commonalities and divergences between traditions...

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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:15 am

Mr. G wrote:
Huseng wrote:
It will not lead to liberation in this life.


No, it won't, however Japanese Pure Land teachers Honen, Shinran and Ippen believed one could attain the stage of non-retrogression in this life. There were hints from Chinese Pure Land masters that they believed this as well (if not full enlightenment). And of course Amitabha practices in different schools of Tantra and Dzogchen believe that one can achieve liberation in this life.

However as you know, any Mahayana school of thought that was pre-tantric, has controversies on whether liberation is possible in this life.


Pre-tantric Mahāyāna has no controversies about liberation in this life. The question is whether buddhahood is possible in a singe life or not, which both Chan and Tantra addressed. Traditionally Mahāyāna has asserted that one can advance through bodhisattva stages and in that sense be liberated from samsara, though still actively engaged in it. Mahāyāna has also recognized the ability to achieve arhatship, which is liberation, though precludes any active engagement within samsara following death.


In a sense, all practices are a gamble of some sort or another.


Not really -- you can analyse suffering, the causes of suffering and remedy suffering in the span of even just a few years and see the results. Those results speak for themselves. You don't have to take any of it on faith so to speak if you use common sense and consider the causes for suffering as outlined by the Buddha. Having found his explanation agreeable, you apply the antidotes and see the results for yourself. That isn't a huge gamble.

It is also quite different from, say, praying to reborn in a pure land following death, which has to be taken entirely on faith in scripture. In that case one is gambling a potential lifetime of practice on something as uncertain as directing your future rebirth. Ordinary people have no choice over where they are reborn. It all comes down to your karma when you die. Hopefully you'll have cultivated the causes for a favourable rebirth, but there is no 100% guarantee.



In the Tannisho, Shinran writes:

"Even an evil person attains birth, so it goes without saying that a good person will."


Right, and I think he's wrong. An evil person will suffer the effects of their non-virtuous karma depending on whether it is projecting or completing karma, unless of course they cull those causes or overwhelm them with virtuous karma. See the following from Asanga's Abhidharmasammucaya:

“The results of favorable and unfavorable actions are produced in the good and bad destinies (sugati, durgati). This also, through the projecting action (ākṣepaka-karma) and the completing action (paripūraka-karma). What is projecting action? It is the action by means of which the result of fruition is produced. What is completing action? It is the action by means of which, after having been born, one experienes good and bad results.”


That means evil deeds can result in an unfavourable rebirth or disagreeable results or qualities coming to be experienced in a future life.

To say that evil people somehow escape this by the grace of Amitabha is more or less a rejection of karma and hence a wrong view to hold. It is no different than claiming Brahma will save you from your evil deeds by relying on his grace.


This is really stating that Amitabha made vows to assist in saving all people - no one is left out. As the serial murderer Angulimala was helped to liberation by Shakyamuni, Amitabha also does not leave anyone out. Shinran did not advocate people to do as they wished, and even scolded people when he wrote:

"Do not take a liking to poison just because there is an antidote."


All bodhisattvas seek to aid beings without exception, but they are not omnipotent.



I disagree here. Pure Land practitioners in both Chinese and Japanese traditions do bang it out in samsara just as well as any other practitioner. Ippen after doing years of retreat went to spread his teachings carrying nothing but 10 items with him and walking to every county in Japan. Honen and Shinran when they were both exiled, also taught the poor and downtrodden. And there are countless stories of Chinese Patriarchs who do retreat and then come back to teach laypeople.


Right, but they seek rebirth in a pure land primarily for themselves first and foremost, which is in itself not an appropriate aspiration to hold if one is inclined towards the Mahāyāna.



I understand what you're saying, however you're leaving out the point that the idea of going to the Pure Land was to either immediately become a Buddha as Shinran thought, or that the Pure Land was a sort of staging area where one would continue on the Dharma path. Either way though, the idea was to become a Buddha to assist all sentient beings afterwards. It wasn't considered a place to chill out and rest.


There is prescriptive and then there is descriptive. In any case, if you read descriptions of Amitabha's Pure Land, it isn't a place conducive to buddhahood for the simple fact that minimal suffering exists, and hence there is little reason to cultivate genuine compassion. This kind of situation is addressed in the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra:

Those bodhisattvas then asked the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "How does the Buddha Sakyamuni teach the Dharma?"

Vimalakirti replied, "Good sirs, these living beings here are hard to discipline. Therefore, he teaches them with discourses appropriate for the disciplining of the wild and uncivilized. How does he discipline the wild and uncivilized? What discourses are appropriate? Here they are:

"'This is hell. This is the animal world. This is the world of the lord of death. These are the adversities. These are the rebirths with crippled faculties. These are physical misdeeds, and these are the retributions for physical misdeeds. These are verbal misdeeds, and these are the retributions for verbal misdeeds. These are mental misdeeds, and these are the retributions for mental misdeeds. This is killing. This is stealing. This is sexual misconduct. This is lying. This is backbiting. This is harsh speech. This is frivolous speech. This is covetousness. This is malice. This is false view. These are their retributions. This is miserliness, and this is its effect. This is immorality. This is hatred. This is sloth. This is the fruit of sloth. This is false wisdom and this is the fruit of false wisdom. These are the transgressions of the precepts. This is the vow of personal liberation.

This should be done and that should not be done. This is proper and that should be abandoned. This is an obscuration and that is without obscuration. This is sin and that rises above sin. This is the path and that is the wrong path. This is virtue and that is evil. This is blameworthy and that is blameless. This is defiled and that is immaculate. This is mundane and that is transcendental. This is compounded and that is uncompounded. This is passion and that is purification. This is life and that is liberation.'

"Thus, by means of these varied explanations of the Dharma, the Buddha trains the minds of those living beings who are just like wild horses. Just as wild horses or wild elephants will not be tamed unless the goad pierces them to the marrow, so living beings who are wild and hard to civilize are disciplined only by means of discourses about all kinds of miseries."



Thus it is by miseries in a sense that sentient beings are placated, not some celestial paradise paved in gold and decorated in gems.




The descriptions of the Pure Land to me are not something I take as being literal down to the letter. The first way I think of it is as a provisional teaching to motivate pracititioners. Secondly, when I read descriptions like "birds singing Dharma" I think of it as having my sense organs exposed to Dharma - My eyes reading sutras, my ears listening to a Dharma lecture, My nose smelling incense...etc. It's a way of expressing the inconceivable (Amitabha's Pure Land) with the best descriptive terms that had weight back then.


Even if you don't read it literally, the description is of a place with minimal suffering. Such a place is unsuitable for cultivating compassion.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:29 am

There are a few things missed here about the Pure Land teaching.

Mahayana is not just about being full of compassion to save beings, but also about a whole pantheon of bodhisattvas and buddhas who can save beings. Actually the two comes in a single package. The Lotus Sutra is famous for describing how Guanyin saves anyone from all sorts of troubles, it also explains that she does that via a large amount of good karma being transferred. Same happens in case of Amita, anyone who has the faith and intention creates a connection because of that and receives the merits from Amita, thus it is guaranteed that one attains birth in his Pure Land.

Compassion is not developed by being subjected to suffering. Bodhisattvas and buddhas do not suffer, they have already transcended all the mundane concerns and troubles of people. Compassion emerges with wisdom, they are not separate. It is exactly because they have realised emptiness of all that they have unconditioned compassion for all.

Amita's Pure Land is not a simple heaven where people enjoy themselves ad nauseam. It was created with the sole intention of accepting all and establishing them in the path of buddhas and bodhisattvas. It is for those who want to attain enlightenment. Bodhicitta exists in the very intention of being born in the Pure Land.

People have doubts about the Pure Land path because it seems too easy, but if one has faith in the teachings of other Mahayana schools, the method of Amita is also there, as well as it is mentioned in several sutras.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:09 pm

To my opinion and to state certainly not a practitioner of this thing, the problem lied in the thinking of this as easy.

Developeing total devotion total confidence total faith is actually equilivenced with total understanding of things.
One then becomes the other. But easy how could such a thing be easy.
One they say may learn everything, from anything, any single object, as each object contains the same things as any other...and I agree with that, what they say.

So this could and will provide means to total enlightenment, simply put with total faith devolves sense of self, with dissolveing of sense of self comes the perception of all as equal from equal all things comes a examination of all things the examination of all things finds the examining thing to be nothing other than....pure compassion...

so how could this not lead to full total enlightenment...but easy....not as I see it, not at all.

It is not saying a few or even a bunch of prayers and going somewhere as result.
It is the praying that is the thing, changing one, so one is no more, and the place one ends up, as result, is where one must be, and none other, as total faith is then compassion, and compassion, is all this awareness, this place we seek.
REally pure land then being not a place of thing but a place of heart...right here before us but also beyond us with conception of future past and present. As is the heart is also this land we produce, must be produced we can produce then no other than that.

That's how this bobo sees it, not a practitioner though am I of that...way to lazy am I :smile:
But not producing that thing totally absurd to my opinion...clear as day it is it may, if done sufficiently.
And this opinion on this thing...it is really a very simple thing, understood this way.
Profound... perhaps if one is inclined to make this thing profound. it then also. may be considered as easy to perform...I beg to differ....it being the most difficulate of accomplishments this thing of compassion being awareness being faith being devotion....true completely true, but a significantly difficulate practice as I see it.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby LastLegend » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:27 am

Huseng wrote:This is why I think Pure Land Buddhism is more Hīnayāna than Mahayāna. It is about personal salvation and being saved by someone or something else rather than one's own efforts, i.e., liberation.


It's time to educate you.

Going to Pure Land means to become a Buddha eventually, how is is this Hinayana? Instead of wasting time here and accepting reality as it is? Skillful?

Maybe, maybe not. The whole purpose of the practice is to be saved by Amitabha, not achieve immediate liberation for oneself and then be in an optimal position to aid others. In the end the practitioner is seeking rebirth in a pure land, not to engage in genuine bodhisattva activities.


Depends on your capacities. Through recitation and keeping conducts, you can also achieve enlightenment while on earth if your capacity permits.

Again, to what extend will those qualities really develop if you are just praying for and dreaming about rebirth in what is really a paradise painted as largely free of suffering?


Pure Land is just like any other practice, but instead of sitting meditation, you are reciting. You still follows conducts (precepts and such).

If you recite a Buddha name, you are reciting his qualities and everything that he has. If you recite the non-virtues of body, speech, and mind, what qualities will you have? How do you understand karma?

It really is best to deal with the reality of your current life rather than trying to escape it.


Practitioners of the Elder Vehicle practice in order to reach Nirvana, is this escapism to you?

If there is death, there is birth. If there is suffering, there is Nirvana. If there is polluted land, there is Pure Land.

If you have dealt with your suffering already, I must really admire you. Otherwise you might want to reconsider what you said there.

Scholars.
Last edited by LastLegend on Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:38 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:28 am

dumbbombu wrote:i enjoy exploring the commonalities and divergences between different traditions and am curious to know - which school/s do you feel most closely resemble your own? which least closely? why? cheers :thanks:


Pure Land all the way specifically the Jodo Shu school. I've realized after a few years that being a superman who's capable of following the 5 precepts and meditating with superb concentration was not possible for me at all. Sticking to the Nembutsu while trying to restrain from evil actions and not sweating over mistakes was being more reasonable.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:57 am

dumbbombu wrote:i enjoy exploring the commonalities and divergences between different traditions and am curious to know - which school/s do you feel most closely resemble your own? which least closely? why? cheers :thanks:


Schools and traditions have helped me very much. But if I ever get involved with schools/traditions (again) I will be losing all the help received.

kind regards
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:52 pm

TMingyur wrote:
dumbbombu wrote:i enjoy exploring the commonalities and divergences between different traditions and am curious to know - which school/s do you feel most closely resemble your own? which least closely? why? cheers :thanks:


Schools and traditions have helped me very much. But if I ever get involved with schools/traditions (again) I will be losing all the help received.

kind regards


well that's got me curious! would you mind sharing? :smile:
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:13 pm

Sorry ... share what?
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:18 pm

But if I ever get involved with schools/traditions (again) I will be losing all the help received.


sorry, my bad - i should have been more specific. would you mind expanding on this a little? it strikes me as a very cryptic and unusual thing to say and thus got me curious :smile:
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


- Ashvaghosa, The Awakening of Faith

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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:36 pm

"getting involved" with any of them means cultivating bias which has never been experienced as helpful.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:48 pm

My tradition is Kagyu, and the practice/realization (words!) of Mahamudra. But the most influential teaching to ever hit me is On Believing In Mind, which is a Chinese Zen poem. Actually, it is a perfect description of Mahamudra. But I also practice Nembutsu (Pureland) which, when done with full attention - but with no effort, so stupidly brilliant, is immediately liberating. I also study Pali suttas whenever possible.

Here is my point.
If you follow land far enough, and if you follow the ocean far enough, in both cases eventually you will get to the beach. It is the same beach, but travel by land and journey by sea are totally different. Merely coming to the same place from different directions. At the beach, waves and shore intermingle without any complaining. Dharma is Dharma. it is not your Dharma or my Dharma. If you connect with it through one tradition, great. If through two, maybe better.

Dharma is like a candle in a box. One person pokes a hole on one side of the box, the light shines through, and the person says "the Dharma is over here" and another person pokes a hole on the other side of the box the light shines through, and that person says "no, the Dharma is over here".

We should be glad that there are so many paths to the Dharma, and that we don't fight wars over the 'correct' path.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:48 pm

LastLegend wrote: Going to Pure Land means to become a Buddha eventually, how is is this Hinayana? Instead of wasting time here and accepting reality as it is? Skillful?


The goal is to attain one's own rebirth in the pure land, which is a realm of bliss and minimal suffering, where there is scant need to actively help anyone at all because problems are few and such tasks are left to Amitabha. Hence while buddhahood might be the ultimate goal, the real aim is achieve rebirth in a realm free of suffering for oneself.

Depends on your capacities. Through recitation and keeping conducts, you can also achieve enlightenment while on earth if your capacity permits.


How does that work in your model of Pure Land Buddhism?


Pure Land is just like any other practice, but instead of sitting meditation, you are reciting. You still follows conducts (precepts and such).


It is not like any other practice. Other practices insist upon samadhi and dhyāna coupled with intensive contemplation of emptiness. This is actually what is required for liberation: mental stamina coupled with wisdom of emptiness. Recitation and precepts are useful for generation of merit and discipline, but at the end of the day it comes down to yogic development and realization of emptiness.

As Tsongkhapa said, the real refuge is the dharma as it is the dharma that liberates an individual from samsara.


If you recite a Buddha name, you are reciting his qualities and everything that he has. If you recite the non-virtues of body, speech, and mind, what qualities will you have? How do you understand karma?


Recitation is good and to be encouraged. I don't discourage or dismiss it.


Practitioners of the Elder Vehicle practice in order to reach Nirvana, is this escapism to you?


In the Mahāyāna it is the case that Theravada is escapism for the simple fact that their aim is to achieve personal liberation, i.e., cessation of all existence, whereupon they will no longer be able to interact with the world and sentient beings. They seek an end to their own suffering and rebirths. In the Mahāyāna we seek an end not only to our own suffering, but to the suffering of all sentient beings, and for this reason bodhisattvas voluntarily take rebirth and remain actively engaged in the world rather than seeking cessation.

If there is death, there is birth. If there is suffering, there is Nirvana. If there is polluted land, there is Pure Land.


I don't deny pure lands -- it is a common Mahāyāna teaching after all. However, I don't think Pure Land Buddhism in itself is really suitable for serious bodhisattva aspirants as I've explained above. If you make your mind pure, then you will reside in a pure land in this very life. As the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra teaches, this rough and tumble world is actually quite a good training ground for bodhisattvas and is moreover quite suitable for the "taming of sentient beings" as the quote I cited above explains.

In other words, there is no need to seek escape into a land of bliss and paradise if you are serious about genuinely benefiting beings. If you lack the aspirations and confidence, then Pure Land practices are perhaps suitable, but for serious bodhisattva aspirants this is not the case in my opinion.

If you have dealt with your suffering already, I must really admire you. Otherwise you might want to reconsider what you said there.

Scholars.


We ordinary people all suffer. It is just a matter of how we deal with it. Some see it as an opportunity for growth and learning, others are overly distressed by it and seek a post-mortem paradise.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:55 pm

TMingyur wrote:"getting involved" with any of them means cultivating bias which has never been experienced as helpful.


are you saying that from prior personal experience? sorry if i'm being too nosey!

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Here is my point.
If you follow land far enough, and if you follow the ocean far enough, in both cases eventually you will get to the beach. It is the same beach, but travel by land and journey by sea are totally different. Merely coming to the same place from different directions. At the beach, waves and shore intermingle without any complaining. Dharma is Dharma. it is not your Dharma or my Dharma. If you connect with it through one tradition, great. If through two, maybe better.

Dharma is like a candle in a box. One person pokes a hole on one side of the box, the light shines through, and the person says "the Dharma is over here" and another person pokes a hole on the other side of the box the light shines through, and that person says "no, the Dharma is over here".

We should be glad that there are so many paths to the Dharma, and that we don't fight wars over the 'correct' path.


absolutely, and it wasn't my intention to poke holes, i'm just a sucker for exploring commonalities and divergences and believe it can be done in a hospitable, non-competitive manner. plus i'm interested in what all you folk have to say on the matter :smile:
All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


- Ashvaghosa, The Awakening of Faith

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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby ground » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:00 pm

dumbbombu wrote:
TMingyur wrote:"getting involved" with any of them means cultivating bias which has never been experienced as helpful.


are you saying that from prior personal experience?

Of course. Your OP referred to nothing but personal experience.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby himalayanspirit » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:13 pm

I get most attracted to Chinese Mahayana schools and often practice Nianfo by myself. I believe that currently my afflictions and defilements are just too dense - so much so that my attention-span is not too great (although my observation is quite good). Therefore, I have chosen the "easiest" path of Pure Land.

I feel furthest away from Tibetan Buddhism and often get perplexed about the fact that it is even presented Buddhism. The oligarchical structure of Lama hood, the breaking of precepts while having sex, rituals involving meat and alcohol, and the life of luxury. Also, the attitude of Tibetan Buddhists that I have generally come across is quite stubborn and they readily disparage the other vehicles the moment it is brought up in the communication. This is funny because Tibetan Buddhists generally dont endure as much hardships as do the Thervadins and the Far Eastern Buddhists. All in all, I feel that there is no easy way or shortcut to enlightenment. If one thinks that just by performing rituals one can attain Buddhahood in this very lifetime, then he or she is certainly under the influence of Mara. But then, Buddha himself had foreseen that in the Dharma-ending age, wicked people will start wearing monks' robes, they will break precepts, and mislead the people in the name of Dharma. I see it all happening before my eyes.

PS- I guess this post would soon be deleted for the strong criticism it contains.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Jikan » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:37 pm

himalayanspirit wrote:I feel furthest away from Tibetan Buddhism and often get perplexed about the fact that it is even presented Buddhism. The oligarchical structure of Lama hood, the breaking of precepts while having sex, rituals involving meat and alcohol, and the life of luxury. Also, the attitude of Tibetan Buddhists that I have generally come across is quite stubborn and they readily disparage the other vehicles the moment it is brought up in the communication. This is funny because Tibetan Buddhists generally dont endure as much hardships as do the Thervadins and the Far Eastern Buddhists. All in all, I feel that there is no easy way or shortcut to enlightenment. If one thinks that just by performing rituals one can attain Buddhahood in this very lifetime, then he or she is certainly under the influence of Mara. But then, Buddha himself had foreseen that in the Dharma-ending age, wicked people will start wearing monks' robes, they will break precepts, and mislead the people in the name of Dharma. I see it all happening before my eyes.

PS- I guess this post would soon be deleted for the strong criticism it contains.


Here's another approach: why not provide some documentation for the claims you make on the "life of luxury," for instance? The "stubborn" attitude you describe? and so on.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby himalayanspirit » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:46 pm

Jikan wrote:
himalayanspirit wrote:I feel furthest away from Tibetan Buddhism and often get perplexed about the fact that it is even presented Buddhism. The oligarchical structure of Lama hood, the breaking of precepts while having sex, rituals involving meat and alcohol, and the life of luxury. Also, the attitude of Tibetan Buddhists that I have generally come across is quite stubborn and they readily disparage the other vehicles the moment it is brought up in the communication. This is funny because Tibetan Buddhists generally dont endure as much hardships as do the Thervadins and the Far Eastern Buddhists. All in all, I feel that there is no easy way or shortcut to enlightenment. If one thinks that just by performing rituals one can attain Buddhahood in this very lifetime, then he or she is certainly under the influence of Mara. But then, Buddha himself had foreseen that in the Dharma-ending age, wicked people will start wearing monks' robes, they will break precepts, and mislead the people in the name of Dharma. I see it all happening before my eyes.

PS- I guess this post would soon be deleted for the strong criticism it contains.


Here's another approach: why not provide some documentation for the claims you make on the "life of luxury," for instance? The "stubborn" attitude you describe? and so on.



Your eye-consciousness is the best documentation. Doesn't the Dalai Lama look like a politician or worst yet, a monarch? The tulkus also live in great reverence in the west with many followers. Wasn't Kalu Rinpoche, one of the most revered and famous one, accused of sexually exploiting female disciple? I think the girl had a surname Campbell. You are behaving as an innocent kitty now. Are you really ignorant of the feudal past of Tibet? Look here:
http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/article.php?id=424

I am not saying that all Tibetan Buddhists are bad. Of course, there are few diamonds among a sea of stones.

I am sure you are aware of the inclusion of sex, alcohol in various Tantric Buddhist rituals. I am from India and having ome knowledge about Indian tantrism, I can say that the most vulgar language used in tantras is actually in the twilight language and it is not to be taken literally.


Anyway, my main point is that it is written in the early Sutras of Buddhism about the prophecy of Buddha regarding the disintegration of Dharma in our age. He clearly wrote that monks will stop maintaining precepts and frauds will delude people by teaching false things in the name of Dharma. Isn't having many consorts or partaking in rituals involving intoxicants and meat (especially prepared for ritual) breaking of several precepts? Why do modern Buddhists ignore this facet?

It is so very clear that whatever Buddha had said is happening right in front of our eyes. And besides, most of the tantra were not revealed by Buddhas, but by Vajra beings or other higher beings. Why do you ignore the possibility that these beings claiming to teach authentic path towards enlightenment could very well have been Maras posing as benevolent beings?
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby Jikan » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:52 pm

Weak evidence, weaker argument.

himalayanspirit wrote: You are behaving as an innocent kitty now.


Not so much, no.
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby himalayanspirit » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:55 pm

Just a few years ago in South Korea, thousands of monks of the Chogye Buddhist order---reputedly devoted to a meditative search for spiritual enlightenment---fought each other with fists, rocks, fire-bombs, and clubs, in pitched battles that went on for weeks. They were vying for control of the order, the largest in South Korea, with its annual budget of $9.2 million, its additional millions of dollars in property, and the privilege of appointing 1,700 monks to various duties. The brawls left dozens of monks injured, some seriously. (3)


Thats documentation of luxuries for you.

Even a writer like Pradyumna Karan, sympathetic to the old order, admits that "a great deal of real estate belonged to the monasteries, and most of them amassed great riches. . . . In addition, individual monks and lamas were able to accumulate great wealth through active participation in trade, commerce, and money lending." (8)



n the Dalai Lama's Tibet, torture and mutilation -- including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation of arms and legs -- were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, runaway serfs, and other "criminals." Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: "When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion." (19)



THere is much more in the link I provided.

:hi:
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Re: commonalities and divergences between traditions...

Postby LastLegend » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:14 pm

Huseng wrote:
The goal is to attain one's own rebirth in the pure land, which is a realm of bliss and minimal suffering, where there is scant need to actively help anyone at all because problems are few and such tasks are left to Amitabha. Hence while buddhahood might be the ultimate goal, the real aim is achieve rebirth in a realm free of suffering for oneself.


What sentient beings in Pure Land do is studying Dharma and continuing the path of Bodhisattva.
It's not a party.

How does that work in your model of Pure Land Buddhism?


It is called Buddha Recitation Samadhi or one-pointness of mind where the only focus is on recitation-no self and no other distractions.

Refer to the bottom of the passage here for more understanding
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=6215

It is not like any other practice. Other practices insist upon samadhi and dhyāna coupled with intensive contemplation of emptiness. This is actually what is required for liberation: mental stamina coupled with wisdom of emptiness. Recitation and precepts are useful for generation of merit and discipline, but at the end of the day it comes down to yogic development and realization of emptiness.


I must ask you then how exactly the practice that you mentioned there will lead to samadhi?
Can you please describe the theory and practice such that in your view Pure Land recitation will not lead to samadhi?
In other words, what exactly distinguishes meditation practice from Pure Land recitation?


As Tsongkhapa said, the real refuge is the dharma as it is the dharma that liberates an individual from samsara.


He is correct. But your view about Pure Land as a party place is not correct. Pure Land is a school here and also there. You don't go there to party.

Recitation is good and to be encouraged. I don't discourage or dismiss it.


You missed the point. Reciting Amitabha is reciting his 3 Bodies also. That is why Buddha Recitation Samadhi is possible.

In the Mahāyāna it is the case that Theravada is escapism for the simple fact that their aim is to achieve personal liberation, i.e., cessation of all existence, whereupon they will no longer be able to interact with the world and sentient beings. They seek an end to their own suffering and rebirths. In the Mahāyāna we seek an end not only to our own suffering, but to the suffering of all sentient beings, and for this reason bodhisattvas voluntarily take rebirth and remain actively engaged in the world rather than seeking cessation.


Yes.

But Pure Land is not a cessation.

I don't deny pure lands -- it is a common Mahāyāna teaching after all. However, I don't think Pure Land Buddhism in itself is really suitable for serious bodhisattva aspirants as I've explained above. If you make your mind pure, then you will reside in a pure land in this very life. As the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra teaches, this rough and tumble world is actually quite a good training ground for bodhisattvas and is moreover quite suitable for the "taming of sentient beings" as the quote I cited above explains.


Why is it not suitable for serious Bodhisattva aspirants? Bodhisattvas in Pure Land do not go liberate sentient beings? The quickest way to become Buddhas is through Pure Land. When you become Buddha, that is the best way to liberate sentient beings. Who are you liberating when you are still deluded yourself? Realistically speaking.

If Pure Land is not for you, it is ok. You can stick to your path. However, before you are disputing Pure Land, at least understand its teachings first.

In other words, there is no need to seek escape into a land of bliss and paradise if you are serious about genuinely benefiting beings.


Are you genuinely wanting to benefit sentient beings right now? If so through what ways when you are not yet enlightened, realistically?

If you lack the aspirations and confidence, then Pure Land practices are perhaps suitable, but for serious bodhisattva aspirants this is not the case in my opinion.


You are telling me that you have more confidence and aspirations than I do? If so through what ways have you demonstrated that confidence and aspirations?

Keep in mind that it might take you many lives before you can become enlightened given that your conviction is very strong every life. And you cannot liberate anybody until you have liberated yourself first. Skillful to be in samsara when you are still deluded?

We ordinary people all suffer. It is just a matter of how we deal with it. Some see it as an opportunity for growth and learning, others are overly distressed by it and seek a post-mortem paradise.


Escaping to Pure Land is a good thing because there all you do is studying Dharma and continuing the path. If you choose to be down here for awhile, you will continue to suffer. I must really admire your endurance then. Then I must ask you a personal question: how do you deal with your suffering since you seem to travel a lot. And I will make a false assumption that it is a luxury to travel. I want to ask you another question: What is suffering to you? When you lack of merits, you might suffer like those hungry children in Africa and underdeveloped nations, you might want to escape to Pure Land. But Pure Land is not a party house. There you continue your path through learning Dharma and liberating sentient beings.

You see in Pure Land, you don't just recite. You also practice every Buddhist teaching maybe except (other forms of meditations). Things such 10 virtuous acts of body, speech, and mind. 6 Parimatas. Precepts. Conducts. Etc. Recitation is the main practice while others are supplementary. That's how you deal with the mind. Practice is wholesome. Does this look like escapism to you?
Last edited by LastLegend on Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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