Vidyaraja wrote:Malcolm wrote: Basically, it is really pretty simple. All yogic paths in Indian religion and its offshoots, whether Buddhist, Jain or Hindu, whether in India or Tibet, or China, etc., accept one thing in common: in order to cease taking rebirth in samsara, one must deal somehow with the kleṣas that drive rebirth.
That is true, but their views on the means to this can be deeply variant.
That's the point -- enlightenment, awakening, is just a story. We all subscribe to different stories of awakening. Some people like to imagine that their story is more solid, more real, that the stories of others. Certainly I have been guilty of this.
Basically, the fact that there is a story of awakening at all is the essence of Dharma. What does not matter very much are the details, except to you, the practitioner. If you ask me what story of awakening I like, I will very swiftly tell you that I like the story of awakening as it is presented in the teachings of self-liberation, Dzogchen. I like it more than the story of awakening presented in the path of renunciation or the path of transformation. I like it more than the story of awakening presented in Samkhya, Trika, Vedanta and so on. The vehicle of self-liberation is my preferred story. I can't convince you to accept my story of liberation anymore than I could have been convinced of it when I was committed to Buddhism as a religion by someone else. Likewise, I cannot convince any one here of any story about liberation they are not disposed to believe.
But the one thing we share is that we all subscribe to narrative about liberation otherwise we would not be here discussing these issues. And that is why there is no closed Canon in Buddhism, why there never can be.
Buddhists, like all other religionists, like to think that they are the only ones who have a true story. Among Buddhists, all assert their preferred story of liberation as the best, or most practical, or the only possible, or the most historically accurate, and so on.
We Dharma practitioners demonstrate our commitment to our preferred stories by the choices we make, and the practices we do. But in the end we are merely making a commitment to a narrative of liberation we have decided to accept. And that is completely subjective, personal and non-verifiable. No one's putative awakening is verifiable by any objective, empirical standard -- and in these conversations about liberation we all behave as if there were some objective criteria by which liberation can be measured. This is absurd. Every standard by which we can measure liberation and awakening is a complete and utterly arbitrary mental line drawn in space. All of our narratives of liberation come from space too, just like clouds billowing in the sky.