Sects and Sectarianism

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

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby ground » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:37 pm

Astus wrote:Yes, the same can be said of a sravaka. Also, just a reminder, that from a Theravada POV a buddha is a "perfect arhat", thus spreading the Dharma and liberating beings are things sravakas do as well. If that were not the case the whole Theravada should have died out long ago as there was nobody who wanted to teach it.

Good point.

Also: practicing for the benefit of self and others is the Theravada ideal laid down in suttas.

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

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby ground » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:41 pm

Caz wrote:If one isnt inspired by Bodhichitta but by a preliminary mind of love for all it doesnt have the same effect...



Effect ... primarily on oneself. The Mahayana assumption is that the secondary effect then is on others.

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

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:03 pm

They are irreconcilable at some point, in my opinion, but I'm not convinced this is due to doctrinal incompatibility. Many Mahayana teachings emerged as a way to address certain known paradoxes or unresolved issues; Vasubandhu's "alaya-vijnana", for example, solved a a logical problem with citta theory.

The great scholastics who formulated key Mahayana doctrines were familiar with the nikaya schools. So even though Theravadins may not accept (or see a need for) the Mahayana explications, that doesn't mean they are incompatible.

It seems to me the problem lies elsewhere, and is more institutional in nature. The two traditions define themselves in a way which necessarily excludes or marginalizes the other. Theravada is centered around the premise that it best represents Shakyamuni Buddha's teaching and that the Pali Canon conveys that teaching in full (at least to the extent it has been preserved). So by definition it rejects the legitimacy of any later teachings and of course it denies the authenticity of Mahayana sutras.

Since Mahayana defines itself in terms of a later, superior teaching, it must by necessity regard Theravada as falling short of the mark, whether or not the H-word is used. There's just only so far the dialogue can go, no matter how well-intentioned. Actually if complete co-existence could somehow be achieved it would mean the end of both vehicles as we know them.

We could say there is a similar process at work within Mahayana as well. For example, some Nichiren adherents (of the SGI persuasion, I guess), reject earlier schools including what they describe as "primitive Buddhism".
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby ground » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:49 pm

I think that in the long run these traditions will merge (again). Traditions that can survive only in ghettos will die out naturally. Globalisation and the western "spirit of (age of) enlightenment" will eventually eliminate buddhist sectarianism.

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

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Astus » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:59 pm

"The two traditions define themselves in a way which necessarily excludes or marginalizes the other."

That could be said about East-Asian and Tibetan Buddhism too, or Nichiren-shu and Jodo-shu. Thing is, both Mahayana and Theravada are names for huge categories for the sake of convenience. There are Theravada people today who have little problem accepting Mahayana teachings as valid methods and consider it Buddhism just as their own tradition, which makes their view a non-exclusive one. Also, it might appear that the Theravada canon is a fixed and closed thing but in reality there are even modern texts, like those of Mahasi Sayadaw, canonised. Technically it is not an unimaginable thing to integrate both Theravada and Mahayana things, and it has happened already several times. like Tantric Theravada, or even more widespread teachings, like bhavangacitta. Perhaps sectarianism is less present in the different teachings than in the very concept that there are opposing Buddhisms.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby BFS » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:57 pm

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free from suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings never be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger.
User avatar
BFS
 
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:17 pm

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Anders » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:48 pm

Astus wrote:Huseng,

"The Mahāyāna generally accepts the Arhat path as legitimate, but Theravāda will generally reject the Mahāyāna vision of Buddhahood."

True, it is a very apparent difference. But I also see a matching point. When it comes to identifying what a buddha is Mahayana agrees with Theravada that it is not something graspable, it is beyond identification and concepts. Thus it could be said that the "transcendental buddhas" are upaya - this view is in line with the Pratyutpannasamadhi-sutra (which is important because it is one of the main sources of meditation on Amitabha) and others.

"he difference between a Bodhisattva and Arhat is quite simple"

I said "buddhahood in this life" and not bodhisattvahood. In fact, those who teach buddhahood in this life categorise the long term bodhisattva carrier as something inferior.


You miss the seminal point here by focusing so much on 'buddhahood in one lifetime' and other such views (frankly, I find it all a bit narrowminded. who cares? It takes the time it takes. If your bodhicitta comes with an expiration date, then don't take the vows) . The important point is not to enter cessation for the sake of living beings.

In the Mahayana, one vows not to do this, whether one retains affliction that binds one to samsara or not.

In the Theravada, this possibility is not admitted once awakening enters the picture. At least not in any orthodox lore.

I don't think this difference is make or break for communal harmony and establishing great mutual ground between schools, but it is a difference that is not really reconcilable and needs to be understood and accepted on both sides.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Caz » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:00 pm

Astus wrote:Caz,

I said, "Bodhicitta is aspiring for buddhahood and in that sravakas and bodhisattvas are different."
You said, "So it is the cultivation of Bodhichitta that is the defining point."
There's little disagreement here in defining bodhisattvas. But, to say they have a more special kindness?

"A Bodhisattva would seek out others to help them because of the intention can the same be said of a Srvakayanist ?"

Yes, the same can be said of a sravaka. Also, just a reminder, that from a Theravada POV a buddha is a "perfect arhat", thus spreading the Dharma and liberating beings are things sravakas do as well. If that were not the case the whole Theravada should have died out long ago as there was nobody who wanted to teach it.


Yes It is correct to say such if you can point out to me where a Srvakayanist would develop the intention to free all living beings from suffering by becoming a Buddha then we could say that a Bodhisattvas kindness is equal to that of an Arhant.
If what you say is the case Astus then today we should see an equal if not larger quanitity of practitoners of the Srvakayana appearing in the west as the western world has had longer contact with that of the Srvakayana lineage the that of the Mahayana, Practising and having disciples doesnt automatically mean that ones main intention is motivated by a mind similar to Bodhichitta is it possible that a person motivated by a preliminary mind to Bodhichitta would have a reflective capacity of students equal to that mind and intention being followed through.
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: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Astus » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:46 pm

"The important point is not to enter cessation for the sake of living beings."

In Amaro's article there's a good point about this, "So if we’re hanging onto the Southern idea of “me going”, and “others being left behind” then that idea, by definition, is missing the mark. Similarly, if we cling to the Northern view and think, “this individual being will persist through infinite time for the sake of all beings,” that has also fallen drastically into wrong view." That is, the concept that there is a cessation is one extreme, the concept that there is remaining around is another extreme. In the Pali Canon the Buddha doesn't give a definition of what happens after parinirvana as it doesn't make sense even in this life to pinpoint someone in nirvana (as an arhat, as the Tathagata). In the Prajnaparamita texts it is emphasised again and again that a bodhisattva actually is not a bodhisattva, doesn't go anywhere, etc. Sure, there's then where the sutras got all systematised and the arhats just puff away and bodhisattvas and buddhas are eternal beings - well, this is actually how it all gets simplified and becomes easy to oppose non-existence with existence. Thus reconciling one extreme with the other is impossible, unless we point out that those extremes are wrong views.

"if you can point out to me where a Srvakayanist would develop the intention to free all living beings"

Does a bodhisattva have the concept, "I will free all living beings"? I doubt that. Does a bodhisattva actually free all living beings? Obviously not. Then what is bodhicitta and the vow?
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Caz » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:52 pm

TMingyur wrote:I think that in the long run these traditions will merge (again). Traditions that can survive only in ghettos will die out naturally. Globalisation and the western "spirit of (age of) enlightenment" will eventually eliminate buddhist sectarianism.

Kind regards


Why would they do that when they are specifically diverse so that sentient beings may cure a whole range of their delusion according to their capacity ?
Is your perception of sectarianism only practising one tradition ? :namaste:
Last edited by Caz on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Caz » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:57 pm

Astus wrote:
"if you can point out to me where a Srvakayanist would develop the intention to free all living beings"

Does a bodhisattva have the concept, "I will free all living beings"? I doubt that. Does a bodhisattva actually free all living beings? Obviously not. Then what is bodhicitta and the vow?


I would certainly hope so all the meditations upon developing Bodhichitta I have been taught specify the development of the intention to free all living beings from suffering.
The primary function of Bodhichitta is the wish to become a Buddha to free all living beings from suffering is it not ?, So yes eventually all sentient beings will be freed from samsara because there are beings who have made vows to empty it by attaining the complete grounds and paths of a Buddha in order to best know how to aid others to the final goal. :twothumbsup:
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: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:57 pm

Astus wrote:There's also quite strong sectarianism within Mahayana itself.


Can this really be true? It's a secondary downfall of the bodhisattva vows to 'belittle the Hinayana'. I know that term is offensive to Theravadins, but as I understand it, the Theravada is just one of the Hinayana sub-schools so it's inappropriate to use that term to describe all those who are motivated solely by renunciation to seek Nirvana.

I really respect Lamrim teachings because they show how all of Buddha's teachings are important and how we should not reject any of them, lessening the dangers of incurring downfalls of our refuge and bodhisattva vows. Those who pursue Arhatship are not lower, they simply have different karma, which is why Buddha taught many different types of path.
User avatar
Tsongkhapafan
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:36 am

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:56 am

Greetings TMingyur,

TMingyur wrote:Also: practicing for the benefit of self and others is the Theravada ideal laid down in suttas.

Yes, but the emphasis on "others" in the Theravada sense is not such that the other attains nirvana as a direct or indirect consequence of your actions... but rather that through one's own morality (sila), harmlessness, compassion and kindness, the shravaka bring happiness and joy to those they encounter simply by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Anders » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:32 am

Astus wrote:Does a bodhisattva have the concept, "I will free all living beings"? I doubt that. Does a bodhisattva actually free all living beings? Obviously not. Then what is bodhicitta and the vow?


Subhuti said to the sons of the devas: “That a bodhisattva can course in prajñaparamita and yet not realize the reality limit, that is not too difficult. If a bodhisattva, for the sake of immeasurable, boundless living beings, puts forth the great adornment, even though living beings are ultimately not apprehended, those who can be led to nirvana are not apprehended, and yet they are able to aspire their minds – ‘I shall lead them to nirvana!’ – that is difficult!” --- The Prajñaparamita Sutra
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby ground » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:58 am

Caz wrote:Why would they do that when they are specifically diverse so that sentient beings may cure a whole range of their delusion according to their capacity ?
Is your perception of sectarianism only practising one tradition ? :namaste:

Sectarianism is either not recognizing that or this view being mere lip service.
Sectarianism is the claim that the ultimate goal of diverse paths is the same (namely the one fantasized to be the goal of one's own path) or the claim that it is different and the one (fantasized to be the goal of one's own path) being "higher" or "better" than the other.

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

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Astus » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:47 am

Bodhicitta and the Arhat

Bodhicitta is 1. the intention to liberate all beings and attain buddhahood; 2. the true nature of mind, compassionate emptiness

"when one sees that form if Voidness, he accomplishes the great Wisdom, and he abides no more in samsara. When one sees that the Voidness is form, he attains the great compassion and will no more remain in Nirvana. Because form and Voidness, Wisdom and compassion, have all become non-differentiated, he is able to practice the non-abiding acts."
(An Excerpt from the Commentary on the Heart Sutra by Master Fa Tsang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality: The Philosophy of Hwa Yen Buddhism by Garma C. C. Chang, p. 204.)

"There is no emptiness meditation not permeated by compassion;
For the practice of compassion is solely [the practice of] emptiness.
As for emptiness, even those seeking tranquil abiding must practice it,
For this vehicle, however, emptiness is compassion;
And the self-nature of this compassion is emptiness.
So understand that compassion is the essential nature."

(Atisa: Advice to Namdak Tsuknor, Mind Training: The Great Collection by Thupten Jinpa, p. 267.)

"The practice of "clear observation" will cure the followers of the Hinayana of the fault of having narrow and inferior minds which bring forth no great compassion, and will free ordinary men from their failure to cultivate the capacity for goodness. For these reasons, both "cessation" and "clear observation" are complementary and inseparable. If the two are not practiced together, then one cannot enter the path to enlightenment."
(The Awakening of Faith: Attributed to Asvaghosa, tr. by Y. S. Hakeda, p. 95)

The practice of "clear observation", i.e. vipasyana is described as contemplating suffering and impermanence. Indeed, the common four bodhisattva vows are very much the other side of the four noble truths. In Mahayana it is understood that emptiness and compassion go hand in hand, in fact, they're inseparably and ultimately the same. Consequently, if an arhat realises the four noble truths (of which the third is claimed to be the final meaning and equal to buddha-nature in the Srimaladevisutra) he also accomplishes great compassion, fulfilling the requirements of ultimate bodhicitta.

Something interesting to read: Arahants, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:26 pm

Astus wrote:Does a bodhisattva have the concept, "I will free all living beings"? I doubt that. Does a bodhisattva actually free all living beings? Obviously not. Then what is bodhicitta and the vow?


The answer to the first question is 'yes', and the answer to the second is 'no'. Only a Buddha can actually free all living beings, which is why the practitioner aspires to attain Buddhahood. This is the very meaning of being a bodhisattva, but even a tenth ground bodhisattva is unable to free all living beings because their minds are obscured by very subtle obstructions. Buddhas are free from all obstructions which is why they can actually fulfil their bodhisattva vow of liberating all.
User avatar
Tsongkhapafan
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:36 am

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby kirtu » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:54 pm

Huseng wrote:There is the irreconcilable difference between Arhatship and Bodhisattvahood.

Unless those Bhikku accept the latter as legit and possible, it will always be a thorny issue between the two major divisions of Buddhism.


Bodhisattvahood is also included in the Southern School but Arhantship is emphasized. Their view seems to be that Bodhisattvahood cannot be accomplished for ordinary beings and it will take 3 eons (which is correct) and that Arhantship could be accomplished in seven lifetimes in the best cases.

So from their POV it's a practical matter of efficiency it would seem.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4095
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby conebeckham » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:32 pm

Sectarianism is either not recognizing that or this view being mere lip service.
Sectarianism is the claim that the ultimate goal of diverse paths is the same (namely the one fantasized to be the goal of one's own path) or the claim that it is different and the one (fantasized to be the goal of one's own path) being "higher" or "better" than the other.


TMingyur, I think I'm starting to understand where you're coming from.

This is deep, and we would all do well to understand what (I think?) TMingyur is saying.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2416
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Sects and Sectarianism

Postby Josef » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:19 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Astus wrote:There's also quite strong sectarianism within Mahayana itself.


Can this really be true? It's a secondary downfall of the bodhisattva vows to 'belittle the Hinayana'. I know that term is offensive to Theravadins, but as I understand it, the Theravada is just one of the Hinayana sub-schools so it's inappropriate to use that term to describe all those who are motivated solely by renunciation to seek Nirvana.



Its absolutely true.
Mahayana a Vajrayana sects have a long history of disparaging and belittling each other right along with the so-called Hinayana.
Sectarianism is alive and well and it isnt going anywhere any time soon.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: deff, Johnny Dangerous and 15 guests

>