Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:15 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:
Malcom wrote:No. You do this as a practitioner on the path, not when you have realized mahāmudra. Anyway, you are missing the point -- which is: only in Vajrayāna (anuttarayoga tantra) does one make offerings to oneself as the deity from the beginning. These principles are so basic, I am surprised that practitioners who have been practicing for years do not understand this.
Thanks for clarifying.

I hope it did not come across as if I was trying to pass my suggestion as an official practice of a lineage, it is just something I made up myself. Apologies.
:anjali:



Ah, well — it is always best to base oneself on authority. In reality, the proper way to have a conversation about the dharma is to make a statement, then present a sutra or a tantra which shows that one has not indulged in personal fabrications. Then the worst thing that can happen is that someone will show you why you have not understood the sense of the statement.

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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby 5heaps » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:41 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Ben Yuan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Which just generally reinforces the idea that common Mahāyāna is not about enjoying sense pleasures for oneself, unlike Vajrayāna.

Not if you are the Buddha who is eating the offering (which you are).


If you are practicing Vajrayāna there is no need to dedicate the enjoyment of the objects of the five senses to "the buddhas", you enjoy them since you are offering them to yourself. There is no method of doing this in common Mahāyāna. It simply does not exist there.


what about this argument:


when you realize subtle selflessness (the lack of a substantial self-sufficient self to persons), you subsequently cognize the arya truths and your ordinary self-identity dissolves, at which time, there is an appearance of a divine self-identity. divine meaning free from suffering, since you are briefly free from assenting to a substantial self.

this appearance is dependent and linked to the cognition of the arya truths, just as the ascertainment of the arya truths depend and are linked to the realization of subtle selflessness.

so it would seem that in this way, tantra ie, the transformation from impure to pure is what happens when you actually succeed in sutra. or at the very least, we cannot accept that there is no such similar method in mahayana
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby flavio81 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:43 pm

My two little cents on this topic:

"Son, it is not appearances that bind you, it is grasping. Cut through your attachment, Naropa" -- Advice from Tilopa to Naropa.

:hi:
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Benten » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:36 pm

Amazing how different people can go to the same teacher and hear different things. I remember His Holiness Sakya Trizin saying very specifically "if you want to have sex, get married.' One husband or one wife not partners, and I was told by one of his senior students that one would fail at the practice with even a single glass of alcohol. The problem with tantra seems to be its all coded and as soon as you take it literal and break away from the ten virtues you are nothing less than a hot mess.

The instruction from the Buddha was your view should be like an eagle soaring and your conduct like a blind man groping along the edge of a road along a precarious cliff.


Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:While Malcolm is entitled to his opinion, I fear some might assume that enjoyment of wine and women/men is not really problematic and instead think they see it all as bodhi while actively engaging in such sense pleasures in a way that proves detrimental.


Enjoyment of wine and sexual partners is not a problem if you have a proper method.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:58 am

5heaps wrote:
what about this argument:


when you realize subtle selflessness (the lack of a substantial self-sufficient self to persons), you subsequently cognize the arya truths and your ordinary self-identity dissolves, at which time, there is an appearance of a divine self-identity. divine meaning free from suffering, since you are briefly free from assenting to a substantial self.



No self identity at all arises at that time, divine or otherwise, but in the post-equipoise state, it is very clearly explained that one's vision is karmic, albeit, unreal. Therefore, as stated there is no method in common Mahāyāna similar to the path of transformation described in Vajrayāna.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:05 am

Benten wrote:The problem with tantra seems to be its all coded and as soon as you take it literal and break away from the ten virtues you are nothing less than a hot mess.



There is no prohibition against having sexual partners outside of marriage even in sütra if one is also not married nor an exhortation to be married, even in sūtra, much less Vajrayāna.

The non-virtue of sexual misconduct does not mention anything about freely consenting free adults having relations with other freely consenting free adults. Further, alcohol is not mentioned amongst the ten non-virtues at all.

And, if you have a proper method, wine and sexual partners are not a problem (nowhere did I imply multiple sexual partners -- but even that is fine providing the criteria mentioned above is met).

Finally, Padmasambhava's advice that one's conduct be fine as a grain of sand does not mean following rules; rather, it means being aware of circumstances and acting appropriately at all times.

M
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:27 am

I am confused by that. What constitutes 'sexual misconduct'? How is one to intepret such traditional sources as the Surangama Sutra?

The Buddha told Ananda, “You constantly hear me explain in the Vinaya that there are three unalterable aspects to cultivation. That is, collecting one’s thoughts constitutes the precepts; from the precepts comes samadhi; and out of samadhi arises wisdom. Samadhi arises from precepts, and wisdom is revealed out of samadhi. These are called the Three Non-Outflow Studies.” 6:7

”Ananda, why do I call collecting one’s thoughts the precepts? If living beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of lust, they would not have to follow a continual succession of births and deaths.

”Your basic purpose in cultivating is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you don’t renounce your lustful thoughts, you will not be able to get out of the dust. ...

...”After my extinction, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of demons will abound, spreading like wildfire as they openly practice greed and lust. Claiming to be good knowing advisors, they will cause living beings to fall into the pit of love and views and lose the way to Bodhi.


There are many comparable passages in Mahayana sutras, admonishing lust and sensual desire.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:15 am

jeeprs wrote:I am confused by that. What constitutes 'sexual misconduct'? How is one to intepret such traditional sources as the Surangama Sutra?
...

There are many comparable passages in Mahayana sutras, admonishing lust and sensual desire.


I am surprised you are asking this question. Sexual misconduct is defined by time, place, person and orifice. In terms of persons, it only defines married persons or persons spoken for (i.e. betrothed persons) as well as minors as well as person with whom engaging in sexual activity is inappropriate, such as non-consenting adults, in the case of rape of an adult (given that all sexual contact with minors is considered misconduct).

Secondly, there are many passages in the tantras which claim that passion can only be removed with passion, just as fire is removed with fire and water is removed with water, for example, in the Hevajra tantra, etc. Many such passages exist. The criteria for differentiating common vs. uncommon Mahayāna, i.e., Secret Mantra, is whether one is in the possession of the proper method or not.

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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby 5heaps » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
5heaps wrote:
what about this argument:

when you realize subtle selflessness (the lack of a substantial self-sufficient self to persons), you subsequently cognize the arya truths and your ordinary self-identity dissolves, at which time, there is an appearance of a divine self-identity. divine meaning free from suffering, since you are briefly free from assenting to a substantial self.


No self identity at all arises at that time, divine or otherwise, but in the post-equipoise state, it is very clearly explained that one's vision is karmic, albeit, unreal. Therefore, as stated there is no method in common Mahāyāna similar to the path of transformation described in Vajrayāna.

is the explanation the same for someone who realizes emptiness? namely, that the vision linked with cessation but still considered karmic. if so, what then is the unique feature of tantra that enables it to be non-karmic?
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:42 pm

5heaps wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
5heaps wrote:
what about this argument:

when you realize subtle selflessness (the lack of a substantial self-sufficient self to persons), you subsequently cognize the arya truths and your ordinary self-identity dissolves, at which time, there is an appearance of a divine self-identity. divine meaning free from suffering, since you are briefly free from assenting to a substantial self.


No self identity at all arises at that time, divine or otherwise, but in the post-equipoise state, it is very clearly explained that one's vision is karmic, albeit, unreal. Therefore, as stated there is no method in common Mahāyāna similar to the path of transformation described in Vajrayāna.

is the explanation the same for someone who realizes emptiness? namely, that the vision linked with cessation but still considered karmic. if so, what then is the unique feature of tantra that enables it to be non-karmic?


this the explanation for someone who has realized the first bhumi in Mahāyāna.

The only vision that is non-karmic is buddhahood.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby 5heaps » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:19 am

Malcolm wrote:this the explanation for someone who has realized the first bhumi in Mahāyāna.

The only vision that is non-karmic is buddhahood.

your position doesnt seem to follow then. since the particular transformations into purity which occur post equipoise are equally karmic in both sutra and tantra, you cant assert that sutra has no transformation practice:

a skilled sutra practitioner should be able to use their skill at vipashyana to make use of coarse sense objects, in order to stimulate a clear appearance of the object of negation, and transform them into purity.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:48 am

Speaking for myself, I know that I *don't* possess the required purity and inherent distaste for sense-objects so as to be able to engage in sensual activities without the base tendencies coming into play and, effectively, taking over. So my approach to the question is strictly 'hinayana' (using the word intentionally).
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby flavio81 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:15 am

jeeprs wrote:Speaking for myself, I know that I *don't* possess the required purity and inherent distaste for sense-objects so as to be able to engage in sensual activities without the base tendencies coming into play and, effectively, taking over. So my approach to the question is strictly 'hinayana' (using the word intentionally).


It's always a good thing to know one's tendencies and work around them, which is what you are doing. :thumbsup:

But keep in mind that in Buddhism (as a whole) it is not always required to have a "distaste for the sense-objects" or to reject them. (See malcolm's comments above, for example.)
If this is a virtual sangha, do we achieve virtualization instead of realization?
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:26 am

But I think it is only possible to use such things when one is not bound by them - when they have been renounced, when they don't continue to have a hold on you. I fully accept that there are people for whom that is true. But I think there is also a lot of opportunity for self-deception in this regard.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:36 am

jeeprs wrote:But I think it is only possible to use such things when one is not bound by them - when they have been renounced, when they don't continue to have a hold on you. I fully accept that there are people for whom that is true. But I think there is also a lot of opportunity for self-deception in this regard.
Nice summary of Tantra.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:46 am

As I said, my approach is 'hinayana'. It has to be. I have burned up a lot of karmic credits already, so I don't want to try anything too advanced. I have a couple of introductory books by Lama Yeshe but I haven't been able to find the motivation to read them yet (although I was lucky enough to see Lama Yeshe speak in Sydney not long before he died.)

I am also mindful that in this day and age, the whole business of sexuality is a multi-media global all-singing all-dancing extravaganza. Thar be dragons.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby flavio81 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:48 am

jeeprs wrote:But I think it is only possible to use such things when one is not bound by them - when they have been renounced, when they don't continue to have a hold on you. I fully accept that there are people for whom that is true. But I think there is also a lot of opportunity for self-deception in this regard.


Four thumbs up :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: for you and for Konchog1.
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby conebeckham » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:54 am

So, it appears after all there are no "uncommon Mahayana approaches to dealing with desire" outside of Tantra.
Prior to this conversation-which started on another thread, if I recall--I would have said that the so-called Hinayana was the vehicle of renunciation, and the Mahayana would have been not so much about renunciation--in a sense, sutrayana in all aspects relates to renunciation, though, and I find this interesting, having not thought about things this way previously. It could be said that the one thing in Mahayana at the Sutra level we wouldn't renounce would be sentient beings, or rather, our compassion and loving kindness toward others.

???
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:45 am

5heaps wrote:
Malcolm wrote:this the explanation for someone who has realized the first bhumi in Mahāyāna.

The only vision that is non-karmic is buddhahood.

your position doesnt seem to follow then. since the particular transformations into purity


There is no transformation into purity in sūtra, none at all. Just because a sūtrayāna practitioner realizes emptiness it does not mean that they have pure vision. That only happens when one becomes a Buddha.

Vajrayāna is the method of taking the path as the result, therefore, we train in pure vision of ourselves as deity mandalas right from the start of creation stage. There is no such training for anyone, including tenth stage bodhisattvas which is taught in sūtra. You cannot find one sūtra passage that even suggests this.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Uncommon Mahayana Approaches to Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:47 am

jeeprs wrote:But I think it is only possible to use such things when one is not bound by them


If this were so there would be no point to Vajrayāna at all.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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