There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

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There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:20 am

The problem is that most of the main teachers are saints (this seems to be true across traditions BTW - this isn't confined to Tibetan Buddhism). They are real actual saints just like a phrase from Jamgon Kongtrul's "Retreat Manual" - outwardly they appear as Arhants. And most of us aren't saints. We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Individual » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:45 am

kirtu wrote:The problem is that most of the main teachers are saints (this seems to be true across traditions BTW - this isn't confined to Tibetan Buddhism). They are real actual saints just like a phrase from Jamgon Kongtrul's "Retreat Manual" - outwardly they appear as Arhants. And most of us aren't saints. We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.

Kirt

That would seem to be a problem with us rather than a problem with Buddhism. :namaste:
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:36 pm

We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.


I agree kirt...in a sense if we really wanted awakening now, I'm sure we would attempt to at least do a long retreat, lifetime retreat or ordain.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Astus » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:47 pm

Good point. This is what the great master Honen (法然), founder of the first independent Pure Land school (jodoshu 浄土宗), realised after he had gone through decades of monastic training. There is the path of the saints (shodomon 聖道門) and there is the Pure Land way (jodomon 浄土門). The saints' teachings include the whole of Buddhism working with self-power (jiriki 自力), i.e. one's own efforts, except the Pure Land teaching that works with other-power (tariki 他力), which is through the power of Amita Buddha's past vows (hongan 本願). The Pure Land path is the accessible way of enlightenment for ordinary beings (bonpu 凡夫) through which one can gain birth (ojo 往生) into the land of peace and bliss (anraku 安楽), a.k.a. Sukhavati. And as for the way itself, it's simply using buddha-remembrance, in the form of reciting the name (shomyonenbutsu 称名念仏) as Namo Amita Buddha (namuamidabutsu 南無阿弥陀仏), and nothing else (senjunenbutsu 専修念仏).

That is a summary of the basic idea of Honen which was used by Shinran to say that the Pure Land path is the final teaching that Shakyamuni wanted to teach. That's because it is the easy path for everyone to liberation, even those whose view are veiled by heavy karma.

Nevertheless, there might be another option. Looking at teachings from the Zen, Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions we find instructions given to ordinary people who could attain liberation. In fact, it is quite a central legend of Zen as we find it in the story of the 6th ancestor Caoxi Huineng. Gampopa taught without restriction his one sufficient path and Padmasambhava liberated many from all walks of life with a single pointing out instruction. Sure, it is true that in all three schools there were masters who spent decades in retreat and such, but they all supposed to have the means for common people. In the book Treasures from Juniper Ridge there is a very fitting terma on this, translated as Instruction for Women on Attaining Enlightenment Without Abandoning Daily Activities. But as it's happened with every teaching, religious history makes the ordinary in the present holy in the past. Once the bodhisattva was contrasted to the arhat in terms of not being worried about the outer discipline but the inner realisation, so it has happened with Zen and Vajrayana contrasted to the general Mahayana. Obviously, after a thousand years Zen and Tantra are the mainstream, like once "hinayana" was, while the alternatives, a new wave, might be hidden now. Or not.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby CSEe » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:45 pm

I am of the opinion that we could be fair / be truthfull to discuss and be ready to accept that in Buddhism MAYBE there are many " issue" that need to discuss . Some of them are as follows :-

1. What we want to belief of Siddharta ?
2. Is his teaching /his finding wrongly quoted ?
3. why some of books / or monk can associated with Buddha ?
4. why after maybe 2500 years of siddharta's death we still discussing on his teaching?
5. Why does so many people can claim " master" or Ven in Buddish teaching and regarded as referral to Siddharta's teaching ?
6. Why meditation / monk/even siddharta is associated with Buddha till now ?

We should ask our self , maybe we are in wrong track . We are in wrong approach / wrong method . We maybe listening or reading wrong books . We maybe see from other person eyes .
or maybe we are too ego to learned but only wish to teach .
or maybe siddharta fail to pass his finding to his follower . or maybe his follower too ego , too selfish to learn but have thier own views .
many many-many more .

Lets ask ourselve .
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Individual wrote:
kirtu wrote:The problem is that most of the main teachers are saints (this seems to be true across traditions BTW - this isn't confined to Tibetan Buddhism). They are real actual saints just like a phrase from Jamgon Kongtrul's "Retreat Manual" - outwardly they appear as Arhants. And most of us aren't saints. We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.

Kirt

That would seem to be a problem with us rather than a problem with Buddhism. :namaste:


I think it depends on who is having the discussion. As a major world religion, Buddhism is practiced in some form or another by a large number of people who are not striving to become saints. So there might be a question here of whether the prevalent teaching model really does the job of meeting the spiritual needs of ordinary people engaged in more or less ordinary lives. It's a question that came up in Christianity too and was resolved (in some denominations) through the emergence of a non-celibate priesthood. Buddhism also has lay teachers -- for instance in the (Theravada) insight meditation movement, most of the teachers don't pretend to be "saints".

Another problem might be the aura of infallibility that we usually associate with the concept of sainthood.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Rael » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:15 pm

kirtu wrote:The problem is that most of the main teachers are saints (this seems to be true across traditions BTW - this isn't confined to Tibetan Buddhism). They are real actual saints just like a phrase from Jamgon Kongtrul's "Retreat Manual" - outwardly they appear as Arhants. And most of us aren't saints. We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.

Kirt


Ahhh the need for labels....lol....




We can become saints but as Buddhadassa mentioned most of us don't actually want to become saints.


the irony in that sentence is killing me......
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby mudra » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:03 am

The problem is that we see them as saints, but perhaps they are just normal, and we aren't.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby purplelotus » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:05 am

mudra wrote:The problem is that we see them as saints, but perhaps they are just normal, and we aren't.


Hi Mudra with all due respect I think the opposite is the case. They are saints and we see them as normal. For instance watch how the Tibetans greet HH Dalai Lama with a reverance knowing they are in the presence of Buddha. Compare that to how westerners greet his Holiness.

I don't think the problem is with the Dharma, all the instructions are there. I remember reading a wonderful piece, I think it was in Blazing Splendour about how the the Tibetans were so impressed with the first western practictioners because they really believed enlightenment in one life was possible, all you had to do was put the teachings into practise, whereas the Tibetans were aiming for another precious human life. Now, however, that inital belief has gone and the westerners too are aiming for another precious human life.

Best wishes

P
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby tamdrin » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:15 pm

purplelotus wrote:
mudra wrote:The problem is that we see them as saints, but perhaps they are just normal, and we aren't.


Hi Mudra with all due respect I think the opposite is the case. They are saints and we see them as normal. For instance watch how the Tibetans greet HH Dalai Lama with a reverance knowing they are in the presence of Buddha. Compare that to how westerners greet his Holiness.

I don't think the problem is with the Dharma, all the instructions are there. I remember reading a wonderful piece, I think it was in Blazing Splendour about how the the Tibetans were so impressed with the first western practictioners because they really believed enlightenment in one life was possible, all you had to do was put the teachings into practise, whereas the Tibetans were aiming for another precious human life. Now, however, that inital belief has gone and the westerners too are aiming for another precious human life.

Best wishes

P


If it all ends up to be true... Why don't we aim for rebirth in Amitabha's pureland. Screw another precious human life, which is indeed guaranteed to be full of suffering.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Chaz » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:53 pm

tamdrin wrote:If it all ends up to be true... Why don't we aim for rebirth in Amitabha's pureland. Screw another precious human life, which is indeed guaranteed to be full of suffering.



Some do just that. Their main practice is Amitabha. They aspire for birth in Amitabha's Pure Land. The thing is that it involves rebirth as a human, too.

On the other hand, some take Bodhisattva Vows and aspire to remain in the samsaric cycle to aid sentient beings.

Some Bodhisattvas aspire to take birth in a Pure Land in order to complete the Bhumis and the Paths so that they may better aid sentient beings in Samsara.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby tamdrin » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:43 am

THe last option you mentioned makes the most sense. But then again I can't put all the motivation for my practice on hopes of getting to Amitabha's Pure Land. It seems a bit unlikely, Although i would like that very much.

It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara. As an ordinary person one is subject to having most of ones efforts directed towards fullfillment of ones self's issues, I would say at least get to one of the levels where one can be of benefit to others before one pretends that one is going to stay on for their benefit.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby sukhamanveti » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:09 am

tamdrin wrote:THe last option you mentioned makes the most sense. But then again I can't put all the motivation for my practice on hopes of getting to Amitabha's Pure Land. It seems a bit unlikely, Although i would like that very much.

It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara. As an ordinary person one is subject to having most of ones efforts directed towards fullfillment of ones self's issues, I would say at least get to one of the levels where one can be of benefit to others before one pretends that one is going to stay on for their benefit.



Some texts mention the “shepherd-like aspiration," which is the intention to postpone one's own enlightenment until after all others have attained enlightenment (although this does not mean remaining an ordinary person). Far more common in Mahayana and Vajrayana texts is the “king-like aspiration,” the desire to become a buddha for the sake of all beings, because buddhahood is the most effective state in which to help others. (This one makes the most sense to me. I have omitted the captain-like aspiration BTW.) As Kensur Pema Gyaltsen, former head abbot of Drepung monastery, once said, Tibetan Buddhists typically dedicate the merit from good deeds to the attainment of complete buddhahood that they may best help beings become liberated. The final view, he further explained, is that bodhisattvas do not postpone enlightenment or nirvana. Even if they do renounce their own buddhahood, this selfless renunciation only helps them to attain buddhahood*.


Many Mahayana texts and teachers explain the bodhisattva’s goal in terms of buddhahood for the sake of all beings. For example:


“My own self I will place in Suchness, and, so that all the world might be helped, I will place all beings into Suchness, and I will lead to Nirvana the whole immeasurable world of beings.” (Observe the order: the bodhisattva becomes a buddha first and then leads others to nirvana.) Ashtasahasrika-Prajnaparamita Sutra


“Just as the noble Buddha, King of Kings, radiates infinite light that brings warmth to all regions of the universe, may I also, becoming a Buddha, a master of the Dharma, free humanity from old age and death.” Longer Sukhavativyuha Sutra


“Once you intend to liberate all beings, you realize that in your present condition you cannot fulfill the aims of even a single being… you will realize that only a buddha has this ability. Then you will develop the desire to attain buddhahood for the sake of these beings.” Je Tsong Khapa, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, volume 2 (Ithaca, New York: Snow Lion, 2004), p. 33.


“One has to make the resolution to attain bodhi [enlightenment] before one can be called a bodhisattva.” Ven. Yin-shun, The Way to Buddhahood: Instructions from a Modern Chinese Master (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1998), p. 217.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Chaz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:10 am

tamdrin wrote:THe last option you mentioned makes the most sense. But then again I can't put all the motivation for my practice on hopes of getting to Amitabha's Pure Land. It seems a bit unlikely, Although i would like that very much.

It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara. As an ordinary person one is subject to having most of ones efforts directed towards fullfillment of ones self's issues, I would say at least get to one of the levels where one can be of benefit to others before one pretends that one is going to stay on for their benefit.


Not to worry. Some people connect with the Bodhsiattvayana and some don't. You're likely one of the latter and that's ok. There's nothing chiseled in stone that says you have to like it or take part in it. You don't want to take the vows for whatever reason? Don't take them. In some Tibetan schools not taking Bodhisattva vows may keep you from taking up Vajrayana practice, but if that doesn't make any difference to you I wouldn't worry about it.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby Mr. G » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:17 am

Another reason some strive for rebirth in Sukhavati is because other realms aren't as easy as we think they are to get in to:

From Payne and Tanaka's book "Approaching the Land of Bliss" - a quote by the founder of Chod, Machig Labdron:

For those who wish to become buddhas swiftly, it is necessary to pray for rebirth in a pure buddha-field. There are differing fields beyond number, and it has been declared that they are difficult to delimit in speech. Among them, in order to be born in the other superior fields excepting Sukhavati, you must attain at least the eight bhumi, having entirely cut off the two obscurations. Even to be born in the middling fields, you must entirely cut off even the most subtle aspects of the obscuration of the afflictions and attain at least the first moment on the path of contemplative cultivation. And for even the least of the fields, you must cut off attachment to self from the roots, and attain the path of seeing, that is, selflessness, the real truth. Until you've attained the path of seeing, though you pray for re-birth in a buddha-field, you'll not achieve it. But even without attaining the path of seeing, should you strive at prayer, while not engaging even in the most subtle disciplinary faults with respect to your commitments and moral training, and purifying sins and gathering the profits of virtue, you may just be born in some of the trifling fields such as Tusita, and even that will be difficult. Because in those fields there is no room for the births of common, ordinary persons (prthagjana), who wallow in the afflictions, from now on you must pray at length! Therefore, it would seem that afflicted, common persons will not be born in the field of a buddha. Nevertheless, through the power of Buddha Amitabha's prayers, birth in the Sukhavati field has been vouchsafed by lord Amitabha himself, for which reason you must by all means strive at prayer for rebirth in Sukhavati! Without doubt, suspicion, laziness, or irresolution, and by means of certainty and with ardent exertion you must pray, while recollecting the array of the Sukhavati field and its qualities. Because even common, ordinary persons, who are burdened with the afflictions, may be born in Sukhavati, it is exceptional. And having been born there, all of your wishes will be realized just a soon as you conceive them, and you will not be tainted by the merest obscuration of affliction. Moreover, because you are permitted to journey to whichever among the buddha-fields you wish, it is exceptional; and it is exceptional because buddhahood is swifter that in the other fields. Because there is nowhere another field that is closer to being attained than Sukhavati, which is endowed with the aforementioned and other qualities beyond all conception, it is exceeding important that your strive in prayer for birth in Sukhavati.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby mudra » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:21 am

purplelotus wrote:
mudra wrote:The problem is that we see them as saints, but perhaps they are just normal, and we aren't.


Hi Mudra with all due respect I think the opposite is the case. They are saints and we see them as normal. For instance watch how the Tibetans greet HH Dalai Lama with a reverance knowing they are in the presence of Buddha. Compare that to how westerners greet his Holiness.


P


Perhaps it is normal to respect people and to be reverent to all life.

Perhaps we are abnormal in that we don't see in this manner, and we are offhand.

Just a question of perspective.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby tamdrin » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:41 am

Chaz wrote:
tamdrin wrote:THe last option you mentioned makes the most sense. But then again I can't put all the motivation for my practice on hopes of getting to Amitabha's Pure Land. It seems a bit unlikely, Although i would like that very much.

It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara. As an ordinary person one is subject to having most of ones efforts directed towards fullfillment of ones self's issues, I would say at least get to one of the levels where one can be of benefit to others before one pretends that one is going to stay on for their benefit.


Not to worry. Some people connect with the Bodhsiattvayana and some don't. You're likely one of the latter and that's ok. There's nothing chiseled in stone that says you have to like it or take part in it. You don't want to take the vows for whatever reason? Don't take them. In some Tibetan schools not taking Bodhisattva vows may keep you from taking up Vajrayana practice, but if that doesn't make any difference to you I wouldn't worry about it.


What is this nonsense? What I wish is to not remain an ordinary being limited and afflicted in concepts/obscuraions. You don't have to be superman here. You have to be realistic. What can help self/others the most. It is not remaining as an ordinary being, but it is becoming extraordinary/arya.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:08 am

tamdrin wrote:It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara.


Well once one sincerely takes the Bodhisattva Vows, even if they can't fulfill them adequately even in the next second (i.e. as soon as they are away from the lamas they pursue worldly activity) then that person is no longer an ordinary person. They aren't Arya Bodhisattvas yet but as long as they really generated the intention to really free all beings from samsara then that intention is the touchstone that gradually takes over and directs their life and all future lives. I don't mean to invoke sincere bodhicitta as a completely deterministic force but basically this is what Atisha taught. Then if a person no matter their failings really raises bodhicitta daily and works over time to reduce their negativities then they are fulfilling their aspirations and are becoming less and less ordinary (i.e. they are moving more deeply into the Bodhisattva path). Adding to that they can then retake the Bodhisattva Vows and imprint them more deeply on their minds. In fact HH Penor Rinpoche advised people to retake the Bodhisattva Vows even on a daily basis to strengthen their force in people's lives (I saw that in a video after his parinirvana).

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby mudra » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:28 am

Kirtu, don't forget that when one takes the engaging Boddhisattva vows, one undertakes to retake the vow several times a day.


purple lotus, coming back to our little side discussion, a quote from Ke Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chen Mo, which is given as the opposite of what deceit is:

Sincerity is explained in the Commentary on the Kasyapa Chapter to be your ordinary attitude.
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Re: There is a problem with Buddhism after all ....

Postby mudra » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:33 am

kirtu wrote:
tamdrin wrote:It seems there is absolutely no point to take bodhissatva vows to just remain an ordinary person and stay in samsara.


Well once one sincerely takes the Bodhisattva Vows, even if they can't fulfill them adequately even in the next second (i.e. as soon as they are away from the lamas they pursue worldly activity) then that person is no longer an ordinary person. They aren't Arya Bodhisattvas yet but as long as they really generated the intention to really free all beings from samsara then that intention is the touchstone that gradually takes over and directs their life and all future lives. I don't mean to invoke sincere bodhicitta as a completely deterministic force but basically this is what Atisha taught. Then if a person no matter their failings really raises bodhicitta daily and works over time to reduce their negativities then they are fulfilling their aspirations and are becoming less and less ordinary (i.e. they are moving more deeply into the Bodhisattva path). Adding to that they can then retake the Bodhisattva Vows and imprint them more deeply on their minds. In fact HH Penor Rinpoche advised people to retake the Bodhisattva Vows even on a daily basis to strengthen their force in people's lives (I saw that in a video after his parinirvana).

Kirt


Tamdrin,
I would add to this to say that there are bodhisattvas (the definition being having spontaneous bodhicitta) who are not yet Aryas - these are on the path of acumulation and the path of preparation. Yet the fact of having spontaneous bodhicitta creates such tremendous merit, and once they are bodhisattvas, regardless of being Aryas yet or not, they become supreme fields of merit for beings in samsara.
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