original buddhism

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Malcolm
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Despite some people's naive insistence that Buddhadharma has to conform to three seals...
Why do you consider it naive to judge a teaching as Dharma based on it's conformance to the Four Dharma Seals? What would you consider a better standard of comparison?
I just explained, there are Hindu schools which can also claim them.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Sherab
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Sherab »

Malcolm wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
...all buddhas teach the same Dharma, same path.
But they clearly don't. They teach whatever Dharma sentient beings need. Some need one kind of Dharma, others other kinds of Dharma. Despite some people's naive insistence that Buddhadharma has to conform to three seals, we can even find nonBuddhist traditions that corresponds to the three seals inso far as they assert all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, all contaminated phenomena are suffering, and all phenomena are not self (brahmin being outside what can be considered "phenomena."
While Buddhas teach according to sentient beings need, they still teach THE DHARMA. In other words, I would think that however a Buddha may teach, the underlying view and principles would not be violated.

If it is argued that a Buddha may and do give teachings that are non-Dharma as a skillful means, then the purpose of such teachings must be to lead those beings to THE DHARMA, but the teachings from skillful means would still be non-Dharmic. In other words, there would still be a distinction between Dharma and non-Dharma.
Malcolm
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab wrote: While Buddhas teach according to sentient beings need, they still teach THE DHARMA.
What this Dharma is has not yet been quantified in this thread. For example, David thinks it is the 4NT and the 8FP. I don't.


The only thing that distinguishes the Buddha's teaching from that of non-Buddhists (excluding Bonpos) is emptiness— not just the simple absence of a self, but emptiness free from extremes.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Nicholas Weeks
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Re: original buddha

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

In the ultimate sense, as the Uttaratantra (based on the Srimala Sutra) says:
Ultimately, however, the single refuge
Of the world is buddhahood
Because the sage possesses the body of the dharma
And because it is the consummation of the assembly. I.21
Brunnhölzl, When the Clouds Part

Since a buddha is the source of the both dharma & sangha, whatever any buddha teaches is the dharma. The Dharma-kaya = Buddha. Therefore, it matter not at all how we partition Buddhist views, schools or concepts. There is only one timeless source or origin - Buddha.
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Sherab
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Sherab »

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote: While Buddhas teach according to sentient beings need, they still teach THE DHARMA.
What this Dharma is has not yet been quantified in this thread. For example, David thinks it is the 4NT and the 8FP. I don't.

The only thing that distinguishes the Buddha's teaching from that of non-Buddhists (excluding Bonpos) is emptiness— not just the simple absence of a self, but emptiness free from extremes.
I responded to your post for two reasons:

(1) Your post appears to suggest that there is no underlying view and principles to the Dharma taught by the Buddha. Such view and principles, I would suggest, are encapsulated in the 4NT and 8FP. I think the 4NT and 8FP are foundational to any Buddhist path such that even if they are not specifically taught in a specific path, they are unspoken assumptions.

(2) Your post also appears to suggest that there is no distinction between Buddhism and certain Hindu schools because the latter also claim the four seals. But one of the seal is on emptiness. I may be wrong, but I have yet to come across a Hindu school that holds emptiness in the same way as you defined, i.e. freedom from extremes.
Malcolm
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab wrote:
(2) Your post also appears to suggest that there is no distinction between Buddhism and certain Hindu schools because the latter also claim the four seals. But one of the seal is on emptiness. .
No. None of the seals are on emptiness:
  • All conditioned/compounded entities/dharmas are impermanent.
    All contaminated entities are suffering.
    All entities are not self.
    Nirvana is peaceful.
It is perfectly possible to read these four statements in a manner consistent with certain Hindu schools, such as classical Advaita Vedanta.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab wrote:
(1) Your post appears to suggest that there is no underlying view and principles to the Dharma taught by the Buddha. .
If there was an underlying principal followed by the Buddha, it was solely to remedy ignorance and replace it with knowledge.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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PuerAzaelis
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Re: original buddhism

Post by PuerAzaelis »

I know lots of things like that I'm better than everyone else, how to eat too much chocolate ice cream, how I'd like to have a million dollars, how to pick my nose. I guess original Buddhism is quite broad.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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Grigoris
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

Malcolm wrote:
Grigoris wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Despite some people's naive insistence that Buddhadharma has to conform to three seals...
Why do you consider it naive to judge a teaching as Dharma based on it's conformance to the Four Dharma Seals? What would you consider a better standard of comparison?
I just explained, there are Hindu schools which can also claim them.
Let's say there are, and let's say they actually conform to them, does the fact that they call themselves "Hindu"mean they are not Dharma?

And what is the alternative (more trustworthy) measure of Dharma-ness?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
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Grigoris
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:
(2) Your post also appears to suggest that there is no distinction between Buddhism and certain Hindu schools because the latter also claim the four seals. But one of the seal is on emptiness. .
No. None of the seals are on emptiness:
  • All conditioned/compounded entities/dharmas are impermanent.
    All contaminated entities are suffering.
    All entities are not self.
    Nirvana is peaceful.
It is perfectly possible to read these four statements in a manner consistent with certain Hindu schools, such as classical Advaita Vedanta.
Uuuuuummmm... cf the red
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Grigoris
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

Malcolm wrote:What this Dharma is has not yet been quantified in this thread. For example, David thinks it is the 4NT and the 8FP. I don't.
You don't think they are THE Dharma, or you do not think they are A Dharma?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Tolya M
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Tolya M »

I do not understand the moderator or who else deleted my post here. In the countries of South-East Asia, they themselves are talking calmly about the reforms of Buddhism. Nothing special about this. Read papers of F. Bizot for example... There was a lot of things that we lost.

As for the discussion of original buddhism Asanga wrote in Mahayanasamgraha:
Indeed, in each different universe (lokadhātu), the assembly (parṣanmaṇḍala), the expression (adhivacana), the size of the body (kāyapramāṇa), the major marks (lakṣaṇa) and the minor marks (anuvyañjana), the enjoyment of the flavor of the Dharma (dharmarasasaṃbhoga), etc., are special to each. And it is the same for the apparitional bodies (nirmāṇakāya) of the Buddhas.
There is no reason to assume that 4NT or N8P will remain unchanged in other universes. This is a matter of meaning and expression. But this is a very profound question. At a minimum, we can analyze the main matrikas of some schools and especially how they correlate with each other. The omniscient Longchenpa wrote about the ratio of smrtyupasthana and the keyrim-stage, but I do not remember exactly where he do it (((
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Lazy_eye
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Lazy_eye »

This is a really interesting discussion and I'm learning from it. FWIW, Malcolm's statement that emptiness is the distinctive Buddhist teaching (as opposed to 4NT, dharma seals, eightfold path) aligns with what I have heard/read from some Zen teachers.

I still think that we're getting mired in semantics and multiple meanings, though, leading to a certain degree of equivocation. Both the terms "original" and "Buddhism" can mean different things to different people.

Buddhism: the religion and institutions that appeared sometime in the 5th-6th century BCE and have since expanded into many schools and traditions
Buddhism: Buddhavacana or Buddhadharma

Original: what we are most likely to have heard if we wandered into Jeta Grove or the Deer Park in Sarnath when Siddhartha Gautama was teaching.
Original: the Dharma taught by all Buddhas, past, present, future

Even the word "Dharma" might be understood in different ways. The Heart Sutra casts off provisional teachings in favor of direct apprehension of emptiness. Does that mean the provisional teachings are not Dharma?

So in looking at David's wiki page, there are two types of questions that come up. One is "does it provide an accurate summary of how most scholars think Buddhism (the religion) developed and what we probably would have heard Siddartha Gautama say, if we were there?"

The other question is "is this the Dharma taught by all Buddhas?"

It's possible that the answer to the first type of question is yes, and the answer to the second type is no.

My point is simply that these are different lines of inquiry and it's important not to confuse them. Theravadins and Mayahanists have radically different conceptions of the Buddha, which means that while there may be room for agreement on historical facts, disagreement may be inevitable when it comes to the significance of those facts.
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DNS
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Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS »

Lazy_eye wrote: I still think that we're getting mired in semantics and multiple meanings, though, leading to a certain degree of equivocation. Both the terms "original" and "Buddhism" can mean different things to different people.
Original: what we are most likely to have heard if we wandered into Jeta Grove or the Deer Park in Sarnath when Siddhartha Gautama was teaching.
Yes, exactly, obviously there was "something" taught by the Buddha during his time and teachings. This is original Buddhism. It would be to deny history to say that there was no original Buddhism. As I have said before, we can argue about what that entails, but there certainly was an original Buddhism; something taught by Gautama Buddha.
Original: the Dharma taught by all Buddhas, past, present, future
And also:
Even if previous buddhas taught different paths, then original Buddhism can still be:

The Dharma path of this Dispensation, the one we are in right now. We are not in Dipankara's Dispensation; but rather the Dispensation of Gautama.
what we are most likely to have heard if we wandered into Jeta Grove or the Deer Park in Sarnath
:thumbsup:
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It would be to deny history to say that there was no original Buddhism.
The notion of 'history' on this level - that you can go back through records and linguistic comparison of this worlds Plai Suttas and determine all dimensions of the reality of the teaching, is not an idea that all Buddhism subscribes to. In fact, I'd say that it is an idea that is informed deeply by modernity, and modern concepts of truth as facts that can be found and examined empirically in the world "outside" ourselves.

That's great, there's nothing wrong with thinking that way, in fact by the standards of today it would even be labelled 'sensible' by many people I imagine, and what I'm saying here would be labelled as crazy. Undeniably though, If you limit your view of what is Dharma to these things - what you can empirically speculate on (cause let's be honest, it ain't verifiable)-, you actively deny the validity of a huge portion of Buddhist writing, tradition, etc.

Sort of like telling a Hopi medicine man "hey dude, people didn't spring up from sipapu, there's this thing called evolution." That Hopi medicine man might even be completely familiar with evolution, and realize that on one level of relative reality, what you are saying is correct 100%. Truth is a big concept though, and what is a valid teaching in a spiritual sense for many people does not hinge on truths that we examine in this world we project outside ourselves.

So AFAIC, "original" is also a kind of truth claim, not just a neutral descriptor.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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DNS
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Re: original buddhism

Post by DNS »

Yes, it's a difficult task to locate it, but not impossible, imo. And this is what it comes down to; what exactly it entails. And the more I read and research into it, the more I see it is not as simple as Theravada = original and in fact it is more of a mix of the early schools including the Mahasamghika, which is basically Mahayana.
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Seeker12 »

David N. Snyder wrote:Yes, it's a difficult task to locate it, but not impossible, imo. And this is what it comes down to; what exactly it entails. And the more I read and research into it, the more I see it is not as simple as Theravada = original and in fact it is more of a mix of the early schools including the Mahasamghika, which is basically Mahayana.
Many of the Mahayana Sutras were basically not thought to have been taught in the human realm, however, and I believe only later came to the human realm in the forms we have.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Seeker12 »

Malcolm wrote: No. None of the seals are on emptiness:
  • All conditioned/compounded entities/dharmas are impermanent.
    All contaminated entities are suffering.
    All entities are not self.
    Nirvana is peaceful.
It seems to me that, taken to its end, Sabbe Dhamma Anatta is necessarily about emptiness free from extremes. Translating that phrase as "all entities are not self" seems to me to be a disservice to the actual meaning, or a small fraction of it.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: original buddhism

Post by pael »

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote: While Buddhas teach according to sentient beings need, they still teach THE DHARMA.
What this Dharma is has not yet been quantified in this thread. For example, David thinks it is the 4NT and the 8FP. I don't.
Is Dharma subduing of passion & desire?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering
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Re: original buddhism

Post by Lazy_eye »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: The notion of 'history' on this level - that you can go back through records and linguistic comparison of this worlds Plai Suttas and determine all dimensions of the reality of the teaching, is not an idea that all Buddhism subscribes to.
To me, that seems like an extreme and even absurd position to take -- i.e. that you can determine all dimensions of the reality of the teaching in this way.

Texts often have dimensions that go beyond their apparent surface meaning, thus interpretation is necessary. I was just looking at the Atthaka Vagga, which some people consider to be very ancient and possibly close to the Buddha's own words. Well, you know what? It turns out that these texts are full of apparently intentional paradoxes designed "to teach the reader to think independently, to see through the uncertainties of language and so to help loosen any clinging to the structures that language imposes on the mind" (so says Thanissaro Bhikkhu).

So the idea that dating texts and mapping out the history of a religion is automatically going to give us access to all dimensions of meaning...well, that seems really naive. I think, personally, that we have to avoid two positions: 1) pretending history does not exist or is irrelevant, that there is nothing we can learn from scholarship, and 2) that scholarship in itself answers all Dharma questions.
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