Why not Theravada

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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TaTa
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby TaTa » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:47 am


tattoogunman
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:00 pm

Bringing this one back to the front as I had the same question. I've been reading about Buddhism for about a year, but only recently really started keying in on the fact that there are different schools/paths (or whatever the appropriate term is). I as drawn to Buddhism mainly because it really wasn't/isn't necessarily a "religion" (in that he was basically a normal guy who "figured it all out" and then sought to bring others into the fold). Buddha being rooted in the real world and not being an omnipotent being (or so I had thought until recently) was/is appealing to me as I generally reject mainstream deity/god based religions. With all of that said, my question is the same as the OP as I learn more about Mahayana Buddhism. I've been listening to a lecture series done by the Manchester Buddhist Center (free off of iTunes) and it's implied that Mahayana embraces the concept that Buddha was/is a god like deity (can manifest himself across the universe, etc.). Now, I actually visited a Mahayana temple this weekend and spent the better part of the afternoon there. Everyone was very welcoming and informative. They explained to me (I believe they are Pure Land) that they also adhere to the school of thought that Buddha was a great teacher and nothing more. I was very specific when I voiced my oppositions to deities and things of that nature. They assured me that they simply follow Buddha as a teacher, meditation practices, etc. and not as a god. But again, from some of what I've read today and this lecture series, there seem to be sects out there that do revere him as a godlike being. There also seems to be quite a bit of disparity (at least from what I've seen/heard) in the schools on how each one carries out their day to day practices.

Does that make sense??

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:14 pm

A pure land is just a bardo experience, of the wisdom variety.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:18 pm

Theravada does not have Madhyamaka, which is the distilled essence of Buddha's teaching.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

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Grigoris
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Grigoris » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:20 am

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

tattoogunman
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:29 am

The way it was explained to me at the Mahayana temple this weekend was that Mahayana goes hand in hand with Theravada, that they basically exist hand in hand. But again, I'm reading stuff on here and other places saying that is not the case. For example, that lecture series that I'm listening to at the moment - the guy giving the lecture refers to Mahayana Buddhism as "transcendental science fiction" along with a few other choice descriptive terms (and the lecture series does not appear to be to debunk Buddhism, so I don't think there is any kind of anti-Buddhism motivation there).

It comes down to one of those things where you are basically asking who is right and who is wrong? Is there necessarily a right or a wrong? It's just like trying to compare different mainstream religions - many of them are pretty close to each other, but then have some major fundamental difference that sets them apart. Does this basically hold true in Buddhism? You've got a root source (which is what I thought Theravada was supposed to be) and then over thousands of years people have run off with it and tweaked it into their own versions. Again, I'm fine with that as long as the root is still the same. But I've heard enough over the last two days now to make me question that. You've got a large section very implicitly saying that Buddha is not a god and basically nothing special (regular guy who obtained enlightenment). Then I'm finding references to him being a god or some super powered deity who travels the universe, appears to people as a glowing being, etc. That is where I am having a hard time. It *seems* that the vast majority of what I am finding does NOT elevate him to the godhood role, I'm just trying to make sure that Mahayana is one of them and not a sect/faction (whatever) that deems him to be a god. Again, I think that is where this base question comes from and that's what I am trying to find out. Maybe it's a matter of figuring out which resources to listen to - I've been gobbling up a little bit of everything, but that's not to say that I've come across some bad info here and there.

Does that make sense?

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:41 am

What kind of Mahayana temple is this?

Whats the overarching organization?
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

SittingSilent
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby SittingSilent » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:42 am

I am a beginner, but I am leaning towards Mahayana Buddhism as opposed to Theravada Buddhism simply because of the Bodhisattva role that exists in Mahayana Buddhism. Personally, I do not see how one can truly try to follow the intent of the Buddha's teachings and NOT try to eliminate suffering of all sentient beings. But that's just the thoughts of someone who is just starting on this path.

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viniketa
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:48 am

. ~

tattoogunman
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:02 am


JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:09 am

Dudjom Lingpa and modern day Dudjom Rinpoche, Namkhai Norbu and many others have Buddha encounters.

In a lucid dream, where clarity is seven times higher, one's own wisdom can take the form of Buddhas and Pure Lands.

Pure Land Buddhism is a form of phowa, which shapes a nice bardo experience of the wisdom variety.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:24 am

Or if you don't like this mystical stuff, study Madhyamaka's 'vajra sliver' reasoning which is most powerful atheism on the planet.

"Center of the Sunlit Sky" is the best book on that.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

SittingSilent
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby SittingSilent » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:36 am


JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:47 am

Last edited by JohnRammy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

tattoogunman
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:58 am


JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:09 am

Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:18 am

"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:21 am

Some quotes from "Nagarjuna's Reason Sixty"

Nagarjuna's says:
I bow to the Lord of Sages, who proclaimed relativity, the way by which he abandoned creation and destruction!
You who have eliminated nihilism, the source of all ills, should attend to the reasons why absolutism must be rejected as well.
You cannot be liberated through absolutism, nor escape this existence from nihilism. Great souls are liberated by fully understanding being and nothing.
Imagining any sort of creation, in anything, however subtle, such an unwise individual does not see the meaning of "conditioned arisal."
Those who develop understanding of relativity, abandoning creation and destruction, cross the ocean of existence with its views.
Whatever originates having a cause, does not endure without conditions, and, without conditions is destroyed. How can you understand such things as "existent"?
Those who insist on a non-relative “Self” or “world”-Alas! They are deprived by views such as absolutism and nihilism.
Claiming that dependent things are established in reality, how could they not develop flawed views, such as absolutism, about those things?

Candrakīrti's says:
For one does not become Lord of Sages simply by proclaiming relativity, but rather by articulating the pattern of the mutually dependent establishment of things and hence negating things' creation and destruction.
The naive are bound because the addictions such as desire, which develop through their imaginative construction of signs of "being" and "nothingness"….
Just so, he stated, "by knowing creation, you know destruction," since creation is the root of destruction…
Nagarjuna taught , "bereft of beginning, middle, and end," meaning that the world is free from creation, duration, and destruction.
Once one asserts things, one will succumb to the view of seeing such by imagining their beginning, middle and end; hence that grasping at things is the cause of all views.
In order for disciples, hermit buddhas, and altruistic bodhisattvas to abandon such total addiction, those who understand correctly-the perfectly enlightened buddhas-proclaimed, "What is dependently created is uncreated."
Likewise, here as well, the Lord Buddha’s pronouncement that "What is dependently created is objectively uncreated," is to counteract insistence on the objectivity of things.
Since relativity is not objectively created, those who, through this reasoning, accept dependent things as resembling the moon in water and reflections in a mirror, understand them as neither objectively true nor false. Therefore, those who think thus regarding dependent things realize that what is dependently arisen cannot be substantially existent, since what is like a reflection is not real. If it were real, that would entail the absurdity that its transformation would be impossible. Yet neither is it unreal, since it manifests as real within the world.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

JohnRammy
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:44 am

Basically dependently originated phenomena never arise in the first place. All we are left with is illusion. Things only seem real because of imputed identities.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.

tattoogunman
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:46 pm



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