Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:06 am

DN,

There is a split in EA Buddhism. On one hand there are those who focus on practice only and rely heavily on a teacher. And there are the scholars who may or may not be Buddhists, can read in one or more canonical languages and study scriptures. Indeed, I find that while there are many translations from Tibetan works there is little publication of scholarly studies of Tibetan Buddhism unlike in the case of EA Buddhism where translations come in smaller quantity but studies (of good quality) come in pretty high numbers. And while translations of Tsongkhapa or Longchenpa are interesting for students of TB there are only a handful of EAB followers who would read a 500 p. study on the evolution of Guanyin or on early Chan. There is also significant lack of important works of EAB in English, for instance the most popular sutras are available but there are no commentaries; there are almost no translations of Tiantai, Huayan, Sanlun and Faxian treatises that formed the intellectual basis of EAB. Also, you can't really find any Buddhist teacher giving lectures on them in English. On the other hand, TB teachers do lecture on shastras. It is interesting how intellectual power is arranged in different ways in TB and EAB; in this I think Theravada has the middle ground. This is of course the Western situation. However, for instance in Hungary where translations are rare, both TB and Zen followers are focused only on practice and they have little knowledge even of their own traditions.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Anders » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:22 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:About the PL buddhists... I have a hard time accepting that the path can be reduced to the repetition of one text (or few) to gain rebirth in a Pure Land. Why not aiming a little higher and going for Enlightenment right now? Seems a bit defeatist and one doesn't even start to investigate this school. I'm sure there's much more to it (see my ignorance?) than the repetition of a text (or a few), but having in mind the aim of the practice- let's try to achieve Buddhahood in the next life, in this life there's no point so let's only wish for a favorable rebirth- it's a sort of turn of. There's so much to the Noble Path, why reducing its main practice to the repetition of a text? We suspect there's more to it, but...


Haha. Well, this is one thing you'll likely have in common with Zen practitioners.

I used to think the same. But to be honest, after having met with and practised with many pure land practitioners, I have changed my mind. Some of the sweetest, most kindhearted and generous practitioners I have met have been pure land practitioners. I have great admiration for their dedication. Chanting Amitabha's name may be simple, but it's very doable and many do it quite a lot! And also for their simple and humble approach to the Buddhadharma. It's very inspiring to me and I aspire for my Chan practise to have such sincere quality. It's all well and good to talk about aspiring for Buddhahood in this life, but there is proof in the pudding and I am generally impressed at the results Pure Land Buddhism appears to produce. It is also far from unknown that dedicated pure land practitioners come to realise that this life is itself the pure land (ie realisation).

It wouldn't surprise me at all for us nose-in-the-sky practitioners who wilfully tumble about in this Saha world with our imaginations of attaining realisation in this life, doing bodhisattva work in a realm where it matters or what not, if we were generally leapfrogged by the more humble practitioners who just knuckled down to business with a method that works, got reborn in the pure land and attained the result, and subsequently comes back to help those us still floundering in worlds like this!

And besides this, there is a lot more to Pure Land. It's actually a very fascinating school with sometimes surprising depth. To be honest, I find it very elegant that it can have this, yet it doesn't require much more than a very simple aspiration and dedication to chanting Amitabha's name. It is at one time a very accessible, reliable and very safe method, but also holds the potential for going deeper for those so inclined.

The distinction between intellectually-oriented 'insight' practitioners and faith-oriented 'samadhi' practitioners goes back to the earliest sutras. And imo, we all have much to learn from those that fall on the other side of the fence to ourselves. Understanding the teachings and engaging in profound practise and investigation may be easy for the former, but is it coupled with humble sincerity and application? Does it produce good qualities beyond some measure of understanding and a bit of happiness from that in this life?
"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
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:46 pm

Sherab wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Then there is the other issue e.g. we are convinced that the highest Buddhist teachings exist in Tibetan Buddhism and nowhere else.

Playing the devil's advocate: :stirthepot:

For the most spiritually gifted, the lowest teaching is sufficient to bring them to Buddhahood. For the most spiritually-challenged, even the highest teachings could not budge them.

Lowest teaching has the least explanation of the ultimate truth and least of method to reach there. So only the spiritually gifted could use it as a vehicle to Buddhahood. The highest teaching has the most detailed explanation of the ultimate truth and the most methods to reach there. So it is vehicle for the least spiritually endowed.

Spiritual triumphantalists, beware. :mrgreen:


If buddhahood depended on mind, this might be true. But since buddhahood is not dependent on mind...
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:23 pm

Namdrol wrote:Pure Land, Chan, and Tientai are sutrayana.

Shingon is Vajrayana up to yogatantra.


True doctrinally. Although you'll find the same level of esoteric practice in Tendai (the stream from Jikaku Daishi basically) as in Shingon.

Many mikkyo practitioners I've met have an intimate understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, some of them practicing very seriously. My teacher's teacher is one: Shoshin Ichishima Sensei. Speaking personally, in addition to my Tendai practice I keep certain Vajrayana samaya on a daily basis through the practice of guru yoga (with the encouragement of my Tendai teachers). [don't mean to imply that my practice is near theirs, merely that this sort of arrangement is possible.]

I became interested in Tendai practice immediately after becoming exposed to it: I had been advised by a Tibetan-trained lama that I would benefit from practicing Mahayana with a happy sangha in addition to the other things I was up to, and shortly after that, I made a visit to the Tendai Buddhist Institute. It's a happy, no-drama sangha where the Mahayana is upheld. Now it's my spiritual home.

Doctrinally there are significant differences that can be confusing. Madhyamaka is explained differently. There are different cultural forms associated. Dharmakaya is dharmakaya.
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:27 pm

Jikan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Pure Land, Chan, and Tientai are sutrayana.

Shingon is Vajrayana up to yogatantra.


True doctrinally. Although you'll find the same level of esoteric practice in Tendai (the stream from Jikaku Daishi basically) as in Shingon.



The difference is that Tendai subordinates Mikyo to sutra exegesis. Shingon is a pure Vajrayana school.

Tendai is more like Gelug. Shingon is more like Sakya.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:48 pm

Namdrol wrote:The difference is that Tendai subordinates Mikyo to sutra exegesis. Shingon is a pure Vajrayana school.

Tendai is more like Gelug. Shingon is more like Sakya.


Yes, that's the official line, and I think that's a sound analogy. But like Nyingma, there's a *lot* of variation at the local-temple level in Tendai: particular practices associated with this spot or that one. Some temples are all goma, all the time. Some are difficult to tell apart from a Pure Land or Zen temple. Put differently: historically, sutra & doctrine were often subordinated to mikkyo in practice (this for political reasons... Groner's book on Ryogen is interesting in this regard).

This is ancillary, but I'd like to see a careful comparison between the Danka system in Japan, functionally a family lineage system or family property system depending on your level of cynicism, and the ngakpa way.
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:29 pm

Huseng wrote:
The Chinese canon preserved much of early Śrāvakayāna texts including a number which do not appear in the Pali canon. In East Asia these texts are still widely read and studied. Much of the basic standard vocabulary is derived from the Āgama literature in Chinese translation. This is the case for any East Asian language.

Indeed. I think I hadn't met you back in E-sangha, did I? If so, I'm sorry for not remembering your nick. I could have named you like Astus, Anders and so on. I've seen your posts around this board and it is clear that you have instruction. We know that there's a lot to EA Buddhism, but what's its face in the West outside the scholarly circles? Usually what common folks like me know of Mahayana comes mostly from Zen (western Zen) and perhaps that's why we don't lean that much to it.


Fair enough. The transmission of Zen in the west has resulted in books like this being sold:

Image

There are all too many individuals who claim to be practitioners of Zen and think that since they are not to rely on words and letters they can dismiss everything they find unappealing as they carry out their routine zazen. You can't point to sutra because they don't recognize canon as legitimate.

The odd thing, though, is that Zen Buddhists in Japan actually do rely on canon. Texts like the Lotus Sutra among others are key. There are also countless Chan texts that serve as a commonly read and studied literature which provides case examples of notable practitioners who had experiences of realization. This is just as much canonical as sutra in Zen.

Yes, that's my point exactly. I don't know why this happened in "western Zen". I see the "disdain" for texts in classical Zen as the mean to show the difference between the Dharma of explanations and the Dharma of realization. You know the written teachings and also their limitations. Theory guides practice that in turn goes beyond theory. We have that too.
That book is an example. Brad Warner is the same guy that keeps saying that Zen is stupidly simple. The problem is when it ends being just stupid.

I'm concerned, too. That's why I'm hoping for the proliferation of Taiwanese Chan in the west to counteract the nonsense adharma that is being sold as Buddhism in western markets. /quote]
Hear, hear.


Part of the problem is sectarianism drawn on ethnic grounds. This goes both ways.

Yes, no doubt about it.

Thanks for your feedback!

PS- great blog btw ;)
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:31 pm

Astus wrote:DN,

There is a split in EA Buddhism. On one hand there are those who focus on practice only and rely heavily on a teacher. And there are the scholars who may or may not be Buddhists, can read in one or more canonical languages and study scriptures. Indeed, I find that while there are many translations from Tibetan works there is little publication of scholarly studies of Tibetan Buddhism unlike in the case of EA Buddhism where translations come in smaller quantity but studies (of good quality) come in pretty high numbers. And while translations of Tsongkhapa or Longchenpa are interesting for students of TB there are only a handful of EAB followers who would read a 500 p. study on the evolution of Guanyin or on early Chan. There is also significant lack of important works of EAB in English, for instance the most popular sutras are available but there are no commentaries; there are almost no translations of Tiantai, Huayan, Sanlun and Faxian treatises that formed the intellectual basis of EAB. Also, you can't really find any Buddhist teacher giving lectures on them in English. On the other hand, TB teachers do lecture on shastras. It is interesting how intellectual power is arranged in different ways in TB and EAB; in this I think Theravada has the middle ground. This is of course the Western situation. However, for instance in Hungary where translations are rare, both TB and Zen followers are focused only on practice and they have little knowledge even of their own traditions.

We need more fellows like you, Astus, that's what it is. :applause:
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Counter-literature to the common-Zen:

Yongming Yanshou's Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu: A Special Transmission Within the Scriptures

Image
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:45 pm

Anders Honore wrote:I used to think the same. But to be honest, after having met with and practised with many pure land practitioners, I have changed my mind. Some of the sweetest, most kindhearted and generous practitioners I have met have been pure land practitioners. I have great admiration for their dedication. Chanting Amitabha's name may be simple, but it's very doable and many do it quite a lot! And also for their simple and humble approach to the Buddhadharma. It's very inspiring to me and I aspire for my Chan practise to have such sincere quality. It's all well and good to talk about aspiring for Buddhahood in this life, but there is proof in the pudding and I am generally impressed at the results Pure Land Buddhism appears to produce. It is also far from unknown that dedicated pure land practitioners come to realise that this life is itself the pure land (ie realisation).

See, I had no clue about it (bold). Just let me note that one can study and keep humbleness. It means one understood what one studied. Of course study can transform someone in an arrogant bastard. I think this may be even worse than not practicing the Dharma at all.
And the results say it all, couldn't agree more, although simply being sweet kind of falls short. I met very sweet people who never heard a word of Dharma. Still who knows what will be their destiny once their good karma runs out. I can't stress enough that I value a kind heart more than anything. It's the fundamental trace in every friend I make or woman I chose. All the rest comes behind.
I liked what you said regarding Buddhahood in this life... hehe let's be realistic. It's not for the great majority. I'm well aware of that. Knowing where we are, our circumstances and so on is fundamental. My "philosophy" is doing the best we can, each day, without haste. A bit like agriculture. Diligence without haste. Then we'll see.

It wouldn't surprise me at all for us nose-in-the-sky practitioners who wilfully tumble about in this Saha world with our imaginations of attaining realisation in this life, doing bodhisattva work in a realm where it matters or what not, if we were generally leapfrogged by the more humble practitioners who just knuckled down to business with a method that works, got reborn in the pure land and attained the result, and subsequently comes back to help those us still floundering in worlds like this!

Wish we were so lucky. Who knows?
And besides this, there is a lot more to Pure Land. It's actually a very fascinating school with sometimes surprising depth. To be honest, I find it very elegant that it can have this, yet it doesn't require much more than a very simple aspiration and dedication to chanting Amitabha's name. It is at one time a very accessible, reliable and very safe method, but also holds the potential for going deeper for those so inclined.

I suspected as much. I mean, a school couldn't be all about reciting one text.
The distinction between intellectually-oriented 'insight' practitioners and faith-oriented 'samadhi' practitioners goes back to the earliest sutras. And imo, we all have much to learn from those that fall on the other side of the fence to ourselves. Understanding the teachings and engaging in profound practise and investigation may be easy for the former, but is it coupled with humble sincerity and application? Does it produce good qualities beyond some measure of understanding and a bit of happiness from that in this life?

We have our fair share of similar stories in TB. Some practitioners did little more than reciting a few mantras and attained great accomplishments. Well, they also had good teachers. The point that I found most interesting was the one you made above about the potential for going deeper. Being so, it's great since it serves the necessities of different sorts of practitioners.

Always a pleasure talking with you, Anders!
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Astus wrote:Counter-literature to the common-Zen:

Yongming Yanshou's Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu: A Special Transmission Within the Scriptures

Image

It's excellent that this sort of literature becomes publicly available. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:04 pm

Sherab wrote:
For the most spiritually gifted, the lowest teaching is sufficient to bring them to Buddhahood. For the most spiritually-challenged, even the highest teachings could not budge them.

I agree at the extent that the simpler the practice, the better the practitioner must be. The less cognitive obscurations, the easier it will be for him to realize Buddhahood.
However, having less cognitive obscurations means being closer to right view, the beginning and the end of the path, and right view is expressed in the highest teachings, not in the lowest. I relate what you said with the method and not the view. Someone endowed with tremendous spiritual insight can deduce the highest view (even if this is going beyond any view) simply from reading a teaching on dependent origination. Most, obviously, don't. :crying:
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Astus » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:48 pm

Meeting of Minds - A Dialogue on Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism

Image

From May 1st through the 3rd, 1998, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Venerable Chan Master Sheng Yen presented In the Spirit of Manjushri: the Wisdom Teachings of Buddhism at the Roseland in New York. Sponsored by Tibet House New York and the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, this event drew some 2,500 people from all Buddhist traditions, as well as scholars of medicine, psychology, education, and comparative religion from around the world.

Full Text:

In HTML version
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"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:21 pm

Anders Honore wrote:Haha. Well, this is one thing you'll likely have in common with Zen practitioners.

I used to think the same. But to be honest, after having met with and practised with many pure land practitioners, I have changed my mind. Some of the sweetest, most kindhearted and generous practitioners I have met have been pure land practitioners. I have great admiration for their dedication. Chanting Amitabha's name may be simple, but it's very doable and many do it quite a lot! And also for their simple and humble approach to the Buddhadharma. It's very inspiring to me and I aspire for my Chan practise to have such sincere quality. It's all well and good to talk about aspiring for Buddhahood in this life, but there is proof in the pudding and I am generally impressed at the results Pure Land Buddhism appears to produce. It is also far from unknown that dedicated pure land practitioners come to realise that this life is itself the pure land (ie realisation).

It wouldn't surprise me at all for us nose-in-the-sky practitioners who wilfully tumble about in this Saha world with our imaginations of attaining realisation in this life, doing bodhisattva work in a realm where it matters or what not, if we were generally leapfrogged by the more humble practitioners who just knuckled down to business with a method that works, got reborn in the pure land and attained the result, and subsequently comes back to help those us still floundering in worlds like this!

And besides this, there is a lot more to Pure Land. It's actually a very fascinating school with sometimes surprising depth. To be honest, I find it very elegant that it can have this, yet it doesn't require much more than a very simple aspiration and dedication to chanting Amitabha's name. It is at one time a very accessible, reliable and very safe method, but also holds the potential for going deeper for those so inclined.

The distinction between intellectually-oriented 'insight' practitioners and faith-oriented 'samadhi' practitioners goes back to the earliest sutras. And imo, we all have much to learn from those that fall on the other side of the fence to ourselves. Understanding the teachings and engaging in profound practise and investigation may be easy for the former, but is it coupled with humble sincerity and application? Does it produce good qualities beyond some measure of understanding and a bit of happiness from that in this life?

:applause: Yes, Pure Land Buddhism is just as valid as any other form of Buddhism. The Pure land Buddhists deserve our respect.
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Anders » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:49 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:See, I had no clue about it (bold).


These are excerpts from the Dream Wanderings of Hanshan Deqing, one of the three "dragon elephants" of the ming dynasty, widely held to be an incarnation of Manjushri. He was a great Chan teacher, but really more of a great Mahayana teacher as he wrote on taught on all schools of Buddhism, including pure land. I should add, he was not really the type for giving any of this the 'Zen spin' or anything like that (if anything, I reckon he was inclined towards a yogacara spin on pure land), but just more of a generic Mahayana spin:

One who is awakened about the Buddha Nature is called Buddha. When one recites the Buddha's name, Buddha Amitabha is one's own nature, the Pure Land is the blissful land of one's own mind. Anyone who can singlemindedly recite the Buddha's name in thought after thought and concentrate deeper and deeper will always find Amitabha Buddha appearing in his own mind. It is not necessary to seek the Pure Land far away, ten billion Buddha lands beyond. Therefore, if the mind is pure, the land is pure. If the mind is defiled, the land is defiled. If an evil thought comes to mind, then many obstacles appear. If a good thought arises, peace is everywhere. Thus, heaven and hell are all in one's own mind.

....

Many people following the current fashion of Zen think of it as the supreme Dharma. They look down on Pure Land and do not practice it. Because they delight in fame, they learn some words and sentences from ancient sages so that they can talk smoothly and eulogize one another. The urge to enter the Dharma doors (i.e., to cultivate) is in decline. These people not only lack real practice, they even deprecate the Mahayana sutras, claiming that the sutras are mere words and need not be read. Though such persons may have some mundane knowledge, they cannot save themselves. It is really terrible. Most of them do not understand the Mahayana sutras, do not understand that there are many expedient methods for teaching sentient beings, do not know the meaning of the expression: "Everything returns to oneness, but there are many expedient methods that lead us to an understanding of the Truth." They only know that the Zen Patriarchs stressed Awakening. Yet the original intent of the awakened mind is to end Birth and Death. Is this not also the very purpose of Buddha Recitation?

Many Zen practitioners fail to escape the cycle of Birth and Death, while Pure Land followers find it easy to escape that cycle. What is the reason for this? It is because to practice Zen, you must stop the thought process, while to recite the Buddha's name, you must concentrate on pure thoughts. Since sentient beings have been mired in false thinking for untold eons, it is very difficult to detach themselves from it [and thus end the thought process]. Buddha Recitation, on the other hand, changes impure thoughts to pure thoughts, fighting poison with poison to purify one's own thoughts. 13) Therefore, in Zen practice it is difficult to attain Awakening, while Buddha Recitation makes it easy to reach that goal. If you really want to end Birth and Death in one lifetime, concentrate on Buddha Recitation. There is no need to worry any further.


Dechen Norbu wrote:I liked what you said regarding Buddhahood in this life... hehe let's be realistic. It's not for the great majority. I'm well aware of that. Knowing where we are, our circumstances and so on is fundamental. My "philosophy" is doing the best we can, each day, without haste. A bit like agriculture. Diligence without haste. Then we'll see.


For a long time, I was not particularly enamoured of the attitude displayed in many Mahayana sutras of spending countless lifetimes simply making offering to Buddhas or what not, basically just accumulating merit without really aspiring for the higher path. I saw it as a kinda patronising Buddhism. Why should the Buddhas not encourage such people to practise for awakening asap?

I was somewhat surprised recently to find how much my view has changed of late. I was studying the Gandhavyuha Sutra wherein the youth Sudhana seeks out 52 different teachers to obtain Buddhahood in this lifetime. As many of those teachers did, one bodhisattva, the night goddess Vasanti, recounted her path towards her current profound stature. Starting one night, "as many eons ago as atoms in the polar mountain" ago, when she was having sex and then fell asleep, a Buddha attained samyaksambodhi that night. A night goddess back then woke her up her by tingling her jewellery and told her about the event, what a Buddha was and how they became Buddhas. At that time, she resolved to become a Buddha right there and then.

As a result of that aspiration, she then spent the following aeons "as many as atoms in the polar mountain" never born in a bad state, always achieving human greatness among humans and celestial greatness among celestials, never with defective faculties and with little suffering, never apart from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas... and not giving a damn about Prajnaparamita for all this time! Well, that is how I would have read it formerly. But actually that latter thought never occurred to me this time around. Perhaps it was the narrative that made it easier to put myself in her place, or maybe I've just come to see things differently, but the thought that occurred to me reading this was not one of whether should could have done more or better, but rather "'how wonderful, that she should enjoy such a long string of lifetimes enjoying a good life content with how she lived." And recounting this, the night goddess does in fact note that she passed these aeons "happily, peacefully, safely, and rightly" planting roots of goodness, even though after all this time she did never develop the faculties of awakening.

Eventually, a mere ten thousand aeons ago, she did attain awakening and set forth on the bhumis. Though she instructs Sudhana, she has to send him on his way for further instruction, since she only "knows this enlightening liberation that is a method of guiding the world by the light of the truth which dispels the darkness of all sentient beings." Just your average blows-everything-in-the-saha-world-out-of-the-water siddhi/realisation really and how could that possibly compare to the profound wisdom of Samantabhadra?

But the point in all this is that I don't think I really believe any more that there is such a Buddhism as the highest/best/supreme path for living beings towards happiness let alone paths within Buddhism constituting that. It's a supposition that doesn't really stand up to scrutiny for me any more in terms of how people live their lives. It seems to me more a case of, by virtue of it being the case, honouring and fully acknowledging that all beings walk their own way in life and find their own way to happiness. And that as Bodhisattvas, to the extent we can be so, we're not really here to help other beings towards any such imagined 'best/highest/supreme' path to happiness, but rather to assist, sustain and nurture beings in whatever way they can and wish to find their own happiness. Be it Prajnapramita, chanting Amitabha's name, or simply being good person, living a modestly happy life.

Nevertheless, this is a causal universe and minds strike me as being generally glued together of the same building blocks. And I do believe, even as we all walk our own honoured yet bumbling and twisting paths to our own happiness, that for each and every one of us on our own very individual paths, this... aspiration for happiness that comes in all kinds and forms, will eventually refine itself into the wish for liberation and the path towards this inevitably will manifest along along the lines of what we in this world recognise as "Buddhism". So I guess you could nevertheless say, from this highly tentative perspective, that Buddhism does represent a 'supreme' path.

But my point is I don't think there are any scorecards of happiness or path to measure beings progress against. If there are beings who aspire to Buddhahood and/or liberation and making good work towards that, well that's wonderful. For where they are in life. If there are people who used this life make just a seed of goodness worth of progress, that is really wonderful too. For where they are in life.

Enough rambling. Peace out.

Anders
"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
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Sherab » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:22 am

Namdrol wrote:
Sherab wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Then there is the other issue e.g. we are convinced that the highest Buddhist teachings exist in Tibetan Buddhism and nowhere else.

Playing the devil's advocate: :stirthepot:

For the most spiritually gifted, the lowest teaching is sufficient to bring them to Buddhahood. For the most spiritually-challenged, even the highest teachings could not budge them.

Lowest teaching has the least explanation of the ultimate truth and least of method to reach there. So only the spiritually gifted could use it as a vehicle to Buddhahood. The highest teaching has the most detailed explanation of the ultimate truth and the most methods to reach there. So it is vehicle for the least spiritually endowed.

Spiritual triumphantalists, beware. :mrgreen:


If buddhahood depended on mind, this might be true. But since buddhahood is not dependent on mind...

Ever considered the possibility that the suttas/sutras do indeed point to buddhahood being non-dependent on mind?
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:45 am

Sherab wrote:

Ever considered the possibility that the suttas/sutras do indeed point to buddhahood being non-dependent on mind?


Pointing is one thing, taking one there directly is another.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby ground » Thu Apr 21, 2011 3:45 am

Will wrote:I have yet to find online Namkhai Norbu's "Dzogchen and Zen" booklet. If anyone knows where it (a PDF?) might be or can summarize his points about the differences or similarities, that would be helpful.


This presents one view, how Zen appeared to one person (or several persons) at a given time and location under the influence of those who taught what they called Zen and has been taken up after that time to establish the doctrine of superiority of some tibetan teachings among followers of these tibetan teachings.

I guess I am allowed to write this here since it is not the tibetan section of the forum.

Kind regards
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby Sherab » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:09 am

Namdrol wrote:
Sherab wrote:

Ever considered the possibility that the suttas/sutras do indeed point to buddhahood being non-dependent on mind?


Pointing is one thing, taking one there directly is another.

Continuation of :stirthepot:
The really spiritually gifted don't need much hand holding. A little pointing is sufficient to enable them to find their way there.
On the other hand, the utterly spiritually-challenged needs to be shown the detailed steps to take, to the extent of customization of the steps. :emb: (me)
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Re: Tibetan Interest in EA Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:56 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Moment to moment rebirth

Doesn't this teaching come from the Theravada Abhidhamma, as opposed to the Sarvastivadin seed theory?

Image

I guess it depends on what you mean by "moment to moment". (and "rebirth")

Dechen Norbu wrote:realms as mental states

You mean kinda like:
Namdrol wrote:All of space is a pure land, for those who know how to see.

Yogacara... Translation is a b*tch, ain't she?
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