Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

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Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Tiger » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:42 am

Since Vajrayana/Tibetan-Buddhism parochialists claim that their method is the most superior for reaching Buddhahood in a single lifetime, and implicitly disparage the others, Sravakas, general Mahayanists (Chan, Tiantai, Pure Land etc) as being mere "scholars" who depend on scriptural study, not practice (which is an outrightly incorrect assumption), I would like to ask if the Buddha of our Kalpa - Buddha Shakyamuni - also gave empowerments to his disciples or not?

My personal opinion is that, long as the journey may be, the real path towards Samyaksambuddhahood is superior to any "Buddhahood" that can only be caused due to the effort of a Guru or master, even if it were to take only a single lifetime. I am not denying that the Tantriks do not reach Buddha hood, but that is certainly inferior compared to a Samyuksambuddha. They do not turn the wheel of Dharma like the Buddhas do.

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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Josef » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:49 am

No, there is no evidence to support that Shakyamuni ever gave empowerments or taught Vajrayana at all.
At least not in the physical realm.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby mindyourmind » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:08 am

Did Jesus hold Mass :guns:

Many ways to give "empowerments".
As bad as bad becomes its not a part of you

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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:27 pm

Tiger wrote:Since Vajrayana/Tibetan-Buddhism parochialists claim that their method is the most superior for reaching Buddhahood in a single lifetime, and implicitly disparage the others, Sravakas, general Mahayanists (Chan, Tiantai, Pure Land etc) as being mere "scholars" who depend on scriptural study, not practice (which is an outrightly incorrect assumption), I would like to ask if the Buddha of our Kalpa - Buddha Shakyamuni - also gave empowerments to his disciples or not?

My personal opinion is that, long as the journey may be, the real path towards Samyaksambuddhahood is superior to any "Buddhahood" that can only be caused due to the effort of a Guru or master, even if it were to take only a single lifetime. I am not denying that the Tantriks do not reach Buddha hood, but that is certainly inferior compared to a Samyuksambuddha. They do not turn the wheel of Dharma like the Buddhas do.

Namo Amitabha Buddha


Interesting - what are the different grades of Buddhahood and how is one inferior to another?

How do you link Vajrayana with Buddhahood only caused through the effort of a Guru or master or separate it from scriptural study? Those are strange assumptions.

I agree that 'parochialists' of all persuasions have a limited localised view. Perhaps you meant 'supremacist'. Aren't you being the same here?
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Tiger » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:52 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:
Tiger wrote:Since Vajrayana/Tibetan-Buddhism parochialists claim that their method is the most superior for reaching Buddhahood in a single lifetime, and implicitly disparage the others, Sravakas, general Mahayanists (Chan, Tiantai, Pure Land etc) as being mere "scholars" who depend on scriptural study, not practice (which is an outrightly incorrect assumption), I would like to ask if the Buddha of our Kalpa - Buddha Shakyamuni - also gave empowerments to his disciples or not?

My personal opinion is that, long as the journey may be, the real path towards Samyaksambuddhahood is superior to any "Buddhahood" that can only be caused due to the effort of a Guru or master, even if it were to take only a single lifetime. I am not denying that the Tantriks do not reach Buddha hood, but that is certainly inferior compared to a Samyuksambuddha. They do not turn the wheel of Dharma like the Buddhas do.

Namo Amitabha Buddha


Interesting - what are the different grades of Buddhahood and how is one inferior to another?

How do you link Vajrayana with Buddhahood only caused through the effort of a Guru or master or separate it from scriptural study? Those are strange assumptions.

I agree that 'parochialists' of all persuasions have a limited localised view. Perhaps you meant 'supremacist'. Aren't you being the same here?



Sorry, I may have created the topic on wrong assumptions. Basically, my questions were asked in the context of the following points:

1. Vajrayana practitioners consider higher Tantras/Yogas (Mahamudra, Dzogchen etc) as the ONLY method to attain Buddhahood (correct me if I am wrong here). Which is why I asked if Buddha Shakyamuni also delivered empowerments.
2. Vajrayana practitioner's main criticism of other sects/vehicles is that the "lower" vehicles do not practice, they only study the sutras and thus take a very very long time to understand Buddhadharma. This is outrightly wrong because sitting crossed-legged and practicing Shamatha, Vipashyana, Buddhanusmriti, or Koan etc are all practice - not study. There is no Buddha vehicle that prioritizes study over practice.


Buddhahood is only one, but there are different types of Buddha's (Pratyeka Buddha, Samyaksam Buddha ). Among them the fully self-enlightened Buddha is supposed to be the most supreme because Samyuksambuddhas turn the wheel of dharma in their Kalpas and have gone through the long Bodhisattva path as laid down in the Mahayana Sutras. Moreover, they become Buddha's without receiving empowerments (they only receive prediction from some previous Buddha).

Even though the Vajrayanist may have a short cut path towards Buddhahood, by virtue of its requirement that it can only be practiced if you receive an empowerment (thus, you need your will as well as that of the Guru and if the Guru denies you cannot get it) from a Guru, it cannot lead to fully self-enlightened Buddhahood. Therefore, it may have its merits of being a short cut, but it is logically impossible that it could be superior path to other sects that also lead to Buddhahood, if not the most superior.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby oushi » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:26 pm

Are you looking for the most effective path, or the way to disprove Vajrayana? You can speak openly.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby seeker242 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:18 am

That depends on what you mean by "empowerment". You could say he did, in a way. The story behind verse 282 of the Dhammapada, is a good one. :) One could certainly say this monk was "empowered". :)

Verse 282: The Story of Thera Potthila

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (282) of this book,
with reference to Thera Potthila.

Potthila was a senior Bhikkhu, who knew the Pitaka well and was actually teaching the
Dhamma to five hundred Bhikkhus. Because he knew the Pitaka, he was also very conceited.
The Buddha knew his weakness and wanted him to mend his ways and put him on the right
path. So, whenever Potthila came to pay obeisance, the Buddha would address him as 'Useless
Potthila'. When Potthila heard these remarks, he pondered over those words of the Buddha
and came to realize that the Buddha had made those unkind remarks because he, Potthila,
had not made any serious effort to practice meditation and had not achieved any of the
Maggas or even any level of mental absorption (jhana).

Thus, without telling anyone Thera Potthila left for a monastery at a place twenty yojanas
away from the Jetavana monastery. At that monastery there were thirty Bhikkhus. First, he
went to the most senior Bhikkhu and humbly requested him to be his mentor; but the thera,
wishing to humble him, asked him to go to the next senior Bhikkhu, who in his turn sent him on
to the next. In this way, he was sent from one to the other until he came to a seven year old
Arahat samanera. The young samanera accepted him as a pupil only after ascertaining that
Potthila would obediently follow his instructions. As instructed by the samanera, Thera
Potthila kept his mind firmly fixed on the true nature of the body; he was very ardent and
vigilant in his meditation.

The Buddha saw Potthila in his vision and through supernormal power made Potthila feel
his presence and encouraged him to be steadfast and ardent.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 282. Indeed, wisdom is born of meditation; without meditation wisdom is lost.
Knowing this twofold path of gain and loss of wisdom, one should conduct oneself
so that wisdom may increase.

At the end of the discourse Potthila attained Arahatship.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:30 am

Tiger wrote: I would like to ask if the Buddha of our Kalpa - Buddha Shakyamuni - also gave empowerments to his disciples or not?


Shakyamuni is not the only Buddha though.

We have had many Buddhas, and yes they gave empowerments.

Just some Buddhas off the top of my head who gave empowerments: Longchenpa, Shardza Rinpoche, various Mahasiddhas etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasiddha
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:43 am

Tiger wrote:1. Vajrayana practitioners consider higher Tantras/Yogas (Mahamudra, Dzogchen etc) as the ONLY method to attain Buddhahood (correct me if I am wrong here).


If you are talking one lifetime, then yes that is the standard Vajrayana position.


Tiger wrote:2. Vajrayana practitioner's main criticism of other sects/vehicles is that the "lower" vehicles do not practice, they only study the sutras and thus take a very very long time to understand Buddhadharma. This is outrightly wrong because sitting crossed-legged and practicing Shamatha, Vipashyana, Buddhanusmriti, or Koan etc are all practice - not study. There is no Buddha vehicle that prioritizes study over practice.


The lower vehicles themselves said it takes 3 incalculable eons. Atleast in India. Chinese schools asserted different things.

And the meditation you describe is contrived and conceptual.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:05 am

Does Theravada provide a path for lay practitioners and women to become Buddhas, or are they considered subservient to monks in helping them along the way?

Does the Theravada itself value practice above the preservation and transmission of the scriptures?

More here: http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Tiger » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:10 am

Meditation I described is not conceptual. Read Bodhidharma's anthology if you have time. The whole point is about non-conceptuality. All the various Mahayana Sutras talk about non-grasping mind which directly implies non-conceptuality. Besides, there is supposed to be no conceptuality in the higher Jhanas as well.

I personally think that Vajrayana is a body-method like Taoism. Just as in Taoism, the priests understand the function of subtle body with its various bodies, channels, different types of Qi, Jing, different Spirits (Po, Hun etc), in the same way Vajrayanists also rather use the understanding of the correlation between these subtle energies and mind to reach enlightenment. Only that Vajrayana is also more Shamanic (having its origins in Indian tantra which itself originated from Shamanism) compared to Taoism, as the Taoists do have practices like Qi Gong, Bagua Quan, Tai Chi, Liu He Ba Fa, Five animal Frolics and myriad forms of Qi Gong and martial arts practices, sexual practices etc which DO work and which do not require the invocation of a spirit (unlike in Vajrayana where invocation is required). I practice Tai Chi and have met people who do have skills that can be considered 'Superlative', so I am going to take outright denial that Taoism is a farce.

In contrast to Taoism, the Buddhists in China were considered superior and most famous Taoists ended up converting to Buddhism because of what it had to offer. Although the Buddhists had their own Qi Gong forms (18 Arhats, Tendon changing Marrow washing classics, Buddha's palm, Luohan Gong, Iron Wire, Happy Angry Arhat, etc), their primary criticism of Taoists was precisely that the Taoists only concern themselves with the body, unlike the Buddhists.


Sorry I am in the office so can't quote from Mahayana Sutras about non-conceptuality which is not a sole property of the Vajrayana domain. On the contrary, it seems funny because Vajrayanists also, like Taoists, concentrate on Qi, channels, microcosmic, macrocosmic orbit etc which correspond to Tantric Prana, Bindus, Kundalini etc.


PS - I am not criticizing Vajrayana for its 'inferiority' but just expressing my lack of preference towards systems that require you to surrender to another being (whether a god, spirit, Bodhisattva, Dharma-protector, Yidam, Dakhini etc). A system should be stand-alone that a being could traverse all by himself. That is indeed a true achievement. For that matter, I believe many of the Taoist Yogic practices are superior to the Vajrayanists as they DO yield results which can be confirmed.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Tiger » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:18 am

Blue Garuda wrote:Does Theravada provide a path for lay practitioners and women to become Buddhas, or are they considered subservient to monks in helping them along the way?

Does the Theravada itself value practice above the preservation and transmission of the scriptures?

More here: http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-b ... dhanew.pdf



There is no substitute for hard work and Buddhahood is not mundane goal for one to be attained through short cuts. There are scriptures (not Tantras, of course) in which Buddha says that all the Samyaksambuddha's have attained Buddhahood by leaving the home life and following the Bodhisattva path for 3 incalculable eons.

As the Shurangama Sutra and various other prominent Mahayana Sutras say, Buddhahood is not possible so long as even a dust peck of desire for lust is left in the mind.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby oushi » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:37 am

Tiger wrote:PS - I am not criticizing Vajrayana for its 'inferiority' but just expressing my lack of preference towards systems that require you to surrender to another being (whether a god, spirit, Bodhisattva, Dharma-protector, Yidam, Dakhini etc). A system should be stand-alone that a being could traverse all by himself. That is indeed a true achievement. For that matter, I believe many of the Taoist Yogic practices are superior to the Vajrayanists as they DO yield results which can be confirmed.

If you can find a systems that doesn't require you to surrender, then I'm fine with your lack of preference toward Vajrayana. Surrendering is the key point in all systems, as the defended needs to be let go of. You can just get out of that shield wall, or break it. Someone can hit you with a hammer, like a koan, or gently ask you to come out presenting himself as a god, spirit, Bodhisattva.... If you want to traverse all by yourself, why do you need system for? There is absolutely no difference in the result. If you are searching for system that will let you release yourself without "external" help, then I can tell you that life is such a system, just wait, and some day you will see that there is not external, or internal. If you believe that the type of buddhahood is dependent on conditions, then you are negating Tathagata, and you create duality hazard.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:08 am

All the vehicles have the same goal. This has been explained many times. In Vajrayana the teacher introduces you to dharmata and this saves time. But this introduction can be found in all traditions. Also if you don't get it then the path is long.
You know I feel all the traditions have great value if your /our kleshas are reduced. If we take these paths as objective facts that we wear like a badge then they are all of limited use.
Did Shakyamuni give empowerment? Kind of yes.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Tiger » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:04 am

Andrew108 wrote:All the vehicles have the same goal. This has been explained many times. In Vajrayana the teacher introduces you to dharmata and this saves time. But this introduction can be found in all traditions. Also if you don't get it then the path is long.
You know I feel all the traditions have great value if your /our kleshas are reduced. If we take these paths as objective facts that we wear like a badge then they are all of limited use.
Did Shakyamuni give empowerment? Kind of yes.



All I was saying was that the nature of introducing oneself to dharmata is not exclusive to Vajrayana. When Mahakashyapa smiled when the Buddha raised a flower in his hand, it was probably a transmission. Even Taoists can reach as far as the Vajrayanists can with their superior methods of body-mind exercises which doesn't require invocation of a deity. For example, Daniel Reid has translated the account of John Blofeld (I am sure he needs no introduction) when he met an immortal in the capital city of China at that time. Even that Taoist immortal gave him introduction to the nature of phenomena. I am sure Vajrayana parochialists would deny that one as forgery or just some mundane hypnotism but for those interested, I am writing the relevant excerpt from the chapter called "Clairvoyant Immortal":

At that moment, a very peculiar sensation suddenly arose within me. All of a sudden, he, I, and everything in the space between us, while still retaining their external appearance, seemed to condense into an inseparable singularity, as though we had suddenly dissolved into one amorphous entity. This dimension of existence gave me a feeling a great joy. For a short while, my mind was mesmerized and my spirit was lost, but at the same time, I knew that this condition was definitely not a distorted fantasy. The strange thing was that although I felt very happy and at ease in that state, I also felt that I could not withstand this man's spiritual power much longer, and that if I did not soon break free of his gaze, I might never return to the normal world, and so I quickly lowered my eyes and terminated that mysterious sensation.

.....

I'd like to discuss in more detail the meaning of this so-called "uniting as one whole" phenomenon, both from the perspective of Taoist teaching as well as modern science. When Old Dzeng fixed his penetrating gaze on me, I definitely and very clearly perceived the inseparable and boundless nature of all phemonena. That is to say, my perception at the time was that even though all objects had their own separate relative identity, at the same time they were also all completely unified as one primordial entity. That of course defies logic, and is a principle that lies beyond rational debate. I had long ago learned from my Buddhist and Taoist studies about the relative nature of reality, and that only through a higher level of wisdom could one really understand the true nature of phenomena. And yet, in only a few fleeting moments, Old Dzeng had given me a direct experiential perception of the fundamental nature of reality"



So, what think you? Is this Taoist immortal any less attained than the various masters in the Tibetan tradition who about giving empowerments and transmissions? This is why I say that anyone who has attained to such levels through his own cultivation is definitely superior than someone who had to be introduced about it by another being. I bet you can get introduced to Dharmata by taking some heavy dose of LSD too!

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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby oushi » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:31 am

Tiger wrote:This is why I say that anyone who has attained to such levels through his own cultivation is definitely superior than someone who had to be introduced about it by another being.

There is no one there, so how can there be superior and inferior?
You have a diamond and hundreds reflections\descriptions expressing it. No description is it, non is different from it. If you take the reflections as it, then you can certainly arrange them as superior and inferior. You like this one, you dislike this one. You have preferences toward this group, and you see that group as false. Just like in life, deluded life.
I bet you can get introduced to Dharmata by taking some heavy dose of LSD too!

Can you tell me when is the time you are not being introduced to it?
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:47 am

So are you trying to equate Varjayana empowerments with LSD? LSD will give you an experience, and a fairly insignificant one at that. The purpose of an empowerment is to ripen your potentialities for realization and to recieve the blessings of a lineage of awakened masters. An empowerment is not about fleeting experiences. If the idea of having a guru and recieving transmission doesn't sit well with you, then there are many other paths that you can practice. But why go to such great lengths to critisize what you don't understand?
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:10 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:But why go to such great lengths to critisize what you don't understand?


It's called trolling, prettied up with a few stories, but nevertheless it boils down to: 'My yana's better that your yana', mine is the 'real' Buddhism because Shakyamuni taught it and he didn't teach the supersititious fairy tales and spirit worship you lot go in for. (I paraphrase and generalise mercilessly here, of course. )

Remind me of the 'conversations' back at Buddhachat between Theradava and Vajayana - they begin with what appears to be a civilised exchange and rapidly degenerate as people start writing what they really meant, in more blunt words.

Always makes me laugh - as if anyone has a clue what Shakyamuni actually taught, to whom, where and when. There isn't the slightest basis for a person to assert their particular tale as the 'real' one.

Ain't slagging off other skools agin ToS or summat?
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:03 pm

Tiger wrote:Meditation I described is not conceptual. Read Bodhidharma's anthology if you have time. The whole point is about non-conceptuality. All the various Mahayana Sutras talk about non-grasping mind which directly implies non-conceptuality. Besides, there is supposed to be no conceptuality in the higher Jhanas as well.


From the Vajrayana POV, this is all contrived and conceptual.

For starters, Vajrayana empowerments directly introduce the nature of the mind. A teacher will explain your own primordial nature.

Secondly, there all sorts of practices such as tummo, karmamudra etc. which don't rely on contrived conceptual meditation or jhana states.
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Re: Did Shakyamuni Buddha also give empowerments?

Postby SSJ3Gogeta » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:08 pm

Tiger wrote:For that matter, I believe many of the Taoist Yogic practices are superior to the Vajrayanists as they DO yield results which can be confirmed.



Please elaborate. We are all open minded. I've personally never heard of Taoist practices yielding any results, let alone results that can be confirmed.
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