Nilasarasvati wrote:It's strange a lot of the replies on this thread consider Shakyamuni as an ordinary person who really "renounced" something and went out the door of the palace as if he didn't know what he was getting into...I mean I know that the story is very important to read on that level of meaning...
but from the Mahayana perspective (as far as I understand) he was already been enlightened for aeons and was merely doing all of this as a wisdom display.
Therefore all of these statements and defenses that "the welfare of the many he helped outweighs the sacrifice he made," etc. seem kind of weird. He was omniscient! Beyond choice, yearning, risk, doubt, morality, liberation, and the whole mess of dualistic labels we can impose on the storyline.
So we can't really compare a man leaving his family to join a monastery with the transcendental Siddharta sneaking out of the palace one night.
Plus if you're a Vajrayana person, Mahamaya's later incarnations included Yeshe Tsogyel, who was (I think?) the first Tibetan to perfect all the paths and Bhumis and become a fully enlightened Buddha.
Bingo,you are absolutely correct,actually what I find weird is we as Buddhist do not use either Thervadin NOR Mahayana Birth stories of the Buddha.
We generally use a hodge podge.
For instance the Thervadin Buddha birth story is found in the Majjhima Nikaya,Shakyamuni was born as a Bodhisattva from tusita heaven,he already knew he would be enlightened in this life and pronounced as an infant.
Whats awsome is the Thervadan Birth story actually supports the Mahayana view that Shakyamuni already knew the path and already knew he was Enlightened(or will be) and he is putting on a show with skillfull means.
Also If you read the Nirvana sutra it is made clear that Shakyamuni didnt have a wife or son(its generally hinted at that they were actually the 2 bodhisattvas that accompany a World Honored One)
I can post a link for The Thervadin birth story if you like so you can see the comparison.
Peace and Love