Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Indrajala » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:47 pm

Aemilius wrote:I see your point, but I have seen it all differently. There are certain necessities why the Mahayana, or what is described as Mahayana, took place on Earth, in Jambudvipa or in India, roughly 2500 years ago. Hinayana was a politically acceptable creation of some later arhats, it was created purposefully by arhats who were a split-off group from the original teaching and the original community. I am quite certain of this, that the Mahayana was and is a historical movement started by Buddha Shakyamuni.


You'll be hard pressed to prove this to any sufficiently read Buddhist or scholar. What you propose is simply based on faith and not the available history and extant literature.

A lot of the Mahāyāna literature represents "transcendental thinking" where it is the subtle idea and not coarse historical events that matters.

In the absence of inherent entities and people, a single individual and their teaching career dissolves into a far more profound and expansive chain of causes and conditions where the tathāgata "manifests" as scriptures and other such expedient means which liberate beings from this illusory albeit all too painful reality. This was not just the Buddha as a single man who became enlightened under the Bodhi Tree, but a vast immeasurable unimaginable array of causes and conditions before him together with the later likewise immeasurable outcomes. The flesh and blood teacher was a visible and clear manifestation of the the dharmakāya which was immediately available to beings in a tangible and readily understood form. However, as the Mahāyāna literature constantly teaches, buddhas and bodhisattvas of sufficient calibre manifest in multiple bodies and forms (the Mahāsāṃghika had more or less the same idea, which is why many of them accepted Mahāyāna scriptures).

This doesn't mean showing up in robes with a name and title, but rather it is a transcendental albeit quite active engagement with reality on very subtle levels that are difficult for ordinary peoples to even really grasp. There are two kinds of saṃsāra. One "delimited", which is how ordinary beings experience it, and the other a kind of "transmundane" or "transformative", which is how advanced bodhisattvas operate. The literature which details the latter stresses how subtle and difficult it is to grasp for ordinary beings. It is transcendental and engaging reality with multiple bodies simultaneously. In the absence of self-identity and a single point of reference one is neither a being nor non-existent.

The Buddha set in motion patterns with every single word he spoke that would have absolutely profound impacts throughout time and space. From our limited perspective he was one sage, but from a greater perspective just a single sentence of his could, in the span of twenty-five centuries thus far, result in immeasurable beings liberated, immeasurable stupas built, immeasurable libraries filled with works of wisdom and immeasurable very positive effects on history. In the absence of a self and identity, was the tathāgata just the flesh and blood sage, or was it both the sage and all the results of his words and actions such as the scriptures, stupas, libraries, monasteries, statues and so on?

A Buddha is not a being, but a kind of force amongst sentient beings, akin to the sun which provides nourishing light to all without regard for whether they ask for it or not. So in that more transcendental perspective, it really isn't so important whether Śākyamuni Buddha directly taught the Mahāyāna because indirectly it was the Buddha's speech and actions which set in motion the patterns which produced the Mahāyāna and subsequent scriptures which consequently result in many beings liberated and inspired to emulate him.

Was that his intention or not? That of course is an article of faith. I believe it was his intention because he was omniscient by his own admission and would have known the outcome of his teachings.

However, I can't say that conventionally Śākyamuni directly taught everything that is attributed to him.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Jnana » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:09 pm

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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:45 pm

Huseng wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I see your point, but I have seen it all differently. There are certain necessities why the Mahayana, or what is described as Mahayana, took place on Earth, in Jambudvipa or in India, roughly 2500 years ago. Hinayana was a politically acceptable creation of some later arhats, it was created purposefully by arhats who were a split-off group from the original teaching and the original community. I am quite certain of this, that the Mahayana was and is a historical movement started by Buddha Shakyamuni.


You'll be hard pressed to prove this to any sufficiently read Buddhist or scholar. What you propose is simply based on faith and not the available history and extant literature.


What are the sources of knowledge in buddhism or acording to Buddha himself? Do they not include what is known as paranormal vision, telepathic powers, etc? That are included in the five or six abhijña? It is called knowledge in buddhism, by the Buddha, and by the masters in Mahayana.
Views based on modern scholarship also require faith in several ways. It is faith invoked by authority, by the manner of academic speech, academic clothing and other symbols of modern worldly authority, like wealth, titles and money. When you encounter these, they automatically invoke faith in you. It is a self evident and unquestioned faith, it is inbuilt in the human society, in the psychological laws that govern human behaviour.
Ridicule is heaped upon anybody that relies on the six abhijñas and on the knowledge gained through them, like the visions of masters of Mahayana like Je Tsongkhapa, Zhi Yi and others, who have seen Buddha Shakyamuni as the origin and source of the Mahayana sutras.
The view I propose is based on valid inference and reasoning, that is based on the experience and knowledge of buddhist masters of the Mahayana. This knowledge is still available to you.
It is a complex issue, but the faith is certainly in it anyway, whoever it is you have faith in.
I am also indepted to Hegel, to his method in the study of history. It has given valuable insights for the understanding of buddhist history.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:57 pm

Jnana wrote:
Aemilius wrote:The modern buddhism that you have faith in is a product of modern european imagination. It completely dismisses the fact that Zhi Yi and thousands of other enlightened Mahayana masters have perceived reality and do perceive reality. Your view is fundamentally false, your view is dependent on modern european consciousness, it is a manifestation of this consciousness, it has an inherent racist or cultural bias when it regards the enlightened masters in the Great tree of Mahayana to be equivalent to monkeys in their worth and in their knowledge.

And what about all of the Buddhists in ancient India that didn't accept that the Mahāyāna or the Trikāya theory or the Lotus Sūtra? Surely their views weren't "a product of modern european imagination"? And given that they were Indians and Buddhists, surely they weren't prone to an "inherent racist or cultural bias"?


I thought about that, ofcourse there were indian followers of the sravakayana. But then again, srilankans did't come to London in 1800's in order to start the Palitext Society, that work was done by europeans. I think the whole modern theravada is much indepted to the work done by europeans worldwide.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:08 am

Aemilius wrote:What are the sources of knowledge in buddhism or acording to Buddha himself? Do they not include what is known as paranormal vision, telepathic powers, etc? That are included in the five or six abhijña? It is called knowledge in buddhism, by the Buddha, and by the masters in Mahayana.
Views based on modern scholarship also require faith in several ways. It is faith invoked by authority, by the manner of academic speech, academic clothing and other symbols of modern worldly authority, like wealth, titles and money. When you encounter these, they automatically invoke faith in you. It is a self evident and unquestioned faith, it is inbuilt in the human society, in the psychological laws that govern human behaviour.
Ridicule is heaped upon anybody that relies on the six abhijñas and on the knowledge gained through them, like the visions of masters of Mahayana like Je Tsongkhapa, Zhi Yi and others, who have seen Buddha Shakyamuni as the origin and source of the Mahayana sutras.


Your theory has many holes. So you assume that whoever possesses the abhijnas would see the same thing? Then how do you explain the sravakayana practitioners who have mastered abhijnas and still don't accept the Mahayana teachings?
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:43 am

Aemilius wrote:I thought about that, ofcourse there were indian followers of the sravakayana. But then again, srilankans did't come to London in 1800's in order to start the Palitext Society, that work was done by europeans. I think the whole modern theravada is much indepted to the work done by europeans worldwide.


I don't get what you are trying to say here. There are a lot of Sravakayana materials outside of the PTS. Also, the translations of the theravadin texts are very much in line with how the tradition teaches it. The point is that throughout the history of Buddhism, not everyone accepts the Mahayana, and even within Mahayana you see differing strands of thought.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Indrajala » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:01 am

Aemilius wrote:What are the sources of knowledge in buddhism or acording to Buddha himself? Do they not include what is known as paranormal vision, telepathic powers, etc? That are included in the five or six abhijña? It is called knowledge in buddhism, by the Buddha, and by the masters in Mahayana.


There are numerous ways of knowing. For ordinary people we do not have access to a few types, though we have direct perception, inference and knowing through the testimony of a valid authority (śabda-pramana).

Views based on modern scholarship also require faith in several ways. It is faith invoked by authority, by the manner of academic speech, academic clothing and other symbols of modern worldly authority, like wealth, titles and money. When you encounter these, they automatically invoke faith in you. It is a self evident and unquestioned faith, it is inbuilt in the human society, in the psychological laws that govern human behaviour.



I don't think this does anything to undermine what present scholarship knows about the early development of Buddhism. Most of it is based on textual and archaeological evidence and intelligent inference. I've never met Bronkhorst and don't know what he looks like, but what he writes is damn solid.



Ridicule is heaped upon anybody that relies on the six abhijñas and on the knowledge gained through them, like the visions of masters of Mahayana like Je Tsongkhapa, Zhi Yi and others, who have seen Buddha Shakyamuni as the origin and source of the Mahayana sutras.


There are two approaches to things. Above I tried to explain that while I cannot say that the Buddha taught the Mahāyāna, I can say that a buddha did. The validity of the Mahāyāna and your noted mystics here are not undermined.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:00 pm

Thanks!

There are a lot more things to this issue than has been taken so far. One of them is that religions are like icebergs floating in the sea, what is visible is only one ninth part of them. When Shakyamuni Buddha taught in India he was aware of the whole Earth, or aware of the whole Trichiliocosm, He saw the immediate effect of His teaching, what kind of responses there were to it world wide. This means that the all of the religions and cultures on Earth have to do with Enlightenment. These are unseen things, but things that must not be dismissed. This means for example that Bible has several stories that describe their reactions to enlightenment, like the Golden calf (which is the Enlightened one), the Tower of Babylon (Turning of the Wheel of Dharma), Garden of Eden (World before enlightenement, i.e. the state of Ignorance), etc...

Also, there have been many cultures that were wholly oral, or mostly oral, in their knowledge, like the Mayans, Incas, Aboriginal cultures of Australia, etc... Seeing buddhism as a culture of literature is a modern european misconception that is far removed from the truth. In the egyptian tradition the study of writing began when the students were 40 years of age, this was preceded by 14 or more years of oral studies.
The meaning of knowledge is quite different in an oral culture.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:11 am

pueraeternus wrote: So you assume that whoever possesses the abhijnas would see the same thing? Then how do you explain the sravakayana practitioners who have mastered abhijnas and still don't accept the Mahayana teachings?


This is traditionally explained with the classification of humans into three, or actually five, gotras. This means that we have an inborn tendency toward the sravakayana, pratyekabuddhayana or bodhisattvayana, one's gotra/spiritual lineage is difficult or impossible to change during one lifetime, and therefore we see reality, we see Dharma, according to our inherent tendency toward one of these views. It was forbidden in Mahayana to teach the bodhisattvayana to those that belong to the other two vehicles. This principle is reflected, or implied, in the Vimalakirti sutra and in the White Lotus sutra and other sutras, and also in the writings of Nagarjuna when he discusses the Bodhisattva topics. The Blue Annals say that Nagarjuna was a special person in that he began to teach the Mahayana publicly.
The difference of vision is also explained by the Five Eyes.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:40 am

pueraeternus wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I thought about that, ofcourse there were indian followers of the sravakayana. But then again, srilankans did't come to London in 1800's in order to start the Palitext Society, that work was done by europeans. I think the whole modern theravada is much indepted to the work done by europeans worldwide.


I don't get what you are trying to say here. There are a lot of Sravakayana materials outside of the PTS. Also, the translations of the theravadin texts are very much in line with how the tradition teaches it. The point is that throughout the history of Buddhism, not everyone accepts the Mahayana, and even within Mahayana you see differing strands of thought.


What I meant is that modern buddhism is a product of 19'th century european rational philosophy, it is not a product of theravada missionary activity. As a result modern buddhism has a basis in european rationalistic philosophy. I am not saying that you therefore have to discard it, not at all! But there is strong tendency to discard anything supernormal, like the five eyes, six abhijña etc as a source of knowledge, which actually belong to enlightenment itself.

To the earlier discussion I'd like to say that the commentary of Thrangu Rimpoche to Abhisamaya-alankara says that Sambhogakaya is seen by bodhisattvas on the ten bodhisattva grounds. In the early Chinese pureland school there is much discussion whether Amitabha's pureland is a nirmana-ksetra or a sambhoga-ksetra, or something else. Certainly the Nirmanakaya and Nirmana-ksetra are not an ordinary mundane world! The difference between them (the two form kayas) seems quite minor, when you consider the descriptions of the ten bodhisattva grounds in Avatamsaka sutra, in the Pureland sutras and in their commentaries.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:55 am

We can see Buddhism going through three phases:

1. The period of oral tradition.

2. A transitional period, when oral tradition and written tradition exist simultaneously, most likely still competing with each other, and augmenting each other. This period is actually quite long, and probably not all monks and laity could even read! I only know Huineng as a person well known for his illiteracy.

3. Period when all of the sutras and most of their commentaries exist in a written form.

With the help of of the oral traditions of Mayas, Incas, etc we should be able to gain a better understanding of this aspect of buddhist history.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Anders » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:03 am

Aemilius wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Aemilius wrote:What I meant is that modern buddhism is a product of 19'th century european rational philosophy, it is not a product of theravada missionary activity. As a result modern buddhism has a basis in european rationalistic philosophy. I am not saying that you therefore have to discard it, not at all! But there is strong tendency to discard anything supernormal, like the five eyes, six abhijña etc as a source of knowledge, which actually belong to enlightenment itself.


That is simply not true any more. The western theravadin sangha of today are either westerners who have trained in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma themselves or disciples of these monks. The books being written are by such people and the sutta translations in print today are primarily by the likes of Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thanissaro Bikkhu, who are products respectively of their training in Sri Lanka and Thailand and have very little affiliation with the 19th century rationalistic philosophy, nevermind the fact that rationalism has itself long been marginalised in the western intellectual sphere.

Maurice Walshe's translation of the Digha Nikaya is pretty much the only seminal book in popular circulation that shows elements of undue westernised thought applied to translation and interpretation.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:51 pm

I very much appreciate the work of Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Maurice Walshe and Bhikkhu Bodhi, yet it seems to me that when you go deeper, there is a clear karmic and ideological continuity from the philosophers like Voltaire to the events that took place in 1800's, when european intellectuals and radicals got to know about different buddhist traditions, both sravakayana and mahayana. As we know the theosophist & buddhist Colonel Olcott did great amount of buddhist missionary work in Sri Lanka. He has been regarded as a national hero for srilankans on account of that. Even the famous srilankan buddhist of the 1800's, Anagarika Dharmpala, was told by theosophists, -I can't remember whether it was Helen Blavatsky herself-, to concentrate on studying buddhism, instead of theosophy. As a result he became a world famous buddhist. Then we have the Meiji restauration in Japan, which meant that the clergy of all schools of buddhism had to include european philosophy in their studies, by japanese imperial degree. There has been an european element in the development of various schools of japanese buddhism after the 1800's. It is difficult to know what the Zen or Pureland schools or Theravada were like before the european interest and before confrontation with european rationalist philosophy? Or what would they be like without it?
Facts and events of this kind are present everywhere in modern buddhism, on a deeper level. And on its surface, what you take to be japanese or thai etc, may in fact be inherited from contact with european rationalistic world view. Works of european philosophers have been translated into mongolian, korean, japanese etc, and they have been studied and read assiduously. Long ago I heard from a buddhist artist, who visited mongolia, that they knew there absolutely everything about european philosophy and literature, because they all exist in mongolian translation.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:26 pm

pueraeternus wrote:The Lotus Sutra presents a view that is not always shared by other Mahayana sutras. For example, the Prajnaparamitas do not assert that Arhats and Prateyakabuddhas have to proceed on to Buddhahood, whereas the Lotus insists that they will have to.
It is quite an exercise to imagine that just because some schools consider Arhats may be susceptible to backsliding (and not all schools assert this), then a group of Arhats would purposely block part of the Buddha's teachings. There are no evidence on the ground that even marginally support your assertions.


Lankavatara sutra also says that sravakas will eventually attain the state of Tathagata, when speaking about the five different types of persons (the five gotras).

A more complete view about the development of the buddhist sangha is, -basing on the Caturparisad sutra of the Sarvastivada-, that quite soon after enlightenment Buddha acquired the 1000 followers of the three Kashyapa Brahman brothers, He then instructed them and they all attained arhatship. Uruvilva Kashyapa was 120 years old, much older than his new Guru Buddha Gautama, thus a very respected person. Soon after this Shakyamuni converts a King, He teaches the King and his subjects, and now at this point Buddha has 100 000 enlightened lay disciples!
The thing is that enlightenment is not a static thing, in fact it is no thing at all. After the ecstatic beginning there come unforseen problems, phenomena or problems that are really indescribable. This means that the Fourfold Sangha went through the normal course of a spiritual mass movement; it dispersed and collapsed after its glorious start. Because of the arising of these manifold problems, all the various teachings of the Mahayana (and even Tantra) became necessary. This natural development of Sangha and Dharma is the cause for the arising of Mahayana. Not everyone followed through the whole course of this development, even many arhats gave it all up. Dharma was fashionable for a while, but the brahmins did not take a defeat of this magnitude just lying down. And also because of the indescribable/unpredictable nature of Nirvana, many followers and monks gave it up altogether after a couple of years, sometimes even after two or three months!
Sravakayana was invented and fabricated afterwards, in my view this happened after the reign of king Asoka.
The nature of Nirvana is the real evidence for all of this. As you can see the issue soon becomes most secret and esoteric. There is a firmly established tradition of a public edifice in Buddhism, this includes fabulous things like infallible arhats, etc...
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby songhill » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:14 am

The Zen or Ch'an lineage is not without some major problems. It is certainly known among scholars that Shen-hui, in his essay, changed Dharmatrata's name (an Indian patriarch) to Bodhidharma. Some Tibetan doc. still record a Bodhidharmatrata which is a combination of Bodhidharma and Dharmatrata.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:50 pm

Aemilius wrote:This is traditionally explained with the classification of humans into three, or actually five, gotras. This means that we have an inborn tendency toward the sravakayana, pratyekabuddhayana or bodhisattvayana, one's gotra/spiritual lineage is difficult or impossible to change during one lifetime, and therefore we see reality, we see Dharma, according to our inherent tendency toward one of these views. It was forbidden in Mahayana to teach the bodhisattvayana to those that belong to the other two vehicles. This principle is reflected, or implied, in the Vimalakirti sutra and in the White Lotus sutra and other sutras, and also in the writings of Nagarjuna when he discusses the Bodhisattva topics. The Blue Annals say that Nagarjuna was a special person in that he began to teach the Mahayana publicly.
The difference of vision is also explained by the Five Eyes.

So if it is nearly impossible to change one's gotra during one lifetime, and it is forbidden to preach the Mahayana to those of other gotras, then the Buddha had done wrong by preaching about the Mahayana to the arhats in the Lotus, Prajnaparamita and in many other sutras. Vimalakirti has also committed a grevious sin by expounding on such lofty principles to Ananda, Sariputra, and many other great arhats. Nagarjuna can't be that great, since he holds the idea that Arhats cannot switch to the bodhisattva path, unlike what the Buddha said in the Lotus. But then again, he was merely following what Prajnaparamita sutras said, which incidently was expounded by the Buddha himself. Seems like the Buddha taught many contradictory things himself on the same topic during his lifetime?

You see, there are so many glaring contradictions when you take the stance that the Mahayana sutras were all spoken by the Buddha during his earthly ministry.

Aemilius wrote: But there is strong tendency to discard anything supernormal, like the five eyes, six abhijña etc as a source of knowledge, which actually belong to enlightenment itself.


There are also those who have mastered the abhijnas and went back in time to listen to the sermons of the nirmanakaya Buddha, but they didn't report anything about the Mahayana sutras being taught. You really cannot use the argument that just because many of the Mahayana patriarchs have (allegedly) mastered the abhijnas, and that since they say the Mahayana sutras are taught by the Buddha, then it is a iron-clad historical fact. This argument falls flat when you consider that even among these patriarchs, they disagree relentlessly with each other on key points of doctrine. If the use of abhijnas are so infallible in asserting doctrinal validity, then there would be very little to argue about, since they can all go back in time to verify.

And all this talk of abhijnas does nothing to explain why many Mahayana sutras were written in very late prakrit (compared to the earlier canon), why there are obvious textual development when you compare recensions of the same sutra, why some early independent sutras were suddenly found merged into a larger sutra, and why Mahayana sutras and tantras talk about late Abhidharma classifications that only emerged centuries after the Buddha's parinirvana (would he preach on topics that would make totally no sense to his audience if he truly taught such sutras during his earthly lifetime?)

Aemilius wrote:Sravakayana was invented and fabricated afterwards, in my view this happened after the reign of king Asoka.
The nature of Nirvana is the real evidence for all of this. As you can see the issue soon becomes most secret and esoteric. There is a firmly established tradition of a public edifice in Buddhism, this includes fabulous things like infallible arhats, etc...


This is purely your speculation. You will have to do better in providing solid archaeological and textual evidence.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:16 pm

Archeological and textual evidence will lead you astray, they are beside the point. The point is that Buddha taught a method, a method to realize nirvana. All evidence is included in that, in the state of Nirvana. If you merely study the words of the method, like studying ancient instructions of swimming while neither yourself nor your teacher or his teacher swimming personally, you will be lead very far from the truth indeed!
It is also like the modern history that is being decided upon by influental states and politicians in confidential and secret meetings. This history is then taught to the citizens in the media, in primary education, in cinema, and in the culture generally. Then everybody knows it and it is taken for granted, all the while it is a fabricated truth, a fabricated reality, but it becomes very concrete. So much so that if you happen to know the actual truth you will be alienated and weird.
In the same way at first in India they methodigally dried to destroy buddhism for two to three hundred years. Then they saw that they had to accept it, and they made a version of it that was backed by the authorities. It was legalized, and anything else became underground. This marks the beginning of the sravakayana. Sravakayana is a highly corrupt and highly censored version of the history of Dharma. It is a politically accepted truth, backed by the authorities. It is like humanity is. Same kind of things happen everywhere.
The abhijñas and the content of enlightenment itself is a complicated question. The vision of reality occurs in a given historical situation, then there is the problem of communicating this vision to the listeners. The listeners vary in their capacity and in their understanding. At some point someone of them writes down this vision of reality, according to his understanding. Then it is edited by other persons according to their understanding, and so on,... At the same time there is a public reality that is fundamentally a fabrication. Now how do you think a truth could ever be told? or could ever remain?
There is in fact no iron clad outer reality or an iron clad outer world. Its existence is only presumed by the writers of history, generally speaking.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:54 pm

Aemilius wrote:Archeological and textual evidence will lead you astray, they are beside the point.


What will lead you astray is the insistence that the nirmanakaya Buddha 2500 years ago spoke every word of the Mahayana sutras, and that there is a massive cover-up by devious Arhats and historians who purposely twist historical facts. Ok, maybe the first part by itself is not so bad, but together with the second part, that is something else.

Aemilius wrote:The point is that Buddha taught a method, a method to realize nirvana. All evidence is included in that, in the state of Nirvana. If you merely study the words of the method, like studying ancient instructions of swimming while neither yourself nor your teacher or his teacher swimming personally, you will be lead very far from the truth indeed!


No contest, but the Buddha(s) can teach in other forms and other times, and the idea that the Mahayana was taught later in the form of visions is a much more satisfying explanation that explains the obvious lateness of the arrival of the Mahayana sutras.

Aemilius wrote:It is also like the modern history that is being decided upon by influental states and politicians in confidential and secret meetings. This history is then taught to the citizens in the media, in primary education, in cinema, and in the culture generally. Then everybody knows it and it is taken for granted, all the while it is a fabricated truth, a fabricated reality, but it becomes very concrete. So much so that if you happen to know the actual truth you will be alienated and weird.
In the same way at first in India they methodigally dried to destroy buddhism for two to three hundred years. Then they saw that they had to accept it, and they made a version of it that was backed by the authorities. It was legalized, and anything else became underground. This marks the beginning of the sravakayana. Sravakayana is a highly corrupt and highly censored version of the history of Dharma. It is a politically accepted truth, backed by the authorities. It is like humanity is. Same kind of things happen everywhere.


You really have to provide more backing to your theory here, in terms of scriptural or archaeological evidence, even indirect ones where you can argue based on inference.

Aemilius wrote:The abhijñas and the content of enlightenment itself is a complicated question. The vision of reality occurs in a given historical situation, then there is the problem of communicating this vision to the listeners. The listeners vary in their capacity and in their understanding. At some point someone of them writes down this vision of reality, according to his understanding. Then it is edited by other persons according to their understanding, and so on,... At the same time there is a public reality that is fundamentally a fabrication. Now how do you think a truth could ever be told? or could ever remain?
There is in fact no iron clad outer reality or an iron clad outer world. Its existence is only presumed by the writers of history, generally speaking.


It is not that complicated. What varies for the listeners' capacity and understanding is really the type and profundity of dharmas taught, but when it comes to when and where it is taught, it is pretty clear cut.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:08 pm

pueraeternus wrote:What will lead you astray is the insistence that the nirmanakaya Buddha 2500 years ago spoke every word of the Mahayana sutras, and that there is a massive cover-up by devious Arhats and historians who purposely twist historical facts. Ok, maybe the first part by itself is not so bad, but together with the second part, that is something else.

No contest, but the Buddha(s) can teach in other forms and other times, and the idea that the Mahayana was taught later in the form of visions is a much more satisfying explanation that explains the obvious lateness of the arrival of the Mahayana sutras.

The case is that the path is really very long, like the stars in the sky, they all seem the similar, but some are far more distant than others. Mahayana and similar things were taught during the Tathagata's life time because there were people who needed it, for whom it had become necessary, people who could understand it. All the Mahyana teachings appeared very early because of the nature of impediments, because of the obstacles, because of the nature of the path at its advanced stages and even at its basis.
Sravakayana is a later simplified version of the original thing. For people who stay safely on the ground it is satisfying, but everything is quite different when you have climbed to the heights, even a little bit. The massive cover up happens quite naturally, because dharma is decided by those who stay on the ground, by those who who stay safely on this shore, by those with worldy power.
I did say that the original teachings were much vaster than the Mahayana sutras, that the existing Mahayana sutras do not contain the whole thing. Also I said that the nature of knowledge is different at the stage of oral teachings.
Dharma is also a transmission of realisation, which really means that you learn the skill, and with that skill you have access to infinite knowledge. This infinite knowledge existed from the beginning, at least for some disciples, and in different degrees. Sravakayana denies this infinite knowledge, for them an "arhat" is someone who repeats what is found in their canon, and nothing else.
Why do you skip over the stage oral tradition ? The stage of realisation of infinite knowledge?

pueraeternus wrote:You really have to provide more backing to your theory here, in terms of scriptural or archaeological evidence, even indirect ones where you can argue based on inference.

Consider the Four Great Reliances, as a buddhist you must relie on transcendental knowledge, not on mere pieces of clay found in a desert !! They will led You astray.
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Re: Sri Simha in Zen/Chan lineage

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:12 am

Aemilius wrote:The case is that the path is really very long, like the stars in the sky, they all seem the similar, but some are far more distant than others. Mahayana and similar things were taught during the Tathagata's life time because there were people who needed it, for whom it had become necessary, people who could understand it. All the Mahyana teachings appeared very early because of the nature of impediments, because of the obstacles, because of the nature of the path at its advanced stages and even at its basis.


Oh - so you are telling me that 2500 years ago the Buddha taught people things that make absolutely no sense to them, such as the four tenet systems? You know, things that didn't appear on the scene until more than 1000 years later. I didn't know people needed to hear things that makes no sense to them in order to gain realization. This is new-fangled theory is fascinating.

Aemilius wrote: Sravakayana is a later simplified version of the original thing. For people who stay safely on the ground it is satisfying, but everything is quite different when you have climbed to the heights, even a little bit. The massive cover up happens quite naturally, because dharma is decided by those who stay on the ground, by those who who stay safely on this shore, by those with worldy power.


You can't possibly expect people to accept this cover-up theory just because you said so.

Aemilius wrote:I did say that the original teachings were much vaster than the Mahayana sutras, that the existing Mahayana sutras do not contain the whole thing. Also I said that the nature of knowledge is different at the stage of oral teachings.
Dharma is also a transmission of realisation, which really means that you learn the skill, and with that skill you have access to infinite knowledge. This infinite knowledge existed from the beginning, at least for some disciples, and in different degrees. Sravakayana denies this infinite knowledge, for them an "arhat" is someone who repeats what is found in their canon, and nothing else.


So you have gained this infinite knowledge?

Aemilius wrote: Why do you skip over the stage oral tradition ? The stage of realisation of infinite knowledge?


I didn't skip over anything. In fact, based on oral tradition, it is quite clear that early Buddhism is just Buddhism as taught in the Agamas.

Aemilius wrote:Consider the Four Great Reliances, as a buddhist you must relie on transcendental knowledge, not on mere pieces of clay found in a desert !! They will led You astray.


Not at all! In fact, my application of the Four Reliances and my "transcendental knowledge" tells me that your whole theory is just a terrible conceit, a belief constructed around a fervent belief in your chosen sutras. Why do I say it is a conceit? Because it is totally divorced from and contrary to all evidence on the ground, and can only be sustained by a fundamentalist creed. It is a peculiar version of Creationism, and to me, it is a totally unbalanced frame of mind, since you start to think Arhats are manipulative beings capable of deceit and political machinations.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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