Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

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Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:26 am

There has been a nice debate about Shinran and Precepts. Here I'd like to raise the stakes and start a peaceful competition and a silent revolution.

The goal is to show which Buddhist path is the easiest, the fastest and the safest to achieve liberation from samsara, and since this is a Mahayana realm, attainment of buddhahood is worth extra points. Also a reverse is possible where a path is proven to be extremely hard.

Don't take this too seriously, or too lightly. The point is to see what paths there are and which one should one choose.

Here are the categories:

Easy - requires little effort (precepts, meditation, study), people with low capacities can practice it, can be practised with little or no help (teacher, community)

Fast - within three aeons, within one aeon, within 16 lives, within 7 lives, within this life, within 30 years, within 3 years, within 7 months, within a week, within a day

Safe - no birth in the lower realms, birth only in good circumstances, birth only in pure lands, birth at will, no more birth

Example:

Stream-entry in Theravada (based on Piya Tan's explanation) - requires correct view regarding Dhamma (dropping false concepts as in the first three fetters), maintaining the five precepts, guaranteed liberation within 7 lives, no more birth in the lower realms
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:21 pm

imo if you are counting on enlightenment in aeons you might as well take up knitting. Whoever gets enlightened in eons it wont be "you" anyway.

Different paths for different tempraments tho.

I have heard that pureland is one of the easiest. Here is a chart comparing chan/pureland. Just offered as fuel for discussion.

http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/pur ... -the-paths
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:58 pm

Hi Astus,

Great topic. Thus I have heard, the Vajrayana allows for enlightenment in a single lifetime. Caveat emptor though, it's a quick path up or down. Like a snake in a hollow bamboo tube.

Best
Laura :)
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby shel » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:30 pm

Being a person of low capacities I don't have much in the way of options in this contest. :emb:

Still I wonder why my meager efforts don't feel easy. :?
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 01, 2010 1:50 am

I think we may have a winner as far as speed:

In the Maha Satipattana Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the Buddha describes Success of Four Pattana Meditations as: “One who is honest to himself and practice this four Pattana Meditations without a delay, he should be willing to achieve Arahat or Anagami level, in seven days to seven years in time which would ultimately direct to Nirvana”


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Path_to_Nirvana

Unless Nirvana and enlightenment are different.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat May 01, 2010 2:47 am

shel wrote:Being a person of low capacities I don't have much in the way of options in this contest. :emb:

Still I wonder why my meager efforts don't feel easy. :?


Hi Shel,

It's my personal opinion that none of it feels easy. But it's also my humble opinion that it's a good thing! Otherwise maybe there's not effort being put forth.

Best wishes,
Laura
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 01, 2010 4:01 am

m0rl0ck wrote:imo if you are counting on enlightenment in aeons you might as well take up knitting. Whoever gets enlightened in eons it wont be "you" anyway.


That's a ridiculous way of looking at things.

At enlightenment the Buddha is said to have seen all his past lives. There is no identity, but there is continuity.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 01, 2010 4:20 am

Huseng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:imo if you are counting on enlightenment in aeons you might as well take up knitting. Whoever gets enlightened in eons it wont be "you" anyway.


That's a ridiculous way of looking at things.



Well maybe, unless you want to suffer and be the cause of suffering for aeons. Myself i will just do the best i can to take the shortest route possible :)
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 01, 2010 7:47 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huseng wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:imo if you are counting on enlightenment in aeons you might as well take up knitting. Whoever gets enlightened in eons it wont be "you" anyway.


That's a ridiculous way of looking at things.



Well maybe, unless you want to suffer and be the cause of suffering for aeons. Myself i will just do the best i can to take the shortest route possible :)


Arhatship is generally the quickest route to the cessation of suffering.

However, upon such an attainment you are not in a position to be of aid to others after your final life.

The Bodhisattva is willing to undergo countless lifetimes of suffering to be of benefit to others.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Dodatsu » Sat May 01, 2010 10:41 am

Astus, seriously i don't see the need for this. Every path is suited to people of different capabilities, some like Zen, some like Nichiren, some like Pure Land. To show which is "faster" or "slower" than the other is debatable and will naturally draw some heated response.
Personally i adhere to Shin, to me, that's the fastest and easiest Path to Buddhahood but for others it may differ. I certainly don't hope for a repeat of what happened in the "Shinran and precepts" thread. That's all i'm going to contribute here, have a nice and courteous discussion. :anjali:
Contemplating the power of Tathagata's Primal Vow,
One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 01, 2010 11:36 am

Huseng wrote:
Arhatship is generally the quickest route to the cessation of suffering.




All three traditions offer current lifetime alternatives. How does one know they have taken the direct path tho. You could have lived a million times before now :)
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 01, 2010 12:01 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Arhatship is generally the quickest route to the cessation of suffering.




All three traditions offer current lifetime alternatives. How does one know they have taken the direct path tho. You could have lived a million times before now :)


Even in Vajrayana where Buddhahood is possible in a single lifetime it still takes immeasurable merit to do it as well as a perfect teacher, a perfect student and unimaginable dedication.

Unless you're that dedicated, invest in your future lives.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat May 01, 2010 1:22 pm

Huseng wrote:Even in Vajrayana where Buddhahood is possible in a single lifetime it still takes immeasurable merit to do it as well as a perfect teacher, a perfect student and unimaginable dedication.

Unless you're that dedicated, invest in your future lives.


What ever works for you :) I tend toward the views of huang po on the subjects of merit, study, and enlightened mind vs ordinary mind. Whats your school / tradition?
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sat May 01, 2010 1:48 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huseng wrote:Even in Vajrayana where Buddhahood is possible in a single lifetime it still takes immeasurable merit to do it as well as a perfect teacher, a perfect student and unimaginable dedication.

Unless you're that dedicated, invest in your future lives.


What ever works for you :) I tend toward the views of huang po on the subjects of merit, study, and enlightened mind vs ordinary mind. Whats your school / tradition?


Bodhisattvayana.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 01, 2010 4:29 pm

I wonder if in considering the OP, it might be worth considering two related questions.

One, did a particular school or its founders actually set out to provide a simple, easy, universal path? For example, I have heard this was Honen's intention; i.e. he made it his life work to discover just such a path. Not all Buddhist traditions are so universalist in nature. So we might need to take into account what the particular goalposts are.

Two, there is the question of karmic circumstances/affinities. A certain path might be easier for some people because they were karmically better prepared for it. We hear in the Zen writings about so and so (sometimes just an ordinary yokel) having an on-the-spot realization after hearing a sutra passage or an encounter with a teacher. That would surely be the easiest path! But others could practice intensely for a lifetime, study the entire Mayahana canon, etc and make little progress. It must be the karma, no?
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sun May 02, 2010 1:33 am

Lazy_eye wrote:I wonder if in considering the OP, it might be worth considering two related questions.

One, did a particular school or its founders actually set out to provide a simple, easy, universal path? For example, I have heard this was Honen's intention; i.e. he made it his life work to discover just such a path. Not all Buddhist traditions are so universalist in nature. So we might need to take into account what the particular goalposts are.

Two, there is the question of karmic circumstances/affinities. A certain path might be easier for some people because they were karmically better prepared for it. We hear in the Zen writings about so and so (sometimes just an ordinary yokel) having an on-the-spot realization after hearing a sutra passage or an encounter with a teacher. That would surely be the easiest path! But others could practice intensely for a lifetime, study the entire Mayahana canon, etc and make little progress. It must be the karma, no?



One of reads of "roots" which are established in past lives. If you have already cultivated yourself greatly in past lives, then you have but an eggshell to break through in this life, but if not then perhaps a great brick wall.

It comes down to past actions and merit (punya). It is uncertain for how long you've been on the path already and what foundations you've already laid down.

Incidentally, in Chinese Buddhism they have this warm idea of "tying conditions (jie yuan 結緣) which is where you do something good or give a gift to someone and it is said to create a bond to that person that will make for a good friendship in the future.

So, maybe do a lot of that in this life and next life you'll find you have a lot of friends who "come out of nowhere" to help you. :smile:
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 02, 2010 3:27 am

Huseng wrote:
One of reads of "roots" which are established in past lives. If you have already cultivated yourself greatly in past lives, then you have but an eggshell to break through in this life, but if not then perhaps a great brick wall.

It comes down to past actions and merit (punya). It is uncertain for how long you've been on the path already and what foundations you've already laid down.



Then again there are other ideas regarding cultivation, that may not necessarily be contradictory.

If Dharma students are unable to let go of conditioned mind suddenly, and instead practice in other ways, many kalpas may pass but they still will not have reached Bodhi. Because they are tied down by their thinking of the merits of the Three Vehicles, they do not attain genuine liberation.
~Huang Po


He also says that accruing merit just creates more karma, and that :

The attainment of one who has practiced the myriad Dharma doors throughout three kalpas, having passed through the many Bodhisattva stages, and the attainment of one who has suddenly awakened to the One Mind are equal. Both of them have just attained their own Original Buddha. The former type of disciple, the gradual attainer, upon arriving at his Original Buddha, looks back on his three kalpas of past practice as if he were looking at himself acting totally without principle in a dream.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Sun May 02, 2010 3:58 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huseng wrote:
One of reads of "roots" which are established in past lives. If you have already cultivated yourself greatly in past lives, then you have but an eggshell to break through in this life, but if not then perhaps a great brick wall.

It comes down to past actions and merit (punya). It is uncertain for how long you've been on the path already and what foundations you've already laid down.



Then again there are other ideas regarding cultivation, that may not necessarily be contradictory.

If Dharma students are unable to let go of conditioned mind suddenly, and instead practice in other ways, many kalpas may pass but they still will not have reached Bodhi. Because they are tied down by their thinking of the merits of the Three Vehicles, they do not attain genuine liberation.
~Huang Po


He also says that accruing merit just creates more karma, and that :

The attainment of one who has practiced the myriad Dharma doors throughout three kalpas, having passed through the many Bodhisattva stages, and the attainment of one who has suddenly awakened to the One Mind are equal. Both of them have just attained their own Original Buddha. The former type of disciple, the gradual attainer, upon arriving at his Original Buddha, looks back on his three kalpas of past practice as if he were looking at himself acting totally without principle in a dream.
~Huang Po



If you think you're qualified enough both in terms of dedication, ability and conditions to pull off such a realization, knock yourself out.
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun May 02, 2010 5:36 pm

Huseng wrote:
One of reads of "roots" which are established in past lives. If you have already cultivated yourself greatly in past lives, then you have but an eggshell to break through in this life, but if not then perhaps a great brick wall.

It comes down to past actions and merit (punya). It is uncertain for how long you've been on the path already and what foundations you've already laid down.

Incidentally, in Chinese Buddhism they have this warm idea of "tying conditions (jie yuan 結緣) which is where you do something good or give a gift to someone and it is said to create a bond to that person that will make for a good friendship in the future.

So, maybe do a lot of that in this life and next life you'll find you have a lot of friends who "come out of nowhere" to help you. :smile:


Thanks for this, Huseng!
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Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Sun May 02, 2010 9:04 pm

As I see most of you have resorted to the idea that it all depends on one's karma. That I can agree with. On the other hand, when it comes down to defining a tradition in Mahayana somewhere on the road there is a statement how that particular method is the best among all the others.

Theravada has no problem here as it simply disregards everything else as correct Buddhism, their superiority lies only in a separation of Buddhadhamma from other religions. But Mahayana has from the beginning that it is better than the so called Hinayana, bodhisattvas are beyond arhats. Then it comes to how this Madhyamaka is better than that Madhyamaka, how Zen is better than the others, how Vajrayana is better than the others, etc. One could say it is like in Panshan's "Meat Case",

"Panshan one day at the marketplace saw a man buying meat who said, "Chop me half a kilo of your best." The butcher dropped his knife and said, "Sir, these are all the best." Panshan, hearing it, suddenly had great awakening."
(X87n1614_p0058b04-06)

One can choose only the best way, for they all claim to be that. But if we agree to that, how can we match different traditions? Or we shouldn't?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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