Was Gautama really a prince?

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:01 am

Dexing wrote:Still my only point is that realization is not dependent upon Buddhism, or any religion for that matter. Because all practices are impermanent, as is anything produced from them.


Sorry, but your statement here is incorrect.

In Theravada their practises, once completed and perfected, lead to stream-entry and then to Arhatship which is irreversible. One achieves cessation and generally speaking according to that tradition it is permanent, irreversible and nirvana.

In Mahayana our practises are aimed at Buddhahood. Buddhahood includes eradication of all defilements and is irreversible. Buddhas do not regress into unenlightened beings wandering in samsara.

The practises might come to an end eventually, but if the ultimate fruit is achieved it is permanent.

As far as I know, no other religion except Buddhism teaches the aforementioned goals, so one has no other choice but to rely on Buddhism to achieve said goals.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:20 pm

Huseng wrote:In Theravada their practises, once completed and perfected, lead to stream-entry and then to Arhatship which is irreversible. One achieves cessation and generally speaking according to that tradition it is permanent, irreversible and nirvana.


Why should one who has attained Arhatship ordain within 7 days after attainment then? Because they must protect their state. It is not true Nirvana and they may still be enticed by external phenomena, until they turn to Mahayana to cut distinctions.

In Mahayana our practises are aimed at Buddhahood. Buddhahood includes eradication of all defilements and is irreversible. Buddhas do not regress into unenlightened beings wandering in samsara.

The practises might come to an end eventually, but if the ultimate fruit is achieved it is permanent.


Practices may help but ultimately to take the final leap one must relinquish even the Dharma. So enlightenment, I would say is not "dependent upon" Buddhism. It's not "dependent upon" anything. Except maybe the courage to do so.

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Huifeng » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:30 pm

Dexing wrote:
Huseng wrote:In Theravada their practises, once completed and perfected, lead to stream-entry and then to Arhatship which is irreversible. One achieves cessation and generally speaking according to that tradition it is permanent, irreversible and nirvana.


Why should one who has attained Arhatship ordain within 7 days after attainment then? Because they must protect their state. It is not true Nirvana and they may still be enticed by external phenomena, until they turn to Mahayana to cut distinctions.



Sorry, but for the Theravadins, there is no need to "protect" the state of arahant-ship.
See Kv 1:2:

2. The Arahant does not regress (parihāyati) from the state of Arahant-hood (arahattā).
Since the three lower saints do not regress, the Arahant cannot regress because it is he who has abandoned the most (bahyutara) of the afflictions (kilesa), who has best (adhimatta) practiced the Path (maggabhāvanā), who has best seen (diṭṭha) the Truths (sacca). Not only has the Arahant abandoned all the afflictions, but he has destroyed their roots (ucchinnamūla), he has made uprooted palm trees (tālāvatthukata) out of them, he has annihilated them (anabhāvaṃkata), he has made them things that will not be reborn (āyatiṃanuppādadhamma).


and Kv 8:10:

84. The Arahant does not regress (parihāyati) from sainthood (arahatta) due to actions
(kammahetu).


Rather, this explanation of theirs is a generalization based on some empirical examples. However, one may draw other different conclusions from the same examples, which other schools did. But that is already off-topic enough for now.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:33 pm

Dexing wrote:Practices may help but ultimately to take the final leap one must relinquish even the Dharma. So enlightenment, I would say is not "dependent upon" Buddhism. It's not "dependent upon" anything. Except maybe the courage to do so.

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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:19 pm

This thread also should be locked because it long ago drifted away from the topic.

Dexing is evidently not a follower, believer or practitioner of Buddhism, his views are not Buddhist, they are at best perhaps thoe of some extreme, far-flung, little-known Zen sect, but even then it's a stretch.
He knows of or cares nothing for basic Buddhist teachings like the Holy Eightfold Path, the six paramitas (of which prajnaparamita, ironically, is one), the 7 bodhyangas, the 37 bodhipakshikas, the 8 vimokshas, the 4 immeasurables, all the millions of practices of bhikshus, pratyekabuddhas, arhats and bodhisattvas, the devata transformation practices of outer tantra and the stages of clear light and illusory body inner tantric development for yogins, mantra practice, mudra practice, sadhana practice, samaya practice, and countless millions of other practices, not to mention to profound completion practices of higher teachings like Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen of vidyadharas and buddhas; one can only surmise his is a nihilistic, mutated descendant of some extreme Zen aloofness that has come down thus.
In every event, the thread has wandered miles off course, so it might as well be locked.
Last edited by Buddhanataka on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Virgo » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:26 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:This thread also should be locked because it long ago drifted away from the topic.

Dexing is evidently not a follower, believer or practitioner of Buddhism, his views are not Buddhist, they are at best perhaps thoe of some extreme, far-flung, little-known Zen sect, but even then it's a stretch.
He knows of or cares nothing for basic Buddhist teachings like the Holy Eightfold Path, the six paramitas (of which prajnaparamita, ironically, is one), the 7 bodhyangas, the 37 bodhipakshikas, the 8 vimokshas, the 4 immeasurables, all the millions of practices of bhikshus, pratyekabuddhas, arhats and bodhisattvas, the stages of inner tantric development for yogins, mantra practice, mudra practice, sadhana practice, samaya practice, not to mention to completion practices of higher teachings likes Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen of vidyadharas and buddhas; one can only surmise his is a nihilistic, mutated descendant of some extreme Zen aloofness that has come down thus.
In every event, the thread has wandered miles off course, so it might as well be locked.

The last thread wasn't locked because it went off-topic. It was locked because you were obnoxious time and again, being rude and dismissing the points made repeatedly without any giving them any mention at all, and, of course, because you dismissed the importance of samaya-- the holy commitments.

Kevin
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:30 pm

This thread has gone grossly off-topic. Back to the original post please, which is an academic inquiry.

Buddhanataka consider this a formal warning about derailing threads and being disruptive.

Back to topic.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:30 pm

Virgo wrote:The last thread wasn't locked because it went off-topic. It was locked because you were obnoxious time and again and because you dismissed the importance of samaya.

Kevin


LEt us leave the other thread out the question for now; it seems, then, that you don't consider sticking to the topic of any importance in threads?
Let us leave aside the other thread for now; but what about this current thread? What do you think about it.

Now going back to the other thread: 'tis a pity it was locked, because I never got to find ou what are his rules if say his wife goes into labour or mother has a heart attack at any inconvenient time for his samaya, what are the rules in such situations does he still need to seek absolution and re-empowerment...? In which case, how absurd...!
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:32 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:This thread has gone grossly off-topic. Back to the original post please.

Buddhanataka consider this a formal warning about derailing threads and being disruptive.

Back to topic.


This thread had already gone way off topic; I merely pointed such out - I pointed out that it was off topic, just exactly as you, Drolma have done, before you did so in fact; it was Virgo himself who used it, disruptively, as an opportunity to grind an axe he had clearly been waiting to grind; so I can't at all understand what you mean, Drolma! It seems like you got it totally upside-down!
How amazing.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:35 pm

Start another thread with questions about samaya if you like.

Reading through this whole thread is is obvious and clear who derailed this.

I suggest you cease and desist this further disruption right now lest further action be required on my end.

Let it go.

Thanks,
Laura
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Buddhanataka » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:39 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Reading through this whole thread is is obvious and clear who derailed this.

I suggest you cease and desist this further disruption right now lest further action be required on my end.

Let it go.

Thanks,
Laura


Not so, Laura. You may check through the posts and leave aside your bias.
Originally I said that more important than wondering about what modern history says about the hereditary practice of the Shakyas is sticking to the canonical tradition which establishes the young Bodhisattva as a prince, for example the glorious Lalitavistara Sutra, and also practicing the teaching; Dexing came in and objected that one must not practice anything, as this is against his extreme Zen view; and things went from there.

What's obvious, Laura, is that you missed it all.


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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Virgo » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:47 pm

Buddhanataka wrote:
Virgo wrote:The last thread wasn't locked because it went off-topic. It was locked because you were obnoxious time and again and because you dismissed the importance of samaya.

Kevin


LEt us leave the other thread out the question for now; it seems, then, that you don't consider sticking to the topic of any importance in threads?
Let us leave aside the other thread for now; but what about this current thread? What do you think about it.

Now going back to the other thread: 'tis a pity it was locked, because I never got to find ou what are his rules if say his wife goes into labour or mother has a heart attack at any inconvenient time for his samaya, what are the rules in such situations does he still need to seek absolution and re-empowerment...? In which case, how absurd...!

Sticking to topic is indeed very important; nevertheless, there is a tendency for almost any topic with multiple posts to begin to stray off topic. Such is simply the nature of conversation. At that point, usually a moderator steps in and asks people to try and stay on-topic or someone else points out that the thread is drifting away from the topic and we drop the sub-topics or open new threads to deal with them, allowing us return to the original topic.

After your statement in this thread that it should be closed due to straying off-topic, it is alarming that you completely go off-topic and bring the topic of the closed thread back to life by restating your questions from the closed thread.

Also alarming is your disrespect for the Zen tradition. Wether you like the approach of Indian or Tibetan or some other form of Buddhism better is one thing - even making a good case that tantric methods are faster to those of sutra is fine - but belittling the Mahayana Zen tradition is uncalled for.

Likewise, it is disturbing that threads have to keep being interrupted here.

I feel that the Admins on this site are doing an excellent job; I have no qualms with their moderation. However, Buddhanataka, if I were a moderator, you would have been heavily warned already. You are disruptive, dismissive, rude, and take samaya far too lightly.

Kevin
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:52 pm

Hi all,

Sorry for the disruptions, the situation has been dealt with. Please feel free to pursue this interesting academic inquiry in peace.

Kind wishes,
Laura
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:44 am

Huifeng wrote:
Dexing wrote:
Huseng wrote:In Theravada their practises, once completed and perfected, lead to stream-entry and then to Arhatship which is irreversible. One achieves cessation and generally speaking according to that tradition it is permanent, irreversible and nirvana.


Why should one who has attained Arhatship ordain within 7 days after attainment then? Because they must protect their state. It is not true Nirvana and they may still be enticed by external phenomena, until they turn to Mahayana to cut distinctions.



Sorry, but for the Theravadins, there is no need to "protect" the state of arahant-ship.
See Kv 1:2:

[i]2. The Arahant does not regress (parihāyati) from the state of Arahant-hood (arahattā).

...........


I'm not saying they regress from Arhatship, but that since they only empty the selfhood of person and do not empty that of phenomena, then they must ordain within 7 days so as to best nurture that state without being confused by phenomena they still hold as real, until they realize distinctions are also vexation and begin to turn toward the Mahayana.

That's also why their Nirvana is not true, from a Mahayana perspective- because Mahayana considers distinctions a type of attachment and vexation.

:namaste:
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Dexing » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:49 am

On the topic of the thread, I think Keith hit the nail on the head with this one. I completely agree, and that would settle that.

:twothumbsup:

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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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:14 am

Dexing wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Sorry, but for the Theravadins, there is no need to "protect" the state of arahant-ship.
See Kv 1:2:

[i]2. The Arahant does not regress (parihāyati) from the state of Arahant-hood (arahattā).

...........


I'm not saying they regress from Arhatship, but that since they only empty the selfhood of person and do not empty that of phenomena, then they must ordain within 7 days so as to best nurture that state without being confused by phenomena they still hold as real, until they realize distinctions are also vexation and begin to turn toward the Mahayana.

That's also why their Nirvana is not true, from a Mahayana perspective- because Mahayana considers distinctions a type of attachment and vexation.

:namaste:


That's called "Mahayana interpretation of Hinayana", and not "Theravada". Best not to conflate the two.

Your explanation would kind of suggest that somehow ordaining makes one have understanding of the selfless of dharmas, whereas lay persons can only understand selflessness of persons. I have seen no evidence anywhere to support such an assertion. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary: that lay persons can have this insight too. However, it may be somewhat more difficult for them to attain this, busy with household matters as they are.

The real reason was simply this: There were historical examples of lay people who became arahants. Some of them died soon after. Some of them became monastics. Someone much later had the idea that "They either become monastics or die." But logically this is a fallacy, so I said that it is a generalization based on some evidence. Other evidence suggests that one could technically still be a lay person, but that they would be so uninterested in what constitutes the usual activities of a lay person, that such a lifestyle would be pointless for them to maintain.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:04 am

Huifeng wrote:
Dexing wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Sorry, but for the Theravadins, there is no need to "protect" the state of arahant-ship.
See Kv 1:2:

[i]2. The Arahant does not regress (parihāyati) from the state of Arahant-hood (arahattā).

...........


I'm not saying they regress from Arhatship, but that since they only empty the selfhood of person and do not empty that of phenomena, then they must ordain within 7 days so as to best nurture that state without being confused by phenomena they still hold as real, until they realize distinctions are also vexation and begin to turn toward the Mahayana.

That's also why their Nirvana is not true, from a Mahayana perspective- because Mahayana considers distinctions a type of attachment and vexation.

:namaste:


That's called "Mahayana interpretation of Hinayana", and not "Theravada". Best not to conflate the two.

Your explanation would kind of suggest that somehow ordaining makes one have understanding of the selfless of dharmas, whereas lay persons can only understand selflessness of persons. I have seen no evidence anywhere to support such an assertion. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary: that lay persons can have this insight too. However, it may be somewhat more difficult for them to attain this, busy with household matters as they are.

The real reason was simply this: There were historical examples of lay people who became arahants. Some of them died soon after. Some of them became monastics. Someone much later had the idea that "They either become monastics or die." But logically this is a fallacy, so I said that it is a generalization based on some evidence. Other evidence suggests that one could technically still be a lay person, but that they would be so uninterested in what constitutes the usual activities of a lay person, that such a lifestyle would be pointless for them to maintain.


One might call to mind the layman Vimalakirti, who in the Vimalakirtinirdanesa sutra was said by the Buddha to be equal to himself.

I've also never read or heard that the nirvana of shravakas is considered by the Mahayana to be false either... only that, as great as their wisdom is when they first attain arhatship, their realization of the emptiness of phenomena is still not yet complete. This doesn't affect their achievement of the type of nirvana the Shravakayana teachings speak of.

The only other Mahayana teaching I've received concerning arhats stated that once they pass away, they enter non-abiding nirvana that lasts for something like a whole great kalpa (my memory about the exact length is vague, though). Then, at the end of that stretch of peace, the light of the Buddhas' wisdom radiates and arouses the bodhicitta within them and they return to the path as something like a 7th bhumi bodhisattva. Ven Huifeng, perhaps you can either substantiate this or correct any mistakes I may have made.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:18 am

Even the Mahayana has two basic positions (and variants thereof).

1. The first is that arhat and pratyekabuddha realization is correct, and they have ceased samsaric becoming. Their realization of nirvana / cessation of defilements is the same as that of the Buddhas. However, the Buddhas also have other forms of knowledge, overcoming obstructions to the knowable. However, these obstructions to the knowable, which the two vehicles have, are not obstructions to simple liberation.

2. The second is that the realization of arhats and pratyekabuddhas is actually incorrect, and not actually liberation at all. Rather, they enter some sort of stasis period, from which they later re-arise, and find out that they are still in samsara. They then turn towards the Mahayana path, which is the only path to liberation.

Of these two explanations, it appears that the former is the earlier. There is debate amongst the holders of each, as to which is "explicit" and which the "implicit / provisional" teaching.

For the former, for a bodhisattva to attain arhat / pratyekabuddha awakening is disaster, because they are finished in samsara. Game over. However, for the second system, it is a big delay, indeed, but not the end, because all of the two vehicles have to come back to the Mahayana anyway.

In the Far East, with the dominance of the Lotus Sutra, the second view is sometimes very common. However, even there, teachers with experience in India, like Xuanzang, still upheld the former. Most of the systems based on Indic texts follow the former system, eg. the Abhisamayalamkara, and Sanlun, Faxiang, etc.

It seems that our friend Dexing is expressing a very common position from East Asia, which has it's own tradition and scriptural basis. I merely wish to point out that it is not the only position. And, if we mention a specific school (as above, the "Theravada"), we must consult that school itself, and see what they say, rather than taking other schools' ideas about them. Especially when East Asian buddhism had very little doctrinal contact with the Theravada, for instance.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:55 am

Thanks a lot, Ven. I wasn't aware of the first position. I think my understanding until now had been a mixture of the two positions since my teachers didn't specify that the arhats/pratyekabuddhas had or hadn't attained liberation. I think their words were something like that arhats went on to experience cessation for a very long time before being roused to the Mahayana by the buddhas (their comment about this was just an aside to the actual topic they were teaching on at the time, so not detailed). I just assumed they meant that they had attained the nirvana of the Shravakayana, but that the influence of the buddhas caused them to turn to the Mahayana. Thanks for taking the time to explain this.
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Re: Was Gautama really a prince?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:33 am

Hence the need in later descriptions to describe two types of "nirvana". From the original sense, two types is a really bizarre idea. Even in the early Mahayana, the difference was not in terms of their nirvana, but in terms of other forms of gnosis (jnana).

From the Tibetan traditions, the best place to look into this would be the Abhisamayalamkara. Note the three opening sections: 1. gnosis of all modes; 2. gnosis of the path; 3. gnosis of all.
#3 The last is the knowledge of phenomena that is sufficient for any vehicle to attain release from samsara. ("All" is the aggregates, spheres, elements, etc.) It is knowledge of the common characteristics of phenomena, eg. impermanent, dissatisfactory, etc.
#2 Is what bodhisattvas train in too, the knowledge of the paths of other beings, necessary to guide them to liberation rather than just oneself alone.
#1 Is what the bodhisattvas realize to become buddhas, the complete gnosis of all dharmas in all their modes. It is knowledge of the specific characteristics of phenomena, not just that they are impermanent, dissatisfactory, etc.

Personally, I prefer this system for a number of reasons. Mainly, it does not involve the need to say "Well, all those other sutras are incorrect, they are actually wrong" - an attitude which will not make any friends at all in non-Mahayana traditions. Remember, the notion of "two truths" indicates that both are truths. The way some people explain it, they make the "conventional truth" out as if it were in fact a lie. (But that's what happens when we explain samvrti as coming from "vR - cover", rather than "vR - convention" ... another story, another time, perhaps ...)
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