Was Gautama really a prince?

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:16 am

Dexing wrote:
There is only way.

That is- through the wisdom of emptiness, not the teachings on the wisdom of emptiness. ;)



If the teaching of emptiness and emptiness itself are two different things, its a strange kind of emptiness.
What you're saying amounts to saying that enlightenment is simply a case of emptiness itself awakening to itself; but it is actually a sentient being awakening to enlightenment. And that, more often than not, involves hearing the Dharma.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:19 am

Buddhanataka wrote:If the teaching of emptiness and emptiness itself are two different things, its a strange kind of emptiness.


Not sure who said that.

What youre saying amounts to saying that it is simply a case of emptiness itself awakening to itself; but it is actually a sentient being awakening to enlightenment.


interesting..

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:27 am

Buddhanataka wrote:If the teaching of emptiness and emptiness itself are two different things, its a strange kind of emptiness.


[quote="dexing"]Not sure who said that.[/qoute]

Erm, well I just said it now..
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:46 am

I meant; "If the teaching of emptiness and emptiness itself are two different things".

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:20 am

Huseng wrote:Venerable Huifeng

Thank you for your reply.

Off the top of your head, do you know from what Pali or Sanskrit lexical item one derives the English rendering "prince" from?

I'd try to go look for it myself, but I'll ask you first.


As Rev Eijo has said, probably rajakumara, or kumara. Although "raja" gets translated often as "king", it probably is best not to think of medieval Euro style "king".

Would maybe looking up the dictionary translations for "prince" across the Sanskrit canon work? Hm. But then my Sanskrit ability isn't up to snuff to make much sense out of raw Sanskrit without annotation.


Maybe. But one would have to note the text sources.

Five, one could probably say that Gautama was the son of one the the most important elders, if not the most important elder himself, of the Sakya clan.


However, as the story goes wasn't Gautama set to inherit the throne from his father?


Which story? If you want to ask a historical question, let's try to be more specific and precise.

If in fact there was hereditary succession, then there isn't a problem with the traditional account of Buddha's life.

If the clan elected their leaders by vote, then there is a problem.


First, find all your sources on this topic. Ascertain their relative chronologies. Also see where they are from, in that stories expressed in other places will often use the terminology of that place. eg. your "taizi" example. Just reading this as the Chinese "taizi" is really not the way to understand things. What does the Pali say? What did that term mean at that time for the Sakyas? This may not be the same as what it meant for the Brahmins. etc.

In the end, it is probably neither strict hereditory, nor elected vote. These are kinds of Euro models, and they may not be applicable here.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:04 am

Ven. Huifeng and ācārya Eijo

Thanks for the pointers. :namaste:
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:53 pm

The lineage of the Shakyans goes back to King Ikshvaku when Kapilavastu was first created as accounted in the Mahavastu and various similar narratives, a lineage of solar kings as they were called occasionally.

2500-3000* years of tradition has definitely established Siddhartha (Sarvarthasiddha) as the prince - kumarabhuta - of the Shakyas and John Keay for his merits will be forgotten long before Prince Siddhartha ever is.

BTW well done Huifeng interesting comments I was impressed.

*Some date the Buddha's birth as early as 930BC or thereabouts, e.g. Dudjom Rinpoche and some several Theravada sources.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:09 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:If the teaching of emptiness and emptiness itself are two different things, its a strange kind of emptiness.


What's the strange part? A lesson on chemistry isn't chemistry itself, it's a lesson. So is dharma. Dharma is a finger pointing at the moon, the moon being emptiness in the current analogy.

If you see emptiness itself and the teaching of emptiness as the same thing, then you have confused the finger with the thing it points at.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:26 pm

catmoon wrote:
If you see emptiness itself and the teaching of emptiness as the same thing, then you have confused the finger with the thing it points at.


Not so. Emptiness is the emptiness of distinctions. Emptiness is like space. If emptiness is one thing, and another thing is not emptiness, then it's a strange kind of emptiness.
The finger is just as empty as the emptiness it points to - in terms of emptiness, there's no distinction between fingers and moons, they're both equally empty.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:10 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:
catmoon wrote:
If you see emptiness itself and the teaching of emptiness as the same thing, then you have confused the finger with the thing it points at.


Not so. Emptiness is the emptiness of distinctions. Emptiness is like space. If emptiness is one thing, and another thing is not emptiness, then it's a strange kind of emptiness.
The finger is just as empty as the emptiness it points to - in terms of emptiness, there's no distinction between fingers and moons, they're both equally empty.


Agree. That's why the Heart Sutra says "In emptiness there is no.... no suffering, no accumulating, no extinction, and no Way, and no understanding and no attaining".

That means no Four Noble Truths, i.e. no "finger" and no "moon".

The FNT were falsely set up in a dream to wake us up from the dream. Once awake, we see even the FNT are empty.

That's why I never said "emptiness itself and the teaching of emptiness are two different things".

What I said was;

"There is only way.

That is- through the wisdom of emptiness, not the teachings on the wisdom of emptiness."

The Heart Sutra says;

"All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita."

Reliance on Prajna Paramita itself, not reliance on the teaching of Prajna Paramita.

So I said enlightenment is not dependent upon Buddhism.

Before I knew Buddhism did I not have Buddha Nature? Was it dependent upon Buddhism? If so, how come Shakyamuni Buddha woke up without being instructed on Prajna Paramita? Where did he get his Buddha Nature? :tongue:

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:21 pm

Dexing wrote:So I said enlightenment is not dependent upon Buddhism.

how come Shakyamuni Buddha woke up without being instructed on Prajna Paramita? Where did he get his Buddha Nature?


That is similar to saying: Chickens are not dependent on eggs, because how else could have come about the first chicken?
Clearly, there is the original impulse toward the chicken-nature to impel the birth of the original chicken.
Nevertheless, in the vast majority of cases, a chicken depends on an egg.
Similarly, in the vast majority of cases, the chicken of enlightenment depends upon exposure to the egg of the Dharma.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:05 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:
Dexing wrote:So I said enlightenment is not dependent upon Buddhism.

how come Shakyamuni Buddha woke up without being instructed on Prajna Paramita? Where did he get his Buddha Nature?


That is similar to saying: Chickens are not dependent on eggs, because how else could have come about the first chicken?


It's really not, because Buddhism is not the "mother of all Buddhas". Prajna Paramita is the mother of all Buddhas, not the teachings on that.

Heart Sutra: "All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita."

The teachings are empty. Relying upon the teachings is like relying upon the ear or the nose. But since that is empty you will only deceive yourself.

So all Buddhas rely upon the wisdom of emptiness, not the teaching of it.

Similarly, in the vast majority of cases, the chicken of enlightenment depends upon exposure to the egg of the Dharma.


If it is "in the vast majority of cases" then it is obviously not dependent upon Buddhism.

The Heart Sutra says very clearly what all Buddhas rely upon, and it is not Buddhism, not Dharma.. because those are empty. All Buddhas don't rely upon emptiness, but the wisdom of emptiness.

They rely upon Prajna Paramita, not Sunyata (Buddhism, the Dharma, the teachings of Sunyata, being Sunyata themselves).

Arhats rely upon the teachings to reach Nirvana, but their Nirvana is not true.

In the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshvara is practicing the "profound" or "deep" transcendental wisdom. Talking about this kind of wisdom and relying upon the teachings is "superficial" or "shallow" wisdom.

All Buddhas do not rely upon "Shallow Wisdom" to attain Bodhi, which is what you are saying the vast majority must do.

But in fact, no Buddha relies upon such shallow wisdom. No amount of study on the shallow wisdom would allow Avalokiteshvara to illuminate the Five Skandhas and see that they are empty.

If you rely upon Buddhism, you rely upon the eye, the ear, etc., sights, sounds, etc., you rely upon Emptiness. You rely upon nothing whatsoever. You have no safe haven.

Therefore;

Heart Sutra: "All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita."

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:23 pm

Similarly, in the vast majority of cases, the chicken of enlightenment depends upon exposure to the egg of the Dharma.


dexing wrote: If it is "in the vast majority of cases" then it is obviously not dependent upon Buddhism.


In which case, if chickens only come from eggs "in the vast majority of cases", then chickens are obviously not dependent upon eggs; yet what intelligent person would attempt to uphold such a thesis?
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:59 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:
Similarly, in the vast majority of cases, the chicken of enlightenment depends upon exposure to the egg of the Dharma.


dexing wrote: If it is "in the vast majority of cases" then it is obviously not dependent upon Buddhism.


In which case, if chickens only come from eggs "in the vast majority of cases", then chickens are obviously not dependent upon eggs; yet what intelligent person would attempt to uphold such a thesis?


You're going on about your chicken and egg theory, assuming that "Buddhism is the mother of all Buddhas" or the "egg of all chickens".

But even Buddhism states that Prajna Paramita is the mother of all Buddhas, not the teaching on it.

So not only is enlightenment not dependent upon Buddhism "in the vast majority of cases", in fact, in no case is it dependent upon Buddhism.

Your chicken and egg theory is completely unrelated, as long as you are assuming Buddhism is the mother of all Buddhas, and not Prajna Paramita.

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:12 pm

Dexing wrote:
So not only is enlightenment not dependent upon Buddhism "in the vast majority of cases", in fact, in no case is it dependent upon Buddhism.


Well you might as well say a chicken is in no case dependent upon an egg, which is ludicrous.
There are so many recorded cases of people awakening to enlightenment after hearing the Dharma and you would have to refute them all to prove your thesis - good luck with that!
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:37 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:
Dexing wrote:
So not only is enlightenment not dependent upon Buddhism "in the vast majority of cases", in fact, in no case is it dependent upon Buddhism.


Well you might as well say a chicken is in no case dependent upon an egg, which is ludicrous.
There are so many recorded cases of people awakening to enlightenment after hearing the Dharma and you would have to refute them all to prove your thesis - good luck with that!


Yeah, if Buddhism were the mother of all Buddhas, and not Prajna Paramita. But even Buddhism says it's the other way around.

If enlightenment were dependent upon Buddhism, on teachings, or practices, then it would be conditional.

All conditioned things are (1) impermanent, (2) unsatisfactory, (3) non-self.

Some kind of enlightenment that is...

Bodhidharma's Bloodstream Sermon:

"Student: But suppose I don't see my nature, cant I still attain enlightenment by invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, observing precepts, Practicing devotions, or doing good works?

[i.e. Can't I attain enlightenment by practicing Buddhism? Isn't enlightenment dependent upon Buddhism?]

Bodhidharma: No, you can't.

Student: Why not?

Bodhidharma: If you attain anything at all, it's conditional, it's karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the Wheel. And as long as you're subject to birth and death, you'll never attain enlightenment."


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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby KeithBC » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:41 am

I can't see that it really matters.

I, too have read that Siddhartha Gautama's father might not have been a hereditary king but may have been an elected or appointed ruler. It makes no difference. He was the son of the ruler of that particular state, and, just like the children of secular rulers anywhere, he had the best housing, the best clothing, the best food, the best education, etc. The point of the story is that he was born into a situation of privilege and gave it up to seek enlightenment. The nature of his father's office is quite unimportant.

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:19 am

Dexing wrote:
Yeah, if Buddhism were the mother of all Buddhas, and not Prajna Paramita. But even Buddhism says it's the other way around.



First of all you need explain precisely where the distinction lies bewteen Buddhism and Prajnaparamita; not vaguely, but precisely; because as for me, I'm not clear as to this precise distinction you are claiming between Buddhism and Prajnaparamita.

Second, you have attemtped to prove your thesis through only one method of proof, namely that of valid scripture. Granted the Heart Sutra is valid scripture but in terms of Mahayana Buddhism there are alternative traditions that state, for example, that Buddhahood flows from Mahamudra or alternately that Buddhahood is the pimordial bodhicitta of Dzogchen. Thus, even your proof using scripture is inadequate to establish the thesis.
If you hope to use the Heart Sutra as you sole means of establishing the thesis that enlightenment and Buddhism are mutually exclusive phenomena you also need to refute these other systems - or establish that they are in fact in harmony - as well as succeesfully refuting each claim that enlightenment has resulted from the hearing of the Dharma. I am happy to present numerous such cases if you are happy to attempt to refute them one by one.

First though you should start by precisely describing the distinction you imagine between Prajnaparamita and Buddhism, then you will need to use the Prajnaparamita system you are using as your means of valid reasoning to refute the other traditions I have mentioned and any others that may come under consideration.
In short, if you want to prove a thesis that "Buddhahood and Buddhism are mutually exclusive phenomena" you need to do a lot more than merely quote text from the Heart Sutra and a solitary Zen teacher.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:17 am

Buddhanataka wrote:First of all you need explain precisely where the distinction lies bewteen Buddhism and Prajnaparamita; not vaguely, but precisely; because as for me, I'm not clear as to this precise distinction you are claiming between Buddhism and Prajnaparamita.


Simply because Buddhism is a collection of teachings, several words and practices. If you set up a Subject-Object construct and attempt to bridge the gap with study and practice (Buddhism) you will not succeed, because the gap is only imagined. That is, sentient being and Buddha are not separated individualizes. One does not become the other through study and practice.

So, relying upon Buddhism, becoming attached to the doctrines and practice methods you will never succeed. But Prajnaparamita, the transcendental wisdom of emptiness, is not a teaching. The teaching about that wisdom cannot substitute for that wisdom itself.

The so-called attainment of that wisdom is also not dependent upon the teachings about it, because all share the same nature, waking up to it can happen at any time, in any place, in any way.

Unless of course you are not familiar with this, and are more comfortable on dhammawheel.com, you're welcome to visit there.

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:19 am

KeithBC wrote:I can't see that it really matters.

I, too have read that Siddhartha Gautama's father might not have been a hereditary king but may have been an elected or appointed ruler. It makes no difference. He was the son of the ruler of that particular state, and, just like the children of secular rulers anywhere, he had the best housing, the best clothing, the best food, the best education, etc. The point of the story is that he was born into a situation of privilege and gave it up to seek enlightenment. The nature of his father's office is quite unimportant.

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