Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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LastLegend
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by LastLegend »

Avalokitesvara has a vow to respond to those who call his/her name who is in immediate danger, but if we keep put ourselves in dangerous situations that’s on us. They still respond :lol: but that’s abusing their help. Those who venerate a particular Buddha that Buddha will eventually cause that person to meet a teacher. Also notice ‘Tathagata is not in sound sight or appearance,’ I wouldn’t trust a Buddha appears to me in the air. That’s likely Mara. We cannot fathom what type of work Buddhas do.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Caoimhghín »

Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:42 pm Always fun to read discussions on “Secret” Tantra between people who have never been near a Vajrayana teacher in their life and who cannot even define the term accurately. :lol:
So sure of yourself, aren't you? That must be that legendary iron-sharp discernment at work.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by LastLegend »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:39 pm
LastLegend wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:23 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:58 pm
Yes, but IMO what I meant to point out was, surely Tantrikas can't believe that Vairocana or Amitabha can aspire or cultivate wisdom for them.
I think we aspire and cultivate wisdom ourselves. The realization is our part. They can’t do much if we don’t change our karma or don’t wish to change. I think it’s hard to enter samadhi of emptiness if we are wretched with karma all the time. If you aspiration to take rebirth in Pure Land, that’s a different path.
Ah, that makes sense. I was confused when you said "if one only follows discipline as in only relying on self power, then it’s hard for them to fathom that a high wisdom level Bodhisattva can cause change to sentient beings’ mind stream."
You know to show how it’s done. You can sincerely make a wish for someone to feel calm it will manifest. Just that we are limited and not recommended because bad thoughts or self is mixed while performing that can cause harm. This level of work is done in samadhi of emptiness, so have to reach samadhi first.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Caoimhghín »

LastLegend wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:46 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:39 pm
LastLegend wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:23 pm

I think we aspire and cultivate wisdom ourselves. The realization is our part. They can’t do much if we don’t change our karma or don’t wish to change. I think it’s hard to enter samadhi of emptiness if we are wretched with karma all the time. If you aspiration to take rebirth in Pure Land, that’s a different path.
Ah, that makes sense. I was confused when you said "if one only follows discipline as in only relying on self power, then it’s hard for them to fathom that a high wisdom level Bodhisattva can cause change to sentient beings’ mind stream."
You know to show how it’s done. You can sincerely make a wish for someone to feel calm it will manifest.
I've been beaming cool vibes at Donald Trump to try to get him to calm down for a while now, but he's yet to publish a single vaguely chill tweet. Not disagreeing, just saying.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
Simon E.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Simon E. »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:43 pm
Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:42 pm Always fun to read discussions on “Secret” Tantra between people who have never been near a Vajrayana teacher in their life and who cannot even define the term accurately. :lol:
So sure of yourself, aren't you? That must be that legendary iron-sharp discernment at work.
I’m sufficiently UNsure of myself not to publicly display my cluelessness, and to leave topics alone when I know frak all about them. It doesn’t take ‘iron sharp discernment’ to gain initial knowledge of “Secret” Mantra. It does take Refuge with a Vajrayana Guru however.
:lol:
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by tkp67 »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:50 pm
LastLegend wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:46 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:39 pm
Ah, that makes sense. I was confused when you said "if one only follows discipline as in only relying on self power, then it’s hard for them to fathom that a high wisdom level Bodhisattva can cause change to sentient beings’ mind stream."
You know to show how it’s done. You can sincerely make a wish for someone to feel calm it will manifest.
I've been beaming cool vibes at Donald Trump to try to get him to calm down for a while now, but he's yet to publish a single vaguely chill tweet. Not disagreeing, just saying.
If that keeps his energy from attenuating through you, then there isn't that fruit?

Just because it is your own doesn't make it any less potent, powerful or pervasive.

I also wonder how does one measure the scenario with a lack of action after one has taken action? i.e. Can you replicate go back to the moments you sent those thoughts, remove them from the fabric of reality and measure if the outcome is exactly the same?

Just mundane rhetorical questions, with no intent to inflame or requirement for response, that came to mind.

:anjali:
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by LastLegend »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:50 pm
LastLegend wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:46 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:39 pm
Ah, that makes sense. I was confused when you said "if one only follows discipline as in only relying on self power, then it’s hard for them to fathom that a high wisdom level Bodhisattva can cause change to sentient beings’ mind stream."
You know to show how it’s done. You can sincerely make a wish for someone to feel calm it will manifest.
I've been beaming cool vibes at Donald Trump to try to get him to calm down for a while now, but he's yet to publish a single vaguely chill tweet. Not disagreeing, just saying.
It’s limited. We can’t do much until samadhi (that has no self and dharma to obtain). Right now it’s probably just delusion and self.

Don’t trust any appearance. For example, someone says they are able to hear things miles away from another city in their room like front of them, that’s likely manifestation of skandhas ghost. Meaning whatever we construct skandhas will manifest.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Caoimhghín »

Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:13 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:43 pm
Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:42 pm Always fun to read discussions on “Secret” Tantra between people who have never been near a Vajrayana teacher in their life and who cannot even define the term accurately. :lol:
So sure of yourself, aren't you? That must be that legendary iron-sharp discernment at work.
I’m sufficiently UNsure of myself not to publicly display my cluelessness, and to leave topics alone when I know frak all about them. It doesn’t take ‘iron sharp discernment’ to gain initial knowledge of “Secret” Mantra. It does take Refuge with a Vajrayana Guru however.
:lol:
If we say nothing, we are never corrected. If we are never corrected, we never learn. If we find ourself never corrected and never learning, we could find ourselves just as easily thinking we are always right, and that we have some deep insight that others lack who find themselves corrected and learning.

I thought you said you were never going to speak to me again, quite publicly? And here we are. Was that your discernment at work too, when you thought you would be able to restrain yourself from posting in responce to X or Y thing I write?

What if I've had more than a few interactions with Vajrayāna gurus? Impossible, surely. Utterly obvious. It doesn't require even vaguely iron-sharp discernment to see that's completely impossible. I never could have found anyone at all in all of Canada to tell me anything. Surely.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Grigoris »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:40 pm
Simon E. wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:13 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:43 pm
So sure of yourself, aren't you? That must be that legendary iron-sharp discernment at work.
I’m sufficiently UNsure of myself not to publicly display my cluelessness, and to leave topics alone when I know frak all about them. It doesn’t take ‘iron sharp discernment’ to gain initial knowledge of “Secret” Mantra. It does take Refuge with a Vajrayana Guru however.
:lol:
If we say nothing, we are never corrected. If we are never corrected, we never learn. If we find ourself never corrected and never learning, we could find ourselves just as easily thinking we are always right, and that we have some deep insight that others lack who find themselves corrected and learning.

I thought you said you were never going to speak to me again, quite publicly? And here we are. Was that your discernment at work too, when you thought you would be able to restrain yourself from posting in responce to X or Y thing I write?
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Sādhaka »

Not sure if the ad hominem remark was about what I’d posted here, but either way it’s probably better I stay quiet about it.
Last edited by Sādhaka on Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Simon E. »

I believe that’s known as an ad hominem. :smile:

It’s really quite simple. It’s probably best not to attempt to discuss subjects on a public forum , when those subjects are off limit for public discussion even for those who have some experience of them.
In anyone is actually interested Secret Mantras are so called not because they are a secret, they can be seen in any number of books. They are secret because they need to be passed on from teacher to student in order to be part of a living transmission, and not just a sound. This traditionally happens from the mouth of the teacher to the ear of the student. There is no great mystery here. But a bone fide teacher is essential for the process to be genuine.
No one is impelled to accept this. As I have said, if an individuals karma vipaka is not in accord it will never be more than an academic interest in this lifetime.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by tkp67 »

When he has finished making these vows, then in a deserted and quiet place he should burn various kinds of choice incense, scatter flowers, and offer alms to all the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, and the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and speak these words: ‘From today I set my mind upon enlightenment. May these benefits save all beings everywhere.’

“When he has finished speaking these words, he should once more bow his head to the ground, make obeisance to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and ponder the principle of the broad and impartial sutra. If he does this for one day and so on for p.394three times seven days, then whether he is a householder or one who has left the household he will not need a tutor, nor will he require teachers or the declarations of the confession ceremony. Through the power acquired by accepting, upholding, reading, and reciting the great vehicle sutra, through the help and encouragement proffered by Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, and because this is the eye of the correct Law of the buddhas of the ten directions, relying on this Law, on his own he will succeed in attaining the fivefold body of the Law, which is made up of the precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, and the insight of emancipation. The buddhas, thus come ones, are born from this Law, and in the great vehicle sutra they receive prophecies of their attainment of buddhahood

Sutra on How to Practice Meditation on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy

---> https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Epilogue/1


As I see it only ignorance can deny the equanimity of the buddha whose teachings encompass all causes, conditions and capacities.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:17 am I have heard that that Mahayana school says it will take 3 incalculable eons before someone reaches Buddhahood, although the Vajrayana school says someone can achieve Buddhahood in this lifetime. If both schools focus is on becoming a Buddha, why would one choose Mahayana (The much slower school) versus Vajrayana
First of all, Vajrayāna is Mahāyāna. The principle difference between common Mahāyāna and Uncommon Mahāyāna Secret Mantra is methodology. However, these distinctions are Indian. East Asian Buddhists have a whole different scheme that was arrived at in China and Japan, not India. That does not mean they are ipso facto invalid. Another issue is that Indian Mahāyāna survives only in Tibetan Buddhism, where it is taught for theory, but not for practice. For practice, Tibetan Buddhists teach various types of Vajrayāna practice.

Indian Mahāyāna is not really taught in Chinese Buddhism. The Chinese Buddhists have developed an independent understanding of Mahāyāna which is very distinct from Indian Mahāyāna. Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental commonalities since all Mahāyāna traditions are based on Mahāyāna sūtras.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

I am drawn to Vajrayana because of its living buddhas,fast realization,expanded sets of dieties(Also that it has both female and male deities) and so on but I chose Mahayana simply because it is easier.I am a purelander,but I hold Dzogchen and Vajrayana teachings in very high esteem.there is no way (Due to location limitations,my disablity and finances due to disability)I can do all those practices,meditations,finding a realized teacher but I can chant Amida everyday and make aspirations to be born where my mind can do those things and I have no distractions.I guess its also the safest of the two,because vajrayana recognizes the mahayana and its dieties but not vice versa.

I still pray to guru Rinpoche and Vajrayogini and I still take inspiration from the karmapa and the dalai lama and Chnn.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by FromTheEarth »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:58 pm
First of all, Vajrayāna is Mahāyāna. The principle difference between common Mahāyāna and Uncommon Mahāyāna Secret Mantra is methodology. However, these distinctions are Indian. East Asian Buddhists have a whole different scheme that was arrived at in China and Japan, not India. That does not mean they are ipso facto invalid. Another issue is that Indian Mahāyāna survives only in Tibetan Buddhism, where it is taught for theory, but not for practice. For practice, Tibetan Buddhists teach various types of Vajrayāna practice.

Indian Mahāyāna is not really taught in Chinese Buddhism. The Chinese Buddhists have developed an independent understanding of Mahāyāna which is very distinct from Indian Mahāyāna. Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental commonalities since all Mahāyāna traditions are based on Mahāyāna sūtras.
Just trying to make these claims more qualified. Perhaps we should say "a specific part/school of the Indian Mahayana scholastic tradition" survived and has been since then developed in Tibetan Buddhism.

Also, even then I should add a somehow academically-oriented suspicion (not trying to hide my sectarian grudge when seeing a comparison like this that apparently has many implications!). It appears to me that both the Madhyamaka philosophical tradition and (at least the doctrinal aspect of the) tantrayana system have been significantly reshaped in Tibet. For instance, one may consider the Svatantrika–Prasaṅgika distinction, or a distinct category of Anuttarayoga Tantra. And, were we to allow for "taught for theory" counting as the criterion, there were equally many Indian scholastic works widely used in different schools in East Asia, though those schools rarely followed the rigid, sectarian division and bought the entire Madhyamaka/Yogacara package.
This is not to dismiss the much higher similarity of the Tibetan tradition in terms of the institutional, the doctrinal, and practical, the to (a certain version of) the ancient Indian. But I just feel the underlying authenticity thesis/implication is always troubling me, whether it is meant to say only the Theravada is the genuine, authentic Buddhism, or the Tibetan tradition is, while both apparently underwent many changes and adaptions.
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Ayu »

Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:15 am
Könchok Thrinley wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:13 am This is not how things are. Vajrayana is part of mahayana. However, one can ask why choose sutra teachings over tantric teachings. And there might be many reasons for that.
Who actually practices Sutrayana, as understood by the Tibetan Buddhists?
In my lineage (Gelug tradition as taught by HHDL, in Germany) Sutrayana i.e. Lamrim is the base of Vajrayana. For tantra practicioners there is no question of choosing one or another. They should understand the basics and then chose a practice to focus on.
And I know fellow students who decide to leave out tantra and focus on Lamrim instead. They don't become comfortable with too much tantra and samaya. They are free to chose this. Nobody should frown at them. This would be very narrow and childish.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Simon E. »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:58 pm
Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:17 am I have heard that that Mahayana school says it will take 3 incalculable eons before someone reaches Buddhahood, although the Vajrayana school says someone can achieve Buddhahood in this lifetime. If both schools focus is on becoming a Buddha, why would one choose Mahayana (The much slower school) versus Vajrayana
First of all, Vajrayāna is Mahāyāna. The principle difference between common Mahāyāna and Uncommon Mahāyāna Secret Mantra is methodology. However, these distinctions are Indian. East Asian Buddhists have a whole different scheme that was arrived at in China and Japan, not India. That does not mean they are ipso facto invalid. Another issue is that Indian Mahāyāna survives only in Tibetan Buddhism, where it is taught for theory, but not for practice. For practice, Tibetan Buddhists teach various types of Vajrayāna practice.

Indian Mahāyāna is not really taught in Chinese Buddhism. The Chinese Buddhists have developed an independent understanding of Mahāyāna which is very distinct from Indian Mahāyāna. Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental commonalities since all Mahāyāna traditions are based on Mahāyāna sūtras.
And as is often the case, Malcolm gets to the heart of that matter. If we say that the Indian and Chinese traditions have nothing in common we ignore their common ancestry. If we claim that they are the same in methodology we ignore the very real differences in aims and possibly in outcomes.
That is not triumphalism. That is simply a matter of verifiable fact.
Dzogchen students who disparage other traditions are in error.
Students of other schools who attempt to interpret Dzogchen by the lights of their own traditions are also in error.
People who simply serve up a mishmash of their own making without being able to reference teacher or lineage are simply confused. Which is or was pretty much all of us at some point.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Nicholas2727 »

Wow all of these replies have been amazing so thank you for all of them. I do not have much knowledge on many of the topics brought up in the comments, so I feel a better questions would be does anyone have any links to articles, books or videos that go into detail on some of the core beliefs in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism? I know that the Theravada teachings are still there in both schools, although some of the topics brought up were new to me so I feel I would be better off getting more background information on both schools!
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:23 am
Könchok Thrinley wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:20 am
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:15 am

Who actually practices Sutrayana, as understood by the Tibetan Buddhists?
Those who do not follow tantric teachings and methods. Zennies, theravadins, purelanders, etc.
Zennies certainly don't believe themselves to be practicing sutrayana - see Meido Roshi's many replies on this. Edit: on a quick search, here's is one relevant example: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=29208

From Bodhidharma's "beyond words and letters...", to the many unique methods, to continue to claim that Zen is sutrayana is just sectarian polemics. Unless, of course by sutrayana, one defines anything other than tantra. Then it's ok.
No, it's isn't sectarian polemics at all. There are many upadesá lineages in common Mahāyāna, Chan/Zen is one of those.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: Why choose Mahayana over Vajrayana?

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:47 pm
Könchok Thrinley wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:20 am
Dan74 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:15 am Who actually practices Sutrayana, as understood by the Tibetan Buddhists?
Those who do not follow tantric teachings and methods. Zennies, theravadins, purelanders, etc.
Sutrayana, as understood in Tibetan Buddhism, exists only in Tibetan Buddhism, and as such, only Tibetan Buddhists could be sutrayana followers, as it is their view of Mahayana. Those who do not subscribe to the Tibetan interpretation of sutrayana naturally cannot follow it either.
That definition is an Indian Buddhist definition, not Tibetan.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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