Why not Theravada

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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:54 pm

If you are interested in the stories of "mortal men", definitely read the biographies of Chokgyur Lingpa and Dudjom Rinpoche.

There is more than one Buddha. The founders of Vajrayana, the Mahasiddhas, were all Buddhas.
Everything lacks the identity (atman) imputed by mere conceptual labels.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby PorkChop » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:54 pm

I saw that documentary & liked it too.
I believe it was funded by Thai Theravadans, with some of their monks being the ones speaking.
Also included are a large number of followers of Tibetan Gelug tradition (Robert Thurman, etc), and I believe at least one Zen practitioner.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JohnRammy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:16 pm

They need to do a PBS documentary on the Mahasiddhas who founded Vajrayana, starting with their basis in Madhyamaka.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tattoogunman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:38 pm

Even better would be a comprehensive documentary covering EVERYTHING so that people like me wouldn't be so confuddled :twothumbsup:
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby floating_abu » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:28 pm

TaTa wrote:I dont know much but I've noticed that theravada practitioners rely more on scriptures to "justify" or give credibility to what they think is correct instead of logic and experience.(of curse im generalizing, not to offend anyone). Besides that i really like theravada and I intend to study it more deeply before immersing myself totally in mahayana and vajrayana teachings.


It can be a pitfall but I think every school has its own. Google Thai Forest Theravadan: they might be of interest and Access to Insight has their teachings also. There is nothing wrong with any of the major Buddhist traditions if you know how to use the tools IMO.

:namaste:
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:50 pm

floating_abu wrote:There is nothing wrong with any of the major Buddhist traditions if you know how to use the tools IMO.


:good:
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:21 pm

floating_abu wrote:
TaTa wrote:I dont know much but I've noticed that theravada practitioners rely more on scriptures to "justify" or give credibility to what they think is correct instead of logic and experience.(of curse im generalizing, not to offend anyone). Besides that i really like theravada and I intend to study it more deeply before immersing myself totally in mahayana and vajrayana teachings.


It can be a pitfall but I think every school has its own. Google Thai Forest Theravadan: they might be of interest and Access to Insight has their teachings also. There is nothing wrong with any of the major Buddhist traditions if you know how to use the tools IMO.

:namaste:


Something happened after I had been doing shamatha and/or anapanasati for a while. I began to realize I was going to have to make a choice soon - either to use what I was doing to get out and stay out, or to use what I was doing to get insight for the sake of others. Until I reach unconventional methods.

Neither choice is bad or good. Just different.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:03 am

zAnt wrote:Why choose Mahayana over Theravada? I see minor differences, but why have you choose this path? Is it because it was what you where first introduced to? Was it the only Dharma school near you? What are the different practices?


being Mahayana also makes me Theravadan.just because I became Mahayana doesnt mean I had to throw out the Pali Canon,in truth many things in the Pali canon pointed me towards Mahayana,for instance do you know in the pali canon it states that ALL Buddhas have to be Bodhisattvas first?(for one to become a Buddha he must be a Bodhisattva and come from Tusita Heaven)also the Buddhas Bodhisattva path is taught in the Jataka tales KN with that said why no Thervadan Bodhisattvas??why no vows?

also I was a soldier most my life and the Pureland aspect appeals to me(I need help)
and the ending 5 fetters to go to pureabodes or the monk path to cleanse my karma like Angulimala is not an option for me(I have a small child that I cant abandon)

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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby songhill » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:11 am

Maybe the Theravada tent is getting bigger. Based on Paul Williams book, Mahayana Buddhism (2008), in 1939 the Samgharaja of Thailand, the head of the national Samgha, gave up the accepted Theravada Buddhist notion of Non-Self (anatta) and switched to the doctrine of the Self (atman), insisting nirvana (P., nibbana) is the true Self. Citing an unpublished dissertation by P. Cholvijarn, Nibbana as Self or No Self (2007), Williams quotes the following from Cholvijarn who summarizes Samgharaja's argument:

"[T]he uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine of anattâ [not-Self] is realised once attâ [the Self] has been attained. The Buddha discovered that nibbana is attâ and only by doing so, was able to say that the five aggregates are anattâ. The anattâ doctrine of the Buddha is the doctrine of only Buddhism because the Buddha realised attâ that is different from conditioned dhammas. Nibbana is the purity of an object, it is void of defilements [cf. the tathagatagarbha] and once it is reached there is no more clinging. As purity, it must [be] situate[d] within an object. That object is self. Anattâ is a tool that the Buddha uses for [his] disciples to reject the conditioned dhamma and to accept nibbana. If nibbana is anattâ, then, nibbana is to be rejected and there would be no purpose in practising the Noble Eightfold Path."
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:25 am

I did a little reading and it appears that the current Thervada mainstream thoroughly rejects the idea of nibbana as self. It also seems to run contrary to the teachings of the Buddha in the Pali canon, so on balance it can only be regarded as an aberrant teaching held by a minority and probably flat wrong at that.

To get a rough overview all one needs to do is refer to the Wiki on Anatta, which does cover these ideas.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby PorkChop » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:38 am

Son of Buddha wrote:also I was a soldier most my life and the Pureland aspect appeals to me(I need help)
and the ending 5 fetters to go to pureabodes or the monk path to cleanse my karma like Angulimala is not an option for me(I have a small child that I cant abandon)


The 5 fetters are defined as "Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts & practices, sensual desire, & ill will."
Practicing recollection of the Tathagatha allows for cutting of the 5 fetters and being reborn in a Pure Abode - where one will soon attain realizations (eventually Nibbana), according to the Pali Canon. Check out all the conversations with Mahanama/Mahaanaama, not super-different than Pure Land teachings imho.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:54 am

songhill wrote:Maybe the Theravada tent is getting bigger. Based on Paul Williams book, Mahayana Buddhism (2008), in 1939 the Samgharaja of Thailand, the head of the national Samgha, gave up the accepted Theravada Buddhist notion of Non-Self (anatta) and switched to the doctrine of the Self (atman), insisting nirvana (P., nibbana) is the true Self. Citing an unpublished dissertation by P. Cholvijarn, Nibbana as Self or No Self (2007), Williams quotes the following from Cholvijarn who summarizes Samgharaja's argument...
The idea of Nirvana as "true Self" is not recognised by all Mahayana schools anyway, so it is hardly evidence of Theravada transforming into Mahayana. People tend to forget that there are just as many differnces between Mahayana schools (and here I am not just talking about common Mahayana vs Vajrayana) as there are diffeences between Mahayana (in general) and Theravada.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:56 am

This very sticking point is one of the reasons that Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Thailand is so controversial.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby songhill » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:11 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
songhill wrote:Maybe the Theravada tent is getting bigger. Based on Paul Williams book, Mahayana Buddhism (2008), in 1939 the Samgharaja of Thailand, the head of the national Samgha, gave up the accepted Theravada Buddhist notion of Non-Self (anatta) and switched to the doctrine of the Self (atman), insisting nirvana (P., nibbana) is the true Self. Citing an unpublished dissertation by P. Cholvijarn, Nibbana as Self or No Self (2007), Williams quotes the following from Cholvijarn who summarizes Samgharaja's argument...
The idea of Nirvana as "true Self" is not recognised by all Mahayana schools anyway, so it is hardly evidence of Theravada transforming into Mahayana. People tend to forget that there are just as many differnces between Mahayana schools (and here I am not just talking about common Mahayana vs Vajrayana) as there are diffeences between Mahayana (in general) and Theravada.
:namaste:


Is this based on an ad hoc survey of yours?
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:27 pm

In the Tibetan traditions (for example) the only school that held an eternalist view of "True Self" were the Jonangpa, and you know what happened to them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonang
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby songhill » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:34 pm

The almost legendary Phra Mongkhonthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro; 10 October 1884 – 3 February 1959) was not your typical Theravadin attâ-denier. Anyone reading the master thesis, AN ANALYSIS OF PHRA MONGKOL-THEPMUNI’S (SODH CANDASARO) BUDDHA DHAMMA PROPAGATION, by Mae Chee Amphai Tansomboon will come to that conclusion. Here is an excerpt from the thesis:

Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) defined Dhammakaya as a name of the Buddha and at the same time was one of the many bodies of man. Dhammakaya was considered to be beyond the scope of the three characteristics; it was unconditioned: niccam (permanent), sukham (blissful), and atta (self). This study concluded that Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni’s interpretation seemed to be his own personal view which was not found in the texts of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby songhill » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:49 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:In the Tibetan traditions (for example) the only school that held an eternalist of "True Self" were the Jonangpa, and you know what happened to them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonang
:namaste:


Are you suggesting that all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, with the exception of the Jonangpa, do not accept the authority of the Mahayana Mahaparinrivana Sutra, the Lankavatara Sutra, the Angulimaliya Sutra and others since they speak of Âtman, positively?
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:58 pm

I take it that you have heard of this strange phenomenon known as Tantra?
Where senses subside,
and self-nature
cannot stand -

that, you hick, is the finest innate:
ask for it clearly -
it's got from the guru.

Saraha Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Tantric Verse from Buddhist India.

hick.jpg
hick.jpg (7.32 KiB) Viewed 756 times
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby Jnana » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:13 pm

songhill wrote:
"[T]he uniqueness of the Buddhist doctrine of anattâ [not-Self] is realised once attâ [the Self] has been attained. The Buddha discovered that nibbana is attâ and only by doing so, was able to say that the five aggregates are anattâ. The anattâ doctrine of the Buddha is the doctrine of only Buddhism because the Buddha realised attâ that is different from conditioned dhammas. Nibbana is the purity of an object, it is void of defilements [cf. the tathagatagarbha] and once it is reached there is no more clinging. As purity, it must [be] situate[d] within an object. That object is self. Anattâ is a tool that the Buddha uses for [his] disciples to reject the conditioned dhamma and to accept nibbana. If nibbana is anattâ, then, nibbana is to be rejected and there would be no purpose in practising the Noble Eightfold Path."


Yes, this is a specious interpretation that is unsupported by the Pāli suttas, the Theravāda commentarial tradition, and has been explicitly criticized by a number of contemporary Theravāda teachers. For example, Ven. Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Note 385):

    The Buddha declares that 'all phenomena are nonself' (sabbe dhamma anatta), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since 'all phenomena' includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self.

Ven. Ṭhānissaro's Introduction to DN 15 Mahānidāna Sutta:

    The scheme of analysis introduced in this section — classifying views of the self according to the variables of form and formless; finite and infinite; already existing, naturally developing in the future, and alterable through human effort — covers all the theories of the self proposed in the classical Upanisads, as well as all theories of self or soul proposed in more recent times. The inclusion of an infinite self in this list gives the lie to the belief that the Buddha's teachings on not-self were denying nothing more than a sense of "separate" or "limited" self. The discourse points out that even a limitless, infinite, all-embracing sense of self is based on an obsession in the mind that has to be abandoned.

And Ven. Ñāṇananda, Nibbāna: The Mind Stilled:

    Some are in the habit of getting down to a discussion on Nibbāna by putting saṅkhata on one side and asaṅkhata on the other side. They start by saying that saṅkhata, or the 'prepared', is anicca, or impermanent. If saṅkhata is anicca, they conclude that asaṅkhata must be nicca, that is the unprepared must be permanent. Following the same line of argument they argue that since saṅkhata is dukkha, asaṅkhata must be sukha. But when they come to the third step, they get into difficulties. If saṅkhata is anattā, or not-self, then surely asaṅkhata must be attā, or self.... All this confusion arises due to a lack of understanding of the law of Dependent Arising, paṭicca samuppāda....

    Now this is the exorcism the Buddha had to carry out. He smoked out the term attā, "self", so dear to the whole world. Of course, he could not help making use of that word as such. In fact there is an entire chapter in the Dhammapada entitled Attavagga. But it must be emphasized that the term in that context does not refer to a permanent self.
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Re: Why not Theravada

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:40 pm

songhill wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:In the Tibetan traditions (for example) the only school that held an eternalist of "True Self" were the Jonangpa, and you know what happened to them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonang
:namaste:


Are you suggesting that all the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, with the exception of the Jonangpa, do not accept the authority of the Mahayana Mahaparinrivana Sutra, the Lankavatara Sutra, the Angulimaliya Sutra and others since they speak of Âtman, positively?


You must understand that the Tibetans while accepting the authority of the various Mahayana Sutras, do differentiate between them. There are sutras that are thought to require interpretation, called interpretative sutras. And sutras that are thought to directly indicate Lord Buddha's final intent, called definitive sutras.

But don't take my word for it, in the words of Yangsi Rinpoche, a well respected Geshe and resident teacher at Maitripa Institute in Portland (From Practicing the Path p.421):

"The instructions for realizing the ultimate mode of existence can be found in the sutras, the direct teachings of the Buddha. According to the Prasangika-Madhyamika system... The sutras on the ultimate nature of reality are classified as definitive sutras, while those whose main subject matter is the conventional mode of existence are classified as interpretative. "


Basically what happens because of this, as Yangsi Rinpoche mentions later in the paragraph, is that the Sutra basket is divided into Three Turnings of the Wheel- and these turnings of the wheel are said by many Tibetan scholars to be determined by subject matter rather than chronologically. The Middle Wheel, on the ultimate nature, is considered the Definitive Wheel, while the two others are considered Interpretative. Another well respected scholar, Alex Berzin elaborates:

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... ories.html

In this way, three turnings of the wheel of Dharma came to be known in Buddhist scriptures. The first taught truly established existence; the second non-truly established existence; and the third that the existence of some phenomena is truly established, while others are not. For this reason, the Gelug master Tsongkhapa (Tsong-kha-pa Blo-bzang grags-pa) said clearly in his Essence of Excellent Explanation of Interpretable and Definitive Meanings (Drang-nges legs-bshad snying-po), “The classification of three turnings of the wheel of Dharma was not made in reference to specific events in Buddha’s life or gatherings of his disciples. It was made from the point of view of the subject matter of his teachings.”


I highly recommend reading the above article by Berzin if you want to understand how the seeming contradictions between some of the sutras are understood. It is an excellent article and he also discusses a bit how the classification system itself was a hotly debated topic.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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