Four noble truths

Four noble truths

Postby robban » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:00 am

i was wondering about the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path.
according to SGI these "truths" are provisional teachings.

from sokahumanism:

"
SGI Buddhism is based on Nichiren teachings of the Lotus Sutra, which revealed the final teaching of the Buddha, being the Dharma or the Law of Lotus. In his letter, Nichiren explained that the teaching of the Four Noble Truths is a specific or limited doctrine. In this perspective, the Four Noble Truths express only an elementary teaching, focused merely on only one aspect - among various aspects of life - that of sufferings. The Four Noble Truths do not encompass the basic Buddhist teaching of the Ten Worlds - which also have the World of Joy and Buddhahood. in his article Desiring Happiness Ikeda explains how the Four Noble Truths were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha specifically to his immediate disciples as an elementary and preparatory doctrine to direct them to self-mastery:


“The four noble truths and the eightfold path were directed chiefly to those disciples who had rejected secular life and were wholly engaged in Buddhist practice; they reflect the basic attitude and approach that underlie Shakyamuni's early teachings, which concentrated on predominantly negative views about life and the world so that he could awaken people first to life's harsh realities and then to the inexpressible spiritual experience of nirvana”.

"

Another interesting thing i've noticed is when i go to SGI meetings we talk about the importance of treating people well, the importance of right thoughts and so on.
isn't these things just what the eightfold path is about?
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Dharma Bum » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:18 pm

Bringing up that kind of stuff like the four noble truths and eight-fold path at SGI meetings, in my experience, will usually get the discussion shut down or re-directed pretty quickly. The stock answer you may have heard (especially from older members) is the metaphor of pre-Nichiren doctrines as "last years' calendar." Useful then, not so much now.

There is a powerful sectarian strain in SGI which drives that sort of reaction, and you can easily find one of its sources in Nichiren's writings, which were highly sectarian. Then there are the cultural elements of SG and its own origins and development, which also have sectarian tendencies.

But your observation is generally correct. The substance of the eight-fold path, and much of mainstream Buddhist doctrine, is largely consistent with SGI Buddhism, even if it's outwardly rejected. But it isn't needed. The concept of ichinen sanzen contains all of that, and more. To me it is the crown jewel of Nichiren Buddhism, and fertile ground for a lifetime of contemplation.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:43 am

This thread may be of interest: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=10249
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:31 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:This thread may be of interest: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=10249


Ok, missed that one. Thanks!
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:14 pm

Dharma Bum wrote:Bringing up that kind of stuff like the four noble truths and eight-fold path at SGI meetings, in my experience, will usually get the discussion shut down or re-directed pretty quickly. The stock answer you may have heard (especially from older members) is the metaphor of pre-Nichiren doctrines as "last years' calendar." Useful then, not so much now.

There is a powerful sectarian strain in SGI which drives that sort of reaction, and you can easily find one of its sources in Nichiren's writings, which were highly sectarian. Then there are the cultural elements of SG and its own origins and development, which also have sectarian tendencies.

But your observation is generally correct. The substance of the eight-fold path, and much of mainstream Buddhist doctrine, is largely consistent with SGI Buddhism, even if it's outwardly rejected. But it isn't needed. The concept of ichinen sanzen contains all of that, and more. To me it is the crown jewel of Nichiren Buddhism, and fertile ground for a lifetime of contemplation.


I have had people explaining ichinen sanzen to me. I've tried studying on my own but i still don't get the whole picture.
The 4nt seems more understandable.
I mean i've gone to sgi meetings for about 4 years.
Even if many members received many benefits, many of them haven't understood the important things of buddhism(according to me).
Many members doesn't seem to understand what the law of cause and effect means.
Many of them have been practicing for 10,15,20 years.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby illarraza » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:41 pm

The Eighfold Path for the cessation of suffering and its true implication in light of the highest teachings of the Buddha (the Lotus Sutra):

Right Views: Viewing the Lotus Sutra as the quintessence of the Buddha's teachings.

Right Thought: "By what shall I cause the masses of beings to be able to enter the Supreme Way And rapidly achieve Buddhahood."(Lotus Sutra Chapter 16).

Right Speech: Teaching others to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo.

Right Action: Action to spread the Lotus Sutra.

Right Living: Not begrudging one's life to spread the Lotus Sutra.

Right Endeavor: Endeavoring to attain Buddhahood and causing others to do the same.

Right Memory: Remembering that one's life is eternal and that we are the original disciples of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra

Right Meditation: Chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo.

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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:41 am

illarraza wrote:The Eighfold Path for the cessation of suffering and its true implication in light of the highest teachings of the Buddha (the Lotus Sutra):

Right Views: Viewing the Lotus Sutra as the quintessence of the Buddha's teachings.

Right Thought: "By what shall I cause the masses of beings to be able to enter the Supreme Way And rapidly achieve Buddhahood."(Lotus Sutra Chapter 16).

Right Speech: Teaching others to chant Namu Myoho renge kyo.

Right Action: Action to spread the Lotus Sutra.

Right Living: Not begrudging one's life to spread the Lotus Sutra.

Right Endeavor: Endeavoring to attain Buddhahood and causing others to do the same.

Right Memory: Remembering that one's life is eternal and that we are the original disciples of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra

Right Meditation: Chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo.

Illarraza



Ok, i must say that i never thought of the eightfold path like that.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:48 am

I always think of the eightfold path as a way to live ethical and correct.
A way to care for my fellow human beings.
A way to understand that "suffering" is a part of life.
A way to understand that the three poisons are why we suffer.

It's a beautiful thing, i think
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Dharma Bum » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:09 pm

^^^indeed.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby jmlee369 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:54 am

illarraza wrote:Right Memory: Remembering that one's life is eternal and that we are the original disciples of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni of the Juryo Chapter of the Lotus Sutra


Sorry to intrude in this part of the forum, but I cannot help but think that the above quote would violate the Three Seals of Dharma/Marks of Existence. On a more general note, Mahayana sutras have a tendency to proclaim their own doctrine as the true ultimate (rather than the provisional), such as the Samdhinirmocana Sutra and the Shurangama Sutra amongst others. Such claims to ultimate truth are not exclusive to the Lotus Sutra.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby rory » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:44 am

Right Memory refers to us as the original disciples of the Eternal Buddha of the Juryo Chapter who are bodhisattvas not human beings, so yes our life span is endless; also the Lotus Sutra is accepted by all of Mahayana as the Buddha's final teaching so yes it has prime place as the final and ultimate teaching.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:48 am

Where in the lotus sutra does it say that one should follow the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path?
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Jikan » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:56 pm

rory wrote: the Lotus Sutra is accepted by all of Mahayana as the Buddha's final teaching so yes it has prime place as the final and ultimate teaching.

(emphasis added)

I'm not sure ALL Mahayana schools would agree with this claim. Many would.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Seishin » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:12 pm

robban wrote:Where in the lotus sutra does it say that one should follow the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path?


Only a hand full of sutras in Sanskrit and Pali say we should follow the 4noble truths & the eightfold path. Others make reference to them but aren't explicit. A great many others don't mention them at all. However I truly believe that all existing sutras are in accord with 4NT & 8FP.

I always view the 4 & 8 as the foundation of the building. Sometimes you can't see the foundations but that doesn't mean they are not there holding the building up. With out them the building would fall down.

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Re: Four noble truths

Postby robban » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:34 pm

Seishin wrote:
robban wrote:Where in the lotus sutra does it say that one should follow the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path?


Only a hand full of sutras in Sanskrit and Pali say we should follow the 4noble truths & the eightfold path. Others make reference to them but aren't explicit. A great many others don't mention them at all. However I truly believe that all existing sutras are in accord with 4NT & 8FP.

I always view the 4 & 8 as the foundation of the building. Sometimes you can't see the foundations but that doesn't mean they are not there holding the building up. With out them the building would fall down.

Gassho,
Seishin.


ok. interesting!
how do you interpret the 4nt and 8fp? like illarraza do?
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Seishin » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:57 pm

No. :smile:
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby rory » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:15 pm

Seishin;
please point out to me where the Lotus Sutra isn't accepted as the final teaching of the Buddha (actually the last sutra is the Nirvana Sutra which is regarded as a colophon to the Lotus Sutra). This is accepted in Mahayana just like Maitreya is the Buddha of the future.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby jmlee369 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:53 am

rory wrote:Seishin;
please point out to me where the Lotus Sutra isn't accepted as the final teaching of the Buddha (actually the last sutra is the Nirvana Sutra which is regarded as a colophon to the Lotus Sutra). This is accepted in Mahayana just like Maitreya is the Buddha of the future.
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Rory


A simple answer would be, as you say, the Mahayana Parinirvana Sutra, or the various school's Mahaparinibbana Suttas in the Agamas, or the Sutra of the Buddha's Bequeathed Teaching (遺敎經) which are popularly known as the final instructions of the Buddha in the East Asian traditions.

Part of the Lotus Sutra's supremacy centers around classifications of the teachings such as the Five Periods of the Teachings (五時敎判). Other traditions, such as the Tibetan schools, tend to classify the teachings from the perspective of the Three Turnings of the Wheel. The first turning would be the teachings on the Four Noble Truths and suffering. The second turning is the teachings on shunyata, based on the Prajnaparamita Sutra. The third turning would be the teachings on Tathagatagarbha, based on sutras such as the Lankavatara and Samdhinirmocana. Other third turning sutras are the Shurangama, Srimaladevi Simhananda, Mahaparinirvana and the Lotus. Different Tibetan schools hold different turnings to be definitive. My school takes the second turning as definitive, the third turning being a provisional teaching for those who were afraid of the (incorrectly assumed) nihilism of the second turning. Others hold the second as definitive, while still others take both second and third as definitive.

The problem with all these classification systems is that they are historically inaccurate. The Pali canon teachings span the entire teaching career of the Buddha, up to his passing. So we have the rather strange situation of multiple Pali and Sanskrit Mahaparinirvana Sutras (I'd be interested in knowing the basis for calling the Mahaparinirvana Sutra a colophon of the Lotus Sutra, since the Contemplating Samantabhadra Sutra is often considered to be the concluding text of the Lotus Sutra). Also, there are those who state that the Avatamsaka Sutra was the complete and full expression of the Buddha's enlightened realisation, but since no one could understand his teachings at that time, he spent his teaching career preparing beings for such a teaching. So this question of the final sutra is not quite that simple.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby rory » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:58 am

I said the Lotus Sutra is regarded as the last teaching, not the last sutra. The big important ideas in Mahayana - the Eternal Buddha, the buddhood of all beings come etc, come from this sutra. Vajrayana isn't Mahayana, it's it's own thing and actually doesn't study the Lotus Sutra. Here feel free to read Jacquie Stone's interview with Tricycle on the pre-eminence of the Lotus Sutra, she's the professor at Princeton not me
http://www.tricycle.com/special_section ... l?page=0,0

Here is another interesting piece from Tricycle by Porf. Jan Nattier about a [i]geshe[/i a]Tibetan Buddhist monk's encounter with the Lotus Sutra. And his dismay.
http://www.tricycle.com/special-section ... -awakening
"Those familiar with secondary literature about Buddhism are likely to have the impression that the Mahayana emerged as a liberalizing movement within the Buddhist community, one that made the practice of Buddhism, and the attainment of awakening, available to a wider group than had previously been the case. Seen in this light, the Mahayana is often perceived as pro-laity, pro-family, even pro-women, and thus as a form of Buddhism particularly well adapted to the presumably more egalitarian societies of the world today. But it is becoming increasingly clear to scholars that this vision of the character of Mahayana Buddhism has been shaped by a very atypical text, namely, the Lotus Sutra ."


FInally this is the Nichiren forum; Nichiren adhered very strongly to the Tendai school and the Tiantai school is all about the preminence of the Lotus Sutra, so arguing about Vajrayana or about the Avatamsaka Sutra doesn't advance your point. Tiantai and Nichiren also pointed out that the NIrvana Sutra just reinforces the teaching of the Lotus Sutra specifically the Eternal Buddha and the buddhahood of all things.
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Re: Four noble truths

Postby Seishin » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:24 am

rory wrote:Seishin;
please point out to me where the Lotus Sutra isn't accepted as the final teaching of the Buddha (actually the last sutra is the Nirvana Sutra which is regarded as a colophon to the Lotus Sutra). This is accepted in Mahayana just like Maitreya is the Buddha of the future.
gassho
Rory



Where did I say anything like that??? :shrug: I said I don't interpret the 4 truths and 8 fold path the same as illarraza. Please don't put words into my mouth. :focus:

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