Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

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Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby sraddha » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:01 am

Hi all, I found this while reading wikipedia on non-recognition of Mahayana texts by all schools and the reasons for their rejection by some schools:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana_sutras

Scholars' opinion on historicity
The accounts of the texts specific to the Mahayana school (the Mahayana Sutras) are seen by scholars to not represent a true historic account of the life and teachings of Buddha[13]. The traditional account of why these accounts are not preserved in the older Tripitaka texts (the Pali Canon and the Agamas) of Early Buddhism, invariably involve stories of mythical dragons (Nāgas) and denigrating accounts on the intelligence of humankind (not clever enough) at the time of the Buddha[14]. The scholar A. K. Warder gives the following reasons for not accepting the Mahayana Sutras as giving a historical account of events in the life of Gautama Buddha[15]:

It is a curious aspersion on the powers of the Buddha that he failed to do what others were able to accomplish 600 years later.
Linguistically and stylistically the Mahayana texts belong to a later stratum of Indian literature than the Tripitaka known to the early schools.
Everything about early Buddhism, and even the Mahayana itself (with the exception of the Mantrayana), suggests that it was a teaching not meant to be kept secret but intended to be published to all the world, to spread enlightenment.
We are on safe ground only with those texts the authenticity of which is admitted by all schools of Buddhism (including the Mahayana, who admit the authenticity of the early canons as well as their own texts), not with texts accepted only by certain schools.
Mahayana developed gradually out of one, or a group, of the eighteen early schools, and originally it took its stand not primarily on any new texts but on its own interpretations of the universally recognised Tripitaka.
The scholar John W. Pettit, while agreeing that "Mahayana has not got a strong historical claim for representing the explicit teachings of the historical Buddha", also argues that the basic concepts of Mahayana do occur in the Pali Canon and that this suggests that Mahayana is "not simply an accretion of fabricated doctrines" but "has a strong connection with the teachings of Buddha himself".[16].

A striking example of the differences between the Mahayana literature and at least some of the Pali/agama literature is seen in a comparison of two different texts with the same title: the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali Canon (referred to here by its Pali title) and the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (referred to by its Sanskrit title):

The Pali Mahaparinibbana Sutta is biographical; it gives an account of the events surrounding the end of the Buddha's life, of which scholars have said that it displays attention to detail and has been resorted to as the principal source of reference in most standard studies of the Buddha's life[17].
The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra takes the events of the last period of the Buddha's life, and uses them as a setting for an extended religious discourse[17]. It displays a disregard for historic particulars and a fascination with the supernatural.[17].
It should be noted that the weak claim to historicity that the Mahayana Sutras hold, doesn't mean that all scholars believe that the Pali Canon is historical; some scholars believe that it is not




Does a sutra have to be historical to be read or to work?

Does stating that only Buddha's historical sutras have any place in being accepted ignorant of his teachings that he is "amatta" or attained the deathless state and therefore can be accessed even when he has left his "historical body" and can continue to be heard by the faithful?

:anjali:
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:36 am

Greetings,

It matters to me and that's the main reason I'm a Theravada Buddhist to be honest.

But then, I'm more interested in whether it matters to you (as Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners), whose practice is in part based upon these Sutras.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:44 am

This has been on my mind, so it's good timing for these questions :)
I'll be interested in reading people's responses.

Best,
Laura
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby thornbush » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:24 am

Ancient texts, whether they are from the Pali Canon or the Sanskrit one, have been questioned by all with regards to its authencity and historical value. Heck, some even ask if Buddha was a historical figure besides some 'pathetic heap of ashes' found as some would put it. And then there are some other faith systems that claim that ours is just an elaborate xerox on what was found in their system and the list on this matter is endless.
The question I have always asked myself is:

Are we as Buddhists striving for mere scientific/historical accuracy or are we seeking Final Liberation?

The Buddha did ask us to be discerning as in the Kalama Sutta, then how He laid out in the Lion's Roar in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta and the 3 or 4 Dharma Seals plus the ehipassiko attitude towards His Teaching. And the Lotus Sutra keeps reminding us as well on the Buddha Vehicle.

One tendency I found in some people is that they just pick one issue in the Mahayana Sutras and use it to compare with the 'more logical or believable' Nikayan texts but omitting to mention in the same breath that in numerous Suttas, there are accounts of encounters between the Buddha or His Community with yakshas and devas or the mention of the 28 Buddhas, that may equally posit a challenge to today's agnostic or atheistic minds.

In the end, at the end of the day, what matters to us? If I may say, Buddhists of all persuasions/traditions has managed to bring the Buddha Dharma to the ends of this world and I rejoice in that because rather than having no Dharma or other mundane paths, I rather have an existing and thriving Buddhist Tradition in even remote places, though it may differ from my own, I am glad the Light of the Dharma have shone thus far.

In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it isn't it?
That, to me, is one way how I see the historicity of the Mahayana/Vajrayana being 'validated'.
http://lotus.nichirenshu.org/lotus/sutr ... chap16.htm
"Good men, the Scriptures expounded by the Thus Come One are all for the purpose of saving and emancipating living beings. Sometimes I speak of myself, sometimes of others: sometimes I present myself, sometimes others; sometimes I show my own actions, sometimes those of others. All that I preach is true and not false."
"Because living beings have different natures, different desires, different actions, and different ways of thinking and making distinctions, and because I want to enable them to put down good roots, I employ a variety of causes and conditions, similes, parables, and phrases and preach different doctrines. This, the Buddha's work, I have never for a moment neglected."

http://cttbusa.org/lotus/lotus14_1.asp
“Further, Manjushri, in the future Ending Age, when the Dharma is about to become extinct, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who receives, upholds, reads, or recites this Sutra should harbor no thoughts of envy, flattery, or deceit. He should also not ridicule or malign those who study the Buddha Way, nor should he seek their strengths or weaknesses.
If there are Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, those who seek to be Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, or those who seek the Bodhisattva Way, he should not torment them or cause them to have doubts by saying to them, “You are all very far from the Path, and you will never obtain the wisdom of all modes. Why not? Because you are careless and lax in the Way.”
Further, he should not frivolously discuss the Dharma for the sake of argument.”
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Luke » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:22 pm

The very word "historicity" implies a limited, ordinary human's view of time and reality. Buddhas aren't constrained by the ordinary limitations of time and space.

No religion can be proved by logic alone. In the end, you just have to rely on a combination of your own logic and intuition and make the best choice you can. Meeting many different Buddhist teachers also helps. Eventually, you will feel that you've met someone who has truly "tasted the pudding."
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:57 pm

thorny la wrote:Ancient texts, whether they are from the Pali Canon or the Sanskrit one, have been questioned by all with regards to its authencity and historical value. Heck, some even ask if Buddha was a historical figure besides some 'pathetic heap of ashes' found as some would put it. And then there are some other faith systems that claim that ours is just an elaborate xerox on what was found in their system and the list on this matter is endless.
The question I have always asked myself is:

Are we as Buddhists striving for mere scientific/historical accuracy or are we seeking Final Liberation?

The Buddha did ask us to be discerning as in the Kalama Sutta, then how He laid out in the Lion's Roar in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta and the 3 or 4 Dharma Seals plus the ehipassiko attitude towards His Teaching. And the Lotus Sutra keeps reminding us as well on the Buddha Vehicle.

One tendency I found in some people is that they just pick one issue in the Mahayana Sutras and use it to compare with the 'more logical or believable' Nikayan texts but omitting to mention in the same breath that in numerous Suttas, there are accounts of encounters between the Buddha or His Community with yakshas and devas or the mention of the 28 Buddhas, that may equally posit a challenge to today's agnostic or atheistic minds.

In the end, at the end of the day, what matters to us? If I may say, Buddhists of all persuasions/traditions has managed to bring the Buddha Dharma to the ends of this world and I rejoice in that because rather than having no Dharma or other mundane paths, I rather have an existing and thriving Buddhist Tradition in even remote places, though it may differ from my own, I am glad the Light of the Dharma have shone thus far.

In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it isn't it?
That, to me, is one way how I see the historicity of the Mahayana/Vajrayana being 'validated'.


Daka la, thanks for these insightful thoughts :bow:
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby dumb bonbu » Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:12 pm

Are we as Buddhists striving for mere scientific/historical accuracy or are we seeking Final Liberation?


:bow: :bow:

there was a time when i equated authenticity with historical accuracy. now i am of the opinion that authenticity lies in the value of the teachings and the results that they produce - and ofcourse, these results are as much dependent on the efforts of the practitioner as they are on the sutras themselves.
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby sraddha » Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:03 am

:woohoo: Lovely posts!

The great question of Buddhism is :

WHAT DID GOTAMA, the BODHISATVA IN A MORTAL HUMAN BODY, ATTAIN TO?

Who/what is Buddhahood?

What the heck is Bodhisatvahood -- why would I want to be born as an abandoned baby quail full of faith in Buddha who single handedly extinguishes an entire forest fire --- something the entire California firebrigade couldn't do??? :jumping:

Image

What does the Theravada school have to say about the Bodhisatva born as a quail--- besides that it's obviously an unreliable story inserted possibly :twisted:, neh, most probably, by wicked Mahayanists? :smile:

So did Buddha die because he didn't have Preparation H, or perhaps mesenteric infarction?
The Theravada School would like for you to believe this -- this is their "Buddha is historical" view:
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha192.htm

It also reveals another possibility of the actual means of transportation of the Buddha to Kusinara and the site of his death bed. Sukaramaddava, whatever its nature, was unlikely to have been the direct cause of his illness. The Buddha did not die by food poisoning. Rather, it was the size of the meal, relatively too large for his already troubled digestive tract, that triggered the second attack of mesenteric infarction that brought an end to his life./.

Dr Mettanando Bhikkhu was a physician before entering the monkhood. He is currently based at Wat Raja Orasaram, Thailand.


Here is the Mahayana view-- The Mahayana can explain the power chick:smile:

Vimalakirti Sutra claims, in Chapter 3,

"Reverend Ánanda, the Tathágatas have the body of the Dharma—not a body that is sustained by material food. The Tathágatas have a transcendental body that has transcended all mundane qualities. There is no injury to the body of a Tathágata, as it is rid of all defilements. The body of a Tathágata is uncompounded and free of all formative activity. Reverend Ánanda, to believe there can be illness in such a body is irrational and unseemly!' Nevertheless, since the Buddha has appeared during the time of the five corruptions, he disciplines living beings by acting lowly and humble."[14]


So which is the more believable view, the Theravada or Mahayana, in light of the whole?
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:21 am

Greetings sraddha,

sraddha wrote:So which is the more believable view, the Theravada or Mahayana, in light of the whole?


Theravada.

(well, you asked :tongue: )

:rolling:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby dumb bonbu » Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:26 am

honestly retro, what an "irrational and unseemly" answer! :tongue:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby thornbush » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:32 am

So which is the more believable view, the Theravada or Mahayana, in light of the whole?

I can only answer this Q from my life experience:
Taking my own case:
Way back in 1986 when I was in a fren's house, his mom had an altar to Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and the moment I saw that image, (the one that his mom had was a better reconstruction than the original in that link) it was like as if I fell into a trance-like state. I just couldn't stop staring at the Image and the more I stare at it, the more peaceful I was and felt tears coming down my eyes. Both my fren n his mom were shocked as they could not shake me from that 'state' and even I couldn't explain it. That Image imprinted itself on my mind from that year onwards until I took Refuge and Precepts in 1999.

No matter what I did, I could not lose that Image and it became more vivid as time rolled on to the point I would just sketch it out just from my mind.
In 1989, just a week after my Baptism, I had a recurring dream for over a month. In that dream, it showed me 3 things:
Firstly, it showed me an altar to the Buddha
Secondly, it showed me that by the time I start my career, I would have been a Buddhist.
Thirdly, there will be a very fierce persecution in store for me but encouraged me to be steadfast.

Then in 1997 until mid 1999, after numerous failed efforts to get rid of 'Avalokitesvara', I realised that I was staring at the prospect of studying Buddhism. My first encounter was with Theravada via accesstoinsight.org and further learned it via the Sri Lankan Maha Vihara and Thai Theravada and correspondence with various Monastics and Laity from the Theravada persuasion. Yes, I had read on Mahayana and Vajrayana, but somehow, it never had any charm nor impact on me and like some beginners, I only wanted the 'purest' form of Buddhism. Today, I laughed back at myself for even thinking about it :tongue: But, the Image was still sitting in my mind....my encounter with the Mahayana started with this curious incident:

Towards the near end of 1999, I felt that I had a reasonable grasp of what Buddhism was and was seeking to formalise that commitment to the Triple Gem. And then something happened...
I went to a prominent Vihara and relayed to a Monk my intentions and this was his response: "Go back to Church! It's all the same! No need to do this!" For a while, I was stumped and when I found back my tongue, I told him:
"Venerable, if u don't want to do it it's fine but to disparage my Bodhicitta, that is not acceptable!" With that, I walked off.
There was a temple (Fo Guang Shan, of the Linji Ch'an Lineage) near my residence and I met this most kind and unassuming Chief Abbess and after hearing my story, she immediately scheduled an appointment for the Refuge and Precepts to be done solely in English just for me as she feared that the Chinese version would leave me blinking. So, finally, I was conferred the Refuge and Precepts and from that moment, the Image faded...

That was how the 'Buddhayana' worked for me...looking back at how it worked for me...I can never ever disparage any form of Buddha Dharma because that was how my life encountered and was transformed by It.....
http://www2.fodian.net/old/English/0262_25.html
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva,
"Good man, if living beings in this land must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha...a Pratyekabuddha...a Hearer...the Brahma King...of Shakra...the God of Sovereignty...the Great God of Sovereignty...a great heavenly general...of Vaishravana...a minor king...of an Elder...a layman...a minister of state...a Brahman...a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka or Upasika...the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman...a pure youth or a pure maiden...a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human, or nonhuman, and so forth...a Vajra-wielding spirit...
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest the body of a Buddha...a Pratyekabuddha...a Hearer...the Brahma King...of Shakra...the God of Sovereignty...the Great God of Sovereignty...a great heavenly general...of Vaishravana...a minor king...of an Elder...a layman...a minister of state...a Brahman...a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka or Upasika...the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman...a pure youth or a pure maiden...a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human, or nonhuman, and so forth...a Vajra-wielding spirit...and speak Dharma for them.
"Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has accomplished merit and virtue such as this and, in all manner of forms, roams throughout the land, saving and liberating living beings.

In the Chinese Mahayana's Great Compassion Repentance, there is one line in the liturgical bowing, which we offer one full bow and a half, that says:
WITH ONE MIND, I BOW TO MAHAKASHYAPA AND THE IMMEASURABLE, INNUMERABLE GREAT SOUND-HEARER SANGHA. (Sanskrit: Śrāvaka Saṃgha or Pali: Sāvaka Saṅgha)
And with both quotes from the Lotus Sutra in my earlier post, my answer would be both :twothumbsup:
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Luke » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:16 pm

sraddha wrote::woohoo: Lovely posts!
What does the Theravada school have to say about the Bodhisatva born as a quail--- besides that it's obviously an unreliable story inserted possibly :twisted:, neh, most probably, by wicked Mahayanists? :smile:

Sraddha, I would be careful not to create divisions and suspicion between the different schools of Buddhism. The Buddha taught 84,000 spiritual paths and each of them is special. The Pali Canon will always be the foundation of Buddhism. All Buddhists and all sentient beings should be regarded as precious by a Buddhist.

sraddha wrote:So which is the more believable view, the Theravada or Mahayana, in light of the whole?

It depends on the causes and conditions which have formed a person's personality. Some people have the karma for one school, but not for another. The viewpoints of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana each teach us valuable things.

Here's an excerpt from the Berzin Archives:
Various Buddhist traditions teach different accounts of Buddha’s life. Their differences indicate how each tradition conceives of a Buddha and what we can learn from his example.

* The Hinayana versions speak only of the historical Buddha. By showing how Buddha worked intensely on himself to reach enlightenment, we learn to put in effort ourselves.

* According to the general Mahayana versions, Buddha had already attained enlightenment many eons ago. By manifesting a life with twelve enlightening deeds, he teaches us that enlightenment entails working forever for the sake of all.

* In the anuttarayoga tantra accounts, Buddha manifested simultaneously as Shakyamuni teaching The Sutras on Far-reaching Discriminating Awareness (The Prajnaparamita Sutras) and as Vajradhara teaching the tantras. This indicates that tantra practice is fully based on the Madhyamaka teachings of voidness.

Thus, we can learn many helpful things from each of the versions of Buddha’s life and gain inspiration on many different levels.
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:49 pm

As a Theravadin i dont accept the Mahayana sutras as coming from the Buddha. However i dont dismiss them and do like to read some

Bodhidharma - Wake up Sutra, Bloodstream sutra

I also look at the Lankavatara Sutra from time to time


As i said i dont think these came from the Buddha (certainly not in Bodhidharmas case) but i do see them as coming from the sangha. I see them as teachers insights put into sutra form and so i use them in the same way as i use modern teachers dhamma talks and books

So no i wouldnt say the historicity of the sutras is important to use them and get teachings from them unless (and this is my Theravadin hat) the doctrines in them do contradict the Pali Canon Suttas

N.B. However if your approaching it from a want to understand the history of the Buddha then i would say you cant really use them

metta
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:00 pm

What does the Theravada school have to say about the Bodhisatva born as a quail--- besides that it's obviously an unreliable story inserted possibly :twisted: , neh, most probably, by wicked Mahayanists? :smile:


Theravadins dont see Mahayana buddhists as wicked. I actually find that most Theravadins stress the importance of unity and the dangers of conceit in thinking that one school is better than another, that is self view and tied with dukkha


I also think that the view that Theravadins think that Mahayana followers "made things up" is a false one. From what i have understood the Theravadin view is that the Mahayana followers did have insights, just slightly mistaken ones


Now there are going to be differences of opinion, Theravadins see the pali canon as the only authority in matters of buddhadhamma while mahayanaists sees other literature as important. This is a fact that we all know about each other. The importance though is to understand our differences so we can engage in a dialogue of mutal friendship and support in our practice of Dhamma. Ulitmately we are all striving to end dukkha and stress compassion and kindness in the world, where is the problem? So we disagree on some sutras, so what :shrug:

The problem starts when one person expects another to follow their ways


Metta
Those who are lust-infatuated fall back to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off. Without any longing, they abandon all dukkha and renounce the world

Dhammapada - Verse 347
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby sraddha » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:22 am

Nikayas should not be confused with "Pali Canon", the Nikayas are found and accepted in the Mahayana as well ---as Aghama sutras, and their teachings are found in various sanskrit Mahayana sutras -- unfortuneatly -- Mahayana schools barely read them -- this fact made me not want to be a Mahayana person.

In that sense, yes, the Theravada school has done something wonderful by preserving those texts and promoting those texts.

Both schools are and have been making aspersions against one another (Mahayanists misunderstanding sutras saying not to strive for Arahanthood and Theravada in turn saying, your sutras aren't to be accepted-- I ON THE OTHER HAND BELIEVE IN A HEALTHY and FUN DEBATE :smile: , with sutras/suttas in hand -- very necessary from time to time to disgard wrong views.


I'm not sure it's that simple as to what a Buddhist school thinks -- what do the masses think?- if you go to any Theravada country, the Sraddhanusaris posit a very different view -- a very devotional view -- similarly, the average Mahayana country.

Taking the words of the Kalama, ALL schools/traditions can be wrong :jawdrop: , if the views they posit DON"T LEAD TO LIBERATION, but further wrong views -- and if they further wrong views - BUDDHA GIVES ME AND EVERY BUDDHIST A RIGHT AND OBLIGATION TO QUESTION THIS!

Buddhism isn't about any orthodoxy, it's about access to the Dharmakaya.



"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'
"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
SN 22.59 PTS: S iii 66 CDB i 901
Pañcavaggi Sutta: Five Brethren
(aka: Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self

:reading:
Here, Anatta means -- Buddha was never a man/woman/animal or any of his births in the Jataka-- the Bodhisatva might have been born, the Bodhisatva might of attained to become Buddha, but once Buddha, none of those forms relate to him -EVER.

Samyutta Nikaya, Vakkali Sutta, Buddha said to his disciple Vakkali that,

"Yo kho Vakkali dhammaṃ passati so maṃ passati"
O Vakkali, whoever sees the Dhamma, sees me [the Buddha]
Another reference from the Agganna Sutta of the Digha Nikaya, says to his disciple Vasettha:

"Tathāgatassa h'etam Vasettha adivacanam Dhammakayo iti pi ...":
O Vasettha! The Word of Dhammakaya is indeed the name of the Tathagata


So again, did Buddha=Dharmakaya die of diarrhea, dysentary? My hologram is dying of curiosity to find out...

Or are some schools just obsessed with Buddha holograms as historical beings...?

:rolling:
http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Luke » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:49 am

Sure, there's nothing wrong with debate if it stays intelligent and constructive. However, anger is a path which leads to hell.

I've seen Theravada get bashed on other forums before, so I suppose I was just trying to be protective.

I see all Dharma texts as objects of refuge, even though I find some wiser than others.
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:54 am

Craig, I really like your remarks :namaste:
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby thornbush » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:36 pm

Me thinks the sooner I get over all that Hina and Mahaweenie thingy, the sooner I can taste the fruits of the Path :tongue:
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:07 pm

sraddha wrote:What does the Theravada school have to say about the Bodhisatva born as a quail--- besides that it's obviously an unreliable story inserted possibly :twisted:, neh, most probably, by wicked Mahayanists? :smile:


The Theravada would not have a problem with that Jataka story. The Bodhisatta (Pali) would perfect the paramitas over many lifetimes and many of these will be in animal form. In the final life the Buddha would complete the task and set-up the Dhamma and Discipline for future generations to follow the teachings as they are compiled and composed with the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha for refuge.
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Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby sraddha » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:06 pm

clw_uk wrote:
What does the Theravada school have to say about the Bodhisatva born as a quail--- besides that it's obviously an unreliable story inserted possibly :twisted: , neh, most probably, by wicked Mahayanists? :smile:





I also think that the view that Theravadins think that Mahayana followers "made things up" is a false one. From what i have understood the Theravadin view is that the Mahayana followers did have insights, just slightly mistaken ones


Now there are going to be differences of opinion, Theravadins see the pali canon as the only authority in matters of buddhadhamma while mahayanaists sees other literature as important. This is a fact that we all know about each other. The importance though is to understand our differences so we can engage in a dialogue of mutal friendship and support in our practice of Dhamma. Ulitmately we are all striving to end dukkha and stress compassion and kindness in the world, where is the problem? So we disagree on some sutras, so what :shrug:




Metta


I agree that the Nikayas are very, very important -- this is from someone who started off as a Mahayana person -- but for me the CURRENT representatives of the Theravada school as well as Mahayana schools seem to not really understand the teachings -- just because you keep books, doesn't mean you understand them. :shrug:

I found that the Mahayana sutras actually have a deeper understanding of the Nikayas, as for being insulting to the Arahants in the Mahayana- if you read Ashvaghosha-- he said people at the time of Buddha had greater faculties, and were in fact more intelligent -- for the Dharma ending age, the Mahayana was developed without which correct understanding cannot be reached.
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