Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

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Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:53 pm

plwk wrote:I don't have my notes with me now but if I recall correctly, in Mahayana, the first three of the 4NT are considered as the provisional and the Fourth Noble Truth which has the Eightfold Path is the 'ultimate' right? I recall this thread http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=407


Generally speaking in Mahāyāna the six pāramitā (perfections) take precedence over the Eightfold Noble Path.

Historically the Eightfold Noble Path seems to have generally been classified as a Śrāvakayāna teaching while the superior pāramitās were of the Mahāyāna.
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Re: Four Holy Truths chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Anders » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:33 pm

Huseng wrote:
plwk wrote:I don't have my notes with me now but if I recall correctly, in Mahayana, the first three of the 4NT are considered as the provisional and the Fourth Noble Truth which has the Eightfold Path is the 'ultimate' right? I recall this thread http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=407


Generally speaking in Mahāyāna the six pāramitā (perfections) take precedence over the Eightfold Noble Path.

Historically the Eightfold Noble Path seems to have generally been classified as a Śrāvakayāna teaching while the superior pāramitās were of the Mahāyāna.


Image

Whilst the paramitas are definitely the preferred scheme in Mahayana scripture, I don't recall coming across many takes claiming it as a superior set of practices (except maybe Prajnaparamita). Nagarjuna, in the upadesha, actually devotes a large amount of space to refute this very notion, along with detailed explanations of how these are understood in the Mahayana vis-a-vis Hinayana. IIRC Asangha also devotes some space to making this point somewhere.
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Re: Four Holy Truths chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:54 pm

Anders Honore wrote:Whilst the paramitas are definitely the preferred scheme in Mahayana scripture, I don't recall coming across many takes claiming it as a superior set of practices (except maybe Prajnaparamita). Nagarjuna, in the upadesha, actually devotes a large amount of space to refute this very notion, along with detailed explanations of how these are understood in the Mahayana vis-a-vis Hinayana. IIRC Asangha also devotes some space to making this point somewhere.


I've noticed that the pāramitās get far more attention than the Eightfold Noble Path in Mahāyāna literature. This is probably because while the Eightfold Noble Path was taught to the disciples, they were not taught the pāramitās which are practices directed at Buddhahood via a Bodhisattva career.

In general it seems that Mahāyāna proponents naturally had a preference for the pāramitās rather than the practices of the Eightfold Noble Path. This makes sense because the Eightfold Noble Path was taught in a Śrāvakayāna context.
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Re: Four Holy Truths chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra

Postby Dexing » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:09 am

Anders Honore wrote:IIRC Asangha also devotes some space to making this point somewhere.


In the Pāli texts the Fourth Noble Truth is always defined as the Noble Eightfold Path. However, the way in which Asaṅga treats the Truth of the Path (mārgasatya) in his Abhidharmasamuccaya in completely different. According to him, the "path" consists of five categories.

The Noble Eightfold Path is but a single aspect among many of the Path of Mental Cultivation (bhāvanāmārga), called the Path Leading to Purity and Emancipation (viśuddhinairyāṇikamārga).

This does not mean any aspect of the path is higher or lower, but it places the Noble Eightfold Path within a larger frame. Whereas to the Śrāvakas, it's place seemed much more enlarged as this was the entire path.

On the other hand, for the Mahāyānika what seems to be repeatedly emphasized in a similar fashion is indeed the Pāramitās.

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Re: Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby ground » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:03 am

Huseng wrote:Generally speaking in Mahāyāna the six pāramitā (perfections) take precedence over the Eightfold Noble Path.


I do not agree because the paramitas are the manifestation of the practice of the 8fold path. Lama Tsongkhapa puts it as "the three principle aspects of the path" which are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom. Renunciation and wisdom completely comprise or are the 8fold noble path.

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Re: Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:13 am

TMingyur wrote:
Huseng wrote:Generally speaking in Mahāyāna the six pāramitā (perfections) take precedence over the Eightfold Noble Path.


I do not agree because the paramitas are the manifestation of the practice of the 8fold path. Lama Tsongkhapa puts it as "the three principle aspects of the path" which are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom. Renunciation and wisdom completely comprise or are the 8fold noble path.

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They are not mutually exclusive. However, the pāramitās are taught with Bodhisattva aspirants in mind.

Western Buddhists, Mahāyāna or not, tend to know more about the Eightfold Noble Path because of the tendency to rely on and defer to the Pali canon. Moreover it might be a result of western scholarship favouring an "original Buddhism" which would not include the six pāramitās.
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Re: Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby ground » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:33 pm

Huseng wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Huseng wrote:Generally speaking in Mahāyāna the six pāramitā (perfections) take precedence over the Eightfold Noble Path.


I do not agree because the paramitas are the manifestation of the practice of the 8fold path. Lama Tsongkhapa puts it as "the three principle aspects of the path" which are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom. Renunciation and wisdom completely comprise or are the 8fold noble path.

Kind regards


They are not mutually exclusive. However, the pāramitās are taught with Bodhisattva aspirants in mind.

Western Buddhists, Mahāyāna or not, tend to know more about the Eightfold Noble Path because of the tendency to rely on and defer to the Pali canon. Moreover it might be a result of western scholarship favouring an "original Buddhism" which would not include the six pāramitās.


Aha .. Lama Tsongkhapa is a western buddhist ... I see.

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Re: Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:35 pm

I think it's plausible to consider that many Western Buddhists are more familiar with the 8-fold path schema than the 6 paramitas schema because it usually comes first in the books... people remember the early chapters more than the later ones, if they finish the book at all.

By contrast, when Buddhism is taught in East Asia, the paramitas are presented earlier.

my point is that the difference may be pedagogic (what do you teach first?) rather than doctrinal (what's more important?).
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Re: Paramitas vs. Eightfold Noble Path

Postby swampflower » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:13 pm

HA ha, what is this vs.?
There is no versus, no competition.
This is all part of the Fourth Noble Truth. There is a Path to end Samsara.
One should not confuse this and think, "Oh, this is the higher Path, and this is the lesser Path"
However there are Stages to the Path.
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