"Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

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

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:57 pm

Hello,

Chaz wrote:
manjughoṣamaṇi wrote:Suit yourself. I have just never heard of Pāḷi material making up part of a Vajrayāna curriculum before. I have no beef with it.


Well some say that you can't understand the Vajrayana without and understanding of Mahayana and you can't understand Mahayana without understanding Hinayana.


I would be one of those people.

A student myst start somewhere and the best place to start is at the beginning - 4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Dependant Origination and so on. My teachers recognize this. I couldn't start my Mahayana studies until I had completed my Hinayana course work. That means Vajrayana study and practice would not have been possible, either.


I understand this. Though there are differences in when it is considered suitable to introduce a student to the practices and study of a specific yāna, I don't know any teachers or Vajrayāna who don't believe that you need to have at least an understanding of the essential points of all 3 yānas.

However, the Pāḷi Canon is not the only place these teachings are found. There were many śrāvaka schools and subschools (the number and names vary depending on the sources). Each of these schools had their respective recensions of the suttas/āgamas and vinaya. There are translations of some (not many) śrāvaka sūtras in the Tibetan Canon. For example, the quote in my signature is from the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit Maitribhāvana Sūtra which is analagous to the Pāḷi Mettabhāvana Sutta. Generally in the Tibetan traditions the śrāvaka teachings studied are from 2 subschools of the Sarvāstivāda tradition, the Vaibhāśikas and the Sautrāntikas. This is usually done formally by studying the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya and various commentaries on this text.

This is why I was curious which Pāḷi texts are being studied. Suttas? Abhidhamma? As I said, I have no problem with the inclusion of these texts into a curriculum, I am just curious which texts are used and what role they play. Personally, given the paucity of śrāvaka sūtras in the Tibetan Canon, and the lack of English translations of those that are, makes the Pālị suttas that are translated very useful. I think everyone should read Bhikku Bodhi's book, In the Buddha's Words, and his translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya.

Even in the Vajrayana you'll find references. The Four Reminders practice as found in Ngondro is based on principles of renunciation found in the Hinayana teachings.


Yes. The question is, the Hinayāna teachings of which school?

Wishing you all the best.
Last edited by mañjughoṣamaṇi on Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
mañjughoṣamaṇi
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:15 pm

Hello,

gregkavarnos wrote:
Chaz wrote:I'd like to know if there's a path to Vajrayana practice that dowsnt include Hinayana.
The Nyingma Ngakpo traditions. They don't go anywhere near any Sutta or Sutra. Well I am exaggerating a little, but you get the drift! 100% Tantra.
:namaste:


This is simply not true. For starters, all tantric sadhana includes the three yānas via the various aspects of the maṇḍala, and most Nyingmapas practice Ngöndro which includes (as Chaz has mentioned) an essentialized practice of what many tantric masters felt were the most essential points to take away from the śrāvaka teachings. Secondly, many very wonderful commentaries on the Sūtrayāna were written by Ngagpas. Thirdly, amongst the various rituals in a ngagpa's "bag of tricks", one finds recitation ('don) of Sūtra (mostly of the prajñāpāramitā variety) for the laiety.

Wishing you all the best.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
mañjughoṣamaṇi
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:06 pm

This description accords with what I know of Gelugpa training for Geshe qualifications. This is however, the core, and moansteries and gurus may supplement it in their own way:


The Gelugpa Monastic Curriculum

The curriculum of the Gelug monasteries focuses on the explication, debate, and understanding of the philosophy of the Indian Buddhist scholars, as interpreted by Tsongkhapa. To graduate with the highest degree of Geshe Lharampa, the monk studies five subject areas based on five essential Indian texts over a period of approximately 20 years. These are:

* Pramana (tsad ma) – the study of logic and reason, based on Dharmakirti’s Commentary on Valid Cognition (Skt: Pramanavartika, Tib: tsad ma rnam ’grel).
* Prajnaparamita (phar phyin) - the study of the grounds and paths of the mental continuum as it progresses toward enlightenment, based on Maitreya’s Ornament of Realization (Skt: Abhisamayalamkara, Tib: mngon rtogs rgyan).
* Madhyamaka (dbu ma) – the study of the view of emptiness according to the philosophical system of the Middle Way, based on Chandrakirti’s A Supplement to Treatise on the Middle Way (Skt: Madhyamakavatara, Tib: dbu ma la ‘jug pa).
* Vinaya (’dul ba) – rules of discipline for monastics, based on Gunaprabha’s The Vinaya Sutra, (Skt: Vinayasutra, Tib: ’dul ba’i mdo).
* Abhidharma (mdzod) – special topics, including cosmology and so forth, based on Vasubhandu’s Treasury of Knowledge (Skt: Abhidharmakosha, Tib: mgon par chos kyi mdzod)

This curriculum is supplemented by occasional commentaries and teachings on complementary subject matter, and by regular teachings on lamrim, the practical application of the stages of the path to enlightenment.


http://www.tibetanlineages.org/foundations/view/12
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Caz » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:35 pm

manjughoṣamaṇi wrote:Hello,

gregkavarnos wrote:
Chaz wrote:I'd like to know if there's a path to Vajrayana practice that dowsnt include Hinayana.
The Nyingma Ngakpo traditions. They don't go anywhere near any Sutta or Sutra. Well I am exaggerating a little, but you get the drift! 100% Tantra.
:namaste:


This is simply not true. For starters, all tantric sadhana includes the three yānas via the various aspects of the maṇḍala, and most Nyingmapas practice Ngöndro which includes (as Chaz has mentioned) an essentialized practice of what many tantric masters felt were the most essential points to take away from the śrāvaka teachings. Secondly, many very wonderful commentaries on the Sūtrayāna were written by Ngagpas. Thirdly, amongst the various rituals in a ngagpa's "bag of tricks", one finds recitation ('don) of Sūtra (mostly of the prajñāpāramitā variety) for the laiety.

Wishing you all the best.


I was going to say it would be a bit odd for one to be a practitoner of Tantra and not know anything about sutra, are Bodhisattva vows not bestowed before intiation ? If one knew nothing of Sutra then there is no chance that one could really accomplish anything of Tantra without having a good cultivation of Bodhichitta apparent in the mind.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
Caz
 
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:49 am

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Josef » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:39 pm

Caz wrote:
I was going to say it would be a bit odd for one to be a practitoner of Tantra and not know anything about sutra, are Bodhisattva vows not bestowed before intiation ?



Just like in the sarma system, one receives or retakes the refuge and bodhisattva vows in along with the empowerment.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby conebeckham » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:58 pm

I don't think most Vajrayana Buddhists study or practice explicitly from the Pali Suttas.
But the lineage of monastic ordination in Tibet certainly goes back to the Theras.

Mahayana (and therefore, Vajrayana, a subsect of Mahayana, really...) Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels, though their understanding of the objects of refuge is certainly somewhat different from the Thera view. In any case, the idea of the Four Noble Truths, and the path, exists for all Buddhists. Depending on one's "inner motivation" one could be called "Lower Vehicle" or "Greater Vehicle"--modern Vajrayana Buddhists, and many Mahayana Schools, claim the Theras are intent on self-enlightenment and personal salvation....I don't know enough to agree or disagree.....but in my view, intent, rather than technique, is the key.

Maintaining discipline and morality, and more specifically monasticism, is, in intent, the same between the Theras, Mahas, and Vajrayanists--again, outer details differ, though, and may even appear contradictory.

Concentration (samatha) is important to any Buddhist as well, though the object of samatha may differ.

The Mahayana "development" is claimed to be the development of Bodhicitta, the Mind that Strives for Other's Ultimate Welfare. I personally believe this exists in the Thera tradition, though perhaps not in as explicit a form.

In Vajrayana, including the Ngakpa (Non-Monastic) lineages of practice, you find refuge, adherence to discipline/ethics, stess on powers of concentration, and development of Bodhicitta. Again, there are shades of difference in the understanding of all these terms. But certainly most Vajrayana curriculums include a Ngondro, which stresses the Four Thoughts at the beginning-which relate to the Four Noble Truths and many of the topics of contemplation of the Pali Suttas. Ngondro also includes Refuge and Generation of Bodhicitta, and taking/renewal of Bodhisattva Vows--so it is certainly Mahayana. Many Vajrayana Teachers teach "Lojong" (Mind Training) and/or "Lam Rim" (Stages of the Path), which incorporate the main themes of Mahayana Buddhism, and even the elaborate and complete Tantric Sadhanas usually contain all of this material in the preliminary phases.

Of course, people like to delineate and focus on the differences-but I think we all have more in common, personally.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:32 pm

Hello,

gregkavarnos wrote:
Nangwa wrote:This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
I rejoice in your merit! :twothumbsup: But like I said: "the Ngakpo I know..." I was not trying to generalise (in this specific instance).


No offense meant to people sincerely practicing, but there has been a shift in the meaning of being a ngagpa during the transmission of teachings to the Europe and America. Most Western Ngagpas don't fill the same role they filled in Tibet. Many can't even perform Chöd properly with all the implements, much less the range of rituals a Ngagpa would be expected to be expert in Tibet and the diaspora communities in India. Additionally, I haven't met a single Tibetan ngagpa who hasn't completed at least one ngöndro.

Wishing you all the best.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
mañjughoṣamaṇi
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:38 pm

Hello,

conebeckham wrote:I don't think most Vajrayana Buddhists study or practice explicitly from the Pali Suttas.


This is why I'm wondering if Chaz was using the term Theravāda as a snyonym for Hinayāna, or if his teacher's curriculum actually does make use of Pāli texts and which ones they are using.

Wishing you all the best.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
mañjughoṣamaṇi
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Josef » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:40 pm

mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:Hello,

gregkavarnos wrote:
Nangwa wrote:This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
I rejoice in your merit! :twothumbsup: But like I said: "the Ngakpo I know..." I was not trying to generalise (in this specific instance).


No offense meant to people sincerely practicing, but there has been a shift in the meaning of being a ngagpa during the transmission of teachings to the Europe and America. Most Western Ngagpas don't fill the same role they filled in Tibet. Many can't even perform Chöd properly with all the implements, much less the range of rituals a Ngagpa would be expected to be expert in Tibet and the diaspora communities in India. Additionally, I haven't met a single Tibetan ngagpa who hasn't completed at least one ngöndro.

Wishing you all the best.

I agree completely Manjughosamani.
Ngakpa's should know what to do to benefit their community. Many do not and many who claim to be ngakpa just want to wear cool robes etc.
But, there are a handful of those who take these commitments seriously and work for those around them to the best of their capacity.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:04 pm

Alternatively, these beings exist, their practices are effective, but they have different names in different cultures which Buddhism incorporated with skill. ;)
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Tilopa » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:46 pm

Yeshe wrote:Alternatively, these beings exist, their practices are effective, but they have different names in different cultures which Buddhism incorporated with skill. ;)

Yes I think this is true and no doubt spirits and deities from Europe, America and other countries where dharma is taking root will eventually be incorporated into the pantheon of protectors as well, possibly even supplanting the imported Tibetan entities but if we aren't careful problems might arise due to the exaggerated emphasis that is sometimes given to such practices. Cultures that have deep shamanistic traditions are more likely to accord them prominence because of a pre-existing affinity for and pro-active engagement with the spirit realm and within the context of that particular culture it might be entirely appropriate. However, whether we as westerners need to give it the same degree of significance is for me the main question. Without denying the value of propitiating protecting spirits when appropriate I don't see the necessity for it to be a central part of our practice in the way it is for Tibetans. Honoring the 3 Jewels, understanding the 4 Noble Truths and cultivating Wisdom and Compassion are infinitely more important. Many people think that reliance on protectors is integral to Vajrayana practice and while that might be true (although I don't personally believe it) even so it seems to me it would be much better to keep that aspect totally secret so as to avoid any cross-cultural confusion or misguided perception that Tantric Buddhism encourages the worship of bloodthirsty demons and malevolent spirits.
Last edited by Tilopa on Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Tilopa » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:51 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:This is just plain ridiculous! There has not been a single form of Buddhism that has not been influenced by local practices. I mean even the common visual representations of Buddhas image (especially statues) are based on ancient Hellenic forms. Sure, other cultures made statues too, and a statue is a statue, but the the form used for representing the Buddha is clearly influenced by the Hellenic aesthetic.

Yes indeed. Most, if not all of the imagery and symbolism of tantra and many of the sutric metaphysical teachings of Buddha are extracted from the prevailing Indian culture of the time.
User avatar
Tilopa
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:53 am

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:11 pm

Tilopa wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Alternatively, these beings exist, their practices are effective, but they have different names in different cultures which Buddhism incorporated with skill. ;)

Yes I think this is true and no doubt spirits and deities from Europe, America and other countries where dharma is taking root will eventually be incorporated into the pantheon of protectors as well, possibly even supplanting the imported Tibetan entities but if we aren't careful problems might arise due to the exaggerated emphasis that is sometimes given to such practices. Cultures that have deep shamanistic traditions are more likely to accord them prominence because of a pre-existing affinity for and pro-active engagement with the spirit realm and within the context of that particular culture it might be entirely appropriate. However, whether we as westerners need to give it the same degree of significance is for me the main question. Without denying the value of propitiating protecting spirits when appropriate I don't see the necessity for it to be a central part of our practice in the way it is for Tibetans. Honoring the 3 Jewels, understanding the 4 Noble Truths and cultivating Wisdom and Compassion are infinitely more important. Some people think that reliance on protectors is integral to Vajrayana practice and that might be true although I don't personally believe it, but even so it seems to me it would be much better to keep that aspect totally secret so as to avoid any cross-cultural confusion or misguided perception that Tantric Buddhism encourages the worship of bloodthirsty demons.


Well said. :)

I'd add that Protector practice is linked to the potential harm which may befall the practitioner, which is most apparent in advanced practice.

The other element is the will of the spirits; necessity is the mother of invention, they say, so if there is no apparent need for propitiation it can be easily abandoned.

So it need not be central, just responsive to conditions.

I'm not convinced that one culture has any more folk religion, shamanism etc, than any other, so wherever the Dharma appears, the local culture will have its own indigenous spirit forms.

IMHO if Buddhism accepts the existence of a 'hungry ghost' realm (which includes all manner os spirits) then wherever it settles it will need to take account of it. ;)
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:52 am

TMingyur wrote:Well tibetans may be a good source as far as tibetan topics, tibetan schools, tibetan views are concerned but I would be very reluctant to recommend tibetan teachers as far as schools are concerned that they never had the opportunity to directly contact, that were never transmitted into tibet.
It seems you would be reluctant to recommend teachers of any ilk on any topic unless they happen to be called TMingyur! I'm not talking about taking cookin' lessons from the man. Anyway, just in case you didn't know, Namkhai Norbu has been living in Europe (Italy to be exact) since 1960 and served as a professor at the University of Naples from 1964-1992 so I guess he might know about topics that "were never transmitted to Tibet", maybe even cooking.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7900
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby conebeckham » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:21 pm

TMingyur-
I have no idea what "Schools" you're referring to (those not transmitted to Tibet?) but I guaranteee you'd learn a thing or two of value from Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. Of course, then you'd have to leave him.... :smile:
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby ground » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:24 am

Yeshe wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Well tibetans may be a good source as far as tibetan topics, tibetan schools, tibetan views are concerned but I would be very reluctant to recommend tibetan teachers as far as schools are concerned that they never had the opportunity to directly contact, that were never transmitted into tibet.

Kind regards


...
No, you must mean Zen, of course!

Which 'schools' are you writing about and how do you know that Tibetans have never had any of the teachings transmitted to them?

Actually I was thinking of the Theravada. Zen is asserted to have been transmitted to Tibet and then later banished so maybe there survived some derivative aspects of it.

Yeshe wrote:Have you been to their libraries, or more recently watched their TV and internet? The only Tibetans teachers (as opposed to teachings) you could possibly feel reluctant to recommend must still be alive and therefore probably know far more than you seem to suppose.

Please stay in the original context of "not recommending".
If you want to learn about a foreign country either you travel there or you have others tell you about it. These "others" on their part have either travelled there or their knowledge is based on hear-say of further others whose knowledge is again based on travelling or on hear-say and so on.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Previous

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: daverupa, Gwenn Dana, JKhedrup, Lhug-Pa, Lotus108, palchi, Simon E., smcj, yan kong and 16 guests

>