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Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas - Dhamma Wheel

Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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theravada_guy
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Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:43 am

Greetings all,

This is my first post in awhile. I've been wondering, is there anything the Buddha ever said that would disprove the existence of other contemporary Buddhas, like the Medicine Buddha and Amitabha Buddha? And Bodhisattvas like Chenrezig, etc.? I know there's Maitreya and the Buddha's that preceded Gautama Buddha. For me, it's practically impossible to believe in the Buddhas/Bodhisattvas of Mahayana tradition. I'm in no way trying to put Mahayana down. I'm just stating my personal difficulty in believing that, and curious what the Pali Canon says, if anything.

On a side note, how many Buddhas were there before our Buddha? How many will there be after Maitreya is born and passes into Nibbana?

I'm asking on here because there are folks on this forum with a lot more knowledge of the Pali Canon than I have. And, again, I'm not bashing Mahayana.

Thanks for any help!
With metta,

Justin

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retrofuturist
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:53 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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theravada_guy
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:08 am

Greetings retro,

I'm skeptical of them myself, as previously stated. Especially when I looked more into the Vajrayana tradition. I started running into a lot of Hindu influences and I just thought to myself "The Buddha didn't talk about any of this stuff. He never mentioned anything about Tantra and secret things. He laid it all out for everyone to see and decide for themselves. Thanks retro, for your reply.
With metta,

Justin

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Goedert
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Goedert » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:43 am

Friend,

Tibetan Vajrayana has hindu practice with buddhist principles.

The dhyana (MEDITATIONAL) buddhas of Vajrayana:

Varjrasattva;
Akshobya;
Amitaba;
Amoghasiddhi;
Ratnasambhava.

Everyone one of this buddhas represent a quality of the Buddha mind.

So when the vajrayanas pratice it, they Visualize the Buddha or the Bodhisattva (Manjushri, Cherenzig, etc.) and read the saddhana liturgy and repeat mantras.

Thats theyre way to develop concentration and the mental qualitys without the need of analyzing anything abstract as our Theravada. Thats why it is the indestructible vehicle.

Padmasambhava was a Shivaist before becoming a buddhist, there is many similaratis with the rites, but the essence of them is buddhism, for sure. It is impossible to know if Gautama Sakyamuni really gave those teachings, but there is nothing like it described in Pali Canon and among the monks. Actually this teaching really work.

If you want to know more about the the mental qualities that this buddhas bring up for the practioner see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Dhyani_Buddhas

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby cooran » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:03 am

Hello theravada_guy,

This is a little complicated:

1. Buddha
A generic name, an appellative - but not a proper name - given to one who has attained Enlightenment (na mātarā katam, na pitarā katam – vimokkhantikam etam buddhānam bhagavantānam bodhiyā mūle ... paññatti, MNid.458; Ps.i.174) a man superior to all other beings, human and divine, by his knowledge of the Truth (Dhamma).

The texts mention two kinds of Buddha: viz.,
Pacceka Buddhas - i.e., Buddhas who also attain to complete Enlightenment but do not preach the way of deliverance to the world; and
Sammāsambuddhas, who are omniscient and are teachers of Nibbāna (Satthāro).

The Commentaries, however (e.g., SA.i.20; AA.i.65) make mention of four classes of Buddha:
Sabaññu-Buddhā
Pacceka Buddhā
Catusacca Buddhā
Suta Buddhā

All arahants (khīnāsavā) are called Catusacca Buddhā and all learned men Bahussuta Buddhā. A Pacceka Buddha practises the ten perfections (pāramitā) for two asankheyyas and one hundred thousand kappas, a Sabbañu Buddha practises it for one hundred thousand kappas and four or eight or sixteen asankheyyas, as the case may be (see below).
VERY LONG ARTICLE (See Link immediately below)
http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... buddha.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:14 pm

I think that it is inescapable fact that most of the Buddhas spoken about in the Mahayana are adaptations of Vedic deities. The link between Padmasambhava and Shiva is clear. Tara and Ganesha are identical in both Vajrayana and " Hinduism" ...Vajrayana students deny this and come up with elaborate explanations ...for example the "real" Buddhist Ganesha replaced the Hindu one by an act of subterfuge..The fact that both have the same Bija mantram is a little harder for them to to explain.
All of the Avalokiteshvara variations clearly have their origin in Visnu. The same iconography and many of the same mantras are used.
The commonalities are few but crucial. They are Shakyamuni Buddha and Maitreya.
The rest of the Mahayana pantheon has its origin in Hinduism and preBuddhist nature religions like Bon and Shinto.

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theravada_guy
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:36 pm

Greetings Peter,

I never studied the Vajrayana deities close enough to notice any similarities to Hindu deities, other than the fact I know there's lots of iconography. I never knew where to study any of Vajrayana's deities in more detail. Other, than of course, the fact I know Ganesha and Saraswati are used in their practice.

I was wondering, in Vajrayana, do they consider their deities to be real, like Gautama Buddha was real, or are they just tools for gaining enlightenment? Or, to put it this way, do they use the deities until they gain enlightenment, and then dispense with them? Or something similar? Is it the same thing with things like prayer wheels and water bowl offerings? These are things I've just wondered over the course of time, as I do have a few books on Tibetan Buddhism, but I don't really read them. And, these are beginner books, so I doubt they'd have such information.
With metta,

Justin

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:54 pm

There is a bit of a spectrum of views Theravada Guy. Some teachers see the Deities as aspects of "Mind" and/or symbolic. Others definitely see them as having real if relative existence. One well known teacher that I asked replied "Tara is as real as you are."
In order to fully understand the Vajrayana position it would be necessary to go into the Trikaya Doctrine, which is another set of concepts not found in the Pali Canon.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Goedert » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:16 pm


PeterB
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:54 pm

I dont accept that they have " Buddhist principles and goals ".
I think they have little to do with Buddhism at all.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Goedert » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:27 pm


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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby ground » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:04 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:02 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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ground
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby ground » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:16 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:29 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:31 am


Shonin
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:19 am

Yes, there are more mythical Buddhas in Mahayana than Theravada. But what about Metteyya? Why approve of one mythical Buddha and reject the rest?

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:45 am

Greetings Shonin,

I don't think it's the name Metteyya that's actually of importance. Rather, the long-scale process of decline in the Buddhasasana, followed by a later restoration much like the one Gotama established. Find the Dhamma, lose the Dhamma, find the Dhamma, lose the Dhamma....

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

PeterB
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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby PeterB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:50 am

Clearly there is literal measurable observable truth and there is poetic truth.
We can I think assume that if a Buddha arose another will eventually arise.
The question is whether the poetic vision of the Mahayana sutras is consistant with that which we find in the Pali Canon.
Now I am far from convinced that every word in every Pali Sutta represents the words of the historical Buddha. I think there are whole passages where a new and different and lesser voice or voices suddenly becomes apparant.
I do suspect though that the Canon captures the gist, the essence, of it.

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Re: Other Buddhas/Bodhisattvas

Postby Shonin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:42 am



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