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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:06 pm 
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Quote:
Misdeeds cannot be washed away with water,
the suffering of living beings cannot be removed with the hand,
my realization cannot transferred to another,
but by showing the true nature of things, there will be liberation.


Namdrol, where is this quote from?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:15 pm 
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spanda wrote:
I understand that Tongen can't remove the root cause of the suffering, but, for example, lets' take the situation of a lama who is very sick. All his disciple will start to practice a long life practice for him, right? Why, if it's impossible to influence/take someone else's karma? How could be my Mandarava practice helpful for someone else, in that moment, specifically for a health problem?

We could say that, because we "dedicate the merit" of this practice? Ok, what's that mean exactly? So, if I "dedicate" the merit of a practice, then it works to diminish the suffering and prolong the life of someone else who is ill, (even with an hour), but when I do Tonglen, it doesn't work, because it's impossible to interfere with someone else karma?

My question is: if someone had a "karmic program" where he must dye by a disease at the age of 45 (just an example), if I personally do something for this man (Tonglen, Mandarava, etc), with an sincere and authentic wish to help him, it will really help him? In that moment, with that specific disease?

It can help if the person has the karma/merit to be helped. You see it's like having surgery. The surgeon might save your life but that doesn't mean he took on your karma. He was able to save your life because he has the karma to do so and you have the karma to be saved. At least that is my understanding.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Is negative karma cannot be taken, how can merit then be giving and shared?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:49 pm 
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AlexanderS wrote:
Is negative karma cannot be taken, how can merit then be giving and shared?


The same way a terton receives teachings from let's say Green Tara, and then others recite the mantra of Green Tara. People share in that merit.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:07 pm 
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What about the case of a Buddha liberating demons? While not exactly taking on their karma, if a Buddha can actually liberate them, then their karma is completely dismantled.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:43 pm 
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dakini_boi wrote:
What about the case of a Buddha liberating demons? While not exactly taking on their karma, if a Buddha can actually liberate them, then their karma is completely dismantled.


This is all just wild speculation, but who knows if spirits are being liberated or exorcised in another way. It may not have to do with some obscure karmic law. After all, if someone restrains a robber, we don't give much thought to it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:54 pm 
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AlexanderS wrote:
Is negative karma cannot be taken, how can merit then be giving and shared?


Merit is not shared in a real sense, but by sharing your merit you create much more for yourself.

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How can you not practice the highest Dharma
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:56 pm 
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dakini_boi wrote:
What about the case of a Buddha liberating demons? While not exactly taking on their karma, if a Buddha can actually liberate them, then their karma is completely dismantled.


This is entirely symbolic -- demons arise because of your affliction and karma. When you have eliminated your own affliction and karma, then demons become gods.

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How can you not practice the highest Dharma
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
dakini_boi wrote:
What about the case of a Buddha liberating demons? While not exactly taking on their karma, if a Buddha can actually liberate them, then their karma is completely dismantled.


This is entirely symbolic -- demons arise because of your affliction and karma. When you have eliminated your own affliction and karma, then demons become gods.


But it can happen in a mundane sense right? Like the story ChNNR told numerous times of the women who was under some negative influence when he lived in China, and the ritual he did.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:37 pm 
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A bad karmic effect takes the form of a demonic being. This demon attaches itself to the human & precipitates illness or injury. When a bodhisattva "takes on negative karma" he is taking the demonic being upon himself and away from the one healed.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:23 pm 
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Will wrote:
A bad karmic effect takes the form of a demonic being. This demon attaches itself to the human & precipitates illness or injury. When a bodhisattva "takes on negative karma" he is taking the demonic being upon himself and away from the one healed.


But, that's the issue. I don't think a bodhisattva can take on a demonic being's karma. I don't think a demon can get near a bodhisattva.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:30 am 
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If taking something manifest is not possible, then giving something manifest is also not possible.
If giving something manifest is not possible, then neither the teachers nor Buddhas nor Bodhisattvas can give you blessings, nor empowerments nor mind introductions.
If so, we should all go back and rely purely on the sutta pitaka.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:40 am 
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Namdrol wrote:
Merit is not shared in a real sense, but by sharing your merit you create much more for yourself.
So the story in the sutras about mogallana saving his mother in hell by dedicating merits have no basis in dharma at all?

Also, "according to the Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" 1/7 merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one"... You think this is not true?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:46 am 
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xabir wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Merit is not shared in a real sense, but by sharing your merit you create much more for yourself.
So the story in the sutras about mogallana saving his mother in hell by dedicating merits have no basis in dharma at all?

Also, "according to the Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" 1/7 merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one"... You think this is not true?


If the transfer of merit could rescue beings from samsara, then considering that no one has greater merit than a Buddha, and no greater generosity, why have we not all been liberated?

In any event, I think the Ksitigarbha sutra is 100% Chinese apocrypha.

N

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:48 am 
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xabir wrote:
So the story in the sutras about mogallana saving his mother in hell by dedicating merits have no basis in dharma at all?


Well, there are some issues when reading the Ullambana Sutra. There's a lot of Chinese influence:

    It has been shown conclusively by Ogawa Kan'ichi, Ishigami Zennõ, and Nagai Yoshinori that the basic outlines of the Maudgalyãyana legend came to China from India. But the details of the story for which this Buddhist saint is best known, the rescue of his mother from infernal suffering, seem to have been fully elaborated only in China.

    - Victor H. Mair - Notes on the Maudgalyana Legend in East Asia


I think a better understanding is in the Majjhima Nikaya - Moggallana was able to depart bodily from the human world and reappear in a celestial realm. Repeatedly he made use of this capacity for instructing other beings and looking after the affairs of the Order. Thus he taught the Gods of the Thirty-three the Factors of stream-entry, or tested Sakka, King of Gods, whether he had understood the teaching about the extinction of craving.

His powers enabled him to teach Dharma effectively as opposed to just making offerings to the dead. However, in the Ullambana Sutra, there is this passage:

    At that time the Buddha commanded the assembled Sangha of the ten directions to recite mantras and vows for the sake of the donor's family, for parents of seven generations.

Perhaps if spirits were there to hear the mantras, then I guess it could be beneficial.

Quote:
Also, "according to the Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" 1/7 merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one"... You think this is not true?


But how is this "transfer" happening?

To Namdrol's point:

Namdrol wrote:

In any event, I think the Ksitigarbha sutra is 100% Chinese apocrypha.



    The real reason for Ksitigarbha’s importance in East Asian Buddhism, however, is probably his central role in the Dizangpusa benyingjing, a sutra which seems to be of Chinese or just possibly Khotanese origin, and is not known in any Tibetan version.

    - Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:02 am 
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When we request monks in Tibetan monasteries in Nepal, India or Tibet to recite prayers for us or for someone else, whether living or dead, are we cheating ourselves since nothing can be transferred or given? Are the monasteries, the lamas and the rinpoches cheating us by allowing us to believe that the prayers can be effective since nothing can be transferred or given? Have we all been taken for a ride and Vajrayana is just a big con job? Are we to pack up our intellect and stuff it aside and believe all is well as along as we follow instructions?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:26 am 
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Sherab wrote:
When we request monks in Tibetan monasteries in Nepal, India or Tibet to recite prayers for us or for someone else, whether living or dead, are we cheating ourselves since nothing can be transferred or given? Are the monasteries, the lamas and the rinpoches cheating us by allowing us to believe that the prayers can be effective since nothing can be transferred or given? Have we all been taken for a ride and Vajrayana is just a big con job? Are we to pack up our intellect and stuff it aside and believe all is well as along as we follow instructions?


Of course not. If a person or spirit is in the presence of someone reciting prayers and mantras and are able to rejoice in it, it's beneficial. But rejoicing in merit isn't the same as taking on negative karma.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:06 am 
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Mr. G wrote:
Sherab wrote:
When we request monks in Tibetan monasteries in Nepal, India or Tibet to recite prayers for us or for someone else, whether living or dead, are we cheating ourselves since nothing can be transferred or given? Are the monasteries, the lamas and the rinpoches cheating us by allowing us to believe that the prayers can be effective since nothing can be transferred or given? Have we all been taken for a ride and Vajrayana is just a big con job? Are we to pack up our intellect and stuff it aside and believe all is well as along as we follow instructions?


Of course not. If a person or spirit is in the presence of someone reciting prayers and mantras and are able to rejoice in it, it's beneficial. But rejoicing in merit isn't the same as taking on negative karma.

The key word is "if". What if you did not tell that someone that you are arranging for prayers to be said on his behalf? What if the beneficiary is not a buddhist? What if the spirit is somewhere else, and so on and so forth. Big if isn't it?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:31 am 
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Whatever is done in order to benefit other beings truly benefits other beings, because bodhicitta is the cause for Buddhahood as well as the existence of Bodhisattvas, both of whom exist only to benefit other beings. So if a Bodhisattva dedicates merit, even if that merit is not literally distributed to each person, a point of merit for you, and one for you, and one for you... still because it benefits that Bodhisattva it benefits everyone, so the dedication is real enough.

Ultimately the issue is that, at least by my understanding, the number of sentient beings is infinite, which is why bodhicitta is considered to be an infinite cause. Due to this, even if merit were "literally" distributed to everyone, no value could be assigned to that distribution since it would be infinitely divided. Hence, the only merit of any value to anyone is the merit that generates actually Enlightened beings. That merit benefits you and I because we now live in a world where such beings exist and have existed in the past. If they dedicated merit in order to reach Enlightenment, then that dedication of merit has in fact benefited us, many hundreds of years later. Furthermore the existence of a Bodhisattva or Buddha might benefit other world systems later, so in truth it could be said that the benefit for all beings is endless, and therefore also literally the benefit for the one dedicating it is also truly endless, since their continuing ability and act of benefiting others will continue to accumulate merit for themselves which, in turn, will continue to benefit all sentient beings.

And I believe that in general this is probably why Karma is said to be incomprehensible. Ultimately a single act can be extended into the future and past infinitely. How are we to ever make sense of it?

Edit: And actually because merit that was truly dedicated would be infinitely divided in this case, then even if thats literally whats happening it would never actually impact anyone, so it would be as though it never happened. However, again, due to the real benefit gained by the person dedicating the merit, there is an actual benefit to everyone.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:43 am 
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Sherab wrote:
The key word is "if". What if you did not tell that someone that you are arranging for prayers to be said on his behalf? What if the beneficiary is not a buddhist? What if the spirit is somewhere else, and so on and so forth. Big if isn't it?


Are you losing sleep over this? I wouldn't because we really don't know unless you're a Buddha, but it's interesting to talk about. Regardless saying prayers benefits you and those around you.

    "These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad & experience vexation. Which four? The Buddha-range of the Buddhas [i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha]... The jhana-range of one absorbed in jhana [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana]... The results of kamma... Speculation about [the first moment, purpose, etc., of] the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad & experience vexation."

    — AN 4.77

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