Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby LastLegend » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:05 pm

We should nurture the thought to continue to help sentient beings after we have become enlightened.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Virgo » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:39 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Virgo wrote:The Theravadin school is the doctrine of the elders which was a school based in the Mahavihara in Sri Lanka. They saw all Pali Suttas as authentic and based their interpretations on specific Commentaries on them and so on. Modern day Buddhists in the Vehicle of Personal Liberation sometimes say certain Pali Suttas are not authentic but these people are not Theravadins.

Perhaps you should tell the monks who believe such things that they are not Theravadin.

:roll:

I have told monks this in person.

Theravada was a sect. They accepted the whole Tipitika as authentic. They considered certain Commentaries as the correct interpretation of texts contained in the Tipitika. A Theravadin believes in all of these things.

When you say that what I am doing is equal to saying that ayone who doesn't accept everything written and said in the name of Mahayana, isn't Mahayana, you are conflating the Mahayana, a Buddhist vehicle which can contain many different sects with wide ranging beliefs within it, with a specific sect. Theravada was a sect. Mahayana is a vehicle. The first is constrained to certain things, the latter is larger and more encompassing, possibly containing many sects who each have stricter definitions.

Just because there was once a sect that believed that all the Suttas of the Pali Cannon, the Vinayana, and the Abhidhamma are authentic and that certain Commentaries explain them accurately, does not mean that when someone comes along in the year 2012 and decides to believe that only the Sutta Nipatta, for example, is authentic that they are a Theravadin. Far from it. It just means they are a Buddhist who only believes only the Sutta Nipatta (for example) are authentic Buddhist scriptures. What they have to do with Theravada is beyond me.

But if you are interested in the praise and fame that goes along with the name Theravada, so less people question what you say, then I can see why one would like to adopt that name.

Kevin

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:55 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
What would be interesting is to explore whether there is any sign of bodhicitta in Theravada.

Maitri,
Retro. :)


You may have already seen this Retro:

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Stages of the Path: The Origins of the Bodhisattva Bhumis - Prof. Jan Nattier

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=4182&start=0

:smile:
    How foolish you are,
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    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Jnana » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:01 pm

Virgo wrote:Theravada was a sect. They accepted the whole Tipitika as authentic. They considered certain Commentaries as the correct interpretation of texts contained in the Tipitika. A Theravadin believes in all of these things.

This is primarily true only for the Mahāvihāra of Sri Lanka and the commentarial tradition descended from this group. But there were also many fully ordained Theravāda monastics -- both in Sri Lanka and on the Indian mainland -- who accepted the Pāli Tipiṭaka and who also accepted Mahāyāna teachings.

For example, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (7th century CE) met Mahāyāna Sthaviras at Bodhgayā (1000 monks in one monastery), at Kaliṅa (500 monks in 10 monasteris), at Bhārukaccha (300 monks in 10 monasteries), and at Surāṣtra (about 3000 monks in 50 monasteries). Those at Bodhgayā were living in a monastery built by an early king of Sri Lanka. He also described the Abhayagirivihāra of Sri Lanka as being a Mahāyāna Sthavira monastery.

Moreover, contemporary Theravāda is primarily an ordination lineage these days, with a diversity of different practice traditions and views. Not everyone accepts Buddhaghosa or even the entirety of the Abhidhammapiṭaka as being authoritative. And teachers from different practice traditions don't always agree with each other. This is somewhat akin to Tibetan Buddhism, where there is the common Mūlasarvāstivāda ordination lineage, and a number of different commentarial and practice traditions (Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, etc.) which don't always agree.

There are three existing ordination lineages: Mūlasarvāstivāda, Dharmaguptaka, and Theravāda. All three are descended from the ancient Sthaviravāda. The universal bodhisattva narrative regarding the Buddha (as well as past and future buddhas) predates the appearance of the Mahāyāna by a few centuries and was considered to be compelling enough to be fully accepted and written into the canons of all of the early Nikāya sects. And as the Mahāyāna isn't an ordination lineage and has never split from any ordination lineage, one can be a Theravāda mahāyānika just as one can be a Mūlasarvāstivāda mahāyānika or a Dharmaguptaka mahāyānika.

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:32 pm

Namdrol wrote:Bodhicitta is the direct cause of buddhahood.
By itself, metta has no force to lead to liberation, as Dharmakirti points out.


Bodhicitta is the intention to become a buddha, but there is a path to be followed and without that path there is no buddhahood. If bodhicitta were the direct cause of it there would be no need of a path. However, from the practice of metta there is only one more step to liberation. But I agree, by itself metta does not cause liberation, only birth in the heavens.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:42 pm

Astus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Bodhicitta is the direct cause of buddhahood.
By itself, metta has no force to lead to liberation, as Dharmakirti points out.


Bodhicitta is the intention to become a buddha, but there is a path to be followed and without that path there is no buddhahood. If bodhicitta were the direct cause of it there would be no need of a path.


For a bodhisattva, bodhicitta is an intention and the path as well.

This is why, in terms of relative bodhicitta, there is both aspiration and engaged bodhicitta.

In terms of utimate bodhicitta, there is śamatha and vipaśyāna.

N
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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Virgo » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:01 pm

Jnana wrote:
Virgo wrote:Theravada was a sect. They accepted the whole Tipitika as authentic. They considered certain Commentaries as the correct interpretation of texts contained in the Tipitika. A Theravadin believes in all of these things.

This is primarily true only for the Mahāvihāra of Sri Lanka and the commentarial tradition descended from this group. But there were also many fully ordained Theravāda monastics -- both in Sri Lanka and on the Indian mainland -- who accepted the Pāli Tipiṭaka and who also accepted Mahāyāna teachings.

For example, the Chinese monk Xuanzang (7th century CE) met Mahāyāna Sthaviras at Bodhgayā (1000 monks in one monastery), at Kaliṅa (500 monks in 10 monasteris), at Bhārukaccha (300 monks in 10 monasteries), and at Surāṣtra (about 3000 monks in 50 monasteries). Those at Bodhgayā were living in a monastery built by an early king of Sri Lanka. He also described the Abhayagirivihāra of Sri Lanka as being a Mahāyāna Sthavira monastery.

Moreover, contemporary Theravāda is primarily an ordination lineage these days, with a diversity of different practice traditions and views. Not everyone accepts Buddhaghosa or even the entirety of the Abhidhammapiṭaka as being authoritative. And teachers from different practice traditions don't always agree with each other. This is somewhat akin to Tibetan Buddhism, where there is the common Mūlasarvāstivāda ordination lineage, and a number of different commentarial and practice traditions (Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, Gelug, etc.) which don't always agree.

There are three existing ordination lineages: Mūlasarvāstivāda, Dharmaguptaka, and Theravāda. All three are descended from the ancient Sthaviravāda. The universal bodhisattva narrative regarding the Buddha (as well as past and future buddhas) predates the appearance of the Mahāyāna by a few centuries and was considered to be compelling enough to be fully accepted and written into the canons of all of the early Nikāya sects. And as the Mahāyāna isn't an ordination lineage and has never split from any ordination lineage, one can be a Theravāda mahāyānika just as one can be a Mūlasarvāstivāda mahāyānika or a Dharmaguptaka mahāyānika.


So as far as beliefs go, Theravada has no criteria whatsoever?

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Jnana » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:34 pm

Virgo wrote:So as far as beliefs go, Theravada has no criteria whatsoever?

What criteria would you want all Theravādins to adhere to? Whatever you assert, you'll find Theravādins who disagree with your choice of criteria. The Theravāda has never been a monolithic entity or institution beyond the various monastic ordination nikāyas. Lance Cousins, Aspects of Esoteric Southern Buddhism:

    There is a surprisingly widespread notion that Theravāda Buddhism is, at least doctrinally, a rather uniform, if not monolithic, type of Buddhism. This is certainly a mistaken impression.

And not only doctrinally, but in terms of practice as well.

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:36 pm

Namdrol wrote:For a bodhisattva, bodhicitta is an intention and the path as well.
This is why, in terms of relative bodhicitta, there is both aspiration and engaged bodhicitta.
In terms of utimate bodhicitta, there is śamatha and vipaśyāna.


I see your point. I had a narrower meaning of bodhicitta in mind.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:39 pm

Jnana wrote:
Virgo wrote:So as far as beliefs go, Theravada has no criteria whatsoever?
The Theravāda has never been a monolithic entity or institution beyond the various monastic ordination nikāyas.
And not only doctrinally, but in terms of practice as well.


And Mahayana is even more diverse. So "Theravada vs Mahayana" is a pretty obscure thing.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby ground » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:32 am

sangyey wrote:I think it would be the intention behind the practice. If you practiced metta with no intention then it would be cause for happiness within samsara, if you practiced metta with the intention of renunciation then that would be a cause for personal liberation, and if you practice metta done with the intention of renunciation and the intention of bodhicitta then it would be a cause for Buddhahood.

These type of ideas usually have been fabricated by scholars to support their own views. At the end of the day metta is just an antidot against hatred, aversion and ill-will which are obstacles according to the Buddha's teachings.
Actually intention qua volitional formations is what binds to samsara (2nd limb in DO) because it arises from ignorance, entails consciousness, name-and-form etc. Understanding this will entail bodhicitta in its ultimate meaning.

Kind regards

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Mr. G » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:19 pm

Namdrol wrote:
By itself, metta has no force to lead to liberation, as Dharmakirti points out.


Hi Namdrol,

Do you recall which work of his that I can read this?
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:25 pm

Mr. G wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
By itself, metta has no force to lead to liberation, as Dharmakirti points out.


Hi Namdrol,

Do you recall which work of his that I can read this?



Pramanvarttika, I beleive.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


So called “sentient beings” are merely delusions self-appearing from the dhātu of luminosity.

-- Ju Mipham

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby Mr. G » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:28 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Pramanvarttika, I beleive.


Excellent, thanks!
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Metta in Theravada Vs Bodhicitta in Mahayana

Postby ginortonic » Wed May 27, 2015 8:49 am

As mentioned before, Metta is a mundane practice while bodhicitta describes the state of a bodhisattva.
Since Metta, loving kindness, is a major characteristic of a bodhisattva, it can be considered as a faculty, that sustains one's effort to gain buddhahood.
But Metta can be practiced apart from that big issue, because it has its appropriate place in the development of the state of renunciation, which mahayanists call hinayana.
There have been a lot of discussions, if the arhant is really that far away from a bodhisattva. What can be said is, that Metta, as long as it is not integrated into a way of practice, that is motivated by the fullfilment of universal goodness (in general in terms of a bodhisattva, but the arhant should not be excluded nor someone who does it only implicitely not even calling himself a buddhist), it remains a mundane matter, whose result only can be transfered into a further existence, if relevant commitments have been taken. The remaining result is not the faculty of Metta itself but because of the perpetuation by the commitments one will have the appropriate circumstances to gain Metta again without any difficulties created by emotive defilements.


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