All Sentient Beings are equal?

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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:38 pm

LastLegend wrote:Are all sentient beings equal? Based on what are they equal?

Is possible to discuss this?



What do you mean by "equal"?
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:57 pm

Dexing wrote:All sentient beings are equal in their being deluded and ignorant. That is why they perceive each other as inferior or superior.
This is both true and false. Not all beings are deluded and ignorant: there are Mahasiddhas, Arhats and Bodhisattvas out there you know! :smile: The second part is true for beings that have not overcome dualism.

Buddhas perceive all sentient beings as equal even to a Buddha, insofar as they possess the virtuous qualities for the Tathāgata.
We can do this too with a little practice!

It is merely due to their habit of conceptualization and grasping that deluded sentient beings are ignorant of this and create all sorts of dualities and unnecessary suffering and difficulty.
Very true!
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:11 pm

All equal, in that all have Buddha nature.

But . . . . there does appear to be some hierarchy:

Buddha / Arahant (Killing a Buddha is one of the offenses making you ineligible for enlightenment in this life and destined for a hell realm in the next)
Humans (a parajika offense requiring expulsion from the Order for killing a human)
Large, Royal animals, such as elephants, lions, tigers (not allowed to be eaten even if offered)
Smaller animals (their flesh may be eaten, if offered to monks, nuns)
Insects (no prohibition for building construction and farming even though they may be killed indirectly)

All result in negative karma, but the 'effects' appear to be less as you go down on the above list (in the harming and / or killing of the above).
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby ground » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:43 am

All beings are equal to the extent of coming and going.


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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby KwanSeum » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:53 am

David N. Snyder wrote:All equal, in that all have Buddha nature.

But . . . . there does appear to be some hierarchy:

Buddha / Arahant (Killing a Buddha is one of the offenses making you ineligible for enlightenment in this life and destined for a hell realm in the next)
Humans (a parajika offense requiring expulsion from the Order for killing a human)
Large, Royal animals, such as elephants, lions, tigers (not allowed to be eaten even if offered)
Smaller animals (their flesh may be eaten, if offered to monks, nuns)
Insects (no prohibition for building construction and farming even though they may be killed indirectly)
There has to be rules in governing an organisation, even a Sangha. It would appear that there even has to be a hierarchy (head monk, senior monks, novice monks, laity) with different rules and expectations of them all. However, it does not imply that some are worth more than others or some are fundamentally different from others.

If I had two sons and one of them was brain damaged (either at birth or in an accident) would the brain damaged one be worth any less? We might treat him differently and make different plans for him but his value stays the same.
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby ram peswani » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:32 am

LastLegend wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I'm not sure whether they are equal but if I understand the scriptures correctly, all sentient beings have the Buddha nature and all sentient beings hear the Buddha dharma.


Then why don't I see that a chicken is equal to me?


Lotus sutra has used a word "vehical"
If one separates ego one sees only a vehical ( developement and expansion of different bodies in physical body)
Vehical size of chicken is very small and that of human being is bigger. Every human also has different size of vehical.

posting.php?mode=quote&f=77&p=31603#
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Mr. G » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:31 pm

ram peswani wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I'm not sure whether they are equal but if I understand the scriptures correctly, all sentient beings have the Buddha nature and all sentient beings hear the Buddha dharma.


Then why don't I see that a chicken is equal to me?


Lotus sutra has used a word "vehical"
If one separates ego one sees only a vehical ( developement and expansion of different bodies in physical body)
Vehical size of chicken is very small and that of human being is bigger. Every human also has different size of vehical.



How you are defining "vehicle" and how the Lotus Sutra uses it seem quite different.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:07 pm

ram peswani wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I'm not sure whether they are equal but if I understand the scriptures correctly, all sentient beings have the Buddha nature and all sentient beings hear the Buddha dharma.


Then why don't I see that a chicken is equal to me?


Lotus sutra has used a word "vehical"
If one separates ego one sees only a vehical ( developement and expansion of different bodies in physical body)
Vehical size of chicken is very small and that of human being is bigger. Every human also has different size of vehical.

posting.php?mode=quote&f=77&p=31603#


A human can do more or has a better chance at becoming an Arhat, Bodhisattva, or Buddha. I think that's what vehicle means the way you described it. Also it has to do with forms-it is hard for a chicken or a cow to learn Buddhism. For a human, it is easier.
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby ram peswani » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:55 pm

How you are defining "vehicle" and how the Lotus Sutra uses it seem quite different.[/quote]


I have english translation of Lotus sutra translated by Burton Watson

One of its contents says that a committee of members specialised in english, chineses and Buddhism sat and translated this book

It translates the title as sutra of one vehical and talks also of greater vehical
But the translators write that no where this vehical or greater vehical has been described and we are not clear about it

The answer can come in meditation only and words may not clarify it fully.....yet an attempt for you

We human beings take birth after birth
and add or subtract in each birth.

Now suppose i take up the thought that all is nothing or nil. I watch with awareness my anger and do not give it any strength with any emotion
I watch love etc etc. and do not react. This way i am giving strength to the thought that all is Nothing.
A stage comes where this "Nothing" comes automatically without your effort. I call this the transcedence of cosmic energy of Nothing. If You have
heard about LI Honzgi of Falun Dafa, he calls it cultivation.

This word Nothing has gone into a different deeper plane. But do not stop there. Go on giving power to this word and the Word will go on transcending
to deeper and deeper planes till it reaches a place where the Truth is Nothing or Suniya or Zero. This word might have travelled hundred planes deeper.
When one dies, he leaves physical body on earth . Goes on leaving other bodies of emotions after rewards or punishments, and then he travels thro Wisdoms ( (Truths on different planes) till he reaches Suniata or Nothingness. This is his vehicle that he has developed. He can come down and take any lower plane by
his choice subsequently.
As soon as one has acquired any truth which goes above "Ego Plane" he becomes a Buddha.
All Boddhisattvas do not jump to Buddhahood deliberately. They may collect more than one Truth in their existence to help more sentients.
There are many " truths" on different planes and vehicles capability of each sentient is different.

GREATER VEHICAL IS VERY VERY DIFFICULT , ONE CAN ATTACH ONES SMALL VEHICLE TO ANY bHODDHISATTVA LIKE AMITABHA BY CHANTING HIS NAME WITH FULL AWARENESS

ALL BUDDHAS ABIDE IN EMPTINESS AND FOLLOW THE PATH OF ON GREATER VEHICLE.

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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby KwanSeum » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:05 pm

LastLegend wrote:
ram peswani wrote:
LastLegend wrote:A human can do more or has a better chance at becoming an Arhat, Bodhisattva, or Buddha. I think that's what vehicle means the way you described it. Also it has to do with forms-it is hard for a chicken or a cow to learn Buddhism. For a human, it is easier.
Easy for a human to learn the dharma? - hmm. Are you sure about that?
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:12 pm

KwanSeum wrote:Easy for a human to learn the dharma? - hmm. Are you sure about that?


Well not all human are willing to learn. But lets compare me as a person who's willing to learn Buddhism. So you think a cow can learn Buddhism better me? So our form as a human is a vehicle that has potential more than a cow.

So in relative to a cow, yes easy for a human to learn Buddhism.
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Madeliaette » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:26 pm

Having closely observed many pigeons for several years, I think some creatures other than human can learn/live Buddhism. (or maybe I just met a few Bodhisattvas in the form of pigeons....?) They might not have identical mental faculties, but they still have that SAME 'continuum' as humans - I truly believe that some creatures are more able than others to use their mental features more than we give them credit.
I view the spider in the corner, my son in his room, the Queen in her palace and the bird on the windowsill as EQUAL in rights to live and be happy - but not equal in shape, color, form, size, or mental/physical ability, etc. (I think the question of equality differs dependant on the 'WHAT' is equal or not factor...)
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:45 pm

Madeliaette wrote:Having closely observed many pigeons for several years, I think some creatures other than human can learn/live Buddhism. (or maybe I just met a few Bodhisattvas in the form of pigeons....?) They might not have identical mental faculties, but they still have that SAME 'continuum' as humans - I truly believe that some creatures are more able than others to use their mental features more than we give them credit.
I view the spider in the corner, my son in his room, the Queen in her palace and the bird on the windowsill as EQUAL in rights to live and be happy - but not equal in shape, color, form, size, or mental/physical ability, etc. (I think the question of equality differs dependant on the 'WHAT' is equal or not factor...)


There are cases of talking birds that have been reborn in Pure Land from reciting Amitabha.
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby tomamundsen » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:27 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Madeliaette wrote:Having closely observed many pigeons for several years, I think some creatures other than human can learn/live Buddhism. (or maybe I just met a few Bodhisattvas in the form of pigeons....?) They might not have identical mental faculties, but they still have that SAME 'continuum' as humans - I truly believe that some creatures are more able than others to use their mental features more than we give them credit.
I view the spider in the corner, my son in his room, the Queen in her palace and the bird on the windowsill as EQUAL in rights to live and be happy - but not equal in shape, color, form, size, or mental/physical ability, etc. (I think the question of equality differs dependant on the 'WHAT' is equal or not factor...)


There are cases of talking birds that have been reborn in Pure Land from reciting Amitabha.

:applause:
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Karma Yeshe » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:32 pm

As I understand it -

Every sentient Being has Buddha Nature and thus the ability to progress to the point where they will become a fully Enlightened Being, a Buddha. also, because of the vast number of lives that we have all had, each and every Being that we come into contact with was, more than once, our mother. When looked at from this perspective we owe a great debt of thanks to all Beings and are thus reqiured to protect them from harm.

Certainly not evey Being has equal abilities in a realitive sense but an equal baseline starting point to become free of suffering.

What I find to be a difficult issue is this...

How far are we able to go the protect our Precious Human existance?

For example are we allowed to spray poisons to kill large numbers of insects or use mouse traps in a kitchen so that we do not become sick? And what steps should we take to help negate some of the Karma that we we aqiure for this type of action? Most troubleing of all, should we all be vegitarians expecialy in places like America and other developed contries that allow for a wide range of healthy food options without the need for meat?
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Madeliaette » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:51 pm

For example are we allowed to spray poisons to kill large numbers of insects or use mouse traps in a kitchen so that we do not become sick? And what steps should we take to help negate some of the Karma that we we aqiure for this type of action? Most troubleing of all, should we all be vegitarians expecialy in places like America and other developed contries that allow for a wide range of healthy food options without the need for meat?


I expect it would depend on what type of Buddhist practice you do. Buddhism has personally changed me from bug over-spraying to bug loving, screaming at mice to photographing them and appreciating them, etc. Different people practice different ways and different methods - but I find it helpful to focus on strengthening my compassion with insects and creatures. (IMO, I feel that - in general - humankind has done more damage than good on the planet, whereas the lesser intelligent creatures seem to have caused less damage to our 'shared home'. This makes me feel that I should respect and learn to live with other forms of life rather than irradicate them.)
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby KwanSeum » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:19 am

tomamundsen wrote:
KwanSeum wrote:
tamdrin wrote:Keep this in mind..
I believe it is worse karma to kill a human than to kill a fly... This would suggest that relatively all beings aren't equal..
Why would it be worse to kill a fly?

If you mean "why would it be worse than to kill a fly, I would say that a human has the possibility of achieving buddhahood in this very lifetime. Whereas the fly will have to be reborn to achieve that.
Does it follow then that for the majority of people (many of which aren't even striving for Buddhahood) who will not achieve buddhahood have a lower value than those who are either striving or who will or have achieved this?
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:03 am

Dualistic concepts of value (higher/lower) have no place within Buddhism. All sentient beings have been our mother (and will be) at some point in our endless cycling through samsara. As Bodhisattvas we should consider all sentient beings as higher than us and be willing to sacrifice even the flesh from our bodies for their well being! (Well that's the idea, anyway, I personally am still a long way off from that point, but the best we can do is try!)
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Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby adinatha » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:44 pm

Sentient beings are not all equal, because of different capacities, fortunes, whether connected or disconnected to dharma, and, if so, their respective level of entry.
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Re: All Sentient Beings are equal?

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:52 am

KwanSeum wrote:Does it follow then that for the majority of people (many of which aren't even striving for Buddhahood) who will not achieve buddhahood have a lower value than those who are either striving or who will or have achieved this?

Oooooo, an interesting conjecture! Yes, I think so. I vaguely recall reading sutras talking about how it is a graver offense to kill a bodhisattva than a normal human.
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