Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Ordinary beings cannot perceive the sambhogakaya realm, only arya bodhisattvas and buddhas can, so it is outside the scope of the valid or invalid cognition argument, which again is analysis of ordinary perception.
No, it really doesn't, because as I said, the Sambhogakaya realm and such are outside the scope of analysis aimed at establish valid/invalid cognitions....Is that clear now?
Well.... no. I guess I just don't see why this should be. Chenrezig is a mental perception, and I don't understand why this perception should not be subject to the usual examinations. If he's not a mental perception then no one has ever heard of him, right?
What am I supposed to do - accept the existence of divine beings just because someone says they are there? Assign the property of infallibility to the lamas? I've already been down that road once in a Christian context and the results were not pretty.
Catmoon, I'm trying to make this clear but apparently I'm having trouble. If you want to look into whether or not buddhas and bodhisattvas are real, you must go about it through a method suited to that. The matter of valid or invalid cognition is not suitable for examining metaphysical matters or matters of faith. Those things are irrelevant to the analysis aimed at establishing valid or invalidly cognized phenomena because it is a sutra-level tool to analyze what can be perceived with healthy, ordinary senses.
If you want to look into the reality of buddhas and bodhisattvas, you need to start by finding and studying the sutras and shastras that explain emptiness and then follow up by contemplating them and then meditating on your conclusions. Likewise with the sutras and shastras that explain what the obscurations are that account for experience as a sentient being and how they can be removed. You need to study what is said about the true nature of mind and what the results of eliminating its obscurations are. You need to contemplate these things well and then look into the nature of your own mind and find if, after some time of repeating this studying, contemplation, and meditation, your experience supports the teaching that we humans are in fact very limited at present, not by nature, but merely by temporary veils of ignorance that can be removed. You have to see if your experience, after the course of prolonged and diligent effort, supports the feasibility that the qualities of buddhahood as they're described in sutras and shastras really could be within your own mind. If you come to that conclusion, and it will likely take quite some time before you could, then you will have begun to have experience-based faith in buddhahood as not only possible, but altogether probable. You could even become entirely certain that buddhahood as described in Mahayana doctrine makes eminent sense.
Then, if you really want to expand your experiential journey, you might go through the process of finding an authentic lama you've determined you can trust and by whom you're inspired and you can receive unexcelled yoga tantra empowerment, which is a firsthand meditative and experiential introduction to both a particular buddhist tantric deity and your own latent enlightened body, speech, and mind which that deity mirrors. You could have some very convincing experiences during such an initiation, though it could very well be too subtle to be that impressive. In any case, you can enter into practice upon that tantric buddha and discover more and more of what you really are, mirrored by that deity's form, voice, and enlightened mind. You can not only come to have complete faith in your own true nature but faith in that deity's "reality." You can also gradually discover more and more of that deity's qualities within yourself, such as more profound compassion, less self-importance, more insight into your own emptiness awareness, and the emptiness of phenomena. As you can see though, this is a long process. Remember that neither lamas, nor the Buddha, Dharma, or Sangha are pressuring you believe any of this or enter the tantric path. If you're not interested in making the above-described journey, there's no reason you have to decide anything but that you simply don't know
if buddhas like Chenrezig are real or not and leave it at that.
Pema Rigdzin wrote:Buddhas are said to be constantly and without volitional, conceptual thought manifesting helpful activities for all beings like the sun and its rays. Whether or not beings become cognizant of the benefit to them and see it in their lives is dependent upon their karma, the extent of their mental obscurations, and their level of receptivity, just like whether or not beings notice and experience the sun's rays depends on whether they go outside, whether the clouds clear, and whether they have clear visual and tactile faculties, and so on For its own part, the sun never stops shining. Also, I'd say that the laws of physics are part of discursive mind's display, and they function according to causes and conditions, therefore they function reliably as long as those causes and conditions are intact. The ultimate cause/condition for this perception of ours must be ignorance, so for as long as we're sufficiently mired in ignorance, I don't think we'll experience any break in the laws of physics. From the vantage point, if you could call it that, of enlightened beings, conventional appearances and phenomena do not fool them or seem true to them like they do to us deluded sentient beings. It's like a magical display to them, and will be for us once we attain the same realization.
It may be so, it may be so.. I need to ponder this one a while I guess. For instance, I have seen Chenrezig referred to both as a Buddha and as a bodhisattva and this puzzles me.
Explanations I've seen say that he is a buddha but manifests in the aspect of a bodhisattva to teach the bodhisattva ideal.
*edited typo to change idea to ideal.