Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:30 am

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 40 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm
Posts: 698
I know that some of the issues raised by my question were discussed on other topics, but i still dont get certaing things.

First, let me put the question: is there a better teaching and/or sutra than all the others? If you read Lotus Sutra for example (i toke this info from wikipedia): Chapter ten ".. Medicine King, now I say to you, I have preached various sutras, and among those sutras the Lotus is foremost!"

Chapter fourteen states:

"Among the sutras, it holds the highest place."


Now, reading the sutras regarding Amitabha/Sukkhavati, one may find thats the most important thing that Buddha taught. Seeking inside other sutras, probably you may find similar things, etc.

I know that there are 84000 Dharmas, etc, etc and that Buddha taught thousands of dharmas so everybody can choose the best practice to him/herself, etc, but if thats true, why the need to say "That sutra is the best, sutra xyz is the foremost, etc"? That will make people like me get confused? Wasnt better to say "All the sutras are good, choose the one that fits best on your life"?

Thanks


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:50 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm
Posts: 698
No comments? :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:36 am
Posts: 4027
Location: Spaceship Earth
You may find this related thread helpful Nosta:

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=6356

_________________
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm
Posts: 698
I will give a look to that thread.

Thank you Mr. G, you always ready to answer to every question and help everybody here in the forum :)

Thats in the spirit of a Boddhisatva. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:36 am
Posts: 4027
Location: Spaceship Earth
Nosta wrote:
I will give a look to that thread.

Thank you Mr. G, you always ready to answer to every question and help everybody here in the forum :)

Thats in the spirit of a Boddhisatva. :)


No prob! And if the thread doesn't help, perhaps more members here will give their input and clarify further.

_________________
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 17
I believe is the Maha-satipatthana Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.22.0.than.html


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm
Posts: 783
In the case of the Lotus Sutra, I read its self-referential narrative as referring to an expression of Buddhahood itself. So when it says the lotus sutra is the highest sutra, it isn't necessarily speaking about the exclusively specific assembly of words called 'the lotus sutra' but of the expression of Buddhahood, of which the lotus sutra sees itself as being one, as the highest. Which is also why the hyperbole of several sutras can be true, if they are indeed so.

But in reply to the topic title, the highest teaching is simply the teaching that is most effective for any given being at this point in time. If someone is enlightened by the lotus sutra then that is the highest teaching for him/her. If someone is enlightened by nianfo, then that is the highest for that person at that time.

_________________
"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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:28 pm
Posts: 698
Anders Honore wrote:
In the case of the Lotus Sutra, I read its self-referential narrative as referring to an expression of Buddhahood itself. So when it says the lotus sutra is the highest sutra, it isn't necessarily speaking about the exclusively specific assembly of words called 'the lotus sutra' but of the expression of Buddhahood, of which the lotus sutra sees itself as being one, as the highest. Which is also why the hyperbole of several sutras can be true, if they are indeed so.

But in reply to the topic title, the highest teaching is simply the teaching that is most effective for any given being at this point in time. If someone is enlightened by the lotus sutra then that is the highest teaching for him/her. If someone is enlightened by nianfo, then that is the highest for that person at that time.



Thank you for clarifying that about Lotus Sutra.

About your second part of the post, my question is not really "wich is the best teaching" but to discuss how can the sutras say "this sutra is the best", because that is, in a certain point, a contradiction.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:36 am
Posts: 4027
Location: Spaceship Earth
Nosta wrote:
Anders Honore wrote:
In the case of the Lotus Sutra, I read its self-referential narrative as referring to an expression of Buddhahood itself. So when it says the lotus sutra is the highest sutra, it isn't necessarily speaking about the exclusively specific assembly of words called 'the lotus sutra' but of the expression of Buddhahood, of which the lotus sutra sees itself as being one, as the highest. Which is also why the hyperbole of several sutras can be true, if they are indeed so.

But in reply to the topic title, the highest teaching is simply the teaching that is most effective for any given being at this point in time. If someone is enlightened by the lotus sutra then that is the highest teaching for him/her. If someone is enlightened by nianfo, then that is the highest for that person at that time.



Thank you for clarifying that about Lotus Sutra.

About your second part of the post, my question is not really "wich is the best teaching" but to discuss how can the sutras say "this sutra is the best", because that is, in a certain point, a contradiction.


Anders post also clarifies the question of "how can all the sutras say they are the best":

    So when it says the lotus sutra is the highest sutra, it isn't necessarily speaking about the exclusively specific assembly of words called 'the lotus sutra' but of the expression of Buddhahood, of which the lotus sutra sees itself as being one, as the highest. Which is also why the hyperbole of several sutras can be true, if they are indeed so

_________________
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:52 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:23 pm
Posts: 2107
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

The First Sermon of the Buddha on the turning of the Dharma Wheel. It is on the Four Noble Truths. Without that, you can't have any of the rest of the teachings / sutras.

_________________
Image
www.TheDhamma.com/
Dhamma Wiki encyclopedia
Dhamma Wheel forum


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:42 am 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Posts: 4612
Location: Baltimore, MD
David N. Snyder wrote:
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

The First Sermon of the Buddha on the turning of the Dharma Wheel. It is on the Four Noble Truths. Without that, you can't have any of the rest of the teachings / sutras.


You could. The First Turning of the Wheel doesn't supercede the Second Turing of the Wheel (and some would say that neither supercede the Third Turning of the Wheel). It's just that we all agree that the First Turning of the Wheel really did occur before either of the other two turnings.

From a sutric perspective it depends on how the individual reacts at the moment. As with all things it's a dependant arising where the appropriate teaching of the Buddha meets with the needs of an individual mind.

As far as the "biggest teaching" itself we could say impermanence and death or compassion or Buddhanature or even morality addressing suffering, path, ultimate basis or karma in respective nutshells.

The Dharma is always sweet but for me the single greatest sutra is the Mahayana Uttaratantra.

Kirt

_________________
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:11 pm
Posts: 1999
Location: France
"The Three Statements that Strike the Essential Points"

"One is directly introduced to one's own real nature"
"One directly decided upon this single unique state"
"One then directly continues with confidence in liberation"

_________________
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
- Longchen Rabjam -


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am
Posts: 2776
Quote:
I know that there are 84000 Dharmas, etc, etc and that Buddha taught thousands of dharmas so everybody can choose the best practice to him/herself, etc, but if thats true, why the need to say "That sutra is the best, sutra xyz is the foremost, etc"? That will make people like me get confused? Wasnt better to say "All the sutras are good, choose the one that fits best on your life"?
This...
Quote:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
Better than a thousand useless words is one useful word, hearing which one attains peace.
Better than a thousand useless verses is one useful verse, hearing which one attains peace.
Better than reciting a hundred meaningless verses is the reciting of one verse of Dhamma, hearing which one attains peace.

_________________
TWTB BIES OCB DDM BWF


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm
Posts: 2755
My opinion is that it depends of your necessities. At a certain point of your life and practice, a particular teaching may be the biggest for you. That can change when your individual needs change.
In a sort of humorous way, you may look at this as if it were a treatment for the primordial ignorance syndrome. First you may need a sort of medication, then you may need to change, then you may change again, going through different phases of treatment and adjusting the medication accordingly.
If your question is related to a sort of absolute comparison among the different teachings you'll likely find different answers, according to whom you ask.
But the teachings on dependent origination and emptiness are usually seen as the most deep and definitive in terms of meaning.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:06 pm
Posts: 41
Dechen Norbu wrote:
My opinion is that it depends of your necessities. At a certain point of your life and practice, a particular teaching may be the biggest for you. That can change when your individual needs change.


Yes, I agree. This is probably a good argument for becoming familiar with as many teachings as is practicable.

Spiny


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:56 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
You'll find the statement that "this is the best/highest/foremost sutra" in many Mahayana sutras. We could say that there is a strong inferiority complex within these texts. We can also say that different sutras were written/collected by different factions who tried to propagate their own teachings. We can do what later theorists did in Buddhism, categorise the sutras according to our taste and thus create a taxonomy, that way decide what sutras are to be taken symbolically and what literally. We can also say that all the sutras ultimately talk about the same thing - of course, we decide what that same thing is - and handle them accordingly. It is also an option to say what has been said before here, that people choose different sutras according to their own inclinations. These, and possibly even more, are existing and working ways of looking at the large variety of Mahayana sutras.

"Outside the mind there is no Lotus Sutra and outside the Lotus Sutra there is no mind." (Hakuin Ekaku: Letter in Answer to an Old Nun of the Hokke [Nichiren] Sect)

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:05 pm 
Online
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Posts: 1953
Since most sutras have that refrain, near the end, about sutra x being the best, even though sutras y & z say the same thing; it could puzzle one. My solution is taken from the stages or steps method of Buddha's teaching. That is - every teaching is targeted for a certain type of mind, where the teaching would, in truth, be the 'best' for that person at that time. So 'best' means relative to a type of mind at a certain stage on the path, it does not mean 'best' in an absolute sense.

_________________
Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:25 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
There is one major problem with the idea that "the teaching fits the mind" is that then one has to conclude that only stupid people believe in low level teachings while the smart ones follow the highest teachings. So, if you believe that X sutra/teaching is the best, you are stupid, because it is Z sutra/teaching that is the best and that's what I follow.

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:33 pm 
Online
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Posts: 1953
Astus wrote:
There is one major problem with the idea that "the teaching fits the mind" is that then one has to conclude that only stupid people believe in low level teachings while the smart ones follow the highest teachings. So, if you believe that X sutra/teaching is the best, you are stupid, because it is Z sutra/teaching that is the best and that's what I follow.


Unless you are stupid enough to know that X sutra is best for me and those like me at this stage on my path. Tragically many smart people go for the best and highest and cannot practice it well or at all. Then they toss the buddhadharma aside or go nuts.

I prefer 'stupid'.

_________________
Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:36 pm 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
Will, what I meant is that matching the teachings to the recipients' minds it becomes not just claiming that X doctrine is the best, but it adds a personal insult to it.

_________________
"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)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 40 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 13 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group