Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

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Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:07 pm

An interesting teaching on how a bodhisattva should be trained:

"One should speak like this – do not give up your passion, do not fight your aversion, do not clear away your bewilderment, do not liberate yourself from your body , practise the bad things , do not hold back your views, do not be conscious of the bonds [to the worldly things], grasp for the parts of the personality (skandha), amass the spheres of sense-perception, move about among the fields of sense-perception (āyatana), do not leave the stage of fools, frequent the bad (akuśala), give up the good (kuśala), do not think of the Buddha, do not reflect on religious teachings (dharma), do not give offerings to the congregation of monks, do not take the training (śikṣā) upon yourself, do not seek the peacefulness of existence, do not cross over the river [of existence]. This kind of instructions one should teach and give to the bodhisattva in the beginning of his development. Why? Because this state of the moments of existence (dharma) and nothing else is their [true] state. Foolish people explain things in accordance with moments of existence of arising (utpādadharma) and moments of existence of disappearance (nirodhadharma). But this sphere of all moments of existence (dharmadhātu) distinguishes itself by being beyond thought-constructions, and understanding the essential character of all these moments of existence in this way is awakening. If he is taught in this way and does not become afraid, scared or terrified, then he is a bodhisattva not turning back in his development, one who has a part in the stage of never turning back. By means of this instruction one should carry on a pleasant conversation at length."

Bodhisatvacaryānirdeśa, §16
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Individual » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:47 pm

I don't think it's good to write and share sutras like this, because an average person would misinterpret this and a bodhisattva doesn't need to hear it. Because when a bodhisattva is told that certain moral laws are unquestionable, he will question them if they seem questionable and come to his own conclusions; he does not need to be told where he is going, what he is doing, or confirmation that it is OK for him to be skillful.

It is good to uphold moral standards for people of society to adhere to.
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby ground » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:59 pm

For a beginner? What qualifies a beginner who should be taught like this?

This text looks like one of those merely intellectual products spiced with a pinch of conceit.


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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:18 pm

TMingyur wrote:For a beginner? What qualifies a beginner who should be taught like this?

This text looks like one of those merely intellectual products spiced with a pinch of conceit.


The full context would be better to start with (not that I have it). However it appears canonical.

Astus what is the full context? And the University of Oslo pages all appear to be very short summaries of the text. Is there a full text?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:34 pm

It is a canonical sutra indeed!

Full text view can be selected at the top. Here's the direct link. The teacher in the sutra, who also says the quoted text to Manjusri, is a three-year old boy called Ratnadatta. Quite amusing as he lectures both Maudgalyayana, Sariputra and Manjusri too. Almost like an extra chapter from the Vimalakirti Sutra.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:47 pm

Individual, after the quoted speech 8 monks died as they were leaving because of disbelief and they were born in hell. The following discourse happened:

"Then Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta addressed the Lord: Lord, did you see the great harm that appeared when these monks had heard this exposition of religion? The Lord said: Do not say that, Mañjuśrī. If these monks had not heard this exposition of religion, they would never have been born in the good places of the universe in a million kalpas, and so, how could they meet and please a Buddha? Now they will, even though they heard this exposition of religion with doubt, be born in the Tuṣita heaven after they have died in the great hell Raurava. Then, in sixty-eight kalpas, they will please ten times hundred thousand milloins of Tathāgatas, and they will by miraculous birth be born as universal kings. And during one kalpa, they will be born as Tathāgatas, Arhats, Perfect Buddhas with the name Vimalaprabha."
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:05 pm

And what do the commentaries on this sutra say?>

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:39 pm

Kirt,

I've just tried a quick search on CBETA with the sutra title but found only a summary of the contents of it, no commentary. If you find one, let us know.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Individual » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:08 pm

Astus wrote:Individual, after the quoted speech 8 monks died as they were leaving because of disbelief and they were born in hell.

Sounds like a bad discourse. :tongue:

I rather like the Lotus Sutra -- that anyone who just reads it once is guaranteed rebirth in a Pure Land. :)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:25 pm

Individual wrote:Sounds like a bad discourse. :tongue:

I rather like the Lotus Sutra -- that anyone who just reads it once is guaranteed rebirth in a Pure Land. :)


"When he said this, five thousand monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in the assembly immediately got up from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and left. What was the reason for this? Because the roots of error among this group had been deeply planted and they were arrogant, thinking they had attained what they had not attained and had realized what they had not realized. Because of such defects they did not stay. And the Bhagavat remained silent and did not stop them."
(Lotus Sutra, ch. 2)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Huifeng » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:43 am

Two thoughts on this:

1. The title of the thread is "Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas", but is this cited statement from the text viz "beginner" Bodhisattvas? This is an important question.

2. The answer itself may be found in the text, where I've highlighted a key point:

Astus wrote:"One should speak like this – do not give up your passion, do not fight your aversion, do not clear away your bewilderment, do not liberate yourself from your body , practise the bad things , do not hold back your views, do not be conscious of the bonds [to the worldly things], grasp for the parts of the personality (skandha), amass the spheres of sense-perception, move about among the fields of sense-perception (āyatana), do not leave the stage of fools, frequent the bad (akuśala), give up the good (kuśala), do not think of the Buddha, do not reflect on religious teachings (dharma), do not give offerings to the congregation of monks, do not take the training (śikṣā) upon yourself, do not seek the peacefulness of existence, do not cross over the river [of existence]. This kind of instructions one should teach and give to the bodhisattva in the beginning of his development. Why? Because this state of the moments of existence (dharma) and nothing else is their [true] state. Foolish people explain things in accordance with moments of existence of arising (utpādadharma) and moments of existence of disappearance (nirodhadharma). But this sphere of all moments of existence (dharmadhātu) distinguishes itself by being beyond thought-constructions, and understanding the essential character of all these moments of existence in this way is awakening. If he is taught in this way and does not become afraid, scared or terrified, then he is a bodhisattva not turning back in his development, one who has a part in the stage of never turning back. By means of this instruction one should carry on a pleasant conversation at length."

Bodhisatvacaryānirdeśa, §16


The statement "If he is taught in this way and does not become afraid, scared or terrified, then he is a bodhisattva not turning back in his development, one who has a part in the stage of never turning back." gives a strong impression that this teaching is perhaps only going to be fully appreciated and accepted by a non-regressing bodhisattva. An avinivartiya bodhisattva is a long, long way from being a "beginner".

In the Prajnaparamita, it is stated that teachings such as this should only be given to avinivartiya bodhisattvas, or those under the instruction of a kalyana-mitra.
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Individual » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:17 pm

Venerable Huifeng, is there a difference between attaining the stage of avinivartiya and merely "having a part" in it?
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:48 pm

The section quoted is the answer to this question:

妙吉祥言。爲初地菩薩。當何所説令云何學。
"Mañjuśrī said: But what kind of instruction will you teach, how will you instruct the bodhisattva in the beginning of his development."

That's why I gave the title that it is for beginner bodhisattvas.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:19 pm

Huifeng wrote:The statement "If he is taught in this way and does not become afraid, scared or terrified, then he is a bodhisattva not turning back in his development, one who has a part in the stage of never turning back." gives a strong impression that this teaching is perhaps only going to be fully appreciated and accepted by a non-regressing bodhisattva. An avinivartiya bodhisattva is a long, long way from being a "beginner".


So does this refer to an 8th Bhumi Bodhisattva? In which case this is a "beginner" on the higher level of Bodhisattvas. Or does non-regression mean from the 1st bhumi? I looked at the Mahaprajnaparamitashastra and it lists non-regression as a set of characteristics that basically means avoiding all negativities and seems to be something sort of along the lines of a person dedicated to the Mahayana path but kind of begins at the level of the Path of Accumulation (although one of the characteristics is memory of previous lives).

The Chinese Mahayana system has 52 levels right? Where does a non-regressing bodhisattva fit in this system?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:40 pm

Kirt,

Is it any help that the Polyglotta site has the Tibetan version too of this sutra?

In the question it mentions a beginner level, which means the 1st bhumi. In the 52 levels classification the bhumis are from 41 to 50. The mentioned non-returner level is the 8th bhumi. Or, if we don't insist on using that system, the sutra simply says that one teaches this at the start which results in establishing one firmly in enlightenment never to fall back again.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Will » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:10 am

Astus wrote:The section quoted is the answer to this question:

妙吉祥言。爲初地菩薩。當何所説令云何學。
"Mañjuśrī said: But what kind of instruction will you teach, how will you instruct the bodhisattva in the beginning of his development."


The division between the bodhisattvas capable of retrogressing and those who cannot backslide is definite and clear. So perhaps "beginning of his development" means the 8th ground bodhisattva is a beginner in this new area of bodhicitta, especially compared to the development that awaits him as a 9th & 10th ground bodhisattva.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby ground » Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:46 am

If one follows Shantideva it is plain clear:
Once bodhicitta has emerged there is a bodhisattva. When bodhicitta subsides there is no bodhisattva anymore.
After the first moment bodhicitta has emerged there is a beginner bodhisattva. And how should a beginner bodhisattva train her-/himself? She/he should cultivate bodhicitta, avoid its (even momentary) cessation and increase and stabilize it.

Without a consistently defined context of their own texts like the one quoted may satisfy one's attachment to sensation and one's attachment to perplexing and one's attachment to caricature traditional teachings or simply provoke discussion which is destined to come to no helpful conclusion but they do not serve any good but they may lead astray instead.

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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Huifeng » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:07 am

Astus wrote:The section quoted is the answer to this question:

妙吉祥言。爲初地菩薩。當何所説令云何學。
"Mañjuśrī said: But what kind of instruction will you teach, how will you instruct the bodhisattva in the beginning of his development."

That's why I gave the title that it is for beginner bodhisattvas.


I guess one could teach first-ground bodhisattvas like this, just make sure that they have a good teacher. But even those who are not yet non-regressing will arise "trembling". For many, especially those without that good teacher, they'll misunderstand it. Hence, be careful to whom one teaches this.
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby Huifeng » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:09 am

TMingyur wrote:
Without a consistently defined context of their own texts like the one quoted may satisfy one's attachment to sensation and one's attachment to perplexing and one's attachment to caricature traditional teachings or simply provoke discussion which is destined to come to no helpful conclusion but they do not serve any good but they may lead astray instead.

Kind regards


I don't think the problem is the "defined context", but to whom one teaches, and the teacher themselves.
This would have been clear for those who taught this text, because it is part of the tradition, but nowadays a quick cut and paste from the web will obliterate such niceties.
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Re: Training of Beginner Bodhisattvas

Postby ground » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:23 am

Huifeng wrote:I don't think the problem is the "defined context", but to whom one teaches, and the teacher themselves.

Thank you for reminding me!
"the teacher themselves"
yes, the presence of a teacher is crucial in Mahayana.

And although "to whom one teaches" and "the teacher themselves" may be understood as "context" the "presence of a teacher" actually cannot be defined for the one to whom is taught.


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