Mahayana Problem

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Posts: 765
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:47 am

Mahayana Problem

Postby MalaBeads » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:48 pm

Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 6557
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ayu » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:14 pm

It is always a very good question, if i am really right or i only seem to be right.
A good point to differentiate this is ethics.
This is defined in the palicanon, in the Lamrim-scriptures and in all the various scriptures of the different traditions.

And if i want to help people, it must happen without i-feeling. This is impotant. A meditative state of mind full of compassion and equanimity has to be built up by regular practice and by the intense wish to do so...

Then i will be able to recognize what the old lady really wants and i don't force her to cross the street, if she doesn't want to...
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

User avatar
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby mandala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:42 pm

User avatar
Former staff member
Posts: 1783
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Seishin » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:29 pm

Although we can't say for certain, we don't know what the real motivations of Hitlers actions. The idea that he thought was doing good is, to me at least, an odd one. Mainly because I know that what he did is wrong, however I also think his motivations weren't for the good of people, but rather he had a lot of anger and delusions towards other ethnics, mainly the Jews. So his actions were built on anger and hate which he hid under the idea that he was helping his "people". it was people like Himler (not Hitler) who ran with that idea and expanded on it.

So I think, if your intentions are not based on ego then I don't think they'll be a problem. Of course most of us have not subdued their egos which is why people like HH Dalai Lama (Mahayana monk) recommends that we first heal ourselves before trying to heal others.

Also, I don't think it's a Mahayana problem, as this same can be said for Theravada or any religion/non-religion in the world.


User avatar
Posts: 2870
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:49 pm

Yes, I don't think it is a mahayana problem per se.
The point is that what all beings share in common is that they believe their actions will bring about lasting benefit.
Even Hitler, as you say, thought he would solve Germany's problems, and that he would be remembered as a great hero.
He though being remembered as an exterminator would be a good thing.
In short, all beings want to have perfect cessation of (their own) suffering,
and they think various actions of body, speech and mind will lead to that.
Another way to say this is that they take refuge in various things
but those things do not offer perfect liberation from suffering
because they do not cut at the root of the cause of suffering.
They only provide temporary solutions, patchwork solutions,
because these solutions are based on ever-changing conditions,
so they cannot be permanent solutions.

What the Buddha realized was that regardless of what religions or philosophies people followed,
regardless of how much wealth they had, or what kind of special diets they followed or whatever,
or how many nations they conquered,
suffering still caught up with them, even very subtle suffering, dissatisfaction, etc.
And the reason why is because none of these things change the activity of the mind itself,
meaning that the root of suffering is in the mind.
Outside of the mind, no suffering exists.

The solution which is at the center of mahayana is compassion towards others
and this is a very good method of working with one's own mind
because it redirects the motivations of one's actions of body, speech and mind outward
thus reducing the clinging to happiness for "me me me" all the time.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:57 am

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ramon1920 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:13 pm

Worldly people think anger is good, that it protects them somehow. Worldly people think a lot of stuff is good that the Buddha did not.

User avatar
Global Moderator
Posts: 6557
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ayu » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:02 pm

Just reicently i found a saying in German. It fits good to this topic:

"Jeder möchte die Welt verbessern,
und jeder könnte es auch,
wenn er nur bei sich
selber anfangen wollte."
(Karl Heinrich Waggerl)


"Everybody likes to improve the world,
And everybody could,
If he would just start
With improving himself."

I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

In the bone yard
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:06 am

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby In the bone yard » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:32 pm

User avatar
Quiet Heart
Posts: 269
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 10:57 am
Location: Bangkok Thailand

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:56 pm

Yes, most people live in a world of illusions or delusions.
Their choices are guided by their illusions or delusions.
Yet they believe these decisions are made freely and are a product of their independent actions and perfectly justified by their "free will" and their "Self".
They are deluded into thinking their life decisions are made by them as an independent unity, a "person" with free will.
They are deluded into his illusionary belief by the Ego Mind (which may also be called such names as "Self", "Free Will". or "Self Identity").
As a "sentient Human Being" and "independent" of all others (outsiders) they live in the mistaken perception of their independence from other "outsiders".
As I said the cause of his delusion is their Ego mind and the illusion of "apartness" from others it generates.
Their Ego Mind, living alone in it's perceived solitary world, teaches them this illusion of their separation and uniqueness as an individual from their first sense perception as a child.
Now people can learn by meditation or just by a process of understanding that their true nature is NOT a wholly separate individual but is, in fact, a part of an interrelated and interdependent collective.
Seeing this fact can break that illusion or separation generated by the delusionary perception of their Ego Mind of separation.
Free of that delusion created by their Ego Mind as a separate identity they can then go on to further develop their understanding of their true nature
With that understanding they can free themselves from the assumed illusions and delusions that previously guided their life.
That delusion is not a "Mahayana Problem", it is a delusion created by the misperception of separation generated by their deluded Ego Mind.
P.S. Freeing yourself from the control of your deluded Ego Mind's misperceptions can also be called "Passing through the first Gate of Understanding".
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach

User avatar
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby ground » Wed May 01, 2013 4:06 am

User avatar
Posts: 2857
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 01, 2013 6:14 am


Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

User avatar
Posts: 3382
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Wayfarer » Wed May 01, 2013 8:24 am

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 21 guests