'Rarity' of Vajrayana

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'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby plwk » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:19 pm

I have been told once that in our present fortunate aeon of 1000 Buddhas, Vajrayana is not always taught/brought out by every Buddha and practiced. So, it is regarded fortunate that we are now in the Dispensation of Sakyamuni Buddha, where Vajrayana is not only taught but practiced.

Q.1 Does anyone know what is the source text for this claim?
Q.2 What are the perspectives involved for this claim?

:thanks:
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Simon » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:44 pm

If you are seeking answers re Vajrayana, perhaps the Tibetan Forum is a better place to look for them.
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby plwk » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:49 pm

Thank you Simon but Vajrayana is not confined to the Tibetan Tradition but also in Japanese Shingon and the Chinese Tangmi. Besides we have some scholars who may also pass by, hence they too can contribute in a wider space like this forum.
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:44 pm

I find it the same kind of motivational teaching as saying that human birth is rare, meeting the Dharma is rare, etc. The point is to go study and practise, otherwise you're just wasting your time.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Sherlock » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:48 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but it is nowhere stated in the Theravadin or Mahayana sutras that one can become a Buddha within one's current life and one needs to practise for thousands of kalpas before one can be a Buddha. So if Buddhahood is a possible goal, there has to be a life wherein one has accumulated enough merit and wisdom to achieve Buddhahood and also where one has the opportunity to receive teachings to attain that. Only Vajrayana and Dzogchen promise this AFAIK; thus the sutras really forewshadow the existence the existence of a teaching higher than themselves. It would seem to me then that if a planet does have teachings corresponding to what are the "lower" yanas in our planet, sooner or later there'd be higher teachings which teach the level of realization hinted at in the lower teachings but not taught as being possible with the methods therein.

If a planet does have what would correspond with our "lower" yanas and no Vajrayana or Dzogchen then I think those teachings would be quite different and wouldn't talk about higher states of accomplishment than stream-enterer at all.
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Jikan » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:23 pm

Sherlock wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong but it is nowhere stated in the Theravadin or Mahayana sutras that one can become a Buddha within one's current life and one needs to practise for thousands of kalpas before one can be a Buddha. So if Buddhahood is a possible goal, there has to be a life wherein one has accumulated enough merit and wisdom to achieve Buddhahood and also where one has the opportunity to receive teachings to attain that. Only Vajrayana and Dzogchen promise this AFAIK; thus the sutras really forewshadow the existence the existence of a teaching higher than themselves. It would seem to me then that if a planet does have teachings corresponding to what are the "lower" yanas in our planet, sooner or later there'd be higher teachings which teach the level of realization hinted at in the lower teachings but not taught as being possible with the methods therein.

If a planet does have what would correspond with our "lower" yanas and no Vajrayana or Dzogchen then I think those teachings would be quite different and wouldn't talk about higher states of accomplishment than stream-enterer at all.


Yes, generally. Some would argue, though, that there are exceptions to the rule among Mahayana texts: Srimaladevi-sutra, Lotus Sutra...
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:21 pm

Sherlock,

Shakyamuni in the early texts taught people to attain arhatship, not buddhahood. In fact, I have not heard or met any early scripture where Gautama advised people to become buddhas. On the other hand, he did say that there isn't much difference between an arhat and a buddha. Now, that's for "Theravada".

In Mahayana there is sudden enlightenment, even buddhahood in this life. For instance, it is a basic point of Zen.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:17 pm

Astus wrote:I find it the same kind of motivational teaching as saying that human birth is rare, meeting the Dharma is rare, etc. The point is to go study and practise, otherwise you're just wasting your time.

I'm also inclined see this as a pedagogical tool.
However, human birth seems rare if we compare the number of humans with the number of non-human animals on this planet and we assume that we can be reborn as an animal. If from the human group we compare those who practice Vajrayana with those who don't, getting both conditions, being human and practicing Vajrayana (or any other form of Buddhism) seems rare. So I guess it's both a pedagogical artifact with some reality from a Buddhist perspective in it.

However, the point is as you very well stated "to go study and practise, otherwise you're just wasting your time" and this tool just cautions us that the opportunity for doing it is now. If we let if pass, who knows?
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Re: 'Rarity' of Vajrayana

Postby waimengwan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:13 pm

The perspective I get is that Vajrayana/Tantra is rarer than the Buddhas. And if we now have a chance to engage in it with qualified masters we have to make the best out of it.
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