Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

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Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:39 am

I try to find time every day to read a few chapters from Thich Nhat Hanh's "biography" of the Buddha entitled Old Path White Clouds. Today I ran across a "quote" from the Buddha:

One cannot overcome ignorance through offerings and prayers.


And, he's right, I believe.

One of my general problems with Buddhism is how dogmatized people through the centuries have made it. Now, granted I know very little about all the various sects, I read this biography as I read the Tipitaka and I find practices such as mantras, prayer wheels, Ngondro, and especially Pure Land to be anomalous innovations upon what the Buddha actually taught about his Dharma. The Mahayana emphasis upon compassion and loving-kindness resemble Byzantine Christianity so much in their intent that I am forced to reckon that this must be in response to missionaries and traveling Christian ascetics. There are historical records which indicate Christianity found its way into India by the late 4th century CE. The first contact between China and Christianity is now placed at about 86 AD - but there wasn't any documented settled Christianity until much later during the 8th century.

My question with all this is: Where did authentic Buddhism go of? And by authentic, I mean a Buddhism concentrated on the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Sunyata, Co-dependent arising, and right concentration?

Forgive my ignorance.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:41 am

Epistemes wrote:The Mahayana emphasis upon compassion and loving-kindness resemble Byzantine Christianity so much in their intent that I am forced to reckon that this must be in response to missionaries and traveling Christian ascetics.


Mahāyāna's earliest texts are reliably dated through archaeology and text criticism from the First Century BCE, if not earlier. So, that's not it. Mahāyāna was a fully articulated movement by 100 CE.

It's most famous exponent, Nāgārjuna, dates to the middle of the 2nd century CE.

If anything, the influence is the other way around.

Not only that, but the cultivation of love and compassion was strongly recommended by the Buddha was a very important practice in all strands of Buddhist schools.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 am

Namdrol wrote:Mahāyāna's earliest texts are reliably dated through archaeology and text criticism from the First Century BCE, if not earlier. So, that's not it. Mahāyāna was a fully articulated movement by 100 CE.


What are these earliest texts? I have been under the presumption that the Heart and Diamond Sutras were the earliest.

Namdrol wrote:Not only that, but the cultivation of love and compassion was strongly recommended by the Buddha was a very important practice in all strands of Buddhist schools.


I am aware of the Buddha advocating metta and karuna - but there is an insistence in the Mahayana school upon all actions benefitting all sentient beings that I'm not aware of in the Hinayana school.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:52 am

Epistemes wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Mahāyāna's earliest texts are reliably dated through archaeology and text criticism from the First Century BCE, if not earlier. So, that's not it. Mahāyāna was a fully articulated movement by 100 CE.


What are these earliest texts? I have been under the presumption that the Heart and Diamond Sutras were the earliest.

Namdrol wrote:Not only that, but the cultivation of love and compassion was strongly recommended by the Buddha was a very important practice in all strands of Buddhist schools.


I am aware of the Buddha advocating metta and karuna - but there is an insistence in the Mahayana school upon all actions benefitting all sentient beings that I'm not aware of in the Hinayana school.



Even in so called Hināyāna schools, there is the recognition that the motivation to become a buddha is predicated upon the desire to benefit all sentient beings.

Texts like the Ugraparipriccha, the Samcayagathas, parts of the Lotus sutra, and so on. Certainly, the Perfection of Wisdom sutras were in their initial form by 100 CE, and probably earlier.

Heart and Diamond sutras are quite late. The Heart sutra probably originated in China. The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines is probably the earliest of the PP sutras, as I understand things.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Chaz » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:17 am

Epistemes wrote:I

My question with all this is: Where did authentic Buddhism go of?


Tibet?

Seriously: what makes you think it "went" anywhere?


And by authentic, I mean <snip>


So, you think you know what "authentic" Buddhism is? Really now? Rather than authentic, I suspect you're looking for a form of Buddhism that suits your sensibilities.

I would offer that "authentic" Buddhism is something that is practice-related rather than based on text and/or doctrine. The authenticity of the practice can be directly judged by whether or not sentient beings attain enlightenment via that practice.

Forgive my ignorance.


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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:20 am

:smile:
Authentic Dharma:
I don't believe there is such a thing.
The reason is that the dharma, or at least the understanding of it as percieved by sentient beings, can not be conveyed by mere words.
Words are merely pointers at the true heart of it's truth. They only can say, "Look there, look there, see!".
The individual has to SEE that for him/herself.

My question with all this is: Where did authentic Buddhism go of?


The same place it has always been, in the heart of the seeker.
This is called by some old masters as "the true dharma of the heart-place".
It can't be shown by mere words or teachings...it has to be realised in the heart to be understood.

I try to find time every day to read a few chapters from Thich Nhat Hanh's "biography" of the Buddha entitled Old Path White Clouds. Today I ran across a "quote" from the Buddha:
One cannot overcome ignorance through offerings and prayers


My personal opinion: that is what the quoted statement means.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:45 am

I don't think there is anything to forgive. It's a sensible question. And this is a very interesting position to take, and not uncommon among those who are more inclined to follow the Theravada traditions.

Strictly speaking, that quote is accurate. One cannot overcome ignorance through offerings and prayers. But through making offerings (whether real or imagined) one can overcome greed, and through prayers one can overcome anger and hostility toward others. Actually, "prayers" is not a very good word, in my opinion. And indeed that word may have been acquired through translations in which terminology was borrowed from the Judeo-Christian tradition. "Aspirations" might be a better term. personally, I can't stand the term 'prayers'. It turns me off for the very reasons you mention. But this is not the fault of the Buddhist traditions. "Prayers" in Mahayana Buddhism are generally, a wish that all beings be free from suffering.

So, of the three poisons of ignorance, greed and aversion, making offerings and "prayers" or aspirations for the benefit of others addresses two of them. Ignorance may be a little harder.

And if you think about it, what a person likes or does not like has nothing to do with the tradition itself. It has to do with the person's own personal experiences. It's like me saying I have a problem with you, because you remind me of somebody I don't like. That's not really your fault, is it?

So, if you'd never had exposure to the Byzantine Christianity, the Mahayana emphasis upon compassion and loving-kindness would not resemble Byzantine Christianity. That similarity would not arise. In fact, it is only in the mind that a similarity occurs.

Buddha taught a lot of stuff to a lot of different types of people in 40 years, and that would probably include many yogis, sadhus and various other Hindu holy men who came to ask him questions, or to test his knowledge and wisdom. At the same time, simple farmers also came to him with their questions, their problems. My understanding is that when the Buddha spoke, so it is said, everyone understood him in their own language. I don't know if that is true, but I would not be surprised if he spoke to everyone according to their own understanding, and as we say figuratively, "spoke their language". So he very well may have discussed mantra and tantra with people, and prescribed practices for those for whom that was appropriate.

Perhaps the Buddha DID teach what is now practiced in all three Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions and perhaps he did not (nobody can prove what he actually said). What validates anything calling itself Buddha-Dharma is not historical proof, but testing it out in the present. This, to me, is the scientific method. By that, I mean that the results can be replicated. Consider as an analogy, Louis Pasteur. He created some of the very first vaccines. But since his time, other vaccines have also been developed, based on his discoveries. They still cure people, whether he invented them or not. Likewise, the various teachings of the different schools bring people to a perfect realization of the cessation of suffering. If somebody other than Sakyamuni had taught the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Sunyata, Co-dependent arising, and right concentration, would it still be valid? I think so.

There are some who argue that anything other than what is found in some of the Pali texts is not real Dharma. Further, that some 2,500 years of commentaries and other Buddhist writings and teachings are worthless elaborations. They argue that the Buddha was not a God, but an ordinary person like you or me, and that the Mahayana has turned Buddha into a god.

The Irony in this position is that if what the Buddha taught is valid, meaning useful, then it should be possible for people to replicate what he acheived, and for people to have continued to become enlightened even after the Buddha's passing. If that is the case, then 2,500 years of commentaries and other Buddhist writings and teachings by a variety of teachers are also valid even if they taught in their own words, and the claim that an ordinary person such as you or I can become enlightened as he did is validated.

On the other hand, if 2,500 years of commentaries and other Buddhist writings and teachings are not valid ...simply because the Historical Buddha isn't the one who gave them, or because they are not found in the Pali texts, or even because they seem to contradict some early texts, then this in fact is the view which elevates the Buddha to the status of a solitary God, because it essentially negates the claim that ordinary people, or at least people who were not Prince Siddhartha, could attain realization, because it throws all of their contributions out the window.. It also negates one of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha, that everything is constantly changing, nothing is permanent. If Buddhism were not a living, constantly evolving process, I think it would have become a stale dogma and would have dried up like the ruins of an old temple long ago.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby LastLegend » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:38 am

One cannot overcome ignorance through offerings and prayers.


Right. If you are detached in the mind, you will not be attached to the things that you do.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:25 am

Epistemes wrote:
One cannot overcome ignorance through offerings and prayers.



It's true but that's not the whole story. If you remember Sujita offered Shakyamuni milk and kusha grass and accumulated merit. And prayers are aspirations and create positive connections with the Dharma.

Through merit and positive connections with the Dharma beings can begin removing ignorance.

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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Karma K Sonam » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:56 am

Tashi Deleg

This is a common mistake I think. Many people are used to the rather rigid forms of the "Religions of the Book" and struggle with the fluidity that is Buddhism. Also, many people look at Buddhist practice and, quite understandably, use their own experiences of life and religion to draw some understanding of what they read about/see.

I'm Kagyu and even I baulked at the notion of prayer and offerings (coming from a Christian background I even had a oh my god it's worshipping false idols moment! Lol!). Then someone explained it to me. I struggled with the idea that I wasn't actually praying to anyone and this is where I would agree that "prayer" is a bit of a misnomer; i try not to use the word and when I come across it, I try not to ascribe the more conventional meaning to it. Over the years, practice and reading has led to a deeper understanding of these things and I find that they help me a lot to develop compassion and to become more generous.

So it is easy to see how someone looking at the practices would misunderstand what is happening.

As for "where is authentic Buddhism?" (sic) I have heard Buddhism described as being like water. It shapes to fit the vessel it is in but the essence remains the same.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:44 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Perhaps the Buddha DID teach what is now practiced in all three Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions and perhaps he did not (nobody can prove what he actually said). What validates anything calling itself Buddha-Dharma is not historical proof, but testing it out in the present. [...] If somebody other than Sakyamuni had taught the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Sunyata, Co-dependent arising, and right concentration, would it still be valid? I think so.


I agree. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.

However, whatever name you call the rose, it gives off a certain fragrance and odor. Likewise, the Buddha taught the Dharma.

But what is the Dharma? Those who follow the Mahayana seem to be suggesting that the Pali texts offered a bare minimum for us to follow, and upon this foundation much can be built provided there is a commentary or awakened master behind the practice. I can accept truth without historical validity - no problem. But, at a certain point, all the deities, prayers, oaths, mantras, bells, drums, flags, etc. result in a great big unnecessary complication. Sure, these types of things get us outside of ourselves and foster more virtuous attitudes, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they can also deter us from what really matters. Suddenly, these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum."

I'm continually amazed at the development of religious traditions. There is some prophet - and I think we can designate the Buddha as a prophet - who redirects a people back to simplicity and what matters, that prophet dies, and his disciples go off in a million and one different directions retelling tales mixed with legend, adding personal insight to what their Teacher taught, and, in essence, playing "the telephone game" where one phrase is passed along from person to person until the original phrase reaches some wholly other phrase entirely. Before long, you have men convincing wild wolves from eating helpless vilagers, apparitions of women advocating certain types of prayer on certain types of beads, and cynic teachers who willingly died for our sins. And suddenly these things matter more than the Eightfold Noble Path, witnessing co-dependent arising, or cultivating the brahmaviharas.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Chaz » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:10 pm

Epistemes wrote:But what is the Dharma? Those who follow the Mahayana seem to be suggesting that the Pali texts offered a bare minimum for us to follow, and upon this foundation much can be built provided there is a commentary or awakened master behind the practice.


I say that was close to th mark, but I don't see anything wrong with it either.

Yes, the path outlined in the Pali Canon, the First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, is the bare minimum with regards to attaining Enlightenment and Nirvana.

Yes, the Mahayana has built upon that as a foundation with the Second and Third turnings.

There is plenty of commentary to support practice and teachings of the Buddha as well.

Studying with an Master is very helpful, and in the case of Vajrayana practice, necessary.

I can accept truth without historical validity - no problem. But, at a certain point, all the deities, prayers, oaths, mantras, bells, drums, flags, etc. result in a great big unnecessary complication.


Well if they seem uneccessary to you, then don't work with those practices.

I happen to feel that I get a great deal from those kinds of practices. Are you suggesting that it's wrong for me to be doing them because you happen to think they complicate things unneccessarily?

Sure, these types of things get us outside of ourselves and foster more virtuous attitudes, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they can also deter us from what really matters. Suddenly, these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum."


Can you cite where "these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum.""?

I'm continually amazed at the development of religious traditions. There is some prophet - and I think we can designate the Buddha as a prophet - who redirects a people back to simplicity and what matters, that prophet dies, and his disciples go off in a million and one different directions retelling tales mixed with legend, adding personal insight to what their Teacher taught, and, in essence, playing "the telephone game" where one phrase is passed along from person to person until the original phrase reaches some wholly other phrase entirely. Before long, you have men convincing wild wolves from eating helpless vilagers, apparitions of women advocating certain types of prayer on certain types of beads, and cynic teachers who willingly died for our sins. And suddenly these things matter more than the Eightfold Noble Path, witnessing co-dependent arising, or cultivating the brahmaviharas.

With all due respect, if you really feel that way about Mahayana practices and practitioners, what are you doing on a Mahayana forum? Trolling perhaps? Our host, the good Dr. Snyder, has a Theraveda forum that might suit your inclinations and sensibilities a bit better. It seems pretty obvious to me that you hold the Mahayana in pretty low esteme and by extension, people who practice in that tradition as well. Noone says that to achieve enlightenment you have to follow Mahayana teachings and practices. Why are you so insistant on disparaging it and us?
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:18 pm

Chaz wrote:Are you suggesting that it's wrong for me to be doing them because you happen to think they complicate things unneccessarily?

Can you cite where "these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum.""?

With all due respect, if you really feel that way about Mahayana practices and practitioners, what are you doing on a Mahayana forum? Trolling perhaps? [...] Why are you so insistant on disparaging it and us?


There's no need for defensiveness. As far as I'm concerned, I'm an outsider trying to figure things out. I try to meditate, try to read dharma books, and post on a couple of different Buddhist forums: that's as much Buddhist as I am for now. I have no preference for one tradition or another right now. I like this particular forum because you Mahayana people have been nicer and more helpful, plus I enjoy the discussions here more. Plus, you don't consistently mention abhidharma in every freakin' post.

:focus:

Take Ngondro. Now, as you say, Vajrayana requires a master, but it is completely possible to complete 100,000 repetitions or recitations of whatever and not cultivate a single drop of bodhicitta. Now, I don't care to get into the specifics of Ngondro, but this is just making a point. We humans can have unique religious experiences, but across the board our relationship to ceremony, ritual, and repetition is more similar than not. Knowing, as I do, that praying a rosary, going to daily Mass, praying the Divine Office, praying salat, or whatever else can lead to mindless, obligatory repetition, practices such as Ngondro are not immune from this. When a person becomes so intent on completing their repetitions, this can obscure the bare minimum.

Now, I know you will personally disagree with me because that hasn't been your private experience, I'm only pointing out that it can and does happen to others.

Does that mean that you personally shouldn't perform Ngondro? Does that mean the people who "don't get it" shouldn't do it? Who am I to say what another person should or shouldn't do?

My point is, if you're going to get defensive and clingy about a particular tradition or practice, think that I belong on another forum because you suspect I'm trolling, then maybe it's time to re-visit the bare minimum.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Karma K Sonam » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:44 pm

"
Take Ngondro. Now, as you say, Vajrayana requires a master, but it is completely possible to complete 100,000 repetitions or recitations of whatever and not cultivate a single drop of bodhicitta


Absolutely, you are absolutely correct. If you undertook Ngongdro without cultivating the right motivation to do it in the first place.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Chaz » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:08 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Chaz wrote:Are you suggesting that it's wrong for me to be doing them because you happen to think they complicate things unneccessarily?

Can you cite where "these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum.""?

With all due respect, if you really feel that way about Mahayana practices and practitioners, what are you doing on a Mahayana forum? Trolling perhaps? [...] Why are you so insistant on disparaging it and us?


There's no need for defensiveness.


I think you're projecting. Plus you're tone is a bit combative, so a defensive conversational posture isn't unreasonable.


As far as I'm concerned, I'm an outsider trying to figure things out. I try to meditate, try to read dharma books, and post on a couple of different Buddhist forums: that's as much Buddhist as I am for now. I have no preference for one tradition or another right now. I like this particular forum because you Mahayana people have been nicer and more helpful, plus I enjoy the discussions here more.



Plus, you don't consistently mention abhidharma in every freakin' post.


Funny you should mention that. I've been feeling that this forum needs more abidharma discussion - kind of like certain songs, like "Don't Fear The Reaper", needs more cowbell. :popcorn:


Take Ngondro. Now, as you say, Vajrayana requires a master, but it is completely possible to complete 100,000 repetitions or recitations of whatever and not cultivate a single drop of bodhicitta. Now, I don't care to get into the specifics of Ngondro, but this is just making a point.


As Sonam points out, you are absolutely correct, but what's the point in regards to Vajrayana requiring a master?

We humans can have unique religious experiences, but across the board our relationship to ceremony, ritual, and repetition is more similar than not. Knowing, as I do, that praying a rosary, going to daily Mass, praying the Divine Office, praying salat, or whatever else can lead to mindless, obligatory repetition, practices such as Ngondro are not immune from this.


Of course, but all that can also lead to profoundly deep insight as well.

When a person becomes so intent on completing their repetitions, this can obscure the bare minimum.


A person can become so intent on walking that they'll step out unto traffic and get run over by an ice cream truck.

My point is, if you're going to get defensive and clingy about a particular tradition or practice, think that I belong on another forum because you suspect I'm trolling, then maybe it's time to re-visit the bare minimum.


What makes you think that I don't?

And I think you are trolling.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:32 pm

Epistemes wrote:.......But, at a certain point, all the deities, prayers, oaths, mantras, bells, drums, flags, etc. result in a great big unnecessary complication. Sure, these types of things get us outside of ourselves and foster more virtuous attitudes, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they can also deter us from what really matters. Suddenly, these practices take precedence over "the bare minimum."


What you mention happens a lot. People often refer to all the various rituals and so forth as "dharma practice" when actually, dharma practice is the cultivation of the mind, developing wisdom and compassion, as the means for the perfect cessation of suffering. These are all methods which have evolved over time. But you can train a monkey to ring a bell, and it is very easy to get lost in all that stuff. Put all your candles, prayer beads, statues and incense away in a box, and then show me your dharma practice!

At the same time, many of these methods are quite profound. For example, generating a vivid visualization of a "Tibetan deity" and then dissolving that can sometimes bring a person to realize that the one generating the vision is also a product of the imagination, and thus cut through a great deal of clinging to the idea of a self...which is basic dharma. And things vary a lot. I know a very skilled lama, who used to be an abbot in Sikkim. He is quite knowledgeable of course, about all types of rituals but in general he doesn't care for a lot of pomp and false peity. No white scarves or bowing when he comes into the room. If you want to do something special, take him out for Mexican food.

There is what the Buddha taught, and then there is the evolution of various institutions which preserve those teachings. Any "apps" downloaded over the centuries were added for a reason, frequently because of certain cultural expectations, and this is not very different than the expectations people impose on the dharma today. For example, for centuries monks have been involved in conducting funeral ceremonies. Actually, it pays very well. Did the Buddha give a teaching on how to conduct a funeral ceremony? Not to my knowledge. Yet being able to send the dead person safely off is often a prerequisite, something which validates the worth of the monk offering the teaching. Likewise, in the west we demand that the dharma hold its weight against reason and science, because those things are important to our culture. Even Buddhists who tend to shun western science and medicine, and who otherwise care little for the opinion of science 'experts' delight upon finding that some laboratory has documented the positive effects of meditation.

If you don't need a lot of ritual "support systems" then go with what you need. There is nothing wrong with that.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby brian1234 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:12 pm

Everyone ignores somethings in his or her path.It depends on different factors like the situation at a particular moment and surrounding people attitude for that situation.Also the person who is ignoring has certain attitude which are responsible for his ignorance.
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Silent Bob » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:15 pm

The most recent issue of Tricycle magazine contains an article by Linda Heuman, "Whose Buddhism is Truest?", that addresses some of your concerns and discusses new findings about the origins of various textual streams. Further, and merely from my own POV, your uninformed but adversarial posture toward the Vajrayana leads me to wonder why you even raise these questions in this forum when your opinions seem based on a bit of random reading and some wild guesses rather than any depth of experience on the cushion. Faith and devotion, to which you object so vehemently, are necessary components of the Vajrayana path, but are hardly the totality. I'm just sayin'...
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:58 pm

Silent Bob wrote:....from my own POV, your uninformed but adversarial posture toward the Vajrayana...Faith and devotion, to which you object so vehemently... (snipped a lot)


Anyone exploring the world of Buddhism would rightly be surprised at the diversity and seemingly contradictory types of practice that exist. Epistemes asks how something as apparently straightforward as the core of dharma teachings (specifically the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Sunyata, Co-dependent arising, and right concentration) managed to evolve into the elaborate methods, diversity of emphasis and practices we now find today. Some people openly suspect this contributor to be trolling. Ease up! It's a good question, and one that I think, is really about why people approach dharma practice (or anything done with intense interest, for that matter) the way they do. Troll or not maybe doesn't matter. it's a good topic and one that you may find brought up a lot. So why not talk about it now?

Subscribing to one school of practice or another does not automatically make one a more compassionate person, or guarantee that one will acquire any wisdom. There is no shortage of arrogant and selfish people among buddhists of the various traditions. And Vajrayana, as elaborate as it gets, is no exception.

But I don't see this as a flaw in any dharma tradition. I see it as evidence of the insidious nature of samsara, and the pervasiveness of dukkha. We are all suffering so much!
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Re: Offerings and prayers: Authentic Buddhism?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:39 pm

Silent Bob wrote:Further, and merely from my own POV, your uninformed but adversarial posture toward the Vajrayana leads me to wonder why you even raise these questions in this forum when your opinions seem based on a bit of random reading and some wild guesses rather than any depth of experience on the cushion.


I raise these questions in this forum because I suspected that, as practitioners, you all would be knowledgable and able to correct my misunderstandings. Need there be a further reason?

I have posited my experience with the burps and ill side-effects of devotion as I know it to exist in other religions, though it was by no means intended to be adversarial. To stoke the embers of conversation, maybe, but not to get tarred, feathered and crucified. As I see it, Vajrayana is not immune from the misuse of devotion or devotional items. This does not imply that Vajrayana as a practice is flawed nor that all practitioners are deluded, wrong, or otherwise. What it does mean is that I don't find many of the practices of Mahayana and Vajrayana apparent in my readings of early Buddhism, which is where I'm at right now in my so-called "random reading" and "wild guesses."

For the record, the level of defensiveness and clinginess of Vajrayana practitioners who have contributed to this thread really makes me question if all of the devotions have actually made you more understanding, less prideful, compassionate, open-hearted people because I get the feeling as if there's a witch-hunt brewing. [Also for the record, I have a tattoo on my left shoulder blade of a Tibetan dorje with the manta Om Mani Peme Hum Hri because I respect Tibet, I respect Tibetan Buddhist practice, and I really like Chenrezig.]

And I'm not a troll. I'm not anything but a person with "wild guesses."
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