Navayana Buddhism

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:53 pm

Jnana wrote:Indeed. There's also the people from the Secular Buddhist Association who are generally aligned with Stephen Batchelor's ideas. A few of their followers have posted on the Dhamma Wheel sister site. The gist of what they have to say seems to be much more in accord with Lokāyata materialist views and epistemology than any form of Buddhism that has ever existed. Thus it's a bit puzzling why they too would want to identify themselves as Buddhists. Being an ethical person who practices mindfulness meditation is fine, but that alone doesn't make one a Buddhist.


I think if someone accepts the truth of suffering while rejecting rebirth, then it logically follows that death would be the permanent cessation of suffering (and since all conditioned existence is suffering anything comforting in life is really just suffering). In that case blow your brains out and instant nirvana.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Huseng wrote:I think if someone accepts the truth of suffering while rejecting rebirth, then it logically follows that death would be the permanent cessation of suffering (and since all conditioned existence is suffering anything comforting in life is really just suffering). In that case blow your brains out and instant nirvana.


I'm looking at their website now and I don't see them necessarily rejecting rebirth outright, I'll have to dig a little deeper....
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:36 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Exactly. I'm still to figure their motivation...
To cash in a currently (in the West) popular (and profitable) fad? Legitimacy via association? Should I go on?
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:48 pm

Double bind:

*they're suffering and looking for something to fill the hole

*they're confused and consequently making decisions that are not completely in their own best interest

so they manufacture something that, to their minds, seals the cracks and can bring some relief to the hurt. That's why people get into it.

Greg's diagnosis of spiritual materialism (cash in now, honey!) in the leadership is more than just plausible.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Caz » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:41 pm

Hows about Non-Buddhayana ? Or Batcheloryana, Maybe even Ignorayana. :applause:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:41 am

Even though I don't think Buddhism needs to be intentionally reinvented, I do recognize the importance of the Dharma responding to the ever changing conditions of the human realm. And the thing about the Dharma is that it does respond to change. It is not some dry, archaic dogma. The work of Dr. Ambedkar is tremendously inspiring.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:41 am

Huseng wrote:
I think if someone accepts the truth of suffering while rejecting rebirth, then it logically follows that death would be the permanent cessation of suffering (and since all conditioned existence is suffering anything comforting in life is really just suffering). In that case blow your brains out and instant nirvana.


But is nirvana as understood by a Buddhist identical to death as understood by a materialist? That is, does nirvana=annihilation?

How is then that Buddhas can inhabit Pure Lands and teach innumerable beings?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:26 am

Huseng wrote:
I think if someone accepts the truth of suffering while rejecting rebirth, then it logically follows that death would be the permanent cessation of suffering (and since all conditioned existence is suffering anything comforting in life is really just suffering). In that case blow your brains out and instant nirvana.


That is why a lot of people commit suicide. Maybe not that they think they will achieve nirvana, but that their problems will be over.

However, it is certainly possible to accept the truth of suffering and wish to be liberated from it in this lifetime, without believing in rebirth.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:18 am

Huseng wrote:I think if someone accepts the truth of suffering while rejecting rebirth, then it logically follows that death would be the permanent cessation of suffering (and since all conditioned existence is suffering anything comforting in life is really just suffering). In that case blow your brains out and instant nirvana.

Luckily, it would seem that most who deal with suffering and don't believe in an afterlife have a more mature view than this.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:02 am

Fu Ri Shin wrote:Luckily, it would seem that most who deal with suffering and don't believe in an afterlife have a more mature view than this.


Really? If the suffering becomes intolerable suicide is often resorted to with the reasoning that cessation of suffering will follow brain death.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:04 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is certainly possible to accept the truth of suffering and wish to be liberated from it in this lifetime, without believing in rebirth.
.
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Such misguided people will never achieve liberation as they hold wrong view.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:08 am

Lazy_eye wrote:But is nirvana as understood by a Buddhist identical to death as understood by a materialist? That is, does nirvana=annihilation?

How is then that Buddhas can inhabit Pure Lands and teach innumerable beings?


In Śrāvakayāna the idea of nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa is understood as cessation of the skandhas and this mass of suffering.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:12 am

Huseng wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:But is nirvana as understood by a Buddhist identical to death as understood by a materialist? That is, does nirvana=annihilation?


In Śrāvakayāna the idea of nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa is understood as cessation of the skandhas and this mass of suffering.


But again, how is then that Buddhas -- Amitabha, for example -- can inhabit Pure Lands and teach innumerable beings? Have such Buddhas somehow failed to achieve nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Seishin » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:36 am

I hate to nick-pick, but wouldn't it be "novayana"? Not "navayana"? :shrug:

*EDIT* I found this. Are these the same guys? http://www.novayana.com/
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:47 am

Lazy_eye wrote:But again, how is then that Buddhas -- Amitabha, for example -- can inhabit Pure Lands and teach innumerable beings? Have such Buddhas somehow failed to achieve nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa?
Are you under the impression that Amitabha Buddha (a Dharmakaya) has skhanda? Or maybe that Dewachen is a form realm?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:02 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:But is nirvana as understood by a Buddhist identical to death as understood by a materialist? That is, does nirvana=annihilation?


In Śrāvakayāna the idea of nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa is understood as cessation of the skandhas and this mass of suffering.


But again, how is then that Buddhas -- Amitabha, for example -- can inhabit Pure Lands and teach innumerable beings? Have such Buddhas somehow failed to achieve nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa?


To answer this requires clarification on the general ideas on nirvāṇa as they differ between the Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna.

A Buddha in the Sthavira-Śrāvakayāna context achieves cessation of all suffering, which entails an end to their skandhas and psycho-physical continuum at death, thus the "end of this mass of suffering". When an arhat dies their psycho-physical continuum ceases entirely and they are not to reappear again in any of the three realms.

In the Mahāsāṃghika-Śrāvakayāna context the Buddha represented something more transcendental and omni-present, but until the appearance of the Mahāyāna, which arouse from within the Mahāsāṃghika school, it seems such transcendence was not really understood. Emulation and reproduction of it was also likewise not understood. This is why nirvāṇa came to be "revealed" or "demonstrated" for the sake of beings, but in reality there was no "being" that achieved cessation of suffering, but a transcendental force at work for the sake of beings. Let me refer to Venerable Guang Xing's work entitled The Concept of the Buddha:

The Mahāsāṃghikas’ religious philosophy was based more on faith than on reason, and accepted whatever was said by the Buddha or, more precisely, whatever was taught in the Nikāyas and the Āgamas. As a result, they developed the concept of a transcendental (lokottara) Buddha based on the superhuman qualities of the Buddha, as discussed in Chapter 1 above. Two aspects of the Mahāsāṃghikas’ concept of the Buddha can be identified: the true Buddha who is omniscient and omnipotent, and the manifested forms through which he liberates sentient beings with skilful means. Shakyamuni was considered but one of these forms. The true Buddha supports the manifested forms that can appear in the worlds of the ten directions. In Mahayana Buddhism, the former aspect – the true Buddha – was developed and divided into the concept of the dharmakāya and the concept of the sambhogakāya; the latter aspect – the manifested forms – was developed into the concept of nirmaṇakāya. Thus, the Mahāsāṃghikas are the originators of the idea of the nirmaṇakāya, and the manifested forms can have many embodiments. Furthermore, they also introduced the theory of numerous Buddhas existing in other worlds. (p53)


Again, from this perspective there is no being that really achieves nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa. It is all a display for the benefit of beings by a transcendental force that was not as clearly defined as it would be in later times by the Mahāyāna.

Nevertheless, they still maintained the goal of arhatship as outlined by Śākyamuni Buddha, which like their colleagues in the Sthavira meant cessation of one's psycho-physical continuum and in turn all of one's subjective sense of suffering and agency. In other words, nirupadhiśeṣa-nirvāṇa meant one could no longer interact with reality anymore as all sense of agency and subjectivity would terminate with the skandhas.

Buddhas in the Mahāyāna context are not beings (sattva) anymore. There is omniscience, but not individuated existence as an identifiable continuum. As it is said in the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra one pays homage "to you who stand nowhere like infinite space". This means that they do not really inhabit or abide anywhere. It is all an appearance for the benefit of beings.

There is no point of reference that can be identified in terms of the dharmakāya. To say buddhas exist is misleading, but on the other hand it cannot be said at the conventional level buddhas do not exist at all. They are force among beings and continue to interact with reality, but without volition, karma or even conception of beings to be liberated. As it is said in various scriptures a bodhisattva that conceives of beings to aid and liberate is no real bodhisattva. This is all the more so when it comes to buddhas.

This is because with prajñā there are no objects to be discerned. In discerned objects there is no real prajñā. Furthermore, there is no perception of beings as such a perception is a result of afflictions and faculties, all of which a buddha does not possess.

Amitābha and other manifest buddhas (nirmaṇakāya) are effectively unreal illusions perceived by beings. They are a result of the past immeasurable stores of merit accumulated from the infinite past and aspirations. Thus their manifestation is not specifically willed, but a result of the force of their merit. In the case of a buddha where there is no longer agency or identity, how could there be a willed determination to even teach beings?

This is why Amitābha Buddha inhabiting a pure land and teaching beings is a convenient arrangement brought about through the collective wholesome karma of beings meeting with the aspirational force of a buddha, but such a perception is effectively only operational from the side of the beings, not that of the buddha in question which ultimately abides nowhere like infinite space.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:22 pm

Huseng wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is certainly possible to accept the truth of suffering and wish to be liberated from it in this lifetime, without believing in rebirth.
.
.
.


Such misguided people will never achieve liberation as they hold wrong view.


And why is that?
Do you think it is not possible to attain liberation from samsara in this lifetime?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:25 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Huseng wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:However, it is certainly possible to accept the truth of suffering and wish to be liberated from it in this lifetime, without believing in rebirth.
.
.
.


Such misguided people will never achieve liberation as they hold wrong view.


And why is that?
Do you think it is not possible to attain liberation from samsara in this lifetime?


You said,
However, it is certainly possible to accept the truth of suffering and wish to be liberated from it in this lifetime, without believing in rebirth.


If you hold the view that there are no past or future lives, then this is a mistaken view of causality and renders all religious and yogic activities ultimately fruitless and futile.

Religious practices done with wrong view are effectively poisonous.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:57 pm

Guan Xing wrote:The Mahāsāṃghikas’ religious philosophy was based more on faith than on reason, and accepted whatever was said by the Buddha or, more precisely, whatever was taught in the Nikāyas and the Āgamas. As a result, they developed the concept of a transcendental (lokottara) Buddha based on the superhuman qualities of the Buddha, as discussed in Chapter 1 above. Two aspects of the Mahāsāṃghikas’ concept of the Buddha can be identified: the true Buddha who is omniscient and omnipotent, and the manifested forms through which he liberates sentient beings with skilful means. Shakyamuni was considered but one of these forms. The true Buddha supports the manifested forms that can appear in the worlds of the ten directions. In Mahayana Buddhism, the former aspect – the true Buddha – was developed and divided into the concept of the dharmakāya and the concept of the sambhogakāya; the latter aspect – the manifested forms – was developed into the concept of nirmaṇakāya. Thus, the Mahāsāṃghikas are the originators of the idea of the nirmaṇakāya, and the manifested forms can have many embodiments. Furthermore, they also introduced the theory of numerous Buddhas existing in other worlds. (p53)


Thanks for this explication. It's an interesting topic in itself -- more so (to my mind) than "Buddhism without rebirth", so I almost hate to return to the OT. However...

What you describe above doesn't sound at all equivalent to annihilation as understood by a materialist. So how could it be correct to use suicide as an analogy with regard to Mahayana aspirations?

As for sravakayana, the suttas explictly reject identification between nibbana and annihlation.Here, for example.

Maha Kotthita: "With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media, is it the case that there is not anything else?"

Sariputta: "Don't say that, my friend."


And also here:

"Yes, friends. As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death."

"Don't say that, friend Yamaka. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death."


In short, I don't see any Buddhist yana in which the goal of the path could be equated with annihilation, and thus an analogy to suicide is misleading. Dangerously so, I would say.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby LightSeed » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:31 pm

Well this is certainly and interesting discussion. :popcorn:

Before this get's too far into the rebirth debate, I want to point out that he says specifically this about rebirth

And rebirth strikes many of us as a metaphor rather than a literal reality


We don't know what he believes via this metaphor, but my interpretation of what he's saying is that he sees it less of a physical action and more of a global scale. In a "nothing ceases to exist and is therefore reborn in some form or another". At least that's what I get from his other writings, I don't really know.

Seishin, there is no "these guys". It's just this one guy. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have read this and agree with it, but there isn't a community or group of these people proposing this, so I don't think Novayana is the same thing. :)
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