Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Dodatsu » Tue May 04, 2010 1:19 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Ch'an is surely quite a difficult path, with many hazards and opportunities for regression. But after reading the QA posted by Rev. Dodatsu in another thread, I'm not convinced that Pure Land is as easy as people make it out to be. Even in Jodo Shinshu, it is quite possible that faith will not develop and the practitioner will find himself/herself in an undesirable situation:

Dr. Inagaki Hisao wrote:Ordinary Shin Buddhists who occasionally say the Nembutsu, chant sutras and attend Dharma meetings will either go to the Transformed Land or continue their samsaric existence under the influence of their karma. Such Shin Buddhists rarely attain birth in the Pure Land.


Meanwhile, those who are more earnest in their practice but lack shinjin will at least reach the non-retrogression stage, but not the Pure Land.



At least, birth in the Transformed Land is still better than being stuck in the cycle of birth-and-death (samsara). Being born in samsara doesn't guarantee that you will be able to attain enlightenment, as Tan-luan points out in the following:
The Commentary on Vasubandhu's Treatise on the Pure Land states:

Reverently contemplating the Commentary on the Ten Bodhisattva Stages of Bodhisattva Nagarjuna, I find it stated that there are two paths by which bodhisattvas seek the stage of non-retrogression - the path of difficult practice and the path of easy practice.

With the path of difficult practice, it is seeking non-retrogression in this world of five defilements at a time when there is no Buddha that is difficult. This difficulty appears in many ways; I will indicate what is meant by roughly listing several of them.

* The apparent good practiced in non-buddhist ways is confused with the dharma of the bodhisattva.
* The sravaka's concentration on self-benefit diverts a bodhisattva's practice of great compassion.
* Evildoers lacking self-reflection subvert the excellent merits of others.
* The results of good acts undertaken with inverted thinking nullify the bodhisattva's pure practice for enlightenment.
* The path of difficult practice is based solely on self-power and lacks the support of Other Power.

Such problems as these, which may be seen everywhere, are examples of the difficulty. Thus the path of difficult practice may be compared in its hardship to journeying overland on foot.

In the path of easy practice, one aspires to be born in the Pure Land with solely one's entrusting oneself to the Buddha as the cause, and allowing oneself to be carried by the power of the Buddha's Vow, quickly attains birth in the land of purity. Supported by the Buddha's power, one immediately enters the group of the truly settled of the Mahayana. The stage of the truly settled is none other than the stage of non-retrogression. Thus the path of easy practice may be compared in its comfort to being carried over waterways in a ship.


The only "problem" in the Transformed Land is that one is not able to hear the Dharma, not able to make offerings. However, once there is "repentance" one is able to be born in the Fulfilled Land.
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.
- Shinran Shonin
User avatar
Dodatsu
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Tue May 04, 2010 1:20 pm

Lazy_eye,

Reaching the non-retrogression is the same as birth in Pure Land there. Of course, the Pure Land path is about being determined to be born in Amita's land, without that it is not possible. Such determination is one's heartfelt wish to be free from samsara and liberate all beings, for which the Land of Bliss is the stepping stone. However, I doubt there's any requirement to realise the falsness of the self-view. The ordinary Shin Buddhists you had the quote about seems to refer to people who go to the temple only because of tradition/habit and not because they actually believe, that's why there is no assurance. It is true that faith may not come easily, but it is not harder than trusting the Triple Jewel, which is the very basic for any Buddhist.

In Theravada it is as you said, dropping the notion of self-view, belief in rituals and doubt in the Dhamma. In Pure Land there is no need to be free from the view of self to have faith in Amita Buddha's vows. And in Chan it is not enough to believe in the buddha-nature, one must realise it personally.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue May 04, 2010 3:02 pm

Astus wrote: I doubt there's any requirement to realise the falseness of the self-view.


But from what I gather, in Shin Buddhism this is actually the central point. Maybe not so in Chinese Pure Land. As I understand it, "true entrusting" in Shin is the abandonment of self-view. Otherwise, you are stuck at the 19th and 20th vows (the first two steps of the three-step conversion experience) and, again, while you may achieve non-retrogression, you won't be enlightened.

The ordinary Shin Buddhists you had the quote about seems to refer to people who go to the temple only because of tradition/habit and not because they actually believe, that's why there is no assurance.


I think that with any path you're not going to gain much by practicing in bad faith. It's possible for someone to misuse Shinran's teachings as carte blanche to behave however one likes, but this is just like peeing in your pants.

Shin Buddhism and Zen seem similar in that both place a fundamental realization (shinjin, buddha nature) prior to all other considerations. So if you are not "working on the fundamental", then your practice will be fruitless regardless of how much energy is expended. And to complicate things further, you can't actually "work" at it.

And in Chan it is not enough to believe in the buddha-nature, one must realise it personally.


Your post made me recall Chinul's discussion of faith, in "Straightforward Explanation of the True Mind":

Chinul wrote:Faith guides the development of all goodness...Some people ask about a difference between faith as it is in the context of Zen and faith as it is in the context of pan-Buddhism. There are many kinds of faith. Buddhism tells people who believe in causality and who like happiness to have faith in ten virtues as sublime causes, and to have faith in humanity and higher states as pleasant results. For those who enjoy empty quietude, belief in the conditions of birth and death is the right cause, while the way to extinction of causes of misery is the holy result, For those who like complete Buddhahood, faith in the six perfections over three aeons is the great cause; enlightenment and nirvana are the great results.

In Zen, however, right faith is not the same as any of these. One does not have faith in any contrived causes or effects; it is only necessary to have faith that the intrinsic self is originally Buddha. The natural true intrinsic essence is complete in all people, the subtle substance of nirvana is perfect in every individual.


He then goes on to say that faith must also be combined with understanding. Nevertheless, the similarities with Shin seem apparent. Both cut right through the "sundry practices" and beliefs, essentially turning these into side issues, and aim directly for realization. Realizing Buddha nature in Zen = realization of Amida.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Tue May 04, 2010 4:14 pm

Lazy_eye,

I used the word faith in a common, and not Zen specific sense. Probably you've heard about the Zen poem by Sengcan (3rd Chinese Patriarch) called Faith Mind Inscription (信心銘), in Japanese Shinjinmei. The word "shinjin" is same as in Shin Buddhism. But it has a very different meaning.

Its closing stanza says: 信心不二 不二信心 - Faith mind/shinjin is not two/non-duality; Not two/non-duality is faith mind/shinjin

If it was the same in Shin Buddhism it could be rightly called Zen. But that is hardly so. And if Shin followers abandoned self-view they could do very well on the Path of Sages and wouldn't need help from Amida.

Your quote from Jinul is good: "One does not have faith in any contrived causes or effects; it is only necessary to have faith that the intrinsic self is originally Buddha." The teaching that Amida saves beings is a contrived cause and effect, saying that "I am a deluded person" is against faith in buddha-mind.

I don't really see the point of making the Pure Land path harder than it is. Personally I find its simple and easy quality its advantage. I know less about Shin Buddhism than Chinese but if it is actually a more difficult path than other Pure Land methods it looks strange to me then.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue May 04, 2010 5:17 pm

Astus wrote:信心不二 不二信心 - Faith mind/shinjin is not two/non-duality; Not two/non-duality is faith mind/shinjin

If it was the same in Shin Buddhism it could be rightly called Zen. But that is hardly so. And if Shin followers abandoned self-view they could do very well on the Path of Sages and wouldn't need help from Amida.


Again, though, Shin Buddhists do describe 信心 in terms of non-duality and abandoning self-view. I'm not saying that this necessarily makes sense from a Ch'an perspective, but unless I have greatly misunderstood something it is in fact the Shin POV.

According to the QA which Rev. Dodatsu provided,

Dr. Inagaki Hisao wrote: Amida and you are essentially unopposed. From the viewpoint of the Mahayana principle of voidness and non-duality, nobody or nothing is opposed to Amida. Amida embraces all beings or things and the realization of this constitutes the experience of shinjin.


And further:

The great joyful mind [aka shinjin] is not an ordinary joy which arises out of contact with some other person or something pleasant. The joy of shinjin is an overflowing joy which wells up from the bottom of our minds. This is the joy which arises out of contact with the Buddha or True Suchness. So it is also described as 'pure mind.' It is similar to the joy attending a satori experience in Zen. In the actual experience of shinjin, the great joy lasts for a few days or weeks. Then the joy gradually subsides and your mind becomes calm.


I see your question -- if all this is so, then why don't Shin followers just practice Zen? Or, one might add, vice versa. Maybe Rev. Dodatsu or Andreas can explain. What I keep coming back to in these discussions, though, is that Honen (and by extension Shinran) sought to identify a path which was accessible to all people regardless of their circumstances; also we should take Mappo into consideration. As you know, according to the orthodox Ch'an view we may not be in a position to even begin tackling "self-nature" until we have abandoned worldly life and sought out some mountain way-station.

Along the same lines, we might have an affinity for one path as opposed to another. As Huseng wrote earlier, for one person Zen realization might be like breaking through an eggshell, for another like trying to crack open a wall.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Tue May 04, 2010 5:24 pm

There is evidently a lot of appeal to quick solutions to the problem which is samsara.

I think the reality and horrors of samsara as well as karma and the fetters as well as the almost superhuman demands made on aspirants to enlightenment, whether it be Arhatship or Bodhisattvahood, such as renunciation of lust and so on, are all very difficult to accept. If someone comes along and suggests one can dismiss all of this and just recite a certain mantra or take refuge in a certain being and liberation is guaranteed with no risk of retrogression, there is an appeal to it. You can have liberation with the least amount of effort.

However, at this point in my study and practise, limited as it is, whether it be from Sravakayana or Mahayana the reality of what is required by aspirants cannot be negated. Looking at the records we have of Shakyamuni's sermons, or the revealed teachings of Maitreya through Asanga, or the works of Nagarjuna and others, the conclusion I'm led to is that samsara is beyond whatever horror we can imagine and to overcome it takes unimaginable effort as well as cultivation over many many lives. It is also astronomically unlikely that you will become enlightened -- just look at how many fish are in the sea. Unfortunately, with maybe those few times when we feel completely vulnerable, we seldom ever realize just what the situation is and what we're up against. The horrors of samsara seem less real and more like religious parables used to cultivate certain behaviours in everyday life.

However, if what the Buddha taught is correct, and I think it is, then the horrors we will face and have faced present a problem that must be solved. Unfortunately, the problem is deeply rooted in defilements that stretch back to the infinite past. We're under the influence of avidya and worldly fools are quick to direct us away from the truth. We can seldom recognize when we're under the influence of avidya. False dharma is plentiful.

Is there a quick solution to this horrific situation we're in? Some would like to believe there is and it might give them a lot of comfort in cherishing such thoughts, but the conquest of samsara might prove far more difficult than what one initially expects or is told.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5555
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Tue May 04, 2010 7:07 pm

Lazy_eye,

If actually Shin teaches the same realisation as Zen it is contradictory to say that Shin is easy but Zen is hard. Either Shin is as hard as Zen, in that case the choice between paths is meaningless, or Zen is as easy as Shin, then again a choice based on capacity is meaningless.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Tue May 04, 2010 7:13 pm

Huseng,

You seem to suggest that the majority of existing Mahayana traditions are quite wrong. Pure Land, Chan, Mantra, Nichiren, Tiantai and Huayan all confirm the sudden path, enlightenment in one life, and that's what they aim for in different ways.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 05, 2010 3:45 am

Astus wrote:Huseng,

You seem to suggest that the majority of existing Mahayana traditions are quite wrong. Pure Land, Chan, Mantra, Nichiren, Tiantai and Huayan all confirm the sudden path, enlightenment in one life, and that's what they aim for in different ways.


It comes down to your definition of "enlightenment". Even Bodhisattvas to a certain point are capable of retrogression. In Chan texts there are plenty of cases where ordinary people had "great awakenings", but that doesn't necessarily mean they were enlightened. Even then, a lot of the literature seems less like historical records and more like literature pieced together from various sources and loosely based on historical figures.

They might say it is possible, and I don't deny this, but then this usually assumes the practitioner already has the roots generated from past lives. It also assumes a certain degree of dedication.

Even then, retrogression is still possible until a certain point.

There are always going to be a few case examples of highly advanced persons from various traditions, but can the rest of us ordinary people really expect to become like that in a single life?

Basically, there is the ideal and then there is the reality. A lot of us envision ourselves as already quite advanced, a few years at most away from enlightenment and assuredly becoming a magnificent Bodhisattva venerated by all. It becomes even more tempting to think like that when you come across tales like that of Huineng who apparently had a realization just hearing a few lines of the Diamond Sutra. Everyone wants to be a holy woman/holy man.

My Tibetan teacher always stressed that the whole process takes many lives. In his Gelug-pa tradition, it is said that through Vajrayana one can attain Buddhahood in a single lifetime, but he cautioned me saying, "It takes a perfect teacher and a perfect student." In his words it takes many many lifetimes.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5555
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Wed May 05, 2010 10:35 am

Huseng,

One of the many wonderful qualities of sutras is that they like to talk about the reader and their level of attainment as relevant to the subject discussed. In the Manjusri PP Sutra:

"The Buddha told Śāriputra, “If good men or good women, having heard such profound prajñā-pāramitā, can come to resoluteness in their minds, not shocked, not terrified, not baffled, and not regretful, we should know that they stand on the Ground of No-regress. If those who have heard this profound prajñā-pāramitā are not shocked, not terrified, not baffled, and not regretful, but believe, accept, appreciate, and listen tirelessly, they have in effect fulfilled dāna-pāramitā, śīla-pāramitā, kṣānti-pāramitā, vīrya-pāramitā, dhyāna-pāramitā, and prajñā-pāramitā. Moreover, they can reveal and explicate [the teachings] to others and can have them train accordingly.”"

The Manjusri PP Sutra is a good one that was used by Daoxin for instance to describe Chan practice as the One Act Samadhi. Also in this sutra there is a discussion of merits too.

"If good men or good women aspire to enter the One Action Samādhi, they should sit properly in an open place, facing the direction of a Buddha, abandon distracting thoughts and appearances, focus their minds on that Buddha, and keep saying His name. If they can continue, thought after thought, thinking of one Buddha, they will be able to see, in their thinking, past, future, and present Buddhas. Why? The merit from thinking of one Buddha is immeasurable and boundless, no different from the merit from thinking of innumerable Buddhas or thinking of the inconceivable Buddha Dharma. They all will ride the one suchness and attain the perfect enlightenment, commanding immeasurable merit and eloquence."

"If good men and good women who have heard these words do not become negligent or indolent, we should know that they have already planted their roots of goodness under past Buddhas. Therefore, if bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs who have heard this profound prajñā-pāramitā are not shocked or terrified, they have truly renounced family life to follow the Buddha. If upāsakas and upāsikās who have heard this profound prajñā-pāramitā are not shocked or terrified, they have truly taken refuge [in the Buddha]."

This is all very much in harmony with the other Chan-favoured text, the Diamond Sutra:

"If you see all characteristics to be non-characteristics, then you see the Tathāgata."

"Those who are free from all notions are called buddhas."

Regarding merit the sutra repeatedly says how infinite and incalculable it is to read, recite, memorise and teach that sutra, even greater than the sum of Sakyamuni's merit gained by revering billions of buddhas.

Another thing we should remember is that while the teachings say that only a few people can really comprehend all this, out of 6.8 billion people even a million arhats and bodhisattvas would be very few. At the moment this forum has 316 registered members (including bots). As you're in Japan, you can see how many actually take Buddhism seriously. Not so much, right? And even among them not everyone studies (reads, recites, remembers) the Diamond Sutra (which is so popular). So I think it is a privileged situation that we have heard about the Dharma and can actually study it. This itself is a proof of having accumulated good merit in past lives. Then we can try how far we can get in realising the Dharma-realm.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 05, 2010 10:59 am

Astus wrote:Another thing we should remember is that while the teachings say that only a few people can really comprehend all this, out of 6.8 billion people even a million arhats and bodhisattvas would be very few. At the moment this forum has 316 registered members (including bots). As you're in Japan, you can see how many actually take Buddhism seriously. Not so much, right? And even among them not everyone studies (reads, recites, remembers) the Diamond Sutra (which is so popular). So I think it is a privileged situation that we have heard about the Dharma and can actually study it. This itself is a proof of having accumulated good merit in past lives. Then we can try how far we can get in realising the Dharma-realm.


I don't disagree with what you're saying here.

I just think people will get exhausted and disappointed if they assume that they'll achieve anuttarasamyaksambodhi in their present life because there is no easy means to attain it. If a ninth stage Bodhisattva even with all their merit, attainments and numerous manomayakaya has yet to achieve full Buddhahood, then why assume you yourself, not even on the first bhumi, will manage anuttarasamyaksambodhi within the short time between now and death?

It might be called sheer arrogance to assume oneself to be so qualified.

I'm not denying the possibility of it, but one needs to be realistic about their current development and abilities, otherwise disappointment will inevitably rob one of the motivation to practise.

Speaking for myself, I have a hard enough time cultivating genuine bodhicitta and I still get angry, irritated and experience lust among other hindrances. Would it be realistic for me to assume I will achieve anuttarasamyaksambodhi before the day I drop dead? I don't think so. It isn't that I don't have the confidence, but just that I'm realistic about what I'm capable of. I'm just an ordinary samsara dweller.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5555
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Wed May 05, 2010 11:40 am

It actually sounds like a love story. A guy is looking for perfect love in every woman, expects everything to go smoothly from the first moment on but after a month or two it always turns out it is not perfect, so they break up. This is the disappointment in sudden enlightenment. Then the guy thinks he should work on a single relationship, love has to be earned and maintained. He sticks to one lady, they spend decades together until one day the guy realises no matter how hard he works it is never perfect love. This is the disappointment in gradual enlightenment. Then this guy goes to a witch to do some magic and get him perfect love. But perfect love never comes near his door. This is the disappointment in enlightenment by transformation. So our poor fellow is now left with hoping that in the next life things will go better. This is aspiring for a buddha-land.

And this is how I approach this now. The single problem lies in the concept of "perfect love". It is thinking that "when things will be better then I can do it", "when there are no more thoughts about sex I may be a non-returner". That's how seeing the emptiness of self and things, understanding mind only, realising the illusion of concepts is the path of liberation, actually, liberation itself. Not so difficult, not so easy, needs a little training here and there, but understandable, something (theoretically) everyone can do but (actually) only a few does.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby kirtu » Wed May 05, 2010 12:16 pm

Huseng wrote:Speaking for myself, I have a hard enough time cultivating genuine bodhicitta and I still get angry, irritated and experience lust among other hindrances. Would it be realistic for me to assume I will achieve anuttarasamyaksambodhi before the day I drop dead? I don't think so. It isn't that I don't have the confidence, but just that I'm realistic about what I'm capable of. I'm just an ordinary samsara dweller.


However you might reach the first bhumi or the Path of Joining.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4095
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 05, 2010 12:32 pm

Astus wrote:And this is how I approach this now. The single problem lies in the concept of "perfect love". It is thinking that "when things will be better then I can do it", "when there are no more thoughts about sex I may be a non-returner". That's how seeing the emptiness of self and things, understanding mind only, realising the illusion of concepts is the path of liberation, actually, liberation itself. Not so difficult, not so easy, needs a little training here and there, but understandable, something (theoretically) everyone can do but (actually) only a few does.


That's just it -- you need to eliminate lust lest mastery of dhyana is not possible. Regardless of how illusory one might think it all is, it is still a prerequisite for attainment of prajna. You cannot just dismiss it as illusory and think realization of emptiness is then possible. Intellectually one can easily get a grasp on various ideas about emptiness, but realization is something else.

In Nagarjuna's Letter Nagarjuna is quoted as saying:


There can be no dhyana without wisdom;
There can be no wisdom without dhyana.
He who has both reduces the ocean of existence
To the size of an ox's hoofprint.



There are plenty of secular scholars of Buddhism who nominally understand emptiness and might even write a book on the topic, but that doesn't mean they're enlightened.


kirtu wrote:
However you might reach the first bhumi or the Path of Joining.

Kirt


I hope so. Whether I get there or not in this life is uncertain.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5555
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby kirtu » Wed May 05, 2010 12:55 pm

Huseng wrote:That's just it -- you need to eliminate lust lest mastery of dhyana is not possible. Regardless of how illusory one might think it all is, it is still a prerequisite for attainment of prajna.


This is not linear although it may be presented that way traditionally. Sexual desire can be attenuated/no-arise during practice yet after practice reassert itself. During practice it has been attenuated and the practice purifies the continuum. Then prajna does in fact gradually arise that further cuts the defilements. Gradually Dharma takes over (perhaps over many, many lifetimes) and real dhyana and real prajna deepen. Then at some point they become transcendental and one attains the Path of Seeing.

This is from the teachings on the Path of Joining but I don't have a ready reference.

kirtu wrote:However you might reach the first bhumi or the Path of Joining.


I hope so. Whether I get there or not in this life is uncertain.

[/quote]

This in fact is the point with Pure Land practice (at least from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective). If one doesn't attain the bhumi's in this life or the bardo after death we go to the Pure Lands, attain the bhumis eventually, attain enlightenment and then send out emanations to continue bodhisattic activity. Total win-win.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4095
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Wed May 05, 2010 1:04 pm

Huseng,

I think this lust-dhyana relationship came up before somewhere here. You said it doesn't mean final elimination of lust but temporary. Now, I'm sure there is no person who is always in a lustful state of mind. Lust is rather an emotion that comes up from time to time, and when it happens indeed one is quite busy with looking for satisfaction. However, at other times one could as well sit down and focus his mind. But even in times of strong emotions one can maintain awareness and not be moved. As the Satipatthana Sutta says, "And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion." Nothing impossible here.

Your Nagarjuna quote is very similar to Dhammapada 372.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Wed May 05, 2010 1:05 pm

kirtu wrote:This in fact is the point with Pure Land practice (at least from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective). If one doesn't attain the bhumi's in this life or the bardo after death we go to the Pure Lands, attain the bhumis eventually, attain enlightenment and then send out emanations to continue bodhisattic activity. Total win-win.


Nice. :thumbsup:
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed May 05, 2010 1:45 pm

Huseng,

You're in your 20s, right? I know lust may seem like an insurmountable obstacle at that age, but this will very likely change as you get older -- by the time you hit 50 or 60, you might even find the topic a bit quaint.

Something to consider, possibly.

LE
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:32 am
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Astus » Wed May 05, 2010 2:31 pm

Huseng,

Here's an interesting one from Bodhidharma's Bloodstream Sermon:

"But since married laymen don’t give up sex, bow can they become Buddhas?
I only talk about seeing your nature. I don’t talk about sex simply because you don’t see your nature. Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial. It ends along with your delight in it. Even if some habits remain’, they can’t harm you, because your nature is essentially pure. Despite dwelling in a material body of four elements, your nature is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted."

(Red Pine translation, X63n1218_p0004c08-12)
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4125
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Safe Escape - User Friendly Dharma

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed May 05, 2010 2:45 pm

Huseng wrote:Is there a quick solution to this horrific situation we're in? Some would like to believe there is and it might give them a lot of comfort in cherishing such thoughts, but the conquest of samsara might prove far more difficult than what one initially expects or is told.


So much of what you write jives with the teachings I've encountered in Vajrayana. And I understand entirely your comments on the seriousness of our situation. I think too many people may underestimate it or let it slip to lower levels of consciousness as we're absorbed in the grueling challenges of daily life in samsara.

That said, there is a solution. I make no bones about the fact that I don't believe it's a quick solution. I believe that we're just ordinary and the stages of the path are dauntingly challenging to accomplish.

But on the upside, we do have this precious human birth, at least for this moment. So as if our very hair was on fire we can work and work and work to plant seeds or move forward. And hopefully when this body breaks up and we we continue the cycle of birth, we'll be fortunate enough to carry on some traces of seeds we've planted in this life and others.

The solution will vary according to the person and his/her predispositions (I've never been so fond of the word "capacity.") But there most certainly is a solution and we live in such a fortunate age of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Many of us are fortunate enough to live in a place with access to information and dharma, and the means to put the teachings into action. In a way many of us are very privileged. Even those of us who really struggle just to make it in life every day.

So I have hope. I think it's excellent to be realistic, and to acknowledge that the task at hand is enormous, to say the least. And that we are just ordinary. But there is a a way, and it's at our finger tips.

Thank you for your kind reminders; for we are in a serious situation. At the same time that we acknowledge this disenchantment with samsara and the dangers of birthing in other realms, we can practice happiness and direct our minds to places of bodhicitta and joy.

Thanks for listening to my two cents. Or one :)

Kind wishes,
Laura
Ngawang Drolma
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dharma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jeeprs and 20 guests

>