare down at high noon. Hahaha. Shakyamuni was protected by the Naga king. I'll let him defend me. I travelled around the entire globe listening and practicing in retreat. Then one day I just took another look at so-called "hinayana." I said wait a minute. This satipatthana is a really high method, contemplating death and impermanence, the body, the three doors of dhamma. Add two bodhichittas and dedication. Who said you can't get buddhahood like this? Then that's free, no ticket. No donation. No reading. Save your money and your time, buy rice and do practice. But you know if it is not a restricted text, who is going to travel around the world to hear it? If it is not a secret committment who is going to practice it? Or is all the gorgeous beauty of the Vajrayana a kind of ploy to catch us "ostentatious" people by the nose?
I don't expect anyone to accept my reasonings as true. But we Westerns have been exposed to the East for many years now. It helps to sometimes take a step back and check if we are seeing the forest for the trees. Healthy skepticism is a good thing still isn't it?