Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

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

Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:09 pm

If you are deluded, Buddhadharma to you is not Buddhadharma. If you are not deluded, everything to you is BuddhaDharma. In saying this, we have to grasp Buddhadharma, practice it, live it, and move beyond the dead forms of teachings. This is why Buddhism has many expressions yet all these expressions are Buddha's teachings. If we cannot move beyond the dead forms, then we are deluded.

Lets talk about suffering for example...If you are attached to something and endorse it as your source of happiness/pleasure, without that something, you will suffer because that's what you are attached to. How can you decrease suffering? Decrease your attachment to everything, then you are not endorsing happiness/pleasure or suffering from that. You are the source of your problems and no one else. Understanding that you are the creator of all your problems, you are also the solver of all your problems...You will not be so deluded after you have understood what the teachings are all about.

Make sure that you understand Buddhadharma and make it your own, and not just repeating Guru's or teachers' words and when are confronted with questions, you are not able to explain. Otherwise, you just memorize what your teachers said but don't have a grasp of it will not help you move beyond their words. Stuck on forms and deluded.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:01 pm

LastLegend wrote:If you are deluded, Buddhadharma to you is not Buddhadharma......


well said! :namaste:
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:22 pm

If you are not deluded, then you don't need Buddhadharma. :smile:
Buddhadharma is a medicine for the sick (deluded beings).
Can you explain what you mean?
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What is Buddhism?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:38 pm

Buddhism is Buddha's teachings. What are Buddha's teachings? You tell me because you study and practice Buddhism right?

I'll tell you now all Buddha's teachings talk about is the mind, so study it, look at it, and work with it to get rid or decrease cause of suffering. You will not be so deluded about what's Buddha's and not Buddha's teachings (no matter what method of practice that you employ) if you have understood that Buddha's teachings is to work with the mind to get rid of cause of suffering. So anything can be a teaching of Buddha if the teaching is to get rid of cause of suffering. There are many methods that one can employ to deal with the mind such as Tantra, Chan, Pure Land, Theravada, etc, you name it.

Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree to understand his mind and from there has got rid of cause of suffering. Everything Buddha did is a part of his teachings. But don't be stuck on forms, you can study and work with your mind at any time.

So the point of Buddha's teachings is to get rid of cause of suffering, to liberate. So make sure that we always ask ourselves honestly if what we think and do help to decrease suffering/attachment.

Thank you for reading. If you have further questions, please take it to Buddha. I am not Buddha.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:46 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:If you are not deluded, then you don't need Buddhadharma. :smile:
Buddhadharma is a medicine for the sick (deluded beings).
Can you explain what you mean?


See my other post titled "What is Buddhism?"
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Pero » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:02 pm

kirtu wrote:The 4NT's are one way to frame the basic plight that sentient beings are caught in and to present a gradual path to extracate beings from suffering. It's not the only way. Although I've heard Tibetan Buddhist teaching on the 4NT's that actually is a Mahayana presentation, using the 4NT's as a standard for judging Buddhist systems throws out sections of Mahayana and puts a focus on Sravakayana. The 4NT's are a stepping stone (albeit a liberative one). Why didn't you pick the Four Seals instead of the 4NT's?

Kirt what sections of Mahayana do the 4NT throw out? I don't think there is any conflict with the four noble truths even when it comes to Dzogchen. I think only the explanation what each means differs.
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Re: What is Buddhism?

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:41 pm

LastLegend wrote:Buddhism is Buddha's teachings. What are Buddha's teachings? You tell me because you study and practice Buddhism right?

I'll tell you now all Buddha's teachings talk about is the mind, so study it, look at it, and work with it to get rid or decrease cause of suffering. You will not be so deluded about what's Buddha's and not Buddha's teachings (no matter what method of practice that you employ) if you have understood that Buddha's teachings is to work with the mind to get rid of cause of suffering. So anything can be a teaching of Buddha if the teaching is to get rid of cause of suffering. There are many methods that one can employ to deal with the mind such as Tantra, Chan, Pure Land, Theravada, etc, you name it.

Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree to understand his mind and from there has got rid of cause of suffering. Everything Buddha did is a part of his teachings. But don't be stuck on forms, you can study and work with your mind at any time.

So the point of Buddha's teachings is to get rid of cause of suffering, to liberate. So make sure that we always ask ourselves honestly if what we think and do help to decrease suffering/attachment.

Thank you for reading. If you have further questions, please take it to Buddha. I am not Buddha.


There is no need for a separate thread on the same topic. The post from the thread "What is Buddhism?" has been merged with this one.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby adinatha » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:32 am

Namdrol wrote:So it is better to leave these histories (often mutually conflicting) at the level of legend and not presume they refer to historical facts.


The main thrust of my point is that the account impacts the method, blessings and realization of tantra. Positively conceiving of a lineage account as legend would basically screw up one's ability to replicate the results generally understood to be the lineage-element.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:28 am

Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote:The 4NT's are one way to frame the basic plight that sentient beings are caught in and to present a gradual path to extracate beings from suffering. It's not the only way. Although I've heard Tibetan Buddhist teaching on the 4NT's that actually is a Mahayana presentation, using the 4NT's as a standard for judging Buddhist systems throws out sections of Mahayana and puts a focus on Sravakayana. The 4NT's are a stepping stone (albeit a liberative one). Why didn't you pick the Four Seals instead of the 4NT's?

Kirt what sections of Mahayana do the 4NT throw out? I don't think there is any conflict with the four noble truths even when it comes to Dzogchen. I think only the explanation what each means differs.


Zen does not typically use or need the 4NT's. The Pure Land traditions do not typically place the 4NT's at the core of their teaching. The 4NT's are typically a renunciative practice overall and are generally thought of as a Sravakayana teaching. The Paramitayana for example does not actually need the 4NT's. I was initially taken aback when reading Tsongkhapa's "The Three Principal Aspects of the Path" - so the three aspects are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom - even though his first section deals with renunciation he doesn't mention the 4NT's and neither have any commentaries I've read. When I first encountered this text in my mid-late-20's I read and reread that many times asking initially if this was even a Buddhist text as it did not directly cover the 4NT's!

I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all and that historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part. Now with Buddhism developing into a kind of pan-Buddhism it is often referred to in teachings in many places. But is is superseded for the most part in the common and uncommon Mahayana.

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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:43 am

adinatha wrote:
Namdrol wrote:So it is better to leave these histories (often mutually conflicting) at the level of legend and not presume they refer to historical facts.


The main thrust of my point is that the account impacts the method, blessings and realization of tantra. Positively conceiving of a lineage account as legend would basically screw up one's ability to replicate the results generally understood to be the lineage-element.



It's probably better for Vajrayanists to approach the view of history in a more rhizomatic fashion, ala Deleuze rather than being too concerned with outdated models of linear chronology which are founded on a materialist ethic. Since Buddhas are beyond limitations of time and space, why would we obsess and grasp after details of time and place in relation to Buddhas? Like I said, rainbow chasing.. it is a fools errand.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Jnana » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:53 am

kirtu wrote:I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all

The 4NTs are explained in the Sārdhadvisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (second turning) and the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra (third turning), and so on. The truth of cessation and the truth of the path are also explained in the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra Śāstra).

kirtu wrote:historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part.

The four noble truths are central to Sarvāstivāda as well. They are also defined and commented upon in the Abhidharmasamuccaya.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby adinatha » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:19 am

Jñāna wrote:
kirtu wrote:I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all

The 4NTs are explained in the Sārdhadvisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra (second turning) and the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra (third turning), and so on. The truth of cessation and the truth of the path are also explained in the Ratnagotravibhāga (Uttaratantra Śāstra).

kirtu wrote:historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part.

The four noble truths are central to Sarvāstivāda as well. They are also defined and commented upon in the Abhidharmasamuccaya.


Generally speaking in Mahayana the second noble truth is ignorance and the fourth noble truth is explained as the Five Paths.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:24 am

kirtu wrote:
I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all and that historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part. Now with Buddhism developing into a kind of pan-Buddhism it is often referred to in teachings in many places. But is is superseded for the most part in the common and uncommon Mahayana.

Kirt



4NT are covered in detail in Avatamska, the Bodhisattva Pitika, etc.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:29 am

LastLegend wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:If you are not deluded, then you don't need Buddhadharma. :smile:
Buddhadharma is a medicine for the sick (deluded beings).
Can you explain what you mean?


See my other post titled "What is Buddhism?"

Thanks for your answers.
My point is, Buddhadharma is conceived for those who are not enlightened. The Buddhadharma is not Sadharma, which is the fruit of it's practice, thus being provisional as in the analogy of the finger pointing at the moon. It falls under loka samvriti satya, relative truth, because it deals with concepts, and the fruit of its practice is paramartha satya, beyond concepts. So Buddhadharma is the finger to which we, unenlightened and unable to directly see the moon, look in order to find out where it's pointing.
What I think you are trying to say is that Buddhadharma is for those with "little dust in their eyes", as it's stated in the Ayacana Sutta, or "those with ears", those who have the capacity to read and understand the teachings. So, those deluded, but not so much deluded that they can't see the value of Dharma practice.

Is this it?
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:50 am

kirtu wrote:
Zen does not typically use or need the 4NT's. The Pure Land traditions do not typically place the 4NT's at the core of their teaching. The 4NT's are typically a renunciative practice overall and are generally thought of as a Sravakayana teaching. The Paramitayana for example does not actually need the 4NT's. I was initially taken aback when reading Tsongkhapa's "The Three Principal Aspects of the Path" - so the three aspects are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom - even though his first section deals with renunciation he doesn't mention the 4NT's and neither have any commentaries I've read. When I first encountered this text in my mid-late-20's I read and reread that many times asking initially if this was even a Buddhist text as it did not directly cover the 4NT's!

I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all and that historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part. Now with Buddhism developing into a kind of pan-Buddhism it is often referred to in teachings in many places. But is is superseded for the most part in the common and uncommon Mahayana.

Kirt


4NTs is a necessary teaching and cannot be detached from Buddhism. There is suffering, the cause, and way to get rid of it. Methods such as Theravada, Tantra, Chan, and Pure Land can be employed to do so.

Noble Eightfold Path:
(1) Right Understanding;
(2) Right Intention;
(3) Right Speech;
(4) Right Action;
(5) Right Livelihood;
(6) Right Effort;
(7) Right Mindfulness; and
(8) Right Concentration.

As for EightFold Path, if you are really practicing Buddhism, you are practicing Eightfold path. If you are not practicing Eightfold path, you are deluded. Yes, right understanding as a Buddhist not emotional biases. Does a Zen monk have right understanding? I would think if he is really practicing Buddhism. Right intention such as no ill will. Yes. Right speech-yes such as no gossiping, idle talks, etc. Right actions (10 Virtuous Acts of body, speech, and mind) such as practicing giving, helping other when opportunity arises, be fair and just, etc. Livelihood-live right as a human being with decency for example, work for your food and not rely on others for example, etc. Right effort-practice with diligence, don't give up, persist through obstacles, determined, etc. Right Mindfulness-constantly being mindful of one's own faults and pay special attention to the 3 poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance, being mindful of falling and arising of all dharmas, etc. Right Concentration-this just means practicing meditation such focusing on breathing, reciting Amitabha, concentrate on a particular Dharma such body is conditioned, concentrate on compassion (loving all unconditionally), etc. So right concentration is not concentrating on thoughts that are based on 3 poisons.

If you are a Mahayana practitioner, you get the package.
Last edited by LastLegend on Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:52 am

Dechen Norbu wrote:Thanks for your answers.
My point is, Buddhadharma is conceived for those who are not enlightened. The Buddhadharma is not Sadharma, which is the fruit of it's practice, thus being provisional as in the analogy of the finger pointing at the moon. It falls under loka samvriti satya, relative truth, because it deals with concepts, and the fruit of its practice is paramartha satya, beyond concepts. So Buddhadharma is the finger to which we, unenlightened and unable to directly see the moon, look in order to find out where it's pointing.
What I think you are trying to say is that Buddhadharma is for those with "little dust in their eyes", as it's stated in the Ayacana Sutta, or "those with ears", those who have the capacity to read and understand the teachings. So, those deluded, but not so much deluded that they can't see the value of Dharma practice.

Is this it?


Some Buddhists see Buddha as God who hands out punishment and merits. And they go to temple to pray wealth and such. So these people are deluded that they see Buddha as that. Similarly if we are attracted to Buddhism for reasons other than getting rid of cause of suffering or just to live peacefully in this life time, then we are deluded also...Through my practice, I recognize what brings me suffering. Like when I am attached to something (an expectation for example) as a source of my happiness/pleasure, and without having that something, I will suffer. Or I want things to go my way, but they don't I will inevitably suffer...And there are a lot of other things such as anger, arrogance, doubt, etc that I am working on. It seems like everything I am attached to brings suffering to me. Even Buddhism itself can be an attachment. When we are attached to Buddhism, we also suffer and deluded. So at this point, Buddhadharma is no longer Buddhadharma but an object of attachment. The point of Buddhadharma is to get rid of attachment, but we are doing the opposite. So we are deluded.

It comes down to recognizing what causes suffering and detaching from it. When we are no longer attached to females for example, seeing a beautiful female is like seeing a flower that will inevitably wilt at some point. So the female in this case is Buddhadharma, representing the unity of conditions and falling of conditions.
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Re: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:39 pm

kirtu wrote:
Pero wrote:
kirtu wrote:The 4NT's are one way to frame the basic plight that sentient beings are caught in and to present a gradual path to extracate beings from suffering. It's not the only way. Although I've heard Tibetan Buddhist teaching on the 4NT's that actually is a Mahayana presentation, using the 4NT's as a standard for judging Buddhist systems throws out sections of Mahayana and puts a focus on Sravakayana. The 4NT's are a stepping stone (albeit a liberative one). Why didn't you pick the Four Seals instead of the 4NT's?

Kirt what sections of Mahayana do the 4NT throw out? I don't think there is any conflict with the four noble truths even when it comes to Dzogchen. I think only the explanation what each means differs.


Zen does not typically use or need the 4NT's. The Pure Land traditions do not typically place the 4NT's at the core of their teaching. The 4NT's are typically a renunciative practice overall and are generally thought of as a Sravakayana teaching. The Paramitayana for example does not actually need the 4NT's. I was initially taken aback when reading Tsongkhapa's "The Three Principal Aspects of the Path" - so the three aspects are renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom - even though his first section deals with renunciation he doesn't mention the 4NT's and neither have any commentaries I've read. When I first encountered this text in my mid-late-20's I read and reread that many times asking initially if this was even a Buddhist text as it did not directly cover the 4NT's!

I'd go so far as to say that Mahayana doesn't have to include the 4NT's at all and that historically it was relegated to the Southern School for the most part. Now with Buddhism developing into a kind of pan-Buddhism it is often referred to in teachings in many places. But is is superseded for the most part in the common and uncommon Mahayana.

Kirt

Might it be the case that no emphasis is given to these teachings by these traditions since it would be taken for granted that a Buddhist accepts and applies the 4NT? And why do you say that the $NT are a purely renunciative practice? Due to the wording? Coz it seems to me that right effort, for example, is not purely renunciative and anyway when one "renounces" wrong doing essentially what one is doing is accepting virtuous/wholesome actions.
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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: Defining Buddhism - Theravada/Mahayana/Varayana

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:34 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Might it be the case that no emphasis is given to these teachings by these traditions since it would be taken for granted that a Buddhist accepts and applies the 4NT? And why do you say that the $NT are a purely renunciative practice? Due to the wording? Coz it seems to me that right effort, for example, is not purely renunciative and anyway when one "renounces" wrong doing essentially what one is doing is accepting virtuous/wholesome actions.
:namaste:


The 4NT are actually a diagnostic heuristic. All traditions have this. All traditions start with suffering, etc.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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