Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:08 pm

kirtu wrote:
Individual wrote:True Buddhism cannot be defined

Because whatever can be defined is conditioned


It's taught using concepts because that's how we understand things. We have to use concepts to ultimately become free of conceptuality.

Kirt

:namaste:

I know, but skepticism seems to be the issue here.

I should've been more clear: Whatever can be defined can be re-defined.

There are no permanent, perfect definitions.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby muni » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:20 pm

Can agree with above, all "views" are compounded impermanent.

Also if we look how violence arises by righteousness- justices, pondering wrongs and goods of eachothers paths- such aren't benefitting or encouraging eachother.


mr Gordo:" I appreciate the points you bring up actually, but I’m not the only one to have noticed your hostile and flippant quips".

Yes. We should be blessed with broadmindedness, flexibility and self investigation.

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:17 pm

Huseng wrote:Your interpretation above sounds very much like Sthaviravāda, which is fine. However, there are other Śrāvaka understandings like that of the Mahāsāṃghika who saw Buddha as representing something transcendental.

Well, my interpretation is based on the consideration of many sources (i.e. not just Sthaviravāda). If śramaṇa Gautama were indeed supramundane, or passed himself off as being supramundane, then it's implausible that only a couple of sub-groups of the Mahāsāṃghikas were able to successfully retain this bit of knowledge. It would be rather hard to forget. Given the human penchant for glorifying religious gurus, especially dead ones, I would suggest that the supramundane doctrine arose out of the early hagiographies fertilized by genuine faith. Indeed some of the earliest hagiography is canonical, but the various versions of the canon were open to development for quite some time after the Buddha's parinirvāṇa. (We can see this by a comparison of the Ekottara Āgama and the Aṅguttara Nikāya. Again, it would be implausible that those pesky Sthaviravādins edited out most of the supramundane aspects found in a few redactions of canonical material.)

That said, I agree with your overall assessment.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:57 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:I'm not "mocking" the Mahāyāna or the Vajrayāna. My Mahāyāna faith isn't contingent upon believing that the Mahāyāna teachings were taught by the śramaṇa Gautama.



Yeshe D. wrote:The point is this: Anyone who's faith is based on the Mahāyāna -- a tradition which has no connection to the śramaṇa Gautama, ............
Geoff


This is really the nub of your problem. Yes, your problem, as it does not apply to anyone who actually connects Mahayana and Vajrayana to Shakyamuni, the 4NT & 8FP and accepts the core teachings running throughout such as rebirth.

We must eventually return to the same obvious point which is always made in these discussions: scriptural authentication. Since there is no secure evidence of the Pali scriptures being a correct record of what was taught, you're comparing apples and pears when Buddha may have taught oranges. ;)

You also write that you do not need to believe that Mahayana scriptures were authored by Buddha, yet in other places stretch that to mean that they have 'no connection' with him. What you assert is therefore that the Mahayana is not Buddhism.

You are entitled to base your faith on scriptures which you doubt are even Buddhist, but there is no logic in then denying the sense of others basing their faith on scriptures they are convinced do 'connect to the śramaṇa Gautama'. Whose Buddhist faith has the more solid foundation? The one connected to Buddha I reckon.


Whether talking about the schools, eSangha or dealing with other members on the two connected threads, you seem to feel the need to insult them, and even deny the evidence when it is repeated back to you.

Terms of Service apply to the whole site:
'Mutual respect and friendliness should be the basis of all interactions.'

Those have a great deal of knowledge also require wisdom and compassion in situations such as this.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Astus » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:17 pm

Just because Mahayana and Vajrayana were not taught by Gautama doesn't mean they're wrong or anything like that. A very good example is Bön which has many teachings from the Prajnaparamita up to Dzogchen, still, it accepts no connection to Gautama. Does that mean that the Bön Prajnaparamita is incorrect while the Kagyu Prajnaparamita is correct? And I'm not talking about the quality of the translations.

I take the position similar to Huseng's: it is possible to see the basic ideas in the agamas/nikayas of what has become Mahayana. But that doesn't mean Gautama himself literally taught Mahayana. Which again doesn't mean it is not correct Buddhism, in the meaning and content.

Let me copy this text from Sthiramati that once existed on Anders' website (Leaves from the Buddha's Grove) but now it's hard to obtain (found here:

Sthiramati Bodhisattva
Entering the Great Vehicle [Mahayana]

[Q] Now we may desire to penetrate the meaning of 'Entering the Great Vehicle [Great Vehicle]'. What is the meaning of 'Entering the Great Vehicle'?

[A] I wrote this text for those who want to get rid of the cause of suffering. But you must also know that there might be those who approach a lax spiritual friend and take up a wrong and partial opinion as the Dharma. Then the newcomer might formulate a heretical view and, because of wrong mental application, be unable to penetrate to the True Meaning, unable to know the Enlightenment of the Buddha, and have doubt about his sayings. One who disparages the (Buddha's) holy sayings will then destroy the True Dharma, and have a great deal of evil retribution. As the Blessed One said, "the result of disparaging the Dharma is more heavy than the five grievous trangressions (killing mother, father, arhat, causing dissension in the Sangha or making Buddha bleed), and will bring immediate retribution. Because life in the downward paths is a long duration, the ripening of suffering will be experienced for a long while." And as the Sutra verses say:

"One who slanders the Dharma of the Great Vehicle goes to the lower states of being. This person experiences the ripening of his action and its true nature should be told. He's born deep in hell, and his body burns in great flames; the great torture of his incineration is always the result of sinful action. A blazing iron plow - for five hundred lives - rolls on the top of his tongue while the remainder of his body is struck with pain. If he manages to escape hell, he will still experience other forms of evil retribution and all his senses will be continually non-functioning and polluted; he'll never hear the sound of Dharma. In the exceptional case of one who happens to hear the Dharma, it will again be that he will slander the Holy Dharma,and because of this he will go back to hell."

So all those defaming the Dharma should listen here. You should maintain an attitude of doubt toward the Great Vehicle. Just like Aryadeva says in verse:

"One who has little merit will not even feel doubt about the Dharma. But existence is shredded by the mere presence of doubt." - Catusataka 8.5

If one has doubt having heard all the fundamental teachings of the Great Vehicle, one's intellect will penetrate the subjects and be open to Enlightenment. One who has become open to Enlightenment will [then] simply bring about trust in the teaching, which will lead to further joyand happiness. One who brings about this joy and happiness will obtain the insight brought about by listening, pondering and meditating on the Dharma. One will then progress all the way to total understanding of the Awareness of all States [of being], just like the Buddha.

Thus, we have those who denigrate the Great Vehicle and will fall into the lower realms of being, and those who generate all good actions because of the Great Vehicle. One will thus decay or grow depending on their association [with Great Vehicle]. If one's desire is for Insight, one will travel the path to Enlightenment. It is the same with all beings, since they all have this ability equally. If Enlightenment were separate from the capacity of sentient beings, then the path to Enlightenment would be unobtainable. But, from the realm of all beings comes the Enlightenment of All Buddhas. The Ven. Nagarjuna, in verse, says:

"It doesn't descend from space, nor does it arise from the ground. Rather, the direct perception of Total Enlightenment only happens in those having [first] encountered unskillful emotional states." - Suhrllekha 116

Now this treatise is about entering the Great Vehicle. But what sort of entity is this thing called the Great Vehicle? The collection of scripture known as the “bodhisattva basket” is the Great Vehicle.

One may object that the Buddha spoke of neither the three vehicles nor of the Great Vehicle. However, both of these were identified by the Buddha with the term “three baskets of the doctrine” (tripit.aka). As it is said in the Bodhisattva-pitaka-sutra:

“The Buddha addressed Ajaatasatru, ‘Son of good family. There are three kinds of baskets. Which are these? There is the disciple’s basket, the private buddha’s basket, and the bodhisattvas’ basket. Son of good family, we identify the term “three baskets” only by means of the Great Vehicle to be studied by all the bodhisattvas, not by means of the vehicles of the disciples or of the private Buddhas. Thus we call it the “three baskets”. Why? The expression of the dharma concerns all of the three vehicles, and this is why it is called the “three baskets”, yet only the dharma spoken to the bodhisattvas reflects the capacity to the practice of the three vehicles, so it is terms the “three baskets.”’

“’Son of good family, there are individuals who have the capability to train in one of three ways: those undertaking the disciples’ training, the private buddhas’ training, or the bodhisattvas’ training. Disciples do not study in the vehicle of the private buddhas since they are unable to penetrate its meaning. Likewise, private buddhas cannot penetrate the bodhisattva vehicle. Only the bodhisattvas are capable of studying others’ vehicles, yet they do not obtain realization in these paths but by means of the bodhisattva vehicle. Thus, theirs is the profound enlightenment of the Dharma to be practiced by the bodhisattvas. Because it has this significance, the bodhisattva vehicle is terms the “three baskets” and not the other’s vehicles.’”

Other scriptures also elaborate the following exhaustive distinctions, which I am now going to summarize, so please listen. You may think that the Great Vehicle is not part of the three baskets. Then, the three baskets consist of: the Enumerated Discourses, the Middle-length Discourses, the Long Discourses, and the Scattered Discourses, constituting the one hundred thousand plus verses of the first basket; the discipline and the higher dharma, composing the two hundred thousand verses of the second basket; and the complete cultivations composing the third basket. This, in fact, is not to be identified with the three baskets. Why? Because many other scriptures would not be considered the word of the Buddha. Yet there are still other scriptures than those included in the discourses, the discipline, and the higher dharma. There are the works of the “scattered basket”, the Tiger Scripture, the Womb Scripture, the Advice to Kings, Prior Births of the Buddha, the Dependent Origination for Private Buddhas -- altogether eighty-four thousand baskets of doctrine. If only the three baskets are the word of the Buddha, then we would have the problem that not everything collected by the venerable Ananda would be considered the word of the Buddha. Thus, we should identify all of them with the term “basket”, and conclude that there are over one hundred thousand baskets of the dharma.

One may object that the Blessed One has previously said, “After my Nirvana, in the future there will come many who will sit around and argue, ‘This is the word of the Buddha, this is not the word of the Buddha.’” In response to this anticipated circumstance, the Tathagata has sealed his doctrine with the seal of the dharma. “If the meaning of a scripture is in harmony with the discourses, if it is in accord with the discipline, and if it does not contradict the nature of reality [dependent origination], then that scripture may be termed the word of the Buddha.”

Our response to this objection is that the Buddha certainly did not apply these criteria to the bodhisattva vehicle while exempting the disciple’s vehicle. The Buddha’s word is not dissimilar in either case but indicates a single nature to be sealed by the seal of the dharma. Now, as to your means of comparison between a scripture proposed as the word of the Buddha and the three baskets, is it done by means of the letter of the texts or by the significance? If it is by the letter, then it is impossible that any of the twelve sections of scripture should be the word of the Buddha, since they all have different verses, sections, and sentences. But if the comparison is performed by examining the meaning through reason which does not contradict the nature of reality, then a meaning which harmonizes with the significance of discourses and is characterized by reality accordingly demonstrates its own significance. So those discourses which demonstrate the significance of the disciple’s dharma belong to the disciples’ vehicle. Those discourses which demonstrate the significance of the private buddhas’ dharma belong to the private buddhas vehicle, and those discourses which demonstrate the significance of the bodhisattvas’ dharma belong to the bodhisattvas’ vehicle. . . Now the inquiry into the perspective equal for all the buddhas in the universe (as many as are particles of dust) is also the dharma to be received from an excellent spiritual friend. It is thus the complete Great Vehicle and termed the expanded discourses - immeasurable, unlimited, and not part of the disciples’ dharma. Its meaning is very profound, and accordingly all the dharma to be cultivated by the disciples is found minutely included into the path of the Great Vehicle. It is great blessedness and this is what is meant by “in harmony with the discourses.”

Now we should discuss the phrase, “in accord with the discipline.” The holy path of all the three vehicles equally destroys desire, anger and hatred, which is the reason it is identified as discipline. Now the discourses discriminate cause and results, whereas the higher dharma discriminates the characteristics of real events, yet they both destroy the mental and emotional defilements. The Great Vehicle also speaks of the elimination of all evil events, the defilements of desire, anger, and ignorance. The Buddha taught the disciples to purify their own three varieties of action - body, speech, and mind - and called that the discipline. To the bodhisattvas, he taught them to purify their own three varieties of action - even going as far as the accomplishments of Buddha - by grasping and completing the perfection of virtue. Morality itself is to be grasped by the bodhisattvas. By generating the thought of awakening for all beings they are able to obtain the fruit called absolute truth. Thus the Great Vehicle is in accord with the discipline.

Finally, it does not contradict reality. As none of the three vehicles speaks of the contradiction of the twelve parts of dependent origination, neither does the Great Vehicle.

So, one who investigates well this issue realizes that the Great Vehicle is completely in accord with the threefold seal of the dharma. Of course, if one does not well investigate it, then neither the Great Vehicle nor any of the three vehicles is accepted. And one deprecating the Great Vehicle then commits the gravest of faults.

If you now maintain the Great Vehicle to be the word of Mara, and not that of the Buddha, then we must reply that in none of the discourses do we truly find the pronouncement that the Great Vehicle is Mara’s word. So, this objection cannot be trusted. If you believe that to call the Great Vehicle the word of the Buddha is like a worm in the body of the Teacher that still feeds on his corpse, then all of the vehicles feed off the dharma body of the Buddha, not just the Great Vehicle. By just this token, it cannot be the word of Mara since only the Buddha is able to express it.

Bodhisattvas have immeasurable, unlimited, incalculable qualities that reach as far as the very hells. Facing Nirvana directly, they still return to the cycle of birth and death through their sympathy for living beings. Here they remain for an incalculable eon and experience for a very long time heroic suffering. You see, the vehicle of the bodhisattvas, the great beings (mahasattvas), is actually the Great Suffering Vehicle. Their search for the highest fruit is inconceivable. They have left behind all the disciples and private buddhas, surpassing their efforts. Fulfilling all the qualities of enlightement, they transcend the stage of the facile “knowable.”

How is the bodhisattvas’ vehicle the Great Suffering Vehicle? Suppose that a person might take a ship across the ocean. On the high seas, an evil wind arises, making the waves appear like mountains. Other countless calamities like this occur at the same time. All of his companions are anxious and develop an overwhelming fear, but the captain has long experience in handling the sails and has the merit of the ability to overcome difficulties. Transcending his troubles, he seizes the great precious gem in the ocean.

The bodhisattva, the great being, is at rest in the sea of birth and death. He does not trust the troubles that are entertained by going down the evil path on account of listening to a poor spiritual friend. During the first incalculable eon, the bodhisattva cultivates the practices associated with the stage of purity and seeks pure liberation. During the second incalculable eon, the bodhisattva cultivates the practices of pure contemplation. During the third incalculable eon, the bodhisattva cultivates the practices of pure gnosis and overcomes the obscurities of the stage of the facile knowable. Therefore, the bodhisattvas’ vehicle is termed the Suffering Vehicle. Completing all the ten stages, he obtains them certainly and clearly. Because of the completion of all practices, he obtains the highest, complete, perfect awakening. Through his cognition of final gnosis, he accomplishes the great accomplishment.
"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."

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:39 pm

Astus, here is a much shorter quote.

"Buddhas of the past and future teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions."

-Bodhidharma's Bloodstream Sermon

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby kirtu » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:46 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:The Indian Nikāya schools who only accepted the Āgamas (and corresponding Nikāyas) as the Buddha word. These schools were mainstream until at least the 5th or 6th century CE. The "Mahāyāna" was comprised of some marginal groups which existed on the fringes of the mainstream institutions until at least this time.


This date range and interpretation is not correct. Fa Hsien records thousands of Mahayana monks in numerous locations across the north and central Indian subcontinent. Fa Hsien wrote at the beginning of the 5th century. It would be unlikely for numerous widely separated concentrations of Mahayana monks and monasteries to spring up suddenly in a short period prior to Fa Hsien's journey. This then pushes the Mahayana definitely into the 4th century. Additionally the Prajnaparamita literature as well as the Lotus Sutra appear between 1 BCE and 1 CE. There is archaeological evidence in the form of a sculpture of Amitabha from Mathura dating to 180 CE as well as similar sculptures from Gandhara dated between the 2nd and 3rd century CE.

Therefore the Mahayana had currency (not in the form of existing on the fringes of mainstream institutions) by around the 2nd or 3rd century CE. Fa Hsien notes that many cities he visited had mixed Mahayana and Hinayana monks, some places were exclusively Hinayana and some places were exclusively Mahayana.

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:59 pm

Astus wrote:Just because Mahayana and Vajrayana were not taught by Gautama doesn't mean they're wrong or anything like that. A very good example is Bön which has many teachings from the Prajnaparamita up to Dzogchen, still, it accepts no connection to Gautama. Does that mean that the Bön Prajnaparamita is incorrect while the Kagyu Prajnaparamita is correct? And I'm not talking about the quality of the translations.

I take the position similar to Huseng's: it is possible to see the basic ideas in the agamas/nikayas of what has become Mahayana. But that doesn't mean Gautama himself literally taught Mahayana. Which again doesn't mean it is not correct Buddhism, in the meaning and content.



Yes, it doesn't require a list of masters all the way back to Buddha, simply that the connection back to the Buddha comprises teachings which were conveyed over time from generation to generation, and that connection provided the basis for further writings which maintained consistency with the original.

As for the Bonpo, well their version of history serves their purpose, as one would expect, and the Buddhist Tibetan schools may wish to claim a link to Buddha and support a history which suits their purposes. One version:
http://bon-encyclopedia.wikispaces.com/ ... l+bzang+po

''Third, after the overthrow and death of the Tibetan king Langdarma in the ninth century, some Bonpo priests continued to alter other Buddhist texts using different orthography and terminology. In Upper Tsang, two of them, Shengur Luga (gSen rgur klu-dga') and Daryul Drolag (Dar yul sgro lag), composed more texts and hid them under rocks. Thereby they converted many Buddhist scriptures into Bon texts, such as transforming the extensive Prajnaparamita (Yum rgyas) into the Khams chen, the Bonpo version of the Prajnaparamita. ''

Flip a coin? LOL :)
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby tobes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:38 pm

There seems to be a basic tension here between a religious narrative and a historical investigation.

The religious narrative relies upon a certain degree of coherency and continuity in the unfolding of Buddhism. The historical mode is naturally more skeptical, because it peers into the ruptures and discontinuities in this unfolding. Historians often work without a religious investment, and thus, are unconcerned to present a cogent and unified picture of Buddhism.

I don't see anything scandalous in approaching Buddhism via the findings of historians, but of course, it may offend against the sensibilities of a holding a religious faith.

My Indian history is very poor, but if taking a historical approach in this question, I would be wary of being too textual in approaching continuities and discontinuities in different schools of Buddhism. It is tempting to do this because the texts give us something solid to build an argument on, and no doubt, they have played very significant roles in shaping and changing various Buddhisms.

But there are many other important dimensions which need to be explored too.

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:51 am

kirtu wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:The Indian Nikāya schools who only accepted the Āgamas (and corresponding Nikāyas) as the Buddha word. These schools were mainstream until at least the 5th or 6th century CE. The "Mahāyāna" was comprised of some marginal groups which existed on the fringes of the mainstream institutions until at least this time.


This date range and interpretation is not correct.

It is quite correct, considering all available sources, including Faxian (Fa Hsien). The Indian Nikāya schools were still the mainstream institutional schools during the rise of the Mahāyāna movements. Gregory Schopen, The Inscription on the Kuṣān Image of Amitābha and the Character of the Early Mahāyāna in India (JIABS 10, 124-5):

    [E]ven after its initial appearance in the public domain in the 2nd century [the Mahāyāna] appears to have remained an extremely limited minority movement -- if it remained at all -- that attracted absolutely no documented public or popular support for at least two more centuries. It is again a demonstrable fact that anything even approaching popular support for the Mahāyāna cannot be documented until 4th/5th century AD, and ... although there was -- as we know from Chinese translations -- a large and early Mahāyāna literature there was no early, organized, independent, publicly supported movement that it could have belonged to.

Daniel Boucher, Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the Mahāyāna:

    [T]hese two groups [i.e. the Theravāda and the Mahāyāna] were by all appearances among the least influential for most of the history of Indian Buddhism. On the basis of inscriptional records of donations to particular monastic orders as well as the accounts of Chinese pilgrims to India, we know that a number of other groups figured much more prominently. These would include the Sarvāstivādins, particularly in the north, the Kāsyapîyas, the Mahāsāmghikas, together with their sublineages in the south, and the Sammatîyas, to name only a few. The Sthaviravādins (Pāli: Theravādins) are little known on the subcontinent outside of Bodh-gayā, a site they seem to have largely monopolized, and the Mahāyāna does not appear on the ground until the fourth or fifth century, with one notable exception.

All the best,

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:41 am

Yeshe D. wrote:Well, my interpretation is based on the consideration of many sources (i.e. not just Sthaviravāda). If śramaṇa Gautama were indeed supramundane, or passed himself off as being supramundane, then it's implausible that only a couple of sub-groups of the Mahāsāṃghikas were able to successfully retain this bit of knowledge.


Some people see the Dalai Lama as a cheerful old man. Others see him as something far far more.

I mean, although His Holiness says, "I am just a simple monk!" and denies having any special powers, my guru, who has been his disciple for decades and was once his close retainer, has said His Holiness is much much more than just a simple monk.

When it is said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an emanation of Chenrezig, some people truly mean it. In the case of my guru, he has decades of experience as a monk by his side to aid in his testimony.

Likewise, some might have seen Shakyamuni as a wise man and others something transcendental. The texts that later generations relied on allow for either interpretation. For example how do you interpret Shakyamuni complaining about a sore back? Was it skilful means? Or did he really have a sore back? Did the Buddha not eradicate all his negative karma -- why would he still suffer from a sore back if he had?

Such questions were issues of debate in ancient India. Even today they are discussed.


Given the human penchant for glorifying religious gurus, especially dead ones, I would suggest that the supramundane doctrine arose out of the early hagiographies fertilized by genuine faith.


Sure, but we have the testimony of countless teachers throughout the ages that the Buddha was and is something quite supramundane.

Apparently if we ascertain certain truths we can verify this for ourselves. See the Buddha by not seeing the Buddha.

Indeed some of the earliest hagiography is canonical, but the various versions of the canon were open to development for quite some time after the Buddha's parinirvāṇa.


Which is why nobody has a monopoly on the Buddha's teachings.



(We can see this by a comparison of the Ekottara Āgama and the Aṅguttara Nikāya. Again, it would be implausible that those pesky Sthaviravādins edited out most of the supramundane aspects found in a few redactions of canonical material.)


Or perhaps from the very beginning there were those who saw the supramundane and those who did not. It might not have developed later on, but started from the very beginning.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:17 pm

Yeshe wrote:This is really the nub of your problem. Yes, your problem, as it does not apply to anyone who actually connects Mahayana and Vajrayana to Shakyamuni, the 4NT & 8FP and accepts the core teachings running throughout such as rebirth.

Why should acknowledging history be my problem? Or anyone else's problem for that matter? It most assuredly isn't a problem for me.

Yeshe wrote:We must eventually return to the same obvious point which is always made in these discussions: scriptural authentication. Since there is no secure evidence of the Pali scriptures being a correct record of what was taught, you're comparing apples and pears when Buddha may have taught oranges.

Not just the Pāḷi scriptures, but also the Āgama remnants preserved in a number of Indic languages, as well as in Chinese and Tibetan translation. The overwhelming commonalities of this large collection considered in toto represents the most accurate record possible of what śramaṇa Gautama and his earliest disciples taught.

Yeshe wrote:You also write that you do not need to believe that Mahayana scriptures were authored by Buddha, yet in other places stretch that to mean that they have 'no connection' with him. What you assert is therefore that the Mahayana is not Buddhism.

It is not "Buddhism" as taught by śramaṇa Gautama. The śramaṇa Gautama never taught a bodhisattvayāna. Nor did he teach a hīnayāna. Mahāyāna Sūtras and Tantras explicitly denigrate and reject the path and goal of the Dharma taught by śramaṇa Gautama as an "inferior" Dharma. Hīnayāna quite literally means a "deficient vehicle" or a "defective vehicle." The śramaṇa Gautama had no connection whatsoever with the Mahāyāna Sūtras and Tantras. The Mañjuśrīparivartāparaparyāyā Saptaśatikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra states that "enlightenment has the essential original nature of the deadly sins." The śramaṇa Gautama never said such a thing. The Bodhisatvacaryānirdeśa Sūtra states that "Foolish people explain things in accordance with moments of existence of arising (utpādadharma) and moments of existence of disappearance (nirodhadharma)." The "foolish people" mentioned here would have to include the śramaṇa Gautama. Kṛṣṇācārya's commentary on the Hevajra Tantra states that "Śrāvakas ... are called heretics because they are in conflict with the essence of the Vajrayāna teachings of the Enlightened One." The śramaṇa Gautama and his immediate disciples only ever taught a Śrāvakayāna.

I've also referred you to the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra to read a classical repudiation of the Dharma as taught by śramaṇa Gautama being put into the mouth of the "Buddha" himself by the authors of this Sūtra.

Yeshe wrote:Whether talking about the schools, eSangha or dealing with other members on the two connected threads, you seem to feel the need to insult them, and even deny the evidence when it is repeated back to you.

Pointing out fallacious conclusions and inaccurate characterizations of what I've said isn't being disrespectful of anyone. On the other hand, accusing me of being hostile and insulting others when I have done no such thing is disrespectful. As is implying that my participation here is analogous to going "to a friend or mentor's house and defecate in their dining room."

mr. gordo wrote: When I have discussions on Theravada forums, I am respectful. I have no deceptive agenda because my respect in sincere and genuine. I don't go to a friend or mentor's house and defecate in their dining room.

mr. gordo wrote:Your hubris is amusing though.

mr. gordo wrote:The divisive thread you started here by mocking Mahayana and Vajrayana

I didn't start this thread. I merely pointed out some logical implications of taking Gordo's criteria for establishing false Dharma. That post was then split off into this thread by the mods, and I was asked by Gordo and yourself to support the implications of what I said.

Moreover, repeated insinuations that I don't belong here posting on DW are also disrespectful:

Yeshe wrote:Are you sure you are in the right forum?

Yeshe wrote:You mentioned your dislike of eSangha and rejection of aspects which make this site similar. Logically, therefore, your comment that you are on the right forum may need revisiting.

Yeshe wrote:That reads like someone seeking to kick at this forum, its moderation and its ToS ... and your comments were unwarranted and destructive.

It's quite interesting that all of these blatantly disrespectful comments have come from yourself and Gordo. And not only are these comments disrespectful, they are completely inaccurate characterizations of what I've said. And yet, even after I take the time to point out and try to clarify these inaccuracies you're still accusing me of being insulting.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:38 pm

Huseng wrote:Likewise, some might have seen Shakyamuni as a wise man and others something transcendental. The texts that later generations relied on allow for either interpretation. For example how do you interpret Shakyamuni complaining about a sore back? Was it skilful means? Or did he really have a sore back? Did the Buddha not eradicate all his negative karma -- why would he still suffer from a sore back if he had?


There's the funny story in the Vimalakirti Sutra about the Buddha asking for milk because he's sick, Ananada goes to get milk, Vimalakirti rebukes him harshly saying that the Buddha's body is the dharmakaya which can't be sick and finally a heavenly voice tells the poor fellow he should nevertheless take the milk to the Tathagata. So, the buddha is perfect but still gets sick and needs some milk. :tongue:
"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: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby ground » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:07 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:Mahāyāna Sūtras and Tantras explicitly denigrate and reject the path and goal of the Dharma taught by śramaṇa Gautama as an "inferior" Dharma.

Can you provide an example quote for this assertion? But please in English and not Sanskrit.

kind regards
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:34 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Yeshe D. wrote:Mahāyāna Sūtras and Tantras explicitly denigrate and reject the path and goal of the Dharma taught by śramaṇa Gautama as an "inferior" Dharma.

Can you provide an example quote for this assertion? But please in English and not Sanskrit.

Sure. The Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (8000 Line Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra) tells us that any bodhisattva who considers the śrāvakayāna to be equal to the bodhisattvayāna lacks intelligence, and if he actually practices the śrāvakayāna, which is here equated with hīnayāna, then that bodhisattva has come under the influence of Māra:

    The Lord: Subhuti, do those Bodhisattvas appear to be very intelligent who, having obtained and met with the irreversible, the great vehicle, will again abandon it, turn away from it, and prefer an inferior vehicle?

    Subhuti: No, Lord!

    The Lord: If a starving man would refuse superior and excellent food, and prefer to eat inferior and stale food, would he be very intelligent?

    Subhuti: No, Lord!

    The Lord: Just so, Subhuti, in the future some Bodhisattvas will refuse this perfection of wisdom, will prefer the Sutras associated with the level of Disciple or Pratyekabuddha, and will seek for all-knowledge through the Sutras which welcome the level of Disciple or Pratyekabuddha. Would these Bodhisattvas be very intelligent?

    Subhuti: No, Lord!

    The Lord: Also this has been done to them by Mara. A man who had got a priceless gem and who considered it equal to a gem of inferior value and quality, would he be an intelligent person?

    Subhuti: No, Lord!

    The Lord: Just so there will be in the future some persons belonging to the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas who, though they have got this deep and brightly shining gem of perfect wisdom, will nevertheless think that it should be considered equal with the vehicle of Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, and will decide to seek for all-knowledge and for skill in means on the level of Disciple or Pratyekabuddha. Would they be very intelligent?

    Subhuti: No, Lord!

    The Lord: This also has been done to them by Mara.

The Ratnakūṭa Sūtra (Mound of Jewels Sūtra, also called the Kāśyapaparivarta Sūtra, from the Ratnakūṭa Collection) list followers of the śrāvakayāna alongside the lowly followers of worldly philosophies and materialists, as people to be avoided:

    It is an error on a bodhisattva's part to preach the lesser vehicle among beings who have their minds on further developed [dharmas]....

    These four, Kāśyapa, are a bodhisattva's unbecomming company, unbecomming friends, whom he had better avoid. Who are they? (i) the monk who follows the śrāvakayāna and practices for his own welfare; (ii) he who follows the pratyekabuddhayāna, being exclusively introverted and of limited scope; (iii) he who is a follower of lokāyata and specializes in all sorts of incantations; (iv) a person under whose influence [one] takes to accumulating material instead of spiritual things.

And as already mentioned, the The Bodhisattvacaryānirdeśa Sūtra (Exposition on the Bodhisattva Way Sūtra) states that:

    Foolish people explain things in accordance with moments of existence of arising (utpādadharma) and moments of existence of cessation (nirodhadharma).

The "foolish people" mentioned here would have to include the śramaṇa Gautama, because a correct understanding of arising and cessation is central to his teachings. And Kṛṣṇācārya's commentary on the Hevajra Tantra states that:

    Śrāvakas ... are called heretics because they are in conflict with the essence of the Vajrayāna teachings of the Enlightened One.


The śramaṇa Gautama and his immediate disciples only ever taught a Śrāvakayāna. There are numerous other examples such as the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra (True Dharma White Lotus Sūtra) and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśa Sūtra, the latter voicing thinly veiled aspersions regarding the character of well known early śrāvaka disciples. And beyond this, the Mahāyāna ekayāna doctrine at some point acquired the idea that all śrāvaka arhats who had passed into the "one-sided" nirvāṇa would eventually have to be roused from their selfish peace to attain buddhahood.

Of course, Mahāyāna apologists have made a point of attempting to downplay this rhetoric. Nevertheless, these are all derogatory ideas and are explicitly phrased in derogatory terms in the source texts. None of these connotations would have been lost on any Indian Buddhist who, for whatever reasons, didn't accept the authority or validity of the Mahāyāna.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:49 pm

tobes wrote:It strikes me that Yeshe is raising an interesting and valid question, much discussed in Buddhist scholarship. Moreover, he is consistently providing well founded responses.

I think he deserves far more respect than he is receiving on this thread.

:namaste:

:good:

As Yeshe already quoted from the ToS, it's very important that everyone here be mindful and respectful of one another. If a Mahayana/Vajrayana forum isn't to one's liking, that's okay. There are so many out there.

I'm not asking anyone to leave but please remain respectful of other people's opinions and spiritual paths.

Thanks,
Laura
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:54 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
tobes wrote:It strikes me that Yeshe is raising an interesting and valid question, much discussed in Buddhist scholarship. Moreover, he is consistently providing well founded responses.

I think he deserves far more respect than he is receiving on this thread.


As Yeshe already quoted from the ToS, it's very important that everyone here be mindful and respectful of one another. If a Mahayana/Vajrayana forum isn't to one's liking, that's okay. There are so many out there.

Please explain? Are you suggesting that the Mahāyāna/Vajrayāna isn't to my liking?

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:07 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:
Ngawang Drolma wrote:
tobes wrote:It strikes me that Yeshe is raising an interesting and valid question, much discussed in Buddhist scholarship. Moreover, he is consistently providing well founded responses.

I think he deserves far more respect than he is receiving on this thread.


As Yeshe already quoted from the ToS, it's very important that everyone here be mindful and respectful of one another. If a Mahayana/Vajrayana forum isn't to one's liking, that's okay. There are so many out there.

Please explain? Are you suggesting that the Mahāyāna/Vajrayāna isn't to my liking?

All the best,

Geoff


Had to happen. LOL :)

I think tobes was talking of Yeshe D. , but of course he would be right if he meant me! ;)


Yeshe D - You are very much aware that, whether as 'devil's advocate' or not, you have thrown out a huge amount of abuse on this thread aimed at members and at the Mahayana. When questioned or reminded of ToS you have tried to evade responsibility and sought to claim others are in fact being unkind to you. Straw man after straw man.

As I have been involved in this discussion I will leave further comment and action to other staff.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:11 pm

Hi Yeshe D,

I responded to your inquiry in the PM you sent, hopefully that's that's sufficient.

Kindly,
Laura
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:19 pm

Yeshe D. wrote:And as already mentioned, the The Bodhisattvacaryānirdeśa Sūtra (Exposition on the Bodhisattva Way Sūtra) states that:

Foolish people explain things in accordance with moments of existence of arising (utpādadharma) and moments of existence of cessation (nirodhadharma).


The "foolish people" mentioned here would have to include the śramaṇa Gautama, because a correct understanding of arising and cessation is central to his teachings. And Kṛṣṇācārya's commentary on the Hevajra Tantra states that:

[list]Śrāvakas ... are called heretics because they are in conflict with the essence of the Vajrayāna teachings of the Enlightened One.


Really? I think you are confusing existence arising with moments arising. Moments cannot arise. I think you are misinterpreting. In any case, a few examples does not justify your wholesale denial of ANY connection between Buddha and the Mahayana scritpures, which you have stated several times.

Abandoning the Tipitaka would be a downfall of vows for myself. Do yours permit abandoning the Mahayana and its connection to the Buddha?
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